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.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
5 months ago

What a great story Greene, and one that is steeped in history. I love Roman history, it’s one of the things that I enjoyed most about growing up in the North East of England. I lost count of the number of times I trekked up Hadrian’s Wall as a child, imagining placing my feet in the footsteps of Centurions. Love it!

Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
5 months ago

An interesting story. I love all the details and the creative use of words. I must admit that I was about to write a story with the same plot but had to change it. Good write.

Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
5 months ago
Reply to  Greene M Wills

Yes Greene, you did.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
5 months ago

Your story is very captivating. And the use of words is wonderfully crafted. And the Roman names of your characters are super adorable. It was as if I were taken back to Roman history. Nicely done, Greene.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
5 months ago
Reply to  Greene M Wills

You’re most welcome, Greene. You are kind too. We are all kind here in a different way. 

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
5 months ago

I can imagine many a Roman centurion longed for home and a peaceful life. Your story, with all its rich descriptions and language, brought history to life Greene. For several years I lived in St. Albans, a city steeped in Roman history and have always loved it. And I really loved your story.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
5 months ago
Reply to  Greene M Wills

I’m wondering too now Greene, as they say, it’s a small world!

Piyali Ganguli
Piyali Ganguli(@piyali-ganguli)
5 months ago

Beautiful and touching.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
5 months ago

You took us back 2,000 years, Greene, to give us a picture of how life and thoughts, despair and hopes, could be for a Roman soldier. It’s a very well written piece, very convincing. I am impressed by your knowledge about the circumstances and the empathy you show for the man who was fighting alone and so far from home.

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
5 months ago

Greene I must be honest, I don’t know much about Roman history, but you certainly gave me a glimpse of it with your beautiful story! I am happy that he chose to leave the fighting behind and to be with the person he loved. Great story.

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
4 months ago
Reply to  Greene M Wills

That is so true, Greene, I agree!

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