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Lucius Vitellius, the brother of the Emperor, was present at their deliberations, and was preparing to receive their flatteries, when of a sudden Cœnus, a freedman of Nero, threw them all into consternation by an outrageous falsehood. He asserted that, by the arrival of the 14th legion, joined to the forces from Brixellum, the victorious army had been routed and the fortunes of the party changed. The object of this fabrication was that the passports of Otho, which were beginning to be disregarded, might through more favourable news recover their validity. Cœnus was conveyed with rapidity to the capital, but a few days after suffered the penalty of his crime by the order of Vitellius. The peril of the Senators was increased by the soldiers of Otho's army believing that the intelligence thus brought was authentic. Their alarm was heightened by the fact that their departure from Mutina and their desertion of the party had the appearance of a public resolution. They did not meet again for general deliberation, but every man consulted his own
safety, till letters arrived from Fabius Valens which removed their fear. Besides, the very glory of Otho's death made the news travel more quickly.

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