Home » Uncategorized » Scenes from a Roman Taverna: Interlude

Scenes from a Roman Taverna: Interlude

‘Senodo, darling,’ the young woman poked her head around the canvas door of the big man’s workshop and brushed her blonde hair out of her eyes,’ have you seen your daughter?’
Senodo looked up from the table leg he was working on with a lathe.
‘No. I thought Arduinna was with you. She is probably playing down by the river. Or she may even be fishing. When we invoked the Huntress at her naming we were more right than perhaps we knew. ’
‘I thought you were going to start teaching her how to carve today,’ Messalina continued, coming over to stand by her husband,’ she was very enthusiastic about it last night.’
Senodo shrugged.
‘I was. But the day is fine and warm. This place is dusty and boring on a day like today. Let her play, I’ll have plenty of time to teach her when it rains.’
‘You don’t think it is strange, my love, do you?’ Messalina laid a hand on her husband’s arm. Senodo stopped his work and kissed her.
‘What is strange?’ He asked.
‘Teaching your twelve year old daughter to work wood… After all, it is a man’s job,’ Messalina frowned,’ and Arduinna spends too much time acting like a boy as it is.’
Senodo laughed.
‘She’s my daughter. The carpentry is in her blood, my love. And she is only twelve. I am sure that she will be a fine woman like her mother when she comes of age.’
‘You wanted a son, I think,’ his wife chided.
‘Yes, of course I did. But I love my wife and daughter. They are everything to me,’ Senodo took his wife in his big arms and held her tightly to him,’ and there is always the chance that a boy might come along, if we keep trying.’
Messalina ran her hand tenderly tracing the contours of a huge bicep and looked up at her husband, whose eyes had begun to twinkle cheekily.
‘Well, I guess that if our daughter is currently entertaining herself, and I have already interrupted you from your work, we could always have a go at giving her a brother now…’
Then Senodo heard screams and could smell burning, and he realised that his strong arms were empty, and would always be that way.
Senodo sat in the empty bar and wiped the tears from his eyes.
It was almost ten years now. He gripped the end of the table so hard that he thought his fingers would tear through it. Then he let go and sighed.
‘They’re gone, you old fool,’ he told himself,’ you didn’t fall on your sword then, why do it now?’
Senodo got up and went back into the cellar area. He had already stripped the house of any valuables that could be reasonably carried, mostly tools and the bronze household gods. Exuperatus had vanished with most of the money hours ago, making excuses about needing to buy supplies. Assuming they did get out alive they would have to be in hiding for some time.
Senodo had known Exuperatus for a long time now but still was unsure that he could really trust his partner. Like him the other Gaul was too scarred by his own experience to be idealistic about life in the way that younger people were and thus was less drawn to the conventions of friendship and honour.
Senodo listened carefully. The noise of battle was increasing all the time.
They had agreed that Calgacus would try and rescue Vita and meet him and Exuperatus back here at the bar, and then they would make straight for the bath house. That was the plan and Senodo hoped that they would get a move on.
There was a muffled thumping at the door and Senodo sighed again, this time with relief. He went over an opened the door.
He immediately recoiled as an axe struck out towards him, missing him by inches. Senodo continued to stagger back as the Iceni warrior entered the bar with a cry, with others behind him, some carrying an assortment of weapons, others were carrying torches.
The Iceni brought the axe around for another strike.
Senodo felt behind him for a weapon and felt the leg of a stool he had lovingly crafted.
He was thinking of his Messalina and Arduinna as he smashed it against the warrior’s head.

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