I've had a look through both your stories and have noticed one major...well, I'm actually not quite sure how to describe it. "Problem" is probably the closest word, but it sounds far harsher than it is. Anyway, the "problem" with these two stories is that your use verbs in a non-durative aspect disrupts the pacing and makes it difficult for a reader who isn't familiar with the story to follow the narrative structure.
What? non-durative aspect?
I'm not going to go into an explanation on what that means; no offense to you, but there's a reason that linguistics isn't taught in school - first at university - it isn't necessarily an easy topic to understand (no insult to your intelligence is intended). In practice, however, at least in English, this means avoiding use of -ing verbs and 'perfect' verbs, i.e. avoid using 'eating', 'have eaten', and 'had eaten' in narrative fiction.
The "simplified" linguistic explanation for the above is as follows; these forms of verbs are 'non-durative', which means they don't take time to complete. It takes me, for the sake of argument, 5 minutes to eat a hamburger. It doesn't take me any time to 'be eating' a hamburger, or to 'have eaten' a hamburger. Consider the following;
It takes me 5 minutes to eat a hamburger = The eating of my hamburger has a duration of 5 minutes. (hence 'durative')
It takes me 5 minutes to be eating a hamburger* = 5 minutes from an arbitrary point of time, the validity of the statement "I am eating a hamburger" will be true.
It takes me 5 minutes to have eaten a hamburger* = 5 minutes from an arbitrary point in time, the validity of the statement "I have eaten a hamburger' will be true.
*these sentences are certainly not standard English, and some may consider them to be incorrect.
Notice how in the non-durative sentences, there is a very limited time frame for which your sentence applies; an arbitrary point in time, and 5 minutes from an arbitrary point in time. This means that to a reader who does not know what happens in your story, they will experience everything 'in loads', i.e. everything will feel like its happening at once, then jump around to another arbitrary point in time, when everything else will happen again.
If you're interested in the effect of verbal aspect on narrative structure, I would recommend the following (be warned, linguistics ahead;
Grammatical aspect, lexical aspect, and event duration constrain the availability of events in narratives
Raymond B. Becker, Todd R. Ferretti, Carol J. Madden-Lombardi
I would like to point out that linguistics is a study of language, i.e. language came first, and linguistics only aims to explain what is already there. Linguistics is not a set of traffic laws that must be obeyed without question (although it often seems like that to the non-initiated!)
This blanket rule sounds like it is highly restrictive, and well, it is. There are, of course always times when these forms are perfectly acceptable, and preferred. But let me point to one example from your above story which illustrates what I mean.
My dear Senators, I, Maximus Tiberius, suggest that we invade these peoples for the benefit of Rome." He had stood up amongst the ranks of his peers. "blah blah blah".
Others may point out issues with cheesy dialogue or poor word choice, etc, but I'm only interested in what we've discussed above. The above sentence suggests that Maximus first stood, then delivered his speech. Why then, do his words come first, but then we are given notification that he has stood? This is possible directly as a result of 'had stood', and the swapping-around of events contrary to the order in which they occur is just one potential issue that arises with over-use of verbs in the perfect aspect.
This turned out to be longer than I envisioned (as to practically all linguistics essays ever written); let me know if any of it made sense at all. I'll be happy to answer any questions, if you've made it this far without throwing your computer through the window.