Merkare was a general in the army of Amanirena, warrior queen, Kandake of the Kindom of Kush. The Kushite army had defeated the Romans at Philae, but the Roman counter attack had driven them back into Kush. Merkare had been captured and forced, as a slave, to build a temple to Mars, the Roman god of war, in her own land. She hated that, but the labor made her immensely strong. She waited until the month of Martius, when the Romans would be celebrating and feasting to honor Mars. She broke her chains easily. Breaking the necks of the temple guards was even easier. Having built the temple, she knew its weakness. Fully half the weight of the roof was carried by the front colonnade. If she could break the front columns, the whole temple would collapse. Temples had fallen of natural causes in the past, but this was interpreted as a sign that the gods were angry and needed more sacrifice. Her people had been sacrificed at this temple while it was being built. If a mortal could bring down the temple of a god, she reasoned, it would crush the morale of the Romans and inspire her people to rise up and throw the Romans out. She strained her muscles against the columns until her body was covered with sweat. She felt the columns crack. Behind her, a block from the ceiling crashed to the floor. "That's it," she thought. "One more push and it will fall." One more push and her torment would be over.