Home » Uncategorized » Scenes from a Roman Taverna: Fire

Scenes from a Roman Taverna: Fire

Calgacus could taste the smoke in his lungs as he ran through the backstreets of the city with the young legionary in tow.
The smoke came from the fires thrown up by the Iceni as they began to run riot. They were systematically torching the place.
‘We don’t have much time,’ he gasped to the young soldier. The boy seemed to have attached himself to the builder since their escape from the stables,’ I have friends who I need to get out of this inferno.’
The boy nodded, but still looked confused. Looking for orders, Calgacus guessed. From anyone who was prepared to give them. I had better oblige, then.
‘You can come with us or stay,’ Calgacus warned,’ I know a way out of this, but it stays secret until I have my friends, do you understand?’
‘I understand, ‘said the legionary,’ although I don’t think I can leave with you. I would be executed as a deserter.’
‘That’s your decision,’ Calgacus shrugged.
He had enough problems already without adding someone who should in theory be capable. The boy would have to look after himself.
‘My name is Adeodatus,’ the boy suddenly said and immediately looked embarrassed at the outburst. He rallied though to try and explain’ I thought if we were to die together we should at least know our names.’
‘I don’t intend to die today to be honest, ‘Calgacus laughed,’ but I take the point. I am Calgacus. Now come on, they cannot be far behind us.’
By now they were approaching the quarter where the bar was located. Calgacus reckoned that there was nothing for it now, and there was no longer time remaining for subtlety. They would pick up Senodo and just storm Miletus’ town house, assuming they got there before the Iceni. They would take Vita by force and pray to the gods that they would make it through his escape route in time.
They came round the corner and stopped in shock.
A group of five or six Iceni were grouped around the entrance to the bar trying to get in. One had already thrown a torch onto the roof, and it had begun to catch.
The attackers were been held back by at least one person inside the building and as Calgacus watched, one of the attackers went down under the weight of another tribesman’s body that had just been hurled physically out of the door. Calgacus heard a bellow of anger from inside and knew it was Senodo.
‘My friend is in there,’ Calgacus said to Adeodatus. The boy nodded understanding and drew his sword. The two men sprinted and cut down two Iceni before they were able to recognised the new threat.
Senodo, seeing his chance, barrelled out of the smoking facade of the bar, wielding a broom handle like a staff and laying into the remaining attackers. Faced with the ferociousness of this counterattack, the two surviving Iceni just ran.
‘Let them go,’ Calgacus snapped as Adeodatus made to follow them,’ Senodo, are you alright?’
‘Yes,’ the big man gasped. He looked up at the roof of the building. By now it had caught fire properly and was being fed by the wind that was whipping it through the timbers.
‘The bar is done for, though,’ he added, sadly.
‘Is Exuperatus in there?’
‘No. I have not seen him for hours,’ Senodo admitted, clasping Adeodatus in greeting,’ hello young man, and thank you for your help.’
Adeodatus just blushed and tried to hide the pain from Senodo’s grip to his shoulder.
‘We are going to try and get Vita out – by force,’ Calgacus said,’ you don’t have to come.’
Senodo shook his head.
‘You know I have grown to love the girl too,’ he said,’ and anyway only you know the way out, remember?’
They both laughed at that. Adeodatus just looked at them as if they were mad.
The three of them made their way out of the alley and carefully began to wave their way through the increasingly deserted streets of this part of the city.
Most of the people were already trying to flee via the gates, running straight into and onto the swords of the Iceni. Others had barred their doors and windows in an attempt to hold out; they would be burned alive, Calgacus was sure. He thought briefly of Antonius and his wife, and hoped they were safe.
‘Oh dear,’ whispered Senodo as they turned the corner to view the house of Miletus.
Calgacus felt his heart sink as he saw it was already in flames. As they watched, one section collapsed.
They were too late.

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