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Thread: Tale of Rome- STORY COMPLETE

  1. #21
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Hahaha bloody clerks

    Another good update, poor Centurion Marcianus all he wants to do is stick it too the Gauls

    A few things

    full well it wasn’t the Prefect waiting
    Forgive give me if I am mistaken but if it isn't an Auxiliary Cohort wouldn't it be the Legate - unless you meant the Camp Prefect?


    chance to pack back those clerks
    Do you mean pay back?

    Nevertheless it's nice to see the story progressing. Well done!

  2. #22
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Sorry yesterdays update was done in a rush - RL getting in the way!

    I had meant to check my grammar, but forgot.

    Pre Marian legions, like this one would have had 6 Tribunes and they would have taken it in turn to lead the legion, so 2 men would lead for 2 months then the next pair etc etc.

    Under the Republic dual leadership was the preferred method - thats why their were 2 consuls for example.

    I know that most people would recognise the concept of a Prefect from the imperial legions so I was going to use that, rather than go into the details of Polybian legions structure...

    I forget to replace the Prefect with a Seniot Tribune reference. I have amended things now to reflect how the legions senior commanders were composed at the time.

    Hope that explains it a little without boring you too much
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; March 15, 2012 at 06:32 AM.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Thanks for clearing that up

    Doesn't bore me at all, I'm quite interested in the Roman Military - but most of my knowledge is about the Imperial Legions

    Looking forward to more

  4. #24

    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    This is a mighty good book my friend imean if it came in a book store id buy the damn thing VERY good job so fa im following this!!!!!!!

  5. #25
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Thanks for the comments KingofRome.

    I tend to write the chapters how I like to read my books.

  6. #26
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Chapter Seven – I’m Senator Ovidius

    Punitive Raid - Territory of the Boii, Northern Italia, June 218 BC

    Marcianus had wasted no time in getting his century out of the 6th’s permanent camp, he didn’t want to give headquarters the chance to change their collective minds about sanctioning the raid.

    The Centurion hadn’t even had the chance to test the abilities of the two new men. He had however warned them in no uncertain terms that he would come down on them like a ton of bricks if they caused any trouble in his century. The warning had not seemed to have had much of an effect however.

    The bigger of the two, Dextus could make a half decent soldier given time, if he could be prised away from the problem that was his smaller ferret faced friend Manius. Manius was trouble, Marcianus had seen his like before, he would either desert, run in battle or stab a man in the back or poison someone. Maybe he would do all of those if given the chance.

    This was only the third day since the two men had joined, and there had already been tales of the two men bullying some of the younger lads, given time the youngsters would harden and tell the two men where to get off, but in the meantime they would be easy pickings. From the gossip he had heard so far it seemed that Manius was the leader and Dextus was the muscle. No surprise there then.

    There was nothing Marcianus could do until a legionary came to him and formally raised the issue, but that was not going to happen. He knew from his own time as a legionary, that you did not tell, no matter how bad it got. Which meant one thing, the two new men would push someone too far and real violence could happen, and a murder in a legionary camp was no fun. It could even leave the possibility of decimation of a century, where one man in eight could be picked to be killed if a culprit was not found. Marcianus was worried, he needed a solution, he could feel the unhappiness in his Century. He would not have it, if he had to, he would wait for an opportunity to give the two men a beating himself, Marcianus sighed, he knew it would not work, the solution had to come from the rankers themselves.

    He had thought that Verres could be the solution, as the men of the century now looked to him as a leader, since he had gelded the big Gaul.

    But the two men seemed to have a strange effect on the young soldier, and Verres avoided them whenever he could, Marcianus had seen the sly grins on the two men faces when Lucius went out of his way to avoid them. Something was up, and the Centurion was determined to find out what, he knew that young Verres wasn’t scared of the two men, so blackmail perhaps?

    Marcianus stare bored into the back of Verres, he would have to speak to the young legionary and soon.

    Lucius could feel the eyes of Marcianus burning into his back, he knew he was letting the Centurion down. But what could he do, he couldn’t tell anyone why he had not acted to stop the bullying committed by the two men.

    Even Andronicus had picked up that something was not quite right with his friend, especially as Lucius had been off his food since the new men had arrived. At first the Greek had been delighted at the prospect of extra rations, but now he was worried, and kept asking Lucius questions.

    Lucius chewed his lip, deep in thought, worry lines creased his forehead.

    How could he tell his friend that he used to be a slave? Some men would hold it against him, he knew that Marcianus didn’t care, but how would Andronicus, Quintus and the rest of the lads feel.

    He had recognised Manius right away on the day he joined the Century, you did not forget a face that mean quickly even though they were children when Lucius had last clapped eyes on the evil little thug, some things don’t change that much. Lucius had thought that the two men would not recognise him, but that was wishful thinking. His friends in the Century could not help tell the story of the big Gaul to anyone who would hear, and the two men had heard aright.

    They had heard the name Lucius Ulpius Verres, Lucius adoption was not a total secret. In the part of the Subura were he had grown up as a child, it was common knowledge, and the slaves in his Uncle Aulus household had openly talked about it. You could not keep a lid on something like that; Lucius knew it was human nature to chatter.

    The two former Rat Boys had presumably heard the tale of how Lucius had become a citizen. And now they were blackmailing him. It was a peculiar form of blackmail however. The men were not asking for money, they wanted Lucius compliance.

    Lucius had had to watch as the younger men of the century had been bullied, beaten and robbed, these same youngsters who had looked up to him since the fight at the village. Even though he was only a couple of years older than the victims, they had thought that Lucius would intervene and stop the violence.

    But he couldn’t, even though Manius had not said a word, the looks and the smirks he threw at Lucius said it all. If Lucius intervened, then Manius would tell the Century about Lucius past. Lucius felt powerless. At least the Rat Boys were in the second Contubernia and not the first with Lucius.
    They reached the crest of the Hill overlooking the village, and Lucius visibly relaxed, at least here he could fight an enemy fair and square.

    Marcianus called a halt and surveyed the ground before him, the village gates were open. Odd, very odd, he scratched his chin deep in thought.

    The Gauls would have known they were coming, nothing was secret in this province, the Gauls near the 6th’s camp would have warned the locals that the century was heading their way. You could never get away with a secret manoeuvre in Boii lands.

    Quiet too, no children playing, no dogs barking, no cooking fires…not a single sound. Marcianus tapped his vine cane against his leg, hmm could be a trap he supposed, leave the gates open, the Century strolls in and the Gauls come roaring out of their huts.

    No, the Gauls did not have that much imagination and surely some small noise would give them away? But here nothing, you could hear a pin drop.

    Marcianus turned round to face his men ‘Right were going down the hill to the village, forward and keep your eyes open.’

    At twenty paces from the village Marcianus halted the men again. ‘First and second Contubernia form up here, Optio Quintus I want you to take the men into the village. Slowly does it though, check the huts thoroughly, I want to know what’s happening in there.’

    Quintus balled out ‘Right you lot, you heard the Centurion, lets go.’ The two files of men followed Quintus as he entered through the gates.

    Quintus heart was thumping loud in his chest, he knew that Marcianus has given him the honour of entering the village first because he rated him, but he was still nervous. What was waiting for them?

    As Quintus walked through the gates, he scanned the area directly in front of the men and he saw nothing moving. ‘Right, this is the drill. In twos check each hut, one man in, one man watching from the doorway, first Contubernia you check the left side of the village, second you take the right. Remember your training.’

    Quintus stood in the middle of the village directly opposite the chieftain’s hall and waited as the men spread out across the village.

    Lucius and Andronicus took it in turns to enter the huts, but each one was empty. Each and every hut stripped bare of anything that could be carried or could be useful.

    Quintus has waited long enough. He called the men back to assembly using his best parade ground voice, ‘Fall in first and second, and don’t keep me waiting.’ Within a couple of minutes all of the men had returned all saying the same, they had found exactly nothing.

    After five minutes Quintus was still waiting for two men to return. He was not amused ‘Where are Manius and Dextus? Anyone?’

    One of the men of the second Contubernia replied reluctantly, ‘I think that they went into the large hut right at the back Optio, I think it was a Blacksmiths.’

    Quintus sent the same man back to Marcianus to let the Centurion know it was safe to bring the rest of the Century up, and turned to Lucius. ‘Lucius take Andronicus with you and look for those idiots.’

    ‘Yes Optio.’ As Lucius trooped off with Andronicus following he was thinking about what he may find the two rat boys up to. He was not happy, why did Quintus have to choose him of all people?

    As they got to the blacksmiths hut, the two friends edged the door open to find Manius hunched over a prone figure with Dextus in a corner of the hut with his gladius at the throat of an old Gaulish man.

    Manius looked up and grinned at Lucius, ‘Hello Verres, what do you want?’ Manius had strained the word so much; contempt had flown from the single syllable word.

    Lucius decided to play the dutiful soldier role. ‘The Optio wants you two back at assembly; he’ll want to know what you found too.’

    ‘Just this old couple, the old woman is already dead. I think the old man did for her. Don’t you?’ Manius looked slyly over to Dextus, who had a troubled look on his face.

    ‘Yes Manius, that’s right’ Dextus replied, but he could not look anyone in the face.

    Lucius looked at Dextus drawn blade at the throat of the old man, who was crying, but who seemed oblivious of the blade at his throat as he looked fiercely at Manius. It was clean.

    Lucius looked at the hunched figure of Manius again. To his right his gladius lay on the floor in a pool of blood, pretty damning, but these were Gauls and counted for nothing. Sure the Centurion would be unhappy that someone had been killed that may have been able to tell him where the villagers had gone, but at least the old man was left.

    Lucius looked at Andronicus he knew that the big man did not believe Manius story either.

    Lucius had to play this carefully, he could not let his friend guess that the two men had a hold over him, but he could not afford to upset Manius either. Lucius asked what he thought would be a safe question ‘So what happened then, why haven’t you brought him out to the Optio?’

    ‘Because they wanted to rob us, and they murdered my wife first, so I would tell them were our gold is’, the old Gaul had spoken for the first time…. in perfect Latin with a patrician accent.

    Manius looked stunned, and Dextus blade dropped from the old man’s throat and fell to the floor with a loud ringing clatter as Dextus groaned…’Oh, by Jupiter Manius what have we done.’

    ‘Shut up you stupid great oaf’ Manius eyes flicked from his gladius on the floor then onto the doorway, as he sought escape. Something had gone very badly wrong here; Manius clung to the faint hope that maybe these were Gauls who spoke Latin, former slaves’ maybe?

    A shadow crossed the doorway as Marcianus entered the hut, took one look at the scene and asked quizzically ‘Will someone tell me what the hell is going on in here?’

    ‘I will Centurion. My name is Senator Gaius Patroclus Ovidius and two of your men have killed my wife while seeking to rob us.’

    Marcianus head spun. What was a Senator doing in an empty rebel village, why was he dressed like a peasant, and how was he going to be able to explain this to the Senior Tribunes!

    One word rung in Marcianus head….decimation.
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 11, 2012 at 10:21 AM. Reason: new format

  7. #27
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Bloody Rat Boys, nice twist Never thought they'd be back on the scene - and when they are it all turns to chaos

    Kind of feel sorry for Lucius, but 'ay the men were caught Although the Century faces decimation you evil little _ _ _ _

    Interesting to see why a Senator was there I can't wait to find out why

    It's really coming along nicely, well done

  8. #28
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Chapter Eight - Amphorae of Wine

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

    Marcianus sat on the end of his bed staring out of the window at the central parade ground. The sky above the camp was slate grey and a heavy rain had poured down on the 6th legion since the 4th Century’s return to camp two days earlier.

    The Centurion had never felt this low, not even after he had developed a social illness after spending the night with a Numidian slave girl on his last visit to Roma, and had an itch for three months solid.

    His Century had brought shame upon the whole of the legion. Men he had known for years, men who shared the brotherhood of the Centurionate had turned their backs on him and refused to engage in any type of conversation other than the relaying of orders and legion business.

    On their return the 4th had been confined to their own barracks and apart from trips to the communal latrine, they were not even allowed out into the rest of the camp. Worse still they had been stripped of their arms and armour. Even the Centurion’s vine cane had been confiscated from him.

    Marcianus had managed to get an amphorae of wine smuggled into his room by a merchant friend of his, the type of merchant who specialised in smuggling anything as long as it turned a profit. He felt like a drink, even at 8am in the morning. He didn’t feel like drinking alone though, he knew that would just make things worse….if that was at all possible.

    He dragged himself up off the end of the bed, picked up the unopened amphorae from the floor and headed down the barracks hallway to the where the 1st Contubernia were housed.

    As the Centurion entered the doorway he noticed that all eight men were in their room, lying on their beds without the usual laughter or idle chatter that filed a barrack room. With no kit to clean or weapons to oil the men where bereft. The legion had even confiscated their dice. Like all the men of the 4th, they were quiet and feeling very sorry for themselves.

    The men had not even noticed that Marcianus had entered the room, ‘Good Morning Gentlemen. Quintus, Lucius, Andronicus stay. The rest of you leave the room and find something useful to do’ although the Centurion knew that the men could usefully do nothing at the moment.

    The men filed out of the room without comment, Marcianus guessed that they would go and loiter with another Contubernia until the Centurion had finished with their mess mates.

    Normally the Centurion would not drink with rankers, but today was an exception to that rule he needed to talk to somebody, and tell these particular men the outcome of the Military trial that had been held the day before.

    ‘Well lads, grab some cups and share this with me’ Marcianus brandished the amphorae and sat at the mess table in the middle of the room.

    The men sat around the table as Marcianus broke the wax seal on the jar and poured them all a generous helping of wine.

    ‘I’m guessing you lads could do with a drink, and you’re probably wondering why I choose to visit you eh?’ Marcianus looked at the three men who looked back at their officer with expressionless faces.

    ‘Gods, I’ve trained you three too well. I thought you’d like to know the outcome of the trial.’

    The three men sat up and their expressions changed in an instant, Lucius was the first to speak ‘What’s happened Sir, we haven’t heard a thing since we got back from the village and was confined to our rooms. We thought we’d hear from the other Century’s, but nobody's talking to us.’

    Marcianus nodded and took a gulp from his wine. He noticed that no one else had touched theirs not even the big Greek. ‘It’s the same for me boys, I only found out last night what the verdict was, and what it means for the Century.’

    Lucius thoughts flashed back to the Blacksmith’s hut, when Marcianus had entered and the Senator had revealed his identity all hell had broken loose. Manius had grabbed his gladius and thought like a demon to get out, in the end Lucius had disarmed him by smashing his shield boss against him, forcing him to drop his weapon whilst Andronicus had had to wrestle the smaller man to the ground when he refused to surrender, breaking his right arm in a Pankration arm lock.

    Dextus had just stood there and was led meek as a lamb from the hut by Marcianus, whilst Lucius and Andronicus had dragged Manius out kicking and screaming.

    Manius had screamed and screamed. He had not shouted that he was innocent, or that he thought the old couple were Gauls. He is screamed one thing over and over ‘Get your hands from me slave!’ In the end Marcianus had strode up to the man and delivered a right hook that knocked him and two of his front teeth out.

    So they all knew, and nobody had cared after all.

    Lucius had been worrying for nothing, his friends had not cared. Within twenty four hours the rest of the Century had known and they hadn’t cared either. Lucius had even told his Contubernia the story of his adoption, they had shrugged and said ‘Nice story that.’ He had worried himself sick for nothing.

    Lucius snapped out of his day dream and paid attention to the Centurion.

    Marcianus looked annoyed, Lucius had missed the start of the story whilst daydreaming ‘you all right lad?’ Lucius nodded, ‘well I guess I will start again eh?’

    ‘The verdict is Guilty, not that anybody thought it would be anything else, right? Manius is to be crucified, lucky old Dextus is to be given a swift death, apparently Senator Ovidius, stated that Dextus had tried to stop the killing but Manius thought that by killing the Senator’s wife he would spill about where their valuables where.’

    Quintus raised his eyebrows here and raised his hand as if to interrupt his superior, Marcianus gave him a nod to ask away. ‘Sir we know that the two new lads are guilty, but we had a few questions. What was a Senator doing in the empty rebel village? Why was he and his wife dressed like peasants? And why did he not speak up before his wife got gutted? None of us can understand why he kept quiet.’

    Marcianus nodded ‘Those very same questions I’ve had running through my head since we left that bloody village Optio. Well it would seem that our superiors thought to actually ask them at the Trial too.’

    All three men looked at the Centurion with wry grins on their faces.

    The Centurion gave a little chuckle ‘I know. I couldn’t believe it either; they actually used those heads of theirs for thinking for a change?’

    Marcianus took another gulp from his cup and continued ‘It seems that the Senator has bought a huge amount of farmland not far south of the Gaulish village, he was told that the area was pacified. Lots of the rich boys of Roma are buying large tracts of land cheap direct from the Republic's Treasury since its being confiscated from the Boii and Insubres left right and centre, I guess he didn’t think the locals would object.’

    ‘Anyway, it seems that Senator Ovidius had also populated some of his land with settlers, who just happened to be former soldiers, so he thought his life and property would be safe enough. He was wrong.’

    ‘The same war band we tangled with back in May, decided to pay him a visit. They attacked him and his small entourage as they were inspecting the Senator’s new purchase. The senator had time to swap his and his wife’s clothes with a couple of slaves, the same poor slaves by the way ended up getting tortured and then killed for being rich roman’s.’

    ‘His about to get killed when he speaks in Gaul to the leader of the war band, it seems the Senator is a ‘new man’ who made his money from trade and learned half a dozen barbarian tongues trading slaves, olive oil, wine and grain. He then goes and marries a patrician woman. Don’t let the accent fool you, his as plebeian as we are.’

    ‘So the leader of the Gauls takes pity on the old couple who he thinks are enslaved fellow barbarians and takes them back to the village, the old boy works in the smithy sweeping up and what have you, trying to think of a way for them to escape. When we scrapped with the war band he and the wife tried to escape but got locked in the chieftains’ hall with the rest of the old folks, women and children for their own safety!’

    Lucius had been taking in the Centurion’s tale and decided now was a good time to interrupt. ‘So why did he keep quiet when Manius and Dextus found him?’

    ‘Well, officially he kept quiet because he did not like the look of them, and thought they would try to harm them anyway, apparently the lads did think they were Gauls and that they had hidden their valuables in the blacksmith’s hut somewhere. Unofficially, that’s horse dung. The old boy let the wife get killed because according to a source who knows the old boy’s family and who shall remain unnamed, the old boy has been trying to get a divorce, so that he can marry a woman half his age who comes with a massive dowry.’

    ‘Bloody hell, what a cold old buzzard’ Lucius and his mates were stunned, but at least it answered all their questions. Except one that was ‘what about the rest of the Century Centurion?’

    ‘Ah yes, the key question young Verres. Well the good news is we will not be decimated.’ Marcianus half smiled as the men all visibly relaxed and each took a slurp of their as yet untouched cups of wine.

    ‘The bad news is the Century will be on twice as much guard duty, latrine duty, drilling and weapons training then any other Century. We will also be given our weapons and armour back for training, but not allowed to bear them around camp until we redeem ourselves, presumably in combat. Our confinement has been reduced to the whole camp, but nobody is allowed to leave the camp.’

    ‘That doesn’t sound so bad Sir’, Andronicus seemed quite happy now as he drained the contents of his cup in one go, Marcianus leaned over and filled his cup back to the brim.

    ‘Oh no, I grant you it could have been a lot worse. I even get my vine cane back. But that’s not the end of it. We are now the ‘shamed century’ as such we will go into battle first and leave last, until we regain our honour.’

    The men were silent again; surely things could not get worse, could they?

    ‘There’s more isn’t there Sir’, Lucius had seen the look on the Centurion’s face and knew there was more to come.

    The Centurion nodded ‘yes soldier, the trial judges gave the Senator the right to choose the manner of punishment meted out to the murderers, which you know. But it also gave him the right to pick the detail that would carry out the task.’

    The veteran soldier sighed and carried on. ‘Our own century has been assigned to carry out the executions. I know it’s unusual; it’s normally men from another Century but not this time. Quintus you will lead the detail, Andronicus you will hold the nails for Lucius to hammer the blows for Manius crucifixion. Lucius you alone have been given the task of putting your gladius through the back of the neck and into the spine of Dextus, at least it’s quick and honourable.’

    Marcianus stood up from the table and gestured at the men to stay seated, ‘Stay there lads, finish the wine. The executions are scheduled for 10am tomorrow, after morning parade, so that the whole legion can be present. I’m sorry boys.’

    Lucius looked at his two friends as they each quietly drank their wine lost in their own thoughts. He knew the Rat Boys were bad men, Manius more so, but this would mark his soul, he would kill Men he had known as boys….
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 11, 2012 at 10:36 AM. Reason: Spell Check/ Format change

  9. #29
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    A great update, well done

    Nice to hear that the Century wont be decimated, that Senator seems a bit shifty

    Although poor Lucius, having to kill them, I thought he'd jump at the chance to extract revenge...

    Looking forward to more (as ever )

  10. #30
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Chapter Nine - A Nice Soak

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

    Dirt. It did not matter how he tried it was still there. Senator Ovidius had scrubbed obsessively under his nails since his return to civilisation two days earlier…if you could call a legion encampment civilisation that is.

    He had bathed in the officers baths eight times since his return. He had been pampered by slaves supplied by the Legion’s Tribunes, keen to make up for the hideous treatment he had suffered at the hands of the 4th Century. The slaves had worked until his skin had shone pink and he had resembled a lobster taken from the bay of Napoli.

    As he lay in the baths, his shoulders being worked on by a slave, he though back to his time in the Gaulish village. It had been hell on earth for him. He had not worked so hard since being apprenticed to a merchant in his youth. He hadn’t had to pick up anything heavier than a quill for thirty years until three months ago.

    When the war band had captured Drusilla and him, he had told his wife to act mute. That was the only joy of the whole three months in that wretched village; his wife could not incessantly bleat on about his affairs with younger women or how she should have married a man of her own class.

    He had managed to convince the Gauls that he was a simple peasant and as such he had spent his time farming, working in the smithy and trying to figure a way to get out…without his wife of course. When he thought about it, there had been another plus of being in that village, he had lost weight, and his new wife would appreciate that.

    May had come around quickly, and he had still found himself rotting in the village. Then one morning the war band had left the village, dressed in the full panoply of war gear, not the usual hunting garb they wore, with Decorix the massive Gaul taking the lead.

    Several hours later the gates of the village had been suddenly shut, and all non-combatants including Ovidius and Drusilla had been locked in the Chief’s hut for their own safety. Ovidius had heard the clash of arms from his position in the hut, but any hopes of escape had been cut off as the only entrance to the hut had been locked and guarded by two of the last remaining warriors in the village.

    He had hoped that whoever was attacking outside would press on into the village and release him, but those hopes were dashed, as after an hour the gates were opened and what was left of the war band had returned.

    Decorix was dead. Apparently he had been slain by a roman soldier who ripped his sword up and through him; the Senator had winced at the thought. Ovidius had counted the warriors in and out of the village, and had realised about half had been killed or wounded.

    The village Druid had seen to the wounded, and had swiftly dispatched those to far gone with a flick of his wrist across their throat, the priest was older than Ovidius, but had the bearing and clear blue eyes of a much younger man.

    The Senator had done his best to keep away from the priest as he scared him witless. The priest was sharp and had been suspicious of Ovidius and Drusilla from the very moment they had been brought to the village by Decorix.

    The Gauls had thought that the Romans would attack swiftly in revenge for their defiance, but after two more months they still had not returned.

    Ovidius had despaired at that time, he had thought that the Army would return. As a merchant, and a man who had never been in the legions, he had very little time for the military, apart from viewing them as a necessary evil to guard his goods and chattels, but he had assumed that they would at least return to punish the Gauls.

    Then three days ago, the Druid Erastus had proclaimed that everyone should leave the village as the Romans were returning. He claimed to have seen a silver eagle in a vision, over a burning image of a Gaulish war spear.

    Hmm, Ovidius knew how these things worked; the Druid had been tipped off.

    Still he would give the old fake his due; the people had packed up in less than six hours and were ready to move out. Then as Ovidius and Drusilla had prepared to move out with them, and with the couple secretly distraught that they were being taken further still from Roman lands, the Druid had stopped them by holding up his hands and turning to speak to Ovidius for the first time.

    ‘Roman I know who you are, my people do not. Decroix had extended guest rights to you, and for that reason alone, I have not had the young men sever your heads from your bodies, and dedicate your bodies to Tautatis.’

    ‘You and your kind think us fools, but I tell you this, a great storm is coming to your lands. A man who will make the very ground shake, fire roman cities, make many of your proud matrons into widows. A man who will return all our ancestral lands to us, and give our young men the gift and joy of dancing in the blood of your legionaries.’

    Ovidius had stood stock still, how could the Gaul possibly know? Had he given himself away? The questions would have to remain unanswered as the Druid had then had two men drag the couple to the blacksmith’s hut and had them locked in, not before binding their hands first however.

    Ovidius had heard the Gauls move out and had searched the hut for something, anything to use to break their bonds, but the hut had been stripped bare.

    They had spent an uncomfortable night in the hut, trussed up like chickens for sacrifice at Saturnalia, when Ovidius had been woken by the sound of voices in the village.

    Roman voices.

    The army had returned. His wife wanted to cry out and get their attention, but a small voice inside the Senator had told him to keep quiet, could he still find a way to rid himself of Drusilla?

    He had told her to remain quiet when they heard voices at the other side of the door.

    ‘Hey Manius this one is locked shall I kick it in?’

    ‘No you bloody Idiot, let me pick it. If it’s been locked, then there something in their worth having right? If you smash it down the rest of the lads will want a share. I’m not having that!’

    Ovidius smiled, these two sound like Subura scum, he might be able to play this to his advantage after all.

    After some fiddling and scrapping with the lock, the door opened and two legionaries stepped through.

    The bigger of the two men had looked disappointed, ‘Ah, its just two old folks, they must have done something to be left behind.’

    ‘Maybe, but I’m going to make sure, Dextus you cut the old boys bonds and keep an eye on him, I will do the same for the old girl.’

    Ovidius, assumed the smaller man who looked like a rodent, was Manius, he was instantly recognisable as the shifty, untrustworthy type that you relied on to do dirty jobs, and also at the same time a man who always thought he was cleverer than others.

    Not this time.

    Ovidius rubbed his wrists as Manius cut the bonds, by the Gods that had felt good.

    Drusilla, had looked at him, with panic in her eyes, she could sense that something was wrong, even as Dextus had cut her bonds too. She could sense that the soldiers were untrustworthy, but they were perfect for what Ovidius wanted.

    He had spoken in a stream of Gaulish, and the smaller man had shaken his head, ‘I don’t understand your gibberish barbarian, look, where’s your gold, money, jewellery, see?’

    ‘These two are poorer than us Manius, they haven’t got anything worth stealing, and we should take them back to the Optio’ the bigger soldier was beginning to look unsure, Ovidius had to act quickly before more of these uniformed clowns showed up.

    He had burst into tears and shaken his head and lifted his arms in supplication, he knew that a man like Manius would thrive in the fear that he could create, and would want to see the old man suffer more.

    Manius grabbed Drusilla by the hair, she tried to pull away but still did not make a sound – stupid woman, she still trusted him, her beloved husband.

    ‘Let’s see about that shall we.’ Manius took his Gladius and drove it straight into Drusilla’s neck artery, she never had a chance to cry out or speak, she was dead in two seconds.

    Manius stood looking at Ovidius with an insane grin on his face, waiting for the pain, grief and anger to register on Ovidius’s features. Manius dropped the blade into the arterial blood pooling on the floor and let Drusilla’s body slump to the floor.

    Ovidius smiled. Perfect.

    Manius looked at him puzzled…. and then the light from the doorway had been blocked as two legionaries arrived….
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 11, 2012 at 10:45 AM. Reason: new format
    Rex Anglorvm's Pile of dusty books - A collection of my writing.
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  11. #31
    Boustrophedon's Avatar Grote Smurf

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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    I really enjoy these mini-stories keep 'em coming!

  12. #32
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Another great update Good job!

    Nice to have a different POV, and you can never trust Senators They always have some other motive - shame we couldn't find out what is is/was

    One thing...

    slaves ha worked

    Looking forward to more, and to seeing what part this Senator will end up playing

  13. #33

    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    I love these mate. Keep the stories coming. I love the Roman times and such and have been searching for a story like this for years.

  14. #34
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Thanks for the positive comments guys - I'm hoping to post another update tomorrow.

    I've also been thinking about writing up another story, just to keep myself from getting bored with the same time period, any ideas?

    Don't worry Lucius story will continue for a while yet though
    Rex Anglorvm's Pile of dusty books - A collection of my writing.
    A Whale Riders Journey |A Dark Ages Viking Saga
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  15. #35
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Glad to hear Lucius will be continuing

    Time period wise go for which ever one you know well enough to write about, or feel comfortable writing about

    Good luck with your second story

  16. #36

    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Same here. I have subbed to this Thread and rated it 5/5 Excellent Honestly I have read a lot of stories on TWC and this is by far the BEST. Loving this series Good Luck on your second story

  17. #37
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    Chapter Ten - Two Executions

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

    Lucius had only managed to grab a couple of hours sleep, that was all that hit fitful state would allow him. He had lain in his bed, listening to the sounds of his mates snoring, farting and murmuring all around him in their sleep.

    In the end, as the lightening of the sky had signalled the approach of dawn, he had finally given up attempting to try to sleep and had pulled on his tunic and tied up his caligae, walked outside and sat on the steps leading to the barracks.

    Really he knew that he should be glad. His mates hadn’t cared that he had been a slave as a boy, and they were glad that Manius would soon meet his end, not so much Dextus, although nobody had shed a tear for him either.

    But he felt differently. He had known these men from boyhood, sure they were Rat Boys, and if he was honest to himself Manius was always going to end up on a cross somewhere. But why did he have to be the man to put him up there.

    He felt even worse about Dextus, for sure the big man was a villain too, as a kid if anything he had been more vicious than Manius, but time had mellowed him and now he just seemed to follow the orders of Manius out of a lifetime of criminal habit. Even the Senator’s evidence had shown that he hadn’t wanted to kill the woman. And there was something not right with that either, the Senator by the sounds of it, getting exactly what he wanted, his wife dead.

    Two men would die for that. How could that be right? The men had thought them both Gauls.

    Quintus had tried to reassure Lucius, had tried to ease his conscience,
    ‘Listen Lucius, you haven’t got a choice right. None of us have, were all soldiers and we follow orders. Even if we don’t agree with them, that’s just how the Army works.’

    His Optio had carried on ‘somewhere Manius and Dextus where going to come unstuck, if you cross a Senator it’s going to happen sooner rather than later. Sure the lads didn’t know he was a senator but that’s immaterial. When you joined the legions you knew that you would end up killing barbarian’s right? Well these two are the same, they just happen to be Roman barbarians.’

    Lucius had agreed at the time, but it wasn’t right, yes they were barbarians, but this was not like killing your enemy on the battlefield, this was cold premeditated murder, even if it had been sanctioned by the laws of Rome as being a perfectly legal execution.

    Lucius had thought about the Senator’s motives all night long, alright he could buy the story that the Senator wanted his wife dead. He’d seen enough of how the upper echelons of society had worked growing up in Rome. Yes, he had grown up in the Subura, but when his Father had freed him, he had spent time in the Villa’s of the rich. Men who his Father had served under in the Legions, and who had respected him, and in return had taught the young Lucius how to grow up to be a true son of Rome.

    He knew that the Senator was a plebeian, but there was no way he could have passed himself off as slave, not even as a house slave, who would have had the same soft hands and soft body as a pampered citizen.

    No. A slave had a way of carrying himself, of avoiding eye contact, of walking with his head down, of keeping silent and of bearing a hundred slights, insults and beatings. No senator, not even a low born one could emulate a slave.

    How could the Gauls have thought Ovidius was a slave? There was more to this than met the eye, Ovidius was a snake, a snake who had used the Rat Boys for his own purposes. Lucius firmly believed that the senator had been in the village for a reason or more likely on his way to somewhere else to meet someone.

    Someone who the Senator would rather keep quiet about.

    But it had gone badly wrong and he had ended up captured and held prisoner by a band of roaming Gauls. And now Lucius and his Century were paying the price. Lucius wanted evidence, but he would need time and more importantly the right kind of help.

    Lucius snapped out of his musings and realised that the Sun was now up and soon it would be time for breakfast then morning parade. He swiftly got up and raced down the barrack hall to his room. The lads were already up and getting ready, he guessed they must have been to the latrines already.

    Andronicus turned to his friend ‘Hello where of you been, hurry up will you or you’ll miss breakfast mate.’

    Typical Andronicus thinking of his stomach, Lucius could not even bear the thought of eating even the tiniest morsel; if he ate he knew he would bring it straight back up again. Not a good look during morning parade or even worse if he brought it up during the executions, his comrades would think him weak.

    Lucius had worked on his gear all the previous evening as had his mates soon after Marcianus had left them the wine. His helmet and armour glistened as he put it on and he and Andronicus helped each other with the leather back straps on their chain mail lorica’s. Today they would have the appearance of veteran’s and not the usual plain old equipment of the Hastati.

    Breakfast was a blur, his plate and spoon had remained untouched before him, even Andronicus had turned down Lucius offer of a second helping and during morning parade Lucius had felt like someone else was in control of his body, as his limbs responded to orders while his brain could only think about the bloody work he had ahead of him.

    The Bucina sounded and he knew it was time.

    Marcianus stepped in front of the Century and seemed to be looking directly at the young legionary, ‘Execution detail step out. Detail form up behind me. The rest of you follow Optio Lucullus to the punishment field by the North gate.’

    Lucius and Andronicus fell in behind Quintus as the three men who would be part of their detail joined them from the 5th Contubernia.

    Marcianus waited until the parade ground was empty and then gave it an extra ten minutes. He knew from experience that the other men from the Legion would be gathering to witness the executions on the north field.

    ‘Right lads, listen, I want no mistakes today. This will be hard, but it will be harder still if you screw it up. The whole legion is watching, as is the senior Tribune and Senator Ovidius.’

    Marcianus waited for the words to sink in and then moved the men off, ‘Right forward march, a nice steady pace boys if you please, let’s give this some decorum right?!’

    Marcianus led the men slowly through the length of the camp and out through the North Gate. Lucius had never seen the full legion on display, the normal parade ground was far too small to hold them all, even their Italian allies were there. He would have been impressed if hadn’t been so nervous.

    Marcianus took the detail through the path that had been laid aside for them, the legion had been formed up in a box shape, leaving one small path for the guard detail and the execution detail to use.

    As they moved out of the end of the path the space opened up into a huge man made arena, with the clear divisions of the centuries being made obvious.

    Three side of the box consisted of infantry, with the closest men being the Triarii as befitted their status, then the Principes, then the most junior men the Hastati, including his own 4th Century, finally their Italian infantry allies the Samnians stood behind them all.

    One side of the square consisted of Calvary alone, with the Tribunes and their equestrians in the front, and their Italian allied Calvary arrayed behind.

    Lucius could see Senator Ovidius flanked either side by the Senior Tribunes, he looked every inch the wronged Roman husband and Patrician. Maybe Lucius was wrong about the Senator’s acting abilities.

    Lucius eyes turned away from the Senator and fixed on the centre of the empty space, where the guard detail waited patiently for them.

    As Marcianus and the execution detail drew near, Marcianus called his men to a halt and walked forward.

    ‘Optio, may I have your permission to take the prisoner detail from you?’

    The squat Optio, who Lucius recognised as a dour man from Ariminum saluted and replied ‘Yes Centurion, please consider these men transferred to your custody for legal execution.’

    Marcianus beckoned his men forward so that Andronicus and another man flanked Dextus, whilst two other Legionaries stood either side of Manius.

    Marcianus then turned formally to Quintus and said ‘These men are now yours for just and necessary punishment. Carry out your duty Optio.’

    As Marcianus turned on his heel to leave the square, he looked at Lucius and gave him a reassuring smile, and had a few words for him in a low voice. ‘Do your duty lad, nobody can ask anymore of you’. He then turned and marched off to join the rest of the 4th standing quietly watching.

    Lucius felt his legs shake, and made a conscious effort to lock his legs. He moved stiffly as he marched behind Quintus who led him to a solid looking wooden table.

    Quintus looked at his friend and repeated the same words as Marcianus ‘These men are now yours for just and necessary punishment carry out your duty Verres.’

    Upon the table lay a gladius which he been worked on a grindstone to a gleaming, beautiful, sharp and deadly perfection.

    Next to the blade, lay a large leather bag of nails, at least that’s what Lucius presumed, as he could not quite bring himself to look in the bag, not yet anyway. Finally to the right of the bag lay a large hammer, like the type he had seen a blacksmith use when tapping small items to perfection.

    He looked once more at the tools arrayed before him and then finally he took in the Rat Boys.

    Dextus stood. Well was held up really, by Andronicus and the other soldier. Dextus looked pale, sweaty and beyond fear, a little bit how Lucius was feeling on the inside.

    Manius stood between his two guards with a sneer on his face, staring at Lucius, trying to intimidate him and make him drop his gaze. The man was still holding onto his hate for a former slave when he was about to be crucified!

    Lucius had been told that there was a routine for execution. Basically you save the best till last.

    Well that’s how the grizzled Optio, whose duty it was to run through Lucius role on execution day had explained it to him.

    This meant that Dextus was first.

    Lucius picked up the blade from the table walked round it and headed towards Dextus who started to struggle with his two guards as soon as he saw the blade.

    Andronicus held Dextus with one hand, whilst the other guard tried to keep him still. Andronicus drew back his right arm and slapped him with a meaty fist that landed on the side of his head and Dextus ceased to struggle quite so violently.

    Lucius stood before Dextus and spoke to him. ‘I will make it quick Dextus, don’t struggle anymore, it won’t help you.’

    Dextus had been forced onto his knees, so had to crane his neck to look up at Lucius, ‘I didn’t want to kill the woman Lucius; Manius did it before I even knew.’

    ‘I know mate, the Centurion told me. She was a Senator’s wife Dextus, it would always come down to this, and at least you won’t end up like Manius over there.’ Lucius held Dextus gaze, and tried to reassure the bully from his boyhood.

    ‘Do you promise Lucius, to make it quick I mean?’

    Lucius looked down at his former childhood tormentor and felt an unaccustomed compassion and murmured ‘I promise.’

    Dextus gave the faintest of nods and Lucius wondered at the fates of men. Dextus had been the meaner of the two Rat Boys as kids. He might have even stood a chance of being a half decent man, if not for Manius and his demonic influence; it was too late for such thoughts now anyhow.

    Lucius walked behind Dextus and nodded at Andronicus and the other Legionary holding Dextus to move away.

    The two men backed off a couple of feet, but stood ready in case Dextus’ struggles started again. They need not have worried.

    As the tip of the gladius touched the back of Dextus neck, Lucius felt a small shudder from the man beneath the blade. Dextus began saying a prayer to Jupiter and Lucius found himself joining in the simple words that every child learns as soon as they can talk.

    Lucius and Dextus finished the prayer together.

    Lucius pushed down hard holding the gladius with both hands, he could feel the body spasm and the tissue, blood and organs offer resistance to his grip on the blade as it entered through the neck, smashing through the top of the spine, where he could feel the vertebrae bite at the sharpened edges of the weapon and then finally with a flick of the wrists, Lucius pushed the blade left and through Dextus beating heart, ripping the main aorta apart.

    The blood pulsed out of the neck wound and over the blade smothering Lucius hands. Lucius had moved his feet hurriedly as the blade had impacted and the bowels of Dextus had voided violently, noisily and suddenly.

    All this in about four seconds, the body fell to the ground, Lucius had kept his promise to Dextus, it had been quick and it had been clean.

    Lucius had been glad he had not had breakfast, the blood, the smell, the knowledge he had killed a man he had known as a boy, it was just too much.

    The men that made up the human arena cheered, as he raised the gory blade like he had been told to, like he was some bloody hero from the Iliad. Lucius fought the urge to vomit.

    Andronicus walked away and headed to the wooden table, he picked up the bag of nails and the hammer, which looked like a child’s toy in his massive fist.

    The two men either side of Manius waited for Lucius and Andronicus to draw near.

    Funny, but Lucius had not noticed before, the cross lay on the ground directly behind Manius.

    Lucius took the proffered hammer from Andronicus who kept the nails ready to supply his friend.

    Lucius felt sick once more, he took a deep breath into his lungs and forced himself to stay focussed.

    Manius was still staring at Lucius, ‘Bet you enjoyed that slave boy eh? Killing my mate, well don’t worry you’ll be joining us soon enough, you, your Father and that fat Uncle of yours once the Rat Boys hear of this!’

    Maybe killing Manius wouldn’t be so hard after all.

    The thug did have a point though, the Rat Boys would hear about this, and they were grown men now. He would have to send word to his family, in all of his panic leading up to the executions he had forgotten all about the Subura gang.

    Andronicus brandished a nail in front of Manius ‘Shut up crow bait, you’re off to Hades little man.’

    Manius paled, he was going to feel pain, fear and terror a thousand times worse then he had ever inflicted. If his victims were watching from Elysium surely they would be entertained today.

    Quintus and the three legionaries from the 5th Contubernia, each grabbed a limb, and with a combination of pushing pulling and the odd blow they lay Manius flat on the cross staring straight up at the sky.

    Manius screamed ‘Get your filthy hands off me! Get that slave and his Greek boyfriend away from me! Why are you doing this to me!? I’m a true Roman you dogs, get me off this cross!! I thought they were Gauls, I swear I did not know they were Romans!!’

    Lucius and Andronicus drew near, the first legionary virtually sitting on Manius left arm to keep him still.

    Andronicus placed a nail on the flat of his open palm, Manius struggles increased in their intensity and Andronicus used his free hand to give him a mighty blow in the stomach that robbed Manius off the ability to struggle long enough to get the first nail in.

    Lucius swung down with the blacksmith’s hammer four times as he drove the six inch nail into Manius hand and deep into the wooden cross behind.

    Manius screams became more manic, he pleaded, he swore, he called on the gods, he cursed the gods, he called Lucius his dear friend and swore all types of revenge upon him and Andronicus.

    The second legionary was sitting on the right arm, his whole body weight making Manius struggles immaterial, again Andronicus placed a nail on the flat of his open palm, and Lucius drove the nail in deep.

    More curses rained down on the heads of the two men, then Marcianus, then Quintus and the rest of the Century.

    As blood began to leak from his wounds the curses and the struggles of Manius lessened and it was easier for Lucius to drive the last two nails into his feet. Lucius could hear the bones popping as the nails were driven through.

    Quintus who was now free to get up after sitting on Manius right leg, he knelt down to the left of the cross and handed a small wooden sign to Lucius, ‘Here this is to be nailed below his feet.’

    Lucius looked at the sign it had one word ‘Murderer’ stencilled upon it.

    Lucius nailed it on the cross.

    He thought he would have felt worse about the crucifixion, but some sort of twisted logic had told him that the elements and Manius own body would kill the Rat Boy, unlike the blade that he driven into Dextus earlier.

    He knew from his own childhood when he had seen criminals crucified, and from what the old Optio had told him that it could take a week for Manius to die.

    Crucifixion was a slow painful death, either the weight of your own body would kill you, or the breaking up of internal organs as they struggled to cope with the stress on the body could.

    Sometime birds would worry the face and eyes, and foxes and stray dogs the feet, but Manius would be spared that, as a guard was posted at all times till his death to avoid a friend putting a spear in the man to end his suffering.

    Lucius doubted anyone would do that in the 4th.

    The execution detail had only one more task.

    They all worked together to pick up the cross horizontally and line it up with a posthole that Manius would have been forced to excavate earlier. At least all that training to dig as legionary has not been wasted.

    The men then picked up two coils of rope attached to the arm bar of the cross and pulled, with a groan and crunch the cross was vertical.

    Manius groans and cries increased as the weight of his body pulled on the nails whose large flat tops and the angle they where driven in at ensured he stayed put.

    Marcianus strode back into the square to perform the last piece of execution protocol. ‘Execution detail fall in behind me.’ Then he cried out in his best parade ground voice, ‘Legion dismissed!’

    As a last insult to the dead murderers the Legion turned their backs on the men as one and began filing back through the North gate in order of march.

    The guard detail then re-entered the square, they would be burying Dextus, outside the Legion’s burial grounds that is, and then posting the first guard on Manius.

    Marcianus stood in front of his detail and nodded approvingly ‘You did well lads, you performed a harsh task admirably. Now let’s get back and get you cleaned up, you need it more than most Verres.’ The Centurion held the gaze of Lucius as if to say ‘You could have done no more. I’m pleased.’

    As they marched behind Marcianus, Lucius could feel the blood of the Rat Boys congealing on his skin. He would need more than a bath to ever feel clean again.

    Ovidius had made him do this and now his family was in danger….
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 12, 2012 at 05:58 AM. Reason: new format
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  18. #38
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: AAR/Short Story/First Chapter?

    A another great update

    You really got the emotions that Lucius was feeling across admirably

    Looking forward to seeing what happens now, with the Rat Boys wanting revenge and all that

  19. #39
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: A Tale of Rome

    Chapter Eleven - Refugees

    Northern Territory of the Boii, Northern Italia, July 218 BC

    Erastus moved well for a man of 60 summers, his life had been hard and his body had hardened with it. He had fought the many enemies of his people for the first 30 years of his manhood. Then the Gods had called him.

    He had vision after vision, dreams that became reality, signs from the Gods that he had tried to ignore; he was a mighty warrior and wanted to remain one. But Erastus had learned that no man can outrun his fate.

    He had had to finally accept his new role as Druid of his people. He had led the ceremonies and tended the sick of his people for ten summers now.

    He was able to relax a little more, now that they had left their village far behind them. He had pressed his people hard. Mercilessly he had driven them along at the speed of a war band, rather than as the band of refugees that they were.

    His thoughts turned to the actions of the last few months, the actions that had led him to lead his people from the last of their lands, and then seek refuge with their cousins in the North.

    He could remember pleading with Decorix not to take the young men on the path of war, but the big Chieftain had always been a hot head and had refused to listen. He could not blame the Chief, after all, his people had been pushed and pushed further into their lands, as the greedy, grasping never ending stream of Roman settlers had taken their lands.

    The big Gaul had even gone to the local garrison to complain about settler encroachment, but had been told that their ancestral lands were now part of the greater Roman Empire and that if they did not like the rule of Roman, then they should leave.

    So Decorix had come back to the village, donned his war gear, called the young men together and had set out to teach the insufferable Romans a lesson.

    Erastus had tried one last time to talk sense to his Chief and tell him that the time was not right to fight. That he had seen in his visions a dark man who would lead a mighty host consisting of warriors from many nations who would lay the Romans low.

    Decorix had shouted that he could not wait for a vision to become reality, and had stormed out of the village leading a war band that comprised mostly young excited and un-blooded warriors, leaving Erastus to take charge in his absence.

    Decorix had not had to travel far to find a group of Roman settlers crossing his lands. He had slain most of the Romans but had returned with the Roman couple. His Chief may have had an ugly face, but it had hidden a soft heart. Decorix had believed the story of the Roman that both he and his wife were enslaved Gauls.

    Erastus had not.

    The Druid had spoken to his Chief and had explained his fears that the old couple were Roman and should be killed. Decorix had finally agreed. Then the messenger had arrived.

    He had ridden from the North and apparently had been making his way from village to village with important news. He had explained that the High King had given permission and safe passage for a small Roman group to come across their lands. The messenger had then described the old Roman in detail. Decorix and Erastus had looked at each other and nodded, and had motioned to everyone else present to hold their tongues.

    The messenger had not noticed and had been in a hurry to move on, they had given him supplies and a fresh horse and he had went on his way. The two men had ushered everyone else out of the Chieftain’s hut.

    ‘What a mess. I should have listened to you Druid’ Decorix had a look of deep concern on his face, he had been no coward, but no man wished to cross the High King, he had a notoriously bad temper and had run men through before for a perceived ‘lack of respect.’

    Erastus wanted to help his Chief. Decorix had been a good man and he had made an honest mistake. ‘The way I see this, is you have a limited number of choices, firstly you can kill them and hope nobody from the village mentions the raid to outsiders.’

    Decorix frowned doubtfully, Gauls are notorious show offs. The young men of the raiding party would only keep quiet for so long, besides most of the young ones were already clamouring to put the heads of their victims on open display.
    Witnessing his Chief’s reaction Erastus quickly carried on ‘Stay with me Decorix please. Secondly you can release them and hope they don’t tell the High King or that word does not get back to him. I fear it would however, as the Roman must be useful to our people to have been guaranteed safe passage.’

    ‘You’re not cheering me up Druid!’ Decorix began to look even more morose.

    Erastus smiled at his Chief ‘Finally, you can hold him prisoner, indefinitely. If you think about it why has the Roman stayed quiet? At any moment he could have claimed he had the High King’s protection, but he has not. I think that whatever he was planning to do in our territory, he now has no intention of doing any longer.’

    ‘You are not stupid my old friend’ the smile had returned to Decorix’s face.

    This had meant that the Roman and his wife had stayed in the village, without even knowing their true status as prisoners. They still thought their story was believed. When the Roman patrol had arrived back in May, Decorix had panicked and attacked them.

    A bad mistake in hindsight, the big Chief had believed that the soldiers had known the old couple were being held in the village, when in fact it was just a routine patrol – the soldiers could have easily been bluffed.
    So Decorix had gone out to fight and been slain. This had left Erastus as the senior man in the village. He had had his people stay until the early summer crops could be harvested.

    Then word had come to him via a Gaulish slave at the 6th legion’s camp that a Roman century was preparing to return to the village. It had seemed a wise time to leave.

    He had told his people that he had seen a vision, and had given them six hours to pack their worldly goods and told them to be ready to leave. He had done one last thing. He had told the Roman that he had known the truth about him. Well at least some of it.

    In the end only the honouring of his Chiefs’ memory had stopped him from having him killed. He had locked him in the Blacksmith’s hut for his own people to find. He still wondered why the Roman had changed his mind, why he had decided not to press ahead with his scheme after all….
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 12, 2012 at 05:58 AM. Reason: new format
    Rex Anglorvm's Pile of dusty books - A collection of my writing.
    A Whale Riders Journey |A Dark Ages Viking Saga
    Rich man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief | A 1930s Gangster's Story

  20. #40

    Default Re: A Tale of Rome

    Very good very good I like how you have told the 'Gauls' side. It was Interesting. Great update keep up the Good work!!!!

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