The eleven uninjured men moved cautiously around Gaius. The remaining nine -- who had various injuries and some had already expired -- were further up the Appian way. They would no longer pose a danger to Gaius. However, the uninjured eleven were a different story. They were wary and on the lookout for what Gaius would do next. Being surrounded by eleven men, Gaius was not even sure what he would do next.
As the eleven moved around Gaius, he countinued to look for an opening. As the men moved around, Gaius slowly turned his horse in a circle. Occasionally, he would switch directions that the horse turned. However, for quite some time, no one made an aggressive move.
The leader of the group would occasionally make some sort of hand gesture. He directed where the men should go as they continued to surround Gaius. Suddenly, as if on cue, all eleven men rushed towards Gaius at once. Instead of his previous tactic of circling on his horse, Gaius just urged his horse to go the direction she was facing. Thus, singling out a sole attacker. That attacker held his ground and was pushed aside by the horse and trampled. He cried out in pain as his leg was crushed by the weighty horse. He was now out of action.
Once again, the remaining scrambled. They believed their advantage would be served if they kept Gaius surrounded, but their efforts kept failing. Now with Gaius free of their circle, they would have to attempt to flank him. Further, they had just lost another man and everything would be more difficult with the fewer number of men. Also, they were no closer to getting Gaius off his horse.
As the men regrouped and moved, they continued to attempt a surround him. However Gaius had no interest in being out-flanked. Thus in an effort to stop his adversaries' tactics, Gaius would charge at a man or group of men. If the men stood their ground, they either met Gaius's scimitar or his horse. Also, they would have to gather up and begin their flanking movement again.
After a few charges by Gaius, most of the attackers got out of the way. Nonetheless, three men fell in these encounters. The leader and his friend, who had seen what Gaius could do, were careful not to be in Gaius's way. Nevertheless, the group was slowly dwindling down. The once mighty group of twenty was now seven.
These remaining men were becoming very wary of Gaius's prowess. Having just watched him dispatch thirteen of their comrades, the remaining were greatly on edge. Their leader was having a difficult time keeping them from abandoning their task. He had doubts on the mission himself.
"If you were not such a coward," shouted the leader, "you would dismount your horse."
"Ha ha! If you were not such a coward," replied Gaius, "you would not have come after me with twenty men."
"At every turn you dishonor us."
"You are fighting for the honor of dishonorable men. I cannot add to this."
The men gathered around the leader, and they had a brief discussion. They had watched many of their friends fall to the martial abilities of Gaius. In Gaius's eyes, it was clear what they were discussion.
"Okay stranger," shouted the leader after the meeting. "we have decided that we will let you go."
"Alack and alas!" cried Gaius. "I am afraid the fates disagree with you."
"What?" they all exclaimed in unison.
"You have watched your friends and perhaps family fall at my hands. Many of you will not rest until you see me dead. Thus, at some point in the future, you will garner more forces to face me. I cannot allow that to happen. No my friends, you must all die today."
At those words, all the men ran. Gaius on horseback could easily track them down. He charged at one man and swung his scimitar across his back. He then turned to the next man running and killed him in a similar manner. One after another, Gaius chased down the men running down the road attempting to avoid Gaius's sword.
In order to avoid horse and rider, a few did not stay on the road. In this way, they finally got Gaius to dismount his horse. The leader of the group was one of the men that abandoned the road. He believed he could travel easier than a man on horseback. Further, he believed he could out distance Gaius once he ran in pursuit. In this way, he prolonged his life. However, no one could escape Gaius's blade completely.
Gaius ran after one man through the hilly terrain just off the road. Around the trees, and up and down the hills the men ran. Without slowing his pace, Gaius cut the man across the back. Down he fell. Gaius turned and went after the leader of the group. After a short chase, Gaius caught up to the man.
"Please! Please!" cried the leader of the group as Gaius approached him. "I will not tell anyone. I promise!"
"Why do people threaten other people's lives with such ease, but grovel for their own when the situation is reversed?"
"Please! I was just following orders."
"Ah! The excuse of the ages! You act as if you had no choices. You act as if you were fighting for the honor of honorable men. You act as if you did not know that the Genicia family were criminals praying on unsuspecting travelers."
"Please! I did not..."
Gaius was going to slice the man open with his scimitar; however, he drew his dagger instead. With a quick swipe, the leader's throat was opened and blood spilled out in great quantities.
"The fates are satisfied," Gaius stated quietly.
Gaius made sure all twenty men were dead. Some of the injured who had not yet succumb to their injuries, he ended their suffering quickly. He made sure that he accounted for all twenty of the men. Even one left alive would gather forces against him, so he had to make sure they were all dead.
When it was all done, he was tired and his horse was tired. Nonetheless, he had to push forward. He could not stay where he was. He needed to make it to the next way station. He would not make up the ground he wanted to on this leg of the journey. He hoped that once he reached the coast, he could make up ground then. However, he was sure the fates had more in store for him.Posted by deg at May 31, 2009 5:00 PM