The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Distressed Traveler Incident

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Gaius was beginning to resign himself to taking much longer on this trip than he anticipated. Further, with the threats he had gotten from his last encounter, his place in Rome may no longer exist. Thus, he should not have to worry about his trip taking longer than expected. He was not quite sure what he would find at the slave market in Campania anyway.

His excuse was to find more house servants, and this often implied finding a wife. However, he did not believe that he would actually purchase any slaves on this trip. However, if his shop was destroyed, he might perhaps purchase a smith or two. Nonetheless, his main purpose was to get out of Rome until the demands from Crassus died down. With his most recent treatment of Crassus's messengers, it may be wise for him to stay away longer than planned.

He was beginning to resign himself to experiencing some sort of adventure on a daily basis, when he made it to the first stop without incident. He also made it to the second waypoint without anything occurring. Certainly, something would happen before making it to his goal for the day. He was shocked when he rested at the inn on his final stop for the day, and he did not have to kill anyone. Moreover, he did not even encounter anyone who knew him or wanted to speak with him.

He was quite shocked at that string of non-events. It had been quite a long string of days with something happening, he was taken aback by the uneventful day. He was extra wary the next day. He was thinking that perhaps all his tasks had been completed when a distressed traveler came onto the road.

"Help!" the panicked man cried. "Help!"

"How can I help?" asked Gaius calmly.

"Some men are after me," the stranger replied.

"Why?" asked Gaius.

"I think they want to rob me."

"Is that so."

"Yes. So are you going to help?" asked the man looking around nervously.

"I will see what I can do."

"Great! Lets go!"

"We are not going anywhere?"

"What? I thought you said you would help me."

"I certainly will try, but what does that have to do with getting out of here?"

"They will be along any moment."

"And?"

"And ... I do not want to be here when they come."

"What does that have to do with me?"

"You said you would help me."

"And I will, but what does that have to do with running away?"

"They will kill me."

"I guarantee that they will not."

"I hope the gods will keep you to that because here they are."

A group of twelve men came onto the Appian Way. Three of them were mounted, but the remaining nine were on foot.

"At last we caught up with you Servius," stated one of the mounted men.

"You best leave," stated Servius boldly. "I am under the protection of this man."

"Step aside stranger," replied the mounted man. "This is none of your affair."

"He has given me his word that you will not kill me. He has sworn by the gods, and he has defeated many opponents in groups larger than yours!"

Gaius looked at Servius with a cocked look of wondering. However, he continued to be silent. The mounted leader waved toward his men, and the men began to flank the pair of men. However, they did not attempt to completely surround the two men.

"You will not bluff your way out of this one Servius."

"We are not afraid of you!" shouted Servius. "We have been in tougher spots than this."

Again, Gaius looked at Servius with a raised eyebrow.

"Why is it that we have never seen you with this man before?"

"We fought together in the war. We were just catching up when you and your men arrived."

"War? Which war?"

"Why the Third Servile War of course."

Gaius stared hard at Servius. Had he known this man before? He did not recognize him, but he could have been in one of the ranks. Most of those that fought, knew him, but he certainly did not know everyone. He was trying to place him as the conversation continued.

"Yeah! Sure! What side did you fight on? The slaves? Were you two both close personal friends with Spartacus?"

"Of course not! We fought under the Consulship of Crassus. The senator will vouch for us."

"Enough of this!" shouted Gaius who now knew that Servius was bluffing. "It is true that I have given my word that you will not kill him. Thus, if you wish to say something -- say it and be gone."

"Your lapdog can speak," shouted the leader of the group.

"You should see him fight! I watched him as he personally killed forty men by himself."

"Get them!" shouted the leader.

The unmounted men cautiously moved towards the two men. They had their swords drawn. The men on horses stayed where they were. Gauis pulled his scimitar and put his horse between the advancing men and Servius. With a flourish of his weapon, the men stopped their advance.

"By the gods, I said you will not kill him!" shouted Gaius pointing his sword at Servius.

Gaius, spun his horse and the men looked towards the mounted men for orders. However, before anything was said, Servius's head was separated from the rest of his body. The body collapsed with a thud and his head rolled a bit away. The men stood there in awe as Gaius wiped his blade off.

"Your hunt for this man is over," stated Gaius. "You may go."

"Do you know who that was?" asked the leader.

"I only met him moments ago; however, his lies did not go unnoticed."

"There is a big reward for his head," replied the leader.

"Then take it with my compliments."

"May I ask your name?"

"No you may not," replied Gaius as he made his way past the men and continued his journey.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on July 12, 2009 6:01 PM.

Venus was the previous entry in this blog.

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