Has Tigellinus being bribing you in some way? 'Tis an outrage I tell you. I am so not reading anymore of your turgid writing
OK, maybe not, excellent. I knew Aulus would manage something, though if I recall putting Marcus back together may be beyond even the Egyptian. He can try but this is one (sad link in order to use a great new smiley! )
+rep when I can. So what do I have to do to get a mighty Buffalo involved?
Hey will this be continuing? I dearly hope so!
Chapter Forty Two – The anger of an innocent
The Estate and villa of Romulus Decius in Capua – December 218BC
Romulus led Brutus back along the pathway that wound its way through the pristine gardens that ended at the entrance to his imposing and grand looking villa, slaves scuttled out of the pair’s way making sure not to hinder their master who had a ferocious looking visage. Brutus looked up at the tall tough looking man that gripped his small hand so tightly in a muscled hard hand of his own, the grip not that of an angry or ‘boy-loving’ man, no this grip was comforting, like the hands that belonged to a loving and protective Father. Brutus swallowed guiltily he hadn’t felt that comfort since his father had been killed, not even in the household of Aulus, Aulus didn’t make you feel comfortable, but he certainly made you feel safe.
Soon enough Brutus found himself lead into a room that smelled of blood and the sickly odour of other foul bodily fluids, even though he could tell that valiant attempts had been made to clean the room and mask the unpleasant smells with lavender and other herbs from the garden, it hadn’t completely worked. Brutus eyes latched onto that of the figure in the bed, Numerius looked frail and weak but at least his breathing seemed steady, the boy’s face turned to that of the man sitting at the bedside of the old soldier.
Aulus looked back at him with a disappointed look on his face, ‘what on earth are you doing here boy!? You should be in Rome, safe and sound not running around the countryside of Capua!’
Brutus looked back at Aulus with a sorrowful expression and spoke quietly ‘I’m very sorry for disobeying you Master Aulus, but when I heard that you were heading out after the pirates, I just could not stop myself, I wanted to see our men finish the scum that skilled my father! I stowed on board the wagon that carried the supplies of the infantry, nobody found me and when we reached the farm I jumped out and hid and then followed Marcus and his men into battle.’
At the last sentence Aulus had sat bolt upright and gave the boy his full attention. ‘You were at the battle boy? What happened there Brutus?’
Brutus took a moment to collect his thoughts, he still found himself holding onto the hand of Romulus, he could feel the reassuring grip tighten and then relax for a second, as if to say ‘go ahead and speak its fine.’
The boy took a deep breath and then began ‘the pirates were waiting to attack our men in a ravine, they sprung a trap and attacked from left and right, our men were surprised and fought to the last. They thought that Marcus was you Master, but in the end laughed at them and he told them you had got away, the crazy Thracian ordered the pirates to kill Marcus and then the German stuck his head on a pole….’ Brutus wiped away a stray tear that was rolling down his right cheek, again he could feel the same reassuring squeeze on his left hand and he found the courage to carry on talking ‘I know that Jason is heading straight after Master Lucius, I heard him say so, I think he knows that Master Lucius will be on his way south to Master Numerius’s Farm, we must warm him! He has lots of men easily more than a hundred!’
Aulus had sat listening to Brutus’s tale with a look of concentration stamped on his features, his fingers had twirled the gladius’s handle almost absent-mindedly until its tip had made a circular hole in the mosaic at his feet. Snapping out of his thoughts he looked at the damage caused to Romulus’s floor, ‘Blast it! I’m sorry my friend I should have been paying more attention, I shall pay for the damage.’ Aulus dwelled on Marcus and his other lost men for a moment, many good loyal men now gone from his service, still they’re would be time for remembrance later.
Romulus shook his head unruffled at the damage to his mosaic floor ‘a piffling trifle my friend, what with all the good business you have put my way. What will you do now?’
Aulus nodded his thanks to his friend and responded ‘Well it would seem that I would need to move fast to intercept Jason, but it will take me time to raise more men, and time is one thing I do not have. The one crumb of comfort I have is that in the last letter Lucius sent to me he said that his whole century would be heading back with him until they reached the outskirts of Rome, where he would leave his men and head onto Capua and the farm with a couple of friends. If we can get to him in time then he could stay with his century, he may have a chance that way.’
A small voice interrupted the two men’s conversation, ‘I could do it! I could ride to meet Lucius and warm him; I will be quicker than an adult if I ride a horse I only weigh a little!’
Romulus looked at Brutus with admiration, the boy had lost his father and had been in a middle of a battle and still the lad wanted to help, ‘and as for me Aulus, I can have two centuries of men in the field in less than an hour, I keep my own men rostered still in these uncertain times, you need not wait for your own men, if we get this right we can save your Nephew and trap the pirates with three centuries worth of veterans!’
Aulus nodded vigorously ‘thank you both; I cannot express my gratitude enough to you! Romulus I shall ensure that you and your men are well rewarded if we catch these villains! Brutus, are you sure that you are up to riding lad? After all you’ve been through a lot this day!’
The small boy looked at the two men and then at the still form of Numerius sleeping in his bed, ‘yes Master Aulus I want to do this, so far these men have killed my Father, Marcus, almost Master Numerius and a lot of other people, no more! It has to stop and I want to help stop it, I might be too small to fight, but this is one way I can help!’
The two men looked at each other over the head of the small boy, they smiled and nodded to each other, this boy was an innocent but he now held a smouldering anger that needed to be vented by doing something useful, they were sure that this was one young lad that could be relied upon.
Aulus stared at Brutus making sure he held his gaze, ‘Now listen to me carefully Brutus, you are to inform Lucius that he should stay with his century and lead them to Agnena to meet our own forces just north of Capua. He knows the area and the road that leads to the town; he must not engage the enemy without us or he will be defeated! And as for you, no more heroics do you hear me! You do exactly as I say, you give Lucius my orders and then you wait with him until Romulus and I arrive with the men. Understood!?’
The boy nodded. He would not let these two men down, they trusted him to find Lucius and stay with him and he would do exactly that.
Chapter Forty Three – Hatred is too weak a word!
Brutus rode the horse onwards in a blur of speed, one hand clamped on the reins of the beast while the other stuffed a hot bread roll in his mouth, a small morsel that had been thrown at him by Romulus along with a piece of dried veal. He had already eaten the meat, and was now hungrily wolfing down the white roll. He felt exhausted, hungry and dirty, but still Brutus headed north at a frightening pace on top of the largest horse he had ever ridden, normally he would have been terrified, but today he was on a mission and he rode the beast hard, pushing through the early morning mist, the horse unerringly finding its footing sure and swift on the road beneath its hooves.
Aulus had predicted the most likely line of travel for Lucius was for him to use the well worn route of the Appian Way, Brutus had to get to Lucius before he left his century behind him in Rome. If Brutus could make it in time he could meet Lucius and his century and bring them back along the Appian Way to meet up with Aulus and Romulus.
But it meant a five hour ride, pushing the horse at top speed all the way, he had already thundered by mule trains, patrolling columns of soldiers and had splashed mud all over irate merchants and their wares being pulled to market by horse and cart; with just a shouted ‘I’m sorry I can’t stop’ he had left at least a half dozen angry red-faced men behind him raining curses down on his head.
Onwards and onwards he pushed his mount, it was the best horse that Romulus could give him, in fact it was the Patrician’s own favourite, even so Romulus had told him not to spare the mount, that reaching Lucius was the prime objective and that nothing else mattered. The horse had sensed the agitation of its rider and had shot off and away from the Villa as soon as he had mounted it, Brutus bounced up and down in the saddle using his entire small frame to coax the horse to drive itself onwards without rest.
Brutus could feel every movement of the fine stallion he was riding as it beat its way across the frost covered road, eating up the distance between Capua and Rome, he very much doubted that any other horse alive could keep such a relentless pace going over the hours ahead.
He awoke with a start as he realised he must have fallen asleep in the saddle, by the good grace of the gods the horse had kept the rhythm that he had set at the outset of the ride, already he could see that the early morning mist had cleared and that he must have drifted off to sleep for at least an hour, that meant he had been riding for four hours and he was within an hour or so of Rome, the horse was lathered in sweat, but stoically galloped its way forward, the boy hoped that its gallant heart would not break from the strenuous effort that he was asking of it. He shook his head of any lingering fatigue and fixed his eyes on the road ahead, whispering encouraging words into the ears of his mount, praising the great horse’s strength, stamina and fortitude while all the while he turned over prayers to Jupiter Optimus Maximus in his head hoping that he would be in time to find Master Lucius.
Then the rain began to fall, not the persistent drizzle of winter, but gushing torrents that soaked the boy and his mount alike, he shivered as he felt his temperature drop and his thin tunic stick to his skin, he had had no time to change into cleaner and warmer clothes when he had left the villa. He could sense the horse slowing a fraction to ensure that its footing stayed sure in the slippery conditions. He began to recite the Iliad in his head, a favourite story of his Father’s he started to recall all the wonderful stories he had shared with him, Brutus was determined to keep awake and alert and this he figured would be the best answer.
The remaining time passed in a blur as the horse pushed onwards as the boy recalled the tales that his Father had told him, then he began to recite the speech that he had prepared for when he met Lucius for the first time he was so pre-occupied that he almost missed the haze of smoke in the azure sky above him, at first he was puzzled and then he realised only one thing could create that much dirty air – Rome.
‘Come on boy we need to go around the city walls, just one more time for me my brave horse, come on we can do this!’ Brutus urged the horse on and cantered down a slope towards the imposing walls of the city that met the end of the Appian Way. He worked his way around the outside of the entire city, he could not risk being robbed or beaten or the horse taken from him by some street thief, if that happened then his mission would be over.
He wound his way through the scrub, fields and detritus on the outside of the walls, staying clear of the tombs to the dead where he knew unsavoury types lurked who would like to rob or do something worse to him, his eyes shooting everywhere as he looked for a column of marching soldiers, surely he could not miss them?! Suddenly his horse gave a snort and then his ears pricked up, the stallion had wind of something and pulled Brutus away from the direction he wanted to head in. ‘Hey no! Stop stupid horse, we need to go around the walls, not away from them!’ The horse however paid no heed and picked up speed as it mounted a small hill that then gave an impressive view of the Field of Mars.
‘Of course! I’m the stupid one! Sorry boy! Where else would returning soldiers be then here!’ Brutus gave the horse an affectionate pat on the neck and then hugged him, the horse gave an appreciative whinny, flicked his tail up high and then doubled its pace down the hill and headed straight for the permanent encampment that lay at the heart of the Field of Mars in these days of uncertainty.
As Brutus and his horse reached the bottom of the hill, the boy caught sight of a column of soldiers nearing the entrance to the Field, and on a closer inspection he recognised the men as Hastati! Could it be Master Lucius? The boy had no idea what he looked like but he could only ask he guessed. He turned the horse towards the men and then cantered over towards them.
As he approached them he could see a grizzled tough looking Centurion at the front of the column and swallowing the urge to be timid, he rode boldly forward to the marching men and addressed the officer, the man had a rueful expression on his face, heavens knows what he must look like to a spit and polish scrupulously clean soldier mused Brutus. Before he had a chance to speak the soldier addressed him first, with a playful smile etched on his face ‘Colum Halt! Hello lad, now what’s a little bit of a scruffy street urchin like you doing on a fine horse like that eh? Where did you steal him from?’
As he looked at all the faces of the now still soldiers staring at him in playful amusement, an indignant Brutus replied a little harshly. After all this was the second time today he had been mistaken for a street rat, ‘I’m no thief! I’m looking for Optio Lucius Ulpius Verres, I have an urgent message from his Uncle Aulus, I’m told his with the 4th century! Do you know where he is or not!?’
The soldier’s playful smile disappeared in an instant and was replaced with a wide grin, ‘why you cheeky young scamp, I should tan your hide for you speaking to your elders like that! Can you read lad?’
‘Yes of course I can read!’ Brutus was growing frustrated with the centurion and his stupid grin, why couldn’t he just tell him what he wanted!
The Centurion bellowed out a command that almost split the young lads eardrums ‘bearer, unfurl our standard!’
Brutus’s eyes snapped to the man in the animal skim as he uncovered the century’s standard from its leather protective cover. The standard snapped free from its covering and Brutus could make out the ‘IV’ clearly marked out in fine gold stitching. He had found them!
The Centurion smiled at the boy once more, ‘well it looks like you found us then boy’ Marcianus shouted out once more ‘Optio Verres get yourself to me lad! ‘
Brutus visibly sagged in the saddle as all the nervous energy that had kept him going so far rapidly evaporated like the earlier morning mist. He watched as a solidly built man came forward with the unmistakeable stamp of both Numerius and Aulus upon him, although there was something else familiar about him that he could not quite put his finger on….
Lucius marched up and then stood smartly in front of the Centurion and spoke briefly ‘yes Centurion?’
‘It seems this lad has a message for you; make it quick though, I want to get the lads settled in before you head off to Capua.’ At this the Centurion motioned for the men to resume their march leaving Brutus and Lucius alone. Brutus looked down at the soldier from atop the horse and decided to dismount, he leapt off the back of the horse easily, landing with the grace of a cat, after all a boy who had spent his life at sea knew a thing or two about balance. The horse gave an appreciative snort and then walked a few feet away to chew on some fresh grass.
Brutus walked towards the soldier and stopped just short of Lucius, giving him a small bow of respect ‘My name is Brutus Tigellinus Master Lucius, I have not had the pleasure of meeting you as yet, but it is an honour, you’re Uncle has told me all about your war stories! I wish I had better news for you but I am the bearer of bad news. I’m afraid that the father of Manugas has led a band of pirates to your father’s farm and destroyed it, more importantly Master Numerius was badly wounded but he still lives.’
Before Brutus had a chance to continue Lucius interrupted him, ‘how badly wounded is my father?!’
Brutus replied as Aulus had instructed him to, Aulus had told him to keep to the facts to avoid Lucius going crazy with the urge for revenge ‘he will not be able to fight again, the father of Manugas a man called Jason is as foul as his son, he has taken your father’s right hand, right eye and left him lame.’ Then the boy added a thought of his own, that had been buried deep in his heart, ‘He is evil at its worst, a Thracian dog that slew my father too’
Lucius swallowed hard and out a hand on the boy’s shoulder it seemed they shared a common bond now. Lucius had been told of this boy, this Brutus, in correspondence from his Father and Uncle, and he had been told of the pirates raiding along the coast, but as for this Jason it was the first he had heard of him, but if he had led the pirates on the other raids he had heard tell of, he was not a man to underestimate.
The boy looked at him as if he wanted to continue, so not trusting his own emotions enough to speak he nodded at the lad to continue.
Brutus sighed and continued his sorry tale ‘Your Uncle Aulus has made sure that your father is safe and he is luring Jason into a trap, Aulus knows that Jason is coming after you! Master Aulus wants you to come south and meet him, he has two centuries from Master Romulus a friend of your father’s.’
Lucius knew Romulus very well from the times as young man when he had stayed at the former Tribune’s villa and learned the ways of a gentleman, one thing was for certain if there was two centuries being led by Romulus they would know their business. Lucius nodded his approval ‘Right then let’s be off, I will let my Centurion know I’m going and then we can sort out this devil, wait here for me a moment and I will be back.’ With that Lucius turned and ran towards the stallion and mounted him swiftly, digging his heels into the horse’s flanks to spur him on as he galloped after his Century.
Marcianus turned and as he heard the rapidly approaching horse as it ate up the ground between its rider and the century, he squinted and realised that the rider was not the boy but Lucius. He called the century to a halt and wondered why his Optio was in such a bloody hurry.
The Centurion stalked away from his men and stood to one side as his Optio brought the horse to a halt and jumped of his mount to stand in front of him. Lucius quickly told his centurion the news about Numerius and his plans to go alone after the Thracian known as Jason.
Marcianus interrupted his junior officer with an upraised hand and a vigorous shake of his head ‘hang on a minute, if it’s the same bloke I’m thinking of his sacked and defiled a temple of Jupiter by having his men crap in it, and his the pirate that carved up innocent women and children, and to top it all off he then nails a bunch of sailors to a burning merchant ship. And now the lowlife takes apart the finest soldier I’ve ever known! If you think I’m sitting this one out you’re crazier than that insane Thracian! This century will go with you!’
Lucius looked at his friend with a fierce look on his features, ‘I was hoping you would say that, and I bet Uncle Aulus was too. Hatred is too weak a word for how I feel about this man; he is going to die…. slowly and painfully.’
You still got it mate.
Two thrilling updates, and I can't wait to see what happens next. Although for some reason I can't take Jason seriously as the evil villain type simply because of his name.
Now just bear with me but Marcus is Brutus' father, who was the bodyguard for Aulus?
Thanks Mate, but I've made a few mistakes over these updates in punctuation and syntax, so I shall have to fix that.
The father of Brutus was the nameless character who was the sea captain of the merchant ship that Jason torched.
As for Jason I hope to reveal his name in the none to distant future.
Chapter Forty Four – Marcianus baits the hook
On the Appian Way heading to Capua – December 218BC
Lucius had half wanted to carry on alone on horseback after speaking to Marcianus, but good sense had prevailed and he had calmly allowed his superior to address the men and inform them of the necessity of dealing with the pirate menace in the vicinity of Capua, Lucius had someone managed to keep his agitation in check and was now busy marching south along the Appian Way with his comrades at a driving pace.
There had been some minor grumbling from some of the lads, those who had been prepared for a good rest after the long slog from the North, but Lucius had let it be known that there would no doubt be silver to be had from the munificence of his Uncle, the grumbling had stopped almost instantly to be replaced with men with broad smiles thinking about what brothel or tavern they could spend their soon to be new found wealth in. Lucius had no doubt that these men would be victorious, after all they had bested Numidian cavalry, Gaulish tribesmen and Carthaginian war elephants, a few mangy pirates held no fear for these soldiers.
Meanwhile a weary Brutus clung to the back of his mount at the rear of the column of marching men, he had been made to retell the story of the attack on Numerius’s farm and of Jason’s previous butcheries to the Centurion, who he now knew as Marcianus and to Lucius and his closet comrades in all the detail he could manage. The Centurion wanted to know all the tricks that the pirate leader could possibly try; now, Brutus could barely keep his eyes open and as a precaution Marcianus had tied him to the saddle of the horse to prevent him slipping off and injuring himself, normally the boy would have complained but at the moment he could not have cared less, soon he found himself fast asleep, the horse dutifully following the marching men in front of him without hesitation. Andronicus and Africanus had been posted either side of the mount to keep the boy safe and the massive horse from wandering, but the beast had looked at the Greek with his big brown eyes as if to say, ‘I do know what I’m doing you know’ and the two soldiers had fallen in with the horse’s pace knowing that the horse needed no handling from them.
Andronicus looked over the back of the mount towards his fellow soldier marching on the other side of the horse, Africanus had a massive smile on his face and was whistling a merry tune, the horse’s ears were picked up and the beast seemed to be at ease with whatever song the Numidian had chosen to whistle. Andronicus grimaced and chastised his friend ‘what are you so happy about?! Thinking of all that silver we have coming our way? Remember this is serious business; we need to finish off these pirates and stop Lucius getting himself killed! Remember what the boy told us before he fell asleep, it seems that the pirate leader is a right nasty piece of work, and there’s some great hulking German brute to deal with too!’
Africanus’s Latin had improved to the point that he could easily converse in the basics of the Roman tongue, the young man seemed to have a natural flair for languages and already he was picking up Andronicus’s native Greek too. The little soldier beamed even more and replied ‘no, I’m happy because I am near a horse; it seems he likes me too! I’m not worried Lucius is a good fighter, and we have our own hulking great brute – you!’
‘Bloody horse jockey!’ Andronicus retorted; he had forgotten all about the Numidian’s former life as a cavalryman.
Lucius patience was wearing thin under all the worry he felt for his father and the need to extract vengeance. Even his closest comrades were grating to his fraught nerves ‘No talking in the ranks! Save your breath for marching!’
All the good natured banter that had been taking place in the ranks stopped at once.
Marcianus looked over his shoulder at his Optio marching behind him, normally he would have had a quiet word with his subordinate about letting the men have their banter in peace, but he knew the lad was worried about his Father and more importantly the rest of the lads would know that too, they wouldn’t hold one irritable order against their junior officer.
The rest of the day’s march went smoothly as the men focussed on marching at the maximum pace a unit could move without arriving far too exhausted to fight at the end of long distance. By Marcianus’s reckoning the men could march for half the distance to Capua today but would then need to rest for a few hours before continuing the second half of the journey, so the entire march to Capua would take them the best part of two days; and if the boy was right the pirates would be heading North to find Lucius and they would no doubt be expecting to find him alone and not with a century of men around him for company.
The Centurion had thought over what Brutus had told him; that Aulus had wanted to meet with the 4th just North of Capua in a place called Agnena, but to his mind the pirates would have long left the area around Capua and would be heading North hugging the coastline, with most likely only a shore party searching on land for Lucius, and no doubt they would be staying close to the Appian Way to spot their prey but far enough from the road to be spotted by any curious onlookers.
A seed of a plan had germinated in the mind of the veteran soldier, after he had spotted what looked like perfect ambush territory roughly a mile or so from where he was marching at the present. He wanted to ensure that the mutilator of Numerius did not escape, after all although he admired Aulus as a tough operator, he was after all a gangster from the Subura, not a seasoned soldier, this was Marcianus’s world and he decided he should be the one to take command. Marcianus estimated that his century would now be roughly forty or so miles from Rome and thus around sixty from Capua.
‘Colum Halt!’ The men stopped dutifully, they had been walking for hours, they had started when the sun was started to climb in the sky and it was now beginning to set, but they still stood straight and proud. Marcianus was sure that reasoning behind his logic was sound and that he was sure the pirates would be heading north towards his men; he had no need to push his men further to exhaustion. ‘We stop for the night here. Fall out and build a marching camp with a full ditch and double sentries, you know the drill, move it!’
The men fell out from the road and busily began to build a marching camp, some men clearing scrub and rocks whilst over began to dig an entrenchment that would go all the way around their small camp.
Already he could see an angry looking Lucius come striding over to him from the rear rank, the Centurion held a placatory right hand up and began to speak before Lucius got himself into trouble ‘I know what your thinking, why have we stopped? Well I have a plan; do you trust me enough to hear it?’
Lucius looked at the earnest and open expression on his friend’s face, by rights his Centurion could just do what he wanted, but as a friend he was offering the chance for Lucius to have a say, or at least to have a listen. ‘I’m listening sir.’
‘I’ve thought about this Jason bloke, his not one to sit back and wait for an attack, he always looks to go on the offensive, he won’t be waiting meekly for you to arrive in Capua, he will have pushed north at speed, he won’t be hanging around in the south or slowly moving forward, its not his style. I say we camp here and wait for him to find you, in the meantime we have Africanus ride south and tell Aulus and Romulus the change of plan.’ Marcianus then waited for Lucius to ask the obvious question.
‘I can see the logic sir, but surely he won’t attack a marching camp?’
‘I agree, but he will attack bait won’t he? Its risky but what I suggest is that you and your tent mates set off alone down the Appian, we leave a small amount of men in the camp here to make it look occupied and the rest of us will be waiting at a planned location that I have in mind, the minute we spot the enemy then we close with them. All we need is for Aulus and Romulus to get here and hide out in the same ambush spot as our boys, if we get it right we can finish the whole lot of them.’
‘So Jason attacks me and my contubernia, but what’s to stop him finishing us off before you or Aulus turn up?’
‘I spotted the perfect spot for an ambush a mile back, you might remember it? That little valley where it’s wooded on three sides? We can hide a century in each wood while you saunter into the middle of the clearing in its centre for a bit of random patrolling, even if the pirates wonder why you are still with the unit, the bait will be too tempting for them to refuse to take it. We dispatch Africanus tonight; he meets up with Aulus who gets here at speed and then waits in the ambush area for my signal to attack. I will take the majority of the lads to hide in the southern wood. In the meantime you bed down and rest and you only march out of the camp when we know that Jason had shown up. If we get it right the pirates will only know about our ‘century’ sitting in the camp and will only move once your contubernia leaves the camp for its patrol.’
Lucius pondered on the plan for a few minutes, in the end coming to the conclusion that it may actually work, why should they blunder down the Appian way looking Jason, it was easier for him to come to them after all.
‘I remember the spot; I agree it sounds like a decent plan sir. Do you mind if I ask the lads though? I mean they are putting their heads on the block for me after all.’
Marcianus nodded his approval, it was only right that the lad should ask his mates if they would take a possibly suicidal stroll with him.
Lucius saluted and spun on his heel, marching away to tell the lads about the plan he hoped they would agree to come with him, but it was a lot to ask. Andronicus and the rest of the lads would be setting off alone with Lucius to make themselves an easy target.
Rex, what a story! This is like the Buddenbrooks! I've read it from the beginning and......this is a true Historical Novel, this is a Novel like those Russian of the XIX century!
Side note: Kill Jason slowly, please.......I like the splatter!
I don't know why but for some reason I think this will go terribly wrong...
I hope it doesn't, but still nothing like a bit of drama.
I was late to comment my friend, but I assure you these last updates have got me on the very edge of my seat!
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