XIII – Part II Of A Roman’s Fun Day

Dear Journal:

Lunch wasn’t too bad, what little of it I kept for myself. I guess I’m just not used to fancy food all the time, having eaten common fair all of my life. After eating, I was just settling back down to a nice afternoon snooze, when there was a commotion at my front door. My servants came scurrying in accompanied by an old acquaintance. It was the noble lady to whom I had sold my best fish to over the years.

When I had last seen her, she had been middle-aged and still rather lovely. Now she was older, with a gaunt hardness, and her visage revealing her iron will. A formidible matron indeed! The lady stood about five foot six inches to my five foot eight, but, in her presence, I had the peculiar sensation of looking up at her. When she spoke, her words were concise and to the point, with just a touch of sardonic irony. In short, I could never be absolutely sure when she was pulling my leg.

Dismissing the servants with a wave, she settled into a chair opposite mine, and stared at me long and hard.

“Well fish monger, I see you’ve moved up in the world.”

I nodded my head and was about to reply, when she continued. “I hear you’re not too happy with your new lifestyle. Come man! Don’t you know when you’ve made it to the top?”

Made it to the top!? Why of all the….! She laughed and patted me on the arm.

“Finally got you to talk. Relax. I’m not here to mock, but to help, and, believe me, you need help! Our Emperor has a somewhat twisted sense of humor, as you’ve probably noticed. Particularly since you’re the butt of his latest twisted joke. A clever man, our Ceasar. He puts those whom he sees as a threat as close to him as possible. That way he can watch them and deal with any troublesome problems that might arise. Did you know that you’re not the only one in your situation?” I shook my head to the negative. “Indeed! There are four other unfortunate souls on this hill as well. It’s a game, you see. Ceasar has bets going on which one of you will crack first. Right now, you’re the front runner. That’s why I’m here. I’m going to teach you how to be a Patrician. You will live and sleep as a Noble. You see, you four are not the only ones involved in this game. Some of us have been targeted for elimination as well. However, Ceasar has to move carefully, since some of us, like myself, come from old, established families. Can’t be to indiscriminate about killing us off. Might invite reprisals.”

I looked at her and asked the obvious question. She smiled a wintery smile.

“Why you? Simple fish monger. You are the brother of a condemned traitor. A traitor, incidentally, who escaped with several other prisoners and is hiding in the north.”

I sat there, stunned into silence. My little brother…escaped? Before I could ask the thousands of questions I wanted to, she held up her hand for silence.

“It seems your brother has become a large thorn in the Emperor’s posterior. Not only did he escape (embarrassment enough), but he has managed to rally many to him. He raids the caravans heading north, freeing slaves and taking everything of worth ’till now he is well armed and provisioned. His band has swollen into an army, and Ceasar fears an eventual attack on Rome itself. He has you as a bargaining chip, if the need arises.”

Shades of Spartacus! Little brother was making good! Never mind that his actions were placing my head in a noose. Still, he couldn’t know of my plight. The Lady looked at me and spoke.

“So you see, you are necessary to our survival. If you live, we have a weapon against Ceasar. So you WILL live.”

Chapter XIV

Published in: on September 2, 2009 at 5:47 PM  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Now, who’s this lady? I want to know more about her.

    • It will be revealed as the plot moves forward. To say anything more would be a spoiler.

      But she is rather, um, charming, isn’t she?

  2. Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

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