In the second century A.D., the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius made a deal with the barbarian Sarmatians: The fighting would stop if they supplied Rome with eight thousand horsemen. Left with no choice, the Sarmatians complied. Thus began the Roman life of Ariantes, a warrior-prince in a land not his own. While his fellows chafe under Roman rule, appalled at the Romans' clumsiness with horses, and resistant to any and every command, Ariantes alone realizes that in order to preserve his regiment's culture and customs, in order to preserve the happiness of his men, he must sacrifice some of his own.
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