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Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » Story Archives » The Silk Road - A Story of Ancient Rome
Topic Subject:The Silk Road - A Story of Ancient Rome
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Civis Romanus
posted 02-11-01 00:19 ET (US)         
A Story of Ancient Rome in the time of Caesar Marcus Aurelius

TYPE (Genre): Epic Fantasy/Adventure. TONE: Drama/Comedy (nothing silly)
STYLE: Highly Descriptive. Rich Characterizations.
VOICE: 3rd Person Narrative w/Dialogue.
CONSTRUCTION: Multi-paragraph encouraged. No limit on post size.

CIVIS ROMANUS: 30ish Chief Military Advisor to Caesar. Master swordsman. Brown hair, blue eyes, medium heighth and build. Spouse of Apolita. Father of Apollonia and Civis the Younger. (Civis Romanus)
GAIUS ACCIPITER: Immortal Angel with sensitivity to humans. Tall with green eyes that flash hues of blue, gold or red when using personal powers. (Jayhawk)
MAGANHARD: Visigoth warrior, 6 ft., with sandy colored hair. Ice-blue eyes. Shaggy beard. Unkept appearance. Appeared in Damascus. (Benson)
MARCUS HORATIUS: 21 year old legionnaire. Cohort leader. Clara's merchant father demands excessive dowry. Joined travellers in Syracusae. (Caesar Alan)
RADKO: Stablemaster on Civis' villa. (Nutmegger)
ROULV DANIA: Runaway Christian slave of nordic descent. Appeared in Tyre. (Proconsul Creaticus Dania)
SEPTIMUS ODYSSEUS: Moderate heighth, grey haired young man of mixed Ch'in heritage. Apprentice magician who carries similar yellow medallion as Sin Ying. Joined expedition in Tyre. (Cyber Paladin)
SIN YING: Orphaned oriental girl in Rome with vague memories of homeland but no other recollection. (Jaguar)
TITUS TARQUINTIUS: 21 year old Tribune. Brown hair, brown eyes, olive complexion. Assigned by Caesar to accompany Civis on his mission. (Micah Aragorn)

APOLITA: Spouse of Civis Romanus. Celtic girl educated as a Roman on the Isle of Celtia. Thick auburn-colored hair and hazel eyes. A few years younger than Civis. (Civis Romanus)
APOLLONIA: 10 year old daughter of Civis Romanus and Apolita. Favors mother in appearance. (Civis Romanus)
CIVIS THE YOUNGER: "Civi" is the 7 yr. old son of Civis Romanus and Apolita. Favors father in appearance. (Civis Romanus)
CRASSUS: Former Roman legionaire and Cohort Leader in Damascus. Fled into Parthia following failure of conspiracy to assassinate Civis.
OSROES: Seleucid Parthian rebel leader.
VOLOGEZES IV: King of Parthia in the time of Marcus Aurelius.

Please do not use this thread for plot discussions or other communication among authors. Please conduct these activities in this DISCUSSION THREAD.


[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 09-22-2001 @ 02:46 PM).]

Proconsul Creaticus Dania
posted 03-01-01 05:34 ET (US)     51 / 295       
The same evening in Tyre:

Roulv, or Dania as people called him, was sitting alone in the small room playing with the small fish he had hanging around his neck. The room had a single window and a simple wooden door that let the wind pass when it was in the Southeast. Outside a few birds sitting in the trees were singing in the dim light while sundown was getting real close.

It was rare that a slave not being the Head of Slaves had his own room (in this case actually a small shed), but his master Publius Inventius Trifer who was a rich and generous trader specialized in wine, oliveoil and spices had referred him to this room. Actually he had been more then lucky as he could as well had been sold to someone less pleasent than his master...

His thoughts started wandering back in time, everything had started about 6 years ago when he had been taken captive by the Goths when he himself and about 50 other men from his own and some neighbouring villages had been on a raid to the south. At that time he had been about 24 years old, strong and very talented with his bow.

The Goths had treated him well because of his skills with a bow and made him swear loyalty to the local Chief and enrolled him among their warriors. Then about 4 years ago he and several other warriors was send southwards for helping in a local campaign agaist the Romans and ended up as a Roman captive in one of the several local skirmiches.

He had been wounded during the battle, but recovered fast and because he was strong and healthy send to Rome. At the slavemarket he was bought by his master and put at work in the storehouses. Here they found he was quite intelligent as he learned himself to read the names of all the goods stored in the storehouses and also knew exactly where what goods was stored and how much of each. He was therefore set to check the lists and keep them up-to-date under supervision of an old slave who had been there for many years.

It was at this time his master got his eyes opened for this new slave, called Dania because noone could pronounce his real name correctly and therefore named him after the place he had told them he originated from. Because he knew everything about the goods in the storehouses he had discovered that someone had a little business running.

He told what he suspected because he couldn't stand disloyalty and had been raised to put the truth very high. The guilty ones who showed up to be slaves were caught in the act and ended up on the slave market. Telling what he had discovered instead of hiding it for his own use made his star rise at his master but not among the other slaves.

As time went on he was transferred to his masters household and served as some sort of handyman. He ran important errands, sometimes with quite big amounts of money without getting robbed or using the time for personal errands. His ability to run long distances in a fast steady speed was a good help when he had to deliver important messages. His only problems was his temper and that he found life felt empty, -without meaning.
He had tried visiting the different gods in Rome but they had never done anything else then demand things of him just like the gods he had known back in his homeland.

Then about a year ago he had met the first Christians, and had become a Christian himself at about the same time as the new Caesar had taken seat. And 3 weeks ago just before they had left Rome and started on the half-yearly trip to Tyre he had done real bad. He ended up having an heated argue with Butades -a slave in the mid fourties who was in charge of all the slaves.

The arque had been over another slave he felt was mistreated and had ended up giving Butades a fist in the face. His master punished him by locking him up in a small room for 3 days and then moving him to an isolated room in another building for keeping peace between the slaves. He could as well had sold him but as he was a man of justice he had choosen this instead...

"Oh yes, the new Caesar...persecuting the Christians because they wouldn't pray to the Roman gods they had said at the harbour today... better be more carefull so noone finds out about me": he said silently to himself. "Tomorrow I'll have to find a longer string for my fish so it doesn't show up at unexpected moments.

But what do I do if they find out? If I stay I'll end up in the Colloseum or get wiped to death, I could run away and keep low profile until I'm far from here. Using my sling or a bow should help me getting something to eat until I arrive at a new city. There I'll have to find a way of living... Hmm, but wouldn't I then do wrong? Deserting my master who has treated me so good?...

After sitting for about an hour thinking about different solutions to the maybe comming problems, he decided to go to sleep and try find out what to do the next day. It wasn't easy falling to sleep as thoughts were like chasing each other inside his head but as time went on he slipped into an unruly sleep...

[This message has been edited by Proconsul Creaticus Dania (edited 03-01-2001).]

Civis Romanus
posted 03-01-01 15:53 ET (US)     52 / 295       
Pax Romana as it later came to be called marked the approximately 200 years beginning with the reign of Augustus. It was a time when warfare within the Empire ceased and no foreign invader was capable of penetrating the Empire's borders.

Not that all warfare ended. Roma continued to attempt to expand its borders in this period and to fight major battles to repel various incursions into its eastern and northern borders.

The Mediterranean Sea was now a Roman lake. Except for isolated incidents of piracy, there was no particular stronghold of resistance to Roman naval power and most seagoing trade was free to traverse its waters at will. In fact, sailors of the Mediterranean had more to fear from the weather than from any human-caused calamity.

The journey from Athen's remote harbor to the great trading city of Tyre was peaceful and mercifully free of inclement weather. They travelled a time measured in days to reach the city's harbor. Civi on first sight of the city launched a deluge of questions.

"Father! There are two cities! And there is a high road between them!"

"Yes, Civi. Long ago the citizens of Tyre, called Phoenicians, built the city on the mainland. Then, as the city prospered and they needed more room, they built the other part of the city across the channel on what was an island. The rock and dirt causeway you see was built by the soldiers of Alexander of Macedonia when the Macedonians laid siege to Tyre. There is a story told that two Egyptian youths who were Captains in the Macedonian army helped capture Tyre from the Persians who controlled the city at that time. They were named 'The Hawks' by Alexander himself."

"That high dirt road was built by Alexander the Great?!"

"Yes, Civi. Alexander the Great. He did this because the Tyreans refused to let him worship in their temple. He built the high road, called a causeway, to connect the island to the mainland so his soldiers could cross the channel." The boy finally went silent as he gaped in awe at what his eyes beheld. Civis didn't know what was passing through his son's mind. If he were at all like his father, images of armored soldiers wearing bronze helmets with tall crests and carrying 12 foot spears would begin to appear in his mind's eye. These soldiers would be marching shoulder to shoulder over the causeway, one phalanx after another preparing to spread out before the defenders of Tyre who had arrayed themselves behind a rudimentary barricade.

The island city of Tyre had no walls since nothing could access it by sea, or so these Phoenicians had thought. Alexander proved them wrong when he built a causeway across the channel that separated the island from the mainland. The island Tyreans hadn't expected this and because of their lack of foresight, many of them met their doom the day the phalanx's of Alexander crossed the channel.

But Civi could not be expected to imagine the horror delivered by the forces of Alexander in their act of pure vengeance. He could not possibly visualize the stabbing of spears, the slashing of swords, the blood, the screams, the maimed and dying bodies of men, women and children. Nor would his father want Civi at this age to have such knowledge. It would be his fatherly duty to protect Civi from these horrors until there came a day when the boy was old enough to understand and receive from this father the family's banner and to carry it in the name of all of the Romanus who have served Roma since its founding. But today was not that day...

The galley was guided to its anchorage at a dock in the harbor of Tyre and their journey by sea came to a quiet... gentle...... calm......... end. Ahead lay the vast lands bearing the mark of the Silk Road.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 03-01-2001).]

Cyber Paladin
posted 03-01-01 23:15 ET (US)     53 / 295       
The afternoon sun was heating up everybody's soul as they come out from their cabin.
Radko and Marcus was the first one to hop off the gangway as he dashed for the market, which is right beside the dock. Civis and Titus went to the local authorities to sent a copy of travel log back to Roma. Leaving behind Gaius and the kids to find the local inn.

Sin Ying screamed nearly jumped up when he saw a thin young man with grey pony tail, brown tunic and a new wolfskin boot that does not blend in well with his old jaggy costume. He was carrying with him a dead boar and a bow. But what attracted Sin Ying's eyes were the medallion hung on his chest, apparantly made from yellow paper. It looks too familiar.
Gaius and Civi both looked that way, and saw the same man with his jaw dropping in astonishment and eyes popped in surprise, staring at the yellow paper making hanging at Sin Ying's chest.

The man seemed totally occupied by what he saw and forgot his way.
"Ouch..." He bumped into a wall.
"Ha ha ha...." Civi was the first to laugh out loud, but his laughter stopped immediately when he noticed the strange expression on both Sin Ying and Gaius.
"Uncle Jay, what's wrong with this man?" He asked.
Without a word, both Sin Ying and Gaius approached the man rubbing his forehead.
"May I please invite you to the local inn, the Inn of the Rising Sun for a tankard of beer or two?" Gaius kept his courteous as always.
The man didn't answer, but his eyes still nailed on the yellow paper making of Sin Ying.
"Hey Septi, nice boar you have this time!" A market man shouted behind them.
"Er... that's my pleasure Mister. Expect me in an hour." The man who apparantly called "Septi" said to Gaius equally politely. Then bowed slightly and turned away.
"Uncle Jay, can this man really help us?" Sin Ying frowned.
"Anyway, let's move" And they went to the Inn of the Rising Sun.

About an hour later.
"So.... are you sure that medallion is exactly what you saw in your dream?" Civis asked Sin Ying.
"I'm sure! That old man even let me had a look! It can't be wrong!" Sin Ying assured.
Then the grey-haired man came in, his hair unbraided and loosed on his hack. His brown tunic looks new and tidy.
"An elegant young man." commented Titus.
"Certainly not." whispered Civi as they watch him sit down at their table, with a tankard already before him.
"Well, what's your name?" Civis asked the young man as the young man said exactly the same to the little girl.
The whole table smiled, but no one dare laughing out loud.
"Oh, mister, my name? I'm called Septumus Odyssius, you may call me Septi if you want."
This man is quite well-mannered... thought Civis.
Strange young lad... thought Titus
Oh my God... this guy with us on the road!?.... thought Civi
Sigh... I don't believe this guy's capable... though Sin Ying.
Among the different thoughtes everyone had, Gaius seemed confident in Septi. His piercing green eyes told him this young man is not ordinary.
"Let's be straight, ok, well, Septi. We have a favor to ask you." Gaius broke the silence.
"Go on please."
"We need your help on our way to Ch'in" Gaius emphasised the word "Ch'in" as he was sure it is the only way to interest the young man.
But to everyone's surprise, the young man's answer was simple.
"Sure. In fact I myself are trying to go to Ch'in for..." Septi hesitated "...something"
"I tried twice, but failed because the lack of provision. You know, the silk road is not short!" Septi seemed have some knowledge about the way they're making.
"Welcome abroad. Mr. Odyssius" Civis stood up and shaked hand with Septi.
"Let me introduce ourselves. I'm Civis Romanus." At least Civis would expect some sort of surprise as everybody shows when his name is uttered, but the young man seemed don't know who he is. "The chief military advisor of Roma"
"Ah ha, Mr. Romanus"
"Call me Civis."
"He is Titus, the tribune of this trip. Civi, my son. Sin Ying..."
"You're called Sin Ying." Septi interrupted. " sorry."
"And he is Gaius Accipiter. There are two more, who is currently not here. You will meet them later. By now, please pack your personal belongings and if you can, spend tonight with us?" Civis invited.
"That'll be fine. I'll be here by sunset."
Septi bowed slightly and went out. His tankard was never touched. Noticed that, Titus frowned
"Were we asking him too much question?"

Proconsul Creaticus Dania
posted 03-02-01 05:07 ET (US)     54 / 295       
Later at night somewhere else in Tyre

The rain was pouring down from the skies, everything was cold and wet and he was freezing after standing there waiting for several hours. He was standing in the outskirts of a little forest just behind the first line of trees looking out at a big open area with grass and a few bushes here and there. A small stream was crossing the area he was looking at, but he had no time for enjoying the beautiful sight.

On the other side of the small stream stood a fortified Roman army prepared for battle, all in full armor. In front of them were some people on horses, he had been told they were the leaders of the Roman army and that he should aim at them. He checked his bow again to make sure the string was dry and counted the arrows, he did not know for what time. A battledrum started sounding: Boummm, boummm, boummm, boum...

He woke up as he realised the sound didn't come from his nightmare but from somewhere else. He felt confused and drowsy but finally found out someone was knocking at the door. It was in the middle of the night so it had to be something very important. Quickly he got some cloth on and went to the door and opened it.

Outside stood Artigan, the slave he had tried to defend when he ended up beating the Head of Slaves. Artigan showed with his hand to be quiet, then he wispered that the Head of Slaves had told their master that Dania was a Christian and their Master had send a slave for telling it to the authorities. Artigan himself had by accident heard it and decided to try help Dania to escape because he had helped him. After telling this he silently run away leaving a bag.

Dania took a quick look around the area, then took the bag and went inside. He was badly shaken as he hadn't expected this to happen that fast. In the bag he found some simple brown/grey cloth, two small bags with water and some food. In a hurry he picked together what he had of personal things, a few sesterts, a bowstring he had made and the blancket from his bed, put the things into the bag and took it on the back. After making sure he had his knife at the side he slowly opened the door, took a quick look around and while ducking started walking slowly against the small door in the wall that surrounded the Villa.

At a point he thought seeing someone between some trees and hide between some bushes. As nothing happened, he continued to the small door, opened it slowly for not making noice, took a quick glance around and then dissapeared into the dark night heading for his masters storehouse for getting the bow he had begun making.

Then he headed to a small hut at the waterfront where he knew he could leave a message telling the other Christians he had to dissapear from town unless he wanted to get arrested.

He got the owner of the hut up of bed and after explaining his problem and making sure the man understood what to do, he left the town and started walking against the road that lead from Tyre and eastwards into the country...

[This message has been edited by Proconsul Creaticus Dania (edited 03-05-2001).]

Civis Romanus
posted 03-02-01 15:57 ET (US)     55 / 295       
Civis Romanus, Civi in tow, steadied himself on the dock as he stepped off the plank leading from the cargo galley's maindeck. He looked down at his son and smiled. "Need land legs now, Civi. I've got my sea legs on and this deck isn't moving."

The corner of Civi's eyes krinkled and he started to laugh. He remembered how he staggered around on the deck of the galley while he, as his father said, "grew two sea legs in place of the land legs he brought on board." He never noticed the metamorphosis; it came on when he slept he guessed. And now his father said it was time to change his legs again. Somehow the whole idea of legs changing seemed funny to him and funny too was his father's tendency to over compensate for the unmoving soil of Tyre and failure to walk a typically straight line.

They were on their way to the Inn where they would stay for the evening while the expedition east was organized. Gaius would soon follow with Sin Ying in hand. Titus, Radko and Marcus were seeing to other necessary arrangements and that new person, the young man with the old hair, would meet them at the Inn.

Civi didn't like the looks of Septimus Odysseus. He didn't like any man who had the hair of a barbarian. Septi's long greyish hair annoyed Civi, who was used to the close cropped, curled Greco/Roman style his hair had been all of his life. He didn't like the way Sin Ying took to the man so quickly. He didn't like the fact both had similar medallions. He didn't like how quickly Sin Ying made friends with Septi. No... He didn't like this interfering man at all. Sin Ying was his friend, not Septi's.

"What did you say, Father?" asked Civi when he finally realized Civis was speaking to him.

"Aren't you listening to me, Son?"

"Uh... Yes, Father. Uh... I, uh... I don't understand what you said."

"It was simple enough, boy. I said 'There ahead is the Inn'."

"Oh... Yes, Father. What is its name?"

"The Inn of the Rising Sun." Just then a commotion behind them caused Civis and Civi to stop and turn, then rush to the side of the pathway. Five Tyreans on horses were urging their mounts on at a quick pace and were followed by a dozen men, probably slaves or servants, carrying clubs. They seemed to be working together not one chasing the other.

Civis Romanus turned to a man who also had hurried to the side of the road. "What is all of this about?" Civis asked.

"You're not a Tyrean?" said the man in reply.

"No, Sir. I am a visitor from Roma," replied Civis.

"Then you wouldn't know, would you. A slave escaped from one of the manors last night. They are leaving the city to find and crucify him."

Civis was puzzled. "He is merely an escaped slave. Surely he can be replaced at little or no cost."

"True," said the Tyrean. "But this man killed another slave last night... one whom he is supposed to have befriended and who was escaping with him. A treacherous act, indeed. Such men deserve their fate. I have to agree completely with their owner. He was the one who reported the murder."

"Does this slave have a name?" asked Civis.

"Yes... something... uh... something Dania, if I recall," said the Tyrean.

"I thank you... A pleasant day to you, Sir," said Civis concluding the conversation. Civis and Civi returned to their walk to the Inn of the Rising Sun.

Now inside and situated, father and son waited for the rest of the expedition's members to arrive.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 03-02-2001).]

posted 03-02-01 16:33 ET (US)     56 / 295       
"Uncle Jay, do you think that Septi can help us?" Sin Ying asked while they were making their way to the inn. "I wonder what sort of apprentice he is. Maybe he can tell us about this long thing too."

"I think he'll do what he's supposed to do, Sin Ying" Gaius answered cryptically. "He may be able to tell you what your amulet means and if it does anything special."

"That would be cool." Sin Ying smiled.

When they got to the inn, only Civi and his father were there. When they joined them at their table, they ordered some juice for the kids and a little snack to tide them over until supper.

Proconsul Creaticus Dania
posted 03-02-01 16:57 ET (US)     57 / 295       
Outside Tyre, at the road to Damascus....
After leaving the city Dania found the road leading eastwards towards Damascus. He knew he would have to be carefull not to be seen by people travelling the road, so he followed a route just out of sight of the road taking a small turn against the road now and then for not loosing the direction.

After wandering, climbing and sometimes running for a few hours, he began to look for some place where he could rest.

He found a small protected place between an old tree and a small cliff within earshot and eyesight of the road, made it as comfortable as possible, covered himself with the carpet and soon fell into a deep sleep caused by stress and the unaccustomed in travelling in the nature by night.

He woke up to the noice of horses and the voices of men searching the area on both sides of the road, from what he could hear they were close at giving up. For further protection he covered himself with dust and small pieces of stone from the cliff. Then he laid as silent as possible with his knife in the right hand, listening to the voices and prepared for trying to escape, ready to figth for his life if necessary...

As time passed the men seemed to give up trying to find him, he continued to be at a high state of alert wondering why there had been so many people out trying to find him.

Without noticing it he slipped into an unruly sleep, dreaming about when he tried to escape from the Goths back when the raid he and his friends had been at had failed. He woke up from a shout he had made in his nightmare, his heart beating hard in his chest. Kept back his breath as long as possible, listening if anyone might have heard him.

Everything seemed to be silent and he fell into a deep sleep caused by emotional and physical exhaustion.

[This message has been edited by Proconsul Creaticus Dania (edited 03-02-2001).]

Civis Romanus
posted 03-02-01 21:15 ET (US)     58 / 295       
The door to the inn burst open and five sweaty, road-soiled men stomped in looking for the nearest open table. It happened to be two tables away from where Civis, Gaius and the two children were sitting. The newcomer's words were loud and clearly understandable to any within earshot.

"I tell you, Publius, it's a waste of time looking for that slave," one of the men said to a portly, middle-aged Tyrean. "He's long gone and good riddance to him." The other three men mumbled their agreement.

The portly man shook his head as he sat down at the table. "No, Livinius, I would look for him for the next seven years if I knew I could find and crucify the miscreant. To think that at one time I considered Roulv Dania to be one of my better, more deserving slaves. He seemed to be an honest man... not at all like the other lazy scum."

"But Publius," continued Livinius. "Appearances can always be deceiving. He's a slave... What should make him any different than any other slave?"

"He saved a fellow slave's life and for good purpose too. Butades, my Head of Slaves, lost his reason it seems and attempted to assault a slave named Artigan. Dania stopped him." Publius shifted in his seat. "I can't just let slaves kill each other off. I'll have to go to market all of the time to replace them. So that's what I told Butades. He didn't seem too happy about it at the time, but he's a slave too and not so stupid as to give up his being Head of Slaves just to disobey me. So I rewarded Dania for his kindness to Artigan and that's how he repays me. Murders his friend, Artigan, and flees my employ. Now I have to replace two slaves. Sometimes I wonder if I should bother to treat slaves well when they are going to behave in such an unacceptable manner." Beer was brought to the Tyreans and thirst quickly but only temporarily overcame their interest in talk.

Livinius wiped foam from his lips. "So who told you about the murder?"

"Butades did," said Publius. "He found Artigan outside of his hut lying in the mud with a knife in his chest. There were footsteps in the mud leading away from the manor. Dania was nowhere to be found. One slave said he woke up during the night hearing voices nearby. He said it was Dania talking to Artigan. They didn't notice that he was awake or that he saw them talking. Butades thinks it was soon afterwards that Dania buried his knife in Artigan's chest and left him there. Maybe Artigan was going to report that Dania wanted to flee the manor? I don't know. Anyway, that's what Butades said."

"Dania... That devil," commented one of the unnamed men.

"Well, I'm going to search for him again tomorrow. This time I'm going to use the hounds. You can join me if you want," said Publius.

"No... I think I've had enough of this hunt," said Livinius. "I've got crops to attend and other matters. Use your slaves, Publius. They should be happy to track down and crucify a slave killer. And good luck to you. We need to make sure these slaves understand what will happen to them when they go against their master's wishes or attempt to flee their legal owner. We can't have any more Spartacus's in the Empire and certainly not here in Tyre.

Civis looked at Gaius as the group at the table finished off their tankards of beer and departed in twos and threes. "Does it strike you as odd that this Head of Slaves named Butades, who should have had a great dislike for both of these slaves, seems to be the only one who has knowledge of the crime, who did it and how it was committed?" said Civis to Gaius Accipiter.

Gaius considered the question for a moment. His eyes subtley, suddenly flashed with the merest hint of gold. "There is another, Civis, who knows the truth."

"And who is that, Gaius," replied Civis.

"The slave named Roulv Dania."

Civis' reflection on this thought was interrupted by the entrance of Tribune Titus Tarquintius, Radko and Legionaire Marcus Horatius. The barbarian Septimus Odysseus, personal belongings in tow, was close on their heals.

"Master, we can leave tomorrow if you wish," said Radko.

"Well done, Radko. If the others agree we shall leave." Civis looked around at the faces of his comrades. There seemed to be no objections. "Then tomorrow it is... Supper and some rest, and tomorrow we travel the Silk Road."

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 03-02-2001).]

Cyber Paladin
posted 03-02-01 23:04 ET (US)     59 / 295       
At that night, right after supper.

Sin Ying, Civi, Gaius and Septi, who was asked to help look after the children as he seemed "childish" enough, sat on a table in the inn with orange juices.
"So Uncle Jay, why bother with that slave ... Dania... was it? We've got already much to do." Commented Civi on the recent issue.
"Oh, Civi, it doesn't hurt to help others." Septi interrupted.
"I wasn't talking to you..." Civi muttered, then elbowed by Sin Ying.
"Yes, Civi. We should help people in need, just as we wish others do when we are in need. If we find out that that Dania is really that treacheous, we'll report him. It's that simple." Gaius sipped some juice.
"Oh, by the way, Brother Septi, can you tell me what is that thing on your chest? It looks like mine." Sin Ying changed topic as she herself is not too interested in that slave either.
"What? This? It's given to me from my Master."
"Your master? Does he look like..." Sin Ying described the old man in her dream.
"Exactly! So he did it!" Exclamated Septi.
"He did what?" Asked Sin Ying.
"Well... when he was dying, he said to me that he will not cease to exist. And he told me to find the great dragon's blood in Ch'in if I want to be able to use real magic. Then he told me that he will talk to me and my companions when we need it. I didn't understand, but I do now."
"Magic!?" Civi nearly choked by juice and laughed out loud... "You!?"
"Hey boy, I'm a MAGICIAN!" complained Septi.
"Show me then" Civi couldn't stop laughing, but Gaius seemed calm to see what is really behind this teenager.
"Gusf, asda, trad, for!" Uttered Septi, and soon a few tiny sparks flickered on his fingertips... then disappears.
"See?" Septi gulped some juice in confidence.
The kids jaw dropped in astonishment.
"No... don't ask me to teach you. I can't do this in every attempt. Just about 3 success out of 10." added Septi.
"Oh, forget it then. Would you mind telling us more about your past?" Gaius changed topic as he see such magic should not take it's root inside the kids' young mind.
"That's a long one. I flee from home in my age of 10. I was a Britannica noble, the Odyssius family."
Civi's eyes widened, then scorned "Then why do you flee then with such wealth?"
"My dad don't allow me to learn anything. Archery, horsemenship, magic. I made up my mind since young that I'll become a powerful magician to help others!...But he just threw endless books at me."
"So you know how to read and write." Gaius asked for confirmation.
"Yeah, and I had to make good calligraphy... that was boring. So I flee from home to seek some new life. I heard that a man called Master Will is the best and most kind hearted magician. So I found him, in the Alps. I spent five years learning archery and horsemenship from him, and magic of course."
"But in five years all you learnt was just a few sparks?" Civi didn't miss the chance to irritate his enemy.
"Well... I don't seem to be able to control my mana. When I utter a spell, my mana sometimes seems rush out of my pool." The jargons made the sarcastic boy frowned, then Septi put out his right hand. There was a burnt scar on the back. "This is done in one of the mana explosions."
"Then my master gave me this." He pointed at his medallion. "He said it'll gave me fortune. But I doubt that it seals a large part of my mana so it won't go out of hand."
Gaius nodded slightly from the man's words. This man is not simple.... thought Gaius.
"What happened then?" Asked Sin Ying.
"Then Master Will died, he said he was fed up with me, he was just kidding. And I end up here hunting for life." Concluded Septi.
"Oh, how good was your archery and horsemenship then?" Civi though up of another chance to best him. Both skills Civi has been taught from young by his father.
"I have no horse, so I don't know. But I have been using the same arrows for 8 years since I know master."
"I don't believe it, you must be lying. Tell us the truth." Civi refused to believe, then an elbow stuck in his chest.
"Man, this is interrogation! Now it's my turn, tell me about you Civi." Complained Septi.
"I don't want to... Ouch!" A certain girl's feet stomped on his. "Let me tell you then...." Sin Ying told him the past of Civi, including hers.
"Blackened eyes!?..." The grey haired man seemed to remember something.
"What's it?" Gaius wanted to get some information.
"I forgot."
"Sigh..." simutaneous from three people.
"Oh by the way. What is you favorite food?" Asked Sin Ying.
Then they chatted on and on and on. Everytime Sin Ying asked Septi and Septi made her laugh, Civi's heart seemed like stabbed. They went on until it's late enough for Septi to say "Kids, it's too late. Let's go to bed. We have a long road ahead."

Proconsul Creaticus Dania
posted 03-03-01 06:23 ET (US)     60 / 295       
Dania slowly woke up. His whole body felt stiff and mucles were itching.

"Ouch my back" he said out loud to himself. Then he remembered where he was and what had happened.

"I can understand they try to catch me, I'm after all a runaway slave, but five men on horses, and at least 10 men with clubs...I think there even was a few with weapons?" he thought.

He kept silense for some time, listening for noice or other thing telling there were people in the surroundings. Then he took of his carpet, carefully for not making noice and crept out of his hidingplace.

"Wonder what time of day it is. Let's see, the sun still shines on the top of the cliffs over there so it must be close to sundown. Better try putting as much distance between me and Tyre. With so many men chasing me they might try again tomorrow"

Quietly he got his stuff cleaned as good as possible. Thereby he found out that one of his two leathersacks with water had been punctured by a sharp stone.

"Ohh s...." he closed his mouth with a 'snap'. "Sorry Lord, I didn't mean to say that, it's just that, -argh how can you ever....."

In annoyance he threw the leaking waterbag on the ground, took forth a barleybread and the other waterbag and then started walking further eastwards keeping an even bigger distance to the road than before but still taking a leap back to the road now and then for keeping the direction....

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the body. Pr. 16:24

[This message has been edited by Proconsul Creaticus Dania (edited 03-03-2001).]

Civis Romanus
posted 03-04-01 17:56 ET (US)     61 / 295       
Radko had chosen well. The horses, the supplies, the equipment... all were quite suitable. It was with high hopes and a large dose of confidence that Civis motioned to them all to mount up and take the road east from Tyre.

Radko led the pack animals, a mix of mules and heavier, slower horses, but all being surefooted beasts. The two youngsters each rode a horse of their own, a few hands smaller and a few stones lighter than the others. Gaius Accipiter rode one of his favorite horses. Titus rode the horse he was riding when Civis first met him. Marcus Horatius rode a horse obviously bred for use in the Legions and Septi's horse was one of the local breeds. Civis had two horses. One that he rode this morning was black and built for travel. The other, tied to the line of pack horses, was a white stallion which he used for special occasions, ceremonial or in the severest of unfriendly situations.

The expedition worked its way up the streets of Tyre, the huge, thick wooden gates now open and looming before them. Through the gates they passed, the sun still low above the horizon before them. The last of the pack animals passed through the gates. Gaius, riding near and to the side of Civis with the children on either side, leaned over in his saddle and said loudly so they all could hear, "At long last, we travel the Silk Road!"

Civi and Sin Ying, who was barely speaking to the boy after his antics aimed at Septi the evening before, looked about with eyes wide open and minds awhirl. There were low dryish plants along the road and as far as the eye could see. Here and there stood small, thin copses of woods, mostly cedar. There were larger forests of the aromatic wood farther north, but the forests around Tyre had been thinned or eliminated by hundreds of years of harvesting beginning the day Tyre was founded.

The Silk Road twisted and turned in between these copses and in one place well ahead, actually passed through a stand of trees that had sprouted around a mass of piled boulders. It was from this copse of trees that they all could hear, faintly for the moment, the shouting of men and the baying of hounds.

Hours passed and the travellers were now within sight and sound of the trees with boulders for neighbors. There was a party of men up ahead, one on horseback and the rest on foot. Hounds were barking and snarling at something in a tree that grew from under one of the boulders.

The company drew up to this place that intersected the road and Civis called a halt to their progress. He put spur gently to horse and trotted up to the side of the lone Tyrean horseman. Civis recognized him immediately as the portly Tyrean named Publius who sat at the table in the Inn the night before. "Is there some help I might render you, Sir," said Civis as a means of introduction.

"No. I need no assistance." Publius turned his head away and yelled at one of five men carrying bows with arrows nocked. "Go ahead, I say. Bring him down. One dinarii to the man who scores the first hit!"

"What are you shooting at, Sir?" asked Civis, waving to Gaius Accipiter and Titus to ride up and join them.

Publius seemed distracted but answered Civis only after a brief hesitation. "Huh? Oh, my escaped slave, a murderer. He's in that tree over there. Can you see him? The one the hounds have surrounded."

In fact, with only a little squinting in the morning sunlight, Civis and the other two, who had just then ridden up, could see the figure of a man in the tree. Twaaanggg! An arrow flew towards the tree. The man quickly positioned himself against a thick tree branch putting it between himself and the arrow. Thunnnkkk! The arrow sank its point into the branch. Twaaang! Another arrow flew towards its target, this time from a different position. The arrow struck the branch only inches from the man's side. Thuuunk!

"Oh, so you are the Publius we heard of who is seeking the slave named Dania."

Publius responded immediately. "That is so, but you have the advantage of me. I do not know your name."

"Civis Romanus, Advisor to Caesar Marcus Aurelius. With me... the Tribune Titus and my associate, Gaius Accipiter."

Publius stopped and stared at Civis. "And I am to believe you are Romanus? What proof?" Titus reached into his shirt and withdrew a gold object, a sealing ring, bearing the imperial mark of Marcus Aurelius.

"I carry his proof, Publius of Tyre," said Titus.

Publius stared at the ring and then at each of the three travellers in turn. "What do you want with me?"

"Nothing at the moment Publius," said Civis. "I want to speak to the slave. Tell your men to lower and drop their bows, if you please."

"Place your bows on the ground! Let this man approach the slave," shouted Publius.

Civis watched as bows left the hands of the Tyrean's men and then he guided his horse to the tree protecting the trapped slave. One of the hounds made as if to nip at the leg of Civis' horse, then thought better of it and retreated from the tree with the other hounds when called.

Civis looked up at the bedraggled man clinging to the thick, arrow wounded tree branch. "Roulv Dania, I presume," said Civis. "Escaped slave and murderer?" he added.

Dania had watched this man with brown hair and piercing blue eyes approach Publius. He was relieved to see the arrows end, but had no idea who the man was or why he was able to stop the shooting. "I am an escaped slave but not a murderer. Who am I supposed to have murdered?"

"Artigan, your friend." Dania's heart sank. His friend is dead?

"He was alive when I saw him last. I told him to return to his hut, that it wasn't safe for him."

"Safe from whom, Dania?"

"From Butades. He wants us both dead. That's why I fled... Sir? How did he die... Artigan, my friend."

"They say they found him with your knife in his chest."

"Who said this?"

"Butades," replied Civis.

"It cannot be, Sir. Why... my knife is here, belted to my side." With that comment, Dania pulled the knife from its sheath and showed it to Civis. But in so doing he lost his grip on the branch, slipped to the side and fell the distance to the ground, his knife falling to the ground with him. Immediately the other slaves were upon him.

Civis' voice boomed out. "LEAVE THE MAN WHERE HE IS! DO NOT TOUCH HIM!" His hand went to his sword and it slipped almost noiselessly from its sheath. The slaves stopped dead in their tracks when they heard Civis' command and saw the sharp-edged, gleaming gladius in the Roman's hand. "Publius must hear the man, first!" shouted Civis.

Roulv Dania groaned and then sat up, somewhat dazed, but having enough presence of mind to grasp his fallen knife. Titus and Gaius rode up, dismounted and assisted the slave to his feet, then guided him to Publius. Civis rode just behind the three, his sword free and ready.

Dania told his story to Publius. The Tyrean scratched his head in concern. "There is the ring of truth about it... but there is still the matter of the knife. These knives are common among the slaves permitted to carry them. Only the most trusted are given such a knife."

"Master, with permission," said Dania. Publius nodded. "All slaves who have these knives keep them at their side at all times. Artigan's knife was at his side, you have said. My knife is here, at my side. But Master... How many knives did Butades carry? And how many knives did Butades have when he showed you the knife that killed Artigan?"

"One is all I gave Butades... and also one is all he showed me. I saw no knife at his side," replied Publius, his brows knitting into a frown. "I think you may not be the murderer Butades claims you to be."

Dania bowed his head. "I am a runaway slave; only that master... And that is the truth of it. The whole truth."

Civis, who had sheathed his sword when the runaway slave was brought before Publius, now spoke. "How much in the market to replace this slave, Publius?"

"Three dinarii at most, Commander."

Civis looked over towards Titus. "Pay Publius 3 dinarii for the slave and 3 dinarri for his horse."

"My horse?!"

"Yes, your horse. Is there something wrong with the price?"

Publius saw the blue eyes focussed on him and decided he should say nothing more. "No, Commander. They are both yours." Publius dismounted immediately.

A scrap of scroll was signed transferring ownership of the slave and horse to Civis. The expedition rode off passing Publius and his slaves as they walked back to Tyre. Neither said anything more to the other. Dania rode Publius' horse and looked the other way as he followed among the pack horses. Radko rode up to Civis side to speak to the Commander.

"I fear you have paid too great a price, Master."

"You think the price of the slave too high, Radko?" replied Civis.

"Oh... no, Master. The price of the horse was too great. These Tyrean breeds are not the finest I've seen."

"Thanks, Radko. I will remember that in the future." Radko, satisfied that he had made his point, returned to the pack train to keep an eye on the animals... and the slave.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 03-04-2001).]

Proconsul Creaticus Dania
posted 03-05-01 08:17 ET (US)     62 / 295       
Dania wasn't used to riding a horse, actually he felt a bit nervous about horses as he had been bitten by one when he was by the Goths. At least he knew this horse, a mare he by himself had named Bintha after a girl he had known back in his homeland. Just like her, the horse had a kind way of behavior but could also be terrible stubborn.

He found a place at the packhorses where he could be without being in the way for anyone -and at a distance from his new master so he could try make a low profile. He had seen anough Roman soldiers to know when he saw one, and this soldier seemed to be at a quite high rank. Just the way he had commanded with his former master and the way his master had obeyed without any sort of protest.

'That was real close' he thought. 'My luck these people showed up just at the right moment. And my former master only took 3 denariis for me, he could have got at least 8 on the market.

This Roman soldier must be someone very special that Publius didn't try to bargain about the price. Maybe my new master will sell me in the next town, as far as I know that must be Damascus.

Sold to the Parthians, -hey, just a moment, aren't the Romans and the Parthians almost at war with each other? On the other hand it's just rumours and most rumours are worth nothing.

Better be carefull, the rumours about the persecution seems to be true, so I better be carefull about my belief... hey, wasn't that a man over there in the bushes?'

Without thinking at it he automatically pulled the rein and his horse took some dancing steps to the left...

[This message has been edited by Proconsul Creaticus Dania (edited 03-05-2001).]

Eminence Grise
posted 03-05-01 15:05 ET (US)     63 / 295       
Several days later, the small caravan reached Damascus. As they rode towards teh city, they could see the many camels that made up the caravans to the east. Some were just arriving and were packed with large burdens, others were about to leave and were barely loaded.

A group of bedouins were appraching with a small herd of camel, obviously for sale. The reactions of the travellers were diverse, as the bedouins' path joined that of the Romans.
Gaius smiled at the proud animals and the fleet-footed meharis.
Radko looked appraisingly at the animals, but wondered what made a camel a good camel. Horses, donkeys and asses were his trade, not these strangely humped creatures.
The children looked at the camels with large eyes and started giggling, when one of the them spat a wad of greens and moisture at a bedouin, who promptly slapped the beast with a stick.
Titus and Marcus wondered how it would be to ride one.
Civis, knew and groaned. He silently prayed to the gods that he'd be able to keep to his horse and as far away from any camels as humanly possible. Just thinking of riding one made his backside hurt. A hurt, that was only made even more unbearable, when he remembered the careless ease Jayhawk had presented riding one on their last trip to Egypt.

Gaius rode his black horse up to Civis and asked.
"So what do you think? Shall we join a caravan, and enjoy the potection of a larger group, or do you want your own, so we can make more speed?"
"I don't know...let's go own to the Roman consulate and discuss our options."

Gaius dropped back until he was next to Radko.
"If you want I can assist you with purchasing the camels we require?"
Radko nodded thoughtfully.
If Gaius eye for camelflesh was as good as his eye for horseflesh they'd be in for some fine animals. However, he would need to convince the tall man to dress somewhat less conspicuous when the went to the market, or else the traders were likely to bleed them dry.

posted 03-05-01 17:17 ET (US)     64 / 295       
As the group was pondering their next move their attention was drawn away by a commotion. They all turned to see what it was all about and saw six Roman legionnaires surrounding a man and taunting him.

The man was a head taller than any of the Romans, standing at least 6 foot tall. His hair was a un-kept sandy-blond mass handing to his shoulders. He had a full beard that covered a good portion of his chest. The beard was a similar color but with a hint of red. His eyes were icy blue devoid of emotions. He stood there almost daring one of the Romans to attack him. His cloths had the appearance of not being washed for many months. His one tan tunic was now a grimy black and his pants were just as bad. Even from a distance you could almost smell and taste his odor. Except for one thing you might have thought he was a beggar. At his side hung, in good condition a Roman Short sword, which appeared to be the reason the Roman Soldiers had surrounded him.

On of the Roman’s said “So, Where did you get the Sword, you sack of refuse!”

The tall man look at the Roman but did not answer.

Another one asked “Who did you steal it from, thief?”

While another asked “What dead man did you take it from you scavanger!”

These statements cause a flash of anger to pass across the face of the tall man.

With indignation in his voice he replied to the last two comments. “I am not a thief or a scavenger of the dead. This sword is mine by right and you have no right to take it from me!”

“We’ll see about that” One of them said taking a step closer to him. The tall man did not move. One of the other Roman’s slipped the end of a staff behind the tall man. Then the Roman who was standing face to face with the tall man pushed him hard in the chest.

The tall man lost his balance and began to fall backward; as he fell he knock the legs out from under the man who had pushed him. Almost before he hit the ground he was back up on his feet. As he came up off the ground his launched his shoulder into one of the Romans picking him up off the ground and slamming him into a near by wall as the tall man let him go and turn to face his other enemies the man looked down in disbelief at his knife protruding from his chest. He then crumpled to the ground like a rag doll.

By this time the other Romans had drawn their sword and were ready for a fight. The men slowly circled him trapping him with his back to a wall. He stood impassionedly watching and waiting. Two soldier from opposites sided charged him fallowed by two more with the one as a third wave. In one fluid motion the tall man parried the attack of the first man using the man’s momentum to force him into one of his companions. With a quick thrust of his sword one of the Romans went down gripping his throat.

The jammed the next man on him and in the tussle pulled the man’s knife from his belt and stabbed him though the eye. By this time the other two had untangled them selves. As got ready to attack him again. All three men charged at once hoping to overwhelm the tall man. He took their charge dodging the first man and swinging his sword catching the second man in the stomach leaving a two-foot gash and then slamming into the third man burring the knife in the man’s chest. The tall man then turned and struck down the last man down with a quick thrust of his sword into the man’s exposed back, striking him in the heart.

The man stood sword in hand daring any of the spectators to attack him. After a few minutes he relaxed his stance and looked down at the six dead soldiers and his feet and slowly shook his head almost saying what a waist this was. There was no honor his a stupid death.

From their place the little group looked on. Civi and Sin Ying in shock of seeing men die. Radko, Septimus and Dania look on in horror at the violence of one man. Giaus saw a man in conflict with himself; Tidus and Marcus looked on in shock at a man who just took out six Roman Soldiers but Civis saw something more. While he deplored senseless violence, he could tell the man was a well-trained and seasoned warrior…

posted 03-05-01 17:58 ET (US)     65 / 295       
"Uncle Jay, I'm scared" Sin Ying had moved closer to Gaius and looked terrified. "Why did those men attack the tall man and why did the tall man have to kill them? Make it go away, Uncle Jay. Please."

Gaius pulled Sin Ying onto his mount and started to sing to her. His eyes briefly changed colour and the little girl fell asleep. He kept holding her while slowly riding up to the tall man and checking the damage that had been done.

"I see that you can hold your own against trained men of the Roman army. What is the reason for your actions?"

"Those men accused me of stealing and looting, I am a man of honour and would never do that. They left me no choice as they did not intend to let me live. The sword is mine by right and nobody will take it from me as long as I am alive. It was given to me by someone who meant so much to me."

[This message has been edited by Jaguar (edited 03-05-2001).]

Civis Romanus
posted 03-05-01 22:25 ET (US)     66 / 295       
Gaius Accipiter eyed the man closely. Accipiter's eyes flashed gold and blue. The barbarian with the gladius seemed calmer than before, but hardly knew the reason why. At last Gaius was satisfied. He was about to say something more to the blue-eyed barbarian when the rythmic slapping of sandals on stone announced the arrival of a cohort of Roman legionaires.

They stopped cold in midstep when they caught sight of their slaughtered comrades. Anger flashed on their faces. Swords drawn they advanced on Gaius and the barbarian. The barbarian brought his sword up to defend himself once more. Gaius motioned with one hand to warn the barbarian not to resist and at the same time Civis' voice rang out at the newly arrived Roman legionaires. "HOLD!" he shouted.

The Cohort Leader stopped in midstride, looking over his right shoulder at the source of the commanding voice. "Who says 'Hold' to a soldier of Roma?" he said a sneer in the sound of his words.

"A Commander of the soldiers of Roma, Cohort Leader," answered Civis calmly, guiding his horse forward towards the soldier. He glanced towards Gaius and saw the expression borne by his comrade. 'This barbarian must not be taken' a message came to him from somewhere.

The Cohort Leader looked Civis over. "I see no uniform of a Commander."

"You see a party of Romans who have travelled a great distance in a short time, Cohort Leader. We all of us have names. Mine is Civis Romanus."

"That is a name known in these parts, a Commander of my Legion years ago. It is not common in Roma, except for one who is close to Caesar. They are one and the same I am told, our former Commander and Caesar's Advisor. How can I know if you are who you say you are?"

"You need not make the determination. Let the Consul make the determination. Take me to him," said Civis.

"And what of the barbarian?"

Civis looked at the barbarian, still tensed and ready to defend himself. "I witnessed the battle. The barbarian was assaulted because he carries a gladius. The soldiers thought him to be an enemy who captured the sword. The barbarian fought well in his own defense and prevailed; but, Cohort Leader, he fought as would a highly skilled Roman. Those legionaires fought one of their own as if it were a barracks brawl and the best Roman soldier won. This is what I saw. Do you doubt my word?"

The Cohort Leader shifted on his feet looking unsure of himself. "I do not doubt the word of Civis Romanus, if that's who you are. If you are not, do not ask that question of me again." The Leader looked over his shoulder. "Take the barbarian into custody and..." Civis interrupted him.

"The barbarian is in my custody until after I meet with the Consul." The Cohort Leader moved his hand that held his gladius causing it to elevate threateningly. Civis moved just as quickly towards his sheathed Roman sword. Gaius eyes flashed giving just a hint of color other than their customary green.

"Rethink what you are doing, Cohort Leader," said Civis cooly, hand on the hilt of his gladius. His blue eyes bore unwavering into the eyes of the Cohort Leader. The Roman legionaire moved his sword back to its original position then sheathed it.

"Do what he says... for now," the legionaire ordered, glancing at Civis. "Follow me to the Consul's villa... Commander." The sneer was everpresent in the man's words. Civis decided to ignore it for the present.

Gaius turned to the barbarian. "Walk with us and I fully expect your circumstances will become better than if you don't." The barbarian glumly looked up at Gaius and spoke in Latin adding a foreign twist to the sound of his words. "It matters not with whom I walk. You and the others are as good as any for a man who is of no consequence."

"What are you called," asked Gaius who heard but disregarded the man's depressed response.

"Maganhard, tall man. Simply Maganhard. Lead and I shall follow." Gaius motioned to a loadless mule in the pack. "Ride him for now." Maganhard said nothing. He walked to the mule and lightly leaped onto the back of the mule with little effort from his strong legs. The expedition began to follow the cohort of Roman soldiers to the Consul's villa.

Gaius now began to think once more about the camels, then chuckled to himself as he thought about Civis. Men are one thing to be led and commanded. Camels are another. Gaius struggled to contain his mirth as he remembered instances in the past when Civis and camels failed to mix amicably.

Something pricked at Civis' mind, but he could not frame its meaning nor find its source. For some unknown reason he impulsively turned about in his saddle and saw the face of Gaius with its barely contained smile. Civis frowned. Now what could possibly be so amusing to that usually serious, over-tall, green-eyed friend of mine, I wonder? But the answer was not apparent so Civis turned around to face front once more, the mystery unsolved.

Proconsul Creaticus Dania
posted 03-06-01 05:11 ET (US)     67 / 295       
'I'm sure that Maganhard is a Goth, most possibly a Visigoth' Dania said to himself while he put his sling back in place and let the small round stones back in their purse. 'Seems like my new master is something real big, a commander! Wauu...'

Finding his place at the packhorses he continued to wonder:
'But why is he travelling like this. 2 small kids but no woman to take care of them and the girl looks quite strange, -black hair and black eyes like I've never seen before. The boy must be related to my master -maybe his son as they look alike, and who is that tall man? I get a strange feeling about him, and I'm almost sure I saw his eyes change color for a moment, ...naaa, can't be eyes don't change color unless they get that desease making them greyish and blinding people, must have been the sun or something -but there IS something strange about that man...'

Dania soon got other things to think at as they passed through the city. He had seen Parthians before but nothing like this, all those new things, the smells, the noice from people bargaining in the streets.

Cyber Paladin
posted 03-06-01 09:00 ET (US)     68 / 295       
Finally the jog ends at the consul's office.

The expedition dismounted following Civis, who signaled them to wait outside while he, Maganhard and the cohort leader went inside.
"I've never seen cohort leader such arrogant." Said Marcus.
"Yeah, he was so aggressive!" replied Titus.

About an hour passed, but there was still no sign that Civis nor Maganhard would come out soon.
".... it's boring...." groaned Sin Ying.
"......yawn..." Even Septi and Gaius ran out of good jokes to entertain the children and keeping themselve from bored stiff.

"How about going for some juices?" suggested Septi, and he stood up from where he was seating, the kids followed.
But not before he stepped out, two full geared soldier stomped in front of them.
"I'm afraid you may not leave now."
Immediately both Titus and Marcus knew that's normal procedure for consul's office, but Septi seemed unaware.
"Why? We did nothing wrong!" complained Septi.
"Yeah, it was that smelly man who killed!" even Civi cannot hold his displeasure due to prolonged boring.
"I'm sorry sir, but that's consul's order."
Septi frowned.
These two soldiers are just following orders, and they are very polite indeed... it's just pointless arguing with them.
"Can you bring us something to drink then, we've been waiting for a whole hour." Titus definitely knew what to do in this circumstance.
"That's of no problem. Please wait here."
One of the soldier set off.

Just as he turned around, Civis together with the consul came out from the office.
"Oh, so there you are at last!" relieved Septi.
Civi couldn't hold himself and bounced to his dad.
"I'm terribly sorry travellers. Please come in and have some rest." The consul invited.

Civis Romanus
posted 03-06-01 11:55 ET (US)     69 / 295       
Dania was led to the quarters for the slaves of visiting guests. Radko was assigned to the servant quarters along with Marcus and Septi. The rest entered the Consul's antechamber and were greeted by a young woman with trays of wine for the adults and juice for the two children. Titus noticed the Cohort Leader standing by a door at the farside of the room. The soldier bore an expression of humiliation mixed with anger. Titus also noticed that he no longer wore the badge of a Cohort Leader.

The consul glanced towards the former Cohort Leader. "You're dismissed, Crassus. Move your belongings into the barracks as you've been directed. Crassus saluted perfunctorily then sent a glance of pure hatred towards Civis. The Commander's back was turned to the soldier and didn't see the glance, or see him turn and leave; but Gaius did and made a mental note of the man's expression.

"Welcome to Damascus...," began the Consul. "Your arrival has been expected, though your mission is a secret except to a few. Those who think they know your mission know it only as Parthia and an attempt to ease tensions on the border. In fact, this is true. The barbarian named Maganhard has been cleared of charges, but it is equally clear that he will not be safe in Damascus." The Consul nodded to Civis. "We think it best if he accompany the expedition under the circumstances. He has agreed."

Civi said to himself, "I hope he takes a bath first." Sin Ying looked at the barbarian and smiled. The barbarian returned the look. The corners of the barbarian's lips twitched. Sin Ying assumed it was a smile according to his people's practices and was satisfied that she had been noticed.

A short period of conversation followed, but the adults noticed the children becoming increasingly restless and so final arrangements were made for the next two evenings and they all retired to their assigned locations.

Civis completed a formal dispatch to Caesar that evening following supper and then picked up a fresh scroll and began to write.

My Dearest Apolita,

Tomorrow, Radko, Titus and Gaius will arrange for animals to make the journey across the desert to the Parthian capital of Seleucia. I fear they discuss camels way too much, but I have given to them the charge and authority to decide what is best in transportation. Areas of my body already groan even if in expectation and not the reality of what they will bring to me as their decision.

Civi is well, better actually. His eyes are deep blue once more. Gaius says this is temporary, but can be expected most of the journey unless something unforeseen occurs. We are aggressively defending against such an occurrence as you should well expect.

There has been some falling out between the children. If both were of the same sex I suspect they would get along famously... Now then, I know what you are thinking and I mean no criticism of the fairer sex. The falling out is as much Civi's fault as not. I do believe the boy is somewhat jealous of Sin Ying's friendship with one of the newer members of our expedition, a mystic of similar background to hers, but years older. I do think she still favors Civi and will reveal it when it is... let's say... most advantageous to do so.

There have been incidents along the way, but nothing I need bother you with today. We have acquired the only slave we have ever owned. I do not intend to permit this intolerable situation to persist, but I must test the man's mettle before I decide how best to conclude this business. There is something different about him that I cannot decipher from his words or deeds. He has a secret I think that in due time will be revealed. Once revealed I trust it will make my decision more appropriate, and so I shall wait.

That is all, my love, I have to say on this day. May the gods protect you and Apollonia and permit us to return to you both once more.


The Roman commander waited for the paint to dry then rolled up the scroll giving it to a messenger waiting outside. He returned to his chamber and changed for sleep. He extinguished the last remaining oil lamp giving light to the room then laid his head and body down on the sleeping couch. In a few moments, Apolita was in his arms and together they were contentedly enjoying the warmth of the Roma sun and the comforts of his villa.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 03-06-2001).]

Eminence Grise
posted 03-06-01 15:57 ET (US)     70 / 295       
"Oh yes you are."
Marcus voice brooked no resistance as e dragged the tall Goth with him to the baths just outside of the consulate.
Maganhard grimaced, but thought better than to disobey. He wasn't sure what they were planning to do with him, but at least a bath shouldn't hurt.

Marcus handed him to two burly, shaven-headed bath attendants and flipped them a coin each. He need to be clean the next time I see him.
The shorter one nodded and motioned the towering Goth to follow him into the caldarium and the the steam chamber.

Marcus turned round and almost bumped into Titus.
"Weren't you supposed to go camel shopping," the legionaire asked the young tribune.
"I was, but Gaius suggested I'd have more fun bathing."
Titus looked slightly baffled.
"Even Radko smiled when I agree. I don't smell that bad do I?"
Marcus laughed and said, let's have a bath together then and get rid of whatever smell offends Gaius and Radko.

An hour and a half later Marcus and Titus were sipping chilled wine in the gymnasium. A blond-haired giant with a bright pink skin and a short beard walked up to them. They looked at the well-muscled man for a moment until they realised it was Maganhard, then Marcus recognised him.
"Maganhard, my fine fellow, I didn't recognise you with out the dirt."
He slapped the Goth on the back and called for another goblet of wine.

Maganhard at down and listend to the two Romans talk about chariot races they had seen and looked at his hands. They were pink. It wasn't that he liked being grimy, but some of that grime had been with him for almost six month now. He'd sort of gotten used to it. They'd even cut of his beard and although there had been lichen growing in it, it was still his beard.
He sighed, it would grow back in time.
The wine tasted good and he took a deeper draught.

In the mean time Gaius and Radko had found the camel market just outside town. Radko's fear of the tall man overdressing had been msplaced, however, the desert robes he was wearing were very much a surprise, as was his command of the local language.

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I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
posted 03-06-01 23:31 ET (US)     71 / 295       
Maganhard sat pondering the recent change in his situation yet the event of the past still called to him. Even Marcus and Titus lighthearted conversation could not keep the ghost at bay. Maganhard stared into his empty wineglass slowly losing him self in the events of the past. Tonight he would not drowned him self in wine or beer he thought. He had to find another way.

He left the two joking Romans and headed off in search of the man who had saved his life. Not that he cared about living but he owed this man for being a man of honor. That was something he thought the Romans in general were clueless about. It was always nice to find a Roman that was a man of honor.

As he made his way thought the governors palace he was unmoved by the beauty and splendor that surrounded him. He was a warrior and had no need of the traping of civilization. He believed this was one of the major problems with the Romans in general.

Upon reaching the room he had been directed to he knocked and waited for an answer...

[This message has been edited by Benson (edited 03-06-2001).]

Civis Romanus
posted 03-07-01 15:27 ET (US)     72 / 295       
"Enter," came a response from within. Maganhard opened the door and stepped into the chamber of Civis Romanus. He saluted in the Roman fashion, right hand, fist closed and brought sharply to the chest.

"Permission to speak to you, Sir?" Maganhard said.

"Granted, Legionaire," replied Civis. Maganhard hesitated for a moment. Odd, he thought. Most Romans would view him as a lowly auxiliary and never call him a 'legionaire'. This man is unlike others I've met in his world.

Maganhard straightened up just a little more assuming the best position of 'attention' his body would reasonably permit. This emphasized the difference in heighth between the two men. The blue-eyed Roman at less than six feet tall, and the long-locked Goth at six feet and perhaps a fraction of another inch above the Roman. Yet, the Roman's presence belied his moderate heighth... at least in the perception of the Goth.

"Sir..." began the Goth...

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 03-07-2001).]

posted 03-07-01 16:03 ET (US)     73 / 295       
Maganhard thought a second before continuing on…Was this the right thing to do… Yes it was came the answer.. “Sir, I know you are a man of importance to the Romans but that is no concern to me. As you have figured out at the request of one of my kinsmen I fought for your people in Germania as you call it. But that is the past and of little importance to what I have come to you for.

Maganhard looked at the Roman but the man looked back at him without betraying what was going on in his mind. Maganhard became aware of all the muscles in his legs and back as the began to protest his ridged posture it has been a to long since he had been required to stand at attention..

“You have shown your self a man on honor;” continued Maganhard “you chose to stand up for me in the face of your own people. I did not ask or expect you help yet you have freely took a personal risk and stood up in my defense.”

Maganhard paused again and looked at the man before him He stood tall and proud like a strong warband leader should. He was strong without being arrogant and commanding without being overbearing. This Roman was a man who inspired loyalty. [i] this is the kind of man I would choose to follow..[i] he thought.

After a pause Manganhard continued “It is my understanding that you are leaving the empire and heading further east. I have no loyalties that tie me her and present myself he to declare my willingness to go where ever you lead…”

At that he stopped taking and waited to see what the Roman would do.. Would he reject his offer or ask for his loyalty. He did not have to wait for land

He looked Maganhard in they eyes and began to speak….

Civis Romanus
posted 03-07-01 21:32 ET (US)     74 / 295       
"At rest, Maganhard." Maganhard gratefully relaxed his body to a respectful but less formal position. "You are Visigoth, are you not?" said Civis to the sandy haired, blue-eyed man standing before him.

"Yes, Sir," replied Maganhard.

"Your willingness to follow me on this expedition... Is it an act of gratitude because of what you think I have done for you?" Civis waited for the answer keeping his eyes on the Visigoth and watching nuances in the man's facial expressions. If gratitude, then Maganhard's culture would dictate that a debt needs to be repaid. Once repaid in the Goth's mind, the man's loyalty from that point on would be suspect. Civis could not accept him if gratitude was the motivating factor. Civis listened closely to the man's answer.

"I am grateful, yes. But my request is for other reasons. I have served more than a few men as a soldier, some were Goth, others were Roman. One Roman in particular I most admired and would willingly serve in his command whenever he asked." Here Maganhard lowered his eyes for the first time. "That man died by a barbarian's sword, one I should have..." Maganhard's voice trailed away as if something he wanted to say he realized he could not let himself say. "You remind me of that man. I wish to serve in your command wherever it takes me."

Civis studied the Goth as he spoke. "I am familiar with some of the customs of your people. One is the custom of the oath of loyalty. If you should swear such an oath to any man, you will honor that oath until that man releases you from your oath or until you draw your last breath. Am I correct on this, Maganhard?"

"That is correct, Sir," confirmed the Goth.

"Will you swear such an oath to me?" asked Civis. Maganhard replied immediately that he would. "Then swear your oath to me, Legionaire, and you may join the expedition immediately."

Maganhard raised his right hand, palm open and said, "I swear loyalty to you and shall do all that you ask of me whenever it shall be asked. I swear this on my father's honor before the gods of my people." Then Maganhard closed his right hand making it become a fist and slowly lowered it to its normal place at his side.

Civis saw the intensity in the man's eyes and knew the oath was true and said, "Would that I could trust any Roman to make such an oath and honor it as I can trust you to honor this oath you just made." Civis smiled and held out his hand and arm. Maganhard recognized Civis' gesture as the intent to seal their agreement Roman fashion. The Visigoth grasped Civis' arm and hand in the Roman custom, then released it.

"Your command, Sir?" said Maganhard.

"Rest now, Legionaire and then help the others when asked. There is much to be done between now and our time of leaving from Damascus." Maganhard saluted and turned about immediately. He left Civis' chamber promptly and went about his business as directed. It was with no small satisfaction that Civis noted the Visigoth's steps out of his chamber were more confident, more vigorous than when he entered. Something still troubles him, thought Civis; but for the moment it troubles him far, far less than before... and that is good.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 03-07-2001).]

Civis Romanus
posted 03-08-01 15:49 ET (US)     75 / 295       

Roulv Dania lifted the sack of supplies from the cart and carried it to the storage bin designated by the insulae custodian. The supplies would stay there until the expedition loaded its pack animals for the journey to the Parthian capital. He didn't know whether it would be mules, horses or camels that would make the journey, but it wasn't his business to know. He would learn soon enough.

Dania placed the sack in the bin and returned to the cart. His loose fitting clothes were clean enough. They were suited to the hot climate, for though his clothes covered his body from neck to foot, the clothes fitted in a way that permitted excessive heat to vent without releasing the moisture that cooled his moderate frame. His necklace and its object dangled unobstructed within his shirt.

He reached into the cart to pick up the next sack, but whether his hand lacked a firm grip or the sack was heavier than he expected, it fell from his hands and landed on the ground. Another slave working with Dania reached down to pick up the sack at the same time as Dania. At the lowest point in his reaching for the sack, Dania felt the metal object at the end of its chain race for his neckline and fall out of his shirt to dangle in midair in plain view of the other slave.

Dania's heart leaped to his throat. That slave could not have missed the fact Dania wore such a necklace, and the message of the object was clear to anyone who saw it. Indeed the other slave did see the object on the necklace and now he began to consider what he should do. The slave knew very well of the generous reward for reporting such people carrying that symbol and the fate that awaits them once they are reported. But this slave too has a secret and now he must consider what was the right thing to do...

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