The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius

The Blacksmith Incident - Part IV

By Douglas E. Gogerty

The group of citizens discussed their plans for the evening. Their assault on the inn was not going to be easy. Thus, they had to determine who was going to do what. While the group they were going after was not large, they were in a good safe place.

On the other hand, Gaius was on his own with the magistrate. Thus, he did not stay around for their discussions. He knew what his part was. He wanted to look over the magistrates house. He wanted to learn more about the magistrate's security. He leaned against a tree looking at the house for quite a while. It was about an hour before dawn, when Gaius went into action.

The local magistrate awoke from his sound slumber when Gaius sat on his chest. The man struggled against Gaius's weight, but he was completely restrained. Gaius's dagger sat on the magistrate's chest and glimmered in the faint light. The magistrate saw it and struggled more furiously. However, Gaius had him fully under control. Further, Gaius had the magistrate's mouth covered with his hand, so he could not cry out.

"Some citizens of this town are rising up against its bad elements," Gaius whispered into the ear of the restrained magistrate.

The magistrate attempted to say something, but Gaius continued to cover his mouth.

"Apparently, there was a gang of thieves working out of the local inn, and a group of citizens are taking up arms against them. They had to take this action because the local magistrate took bribes rather than doing his job."

"Hmmmph hmmmph," replied the magistrate.

"They discussed what to do about the magistrate's fate, and I volunteered to speak with you about it."

"Mmm mmm," answered the restrained man.

"If you call out, it will immediately seal your fate -- not that it would do you any good. Do you understand?"

The magistrate nodded, so Gaius removed his hands from the mouth of his prisoner.

"I... I..." muttered the magistrate.

"Do you know why I am here?"

"You believe that I have not been doing my job," sobbed the magistrate.

"It has nothing to do with what I believe. You have not been doing your job. That has already been established. This is why these people are taking the law into their own hands."

"I can explain..."

"I am not here to hear your explanations. Some people are going to get hurt and some are probably going to die tonight. Do you want to try to explain that?"

"That was not my intent."

"Of course not. However, the results tonight are all your doing. You had a job to keep the peace and order. You did not do your job."

"But..."

"I have heard enough," stated Gaius as he picked up the dagger from the man's chest.

"Wait!" cried the magistrate.

"Say your piece," replied Gaius.

"I did not mean to hurt anyone."

"Travelers throughout the Republic came here and were robbed by a mountain of a man. You did nothing. How is that not hurting anyone?"

"No one was really hurt -- they just lost some property."

"So, you did not want anyone to be hurt physically, but they could be hurt financially. Is that it?"

"Well -- that is not what I meant...."

"Go on."

"The offenders made reparations to the government," the magistrate said with an excited glow.

"And the government helped the victims in what way?"

"By providing services!"

"Such as a magistrate that would punish bandits?"

"Exactly -- wait."

"You see the lack of law and order hurts everyone. The merchants lose patrons. The citizens may live in fear. Most of the town feels the effect of a crooked legal system."

"Others do it."

"The last argument of a guilty fool," laughed Gaius.

"But nobody complained."

"Does a slave complain as her master beats another slave?"

"It was all small stuff. If they moved onto bigger things I would have stepped in. I would have drawn the line."

"Now I have heard more than enough!"

"Wait! Please do not kill me! I have children to look after."

"No you do not."

"What?"

"You have no worries left in this life. Do you have any last words?"

"I -- I -- I do not. I am sorry, and now must face my punishment."

"Good words," replied Gaius as he covered up the magistrate's mouth before he could scream. "However, actions speak louder than words."

Gaius plunged his dagger into the again struggling man's throat. The magistrate continued to struggle until his life was gone. Gaius left him there on the bed and walked out into the house's atrium. He cleaned himself up in the impluvium. He stepped over a few dead guards on his way out of the house.

As he passed a couple more dead people in front of the house, Gaius turned back and looked at the house. A once lively household was not lifeless. Gaius felt a little sad that it had to turn out that way. However, Gaius believed that is what the fates wanted. Thus, it had to be done.

It all put Gaius in a reflective mood. He thought of all the people he killed on this trip. There was a trail of dead bodies all the way back to Rome. Death and destruction followed Gaius not matter where he went.

He had hoped to find somewhere where that did not happen. He had hoped that perhaps Sinuessa would be the place where it all ended. This could have been the place where he could have been at peace. However, he had to move on now. He would be blamed for all of the killing that night. That was fine with him, but it did not have to be that way.

Nonetheless, it was time to move on. Gaius went to the tree where his tunic hung, and walked to the stables. Gaius did not say goodbye to his old friend or to anyone. He just mounted his horse and rode away in the dawn's early light. He did not know where he was going, but sure as anything there would be trouble there.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on October 11, 2009 2:36 PM.

"The God Wars" - Chapter Twenty-five: Information was the previous entry in this blog.

"Reunited..." - Chapter One is the next entry in this blog.

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