The continuing saga of a ring, crafted 2,000 years ago in Rome, as it is washed along by the tides of time and history. Once again, this is a creative venture between my friend, Sage Doyle, and I, where we take turns moving the ring forward in its adventure, creating characters for the other author to bring to life… (good luck with the Egyptian hooker, Sage)…
To see the first two parts, please scroll down my blog. I would put links up, but I am going to put this whole story on one page here… as soon as I ask for help to do it… because I am a computer moron… and then it will all be in one place anyway.
The Heirloom… part 3…
by Arthur Browne
Atuatuca decided to keep Atuatuca as his name because he couldn’t remember his actual name. Also it amused him that his former partner-in-crime had given him the name not of the Eburone people of Germania from whence he had come, but rather of the area where his people had handed Julius Caesar his worst defeat of his conquest of Gaul, destroying an entire Roman legion as they settled into their winter quarters. As a youth, Atuatuca had been hauled back to Rome as a captive years after that Roman defeat, and he had only vague recollections of his own people or his own language. He did know that the lands were now Roman, and the idea of life on the frontier didn’t actually appeal to him at all once he set himself to pondering his own future.
He also had no desire to be cold and wet. His most notable characteristic was laziness, and being lazy in a poor climate just didn’t appeal to him. He was the only slave he had ever heard of that had been dismissed from service not because of long and faithful servitude to a grateful family, or because he was too old to be of any further use or because one of the family had grown to care about him. No, he was sent on his way because the family that had owned him for many years had finally come to the conclusion that getting any work out of him required more effort than it was worth. Or as the wife of his former master had put it; “Get on your way, you lazy lout, for it would be easier to do the work myself than to get you to do it, and you will find no more free meals in this household.”
He decided instead to set his feet on a Southerly course, and after many days of travel on the Appian Way he came at last to Brundisium, a port city on the other side of the Roman peninsula on the Mare Adriaticum. He would have been quite content to resume his life as a beggar and part-time petty criminal, but fate, as it so often will, intervened. Only a week after arriving in the city, and just as he was beginning to feel quite at home, he was involved in a brawl in a drinking establishment down near the docks and he rather seriously injured a member of a somewhat well-off Roman family.
Fortunately, one of his drinking companions was a seaman from a trading galley that was leaving the next morning with the tide. This dark-faced little ferret of a man explained how two of his fellow sailors from the ship had been rendered useless to the captain when they had ended up stabbing each other over a dice game that may or may not have been completely above-board. When the ship left the docks the next morning there were two new crewmen aboard, and one of them bore a small silver and emerald ring in a leather pouch hung about his neck on a leather thong.
The ship sailed carrying a cargo of amphorae filled with wine and a load of pigs, stopping in Thessalonica, and then skirting the Mare Internum and spending a few days in profitable trade in Antioch and Tyrus before culminating its voyage in Alexandria where it offloaded the last of its cargo and refilled its hold with wheat to make bread for the hungry throngs of Rome.
Atuatuca did not make himself available for this labor. He found the warm breezes of Egypt much to his liking. He also found the warm prostitutes of Egypt much to his liking, and before the sun had set on his first evening in the country that he now planned to make his home, he had traded the silver and emerald ring, an emerald that had been mined in the very same country not two years earlier, to a lovely and dark-eyed girl named Siria, in exchange for some loving companionship and a straw mat in a dingy hovel on which to lay his head for the next week, a proposition to be extended if he could come up with a similar sum before it had expired.
Visit Sage at; https://sagedoyle.wordpress.com/