The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius
The Crassus Messengers Incident
By Douglas E. Gogerty
The views around Terracina were well known. The area was very much coveted by many wealthy patricians who had villas in the area. Further, there were the famous mineral springs known as Neptune's waters. There were lots of places Gaius wished to see while he was there; however, he was behind schedule so things would have to be sacrificed.
Gaius left at dawn in the hopes of making up some time. He had just begun his journey when he noticed he was being followed. It was a group of six well armed men. When he slowed, they slowed. When he went faster, they kept up. They were definitely not travelers. Without a doubt, they were following him.
There was only one thing for Gaius to do, and that was wait until they made their move. He would know what they wanted soon enough. He would have to be careful. They could be setting him up for an ambush. He would ride with all of his senses on alert. If the soldiers behind him began to close in, he was determined to be ready.
He went along for a while when he noticed two men waiting along the road. The men behind him kept their distance. Nonetheless, Gaius was poised for whatever would happen next.
"Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius?" shouted one man.
"Yes," replied Gaius as he stopped his horse.
"Senator Marcus Licinius Crassus sends his regards."
"If you get the chance, you must return my good wishes to the Senator," Gaius replied as he noticed the armed men behind him had also stopped.
"We shall certainly do that."
"Very good! Then I shall be on my way."
"Not so fast Ferrarius -- or should I say Apollodoros?"
"You can say whatever you wish. No one is stopping you."
"The Senator was hoping that you would reconsider his offer."
"That is very generous of the Senator; however, I prefer the way things currently stand."
"You do not seem to understand the danger you are currently in."
"Apparently not, because I do not see anything dangerous."
"Do you not see the six men behind you waiting for our signal?"
"Those men? They are yours? They do not look dangerous to me."
"You are out numbered eight to one."
"Do not leave my horse out. She is very sensitive about these things."
"To joke in the face of mortal danger shows great hubris."
"I am in mortal danger?"
"The Fates will bring you down because of your hubris."
"I work for the fates. This is something the good Senator refuses to acknowledge. He cannot outbid the Fates."
"He can destroy all that you love."
"No he cannot."
"You feel nothing for the smiths under your employ?"
"Why would I care for slaves?" asked the lying Gaius.
"Do you not care for your dwelling in Rome?"
"Surely you jest! Have you seen that hovel?"
"We can expose you as a runaway slave Apollodorus!"
"You do not seem to understand. The Fates took all that I have ever cared about. Nothing means anything to me now. I do only what the Fates wish. Working for Senator Crassus would require me to stop working for the Fates. This is something I just will not do."
"No matter what you do or where you go, the Senator will track you down."
"I am sure that is true."
"Not to mention that you are an easy man to track. We just follow the trail of corpses that you leave behind."
"It is the nature of things when you work for the Fates."
"We have been instructed to not let you continue without agreeing to the proposal."
"There are two problems with that statement. First, I already said that I would never agree. Second, you are unable to stop me."
Before the Senator's messenger could draw his sword, he and the silent envoy were cut open by Gaius's scimitar. They fell to the ground with a thud.
Gaius looked back at the soldiers that were following him. They looked confused. They had not been given any sign to advance, and the leaders of their group were not longer visible. Gaius decided to ride towards them.
The confusion played into Gaius's hands. With their indecision, four of them rode away from the advancing Gaius. The remaining two were frozen with indecision. Gaius rode between the pair with his sword drawn but across his lap.
With a puzzled look on their faces, Gaius swung his scimitar and sliced them both open. With a few more paces, he smacked their horses on the rear. The dieing men on horseback went galloping off. After several steps from their horses, both men fell. Gaius watched over his shoulder.
The four men that galloped off, obtained their desired distance and turned around. They watched as their comrades fell from their horses. Three of the men drew their swords and charged at Gaius. The remaining man galloped away.
Gaius stood his ground as the three men rode hard towards him. Closer and closer the three men galloped. The mounted Gaius remained where he was. The three men roared at him. Gaius stayed quiet. At the last instant, Gaius pulled his horse to one side. He remained out of reach of the soldier's short swords. However, one man was within reach of his longer scimitar.
That man's arm was cut from his shoulder to his wrist. He dropped his sword and screamed in pain. He pulled on the reins, and his horse threw him to the ground. The remaining men, turned around and watched as their colleague tumbled off his horse. The impact with the ground and his head killed him instantly. His comrades once again charged at Gaius, and once again Gaius stayed where he was.
Both men had their swords in their right hand and the reins of their mounts in the left. Thus, as Gaius sat between the men, only one could possibly reach him with a short sword. Thus, Gaius parried the thrust of the man with the sword close to him and sliced open the neck of the other rider.
The remaining fighter witnessing this, attempted to ride off. However, Gaius took off right behind him. The tired mount was no match for the somewhat rested mare under Gaius. Gaius caught up with remaining soldier and cut him down.
Gaius was getting tired of all the battles with no reward. Thus, he gathered up the horses, and led them to the next waypoint. He made a tidy sum of money when he sold them to the local innkeeper. He was tired, but he decided to ride to the next stop along the way before resting for the day. He was going to be in trouble once Crassus heard the news, but he was not going to worry about that for the moment.
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