In 89 A.D., following a failed insurrection by the governor of Upper Germania, the disgraced Legio XXI, Rapax, is dispatched to Pannonia, on the River Danube. The legion is purged of its senior officers; Emperor Domitian appoints the venerable Lucius Flavius Silva as the new commanding legate. Silva was a revered general. During his previous command, twenty years prior, he famously captured the Herodian Fortress of Masada at the end of the Great Jewish Revolt.
Three years later a young staff tribune, Tiberius Artorius Castus, arrives at the legion's fortress of Carnuntum on his first duty posting. Idealistic if a touch naïve, he aspires to live up to the martial legacy of the Artorians who came before him. Acting as his chief mentor is Centurion Primus Ordo Gavius Lucifer. A decorated veteran who rallied a band of loyalists during the Germania revolt in support of Emperor Domitian, he is one of the only senior officers to survive the legion's subsequent purging.
Within months of Tiberius' arrival, indigenous Marcomanni and Quadi tribesmen openly rebel, supported by thousands of their kinsmen from north of the Danube. Aiding them is a large contingent of Rhoxolani heavy cavalry, led by a Sarmatian general who survived Roman crucifixion and now seeks revenge against the Empire. Cut off from the rest of the province, Legio XXI finds itself in a bitter struggle for survival. The emperor orders his best general, Marcus Ulpius Trajan from Hispania with a large army to crush the rebellion and save the embattled legion. Knowing that reinforcements must travel more than a thousand miles on a trek that will take months, Silva orders Legio XXI make its' stand against their overwhelming adversaries. They either march to victorious redemption or the cold embrace of oblivion.