The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Slave Woman Incident

By Douglas E. Gogerty

With a horse, Gaius could travel much faster than he could on foot. The down side of traveling with a horse was that it was expensive to stable overnight. However, if he could travel twice as far in a day, it would balance the expense at the end of the journey. However, with the way things were going, that would be a big if. After all the trouble he had run into so far, it was not unreasonable to assume that it would continue.

After Gaius obtained the horse, he made it to the first way station by late afternoon. He had made good time, but he did not want to risk going farther that day. Thus, he made arrangements to spend the night. Surprisingly, he did not run into any trouble at this location. By morning, his former nemesis's horse was well rested to continue the journey.

Just before midday, Gaius reached the next way point on his journey to Campania. There was plenty of time to make it to the next stop before nightfall. Thus, he decided to have a leisurely midday meal at the inn there before moving on. After eating a nice meal, he left the inn to continue his journey.

"Aslan?" a woman asked Gaius. "Aslan is that you? You have not changed a bit."

"Aslan?" replied Gaius. "I have not heard that name since I was a wellid, but I am not Aslan."

"Oh silly me," replied the old woman. "Aslan would have grown old too. However, you are the spitting image of an Aslan I used to know."

"Well, I am not from around here, so I doubt there is a relation," replied Gaius.

"Of course not, neither am I. I knew Aslan a lifetime ago, perhaps I confused you with your father."

"Well, perhaps that is true, but I never knew my father."

"What is your real name?"

"That I do not know either."

"Where are you from?"

"My mother used to speak of an area north of the Black Sea -- but -- I do not think such a place exists any longer."

"Do you know that for sure?"

"I had an opportunity to look for it, but I did not have much to go on."

"What was your mother's name?"

"I only knew her by her Roman name, and I do not even know if she was my real mother."

"So, how did you hear the name Aslan?"

"My mother -- the woman who raised me, used to cry that name out in the night..."

"Can we sit and talk awhile?" asked the old woman.

"Certainly," replied Gaius.

"I do not want to be a bother. If you are going somewhere..."

"Please. It is my pleasure."

While she was only perhaps twenty years older than Gaius, the woman was frail from many years of hard service and ill treatment. The short walk seemed to use up all of her energy. Eventually, the two found a shady spot to protect themselves from the midday sun. The woman seemed relieved to be off her feat even for a short while.

Gaius offered her some wine and some of his travel provisions. At first she refused, but then accepted them graciously. She ate as if she had not eaten in days. Gaius waited patiently as she ate her fill.

When her appetite was satisfied, she said "I am on my way home."

"How are you getting there? Perhaps I could help?"

"I am going the same way I got here -- by walking."

"I hope it is not far."

"Do not you worry yourself. I will make it."

"If I can help in any way."

"When I was a young girl," the woman began ignoring everything Gaius said. "my family raised livestock. We moved around looking for fresh pasture land. My father was quite the horseman. Our livestock would then be traded for other goods. At the time, some of our people prospered in the slave trade with Greece. This brought in wealth which meant there was money to be spent on our stock. We became somewhat prosperous for nomads. My father was satisfied with the way things were. He was not going to get involved in slaving. However, the land was fertile and our animals did well, so there was no need to change."

"That sounds like happy times."

"It was. I was quite happy."

"And then you met Aslan?"

"More importantly, that is where I met Aslan's brother Emre."

"Your love?"

"My father started us off with a handsome dowry. Our stocks did quite well. More importantly, no one bothered us. With war and strife all around, we left them alone and they left us alone. We did not have trouble from the Romans, the Seleucids or any of the groups that seemed to cause trouble in the area. However, some people capitalized on these troubles by trading the captives to willing buyers."

"There are always those that wish to make money on the misery of others."

"There was lots of money to be made, but Emre and I stayed out of the troubles. I was going to give Emre a second child when our troubles began. Aslan had just gotten married to Bolour, but his wife's family refused to pay the promised dowry. He cared deeply for her, so he was reluctant to divorce her. Emre and I decided to take them on to help us. We were having a slight problem with bandits, and Aslan's help would be welcome."

"Bolour...?"

"She was a beautiful young thing. With their help, we hoped to double our stocks and give them a good start. With Emre's help Aslan quickly discovered who was stealing our stock. It was a young man from a slaver family -- Bolour's family. The thief's father was enraged over the accusation. The two men showed the man their proof, but his Scythian pride would not believe it. A feud between the families erupted."

"Over some stolen animals?"

"Some people just enjoy conflict no matter how small and no matter what the consequences turn out to be. Late one night, these slavers came into camp and took Bolour and me away. She kept screaming, 'Aslan! Aslan!' Aslan came after us, and they slit his throat right in front of us."

"Did Emre come after you?"

"They had already killed him," she sobbed. "These slavers sold us, and we ended up in Rome as agricultural slaves. I am now on my way back home."

"Scythia is a long way from here," replied Gaius. "Let me help you."

"You already have," replied the woman. "I am home now."

The woman died on the spot. Gaius spent the woman's last moments with her, and they were happy moments.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on April 26, 2009 8:05 PM.

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