Scenes from a Roman Taverna: Reports

‘So Castor – what have you got for me?’
It was morning, and the sun was bright.
Aquila blinked at that brightness in some annoyance. He had not slept well. He had drunk too much wine and had dream constantly, mostly of Roman blood flowing, war chariots and too much screaming.
But, apart from that, he felt quite cheerful for reasons he was not really clear on.
‘Nothing specifically on the girl, yet sir,’ Castor admitted,’ some interesting people who might be worth more investigation, but my contacts here have drawn a blank. She’s either dead, or good at hiding – and in the latter case she is probably being helped.’
Aquila looked thoughtful.
‘First, concentrate on the girl. She is all that matters. I appreciate that there may be other people with things to hide here, but we don’t have the time. So – if something you uncover is not directly relevant or a threat to the Empire, just leave it – for now at least.’
Castor nodded, although he was clearly unhappy at the restriction.
‘Second. I really would like now to have the girl alive. What little I was able to glean seems to suggest there is something in her former master’s deals that might be outside Roman law. It could be minor corruption – Jupiter knows, that’s rife – but it could be something more. If she knows anything, I want to know it too.’
‘I understood… Do you want me to sniff around this Miletus and his household?’
‘Yes. Try and do it discretely, of course, but find out what you can.’
Castor smiled. This was more like it. And he would keep his own investigations running whatever the Boss said. There were such things as bounties to claim for those fleeing Roman justice, and he could smell fugitives were lurking in this place.
He just had to work out where they were. Those two Gauls would be a place to start, and those sausages had actually been rather good.
‘And thirdly… Send for news to Camulodunum. I want the latest update on what is going on. I want to know if there is any change at all in the situation. I like to see fear or respect in the eyes of tribal leaders, and I saw only hatred and cunning in the Iceni.’
‘And if there is a change for the worse?’
‘Then we tell the Magistrate the girl is dead and pay someone to testify, because we’ll have far more important things to worry about.’
Castor looked at his Boss in amazement.
‘Really sir..? That’s not at all like you. You must be very worried.’
‘I am. Very worried indeed… Castor, I advise you to keep your bag packed and ready. I want to be able to move quickly. I feel a storm coming and I if I cannot stop it, well, I don’t want to be caught up in it.’
Castor nodded.
‘I understand. Anything else you want me to do?’
Aquila picked up his own Gladius and hefted the short sword. It had been a while since he had used it in action. But he could remember how and the weight was reassuring in his hand.
‘Keep your sword sharp and handy, Castor. Keep it close to you. You may need it.’
‘I’m a knife man, myself, ‘Castor replied looking fixedly at the weapon,’ but I do see your point.’