Peace, above all things, is to be desired, but blood must sometimes be spilled to obtain it on equable and lasting terms.
-- Andrew Jackson
The story of Rome is written in blood, like all epics. No empire is built without blood, no destiny forged without shedding it. Legions carry the Pax Romana to the far reaches of Europe and enforce Caesar's law and will by the sword. Opponents to the bright imperial future forfeit their lives and liberty at the Altar of Peace. A river of lives sacrificed flows just out of sight, behind the marble buildings and beneath the opulent mosaic floors. While the city of Rome basks in unmatched splendour and glory, beneath it seethes malcontent and corruption, burning faith and tarnished idealism.
In so many ways, the mortal Empire basking under the golden age is no different than the Cainites in the Nights of Antiquity. These immortals gather beneath the eagle standard to fulfill the great promise of a vision conjured by a single Ventrue when the sprawling metropolis of a million souls was no more than muddy fields and shacks hidden between seven hills. Camillus seeks no less than to forge a beacon of vampiric civilization in the shadow of humanity's greatest city, drawing scions of the thirteen clans to dwell together as they have not since Caine's disappearance millennia ago. As Rome expanded in prominence, so too vampiric society solidified into a shining pinnacle in a world shrouded in darkness.
Roman vampires aspire to the impossible, but they lack neither time or resources. Lessons taught during the stunning failure of corrupt and decadent Carthage empower neonates and ancients alike to avoid repeating the same mistakes. A unified assembly, the likes of which have not been seen before, has negotiated crises and instilled cooperation on a grand scale. The Eternal Senate, the governing body over all Kindred in the city, dares to declare all Italy free of Jyhad under the "Pax Romana et Vampirica." Such a claim might be preposterous, but the Eternal Senate's might answers all defiance with direct, unquestioned force.
No Cainite paradise is bloodless.
The Eternal City casts a long light across the world, and bitter enemies seethe with resentment and hatred. In the shadows, dangerous draw ever closer. Displaced Carthaginians, inheritors to a destroyed dream, see Rome as usurpers and murderers. Baali cults scattered to the winds chant the names of Camillus and his brood to their dark fiends. Setites seek weaknesses to bring the Eternal Senate under shadow and outsider clans clamor for status and recognition from arrogant Romans.
The world is changing, and the Eternal City with it. A decade ago, the children of Malkav experienced a moment of terrifying clarity as they collectively prophesied of harrowing doom and sublime ecstasy. In recent years, the eldest and mightiest vampires heard more often about unassuming kine able to repel the Kindred with but a word and a gesture. Now, the inexperienced emperor Claudius speaks of invading a distant isle shrouded in fog and whispers as his forefathers did.
The world trembles. The Nights of Antiquity hold many horrors, and none so great as Rome herself.