XXXIX – Romans, Mutts, Pups And Sarai

Dear Journal:

It had been some time since the Egyptian meeting, and things had settled down, somewhat. Egypt had ageed to a mutual defense pact, and the new Pharaoh was almost obscenely grateful to me for recommending him for his new position.

News from the north was encouraging. The legions in Britannia, Germania, and the northern half of Gaul were set to come home, and they were bringing thousands of Romanized Britons, Gaels, and Germans with them. That would really be a sight to see. Wish I could be there.

We had decided to keep Hispania, for now, as a buffer against Africa. And so it went. Almost everything was running smoothly and on schedule. I said ALMOST.

I was still worried sick about Brother and his mission. We hadn’t heard from him in a while, and I was deathly afraid that Brother, Tiny, and their legion had suffered the same fate as the other missing legions. What happened next caught me totally by surprise.

The Tribune, Senator, the Lady, and myself were sitting on one of the palace balconies, enjoying the early morning sun. All six Mutts and Pups were grouped around us, mumbling to each other or asleep. It was peaceful and, almost, idyllic. However, my luck was about to run true.

As I said, we were sitting and relaxing, when all six canines bolted upright and stared at the door. At the same instant, the air was rent by a titanic RUFF!!! I swear, all of us jumped six feet straight up.

There, bigger than life, stood Brother and Tiny. Our joy was immeasurable, and our surprise and curiousity were just as great. Both would have to wait, however, as Brother and Tiny had an even bigger surprise for us.

Grinning a razor grin, Tiny moved aside to reveal someone behind him. It was another wrinkly Mutt. But what a Mutt! It was only slightly smaller than Tiny and the whitest white I had ever seen.

Brother began to explain. The Mutt’s name was Sarai, and she had been instrumental in rescuing the trapped legions. Yes the mission had been a success. How was later explained.

Meanwhile, Mutts, Pups, and Romans gathered together for a back slapping, joyous reunion. It seems that Brother had hushed everyone up to pull his surprise. I appreciated his humor, but I quietly pulled the Tribune aside and told him to have a long talk with his officers. No one should be able to sneak up on me; not even Brother.

But, back to Sarai. She had been part of the Judean contingent coming to Rome with the legions. Where she originated from, no one was sure, except that Sarai had belonged to a minor noble. How she got into the recalled group, nobody knew. Good thing she did, though.

As I have said, Sarai was slightly smaller than Tiny, which still made her a Titan. Beneath her wrinkles was a calm look, capped off with a small, enigmatic smile that she usually wore. The smile gave her an air of mystery, which seemed to say she had a private secret. That Sarai was totally devoted to Tiny was obvious. She never left his side, and cuddled whenever possible. It was also observed that, when Tiny and Sarai touched noses, Sarai’s eyes would briefly glow. Welcome another Mutt to the family.

As for Tiny, he was definitely leaner and, if possible, slightly larger. He seemed to have grown up on his first campaign. Also, his mind seemed quicker and more agile. Oh, he was still a bit slow and just as playful, but he seemed more reserved than before. Well, whatever the reason, we were all just glad to have them home.

Chapter XL

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Published in: on November 29, 2009 at 7:55 PM  Comments (1)  
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XXXVIII – Roman Legions Went . . . Where?!

Dear Journal:

Well . . . we lost them . . . someplace.

What am I blathering about? Remember the legions that were recalled from the former Eastern Provinces? Well, the whole mob, ten legions, vanished into a mammoth fog bank on their way to Thrace. Now, fog is fairly normal around the coasts, but this mist was a monster in size, and wouldn’t go away. Go figure.

These legions were at full strength, six thousand men each, including auxiliaries and those foreign troops that had decided to become Romans. So, for the first time in Roman history, sixty thousand trained legionaires, and allies, vanished without a trace. To make matters even worse, if possible, search parties from Thrace had gone out, only to disappear as well.

I wasn’t tremendously amused, or pleased, by the information. One reason was that the nasty news was delivered while I was sound asleep. Now, I usually sleep about six hours a day, and spend my waking hours at my job. Governing an empire. Thus, when I do sleep, I don’t want to be disturbed, as that throws off my stride for the rest of the day.

I was snuggled down in a deep sleep, the three Mutts in their usual places around me, when a breathless Chamberlain woke me up with the news. The Mutts promply woke up, glaring at the messenger, and grumbling their annoyance.

The second reason for my displeasure had to deal with the fact that my credibility had just been compromised. No leader in the history of Rome had misplaced so many men at one time. If the public found out about this little disaster, my competence as Caesar would be questioned. My political enemies would seize the opportunity to try and force me out, and my plans for revitalizing Rome would be killed in infancy. That I could not allow!

Thus it was that, two hours later, a glum and sleepy eyed group had assembled in my study to assess the situation. The Lady, the old Senator, and Brother were all present, and their moods were as sour as mine. Tiny and his sisters had been sound asleep when we all came in, and they were mumbling and shaking their heads in sleepy confusion.

This is how the discussion went:

Lady – “How can a trained army get lost in a blasted fog?!”

Senator – “Slow down, missy! That fog isn’t average. Believe me, I should know. I’ve seen plenty of ’em in my time.”

Lady – “So you’ve said. Constantly.”

Senator – “Look lady! I’ve been around a lot longer than you . . . . !”

Me – “Knock it off, you two!! Brother? Any ideas?”

Brother – “Yup! I go there and get them out. I’ll take one legion and straighten out this mess!”

Me – “And . . . what if we lose you too?”

Brother – “Won’t happen! I need to be around to drive you crazy. Fairly easy, actually.”

Me – “Very funny!! I don’t like your idea, but I can’t see any way around it. Very well. Rescue them, and do it quickly! We don’t need this to endanger our work!”

Brother stood up and headed for the door, only to be blocked by a fully dressed Tiny. No way was Legion Mutt letting Brother out of that room alone! Wherever Brother turned, Tiny was blocking him.

GRRR . . . RUFF!!!

I watched and grinned. “Looks like you’ll have to take Tiny with you. Besides, I think you’re going to need Tiny’s canine nose to sniff out those legions.”

Brother sighed and nodded his head. “Very well, Tiny. You can come too!”

At that news, Tiny started wriggling and wagging his tail.

So it was that, a day later, Brother, Tiny, and six thousand Romans went in search of their lost brothers. Jupiter knows how this was going to turn out.

Chapter XXXIX

Published in: on November 25, 2009 at 8:28 PM  Comments (1)  
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XXXVII – Roman Mutt And A New Look

Dear Journal:

Some time had passed since the hallway free-for-all, and Brother and Tiny had become joined at the hip. Wherever one was, the other was always around. So it was that the day came when Brother gave Tiny his special gift.

When Brother arrived, Mighty Mutt was playing with his family, romping through the palace in a furious game of ‘chase and catch’. At that particular moment, Tiny was doing the chasing, going from room to room as he hunted his hiding kin. Behind furniture and around corners lurked wrinkly shadows that moved away when Tiny got too close.

Also, unknown to Tiny, a squad made up of Mutts One, Two, and Three was sneaking up behind him. When they had gotten within inches of their prey, they looked at each other, grinned toothy grins, and spoke.

WUUFFF!!!!

Tiny yipped and jumped about ten feet in the air. The Mutts snickered and disappeared around a nearby corner. As the rattled Tiny whirled around to investigate, Pups One, Two, and Three snuck up and did the same thing as their parents.

WUUUFFFF!!!

With an even louder YIP!!, Tiny was, once again, hugging the nearest pillar. Off dashed the Pups, leaving a confused and rattled Tiny to try and figure out what was going on. As Tiny trotted over to check behind a nearby chair, both squads of Mutts and Pups crept up one more time.

WWUUUFFFF!!!! With yet another yip, and a roar, the embattled titan spun around to confront his attackers. There they sat. Six wrinklies, grinning and mumbling their satisfaction at a job well done.

It was at this moment that Brother intervened. Chuckling, he scritched Tiny behind one ear in an effort to sooth his mutt’s rattled nerves. Then, from behind his back, Brother brought out Tiny’s present.

It was a helmet with a red crest. Tiny stared at it, sniffed it, and then, stuck his head in it. It fit perfectly. It should have, since Brother had made it himself and knew Tiny’s head size. Tiny also found out that, if he lowered his head to the floor, he could slide the helmet off. So it was that Tiny spent the next few minutes putting on and taking off his new hat ’till he had gotten pretty good at it.

But the surprises weren’t over yet, as Brother produced Tiny’s second gift. It was a massive metal collar (gorget) with Tiny’s name engraved in large script. Tiny practically gurgled with joy. Sitting there, wearing his helmet and collar, Tiny was ready for any situation that might arise. He had joined the Legions.

Chapter XXXVIII

Published in: on November 22, 2009 at 8:47 PM  Comments (1)  
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XXXVI – The Roman, Brother, Tiny And Jerusalem

Dear Journal:

I thought that I’d seen everything in my long life, until I watched Brother and Tiny play. I really shouldn’t have been too surprised at the idea. After all, Brother was the biggest Roman I had ever known, weighing over three hundred pounds and about six feet six inches tall. All of that mass being solid muscle.

Tiny, without a doubt, was the biggest dog in Rome, weighing in about the same as Brother (give or take a ton) and the size of a small horse. The two of them had been drawn to each other by mutual needs. For them, the world around them was too fragile and a little undersized.

Both Brother and Tiny were throwbacks to the age of the Titans. Remnants of a legendary past. So, the two of them could roughouse with each other as much, and as hard, as they liked without either of them being seriously injured. The furniture and masonry usually weren’t as fortunate.

One fine day I was sitting in a windowed alcove (enjoying a moment’s peace and taking in the sun), when down the hallway strode my brother, heading in my direction. He didn’t make it. Behind him padded a wrinkly behemoth, trying to be very quiet so as to stage an ambush.

The problem with Tiny sneaking up on anyone was manifold. Tiny’s feet were quiet. Tiny wasn’t. He mumbled and rumbled, breathing like a bellows. Also, Tiny wasn’t used to being sneaky.

Normally, he would just overawe anyone or anything he wanted to impress. So it was that Brother, apparently, knew Tiny was there all along. Suddenly whirling around, Brother stretched out his arms and yelled “BOOO!!!”. Tiny let out a loud “MEEP!!”, slamming to a stop, and scrunching up to about half his normal length.

I’d never seen Tiny surprised like that before. It was definitely a novel experience. Then I saw Tiny’s razor sharp smile. It was all part of their game. With a hall shaking roar, Tiny leaped at Brother, knocking him flat against the floor. Straddling his downed prey, the Mighty Mutt of Rome began to slurp Brother into submission.

Laughing, and trying to dodge that monsterous tongue, Brother began to tickle Tiny in the ribs. The mammoth mutt started giggling and fell over sideways. Brother then began to rub Tiny’s tummy, while Tiny rumbled with pleasure. After a few minutes of further play, the two Titans stood up and headed back in my direction. So much for ‘gentle’ play.

The reason Brother was coming to see me was quickly explained. Per my orders, the Legions had pulled out of Judea as well as most of the other eastern provinces. The former governor of Judea, it seems, couldn’t resist a final verbal shot at the people he was leaving behind.

As his troops marched out of Jerusalem, the governor turned in his saddle, looking back at his former subjects, and said, “See ya’! Wouldn’t wanna’ be ya’!”.

So much for Patrician humor. So it was that the legions began to return home and my headache got much worse. Only time would tell if my plan was a success or a catastrophic mistake. Anybody want my job?

Chapter XXXVII

Published in: on November 19, 2009 at 12:30 AM  Comments (1)  
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XXXV – Roman Hallways, Tiny, And A Wall

(Tiny slumbers happily in his heavily cushioned corner. His sisters are snuggled up against him and all is well. Or is it?

Scene: Spartacus has been defeated, and the Romans are trying to figure out which one of the survivors IS Spartacus. All of the slaves stand up, one at a time, to declare themselves the rebel leader. Suddenly, in the midst of the mob, a huge, wrinkly beast, in dented gladiator gear, makes himself known.

Tiny – “RI’m Rarticus!”

The Roman doing the questioning gapes and shakes his head.

Roman – “No you’re not! You’re a dog in armor!”

Tiny – “RI’m Rarticus!!”

Roman – “No you’re not!”

Tiny edging closer – “Uh huh!”

Nervous Roman – “You can’t be!”

Tiny, in front of VERY nervous Roman – “Ram Roo!!!”

Roman – “Nope. Not Poss….”

Tiny – “RUFF!!! SNARL!!!”

Terrified Roman – “HI THERE, SPARTACUS!!! Gee, didn’t recognize you in the fur coat! How’s the missus and the kids!?”

Tiny giggles in his sleep.)

Dear Journal:

Well . . . the Senate was less than happy with the reorganization plan. In fact, the attempt was my first major setback since becoming Caesar. I immediately left the room and tabled the reorganization for another day. I could afford to wait as long as necessary to win THIS arguement. And I WOULD win!

Meanwhile, the Wrinkly family had moved on to one of their favorite sports. Hallway cushion racing. Down their favorite hallway whizzed the Mutts and Pups, all having a grand old time of it.

Except Tiny.

It should be noted that, although Tiny was big, fast, powerful, and nearly unbreakable, he was a little slow upstairs. Oh, he was as intelligent as the rest of his family; it just took a bit longer for him to digest information.

Whatever the reason, the big lug was sitting off to the side of the raceway, staring at his oversized, custom cushion. Tiny was totally perplexed as to what to do with that cushion. He would mumble, tilting his head to one side, then the other. He sniffed it. Pawed at it. Pushed it, and whimpered.

One of the cushion placers (the Tribune had reassigned the job to his team when he got promoted) saw Tiny’s confusion and rushed over to help. Picking up Tiny’s cushion, the fellow walked to the launch area, Tiny ambling after. Using a form of sign language, the fellow attempted to explain the mechanics of cushion racing.

Tiny watched the others play for a minute or two, and then, it happened. The light of comprehension flashed in Tiny’s eyes. He dragged his cushion to the starting point, backed up, and lunged. He hit the cushion perfectly and shot down the raceway.

WHOOOOSH!!!! RUUUUUFFFF!!

Note here. Never have a wooden wall in front of Tiny when he’s traveling at high speed. The end of the hallway had a wooden wall, unlike the rest of the palace. It had, apparently, been overlooked in the numerous renovations done over the years. It was the case of the irresistable force smashing into the, supposedly, immovable, object.

Tiny, unable to slow down or stop due to his mass and speed, hit that wall head on. And kept going. There was an explosion of wood chips and flying debris as the whole wall disappeared. Moments later, a confused Tiny peeked back through the massive opening he had left behind.

Ruff?

I figured we had better build a new, stone wall, before the races continued. At least my mutts were having fun.

Chapter XXXVI

Published in: on November 15, 2009 at 10:46 PM  Leave a Comment  
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XXXIV – Roman CPR

Dear Journal:

Well, the mob arrived with due haste.

First in came the Mutts and Pups (the original three are referred to as Mutts, while their offspring are referred to as Pups, even though the Pups are full grown at this point; Tiny is just Tiny) led by Tiny. The Pups, and Tiny, headed for a cushioned corner, where they curled up and went to sleep. That is, the Pups used Tiny as a huge pillow. He didn’t seem to mind though. The Mutts ambled over to my chair and settled down in their usual spots.

Next came the Lady, followed by little Brother (henceforth known simply as ‘Brother’), the Senator, and the Tribune. Everyone poured themselves some wine, took their seats, and the debate commenced. This was going to be a lively discussion.

The old fart spoke first. “You’re out of your mind Caesar. Right? Please tell us this scheme of yours is minor brain fever that will cure itself?”

“No.” I replied. “I had brain fever when I took this job in the first place. Remember – you all cheered the idea of turning a simple fishmonger into Caesar. Now, pay the price.”

Chuckles were heard all around. Brother spoke up at that point.

“Umm… you do know the military problems of this plan, don’t you? Counting reserves and conscripts, I have roughly sixty thousand men available to fight. And that’s stretching resources to the limit. If the rest of the legions decide to contest your plan, we could get really hurt. Run over, in fact.”

I looked him eye to eye. “Let me see if have this correct. Rome is the largest, most populous city in the known world, with one and a half million people settled here. Sixty thousand is incredibly small compared to those numbers. There must be retired legionaires available, as well as young men anxious to fight. Raise those numbers to one hundred thousand men.”

Brother glared at me. “That’s gonna’ be a little tough to do, but I’ll get you your one hundred thousand….somehow.”

I smiled at him. “Look. I’m not trying to be a hard ass here, but the citizens of Rome better start fighting for Rome. They are going to have to develope a sense of civic responsibility and pride if this plan is going to work. Otherwise, they’ll just say ‘Hail Caesar’ to the next fool stupid or corrupt enough to take this job. Also, to sweeten the pot, and make your job easier, I’m doubling Legion pay only to those legions at Rome, and giving bonuses to any citizen who will fight to protect their city. The legions returning home will have to earn that pay boost by switching to our side.”

Brother nodded his head. “Y’know….that just might work at that.”

Lady was the next to speak. Looking slowly around the room, she finally fastened her gaze on me. “The nobles may not go for your downsizing plan. No profit in it.”

I stared right back at her. “Why won’t it work? The Provinces we’ll be disposing of are already a financial and military drain on the Empire. The Nobility should see profit, since they won’t have to finance legions to hold nonproductive provinces. Plus, with a smaller empire, we can pay off the mercenaries and foreign conscripts and send them on their way. More money for Rome.”

The Lady smiled. “A bit simplistic in theory, but it might work. You may have to make examples of the few dissenters, though.”

I shook my head. “No. No killing unless there’s a revolt. The Nobles have to feel safe enough to voice dissent. That’s how a Republic works. I just have to work past the troublemakers.”

Next, I turned to the Tribune. “I’m officially giving you command of the Praetorian Guard, answerable to no one else except the Senate, and myself.”

The Tribune, for once, was at a loss for words. he stammered and stuttered a thank you, and then lapsed into an embarrassed silence.

I gently laughed. “You’ve earned it. You might work on your oratory ability though. Stammering commands won’t work very well in the thick of things.”

The Tribune smiled and nodded.

I turned my attention to the group as a whole. Taking a deep breath, I outlined my plan for the new Roman government. “The way I see it, we’re going to have to use a variation of the old republican system.”

The plan was outlined as follows: Two Proconsuls would make up the top level, to handle Empire business. Three Consuls at the next level would govern the City, and aide the Proconsuls as required. The Senate would be next, to represent the citizens of Rome. Magistrates would be chosen from Senate ranks on a rotating system, So every Senator would have to be up on Roman law. The Military would be next in rank, charged with protecting Rome and the Empire. They would answer to the Senate.

The old Senator spoke up again at this point. “You’re really looking to start a civil war, aren’t ye sonny?!”

“Gods, I hope not! Remember, this is not going to be easy. Rome is comotose. We have to wake her up.” I glanced around the room at my co-conspirators. Not a peep. “Okay then! Let’s go talk to the Senate!”

Chapter XXXV

Published in: on November 12, 2009 at 2:04 AM  Comments (1)  
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XXXIII – Rome’s History Lesson

Dear Journal:

Several weeks had gone by and I was up to my crown in historical research. Rome’s present condition just didn’t add up. How could a free system like the Republic have warped itself into the nearly totalitarian Empire?

The answer I was seeking lay somewhere in Rome’s past. So there I searched. The central archives of Rome had all of the Senatorial writings and decisions since the Republic’s founding. Surely, there must be something in those records that would light my way.

It was the Lady who found my answer. One busy morning, she walked in and dropped a parchment on my desk.

“I think you’ll find this most interesting, Caesar.”

I unrolled the scroll and glanced over the text. My jaw dropped and my hands shook as I stared at the reason for most of Rome’s, and my, present troubles.

The record said thus: In the autumn of 68 B.C. the Roman port of Ostia was attacked and set on fire by pirates. The Consular war fleet was destroyed and two Senators, with their staffs and bodyguards, were kidnapped. The Senate, instead of being rational about the incident, panicked. The Roman general, Pompey, took advantage of the chaos to further his own ambitions. In 67 B.C., Pompey put before the Senate a bill known as the ‘Lex Gabinia’ which would have given Pompey absolute military authority over Rome. Indefinitely.

By declaring any dissent as “Traitorous”, Pompey managed to smash his way through any Senate opposition to get the act passed. Illegally. In one deft stroke, Pompey assumed nearly absolute power over most of the Roman world. In three month’s time, he swept the Mediterranean Sea clear of the pirates, but did Pompey do the just thing and relinquish his power?

Nope.

When Julius Caesar defeated Pompey ten years later, he just continued on where Pompey had left off. The Republic was effectively dead. By the time Octavian had defeated Marc Antony, the way had been paved for Octavian to become Augustus Caesar, Rome’s first Emperor.

So there it was. Blind ambition. Again.

I needed to mull this over and see if the trend of nearly three hundred years could be reversed. The ‘Pax Romana’ had to end. Several Emperors had tried to reverse the situation much to their personal detriment, however, I had to succeed or there would be no more Rome. So thinking, I summoned the Lady, the Old Senator, Little Brother, and the Tribune to my study.

With this select group, I would do what Pompey had done, only in reverse. The Senate and people of Rome would get back their stolen government and their freedom. The trick was, how to accomplish the change without inciting a civil war. I never could do anything the easy way.

Chapter XXXIV

Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 1:22 AM  Comments (1)  
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XXXII – Roman’s Giganto Mutt

Dear Journal:

The births of Mutt Three’s pups was a rousing success. With the other Mutts gathered around and myself, the Lady, and the vet present, it was a homey little scene. Four pups arrived in due course.

Three females and one male. The girls were two black and one tan. The boy was tan with black markings, including a black mask around the eyes.

The boy pup was also unusual in other ways.

One was size. He was born slightly larger than the others, which, normally, would not have aroused much curiousity, except for the other differences.

Where the other pups were soft, cute, and cuddly, he was cute, cuddly, and muscular. Very little baby fat. He learned how to walk first with a slightly bow legged amble that spoke of massive things to come.

When the pups first spoke, there were three yips in succesion, followed by silence. Boy pup looked at his sisters, looked at us, and spoke.

Ruff!!

Waitaminute! Ruff?

This kid was a little different than the others when it was mealtime as well. He would wait until the other pups fed off mommy, then dive right in. He had to be careful not to bite, as he had more developed teeth than his sisters.

Another thing. His eyes had a feeble, intermittant glow to them that gave off an eery light at night. As soon as the pups were born, Mutt Three came out of her shocked state, and her eyes stopped glowing.

Wuff!!? was all she said as One and Two inspected the pups. It appeared that boy pup now had his mother’s strange energy. Didn’t seem to bother him in the least. In fact, he seemed to benefit from it.

As the months went by, the pups grew at a normal rate. Except for junior. He didn’t grow, he mushroomed. By the time the pups were halfway grown, junior was the size of the Mutts, and still growing. When he reached maturity, he was a third larger than anyone in his family, and his amble had turned into a slow, distance consuming trot.

At that point, I decided to name him ‘Tiny’. Tiny smiled with great distinction, showing off razor sharp, double rows of teeth. His body hair was courser than the others, and somewhat thicker. He even had a tiny goatee adorning his massive chin.

He was as wrinkly as the others, but if you looked closer, you could see the massive slabs of muscle rippling under the skin. Yup. Tiny was definitely different. How different we would learn as time wore on.

Chapter XXXIII

Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 11:12 PM  Leave a Comment  
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XXXI – Roman Holiday And Shocked Mutt

Dear Journal:

Mutts!

I love all three of those wrinkly clowns dearly, but, sometimes they do something that makes me want to pull my hair out. That was the case on one particular bright summer’s day. The Lady, some advisors (they stuck to me like glue . . . or parasites), and two of the Mutts (Mutt Three had left with the Tribune; no doubt to look at all the pretty, sparkly things in the sub basement) were with me, enjoying the morning breeze and just relaxing, for a change.

Small talk about nothing in particular was bantered back and forth. We had been spending most of our waking hours on the reorganization plan, trying to figure out which countries to cut loose. Not an easy task to be sure. Everyone had personal or economic interests somewhere. Thus the day off.

I had ordered a day of no politics, no Imperial business, no squabbling over anything. Just recuperation.

It was during this lazy, summer morning that Mutt Three pulled her stupid. The Tribune came tearing onto the patio, breathless and yammering nonsensibly about what we couldn’t figure out. Then entered Mutt Three.

She was ambling in a stagger pattern that, more or less, got her where she was going.
Her fur was slightly singed and ruffled, and her eyes were a little glazed. To the frantic enquiries of the other mutts, all she could say was ‘urf . urf . . .’. She even appeared to be mumbling her little doggie tune backwards, as far as I could tell.

I looked at the Tribune, who looked as if he was about to have kittens, and quietly, but forcefully, demanded to know why my dog looked slightly roasted. Between gulps of wine, handed to him by the Lady, the Tribune commenced his explanation.

It seems that Mutt Three had decided to help with the audit of the loot downstairs. While the Tribune supervised the auditors, Three went around sniffing and poking at various and sundry objects. That was, until she poked at the nasty, gold box.

The second her nose touched the side of that thing, the box glowed and a fat, blue flash jumped from the box to Three. The mutt was thrown halfway across the room, ending up against a far wall, upside down. Aside from the effects previously mentioned, she seemed to be alright.

With one other exception. Her eyes tended to glow intermittently.

I summoned the palace vet, who looked over Three very carefully, and pronounced that she only seemed to be in shock, which she should recover from with no ill effects. He then told us some other surprising news.

Remember her little doggie tune? Well, the vet announced that Three was preggers, and about to give birth fairly soon. Pregnant!? When did that happen, and with whom? I looked over at the other Mutts, and One was grinning from ear to ear. Well, that answered my question. It looked like there would be more wrinkly mouths to feed. And that, fairly soon. Some day off!

Chapter XXXII

Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 12:00 AM  Comments (1)  
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