The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Extortionist Incident - Part I

By Douglas E. Gogerty

With the incident at the inn, Gaius had to spend some extra time in the town. Being only a days travel from Rome, it was a bustling little place. There was a government mansiones nearby where official travelers stayed. A magistrate was summoned from this place to investigate the scene at the inn.

The investigation was short, and Gaius was free to leave. However, it took most of the morning. He would not make it to the next way station if he traveled that day, so he would have to leave the following day. For his trouble, the magistrate got him a room at the mansiones for the night. He would not have to sleep in the inn where the murders occurred. However, he had to find something to do for the remainder of his afternoon.

Gaius wandered around for a bit, and found a seat under a tree to rest.

"Are you Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius?" a man asked as he took a seat next to him.

"Who is asking?" Gaius replied.

"I know who you are," the man answered.

"Is that so? Who am I?"

"You fought in the Third Servile War on the slave side, and you are now on the run."

"If that were true, the only way you would know is if you too were a slave on the run or a deserter from the army."

"Let us just say that I am acquainted with someone who is one of those."

"Very well, what do you want of this Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius?"

"He has skills which would be a great help for me."

"And in return for this help, he gets what?"

"I keep his secret."

"What if he does not agree to your terms?"

"Exposure -- which could lead to his untimely demise."

"Let me make sure I have this straight. If he does this job for you, he gets silence from you, but if he does not, he dies. Do I have that right?"

"In essence you understand the situation."

"And what if I am not Ferrarius? What then?"

"You are him all right."

"I suppose I need specifics of this job in order to make my decision."

"Oddly, the target goes by the name Gaius Cornelius Carrarius."

"It is quite a common name."

"This owner of a small cartwright guild is a barbarian slave on the run like you."

"Fixing carts is a good trade at a place like this."

"Be that as it may, he has dared me to expose him. That is what I was going to do, when I heard you were nearby."

"What does any of this have to do with the job you want done?"

"You are thick barbarian!"

"As you say..."

"For my silence, I want you to permanently silence Carrarius."

"That seems like an awful lot of trouble for a person of such inconsequential importance"

"Do not worry yourself about the nature of the job, are you going to do it or do I expose you to your new magistrate friend?"

"I suspect you want it done tonight."

"You are on the move. It would seem odd if you lingered."

"Since I have no choice...."

"Good," replied the man as he arose and walked away.

The first thing Gaius wanted to do was find out about this cartwright. It should be easy enough. He just walked to the shop and asked for him.

"I am Gaius Cornelius Carrarius. What can I do for you?"

"I just spoke with a man who claims he knows who you really are."

"You go back and tell that scoundrel that I am not leaving. He can crow all he wants."

"I am not here to collect. He sent me to kill you."

"What? But..."

"I find myself in a similar position as yourself. If I do not do as he asks, he will make it difficult for me."

"If you give into his extortion, he will just ask for more."

"I am aware of that. This is not my first dealing with such men."

"What do you want from me?"

"I want to know the person who knows your secret?"

"My secret? No one knows."

"There is not a single soul in the area that knows about your past?"

"Not that I am aware."

"Clearly, our friend has a list from someone. He has used his persuasive technique to extract some information from someone - an ex-slave or an army deserter."

"Not a soul here knows about my past."

"There are not a lot of people in the area. Do you know of someone who could be ruined if his secret were revealed?"

"There is Mettius Aedinius Primulus, but how could someone find out about that?"

"Secrets can have lives of their own. Do you know where I can find Primulus?"

"He has a villa east of here. He is powerful in the area, but he certainly does not know my secret."

"Perhaps, but he is my next lead."

Afternoon was beginning to break into evening when Gaius arrived at the villa of Mettius Aedinius Primulus. Mettius was lazily lounging under a tree until he spotted Gaius. At that point, he jumped up and started running.

"Help! Help!" he screamed as he ran and waved his arms frantically.

Gaius watched Mettius run away, and took his seat in the shade. Slaves from the fields came running to their master's aid only to find him being chased by no one. Despite his misgivings, he sent them back to work. Slowly and cautiously he returned to where Gaius was sitting.

"We meet again Primulus," began Gaius.

"Apollodoros -- my old friend. What are you doing here?" asked Mettius nervously.

"There is a name I have not heard for a long time," replied Gaius.

"Do you not go by that any more?"

"Not since the days with Spartacus."

"You were there? My memory is not what it used to be. So my friend, what is it that you want?"

"Someone in the area is blackmailing locals. They are using their secrets to obtain favors, money, influence, and the like. I naturally thought of you."

"I would never..."

"Succumb to extortion? That is not the Primulus that I know."

"What are you going to do?"

"Put a stop to it -- naturally."



I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Thanks Betty. I am glad you are enjoying our work.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on March 22, 2009 6:43 PM.

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