Do it, Brutus!" Cassius's raspy voice rang over the angry shouts of the senators.

He thrust his dagger at me, and I watched as ribbons of sunlight streaming through the windows reflected on the blade, making the metal gleam maliciously. However, when I met his gaze, the sight of the dagger was nothing compared to the bloodlust swirling in Cassius's narrowed eyes. His face contorted into the feral mask of a vengeful war god. My arm trembled as I lifted my arm to reach for the weapon.

When Cassius noticed my hesitation, the steely look in his eyes hardened, and I understood the unspoken message: You must do this for the greater good of Rome.
Pressing my lips into a thin grim line, I nodded and snatched the dagger out of Cassius's clenched fist. Some of the fierceness dissipated from

Cassius's face when my fingers curled around the cold hilt, but I noticed as his shoulders stiffened and his back straightened. I followed his gaze to where Caesar lay slumped against the marble wall. Multitudinous stains of crimson blossomed around the stab wounds on his chest, contrasting sharply with the pale white of his robes and skin.

As the crowd of senators parted for me, I took shaky steps toward the spot where my closest friend lay writhing. Though as I approached the dreaded area, I faltered. What was more important? My loyalty to Caesar, even if he was undeserving of it, or the greater good of Rome? My heart twisted painfully, half of it torn between Caesar and the other half for Rome. Though my heart screamed in protest from the deception and betrayal, my conscience knew that one life was a necessary sacrifice for thousands of more lives.

Kneeling before Caesar, I raised the dagger, aiming it at his bloodied chest. Caesar's sharp eyes met mine. To my astonishment, he did not resist. He carefully composed his face into a blank expressionless mask, concealing all of the anguish and duplicity. Though, when his eyes fixated on mine, I could see the despair, perfidy, and sorrow darkening his eyes to a depthless black. The blade hovered inches above his heart. Closing my eyes so I could escape his stricken gaze, I lowered the dagger. I cringed when the sickening sound of metal sliding through flesh filled my ears.

However the sounds of Caesar's skin being ripped open and his ragged breathing were not the worst parts.

His last words, burdened with grief and treachery, echoed hauntingly through the Pompey Theatre. "Et tu, Brute?"
Those three simple words changed the course of my life forever, inscribing into my soul the eternal reminder of the sacrifice and my duplicity I underwent for the name of Rome.