The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Old Friend Incident - Part I

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Servius turned out to be a wanted man. He was a swindler who was wanted by many a rich family. Gaius had served those families as well as the fates when he killed him. Further, he was true to his word, as none of the men chasing Servius killed him.

One benefit of the incidents that happened between towns was no one ever asked questions about them. If you killed someone in town, there were people who would question you on the events. However, in the wilderness, people died regularly. Thus, Gaius never had to explain how he had come to kill someone.

Gaius continued to ride his horse south along the Appian Way. After his latest incident, he made it to the next town along the road and decided to have an extended rest there. In fact, he was still attempting to decide if he should even return to Rome. Thus, he became less concerned about making good time. In any event, Formia was an excellent town to linger.

A coastal town, Formia was a seaside resort for the wealthy Roman citizens. Thus, it had plenty to offer someone who had money. Since Gaius had obtained a nice bundle from the sale of a few wandering horses whose owners met untimely deaths, Gaius could linger in style.

After putting up his horse for the day, Gaius wandered around the town.

"Oirpata -- is that you?" asked a man about the same age as Gaius.

"Tarsua?" Gaius exclaimed as he embraced the old man.

"I thought you were dead," the two men said simultaneously.

"I fought hard to give everyone time to get away, but I was captured. So, I did not know how everyone faired." explained Gaius.

"You did a good job," replied Tarsua. "However, the Romans returned a year later. That is when I was captured."

"Have you been in this area the entire time?" asked Gaius.

"Unfortunately no. My master is visiting here. We live near Pompeii."

"How is living there?"

"Because of the volcano, the ground is quite fertile. Our crops do quite well."

"Volcano? Aren't you concerned about that?"

"The old mountain grumbles occasionally, but Vulcan is not active much there."

"It is odd that we are not speaking in the old tongue."

"It has been too long since I spoke it."

"I had almost forgotten that I was called Oirpata."

"No one has called me Tarsua in quite a long time. I am called Caprimulgus now."

"You milk the goats?"

"It was my first job. I am now the lead food preparer for my master."

"I go by Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius."

"You are a freedman?"

"I suppose you could say that."

"Do you have your own smithing guild?"

"I hope so. I do not know if it still exists since I began this journey."

"Was there trouble?"

"Of a sort. It is why I came on this journey."

"Is Alanius with you?"

"We were separated long ago," Gaius said with a longing in his voice.

"Was she captured with you?"

"Yes."

"Did you never see her again?"

"No -- we did see each other again."

"Was there too much time in between?"

"No."

"Did your love not survive?"

"No -- it does."

"Does -- is she still alive?"

"No."

"Do you know that for sure?"

"Yes."

"How did it happen?"

"It is quite a long story."

"...and you would rather not tell it."

"That is true."

"I am sorry to have asked."

"Granicus and Castus, who were a couple of Gaulic warriors, wished to keep the slaves fighting against the Romans. They were obtaining much plunder and wealth, and had little to return home to. However, there were thousands of women and children that wished to return home. Thus, Spartacus asked me to lead 10,000 slaves out of Rome while he continued the fight."

"Alanius was one of these?" asked Tarsua.

"She was," replied Gaius. "During the war, we freed many individuals which included Alanius. She joined us after we defeated Tremellius Scrofa near Petelia. She was one of his servants. She was warn and bedraggled, but as beautiful as ever. She shined like the moon when we were reunited."

"You do not have to continue."

"We made it all the way across the mountains and back home. Everything had changed, but we were home. More importantly, we were free. Nonetheless, I had obligations to my comrades fighting back in Rome. I had to leave my love, but I promised to return. She would not let me leave. She begged and cried. I had to leave, but she followed. I asked her to stay, but she would not. She was in no shape to travel, and the road back would be much more dangerous than the road home. Still, she would not stay behind. I had no choice but to bring her back with me."

"She died on the return trip..." stated Tarsua sadly.

"Yes."

"Was the war over by the time you returned?"

"Yes."

"So you are not really a freedman after all."

"No."

"This smithing thing is just a front."

"I suppose that is true."

"What do you really do?"

"I perform favors for the Fates."

"What sort of favors?"

"In exchange for a less miserable life, I do whatever the Fates wish me to do."

"Does that involve killing?"

"Sometimes."

"How do you know who to kill?"

"I know."

"So if the Fates wanted my master dead, you would do that?"

"If that was the task put before me, then yes."

"How do you know if the Fates wish someone dead?"

"I know."

"My master stated that I would be freed upon his death."

"No!"

"I would have my freedom."

"No," repeated Gaius firmly.

"How do you know that the fates did not bring us together for this to happen?"

"I do not know..."

"So?"

"I will look into it."

Gaius was conflicted. Was he being tested? Which direction was he to go? Was he supposed to kill his long-time friend's master? Was it just a favor? He would have to look hard into this matter. It would take some time.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on July 19, 2009 1:47 PM.

Earth was the previous entry in this blog.

"The God Wars" - Chapter Fourteen: Cultural Exchange is the next entry in this blog.

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