Since it has an initial approval, posting up the backstory (warning, kinda long)
Caius Valerius Argentum
The siege of Syracuse had been a baffling, frustrating and occasionally outright terrifying experience for the Romans. Oh, not for the soldiers themselves, but for the mind at the center of the siege, for the genius it unleashed on Mars’ chosen sons. Rays of energy consuming ships in raging fires. Giant metallic claws grabbing whole maniples and crushing them to gory ruin. Equations so precise the mere speaking of them deformed reality onto itself. Archimedes would not surrender his home without a fight, and the inventor turned all his artifice onto holding it against the Republic.
The Romans did not lack for puissance of their own, and though the cost was bloody, the city eventually fell before them. Just before the end, Archimedes unleashed the last of his creations on the advancing centurions. Inspired by stories of the great bronze warrior, winged Talos, of the tale of Pygmalion and Galatea, he sought to create life in his own image. Working in strange layerings and alloys of silver, he forged a working of synthetic life, of complex internal clockworks and what even looked as organs, shaped in metals. Alchemy and engineering were fused in a being who he had only just imprinted with his intellect, but now would never have time to transfer his knowledge as well. It was a keen mind all the same, and along with a refined, perfected body, with sculpted silver wings that put those of Talos to shame, it seemed as if to the Romans that the embodied wrath of the gods had been turned onto them.
But however keen it was, the warrior in silver had only a nascent consciousness, with knowledge of nothing, and needing compulsion from the inventor himself to have any idea what to do at all. When the Romans at last managed to kill Archimedes, it seemed as if his living silver sculpture fell inert. In truth his final masterpiece had gone still in order to focus entirely on understanding anything, anything at all, about the dizzying confusion that surrounded him. Enhanced perceptions taking in even the smallest of details, and quickened thoughts attempting to sort some kind of sense or logic out of it, to create some kind of idea of the world, even of language.
In the interim, he ended up a trophy seized by the Valerii, crafted exquisitely enough to make a fine display within their family estate. And still he just listened, and took in detail. The grumbling of soldiers along voyages home, even what the ocean itself must be, he was making his reality for himself, from a starting ground of nothing. All he knew for sure was that it was best to do so while still, movement required thought, and he needed every single one he could muster. And besides, motion would likely lead to what he was understanding as violence, and that would make hope of comprehension impossible.
Many years passed. On sheer intellectual rigor he pieced together the language of those around him, and then applied that analysis as best he could to the things he heard. In the halls of a high powered aristocratic family of Rome, much of what he heard was hardly pleasant. He was eventually able to bring insight to bear, and from simple tone he could make out what were to him baffling attempts to conceal their actual feeling or reaction, all too often. The arrogant, prideful scheming was beginning to make him a touch cynical about these.. humans, in terms of what they seemed to be classified as. He enjoyed far more watching their children at play, at trying to understand the wonder and joy in their eyes, paying a careful attention to the lessons they would sometimes take from slave tutors in their courtyard. It seemed sad to him that the larger humans had apparently had that joy bled out of them, that whatever pleasures they felt seemed by comparison darker, perhaps.. what was that word.. perverse?
Time enough passed where however boundless his intellectual curiosity had been, he decided he had his fill of this world, this Rome. He had learned enough of the shape of reality. His decision came during the violence of the Gracchan era, and the timing of his step back into motion would prove fateful. The back and forth bloodsheds had come to the Valerii. Truth be told, he did not care. But then they came to the children of the Valerii. It was interesting, the silver man thought, to sigh, when he didn’t even need to breathe.
The flash and vigor of their rescue lead them to asking after friends, family, playmates. His thoughts could not escape that all throughout Rome, there were many young eyes that gazed out with wonder. And that if he did nothing, all the light in them would be snuffed out as if they never were. The thought outraged him, even as part of him found outrage entirely new and interesting.
He took another step, but it was instead into the city itself, at times leaping up to let silvery wings carry on the wind. It seemed to the people of Rome as if the gods had beheld a city on the verge of brutal riot, and sent forth their own power to restore peace. For every one that decried their manhandling and injury at some metal juggernaut, ten spoke in hushed awe of a perfect silver man putting out fires, propping up crumbling buildings, pulling people out of trampling crowds and with mighty fists and booming roars scattering would be rioters to the winds. Even if a perceptive few noted his expression looked something like sheer exasperation as he did. Oh, the Gracchi in question died (his life was nowhere near any concern of the figure’s), but the city itself, was saved from itself. All factions had praise spilling from their lips of the deeds of this mysterious hero, Argentum, they were calling him.
The elder Valerii, quick to seize on an advantage, proclaimed that the being was of their home, their family, that it was preserving them that had clearly bade the gods to bring their personal lares, their guardian spirit, to life. That they then magnanimously sent him forth in the name of the Roman people entirely. This was.. yes, the word /is/ perverse, perversely close enough to the truth for what was now Caius Valerius Argentum not to disagree.
After what he had done, he could not simply walk away into obscurity, and he would have to exist somehow, and live somewhere. And he did like the Valerii children. He indulged in being cynical enough to accept the status this would give him.
And so it has been for years since. He has come to terms with Rome, as much he can. He likes their ideals, their dreams of ideals, but their constant failure to live up to them, to even live in mockery of them, seems to him grotesque. It is a poor treatment for such shining thoughts. He finds himself in regular stretches of trying to live up to them, half in spite of all those who do not, half to see if it might otherwise inspire them to. He has otherwise become looked to as the embodied lares of the city of Rome itself. Caius Valerius Argentum, called the Silver Tribune for his more usual association and rescue of Rome’s plebians from their troubles (outside of the now generations of Valerii children he has served as tutor and mentor to, he finds he still cannot stand most of the aristocracy, having had a personal window into their lives). As tensions begin to grow between optimates and populares, so too do grumblings begin to sound about just what this hero of Rome could one day do, but for now Argentum remains as a shining exemplar (if in private, a weary one).
He journeys every so often across the Republic, satisfying curiosities, chasing after the stranger things in the shadows that he has found plaguing the people he guards. He otherwise takes his idle time in educating himself further on the world, in its various disciplines, for his creator’s intellectual hunger lingers in him still. And when his troubles go too heavy for him, he finds a ball, and a park, and children at play, and joins in their games with as warm a laugh as is left him. The Silver Tribune, even to this day, is a friend to children.
It has been in his more shadowy, farwandering conflicts that he was approached by Catulus after the clash at Antica, for the use of his name as a factor to convince others in power of the viability of Victus, his cognitive acumen, and his sheer physicality.
He can see the necessity of it to a certain degree, but like everything else with Rome, he finds it too much to be a case of good idea, horrifying execution. And he wonders if his own involvement with this civilization is becoming very much the same thing.