Home » Uncategorized » Scenes from a Roman Taverna: Torc

Scenes from a Roman Taverna: Torc

Miletus stood over Vita and glowered at her in the flickering candlelight of the bedroom.
‘You little spying bitch,’ he shouted, and moved towards her.
Vita, head still reeling from the unexpected blow shuffled frantically away on her bottom until her back was pressed up against the bed. She wrapped the inadequate protection of the shift around her and waited to see what the man would do next.
She could see the door behind him, but it was closed. She could not see how she could get past him now without him stopping her.
Miletus paused as he noted the bag lying as Vita had left it next to the open strong box. He picked it up, hefting the bag as if judging the weight of the golden contents and the torc it contained.
‘And intent in thieving too…’ he muttered and without warning the magistrate threw the bag at her.
Vita ducked instinctively and the bag missed her head, thumping into the bed and falling neatly instead into her shaking lap.
To her surprise the magistrate laughed.
’Well it seems to like you after all – so why don’t you put it on, girl’ Miletus sneered,’ the thing was made by your people after all. And you might as well look pretty when you die.’
Vita looked wide eyed at her attacker. She was certain that this time there was no escape. She hoped that he was angry enough to make it quick, to forget himself in his fury and strike out with a death blow.
‘I said put it on,’ said Miletus, calming.
Vita suddenly felt sick. Miletus was starting to enjoy himself again.
Not knowing what else to do, she did what she was told.
The torc was too large for her, and hang heavily around her neck.
Vita closed her eyes, feeling its cold metal against her skin and expecting his brutal hands to soon join it.
‘That’s better. You almost look the part too,’ Miletus said.
Vita opened her eyes. The magistrate was looking at her with a look of calculation.
‘I wonder if the original plan might just be worth another go,’ he said.
Vita felt that he was largely addressing himself.
’Though I’ll have to break you first as I cannot have you running off again.’
Miletus stepped across the room towards her.
‘So we’d better get started. Get up and lie face down on the bed,’ he ordered.
Vita got up trembling from the floor, and steeled herself for what was probably coming.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door, followed by a muffled voice.
‘Master, come urgently!’ the voice, probably from a slave was insistent even from beyond the cubiculum door.
Miletus threw his arms up in annoyance and with a final glare at Vita turned and went over to the door. He flung it open.
On the other side was a wiry, weasel faced man the magistrate did not recognise.
Vita looking around nervously, suppressed a gasp of astonishment.
‘Who are you?’ Miletus demanded.
‘A man whose life, despite his best efforts, seems to get increasingly complicated,’ said Exuperatus.
He then stabbed the magistrate through the heart with a kitchen knife.
The Gaul pushed the body aside without ceremony and looked at Vita. The girl’s eyes were fixed on the knife and the blood that now dripped from it.
‘You look very pretty dear,’ Exuperatus snapped,’ but now can you put some proper clothes on. We need to get out of here right now.’

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