Cherusci tribal chief Segimer bristles under the demands placed upon him by the new governor; secret lovers Thusnelda and Folkwin deal a symbolic blow to Rome.
The theft of the standard triggers a crisis, reuniting Roman officer Ari with his father, Segimer, and his childhood friends, Folkwin and Thusnelda.
Ari commands troops ordered by Varus to hunt down and kill Folkwin, whose family and village are in danger due to his act of defiance.
Ari embraces his role with the Cherusci, but his shift of allegiances runs deeper than Varus knows; Thusnelda and Folkwin rally a rival tribe.
Ari and Thusnelda forge a political marriage and begin uniting the Germanic tribes; believed dead, Folkwin has actually been enslaved.
Ari leads Varus and three Roman legions into the Teutoburg Forest; Thusnelda makes a bloody sacrifice to preserve the union.