The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Highwaymen Incident

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Gaius continued his journey southwards on the Appian Way towards Campania. He expected to be away from Rome for nearly two months, so his journey had just begun. The paved roads made the walking fairly easy, but there were other dangers lurking for travelers.

"The Fates have been kind to us," stated a man as he stepped onto the road.

"Aye that is true," said his companion.

The men walked up to Gaius and stood in front of him. They glared at him. Gaius stood there silently as the men blocked his path.

"What is the matter friend? Do you not speak?" continued the first man.

"Yeah, you do not seem too talkative," added his companion.

"All right friend," Gaius finally replied. "I believe you have misinterpreted what the Fates had in mind."

"What is that supposed to mean?" asked the first man.

"Yeah what?" added the second man.

Again, Gaius stood there silently.

"Apparently, he has had enough friendly conversation," the first man said to his companion.

"Friendly conversations make the time go swiftly," answered the second man.

"Okay talkative one," the first man said to Gaius "strip and give us your pack,"

"Be quick about it," added the second man.

Gaius removed his tunic, folded it neatly, and put it into his pack. He held his pack at arms length in front of him.

"You are a smart one then," stated the first man as he took the pack.

Before his companion could add anything to that, Gaius's dagger was in his eye. As he placed his tunic in the pack, he had removed the dagger. He had concealed it under the pack as he held it out. Thus, he caught them off guard.

The first man saw this action, dropped the pack, and began to run. Like a lion, Gaius pounced on the fleeing man. From over the running man's shoulder, Gaius plunged his dagger into the man's heart. He removed it as the pair tumbled to the ground.

The second man remained where he was screaming in agony. Gaius pushed him towards the side of the road. The man remained on his feet, so Gaius walked up to him from behind and slit his throat. He cleaned his dagger off the man's tunic, and walked over to his pack.

He looked himself over, and did not find a drop of blood. So, he removed his tunic from the pack and put it on.

"I do not think I would call that kind," Gaius stated as he walked away from the two highwaymen.

Gaius continued walking for a while before he came to a man on horseback. The rider was wearing a bronze Roman legion breast plate which had seen better days. He was not wearing any other legionary equipment such as a helmet.

"Apollodoros!" the man on horseback called to Gaius as he neared. "I should have recognized your handiwork."

Four men walked out onto the road behind Gaius as he approached the horse and rider. Gaius looked over his right shoulder and then his left to size up the men. He returned his stare to the rider.

"You are a bandit now Horatius," Gaius returned. "You are really moving up in the world. It is you Horatius -- isn't it? I have not seen you since you deserted. In any case, if you begin to run away, I will know for sure it is you."

"You and your slave friends took everything from me!" replied Horatius angrily.

"Like being enslaved was a ewer of joy for us."

"You deserted your comrades," responded Horatius to change the subject. "just like I did."

"Spartacus asked me to guide 10,000 former slaves safely out of Rome. When I returned, it was over. What is your excuse coward?"

"Be careful what you say Apollodoros," Horatius threatened as he lowered his spear towards Gaius. "We have you surrounded."

Gaius laughed at this, stripped off his tunic, and placed it in his pack. The men did not rush him as he unsheathed his scimitar and dagger.

"You have changed your weapon," Horatius remarked.

"This is shamshir. It is the sword of my people," replied Gaius. "I left your sword in the body of one of your comrades."

Horatius was enraged by this comment and thrust his spear at Gaius. The clumsy strike was easily dodged by Gaius. However, he dropped his dagger, grabbed the spear, and yanked it out of Horatius's hands. Calmly, with the spear in his hands, Gaius returned his scimitar to its sheath and retrieved his dagger.

With the dagger safely in his pack and the scimitar sitting on top, Gaius twirled the spear above his head and made a few flourishes with it. He placed the butt of the spear on the ground, and tested to point for sharpness. He just shook his head when he discovered how dull it was.

The four men who had been doing nothing during this exchange decided to draw their short swords. Cautiously, they closed in towards Gaius and Horatius. Gaius stood there unconcerned leaning on the spear.

"Give us your pack," Horatius eventually stated "and we will let you live."

Gaius laughed heartily at this suggestion, and Horatius's men closed in some more.

"I will not ask again," Horatius threatened.

With that, Gaius stopped leaning on the spear, swung it around, and smacked the closest man on the side of the head. That man fell to the ground hard. With another spin, he took the legs out from another man. He pushed the butt of the spear into the face of another man -- knocking him back.

He stuck the spear's point just below the sternum on the fourth man. The third man got another shot to the face with the spear's butt just before the tripped man got a blow to the head. With another sweep of the spear, all four men were on the ground.

"You would not harm an unarmed man?" begged Horatius.

"If you say so," replied Gaius as he thrust the spear into Horatius's throat.

Horatius tumbled backwards from his horse and struck the ground with a clanging thud. With that, Gaius went around and finished off Horatius's men. Once he was sure they were all dead, he checked himself for blood. Once again, he managed to avoid getting any upon him. Thus, he retrieved his tunic and put it on. He slung his scimitar over his shoulder and looked around.

While the two fights had not taken a great deal of time, they did have somewhat of a tiring effect on Gaius. Thus, he decided to take Horatius's horse to the next way point -- perhaps farther. After all, he was just two days from Rome, and he had killed nine people. It was going to be a long journey.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on April 19, 2009 7:04 PM.

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