|Date of birth:||2240|
|Date of death:||2284|
- "This is not just a war for our lands. This is a war for our survival. They want to take it away from us; to deny us our culture which should be a sacred bastion of our ways"
- ―Nobillius Marcellus to his troops
A legate in Caesar’s Legion, Nobillius Marcellus was the architect behind the Colorado Border War with the Chicago chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel. Originally intended as a show of strength, the war escalated and ultimately cost him his life.
Nobillius Marcellus was born as Chad Firetree in 2240 in what was then the Brown Snake tribe. Dwelling in eastern Arizona, the tribe was one of the first to fall to the nascent Caesar’s Legion. Chad was one of those that survived the tribe’s destruction, and was taken in by the Legion to be indoctrinated into their burgeoning army. Given the name Nobillius Marcellus, he was subject to many brutal lessons in the Legion’s ways and culture, and willingly absorbed them all. He quickly became enamoured with their ideals, their treatment of women and captives, and their goals of conquering the wastelands.
One of their lessons would prove to be defining for him, albeit not in an intended way. Nobillius was injured during a particularly brutal training bout in 2256, leaving him impotent. Deeply ashamed by his injury and seeing it as making him ‘less of a man’, he did his utmost to hide his condition from others. He tried to cure it through whatever means he felt possible using everything from traditional medicines to pre-war chems and even in one extreme case, delivering electrical shocks to his affected area. Nothing worked.
Effectively resigning himself to his fate, Nobillius found himself using his anger and self-hatred as a weapon. It fuelled his drive to succeed in order to make up for his own shortcoming. He became brutal and ruthless, even by the Legion’s standards. On the battlefield, he became an unstoppable monster, seemingly fuelled by rage and hatred as well as his own acute self-loathing of his failings as a man. Those who fought alongside him learned to fear and respect him, not only for his ruthlessness towards the enemy but for his anger. Other members of the Legion who crossed him or even questioned him would soon find themselves a target for his frustrations.
This drive and ruthlessness saw him achieve a number of victories for the Legion, defeating other tribes, raiders and even Super Mutants as Caesar expanded his grasp. Promoted to Centurion, he began to drive his men hard, demanding results and going to great lengths in order to achieve them. Those who filed him could expect harsh punishments or even death as a consequence. And yet, there were none that could argue with his results, as he bought conquered lands and wealth to the Legion. And yet, Marcellius himself still yearned for more, an ultimate glory that would justify his existence and make up for what he saw as a defining flaw.
Even a promotion to Legate did not satisfy his need for vengeance against a world that he felt was mocking him. Upon hearing of the plans to invade the Mojave and destroy the NCR, Marcellius was eager for the thought of the battles to come. Instead, when hearing that he was to remain on the Legion’s northern frontier, he flew into a rage, assaulting and nearly killing the messenger that had bought him the news. For several years he was left to stew, looking for whatever target he could find to take out his frustrations on.
His opportunity to prove himself would come in 2281 when he was reassigned to the Colorado frontier. This move was fuelled by the casualties the Legion had suffered following Centurion Servius Vibius Tappulas’ personal war with a single sniper, a conflict that had escalated out of all control. While the sniper in question had vanished and their allies had been wiped out, in the process the Legion had lost considerable manpower and had its position on Colorado’s eastern border weakened. The concern now was that the Brotherhood of Steel would see this as being a weakness and make a move to seize the Legion’s lands.
Marcellius was energised by this threat, and determined to do whatever was needed in order to avert such a defeat. He found the idea of the Brotherhood’s culture to be repulsive. It was not only that they embraced technology and sought to preserve it that he disdained. Rather, it was the idea that they would not only treat women, ghouls and Super Mutants as being a man’s equal, but would allow them to rise to power and authority was that was abhorrent to him. Such notions of equality were weak, and undermined the very ideals that the Legion’s culture was built on. Should the Legion fall to such a force, it would invalidate their own culture and ideals.
He spent the next two years whipping the Legion’s force into shape, often quite literally. Not only did he need to rebuild their armies from the losses suffered through Servius’ personal war (Marcelius was openly disdainful of the deceased centurion, and did his utmost to tarnish the man’s reputation, especially questioning his sexuality) but he also needed to shore up their defences and rebuild their ravaged supplies. Finally, and most importantly, was the issue of morale. The Colorado frontier had been drained and exhausted by Servius’ obsessive campaign, and the surviving men were often ragged and spent.
This campaign was long and bloody, and not without its casualties. Marcelius worked his men to the bone, and executions for failure were not unheard of. But regardless, he got results, revitalising a force that was previously succumbing to the grip of despair. He had his army, and now he sought a to use them and show the Legion’s enemies their true strength. To his mind it was not enough to simply rebuild his forces, but instead he needed to make a demonstration of their strength and power.
In spring of 2283, at his command, Legion forces attacked the Brotherhood’s frontier in Colorado. Their initial assault was a success, driven by the sheer weight of numbers at his disposal and the ruthlessness that Marcelius had instilled into his men. There was also no small degree of fear in their motivation as well; nobody wanted to report their failures to the Legate, lest he have them tortured or killed for it. The Legion captured outposts and communities as the Brotherhood withdrew, and while Marcelius realised that they were consolidating their forces, he also anticipated that they would still fall no less.
The second wave of attacks continued the advance, but this time it was a lot slower then before. The Brotherhood were clearly adapting while also bringing more sophisticated weapons and equipment to the frontier, ones that the Legion could not simply overcome through weight of numbers. Whereas before they had faced conscripts and tribals, now the Legion were fighting against well-equipped brotherhood Knights, robots and Super Mutants, as well as a handful of soldiers in power armour. Not only that, but the Brotherhood’s leader was quickly adapting to his strategy and anticipating his moves, blunting his offensive.
Two things happened in quick succession that changed the direction of the conflict. The first was a surprise counteroffensive by the Brotherhood that pushed back against the Legion’s forces. Abruptly the Legion found themselves losing ground that they had captured sometimes only days beforehand. While Marcelius did his best to try to adapt to these changes, it was a key piece of intelligence that threw him off. He learned that the leader of the Brotherhood force was a woman, a development that shocked him to the core. Realising that he was being bested by what he saw as an inferior, he flew into a rage and demanded that his troops not only reclaim the lands they had lost, but also that they were to do everything they could to kill the Brotherhood leader.
What he instead found was that his forces were unable to make any headway and were in fact losing ground. Not only were they facing Brotherhood forces on the frontline, but now they were suffering attacks against their supply trains and communications, ones that seemed eerily reminiscent of the same losses that Servius had suffered in his personal war. And while the Legion were making the Brotherhood pay in blood for every inch of ground they regained, the fact was that they were still in retreat.
Determined to deny the Brotherhood any sense of victory while being able to still claim something, Marcelius ordered his men to fall back to Sommerville Crossing, a town they had captured and fortified in the earliest days of the offensive. At the same time, his men were to engaged in scorched earth warfare, destroying whatever they could not take with them. His goal was to hold Sommerville and keep it as a fortified Legion outpost in Brotherhood territory, a singular act of defiance against his hated enemy.
Even this effort failed as the Brotherhood bought their most powerful weapons to bear against the Legion, shattering their fortifications. Realising that the battle was lost, Marcelius pulled his remaining forces back across the border, seeking to consolidate them and build up his defences. While he stung with the humiliation of being defeated by a woman, he began to realise that this conflict was no longer about simple territory. Instead, to his mind, this was about the survival of the Legion’s culture and a validation of their beliefs. He felt that their culture was ‘right’, and a sacred bastion of the one ‘true’ civilisation. For it to be defeated was unthinkable, an assault on everything he held to be true.
In the spring of 2284 those beliefs were tested as the Brotherhood of Steel crossed into Legion territory. From the outset they faced heavy opposition as Macrilus had used the time to dig in his forces and prepare them for what was to come. Added to this was his instilling the fear that the Brotherhood would not only kill them but also strip them of their identity, invalidating all they stood for. Finally, there was the simple fact that nobody wanted to actually risk failing him and whatever punishment would come with it.
While at first Marcelius was pleased with how his troops were faring, new problems began to rise. The same issues that had dogged his offensive returned, as a small Brotherhood force had apparently begun operating behind Legion lines. Not only were they attacking their infrastructure and killing their men, but this force was leaving a trail of horribly mutilated corpses in their wakes, ones that had been torn apart. Rumours began to circulate that the Brotherhood had a force of trained Deathclaws that they were unleashing on the unsuspecting Legion, which did as much damage to their morale as the attacks did. Marcelius’ efforts to ‘correct’ the problem through harsh punishments did not help either.
As the Brotherhood continued to advance, Marcelius’ ability to command and stability began to degrade. News of each defeat was greeted not only with harsh punishments, but with lengthy tirades about cultural warfare and the idea ‘the women’ were trying to take the one thing that the Legion had left to them away. Suggestions of any sort of cease-fire or attempt at negotiation were swept aside as he instead became determined to destroy the invaders at any cost. And as they closed in on his command post at Bernard’s Pass, Marcelius became convinced that what was to come would be a glorious victory where he, personally, would triumph over the hated Brotherhood leader.
Instead, the battle of Bernard’s Pass proved to be a bloodbath. While the casualties were heavy on both sides, at the end of the day, the town fell, and the Brotherhood’s flag flew over it. The Legion, for all their numbers and fanaticism, were outdone by the technology that the Brotherhood had at their disposal, as well as their superior leadership. Marcelius would not live to see this defeat, however. At the peak of the battle, he met his death quite literally at the hands of a Brotherhood Paladin, who crushed his skull with her Power Armour.
At his heart, Marcelius had allowed himself to be defined by the injury he suffered and his subsequent inability to fully function. He saw himself as being less of a man as a result, and instead overcompensated in other ways, His ruthless drive and harsh temper were good example, with him being so desperate to prove himself as being capable that he did not care for the cost. He became a strong believer in the idea that the ends justified the means, and would not hesitate to use any advantage that he could to achieve his desired outcome. However, even then he still had a set of principles that he would adhere to.
He was a firm, likely fanatical believer in the laws and culture of the Legion as laid down by Caesar. Marcelius disdained the use of technology, feeling that it made men weak and that it was a crutch to cover personal failings – a concept he was intimately familiar with. At the same time, he had nothing but utter contempt for anyone that did not fit le Legion’s ideals; or in other words, anyone who was not a heteronormative human male. This drove his hatred of the (Chicago) Brotherhood of Steel who not only embraced technology, but allowed ghouls, Super Mutants and women to fight and even lead. In turn, this lead to his ideals of cultural warfare, and that any clash between the two would be about the validation of the Legion’s beliefs.
While in his late forties at the time of his death, Marcelius Nobillis was in peak condition. Heavyset, he had rugged, stern features that seemed to be carved from rock rather then flesh and blood. However, when he exploded into rage, he would become decidedly animated and livid akin to some sort of wild animal. Tall and imposing, he was powerfully built with a muscular physique more akin to a much younger man. His hair was greying and kept close-cropped.
While a Legate and having thus ‘proven’ himself, Marcelius Nobillis forswore the use of technology entirely. Instead, he chose only to wear the armour of a Legate, and typically carried only a gladius and a shield. This decision would prove to be his undoing as he attempted to engage a Brotherhood Power Armour in hand to hand combat.
Despite his beliefs, later in his life he took to using Buffout to help maintain his health and condition. It is possible this habit also contributed to his mental decline.
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