The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Horse Incident - Part I

By Douglas E. Gogerty

"Where did you get this horse?" asked a young man as Gaius rode into the next way station on his road to Campania.

"She was given to me by a former associate," lied Gaius.

"I think you stole it!" exclaimed the man.

What could Gaius do? He obtained the horse from a man who was going to rob him. There was no reason to believe that that man obtained the horse legally. Thus, he could very easily be riding a stolen horse. However, he could never admit that.

"I assure you that I did not steal this horse," Gaius explained.

"Perhaps your associate stole it then!"

"That is none of my concern, nor is it yours. However, you can rest assured that if he did steal her, he will never do anything of the like again."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"If I say the man that gave me this horse will never steal again, you can count on that being the truth."

"You killed the man for his horse?"

"Not at all. He attacked me, and I defended..."

"So, he is dead!"

"He was a brigand, and he got what the fates wished."

"And you obtained a horse for free. That is very convenient."

"I would happily abandon this mare and continue on my way if you wish it."

"Oh, you will hand over the horse all right, but you will not simply walk away -- barbarian."

"Stranger, I have no beef with you. If this is indeed your horse, you may have her," Gaius said as he dismounted. "However, tread lightly or you may regret wagging your tongue in such a manner."

"You speak as if you are not a dead man already."

The man drew his short sword and swung it at Gaius. Gaius rushed at the man and the sword completely missed its mark. The man's arm hit Gaius instead. With a quick twist of his body, Gaius grabbed the man's hand and freed the sword. It fell harmlessly to the ground. With a quick push of his elbow, the man was forced backwards. Gaius bent over and picked up the sword.

"Citizen," began Gaius before the man could rush forward "I have no quarrel with you. As I said, if the horse is yours, you may have her. If it is not, leave us be. However, you have forfeited this sword."

The man thought about charging at Gaius to retrieve his sword. He thought it over quickly and decided not to take that course of action. "You have not heard the last of me!" the man said as he ran away.

"I had better have!" exclaimed Gaius after him.

The man did not even take the horse. It became clear to Gaius that the horse was going to be trouble. He could not prove where he got the horse, and he could not prove that it was not stolen. The horse could prove to be more trouble down the road.

Nevertheless, it had been a long journey, and the death of the slave woman saddened him greatly. However, he had given her happy last moments. He was pleased with that. Thus, when he was at the end of the days journey, he was looking forward to a quiet night.

He entered the inn for a meal and a room for the night. The available food smelled glorious when he entered the inn. A hearty meal would hit the spot. He exchanged the pleasantries with the innkeeper, and made the necessary arrangements for the night.

He hoped that the man that confronted him earlier would not find him again. He hoped the warning took hold. He did eat his meal in relative quiet. There were minor skirmishes during the meal, but that was normal for a place such as this. Apart from those incidents that did not involve Gaius, the meal was uneventful.

Unfortunately, after he finished eating, he was accosted by the man from his arrival. With four comrades, the man walked up to Gaius and ordered him to step outside.

"I informed you earlier that our interactions were over," assured Gaius.

"Not until I get my sword back."

"The only way you will get it back is through your heart."

"I do not think so," the man replied waving at his four friends.

"Listen," replied Gaius in an irritated tone. "You do not know me, or what I am capable of. Your pitiful group of friends does not change that. Thus, if you would like to see tomorrow, you will leave me alone."

"If you were so formidable, then you would not be stealing horses."

"You must be hard of hearing, so let me make this clear to you. There was a band of seven highway men pestering travelers on the Appian Way north of here. They will pester no one now. Their leader, an army deserter named Horatius, was upon the horse I acquired. Since him and his six allies would not need the animal in question, I took it."

"Do you expect me to believe that you single handedly killed seven men?"

"You may believe whatever you wish. I assure you that seven is not even close to the most men I have killed in one fight. You have had a taste of what I am capable and survived. Consider yourself lucky, and go home."

"My honor will not allow me..."

"Your so-called honor will result in your death and that of your friends. What good will it be to you then?"

"You will step outside, and prove yourself."

"I have nothing to prove. It is you who wishes to prove something. I wish to have nothing to do with it."

"You are a coward!"

"You should not tempt the fates lest you wish to meet them."

"You speak tough words, but can you back them up barbarian?"

"I fail to see why you wish to have an end of your life at such a young age. Is life here that unbearable?"

"You act as if you will survive this fight."

"No. I act as if I have experience in fighting. Your group garners no interest from me."

"You will fight us horse-thief."

It looked as if Gaius would not be able to avoid fighting the man and his friends.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on May 3, 2009 8:25 PM.

Still more Star Trek fun was the previous entry in this blog.

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