Scenes from a Roman Taverna: Motivation

‘Well,’ said Exuperatus,’ I never thought I’d find myself saying this, but we may just pull this one off.’
It had been a whole two weeks since the complication called Vita had arrived, and it looked as though the chase had been abandoned.
‘Of course, the fact that we are potentially facing a full scale assault by the Iceni in the next few days may have distracted the Roman authorities just a little,’ Senodo commented mildly.
‘I was trying not to think about that,’ the smaller man muttered,’ surely they’ll be stopped before they get here? What happened to the mighty Roman army?’
‘It went to Cambria,’ Senodo cleaned a beaker with a damp rag,’ and looking at the faces of the soldiers in the streets here, the main army won’t be back in time, no matter how fast they march.’
‘So we have to put our faith in the idiots that run the city? You’ve completely destroyed my nascent good mood, Senodo.’
‘Sorry, my friend… I’m just trying to be honest about this. A lot of people are pretending that disaster isn’t coming. I disagree. I think we should leave, and leave soon. This rebellion isn’t about pushing the Roman’s out.’
‘Then what is it about?’ Vita, who had brought and empty tray back to the bar, looked at Senodo with some curiosity,’ and how do you know anyway?’
Senodo smiled.
‘I know, little one, because I listen well to our dear customers and their gossip. It is particularly interesting after a few cups of wine. The Iceni king was murdered and his queen and daughters raped. This uprising is not a political thing, it’s about revenge. The motivation will be bloody revenge, pure and simple, and we’re unfortunately in the way.’
‘Londinium…’ Exuperatus started.
‘Will be burning now,’ Senodo said sadly,’ The Governor is an experienced general so I hear – but those he has left behind, well, I don’t hear confidence in our customers voices, and I think they continue to underestimate what they are facing. I know what it is like when you are possessed by the spirit of vengeance. That anger burns bright and will torch everything in its path until it is completely extinguished.’
The other two looked at him in some surprise at the intensity.
‘I never asked you why you shared my hatred of the Roman authorities,’ Exuperatus said quietly.
‘No,’ Senodo sighed, ‘and I did not ask you about why you are so cagey with them either. That’s been fine up to now I guess. But if I am going to die I might as well get it off my chest.’
Senodo sat down heavily and put his head in his hands for a moment, collecting his thoughts. After a minute he raised his head
‘I was a carpenter and farmer. That was until I came home from the fields one day to find my wife and child abused and murdered. It was done by three legionnaires having a little fun in their rest period. My daughter was twelve.’
Vita looked away.
‘What did you do?’ Exuperatus asked.
‘I killed them, of course,’ Senodo said simply,’ the red mist came down and Nemesis took control of me. That’s how I know how the Iceni queen feels. I’ve been there too.’
‘Did you run?’ Vita asked, finally
‘No. I sat down with my bloodied sword and waited for them to come and arrest me. But after a day, no one came. Maybe the cohort was wiped out by the Gaul rebels; maybe everyone was just glad these particular men had vanished. But eventually I realised that for some reason the gods wanted me to live. So I buried my family and walked to the coast in search of passage out of Gaul.’
‘And it was in the port where we met… Yes, I remember,’ Exuperatus laughed lightly, as if that would help the mood,’ I believe that I would have come off worse in that fight if you had not broke it up.’
‘I wanted a quiet drink, my friend, and your argument over the gaming table was disturbing that.’
‘I wasn’t cheating you know,’ Exuperatus protested.
Both Vita and Senodo gave the older man looks that were steeped in cynicism.
‘I’m scared now,’ said Vita.
‘Good. You should be. It makes you run faster.’