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Thread: Tale of Rome- STORY COMPLETE

  1. #61
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome

    Chapter Seventeen - Aulus Cuts Up Rough


    The Verres Family Villa – August 218BC


    The sweat poured off of Lucius back, off his forehead and down his arms. Lucius looked around him at Andronicus, Marcianus and Numerius his father, they had all worked as hard as him and all looked equally as exhausted.

    After they had spoken to Aulus last night, the men had all gathered together in a quiet group, Aulus gaged that the men were in no mood for fun and congenial company, and had had Marcus set a reception room aside for the men with food and wine, and baths ready for their use. He also dismissed the specialist female company he had prepared to welcome the men.

    Aulus had then returned to the Atrium and had played the genial host, Lucius had heard him play to the gallery marvellously, he had everyone eating out of his hands from the local merchants to the two senators who had blessed the gathering with their auspicious appearance.

    The men had bathed, a local surgeon had seen to their superficial wounds, then they had eaten and drank albeit fitfully, nobody had got drunk, not even Marcianus with his taste for all fluids of the grape. Even Andronicus legendary appetite had taken a hit, with him barely touching the delicacies that had been so generously laid out before them.

    The room had a sombre air as the men had sat quietly around the table staring into space, each lost in their own thoughts of Quintus, and as for the men of the Verres family they also had the added pain of the loss of Leo, who was more than a simple servant more a trusted and loved friend. For Lucius the pain was almost unbearable, Leo had been the rock of his childhood, long before he had become aware of his parentage, the Illyrian had taken him under his wing and treated the boy with kindness and had found the time to give him his first lessons as a warrior. Leo had been a former gladiator and had taught the young boy a few tricks to help him deal with the Rat Boys and the other thugs of the Subura. Added to that loss he now had the image of Quintus being gutted stamped on his mind, a staunch comrade, a newly found friend and what should have been the beginnings of a life-long friendship ended before it had even really began.

    In the end the old First Spear had got to his feet, raised one of Aulus fine silver goblets to his mouth and said a few heartfelt simple words, the words of a soldier ‘lads, lets not be sombre eh, Leo and Quintus were good men, they died with their comrades around them, heroes deaths. They would not want to see us sitting around all morose and feeling sorry for ourselves. Drink up, and let’s have a toast to Leo and Quintus. May they have all the wine and women they need in Elysium!’ Numerius had then drained his full goblet with the three men repeating the toast and draining their own drinks in unison.

    Numerius waited until they had all finished and continued ‘I want you all up at 6am, we are going to work until we drop. We are going to get our hands on that scumbag Manugas and whatever cronies he has left and gut the lot of them!’

    So that’s was why Lucius and the rest of the men were sweating so hard. Numerius had got them up at 6am as promised and had worked them until they could not do another press-up, his father had even dragged the youngster Felix out of his bed and made him join in. It was 9am now.

    Three hours of press up, sit ups, boxing, weight training, and a hundred and one other exercises. If Lucius hadn’t of felt so exhausted he would have been impressed with his uncle’s gymnasium, Aulus had bought an adjoining property for the sole purpose of creating it. Not for his own use of course, he preferred exercise of a more cerebral kind, the gym was the sole use of his men Aulus wanted them fit and ready for action whenever he deemed it necessary. In fact when Lucius had last been at the villa, the gymnasium had been a butchers shop.

    As Numerius called a halt to the morning’s workout, a slave came bustling into the room with an amphora of cold water and a tray with some bread, cold meats, olives and cheese on. The men gathered round slurping and chomping, to slake their rampant thirsts and ravenous appetites.

    Lucius had known that his father had worked them extraordinarily hard just to keep their minds busy, and to stop them from dwelling on their friends deaths. If only it was so easy as soon as the exercise stopped then the real pain started. He hadn’t even had much sleep.

    Lucius had been awake when he had heard a cart pull up in the early hours of the morning. He had stretched got out of bed and looked out of the window overlooking the servants’ entrance, and had seen Aulus men struggle to carry the bodies of Leo and Quintus inside the villa for their funeral preparations.

    Aulus had wasted no time in getting the bodies collected, and had sent for a man to prepare the bodies for burial. Lucius had seen the man come into the villa, telling Aulus men to be careful. The funny thing was he had looked Egyptian to Lucius; surely it couldn’t be the same man that Aulus needed to take care of Ovidius….could it? He didn’t look all that imposing.

    Lucius had wanted to storm around to Ovidius house and slay the man. His father and uncle, had finally convinced him to be patient, and that with what Aulus had planned he would get more than what was his due coming to him. Manugas was a different matter, he was theirs to take. There was no senatorial privilege for the Numidian to hide behind.

    Just as the men were finishing their food and drink, Aulus had come into the room; he was holding his nose, not from the sweat, but from the thought of all that physical exercise. Aulus shook his head in mock amusement and addressed them all ‘good morning gentlemen, it’s so good to see Rome’s finest making sure they are in peak condition to slay her enemies. I have a little present for you fine gentlemen this morning, if you would care to follow me please?’

    Intrigued the group of men filed behind Aulus and found themselves being led back through the villa to the small stabling yard, that Aulus had running alongside the left of his home. As they entered the yard, they saw a naked man tied upside down to a large cart wheel, he was covered in a mass of blood, cuts and bruises, his mouth was gagged, that was why Lucius had supposed he heard no screams.

    Aulus pointed at the Egyptian looking man Lucius had seen in the early hours of the morning, who was standing next to the blooded man, with a set of pliers in his left hand and a small surgical knife in the right. He was a slightly built man with the broadest, whitest smile that Lucius had ever seen, off setting his tanned features. The smile was rather unsettling considering what the Egyptian was up to with his instruments.

    Aulus began ‘gentlemen this is a very dear friend of mine, the most eloquent and educated Set, he used to be a priest on the upper Nile, but now he is an embalmer and undertaker here in our own beloved Rome, although he does have other numerous talents. He picked this man up yesterday for me, he was one of the scum who killed poor Leo and Quintus. Would you like to tell them what our friendly Rat Boy had to say Set?’

    Set bowed deeply to the assembled men his fine smile still plastered on his face, ‘of course my dear Aulus, this creature has told me that the man you seek, this Manugas the Numidian, has a vessel waiting for him at the docks in Ostia. I believe it is called the Moon Star. I am sure word of his men’s failure will have reached him by now. You had best go if you are to catch up with the scoundrel!’

    ‘Thank you Set, I have had horses saddled and your arms and armour have been prepared, you had best leave straight away Numerius. I have also provided you with a little extra manpower that you may find necessary. Do not concern yourself about the senator, my friend and I have some rather entertaining plans for him. Would you hand me your knife Set?’ Aulus held his hand out for the blade.

    ‘Of course, here you are my friend’ Set handed over the blade and performed yet another deep bow.

    Aulus stepped up to the man tied to the wheel and gave him his most disarming and reassuring smile, addressing him in a friendly almost paternal way, you could almost see a hope of life rekindled in his eyes. ‘My boy, you have really fallen into bad company, I am sure your parents, the Gods bless them would be appalled to find you mixing with such gutter trash. Your nefarious master had you attempt to murder my family, which thank the Gods you and your ilk have failed so miserably to do. But you have killed a man of mine, Leo, a good solid servant, and what’s more a noble and honest friend to this house and furthermore you have killed a fine comrade of my nephew’s, for these abominations I cannot in all good conscience forgive you. I would however like to thank you most sincerely for the information that you have provided so readily to Set, for it will lead to the deaths of all of your foul accomplices across the Subura, and that I am sure will be a fine bloodletting.’ Aulus’s voice then rose to a shrieking maddening scream ‘Scum! Nobody threatens my family and lives!!’

    Everyone within the yard watched transfixed with fascinated horror as at the end of Aulus speech he cut away with the surgical knife, first the man’s ears, then his nose, then he plucked out the eyes with the hooked end of the blade and left them dangling on the man’s face, then with a theatrical flourish he cut down to the man’s groin and removed his manhood, dropping it on the floor in distaste. Lastly he took the blade and cut out the man’s still beating heart. Aulus was covered in blood, from head to foot, spoiling his once pristine white linen toga.

    ‘Ah, I do so hate violence, but sometimes it is necessary. I am such a rank amateur, wait until Set performs an epic Masterpiece upon Ovidius…
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 13, 2012 at 04:05 AM. Reason: new format
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  2. #62
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome

    Great update

    I didn't realise Aulus was so... bloody

    Looking forward to more, and I need to get round to reading your new stories :0

  3. #63
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot12 View Post
    Great update

    I didn't realise Aulus was so... bloody

    Looking forward to more, and I need to get round to reading your new stories :0

    Well, Aulus has many sides to his character, merchant, spy, gangster/godfather of the family, diplomat...

    Do you like the sig? Courtesy of Skyn0s.

    Read the other stories at your leisure
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  4. #64
    KingofRome's Avatar Sukauto
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome

    Another Epic update. I have been away for a week and i was missing this story .
    Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer. ~ Barbara Kingsolver

    The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~ Anaïs Nin

  5. #65
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome

    Chapter Eighteen - A Sore Point

    Senator Gaius Patroclus Ovidius’s Villa – August 218BC

    The note had arrived an hour ago. Ovidius had been thunderstruck.

    Manugas had seemed so confident of his men’s abilities, had been so demonstrably effective himself, the way he had dealt with Maximus for instance that the little senator had been convinced that there was no way he could fail. But he had.

    The note had one word stencilled upon it. RUN

    Run. Run where? Wherever he went the fat merchant would find him, already his slaves had come back from the world outside of his villa with horrific stories from all across the Subura.

    Men slain on the streets, corpses springing up all over Roma, the pitched battle that Manugas had carefully planned had gone horribly wrong, Rat Boys were being hunted in the streets by packs of Verres men, and finally a man who had been horribly and viciously mutilated wheeled along the streets of the Subura by laughing men who were firmly in the pay of Aulus.
    In the end the wheel and the man upon it had been sent spinning along the Palatine and had been propped outside his very own villa.

    A final warning, no a promise of what was to come.

    Ovidius had not dared to leave his own home and inspect the ghastly scene that had been described to him. He was sitting in his study in the deep black of night, clinging to hope in the dark, too afraid to even light a single lamp, his sole companion his favourite new slave, the girl from Syracuse, she was sitting on his lap as per usual, normally he would have enjoyed her attentions and more importantly her very evident physical attributes. But not tonight, he had other more pressing concerns.

    So he sat clutching a dagger, willing himself to use it, to open a vein and cheat Aulus men of their prize. To die as a true Roman should, to at last be noble and honourable even if it was at the very end of his miserable existence. There was a problem though, every time he sought to press the dagger against his soft flesh, he failed miserably to persevere. He so wanted to live, to experience the pleasures of his household once more, his women, his wine, and to count his lovely money.

    Surely Manugas would come! He would bring men from his crew and perhaps from what was left of his cell amongst the Rat Boys.

    No. That word again.

    RUN

    He was not coming, he dared not come. Aulus would have him displayed on a wheel next to the Rat Boy outside if he did. No, Ovidius was on his own, no promise of Manugas would help save him. Perhaps it was not too late; after all he was a Senator, he could place himself under the protection of the Lictores. He could bribe them if necessary!

    No, Aulus would have thought of that, he would have paid the Lictores to have quietly got drunk somewhere to avoid the carnage outside. There would be no law and order tonight. There was little enough as it is in Rome after dark on a normal night.

    He had his biggest slaves armed with an assortment of gardening tools and kitchen knives arrayed outside of his study as his last and only line of defence.

    From the other side of the bolted door, Ovidius could hear the voice of Modulus, his most trusted slave, a man who had been with him for years, before even his elevation to the Senate. ‘Master, it seems things have gone quiet, the Lictores have been turned out on the streets, they have re-established order. The men from the Subura have melted away.’

    ‘Are you sure Modulus? Are you quite sure? Have the gangsters gone now, am I safe?!’ Ovidius held his breath, awaiting a reply, had Aulus got it wrong and forgot to bribe the Lictores, or had he been double crossed by the Lictores and they had taken his money and still restored order?

    ‘Yes Master, they have gone. Shall I have your litter prepared for your departure, or should I saddle horses for a longer journey?’ Modulus voice felt familiar, reassuring, safe and trusted. He could already hear Modulus telling the Slaves to go about their business and leave the hallway outside of the study door. Ovidius motioned for the girl to rise, placed his dagger on the desk and crossed the room, he slid the bolt back from the door, and spoke with evident relief, ‘Thank the Gods Modulus; I cannot believe that fat fool forgot to pay off the Lictores.’

    ‘He didn’t’ a voice echoed from beyond the closed door.

    The door crashed open and two huge men entered the room pinning the senator to the wall, ‘Modulus help me, for the Gods sake fetch the rest of the slaves, help me man!’

    ‘Not a chance, you have promised me my freedom a dozen times and broke your word on every occasion. Tonight I have earned my freedom you wretched man.’ Modulus waved a scroll at Ovidius, with a magistrates’ seal upon it. His manumission papers….he must have stolen them from his study and then had Ovidius’s signature forged!

    A small man entered the room, his smile seeming to get wider as he witnessed the senator’s feeble struggles against the two powerful Lictores holding him. The man spoke with an Egyptian accent, turning to the Syracusan slave he spoke, ‘Girl leave the room, join the rest of the slaves in the gardens, Modulus, will you be so kind as to take the young lady there please?’

    ‘Of course Master Set, although I’m very sorry I won’t be here to witness the old man’s last goodbye!’ As Modulus took the girl by the hand she turned and looked at Ovidius with hate filled eyes, she spat at him and then launched a vicious kick at his groin, Modulus grabbed her by the waist and dragged her from the room as she rained curses down on Ovidius’s head.

    ‘Well it seems she did not hold your love making in very high regard Senator. Perhaps I should have handed her my instruments. Perchance it would have been a little more entertaining.’ The Egyptian then crossed over to stand in front of Ovidius and dropped a small cloth bag on the desk behind him that landed with a ringing metallic clang.

    ‘Hmm, can you hold him quite still gentlemen, arms stretched out wide thank you’ the little man first took a dirty looking linen cloth from his bag, and rammed into the Senator’s mouth, he then took a hammer and two large flat topped nails out of the depths of the bag. He delicately placed one nail against Ovidius right palm and with one clean strike drove it through the hand into the wall behind.

    The senator had never felt such pain; he watched screaming into the dirty cloth, as the second nail was then driven neatly with professional precision into his left palm. ‘I do so enjoy my work senator. Master Verres is a very good payer and also a fine student. One day he will become an artist such as myself you know.’

    He dropped the hammer into the bag, and took out a small knife. ‘The trick you see is to remove all the appendages, but to leave the senses alive to the work being wrought on the body, in that way my artistry can be truly appreciated by my canvas. It does make all the difference performing one’s art on a living soul.’

    Set then removed Ovidius fingers slicing neatly through bone and skin, and then in turn he knelt at the feet of the Senator and prized the toes apart with a small metal implement before removing the toes with a mechanical dexterity. Finally he took out a small flail, with iron beads on and scourged the skin…all of the skin. But Ovidius, could not look away, he could not faint, Set kept him conscious, waving a scented cloth under his nose. He could even hear the sound of a Lictore vomiting noisily to his left.

    ‘It’s so hard to find good help these days. Don’t you find senator?’ Then Set went back once more into the bag, bringing out a thin narrow needle like blade, which he inserted it into the most sensitive and personal place on the senator’s body, the place that had given him such joy with the Syracusan slave girl…then the final brutal acts as Set removed the ears, eyes, nose and finally a blade drawn over his throat.

    Ovidius would know no more, but with his last breath he cursed Manugas, not the fat merchant, nor the Egyptian before him, nor the legionaries, nor even the treacherous Modulus…

    That cursed Numidian…he hoped to the Gods the Verres men would find him…
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 13, 2012 at 06:13 AM. Reason: new format
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  6. #66
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 16/4

    Gruesome

    Great update, I'm glad revenge is almost done

    I can only wonder what is going to happen now... and if it will involve 'The Egyptian'

  7. #67
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 16/4

    Yes, pretty gruesome, but Set had to go even further then Aulus did in the last chapter.

    Don't worry that should be the end of the torture scenes for a while
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  8. #68
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 16/4

    Chapter Nineteen - A Parting Kiss

    The docks of Ostia – August 218BC

    Manugas had made good time to the port of Ostia, word had reached him very quickly that his planned ambush of the Verres men had failed miserably. He had sent the very same messenger onto Ovidius with a one word message.

    RUN.

    He had toyed with the idea of not warning the weasel Ovidius, but had thought better of it, after all there was a slight possibility that the traitorous senator could still avoid the murderous clutches of Aulus, and that he could perhaps prove to be useful again, so he had relented and sent the note.

    Not that he thought the senator had much of a chance of escape, after all, the little man had placed a lot of faith in Manugas plans for Lucius Verres, and his future promises of dealing with Numerius and Aulus. If by chance the ambush had of worked Father and Son would have been neutralised, living Aulus alone, the head of the snake ready to be lopped off.

    Manugas knew that he had badly underestimated the fat merchant, a near fatal mistake in fact; in reality he had underestimated all of the odious Verres clan and their pet soldier friends. At least he had had a fast horse waiting for him when the ambush had failed, a precaution that he readily thanked Baal Hammon for. In the end the attack had failed totally… his intense training of his cadre of followers amongst the Rat Boys had proven not good enough, he had not been able to turn the street thugs into half-decent soldiers after all…but at least now he could return to where he belonged, to the side of his General.

    He dismounted from the back of his horse deciding to walk to spare his mount any more punishment, he had pushed the horse hard all morning, he led his tired equine through the streets of Ostia. It was still very early in the morning, with hardly anyone about apart from a few early morning enterprising traders. When he had arrived at the gates to the small town, he had been refused admittance that was until he flashed a few coins before the sentry’s eyes. Most Romans, he had learned would sell their own grandmothers for a couple of small silver coins.

    He had not enjoyed his time in the capital, he would be glad to be away from the coarse Roman tongue and to hear the sweet accent of his own people. Espionage was not really for him, although he had been trained as an agent and always got the basics right, he relished the opportunity of being in open battle again,he had not enjoyed the sneaking about, even if secretly pleased that he was good at it. At least he had managed to ensure that the northern tribes would be stirred up in time for his master’s arrival, which was the key objective that his sponsor had set him.

    He nodded at the odd shopkeeper here or there, they were busy stealing a march on their competitors and mostly ignored him as they were opening to catch the early morning trade provided by merchant captains, men seeking to provision their ships and catch an early tide. He found a hitching post outside a large merchant’s shop, and tied up his mount, gratefully patting its neck; glad the beast had carried him safely away from Rome and the vengeance of the Verres men. He guessed that by now Ovidius would most likely be in their hands, or more likely dead, he would have men on his own trail too no doubt.

    They would be too late though, he had had the Moon Star prepared to sail since the following evening, and the Verres men had been so busy chasing down the last of his Rat Boy followers to track him down. He had been surprised when they had not sought him out that same evening, a mistake on their part. Manugas left the horse behind, giving his nuzzle one last stroke, the horse would make a fine present either for an enterprising thief, or an unscrupulous shopkeeper. Turning down a side street he headed for the docks and was relieved to see the familiar shape of the bireme Moon Star, tied up at the wharf waiting for him. The vessel was a tired looking conversion of a small warship turned into a trading vessel.

    Well that was its appearance to the outside world in any case. Below decks the ship had a reinforced hull, and double the number of a normal crew, the Moon Star was a fighting ship still. He strode towards the vessel, and was waved upon it by the two sailors standing either side of the gangway on the dockside; he nodded his thanks and walked up the gangway jumping down onto the deck. He was immediately greeted by Demetrious, the Moon Star’s Cretan sailing master, ‘Hail Manugas, its good to see you my friend, is your business concluded?’

    ‘Aye, it is Demetrious, are we ready to sail? I will be most pleased to leave this accursed place behind me, you have our destination charted?’ Manugas was keen to be away, he had that feeling at the back of his neck, like when a man watches you from the shadows.

    ‘Yes, to both sir. We are ready to cast off. I have had the crew armed as you instructed, we also took on a few new slaves to bolster the rowing banks.’ The Cretan was a man that Manugas had trusted ever since he had been dropped off by him six months ago to start this very mission. Manugas trusted him for one simple reason, the Cretan hated Romans with every fibre of his being. He had spent three years of his life chained to an oar of a roman warship after being captured as a pirate plying the trade routes off of Taras.

    He had been freed by a Carthaginian Trireme, whose captain had recognised his worth and had made him his own helmsmen. Now he had his own vessel, and a thorough knowledge of the Roman coast that was priceless. ‘Lets be gone then, I don’t want to waste any further time here’, Manugas strode over to the side rail and kept out of the way of the frenzied activity that he knew was to come.

    Demetrious sung out his orders in Greek and all about him sailors rushed to their stations, casting off, raising the ships sail, the starboard side oarsman pushing the ship from shore. Manugas felt calm and more than a little relieved as the ship made easy headway away from its mooring spot and turned to the open sea. With sudden movement from the shore Manugas eyes were drawn back to the docks as a column of men, headed by a small group in legionary armour came galloping along the dockside on sweat lathered horses.

    They had to be the Verres men. Manugas laughed at their timing. There was no way they could catch him, the only other ships tied at the docks were small fishing boats, if they commandeered those, the Moon Star’s ram was take them to the bottom of the ocean. He stared at the men at the head of the column who stared impotently back at him, silently fuming at their bad luck, and their inability to close with their enemy.

    Manugas waved at them, blew them a kiss and then turned on his heel to go and sleep in his cabin. Suddenly he felt very tired.

    {-----------------------}


    ‘Cheeky sod, did you see that, he blew you a kiss Lucius’, Marcianus tried to make light of the situation, they had missed their quarry by a hair’s breath, the ship making easy headway under oars and sail. Inside the Centurion was fuming.

    Lucius slumped on his horse too frustrated to reply. If he and the rest of them had searched for the Numidian last night they may have found him, but no, they were had been too busy feeling sorry for themselves. He knew the information of Manugas’s location had only been extracted that morning, but still he wondered. Could they have found him earlier?

    Bah, it’s too late now anyway.

    ‘Maybe we can take a fishing boat and sail after them?’ Andronicus asked hopefully. The big man shifting uncomfortably on the biggest horse that Aulus could have found for him. He was not a natural horseman by any means.

    Numerius shook his head and pointed at the ever diminishing Moon Star, ‘No, their too fast, plus, if by some miracle we did catch them, they would sink us on that ram of theirs, don’t be too concerned lads. I have a feeling you boys will see him again. Aulus told me this morning that he is certain that Manugas is a Carthaginian.’

    ‘I suggest we return to Rome then, I will need to explain why I and two legionaries did not return to camp last night and how come I have a dead Optio’, Marcianus motioned to the column to turn about and head for Rome.

    As the column of riders trotted back through the town and towards the road to Rome, Lucius thoughts turned to the funeral to come and the completion of their ceremonial duties…if Aulus was right, the tribes would soon be stirred up in the North, which meant action for him.

    Manugas on the other hand would most likely be heading for Spain, so Numerius was wrong, they would not be seeing the Carthaginian any time soon after all…
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 13, 2012 at 08:14 AM. Reason: new format
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  9. #69
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 19/4

    So close

    Great update, although he did get away

    I can't believe he had the cheek to blow him a kiss

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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 19/4

    Cheers Mate,

    It won't be the last that Lucius will see of Manugas...he will return, just like a bad penny

    I'm in two minds at the moment;

    1. To draw the story to a close just after the first battle of the 2nd Punic War, and then start a second Lucius 'Novel' with him throughout the war

    2. Or to keep writing as one massive project. Until either I reach the end of the War (nearly 20 years in length )!, or I give up through natural exhaustion.

    What do you think?
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  11. #71
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 19/4

    This is a choice that only you may make, but choose wisely, lest the peasants revolt against you.

  12. #72
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 19/4

    Ultimately it's your choice, although my preference would be Option 2

    "There's always a 3rd Option."

    "There is?"

    "Yes, but it involves... murder!"

    "Cat!"

    "I'm sorry, you guys all had options, I just wanted to have one too.."
    Sorry one of my favourite lines from 'Cat in the Hat'

    In all seriousness you could do something like this on the first post:


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Table of Contents Tale of Rome

    Volume 1 Volume 1

    Chapter 1

    Chapter 2

    Chapter 3

    (etc. with links)


    Volume 2 Volume 2

    (and then continue when you are ready with the next 'series' in the Story and, add chapter's as they come out)



    This way you are keeping them together, but also showing a clear division in the story, and keeping them separate- does that make sense, almost like the Trinity

    Just another idea (One that would be my favourite )

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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 19/4

    Thanks for the feedback guys. I like your idea SB, I'm just not sure a non-technical old boy like myself could manage it!

    I will give it some serious consideration though
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  14. #74
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 19/4

    Chapter Twenty - Welcome to the family Optio

    Outside the sacred boundary of Rome – August 218BC

    Lucius had been surprised at his Uncle’s actions following the events of the ambush and the deaths of Leo and Quintus. He had been surprised because after Set had embalmed both men, and they had been cremated as tradition dictated, he had insisted that both men were to be placed in the family mausoleum. Leo a former slave, who had become a trusted servant, bodyguard and friend and Quintus a soldier without a family that any man knew of, a man who his Uncle had never even met. Both to be placed in the heart of the family vault, a place of honour that only Aulus could bestow as head of the family.

    As he stood in front of the impressive marble entrance to the sculptured stone mausoleum, Lucius watched the professional mourners and actors moving away, their faces painted in the traditional red, the musicians holding their tuba and cornu across their chests following behind. The mausoleum was yet another sign of Aulus’s growing wealth and the family rising status as a family of note and power. He had had the monument completed three years since, and had moved the remains of the family ancestors in to it.

    The masks of the dead however remained at home, and had in fact been used at the morning’s religious proceedings which were held in the villa as per tradition. The music trailed away with the sound of wailing and hysterical screeches following it. Lucius hated the hysterical performance of it all, he felt enough grief in his heart to not need actors hamming it up all around him. As the professional mourners moved away and stood about two hundred yards up the road, to give the real bereaved a chance to have some time on their own.

    In the end, the others that mattered, Numerius, Marcianus, Andronicus, and Felix had walked a respectable distance away to stand with his Uncle’s bodyguards on the left hand side of the road, leaving Aulus and Lucius alone, each holding a clay jar containing the ashes of a fallen friend. The men of the 4th Century had lined up along the right hand side of the road standing rock solid at attention every man looking at his pristine best. This particular road into Rome always left Lucius with a sense of dread, a road built for the ferrying of the dead after all.

    Stretching into the distance it was lined either side by the mausoleums of the rich and the powerful, the monuments proclaiming the gift of an afterlife that in his weaker moments the young legionary sometimes doubted existed, may the Gods forgive him.

    He looked at his comrades. Each stood ramrod straight, every piece of equipment gleaming and spotless, it was their way of paying their respects to their tough little Optio, there was more emotion on one of their tightly strained faces then all of the paid professional mourners put together. Finally when they were alone Lucius had grasped the chance to ask the question burning on his lips, the one he had been desperate to ask since his Uncle’s announcement that the two men would be interred with the Verres clan.

    ‘Uncle why? Why do you wish to place the ashes of these men in our family vault?’ Lucius looked at Aulus, who was standing next to him, Leo’s ashes in his hands and dressed in a fine toga that would have cost him a fortune, enough to feed a Suburan family for months if not a lifetime.

    ‘A strange time to ask Nephew, but I will humour you. Both of these men paid the ultimate sacrifice in seeking to protect our family. Leo was a good man, a trusted man, that was why I gave him his freedom, and he repaid me with years of unstinting loyalty, he belongs here, with the family he loved.’
    As Aulus had spoke tears had come brimming to his eyes, Lucius was ever surprised by the depth of emotion shown by his Uncle. A man whose rage was all consuming and deadly, but at the same time, to those who he trusted, and that was few men, he held back nothing, and would hold them in the deepest regard, baring his soul to those privileged few. ‘As for Quintus, how could he not deserve a place here? He saved young Felix and probably prevented the Rat Boys ambush from succeeding by sacrificing his life. He gave his life for his comrades and by so doing he saved my Brother and my Nephew, he belongs here. To him I say welcome to the family Optio Quintus.’

    Lucius’s heart felt like it would burst. His Uncle’s turn of phrase was not practiced oratory, learnt at the feet of some aged Greek master, nor the words of the skilled spymaster nor the man who beat politicians at their own manipulative mind games. No, this was genuine.

    Lucius was too choked to speak, he nodded mutely at Aulus, and they walked together into the mausoleum, and placed the jars side by side on an empty marble shelf, inside a simple garlanded laurel wreath. Laurel for the conquering heroes, for the valiant fallen. ‘One day, we will all lay here together Lucius, but until that day, they shall rest here as comrades in arms, waiting for us patiently. It is fitting.’
    They moved together towards the small shrine to the family Gods that nestled in the corner of the mausoleum, dropping to their knees and offering a prayer to Jupiter Optimus Maximus and the pantheon of Gods, which were portrayed in the intricately carved figurines that rested upon the shrine. After a few more moments of silence, Aulus rose to his feet, beckoning Lucius to do the same.

    ‘Come it is time that you joined your Century, and we were about the rest of the day’s business. You cannot keep the Temple of Vesta waiting my boy.’

    As they left the small building, Aulus turned and with the help of Marcus, his new bull-like right hand man, shut the heavy iron door behind him, sliding an external heavy locking bar in place, then turning the key in the door, thus sealing the entrance from pilferers, grave robbers and perhaps the odd Rat Boy follower of Manugas who may have slipped his grasp. Aulus waved a small group of men forward from his bodyguards, Lucius noted that young Felix was leading them, as he neared Aulus gave him the key and spoke softly to him, ‘Felix, I am entrusting you with this key and to guard my family and our comrades, I will send men to relive you at midnight.’

    ‘No one will disturb them Master Aulus, I would rip apart anyone who did!’ there was murmurs of assent from the men around Felix, and Lucius could see the steely determination in the young man’s eyes. Felix and his small coterie of men took their leave of Aulus and stood as silent sentinels in front of the Verres vault. Aulus turned to Lucius and they clasped arms roman fashion, ‘you had best be off my boy, I can see Marcianus is waiting.’

    ‘Thank you Uncle for everything, I may not get a chance to see you again, they have shortened the timescale of our ceremonial duties due to the rising trouble in the North. We have the ceremony today and then we leave for Boii territory again.’

    ‘Then take care my Boy, have you taken leave of your Father?’

    ‘Yes we spoke before the cremation this morning; we are both disappointed, as we had hoped to spend more time together. I suppose there will be other opportunities.’

    Aulus turned walking away back towards the city the, casting a glance over his shoulder he waved farewell, then Lucuis’s father Numerius showed him a rare smile, lifting his arm in acknowledgement, then turned to follow after Aulus, whose bodyguards fell in behind, with the numerous professional mourners and musicians trooping after. Lucius watched as his family walked away, back into the Gates of Rome, sad as he felt to see them leave, he had another type of family now.

    A family of brothers.

    Marcianus stood at the head of the 4th Century, Lucius assumed that he must have rejoined them during the time he spent in the mausoleum with Aulus, the Centurion tapping his vine cane against a greave, impatient to return to the Forum Romanum and to the ceremony in honour of the Temple of Vesta.

    Lucius walked over to his place in the ranks took his weaponry and shield from Andronicus and stood ready to March.

    Marcianus had then peered back down the ranks and balled out ‘Optio Verres, what are you doing their! You should be in the next rank next to the signifier lad!’

    Lucius had looked around at the broad grins that had erupted all around him, the once sombre faces tickled with amusement. He looked at Andronicus; even the big man was trying to suppress a broad smile.

    They had all been in on it…some brothers.
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 13, 2012 at 08:33 AM. Reason: new format
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  15. #75
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 19/4

    Pah! "Non-techincal Old boy" absolute rubbish

    Here is my original TofC, but being shown how you would write it out (The underscores are where there should not be a space):


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    [CENTER_][INDENT_][INDENT_][INDENT_][INDENT_][_FIELDSET2="Table of Contents"][_U][_SIZE="4"][_URL="http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=519136"]Tale of Rome[/URL][/SIZE][/U]

    [_FIELDSET2="Volume 1"][_B][_SIZE="3"]Volume 1[/SIZE][/B]

    [_URL="http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?p=10942571#post10942571"]Chapter 1[/URL]

    [_URL="http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?p=11107998#post11107998"]Chapter 2[/URL]

    [_URL="http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?p=11142916#post11142916"]Chapter 3[/URL]

    (etc. with links)[/FIELDSET2]

    [_FIELDSET2="Volume 2"][B_][_SIZE="3"]Volume 2[/SIZE][/B]

    (and then continue when you are ready with the next 'series' in the Story and, add chapter's as they come out)
    [/FIELDSET2]
    [/FIELDSET2][/INDENT][/INDENT][/INDENT][/INDENT][/CENTER]

    I know it looks confusing, sorry.

    However, if that doesn't take your fancy here is a 'guide' I made for The_King a while back when asked for help on making a Table of Contents:


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Hi

    To make a table of contents... well it's best if I give you an example

    Let's say I had just updated a new chapter, we'll say Chapter 6, and I wanted to add it to my Table of Contents I would simply edit the post which contained the table of contents e.g. for me the first post and type in underneath:

    Chapter 6
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    to make so when you click on it leads you to the named chapter you <IMPORTANT BIT COMING UP> click on the number that is on the right-hand corner of your post. This should open a new window, with the post you clicked on at the top
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    Now you copy the wed address of the new window
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    and go back to the post you're editing. Now select the text you want the link to on, in this case Chapter 6 and click on the 'Insert Link Button'
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    This should cause a pop up window to appear, simply paste the web address of the chosen post in the box
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Save your changes and voila you have a working link to a new chapter. You can then edit it to your hearts content, make it central, change the font and the colour etc. Repeat for each Chapter to make your table of contents, and when you update simply edit the post and do the same again.

    Hope this has helped, and good luck.

    Feel free to ask any questions if my explanation wasn't that clear, I'm not really good at explaining things

    Shankbot12,

    P.S I'm so sorry for the horrendous image editing


    Hope atleast one of them helps Now you have no excuse

    On to the update...

    Bloody hell, my eyes were moist by the end of it. The emotion at that funeral, especially Aulus little speech

    Honestly mate, it was excellent I'm looking forward to seeing what Optio Lucius gets up to now, back in Boii

  16. #76
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 25/4

    Thanks for all the technical help SB, I may give it a try at the weekend, if RL doesn't get in the way!

    Glad you liked the funeral scene, I didn't want to make it too maudlin, so I finished it on an uplifting note
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  17. #77
    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 26/4

    Chapter Twenty One - A Bird in the Hand…

    Outside the Temple of Vesta, the Forum Romanum – August 218BC

    The flaming torches ensconced in stonework walls seemed to light the whole of the irregular sided square, the centre of the greatest city on earth, a square which was comprised of the great public buildings of the Republic. Marcianus senses were assailed from every direction the colours, sounds, smells and the sheer volume of people that were packed into the space was as oppressive as it was impressive. People were even perched precariously on top of walls, on each others shoulders and on statues to long forgotten politicians and soldiers, but never ever on a God’s, that would be blasphemous, and the veteran would have them hauled down and dealt harshly with in an instant.

    The Centurion’s men were lined up in front of him, in a three sided box, closing off the entrance to the temple and forming a stern silent line between the mass of people and the great and the good. An old Etruscan Haruspex, with a young hooded acolyte at his side, was standing with the Senior Vestal on the wooden podium that had been especially built for the occasion; a select audience of the senior figures of Rome sat on temporary wooden seating to their left. The most important worthy at the occasion was Publius Cornelius Scipio, one of the two consuls for the year; the other consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus had already long sailed to Sicily to gainsay any intentions of the Carthaginians to invade the Island, and perhaps even in time launch his own invasion of Africa.

    Marcianus had never been so close to such power, his head almost swam being so close to the one of the two most powerful men in Rome, which meant the world in his eyes and those of most of the people present in the forum. Seated next to the Consul was a young man bearing the same name, Publius Cornelius Scipio the younger, the son of the famous consul. Scipio the Elder had wanted to hold this occasion before he sailed to the Ligurian coast and met the Carthaginian leader Hannibal. Hannibal was known to be force marching his own men over the Pyrenees. Marcianus assumed the consul’s intention was to have his men dig in on the left bank of the Rhone and await the exhausted army of the Punics. The original plan for Scipio to sail to Carthaginian Spain had now been abandoned.

    Looking over the heads of his men arrayed neatly in front of him, Marcianus scanned the crowd for signs of trouble, but there wasn’t any. There was a holiday atmosphere spread around the Forum, people were relaxed, happy even, they had been given free bread and other simple fare from the Republic’s own stores. It seemed that the consul wanted everything to go along swimmingly. Marcianus looked at the second line of the ‘defence’ between him and the people, a line of tough looking, massively built individuals - Lictores.

    All in all the Centurion was satisfied, nothing to be concerned about really, after the past couple of days, the ambush, the death of Quintus, the mad dash to Ostia, the cremations and the funeral devotions, he finally felt at ease. He was actually glad that current orders and events had curtailed the men’s stay in Rome. The 4th Century had had no luck since they had arrived in the eternal city.

    News had filtered in to the Century in the last few hours from the north that the feared revolt by the Insubres and the Boii had finally happened. Which meant the Gauls expected Hannibal and his men to arrive in good time to help them out. Marcianus opinion was that they were deluded. The legions in the north would crush their little revolt, and Hannibal would not make it past Massilia, because he would be trapped on the Rhone. Still he was looking forward to the fight, a proper dust up, not these petty skirmishes they had had lately.

    He looked over at Optio Verres, standing at the other end of the podium, looking around him scanning for signs of trouble, just as his Centurion was. He was sure the young man would make a good leader of men, that was why he chose him, but he did have a wild side, the episode with the axe, which had reminded Marcianus of the actions of a wild Gaul, not a trained legionary had shown that. Still he had time to train the lad; he would knock the impetuousness of youth out of him. He turned to the centre of the podium as Scipio the Elder rose up and walked to the front of the temporary structure, were a small altar had been placed.

    He spread his arms wide and addressed the crowd; actors had been placed at strategic spots in the crowd to relay his words for those out of earshot, ‘good people of Rome. It pleases me to see so many of you here tonight, so many people here to honour the Gods and to show their support and love for the men of Rome as we take our Gladii to the hearts of the enemy, the treacherous Carthaginians.’

    Marcianus had a playful smile on his lips at that one, the people were here for the free handouts, and what little entertainment the night could offer, sure people honoured the Gods, but they honoured a full belly more.

    The consul continued, ‘I have given over seven sacred doves, the same number as our divine hills, these doves symbolise the purity of the Vestals, whose bounty you enjoy tonight, and they will be a fitting sacrifice to our Gods as we seek their approval in the coming battles against our foes.’ At this the consul stepped back and the Haruspex came forward, his acolyte smiled at the old man, and with a flourish removed a cover from a wicker cage containing the doves.

    The young man opened a flap and removed a dove, and gently handed it over to the Haruspex. All the while the Senior Vestal stood in the background, mouthing prayers that the Gods should be merciful and bless the sons of Rome in battle, whilst sparing their people from the unpleasant vicissitudes of war.

    ‘I make this sacrifice to Jupiter Optimus Maximus, may he bless the people of Rome, give wisdom to her leaders and bless her soldiers with a strong sword arm.’ The voice was surprisingly deep that came out of the old priest; Marcianus thought it would not have been out of place on a parade ground.

    The Haruspex held the dove above his head for the people to see, the crowd roared, and then went silent in anticipation of the divination. Marcianus didn’t altogether approve of the adoption of Etruscan dark arts such as Haruspicy, it seemed altogether foreign and un-roman to him, but the people seemed to have taken to the idea, he much preferred the use of an Auger, but he guessed he was just behind the times.

    The old Haruspex held the dove on the altar, and quickly cut its throat with a small dagger, he had magically concealed in his robes, and he then opened the dove’s chest, and drew out the innards. Even from where he was standing Marcianus could see the look on the old man’s face, and it wasn’t encouraging.

    Scipio the Elder had noticed too, he looked at the Haruspex, the Haruspex looked back and subtly shook his head, the consul then nodded it firmly with a hard warning glint in his eyes. The Haruspex understood…

    The old priest stepped forward and raised the blooded dove aloft. ‘People of Rome the omens are favourable, victory will be yours, the consul will bring shame and defeat to your enemies.’ The crowd went wild…..

    {-----------------------}

    The consul had had the forum cleared quickly; Marcianus century had quickly dispersed the crowd with the aid of the Lictores, people chatting merrily as they headed for home or to the nearest inn unaware of anything untoward. The century had returned to the Temple of Vesta, again surrounding the entrance and sealing off its steps from any inquisitive citizens. The Lictores tasked with the job of making sure the surrounding area of the Forum was entirely clear. Marcianus returned to the Podium to find only the Consul and the Haruspex left, at the old man’s feet, the wicker cage was open, and every dove had been slaughtered.

    Each and every bird was infected, its internal organs swollen and bloated, tapeworms in each stomach, the beginnings of maggots taken shape in the larva in each organ, the birds riddled with disease, showing clear signs of the Gods ill favour. Scipio the Elder took one look at the expression on Marcianus face and barked an order at him, ‘Centurion, you and your men leave now for the north, your marching kit will be sent after you. You will tell nobody of this or I will have you on a cross. Do you understand me Centurion Marcianus?’


    ‘I understand very clearly Consul, I will march the men out immediately’, with that Marcianus turned on his heels ready to march his men to the North. The sooner he left Rome the better for his health; he had more chance of survival on a battlefield…
    Last edited by Rex Anglorvm; December 13, 2012 at 08:56 AM. Reason: new format
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  18. #78
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 26/4

    It doesn't sound good...

    I wonder what will meet Marcianus and his men up North - not Hannibal, surely?

    Keep it up, and I'm intrigued to what this 'bad omen' could possibly mean

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    KingofRome's Avatar Sukauto
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 26/4

    I love this always a great read!!!!! Lol this story i =s makeing me install Rome total war again lol.

    Another great update!!!! Keep up he fantastic work!!!!
    Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer. ~ Barbara Kingsolver

    The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~ Anaïs Nin

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    Rex Anglorvm's Avatar Wrinkly Wordsmith
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    Default Re: Tale of Rome - updated 26/4

    Quote Originally Posted by KingofRome View Post
    I love this always a great read!!!!! Lol this story i =s makeing me install Rome total war again lol.

    Another great update!!!! Keep up he fantastic work!!!!
    Thanks KoR, always nice to have positive feedback
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