VII – Romans And Their Toys

It took a few days for me to recover from that little fracas but I was finally on my feet and rarin’ to go. Only problem was, we still had no solid idea what we were up against. That was going to take some up close and personal investigation.

Real close.

For that, an armed invasion was going to be a necessity. Another problem was who to pick for said invasion. After what I’d been through with Smelly Two, no ordinary bunch of Praetorians would be able to survive, let alone attack. I’d need some guys my size or better.

One problem. Guys like me were very hard to find. However, I had a good idea where to look. The Arena.

In my earlier days I’d known some gladiators about my size and strength. The crowds liked them that way. The bigger the better. There were a few Praetorians, Germans and Britains, who also fit the bill. Well, to make a long story very, very short (I’ve always hated long winded explanations), we found our recruits very fast.

Turns out Caesar’s empire shrinkage plan had crowded a lot of legions and auxiliaries in a fairly small, so to speak, amount of territory. Three centuries were put together, about two hundred fifty men, plus officers. The smallest one in the group was six foot two, two hundred fifty pounds. The other guys fondly referred to him as ‘shorty’.

The senior Centurion or Pilus Prior was a friendly sort known as Acteus. It helped that he was six foot six, three hundred some odd pounds. His size, however, didn’t affect his sense of humor. In fact, he turned out to be the practical joker of the group. However, he never let his tomfoolery get in the way of performing his duty. The other Centurions knew him well. Two of them, a Greek known as Philos and and a Roman by the name of Marcus, knew Acteus well and deeply respected him. It also helped that Acteus had been one of my officers during my rebel days.

Armor was another matter entirely. Standard Roman Lorica could be seen at a distance and was really not suitable for our purpose. Cuir bouilli, or boiled leather, was more practical for the mission as it was lighter than it’s metal counterpart, and when blacked, would make us hard to see let alone hit. The rest of the armor was also blacked to match.

Our weapons were the standard ones. The Pilum, or spear,and the short stabbing sword or Gladius. In addition, we all carried long swords which were ideal for soldiers our size.

A round shield was also included for defense. So it was that we had the best of both worlds. A perfect attack and a perfect defense. That concept would soon be soon tested to it’s fullest, with mixed results.

And so the wait before our adventure grew shorter.

Chapter VIII

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 7:02 PM  Comments (1)  

VI – Heal or Heel?

I woke up flat on my back in bed with two old fossils probing my carcass and muttering to themselves in a language I couldn’t understand. Then I realized why. They were the court physicians. I never had been very good at understanding doctorese, but then I never had much to say about doctors anyway. I was primarily familiar with the battle surgeons, butchers that they were.

Anyway, there I was, bruises over half my body and barely conscious. The last thing I remembered was the free for all downstairs and the panicky look on Caesar’s face. As my eyes focused I saw, bending over me, that same face with a look of pure rage.

Yup. I was in real trouble this time.

I smiled weakly and tried to put my best face on, hoping to dodge the real nasty chewing out I knew was on the way. Didn’t work. I never could ignore one of big brother’s tirades. As he opened his mouth to speak, I knew for sure this chewing out would be one of his finest. It went something like this.

Caesar: “What in the @#@$% were you thinking taking on that thing single handed like that!?”

I opened my yap to answer. Didn’t get the chance.

Caesar: “Oh,right! You weren’t thinking at all! Like usual, you just dive in and expect to come out untouched and every inch the hero!”

I tried one more time. Still no luck.

Caesar: “I have half a mind to lock you up and toss the key! At least until we can get this expedition on it’s way! Well . . . what have you to say for yourself?”

One more time. Nope.

Caesar: “Well..don’t just lie there. Say something!”

At this point I had had enough . I sat up and, pinning Caesar with my best glare, finally got my say in.


Caesar must had jumped back at least three feet. The doctors had scampered to a nearby corner while the rest of the room (yeah, everyone was there) flinched and retreated to safety. Court etiquette not withstanding, I finally had the chance to say my say.

“Thanks bro’. Yeah I’m just fine. So good of you to be worried. I’m fairly overwelmed with your brotherly concern.”

Caeasar stood there making faces like a fish out of water. He, after a few moments, answered. He was a lot quieter and more in control of himself by then.

“Uh…sorry about that Varus. I just get driven to distraction every time you pull one of your stunts. Playing hero could get you killed y’know. Then who would I have to yell at? Seriously, how are you feeling?”

I grinned and gave him my best shark smile.

“I’m all right. Definitely better than the thing whose back I broke down below. By the way, did it get the chance to smell up the place before I sent it to hell?”

Caesar smiled and let out with a dry chuckle.

“No. You managed to kill it before it got the chance. There is a lot of that green stuff on the floor however. It doesn’t clean up easily. We had a devil of a time getting the stuff off you. Took a couple of hours and several scrub brushes.”

While this had been going on, I had been testing my limbes to see if any of my strength had returned. I felt pretty good, so I decided to rise and shine. Hated beds anyway. Swinging my legs over the side of the bed, I started to stand up.

Dumb, dumb, dumb idea.

One of the doctors tried to warn me.

“Bad idea sir! You’ve just woken up and we don’t yet know how much you’ve recovered!”

Legs were down and I was ready to face the world. I said so.

“Sheesh what a bunch of worrywarts! I’ll be just fine!”

And so I made to stand on my own two feet. Down I slid to the cold, cold floor.

“Uh . . . could use some help here.”

I was quickly hoisted back on my feet and into bed. Face down.

“Thanks ever so much.” I mumbled into my sheets.

Days later I was back on my feet and stuck with a doosy of a problem. Normal men wouldn’t stand a chance against those things. I was going to have to recruit guys my size and strength level. Problem was, there weren’t too many my size in the empire. I’d have to solve that problem, and many others, fast, as time was running out.

Chapter VII

Published in: on April 4, 2010 at 12:25 PM  Leave a Comment