Roman Slave - Gladiator - Freeman - Hero
The Walk Home
By Douglas E Gogerty
I had dined at Claudius Flavius Agrippa's estate. It was about two thousand paces from my home and I went on foot. It was a very ample banquet and I had left just before dusk as I wished to get home before it got too dark.
I had walked down the road for a short while when a man came from behind some brush along the road. He asked for all of my valuables. I could not help but laugh. This did not go over well with him and he jumped at me. I casually stepped aside, and I see a couple of arrows whisk by me. This bandit was not alone.
The first bandit had gained his footing and rushed towards me once again. I ducked behind the brush from which he emerged. I could not see his compatriots, so I had to be careful. I removed my cloak to protect myself from any small weapon the first bandit may have been carrying. I saw his knife glint in the fading light.
As he rushed at me, I grabbed his arm and launched him in the air with a little hitch in my hip. He hit the ground hard, but only enough to make him angrier. Once again, he charged at me, and I held my cloak to one side. I jumped out of the way in time and draped my cloak over him. I did not let go of cloak as it closed around my assailant. With my grasp of the cloak, I dropped to the ground and put my foot into the small of his back; thus, launching him above the cover of the brush.
In the failing light, his accomplices mistook him for me and launched a salvo of arrows. However, one of the archers gave himself away in this attack. The two arrows shot from this bandit's accomplices struck him. He started bleeding profusely, so I let him keep my cloak. He was still alive, but he would not be for long.
I did not know the position of one of the archers, so I carefully made my way to the archer's position that I had spotted. I saw that he had another arrow ready for flight. I jumped over the bush he was using for cover and knocked his bow. The arrow flew across the road. The second archer yelled in surprise as the arrow just missed him.
I grabbed the first archer from behind and used my greatest weapon on the second. I glared at him with the first archer held tightly in my grasp. Without breaking my stare, I snapped the neck of the first archer with my bare hands. My weapon was successful, and the second archer dropped his weapon and ran off.
I gathered up the two dead men and piled them on the brush beside the road. I checked for any identifying items, and gathered their valuables in a bit of cloth. I headed back towards home leaving the corpses for the scavengers.
After a bit of walking, I overhear some men talking. I cannot quite make it out, but it sounded like an exciting story about a 7-foot man killing Antonius with his bare hands. As I approach, I can see one of the men is enraged by the tale being told. He shouts, "He killed my brother, so he must die!"
I was in a bit of a spot because they were between my home and me. I was not looking for any more trouble, but the brother had spotted me. He came rushing towards me with knife in his hand. As he got closer, he began to shout wildly. Fear was not going to override his anger. However, for my benefit his anger impaired his judgment. When he was close enough, I side stepped him and grabbed his arm. Using his own hand with his own knife, I plunged the blade between his ribs. He fell in a heap. He attempted to get up, but his strength had left him.
Nevertheless, there were three remaining men standing besides a small cart filled with goods. The second archer was standing with his eyes wide with fear.
"That's him! That's him!" he nervously shouted.
"He's not seven feet tall," the second man said with a confused look on his face.
The third man I assumed was the ringleader. He ordered the two men to spread out and attack me on each side, but the two men hesitated. The ringleaders eyes flared and he shouted, "Move it!"
With a start, the two men tried to flank me. I leaned against a close by tree to watch my back. Slowly the three men closed in upon me. The two men on my left and right drew their knives.
I assumed that the ringleader was a deserter from the army who was now making his living as a bandit. He was going to be difficult to take down as he was wearing Roman armor and I just had my knife.
The two conspirators were not wearing any protection against sharp implements, but their cloaks did make them difficult to see. This was all more the true with the greatly fading light.
Closer and closer, the three men became. Eventually, the two men on my flanks lunged towards me. In an effort to dodge their attacks, I spun and kicked the ringleader in the face. Once again, the weapon of fear worked well on the second archer. With my action, he hesitated. This gave me enough time to grab the other bandit by the arm and twist it. The pain pushed him towards the ground and he dropped his knife.
By this time, the ringleader had shaken off his surprise and managed to draw a short sword. He made a clumsy attempt to stab me. It was quite apparent that despite his armor, he was not a well-trained soldier.
With his comrade still somewhat under my control, I pushed him in the way of this awkward stab. Unfortunately for this poor bandit, this thrust went directly into his throat and severed part of his neck. With a little shout, I popped his head right off.
The second archer fainted dead away upon the sight of his decapitated friend. With the head freed of encumbrance of a body, I swung it by the hair and smacked the ringleader with it. With an awful thwack, the head crashed into the helmet of the ringleader.
While the damage was clearly minimal, the scene left him a bit stunned as well. With this momentary hesitation, I thrust my knife in his eye. It is the most vulnerable spot on a man in armor. I quickly removed my knife and a scream of pain came out of his mouth as he clutched his eye.
If the wound is deep enough, it will eventually be fatal. However, it can take a bit of time. With a fury of pain and the loss of vision, the ringleader began swinging his short sword wildly. With one of his swings, he cut a large chunk out of the second archer's leg. Blood began to pour out of this wound but the lead bandit continued to swing his sword with shouts of anger. The new wound would be certainly fatal, but it did not rouse the second archer.
The head bandit was yelling and swearing. He waved his sword about wildly, but I was not going to get anywhere close to him. It was only a matter of time before the loss of blood would do its work. After a short time, the ringleader fell to the ground with a thud. He writhed with pain and gradually sank into unconsciousness.
It was dark now, but I could not leave these men in the middle of the road. However, I did not wish to take any chances that these men were still able to lash out at me. Thus, I made my thanks to my patron Neptune. My ritual took a few minutes as I burnt some blood of my fallen foes in thanks. I also included the decapitated head in my ritual of thanks.
I made certain that the four men were dead as I piled the bandits in a heap beside the road. Like their other fallen comrades, I obtained their valuables and put them all in their own wagon. From the looks of the booty these men had collected in their wagon, they were quite successful highwaymen.
Once I arrived home, I once again made sacrifices to Neptune. My tunic was soaked with the blood of these men. I took the opportunity to visit the bath before turning in for the night.