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Thread: Tale of Rome- STORY COMPLETE

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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Tale of Rome- STORY COMPLETE




    Tale of Rome starts just before the start of the 2nd Punic War and will hopefully finish at the conclusion of the conflict.


    It is the story of a young man and the adventures that he and other characters face at a time of tremendous upheaval and challenge for the Peoples of all of Italy. It is a work of historical fiction, but my aim is to try to follow the actual course of major historical events as closely as I am able. My inspirations are the works of people such as Ben Kane, Simon Scarrow and of course the father of them all Bernard Cornwell!





    I hope you enjoy it.



    Table of Contents (in spoiler)


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Chapter One – Toilet Training


    Chapter Two – A Country Stroll


    Chapter Three – Of Giant Hairy Gaul’s


    Chapter Four – A Slave No More


    Chapter Five – Brother Can You Spare A Grape?


    Chapter Six – Arghh, Bloody Clerks!


    Chapter Seven – I’m Senator Ovidius


    Chapter Eight – An Amphorae Of Wine


    Chapter Nine – A Nice Soak


    Chapter Ten – Two Executions


    Chapter Eleven - Refugees


    Chapter Twelve - Legionary Therapy


    Chapter Thirteen – Aulus’s Spies


    Chapter Fourteen – A Carthaginian Point


    Chapter Fifteen – An Ambush Awaits


    Chapter Sixteen – The Aftermath


    Chapter Seventeen – Aulus Cuts Up Rough


    Chapter Eighteen – A Sore Point


    Chapter Nineteen – A Parting Kiss


    Chapter Twenty – Welcome To The Family Optio


    Chapter Twenty One – A Bird In The Hand…


    Chapter Twenty Two – It’s Good To Be Back


    Chapter Twenty Three – Hello Old Friend


    Chapter Twenty Four – A Numidian Brother


    Chapter Twenty Five – A Gaul Returns


    Chapter Twenty Six- Heaven Is A Place To Rest Your Feet


    Chapter Twenty Seven- Cold blue eyes


    Chapter Twenty Eight – The man with no name….names himself


    Chapter Twenty Nine – Roman arrogance….pah!


    Chapter Thirty – The right century, just the wrong army


    Chapter Thirty One – The icy Fields of Death


    Chapter Thirty TwoHave you seen the Elephant?

























    .............................................................................................................................................





    Chapter One - Toilet Training


    Roma, Subura Quarter 230 BC

    Lucius pushed back hard, but the boys just laughed as they sat on top of the latrine cover. It was no fun in the dark, and the smell, by the Gods above! It was worse then the fuller’s that his Master made him work for all of last summer.

    Lucius gagged as he felt himself go dizzy and almost fell back into the stinking effluent that reached up to his small waist. He tried his best not to think about what was floating all around him.

    Manius teased him from above ‘Well slave boy, having fun are we? I thought you liked the smell of people’s leavings, thats what the fuller’s sons told me, and that you liked to play those ‘Greek games’ with their Major Domo?'

    Lucius felt himself getting angry, ‘That’s not true and you know it! They’re liars and their Domus likes girls!’, with that Lucius pushed on the wooden trap seat yet again, but the combined weight of the two boys seated above was far too much for him.

    Lucius realised that he was getting nowhere fast, and felt himself begin to panic, supposing Manius and that oaf Dextus decided not to let him out? Swallowing what little pride he had left, he pleaded with them to let him out. He never had liked confined spaces. In his best ‘slave voice’ he cried out to the boys above, ‘Please let me out, I’m late already, and the Master will punish me.’

    ‘Not yet’, snarled Manius, Lucius could almost picture Manius’s ferret like features, no wonder Manius was the natural leader of the local ‘Rat Boys’, what with that face he thought!

    Once more he thought to himself that he must have been stupidly crazy to have crossed the Rat Boys, the best pick pockets and burglars in the roughest part of the Subura.

    Lucius heard movement above him as Manius chuckled above his head, ‘We’ve got something a little extra, we want to give you’, Lucius could only guess it wasn’t going to be pleasant. Manius swiftly lifted the latrine cover, while Dextus poured the foul contents of the communal sponge bucket all over Lucius’s head.

    Lucius looked up at the two older boys, and thought to himself scumbags! Did they really have to do that too! He already stunk to high heaven, and Aulus Livius Verres his Master, known as ‘the Pig’ was bound to get Leo the Major Domo and senior house slave to thrash him for getting so filthy and being late.

    But with the two rats, laughing and mocking him, he tried his hardest not to cry, biting down on his bottom lip, drawing blood in the process, it hurt, but no way would he let these Subura scum break him, he might be a slave, but he still had some ‘dignitas’ left, not like the thieves guffawing at him.

    ‘Now you can get out little ‘Fool’, and next time do as we say. If we want something nicked, you do it, consider yourself lucky. Dex here wanted to break your jaw, for grassing.’

    Lucuis hated the name given to him by his Master, most slaves only had one name, but his Master whose Cognomen Verres, meant Pig, had given Lucius the full name Lucius Ulpius Bucco. Lucius own Cognomen meant fool. Lucius figured it was just so that the pig could laugh at someone else for a change, ‘I didn’t grass, I just didn’t want to steal the Master’s silver, he would kill me!’

    ‘I still might you little snitch, Dexter seemed to be the meaner of the two, even if Manius was the so-called brains of the outfit.

    All three boys looked to the door as it flew open as a tall man in uniform strode into the Latrines, ‘Oi, you two, what you up to, let the boy out of the crapper’, still laughing the Rats ran out of the doorway, leaving Lucius and the soldier staring at each other.

    Wrinkling his nose in disgust the soldier addressed him ‘Can you get out by yourself?

    'Yes, I think I can’ replied Lucius, ‘Good, then maybe you can clear off too and leave me to have a crap in peace. Bloody kids.’

    Lucuis noticed that the solider looked relived that he didn’t need a hand, as he managed to clamber out using the slime covered iron rungs used by the fullers slaves when they emptied the communal latrines.

    Thinking that as he was so late and dirty anyway, and a few more minutes dawdling wouldn’t matter; and that he had never seen a soldier up close before, well, not in the Subura anyway. He blurted out, ‘Have you killed lots of barbarians?’

    Lucius realised it wasn’t the best question he could have asked as the soldier scowled back at him. ‘Only the ones, who disturbed me mid-dump…, yes, now go away and get yourself cleaned up, you smell worse than a green legionary staring down a giant hairy a***d Gaul for the first time.’

    Lucius decided he had better leave after all. As he left he pondered for a moment, something about the soldier reminded him of someone, but the question was who?
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 20, 2012 at 05:26 AM. Reason: Added a Table of Contents - editing.

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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Chapter Two - A Country Stroll

    Sixth Legion Permanent Camp - Territory of the Boii, Northern Italia, March 218 BC


    Telamon, now that had been a battle, we had carved up Rome’s enemies good and proper that day.

    The Boii, Insubres and Taurisci, and other minor Cisalpine Gaulish tribes had taken to the warpath together. And the Gaesatae. How could he forget them, those particular idiots had run around naked!

    They thought the pretty patterns painted on their chests would make them impervious to the Pila thrown by our boys. Hmm, they had been wrong. The Gauls had looked like hedgehogs within the first 10 minutes of the battle.

    Still the Gauls had been brave, he’d give them that. And they had been beaten by real soldiers. Not like this little lot…..still better get on with it he supposed.

    The battle scarred Centurion, looked up from the roll script, and scanned the new recruits before him. Great. What a bunch they had landed him with at Legion Head Quarters.

    Gods preserve the Republic… Farm boys and convicts! The idiots who dished out the recruits must have scrapped beneath the bottom of the barrel for this little lot.

    Only one decent looking prospect amongst the whole lot of them, a short but powerfully built lad, whose eyes did not flinch when the Centurion locked on him, ‘You, what’s your name soldier?’

    ‘Lucius Ulpius Verres, Sir’, at this a few sniggers could be heard from the rest of the century. Lucius had grown used to the response to his Cognomen by now, Pig was hardly an improvement to Fool!

    ‘Did I tell you lot to open your stinking mouths!’ bellowed the Centurion. As he glared over the assembled ranks, silence immediately returned. Only a fool would not follow the orders of this particular tough looking no-nonsense Centurion, ‘No, I don’t think so!'

    Turning back to young Lucius, the Centurion posed a quick question, ‘Verres eh? Are you a relation of First Spear Numerius Livius Verres by any chance?’

    ‘I'm his son sir’ replied Lucius who tried not to look intimidated by the old war horse in front of him.

    Turning back to the ranks the Centurion continued and raised his voice still further so that all the men could clearly hear him, ‘Then you have a lot to live up to lad, as I’m sure you’re very well aware. But for the benefit of your fine colleagues here assembled, I will just say one thing, First Spear Verres, now retired most honourably, is, was and will always be the finest soldier to grace the Campus Martius. I had the privilege of serving with First Spear Verres in the 12th Legion, so I’m sure young Lucius here will naturally be a first rate soldier, whereas looking at some of the rest of you, you will have to work a whole lot bloody harder!’

    Lucius winced inwardly, and hoped he had now not been singled out as the Centurion’s pet legionary, he could just imagine how well that would go down with the rest of the lads.

    ‘My name Gentlemen is Centurion Marcianus and you lucky lads have been posted to a nice quiet spot, as my new century and I’m sure that after all of your hard work in basic training back in Roma, chasing women and prancing catamites that you will appreciate a nice long rest. However before you break out the vino and dice, I would like you all to take a pleasant little stroll in the countryside with me.’

    Marcianus inhaled deeply and shouted in a voice that could have been heard as far back as Roma. ‘Grab your marching kits, yokes, Pila and Scuta, and move! Your real training is now beginning!’

    12 miles, 6 hours and 80 pairs of sore feet later……

    Marcianus looked back over the ranks and rolled his eyes, he really had his work cut out with this little lot. Of the Century only about half looked in decent shape, young Verres looking by far the fittest left standing without toppling over in exhaustion.

    ‘Right, attention you scabby bunch! When I dismiss you, you will fall out, get back to your barracks, take a five minute water stop, followed by a full kit inspection in one hour, then turn in. You will then be up at four for a route march of twenty miles and then you will prepare me a marching camp. I will make you all either a soldier or a corpse, its you’re choice. Dismissed. Verres, come here soldier.’

    Waiting until the rest of the century had filed into the barracks and thus out of easy earshot, Marcianus spoke quietly to Lucius. ‘Your Father wrote to me last month Verres, letting me know about your imminent arrival, he said you showed some promise as a soldier, and that he had trained you as best as he could. Carry on as today and I will have no complaints to make to your Father.’

    Marcianus continued ‘I remember when Numerius adopted you from your Uncle Aulus’s household and the particular circumstances around it. So one tip lad, I would not mention your manumission to anyone here, I doubt anyone here knows your history other than me, your Father has always been a very private man, but be on your guard lad, there are some here who would hold your own personal history against you, even though your Father is well thought of.’

    Lucius had had no idea that Centurion Marcianus and his father were friends, but was not surprised, they seemed as if pressed from the same mould, they were the personification of tough no-nonsense professional soldiers. As for his past, Lucius already knew that it was best to keep his previous existence as a Slave as secret as possible. ‘Thank you Sir, I appreciate your advice.’

    ‘Right back to barracks lad, dismissed.’ Lucius saluted Marcianus and headed swiftly back into the barracks to make up for lost time.

    As Lucius entered the warm barracks, he could hear the sounds of men talking whilst furiously cleaning their mail and equipment. It seemed that everyone had been far to busy to notice his absence, he quickly headed to the room that housed his own eight man section.

    As he entered the room, his Optio looked up from cleaning his kit, ‘Where in Hades have you been Verres?’

    ‘Sorry Optio, but the Centurion wanted to speak to me’. Optio Quintus looked quizzically at Lucius, ‘About what?’

    Keeping a neutral expression Lucius replied, ‘It seems that the Centurion knows my Father well, and wanted to pass on his regards sir.’

    Optio Quintus simply nodded, ‘Well you had better clean your kit, now! Friend of your Father are not, Marcianus seems like a real hard case to me.’
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 11, 2012 at 05:01 AM. Reason: Changed Formatting

  3. #3
    Boustrophedon's Avatar Grote Smurf
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    A quick piece of advice: keep a consistent formatting

    Other than that some nice short stories you got here... I'd like to read some more though before passing along any criticism

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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Thanks, I'm not quite sure what happened to the formatting, I will correct it.

    I'm trying to knit a story together, I hope to get the next chapter up in a couple of days.

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    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Sounds good so far Well done

    Quick question though (And forgive me if I am being ignorant) but why would a First Spear's son have been a slave, if I am correct they were one of the most respected men in the Legion?

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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    SB12 - thanks for the thumbs up.

    You are correct that a First Spear would be well respected amongst the rank and file of a legion, it was the top rank achievable for any Plebeian/regular roman citizen (without wealth) outside of those from the Equestrian and Patrician classes.

    It was not unheard of for people from poorer Patrician families to adopt (even grown men) into their family if they were from a wealthy Plebeian family - in Rome class did not necessarily equate to wealth. In the story I have stretched the regular adoptions into Roman families a little - I will reveal how Lucius was adopted in the next chapter.

    Hope that explains a little.

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    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Okay thanks for pointing that out. Looks like I need to brush up on my Roman History I can't wait to see how he was adopted, well done!

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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Chapter Three - Of Giant Hairy Gaul's

    Routine Patrol - Territory of the Boii, Northern Italia, May 218 BC

    It had been hard, really hard. Marcianus had worked them until they dropped. The last couple of months had been a blur of physical effort, digging, marching, drilling, sparring and weapons training. Lucius had never felt fitter and he was sure the rest of the lads felt the same.

    Quintus may be right, Marcianus might be a hard case, but he was not overly harsh just for the sake of it. He worked the men till they could move no more for a reason, the same reason that Lucius Father had, for survival on the battlefield. Lucius had been brought up to be a soldier from the very first day he had adopted.

    Lucius attention snapped back to the present as the soldier behind him trod on his heel accidentally, ‘Watch your big feet Andronicus!’

    ‘Sorry, Lucius, I was thinking about dinner.’ Lucius had made firm friends with the big Greek, since they had become Marcianus Century, part of the 6th legion. Andronicus, came from the south of Italia, from a town called Taras.

    Taras was famous in Rome as the only overseas colony founded by the Spartans as part of Magna Graecia, as such recruiting officers turned a blind eye to the rule that only citizens could serve in the consular legions, rather than lose prime recruits to Rome’s Italian allies, such as the Lucanians and the Brutti. Lucius could quite easily imagine Andronicus, as a Spartan warrior of the past, he was a tall as he was wide, and scared of nothing his one fault was that he constantly thought of his stomach.

    ‘Well, can you stop thinking about food for just one minute? Your lucky Quintus didn’t spot you’, Quintus, their Optio, had worked hard to impress Marcianus and as such picked upon the slightest mistake made by the men of his section. Although a small wiry man, he made up for his lack of size, with a steely determination in everything he did, with the sole aim of reaching the Centurionate.

    Lucius had grown used to these regular patrols. A month ago they had been moved out to a small semi-permanent fort which housed their century alone. Their fort was part of a network that covered all of the Boii territory. The idea according to Marcianus was to have the ability to mobilise a small fighting force quickly that could respond to immediate local threats, such as bandits, as the local Gauls had been largely pacified.

    ‘Double time’ Marcianus ordered as he led the three Contubernia patrol up the steep rise, Lucius smiled ruefully to himself, Marcianus never lost an opportunity to push his men hard. The legionaries responded immediately to the Centurion’s command and when he called ‘Halt’ Marcianus was pleased to note that not one was out of breath, even though they were fully equipped with a full kit and carrying yokes, the lads had come along way since he clapped eyes on them back in March.

    The Centurion surveyed the landscape before him, his experience had taught him to be wary, even in so-called friendly territory.

    As part of the patrols route they paid a visit to each of the three Boii villages in their forts vicinity. This was the last, a typical Gaulish village consisting of the chieftain’s hall, round huts and a basic wooden palisade with a single entrance consisting of a stout pair of gates. What’s the point of those gates when the palisade was only good enough to keep out the local Goats Marcianus mused? Nothing remarkable or noteworthy about the place….

    Still the Centurion thought it wise to put the men on their best behaviour. Marcianus turned to face his men, ‘Right, remember you are representing the Senate and People of Rome. So I want no stealing, eyeing up the local talent or taking a dump in the Chieftain’s Hut, forward.’

    Marcianus had been more than a little cautious lately, although the people at the top were concerned with the newly declared war on Carthage, with Rome preparing for an invasion of Carthaginian Spain, Marcianus knew that the Boii and the Insubres were stirred up by Rome’s move to confiscate land and award it to colonists, many of whom were former legionaries.

    As the patrol neared the front of the Village, headed by the Centurion its gates swung shut with a loud crash, as men rapidly manned the ramparts of the palisade.

    Marcianus reacted in an instant, ‘Jupiter! I knew something wasn’t right here! Down yokes, shields up, prepare pila.’ The hairs on the back of Marcianus neck stood up, as he turned back to face the men to address them, he had realised that a war band had formed up behind the patrol quietly and unseen.

    Marcianus quickly came a decision, ‘1st contubernia hold your position, rear ranks, about turn. The chances are the village will be manned with the old, young and the sick, the war band behind us is the danger’. We need to close hard and fast before they have a chance to think. Make two ranks now!’

    The sixteen legionaries created the two lines quickly, with Lucius contubernia forming the front rank of eight men. Lucius was comforted by the fact that Quintus and Andronicus were standing either side of him in the small line.

    ‘Right steady boys, 1st contubernia remember to hold your ground and watch the village, and do not move unless I order you to!’ Marcianus looked hard at the Optio of the 1st who now very clearly understood his role.

    The Centurion was sure that village gates would remain shut, as the war band behind him consisted of around thirty men, and the small village could surely not support more warriors than that small number.

    ‘Forward, double time, and wait for my order to release pila.’

    As the men closed the ground between them and the war band, the individual Boii became clearer to Marcianus, as he had thought, this was the pick of the village males, though many of these men were far too young to have fought at Telamon. That meant green and that helped even out the numbers a little.

    Lucius could feel the sweat trickle down from his neck to his shoulder blades and it wasn’t even that hot. His stomach tightened, and his legs felt like they were stuck in clay….still he moved forward, he would not, no, could not let his mates down.

    He remembered some of the very first words his Father had said to him, as he took in at a glance a giant Gaul covered in scars, tattoos and war paint, with a pig-ugly pock-marked face framed by lank greasy pig tails… you smell worse than a green legionary staring down a giant hairy a***d Gaul for the first time….

    ‘Release pila!’ Lucius did not even register Marcianus’s command, as he automatically threw the pila and then a second was thrust in his hand from the man behind him in the second rank.

    ‘Release pila!’ this time Lucius was more than aware as he threw the second pilum, as he watched the second wave of weighted javelins arch into the sky and drop almost vertically on the enemy, he counted four casualties that he could see, though he could not tell if his own throw had actually hit anyone.

    ‘Draw weapons’ as Lucius drew his gladius from its scabbard, he realised the massive ugly Gaul was heading straight for him….a creature from his boyhood nightmares.

    The Romans hit the Gauls as one with their four foot shields covering virtually all of their bodies and the gladius of each soldier spitting in and out of the ranks forming an impenetrable wall. This left the Gauls only two choices, either try to hit low at their feet or high, by trying to rip the shields down to expose the legionary behind to a spear thrust from a neighbouring warrior.

    ‘Push hard and stay close’ Marcianus knew that if the men of the front rank could stay together as a solid line with the rear rank holding them in place, that the meat grinder effect of the legionaries would win the day. The centurion’s eyes flicked from side to side and then to the rear, to ensure that the men were not flanked, nor that the gates of the village were opening to spill out any remaining warriors to attack the rearguard.

    The gates remained firmly shut.

    From his position in the front rank Lucius could see that his comrades were holding up very well and that the Romans were gradually wearing the Gauls down, as more and more warriors fell to the stabbing gladii of the legionaries. His own position was more precarious, as the big Gaul seemed impervious to any ruse that Lucius tried, as with sudden and unexpected speed for a big man the Gaul smashed down Lucius’s shield with a huge blow from his long double headed axe, that turned Lucius left arm numb and turned his shield to match wood.

    Lucius felt bile rising in his throat as he fought the urge to panic and give into fear … but he was left totally exposed as the axe swung down to cleave him in two, his feeble right handed block using his gladius knocked contemptuously aside by the sneering face above him.

    From Lucius’s right hand side and out of the blue a shield appeared which blocked the exposed side of his body, the Gaul did not pause long to take in this new development, as with a shrug of his massive shoulders his axe swung down with tremendous force sending the shield of his unknown saviour crashing back into Lucius’s face.

    Lucius landed flat on his back, his nose smashed by the blow from the shield, with a shower of blood covering the young Roman’s face, then in one wide giant stride the Gaul stepped over and above him ready to deliver the final killing blow.

    Lucius felt no pain, no fear, just a bland acceptance of his fate….but then an inner voice screamed at him not to give in, Lucius screamed 'No!'

    With a final desperate effort Lucius shakily half-rose and thrust up into the un-armoured groin of his opponent, sinking the blade into the Gaul until the hilt of the weapon became lodged in the giant's pelvis and the blade could not bite any deeper.

    The Gaul unleashed a scream of unworldly agony as blood, gore and the contents of the Gaul's voided bowls covered Lucius body. Finally exhaustion and the absence of adrenaline overtook Lucius as he slumped back prone onto the ground.

    The last thing Lucius saw before his world went black was a gladius being plunged into the throat of the massive Gaul….
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 11, 2012 at 06:31 AM. Reason: New format

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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Chapter Four - A Slave No More


    Roma, Subura Quarter 230 BC

    Lucius had ran home as fast as he could, thinking about how the Rat Boys had approached him two days earlier and had told him to steal his masters monthly takings from the small jewellery store that Aulus Livius Verres owned in the Virminal quarter. They had told Lucius that if he did not do as he was told, he would disappear into the Tiber. But Lucius would not steal, he might be a slave, but he was no thief.

    As he neared home, he slowed down, thinking about how he could explain the fact that he was covered in muck. He could not tell the Master about the Rat Boys, they really would kill him if he told, and he had heard the stories about boys disappearing before. Lucius found himself outside the door before he knew it, and knocked timidly on the wood, all the time thinking of what he could say to Master Verres.

    ‘Where the hell have you been? Gods you stink, what have you been up to boy?!’ , normally the door to the house would be guarded by Leo, a Illyrian, who was also the Major Domus, but today the Master stood there waiting for him, with Leo lurking behind.

    ‘I think I can explain that one Brother.’ Lucius turned round his jaw dropping in amazement, it was the soldier from the Public Latrine. Brother? How could he be the Master’s brother, his Master was fat and short and the soldier was tall with muscles? But now he realised why the soldier had looked so familiar.

    ‘Numerius, this is wonderful! I had not expected you for a few days, it’s good to see you Brother, I will have a room and food prepared and baths run for you, Leo please see to it at once.’ Lucius noticed that his Master looked genuinely pleased to see his Brother, which surprised him as his Master normally kept his emotions firmly in check

    ‘Yes Master’, Leo ducked back into the House to see to the arrangements, and Lucius found himself looking at the two men unsure what to do, as the two men embraced each other.

    ‘It’s good to see you two Aulus. About the boy, let me tell you what I have overheard.’ Numerius rattled off the story about the Rat Boys and how Lucius had defied them; it seemed that the soldier had overheard everything before crashing through the door earlier.

    ‘Is this true Lucius?’ His Master looked at him sternly, and Lucius know any hope of keeping the fearsome Rat Boys out of the story was gone…so he meekly nodded his head ‘Yes Master.’

    ‘Those little gutter snipes, this is because I refused to pay them ‘protection money.’ Numerius looking quizzically at his brother ‘why the hell not? You know how things work in the Subura.’

    ‘I thought they were kidding, their only boys after all’ shrugged Aulus.
    Numerius looked at his brother in disbelief, ‘But for a few pennies Aulus. Really?!’

    Numerius carried on ‘You know that the Rat Boys always graduate into the collegiate gangs; you don’t have the manpower to take on those. Best to keep these young thugs on side, you never know when you will need a favour around here in future. I know your always seeking to maximise profit, but come on, this could mean real trouble and not just for the slaves, pay the tribute.’

    Aulus mused on his brother’s advice and nodded, ‘You always did see things strategically, and I guess that’s why Father chose you for the Army and not me. Maybe whilst your here you can pass on a few tips!’ Aulus chuckled ‘Well it’s good to see you, I can see your still in good shape, you lucky sod taking after Father and not Mother!’

    Aulus remembering that Lucius was still present regained his usual stoic expression and turned to him. ‘Thank you for being loyal boy. It is appreciated, tell Leo to let you use the house slaves bathing area, and then get some food in you. Oh and tell Leo to issue you with a set of clothing, that lot is well past saving, get him to burn it.’

    ‘Thank you Master’ and remembering the soldier, Lucius turned to him and smiled ‘Thank you too Master.’

    Five days later…

    Lucius woke early and prepared for his morning trip to the Market. He was no longer concerned about the Rat Boys, as the Master had sent them their tribute and they had seemed satisfied to move onto the next victim, a baker in the next street who had offended them by not offering Manius parents free bread. The Baker had woken up one morning to find his oven and kiln smashed.

    Numerius had been right, if you did not keep on the right side of the Rat Boys, any merchants living could be seriously curtailed, and there was too many of them to fight, you would need an army, not even the fierce looking Numerius could handle that many Rats.

    As Lucius finished getting dressed, one of the female house slaves came with a message for him, ‘The Master says you’re to go to the study now and no dallying.’

    Lucius ran out of the room and slid to a halt just before the entrance to Aulus study. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door.

    A voice from within called ‘Enter’, so Lucius did as he was bid and entered the study. He was surprised to see it was Master Numerius seated behind the small study desk and not Master Aulus.

    ‘Master you wanted to see me?’ Lucius was unsure whether or not it was Aulus who had asked to see him and was expecting him.

    Numerius smiled at the unsure boy. ‘That’s right lad. I have a little story for you to listen to, want to hear it?’

    ‘Yes please Master’ Lucius could hardly contain his excitement; nobody had offered to tell him a story before.

    Numerius took a deep breath and began, ‘Well a young boy and a young girl met and fell deeply in love’, at this Lucius groaned inside, the Master was going to tell him a love story, he thought the soldier would tell him about battles!

    Numerius continued ‘Well the problem was the girl was a slave and the boy was a citizen, they met whenever they could in secret, and the boy’s older brother helped them hugely, by arranging their father’s appointments so that he could never find out. To be with a slave was fine, but the boy wanted to free the girl and marry her, this his Father would never allow.’

    ‘One day a meeting that the boy’s Father should have been at was cancelled, as the trader who he was due to meet fell ill. The boy’s Father came home early unexpectedly and found the young couple together, when the boy stood up to his Father and told him that he wished to free and marry the girl, the Father flew into a terrible rage.’

    ‘The Father went to hit the girl, but the boy stopped him by screaming ‘she is with child, my child, your Grandchild’, ‘the Father stopped in shock, and replied ‘not my grandchild or your child, just another slave!’

    The Father stormed from the room. Three days later men came from the legions for the Boy and dragged him away after knocking him unconscious, he was taken to Illyria to fight Pirates. The girl was kept till she gave birth and then sent to a salt mine where the Boy could not reach her.’

    Lucius looked at Numerius as tears spilt down his cheeks, he had never thought he would see the tough Roman cry and was shocked; his story was not that good. Still Lucius would play at being interested, ‘what happened to the Baby?’

    Numerius looked at the Boy with a strange look in his eyes, ‘The Baby was brought up as a slave, the Boy’s Father made sure of this, until the day that he passed away came. Then the Boy’s brother became head of the family, took over the family businesses and called his younger brother home. The baby’s mother was no more, the salt mine was a harsh and terrible place.’

    The door to the study opened and Master Aulus came in with a scroll in his hand. ‘This is for you Numerius, are you sure you want to do this? The boy can stay here. He will be well looked after now Father has gone.’

    The penny dropped.

    Lucius realised that he was the baby and that Numerius was his Father. Aulus his Uncle and his Mother, who was his mother? That could wait, Lucius head reeled from taking all the information in.

    Master Publius had been his Grandfather, he had always hated Lucius, and now Lucius knew why, it had been such a relief when the old man had died and Aulus had become head of the family. The beatings had stopped; Aulus had thrashed him, but what roman boy did not get thrashed? And Aulus had never beaten him like Lucius had seen other slaves beaten by Leo who as Major Domus administered discipline.

    Numerius looked at his Brother and then straight at Lucius and answered firmly with no hint of his earlier emotion in his voice. ‘Yes I’m sure, I’ve missed the first eight years of my son’s life thanks to Father and I will miss no more. Is that his manumission and adoption?’

    ‘Yes, but I could not get the Plebeian Magistrate to change the ownership or birth record, he says that as Lucius was born a slave and registered legally as such by the paterfamilias that it cannot be changed retrospectively. I tried arguing but he would not move Numerius.’ Aulus moved over to the desk and handed the scroll to Numerius without undue ceremony.

    ‘Thank you Brother for everything, I know how you tried to protect young Lucius, to me he has always been my son and never a slave.’

    Both brothers looked at Lucius kindly, who stood there stunned. He was no longer a slave….
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 11, 2012 at 06:03 AM. Reason: New format

  10. #10
    Robin de Bodemloze's Avatar Nothing is true
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Interesting story so far. I would cut out the swearing - express anger in other ways - but otherwise a great start
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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Thanks, as for the swearing I've only used it were it has been necessary to the plot (hopefully not used too much), I'm trying to get across that a lot of the characters are regular soldiers or from Rome's plebian class - not choir boys. But all criticism welcome!

  12. #12
    Robin de Bodemloze's Avatar Nothing is true
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Anglorvm View Post
    Thanks, as for the swearing I've only used it were it has been necessary to the plot (hopefully not used too much), I'm trying to get across that a lot of the characters are regular soldiers or from Rome's plebian class - not choir boys. But all criticism welcome!
    It's more of a writing style thing than anything I think. I appreciate the uneducated underclass are prone to expletives, but there are ways to express such sentiments without actually causing wub's to appear in your story. They frankly just don't look very good. Your choice I guess
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  13. #13
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    As part of the uneducated underclass, I don't think my writing skills will stretch to alternative sentiments.

    I can but try however

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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Great update It was good to hear a bit more about Lucius's background, who'd of thought though - what a twist! I thought your battle description was good, but (as I have also been told many a time ) I think it would be even better if you described Lucius emotions a bit more, but that's just a suggestion.
    I will second what Robinzx said - the Wubs do look a bit out of place, but I understand the need to 'express' things vividly I've still yet to master how to do it properly
    And one last thing, never trust the damn Gauls!

    Looking forward to more, well done

  15. #15
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Thanks SB12, originally I was trying for just one chapter combining the battle and lucius flashback, but it became to unwieldy, so I deceided on a couple of chapters instead.

    I may try for another over the weekend, as I seem to be quite productive at present!

    I have edited the wubs out, but I'm not sure if some of the grit has been lost in the process.
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; March 09, 2012 at 03:17 AM.

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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    I still think you've got the grit of a Roman Centurion coming across really well I bet it was quite difficult considering most (mine anyway ) peoples view of a Roman Centurion would be of a stocky veteran swearing every second word

  17. #17
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Chapter Five - Brother Can You Spare A Grape?


    Sixth Legion Permanent Camp - Territory of the Boii, Northern Italia, May 218 BC

    Lucius head felt like an angry Vulcan was inside it beating on a celestial anvil. He opened his eyes achingly slowly, and became immediately conscious of the lightness of his surroundings as a sharp pain pierced his temple.

    He realised he was in the only bed of a small room with gleaming white walls, with Andronicus sitting on a small stall to the left hand side of him.

    ‘Hello mate finally joined the land of the living eh?’ Andronicus smiled at him through a mouth full of grapes. Gesturing at the half eaten bowl of fruit beside Lucius bed Andronicus looked shamefaced ‘I brought you the fruit mate but I got a little hungry, sorry.’

    Lucius wasn’t surprised. ‘Never mind that where are we?’

    ‘Back at the 6th’s camp, this is the medical barracks if you hadn’t guessed already; the Centurion wangled you a room of your own! You’ve been out for two days solid. The big bloody Gaul almost did for you, and you’ve lost your youthful good looks too, your nose looks like a pugilist’s now I’m afraid and you have a couple of lovely black eyes, at least they will fade!’

    Lucius touched his nose and winced, ‘Thanks for that’ Lucius replied grumpily, he had always been proud of his good looks and rather pleased with his Roman nose. Still he thought to himself he was alive and a busted nose was a small price to pay for that.

    Lucius shook off his self pity and waited until Andronicus had finished another huge fistful of fruit before asking ‘Andronicus, do you know who saved me and what happened after I blacked out?’

    ‘Well you saved yourself mate, after you shoved your gladius up the Gaul’s party piece, he wasn’t up to finishing you off, but it was my shield that covered you and Quintus who stuck him in the neck, remember that?’

    Lucius nodded his head, grimacing as even that hurt ‘some of it yes, I didn’t know whose shield it was or who done the Gaul in though, to be honest I was concentrating on stopping him chopping my head off.’

    Lucius looked at his big friend meaningfully ‘thanks Andronicus, you know, for stopping him from cutting me in two. After that though, I can’t remember anything at all.’

    Andronicus smiled at his friend ‘Ah, that’s alright mate, you may have to return the favour some time. After you got smashed in the face, you went out like a light, so I’m not surprised you can’t recall anything. It was quite funny really, one minute were all scrapping away, then you stab the Gaul, and Quintus finishes him off, and the rest take one look at the big fellow going down and stop fighting and start running. Apparently it turns out that he was some local hero or something or other.’

    Andronicus paused to grab an apple and carried on talking while munching away, ‘anyway, the Gauls ran off, and left us all standing like spare men at a wedding, if you catch my drift. Marcianus had to stop half of the lads wanting to chase after them, he wasn’t sure if it was some trap or something, but no, they just vanished back into the woods outside the village.’

    ‘Anyway, the Centurion pulled us out and got us back to the fort, he didn’t want to take any chances in case the Gauls come back mob handed as we were six men down. The century was due for posting back here anyway so we got switched with the 3rd Century a week early. Soon as we came back you got sent here to the medical barracks. I’ll tell you something though Marcianus is itching to get back to that village and give them a lesson or two.’

    Lucius looked up as the door to the room opened and a diminutive balding surgeon entered the room. ‘Ah, its good to see you finally awake legionary Verres. My name is Demetrios Appllonaris the 6th legion’s head surgeon, your Centurion asked that I care for you personally. May I ask you a few questions if you feel up to it?’

    Lucius nodded ‘Of course sir.’

    ‘Good, any dizziness, vision problems, sickness or nausea?’

    ‘None so far sir, I feel fine, just a bit of pain from the nose and a little headache.’

    ‘That’s to be expected after the blow you had taken, it’s also not unusual for a man to be unconscious for an extended period of time after being felled by such a gargantuan blow. I could see no obvious damage to your skull and with the lack of symptoms I should think you could return to duty in a day or two. I will inform Centurion Marcianus straight away of your recovery, I also believe your Optio has been asking after you, so perhaps your friend here could tell him of your progress?’

    Lucius could tell that the surgeon did not welcome malingering, and as he was happy to return to duty he agreed to the surgeons recommendations ‘Yes sir and Andronicus will do as you ask sir.’

    Andronicus nodded at the Surgeon ‘Not a problem Doc, I will let the Optio know.’

    The little doctor looked like he had trod in something foul as he responded to Andronicus ‘good, and please refer to me as surgeon or sir, not Doc soldier.’

    ‘Sorry sir won’t happen again sir.’

    ‘I also suggest you leave now and let Legionary Verres rest’ with that the short surgeon waved his arms and shooed the giant legionary out of the door, with Lucius having to suppress a smile as the surgeon turned to face him in the doorway.

    ‘Make the most of your rest period legionary, from what I hear there’s to be a punitive raid on the village by your century very soon. My guess is the Centurion will want you back to remind the villagers of who killed their best warrior.’

    The door closed quietly, and Lucius reached for the fruit bowl. Empty.

    Bloody Andronicus, Lucius smiled to himself and then laughed out loud.
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 11, 2012 at 06:18 AM. Reason: new format

  18. #18
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Nice to see our friend is all well and you gotta' love Andronicus - at least he tries

    A good update and I am looking forward to see what happens when they get back to the village

  19. #19
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Nice tale! I like your approach to this creative writing

  20. #20
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Chapter Six – Argh! Bloody Clerks!

    Sixth Legion Permanent Camp - Territory of the Boii, Northern Italia, June 218 BC


    Marcianus was fuming on the inside. This was the fifth time this month alone that the desk jockeys at Legion Headquarters has turned down his request to march out of camp and teach that bloody village a lesson.

    The Legion’s most junior Tribune had just told him that the senior Tribune would not release the Century for active duty until replacements had arrived. Some spotty kid telling him how to run his Century, what a joke! He had finally grabbed the chance to ask one of the legion's six Tribunes, after being fobbed off by numerous clerks.

    By the Gods, they had only had six casualties, four of which were now back including young Verres. That meant the Century was waiting for just two men before they marched out…..two men!

    Marcianus lashed out with his vine cane at the sentry guarding the entrance to the legions administrative barracks as he left the building, ‘keep your back straight when a senior officer comes by soldier.’

    The legionary straightened up and looked straight ahead avoiding the eyes of the Centurion, he had already seen the bad tempered Centurion this week and wanted to avoid getting on the wrong side of him in the officer’s current black mood.

    It was now the end of the June and for almost two months Marcianus had been begging headquarters to let his men off the leash and get back to the damnable village. He knew full well it wasn’t the Legion's most senior Tribunes waiting for two men that was stopping the Century moving out. It was the damn quill pushers, making sure that they had every man available in case the 6th was needed in the planned invasion of Carthaginian Spain. Not that he thought the 6th would be needed. The Scipio’s had had their order of battle ready for months and the 6th had not been deemed necessary.

    He sighed to himself and resigned himself to waiting for the two new men.

    Three days later….

    At last, the new men were due in this morning with a unit of Campanian cavalry that had been brought up from Capua. He would give the new men a chance to rest and meet their new comrades and then push on to the village tomorrow – at last the Senior Tribune had given Marcianus his permission to make a sortie out to village – the whole century this time.
    Finally he couldn’t wait.

    Marcianus finished the last of his breakfast, stood up from the mess hall table, put his helmet back on and picked up his vine cane, giving it a cursory inspection.

    Hmm, he would need a new one, his men had felt the vine bite more than a few times since their return to the main camp, a sign of Marcianus growing frustration at their lack of movement – he had picked up on every minor misdemeanour. It was showing signs of wear; he would need a new cane.

    All the men knew he was in a foul mood, and had kept their distance. All except young Verres, who had thanked his Centurion for sorting out the surgeon for him and for ensuring he had his own room.

    Marcianus had shrugged off the thanks, he owed the Boy’s father a debt of honour and what’s more Verres showed promise. He would be a good soldier given the right opportunities, and given the growing unrest amongst the Boii, Insubres and Ligurians and the prospect of a real dust-up with the Carthaginians Verres would be likely to have lots of opportunities.

    Marcianus left the mess hall and walked towards the southern gate of the camp, the likely place that the cavalry and recruits would emerge from. His timing and instincts were right, as he neared the gate he could hear the faint sound of cavalry in the distance, and quickly strode past the sentries either side of the steps leading to the gate towers and ran up the steps.

    From the walkway Marcianus could see the Campanian Calvary escorting a number of wagons, talking to himself the Centurion was more annoyed than ever with the clerks back at headquarters, ‘That’s why the men have taken so bloody long to get here, they stuck them as escort to the supply train.’

    Marcianus thought how he could happily land one right on the various chins of the numerous clerks who had fobbed him off over the last two months. The idiots could have just told him, but no they had wanted to wind him up. Still he wouldn’t forget if he ever had a chance to pay back those clerks he would take it.

    Still the men were here now. As the supply train and escort reached the gate, he could see the Optio leading the guard detail outside the walls asking for the necessary paperwork and watch word of the day.

    The commander of the Campanian’s handed over the paperwork and gave the watch word. The Optio seemed satisfied and waved the men through. Marcianus watched the supply train come trundling through the gates until the very last of the men became clear to his sight, it was the expected legionaries.

    Marcianus got down from the ramparts as fast as possible, as he knew that other Centurions needed replacements, he was determined to get the best of the new men for his Century. At least he had been told that these men were veterans and not green.

    When he got down from the ramparts he swiftly marched to where the new legionaries were standing. He took them all in at one glance. He did not like what he saw one little bit.

    There were about thirty men all told. Most were old, too old to be Hastati, they should at least be Principes by now, if not Triarii! That meant one of two things, either they had been broken to the ranks because they were trouble makers or they were so bad they had never made out of the Hastati.

    Either way it didn’t look good. Marcianus scowled at the men, it seemed like the Scipio’s had saved the best for the invasion and sent the dregs north. Great. There were only two young ones amongst them, and that was odd too. They must be really bad to have been lumped in with this little lot.

    The duty Optio from the gate came up to Marcianus, drew up to a halt and saluted smartly, he had heard that the Centurion of the 4th Century had not been a happy man lately and was taking no chances.

    ‘Centurion Marcianus Sir, begging to report Sir your men are ready.’

    ‘What do you mean, ready?! I haven’t even chosen them yet!’ by now the eyes where popping out of the Centurion’s head and he could feel his temperature rising, something was not right about this situation.

    The Optio visibly gulped and took a step back, he knew the Centurion would not like what he was about to tell him. ‘The men have already been allocated Sir, by headquarters Sir.’

    ‘They what?! They’ve stitched me up again! Who or should I say what have they given me Optio?’ Marcianus took a deep breath, he just knew what was coming.

    ‘Legionaries Manius and Dextus Sir, they are the best Sir, well the youngest anyway. I’m sorry Sir’.

    Marcianus looked over at the two men. Well they were still young, maybe he could do something with them…but something in the bottom of his stomach said these men are trouble…..


    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 11, 2012 at 09:08 AM. Reason: Spell Check/ Format change

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