Stiles- an aristocrat (a free citizen), son of Legatus Stilinski (general of the Roman army; literally the “deputy” to Empereor Marcus Aurillius). Maria Stilinski had been a loving mother and husband while she was alive, running their country estate and raising her boy while Stilinski was away at war, but was often sick and died of malaria when Stiles was seven. After that, Stiles switched between living at their house in Rome and traveling with his father, learning how to be a good leader and a good man while staying far away from the battlefields, until Stilinski gives Stiles the country estate when he is 15 years old, a man in the eyes of society. The estate flourishes under Stiles’ care; the fields yield tall seas of golden wheat and the fruit groves grow pomegranates and olives and sweet lemons. Stiles invites his cousin Lydia (with beauty that puts Persephone to shame and intelligence that rivals Minerva herself) to live with him, who happily agrees in order to get away from her bitter parents and their dumb-as-rocks suitors. Stiles wanted his father to retire from the army and take his rightful place in the Senate, but Stilinski claimed that he wasn’t quite done yet (“I can’t be stuck in a dusty old room with dusty old men just yet- that’ll kill me faster than battle will.”)
After visiting his son and seeing how well their estate is doing, he has Stiles choose from a selection of slaves to become the head of his guard and the generals of his militia as so to protect his lands for when he eventually has to leave for active duty. He goes to the slaves markets, but cannot find people he can trust (they are not honest people- he can tell by their eyes), so instead he goes to the Collesium and watches the gladiators train with each other for battle. He not only watches how well they fight, but how they treat their fellow slaves and their enemies. His eye is caught by Derek (who worships Diana, goddess of the hunt and the moon), who fights with ferocity but makes sure to guide and help those in need of assistance.
After speaking to Derek several times, he announces that he will make Derek the captain of his militia, and asks Derek to choose three others to join him as leaders of Stiles’ military. He chooses Boyd, a Numidian tribesman who was taken from his home and family by slave traders, who is strong and calm and quiet like death about to snatch you before you know it’s got you; Isaac, who is a brilliant tactician; and Scott, who was loyal, brave, and wicked with a pair of swords (Scott was wrongly accused of stealing- his punishment was slavery). Derek also asks for Stiles to take Erica, Isaac’s sister and Boyd’s lover who pours wine for royalty during the matches; Stiles readily agrees, as he sees that Erica is just a fierce as her friends and cunning to boot. Erica and Isaac are twins from Greece; their mother died in childbirth, and their abusive father hated them for it until he sold them off to pay his debts. Stiles is met with general disapproval of his choices, but his father is proud of son, knowing that he chose the best people possible and went beyond normal society rules to do so.
As time passed, Stiles becomes fast friends with those he chose to be head of his guard and militia back in Rome, especially Derek. He shares everything with him, beyond what a normal master would share with a slave; they are equals in everything but title, and soon they both fall in love with each other. Stiles gets private lessons from Derek on how to sword fight at Stiles’ insistence and he teaches Derek how to read and how to take charge of the household; Derek teaches and learns gladly, but is curious and worried as to why Stiles insists upon it so adamantly without an explanation.
Until one day when a messenger arrives for Stiles from General Argent with orders to meet up with his army for his required tour of duty (the average soldier was required 25 years of service, but because he is the son and heir to Legatus Stilinski, his tour has been reduced to only 10 [“See how lucky I am?” he says weakly with a brittle smile, “really, Derek, it’s all about connections”]). Derek is furious that Stiles hadn’t told him that it was coming, although most of the anger is only there to hide his fear of losing Stiles, who can fight well enough, but is much better suited as a scholar. Derek tries to insist on going with him, but Stiles adamantly proclaims that Derek must stay and protect their home and their friends until Stiles returns (and he will return, he whispers as they hold each other at night, I promise I will return to you always); so, in his stead, he declares that at the very least Scott has to go with him as well to watch his back. So Stiles and Scott ride off to join the army, leaving Derek and Stiles’ cousin Lydia to look after the estate (Derek takes care of the fields and crops and slaves while the beautiful and intelligent Lydia secretly takes care of the estate’s expenses and affairs under the guise of being a man doing all the intelligent stuff).
They are gone for 5 years and change with hardly a word, only sporadic updates maybe once a year if they’re lucky saying that they’re still alive; Derek and Lydia keep the estate alive and well to the best of their abilities. In the face of his friends and those who serve under him, Derek remains confidant that Stiles will be fine (Erica often says that with both the Roman and the Greek gods looking after him, he would become the luckiest bastard on the field), but he spends many sleepless nights lying awake, wondering about the fate of his lover, fear gripping his heart in a vice that leaves him gasping for breath.
It continues like this until one day a small party approaches the estate, three horses and a carriage bearing the flag of the Roman empire. Derek fears the worst; if a slave such as Scott was killed they would simply throw his body on a funeral pyre with the other casualties- but as the son of a general, Stiles’ body would be returned to his estate for a proper burial (and Stiles had always been adamant about riding his horse instead of being stuck in a stuffy carriage [“Over my dead body.”]). And Derek will go mad, if he has to bury the love of his life after watching his entire family die.
But Stiles isn’t dead (though it had been a close call, and he’s still not entirely out of the woods yet with the threat of infection looming constantly); he was severely injured after a battle in Germania, where his bone had snapped and broken through the skin. They had been able to stop the bleeding and put the bone back in place, but Stiles was in no state to be fighting and likely wouldn’t be summoned to battle ever again, as the bone had been set crooked, leaving him with permanent limp for the rest of his life. He insists Scott come home with him, and Scott ends up bringing Primus Pilus Argent’s daughter, Allison, who fall in love with each other when they meet in the army’s camp.
Stiles had been stationed on the border of Germania (which is actually modern day Poland), trying to fight their way in to take their land in the hopes of expanding the Roman Empire. While he wasn’t the strongest fighter, he was quick and cunning on the battlefield, which helped move him up the ranks, taking Scott with him as he promised Derek he would (they both go through a year of training; because of his status, Stiles would have been put on track to become the leader of a legionary, but because of the skills he displayed during training he is instead trained to be an exploratore (a spy, who wore plain clothes and watched enemy movement) while Scott is enlisted as a Medicus (combat medic- dealt with battlefield surgeries and often treated the legion’s horses) ). Scott had previous training as a healer, as he had been learning from his mother as to become a physician one day. While they are in the camp together, they share a tent with Jackson, a son of a senator, and his best friend, Danny. While they often rib at each other and mock fight over silly things, they all become close.
Stiles is always sent out ahead of the rest of the legionary, watching the savage Germans and how they were moving against the Romans; at first he was partnered with a senior exploratore who treated him as an assistant and an apprentice, but after 4 years of service Stiles began going out on his own. In his 5th year, at the age of 23, Stiles manages to infiltrate the German army by killing a foot soldier and taking his possessions as his own to get inside their base camp. He stays at the camp for a week, doing menial work and keeping his head down while listening and observing the enemies’ every move, relaying all the details and inner workings of the camp through Jackson and Danny, who wait on the outskirts of the camp for updates (and secretly as back-up, in case Stiles was caught). Stiles and Primus Pilus Argent (commander of their Legion) plan a night attack against the camp on the seventh night; Stiles manages to station himself outside the leader’s tent (Gerard, no relation to the Roman Argents) and when he hears the signal (a bird call) that means they are about to lay siege on the camp, Stiles sneaks in and kills Gerard in his sleep. He meant to sneak back out of the tent before anyone realized what had happened, but just as he sheaths his knife, the old man’s second, Deucalion, enters the tent and in a scream of rage rushes Stiles and engages him in combat. Stiles loses the fight and ends up being stabbed in the shoulder- he is forced into a kneeling submission, and Deucalion stomps on his leg, breaking the bone. He is about to kill Stiles when Jackson, Danny, and Scott come rushing in; Jackson stabs Deucalion from behind while Scott rushes to aid his friend. They cauterize the stab wound and set the bone as well as they can, but Stiles is out of commission indefinitely, and is sent home (Argent sends Danny, Jackson, Scott, and his daughter Allison with him; at first he thought Scott wasn’t good enough for his daughter, but he releases that Scott will do anything for Allison, and that they’d probably just run away together anyway, so he gives them his blessing first).
The end will be getting Stiles back to health, rehabilitating him and all of them living awesomely ever after. Stiles frees all of his friends from slavery, but they all stay and work for him at the villa. Boyd and Erica get married, we leave seeing Jackson and Lydia becoming a couple (he’s just as dumb as the other suitors, but he’s brave, and loyal, and Lydia thinks that this one will do just fine), Scott and Allison continue to court each other, and Stiles and Derek remain lovers and partners in everything that they do. Oh, and sex. Lots of sex.