I don’t remember the time before Caius Aurelius Britannicus found me. He became my father even before he officially adopted me. With him, I belonged. When I lost him to the fire, during the great rebellion, a bit of myself went with him.
I needed a new purpose and the army gave it to me. When I joined the Victrix legion, I acquired a new family, I belonged again. I thought how proud Pater would have been to see me marching as a conqueror with my comrades, the joy displayed on his craggy face when they promoted me to centurion. I was happy again.
Hard times came when I lost all my men to the Brigantes, when I and five others, bleeding and broken, barely made it to the fort at Verulamium. I was alone again, with my guilt, because I was alive and my friends were all dead. I started treating every battle as if it were my last, every meal tasted like ashes in my mouth, the shadows and wailing of the lost disrupted my sleep.
On that day when I attended the Vinalia festival in Londinium, I had no idea that the touch of her white hand, the look in her dark eyes, her words so kind would make me hers forever. Because of that, my last mission has been torture. I realised I had had enough of the fighting, the killing, the guilt, the danger. I wanted my hand to be creating, rather than killing. I longed to belong again and I soon would, Jupiter willing.
My sandals are broken, my steps unsteady. I’m hungry and cold. It has started snowing and the stones on this long road are now hiding under the white blanket. I can see the aqueduct and Londinium in the distance but these last miles are the hardest. I can’t wait to see her eyes, shining like the jet stones on the bracelet I bought for her in Sinus Fari. I look forward to attending the Sigillaria with her.
Drusilla and I will belong to each other, we’ll belong together.