The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius
The Wayward Inn Incident
By Douglas E. Gogerty
With the offer from Crassus's messenger still fresh, Gaius knew that the senator would increase his pressure. Marcus Licinius Crassus was not a man who would accept 'no' for an answer. Thus, Gaius believed that this was a message from the fates to leave Rome for a while. However, he did not know where to go. He needed a believable excuse to leave the city, but he did not have one.
However, before he could go anywhere, he had some business to finish with Titus Aemilius Mancinus. However, he did not wish to be seen going there. Being seen with Titus could put the entire Marcus Villius Sextus incident on public display. Marcus had many enemies, and it was best if Rome did not know who performed this vendetta. It was bad enough that Titus came to his home that day.
Gaius watched the house from a distance for most of the evening. When he was sure Titus was home, and when it was well after dark, Gaius stole into Titus's villa. Titus was fast asleep in his bed when we was awoke with a start as Gaius sat on his chest.
"I do not recommend you screaming," Gaius whispered.
"Who are you? What do you want?" asked Titus in a hush.
"It is your friend Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius."
"Ferrarius? Have the fates turned upon me already?"
"Calm yourself. While I am here on business, you will likely survive the transaction."
Gaius freed Titus of his position under him, and sat next to him on his bed.
"There was a misunderstanding between us that needs to be straightened out," explained Gaius quietly.
"No there..." began Titus.
"I did not mean to imply that you needed to double my fee."
"Please," responded Titus with his hand up. "Let me explain."
"When I went to your place this morning, I had every intention of doubling your fee."
"That is why I had that amount with me. I was impressed with how you handled the entire affair."
"There was no need to pay extra."
"Please. Sextus took everything that I cared about -- my daughter -- and essentially my wife. All I have left is my money, and wealth does not mean anything without my loved ones."
"No! My passions overcame me this morning. You were right. I felt the fates were cruel to me, but they were kind enough to allow me to get my revenge."
"The fates can be cruel," replied Gaius. "They were very hard on me until I went to work for them."
"I was in the moment this morning. I was blind to the good things they have done for me. You showed me the way, and I made several sacrifices to the gods today. In fact, I would pay you even more to give thanks to the fates."
"I cannot accept the excess you paid or any further gratuity."
"You have no choice. I will not accept what I gave you back."
"As you wish."
"The fates have convinced me to move on from this incident. I now plan to remarry, but in the meantime, I am going to purchase some new servants to help out around here."
"Yes, I dispatched an agent this afternoon to travel to Campania to purchase some new house servants."
"Naturally! They have the biggest and best slave market there."
"Perhaps I should travel to Neapolis."
"You should! A freedman like you needs a wife. You should go there and purchase one."
"If the fates permit it... For now, I will wish you a good evening."
Gaius silently made his way out the same way as he entered. When he reached the streets he began humming quietly. His business with Titus was successfully completed. Further, he had a destination and an excuse to travel. He would make the arrangement in the morning, and would depart the following morning.
Many would hire a wagon to travel the long distance to Campania. However, Gaius always traveled on foot. He put his necessities in a bag and slung it over his shoulder. Naturally, this included his dagger and his scimitar. It also included the money he received from Titus. It would go towards expenses along the road.
As dusk approached, Gaius found himself looking for a place to camp. However, an inn sounded quite inviting to him. He approached one that was strangely quiet for this time of year. When he asked about a room, the proprietor acted quite suspicious. Nonetheless, he was shown to a room for the night. Gaius ate his meal alone and went to bed early.
Gaius knew that the fates had brought him to this inn for a reason. All of the signs pointed to it. Thus, he kept his dagger and scimitar with him as he slept. All of his senses were alert as he lied in bed. The slightest sound awoke him. However, he would stay frozen there until sleep would take him again.
It was getting close to dawn when he heard the unmistakable sound of footsteps entering his room. He stayed still listening intently. He calculated that three men had just entered his room. He still remained motionless. One of the men made a grunt just as was ready to jump on Gaius which was his signal to move.
Before rolling off the bed with his weapons, Gaius threw his blanket into the face of the man attempting to jump on him. The blanket in the face startled the man on the bed and before he could do anything, Gaius had his dagger in his left hand and his scimitar in his right.
Gaius worked his way to his feet as the man struggled with the blanket on the bed. Once free, the man on the bed briefly looked at Gaius trying to figure out what had happened. In his confusion, he watched as Gaius thrust his dagger through the man's eye. As Gaius removed the dagger, he put his hand over his eye and began screaming.
With the wails of pain, Gaius rolled over the man in the bed to where the other men stood frozen in awe. In one fluid motion Gaius unsheathed his scimitar and opened up the belly of one of the men. His dagger was in the throat of the other one before either men could react.
While holding his intestines, one of the men looked over as his partner fell down dead. He tried to ask for mercy, but Gaius's dagger was finishing the job that the scimitar started before he could utter a sound. The man on the bed was still screaming about his eye.
Gaius calmly walked over to the man, only to notice that it was the man from which he obtained the room.
"You took my eye!" yelled the man as he saw him.
"You run a terrible inn," replied Gaius as he finished the man off.
Gaius went through the entire inn looking for other patrons. Each room he entered had a story to tell. There were bloody bodies in most of the rooms. The possessions of these travelers were piled in one corner of their respective rooms.
Eventually, he found who he believed to be the real staff for the inn. They too had been brutally murdered. The scene explained a lot of things. It was clear that the fates had finally caught up with these men. Gaius carried the bandits out into the open to expose them to the elements. He might have to explain things a local magistrate, but he knew he had nothing to fear. Further, in the near future, the fates would have something else for him to do.
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