|August 2758 auc
Fr. Apulo Caesare C. Popillio Laena consulibus
to the heavy bumping of the wagon. His arm was on fire with pain, and
his mouth was as dry as dust. He was very hungry and his body hurt all
over. The wagon's jolting eased and he could hear the
If his surmise was correct, they had just crossed the
stream which led to the Rhine River itself. This stream was almost a mile
from the town on the Rhine where he had been brought as a new slave so
long ago. Was it really so long? He tried to focus on this idea. It must
have been at least 100 days, perhaps as many as 200, certainly not more
than that since the slaves in the mines did not survive much longer than
The wagon was slowing at the top of the incline. This
would be his only chance to get off this hay-wagon without hurting himself
His body hitting the deep cut ruts in the road filled
his whole being with pain. He hoped with all his might and called upon
all his gods that there not be another wagon immediately behind the one
on which he had been riding. The shock and the pain of the fall stunned
him for a moment and he lay in the muddy road, trying again to clear his
The two horsemen moved slowly down the road away from town in the cool shadows of the forest. The road was clear now except for the oxen-drawn hay wagon which had passed them just moments before. One of the horseman was a tall man of medium years, dressed well , and upright in is saddle. The other was a woman of middle age, and comely features. She was dressed in the well patched clothing of a slave and had over her shoulders an old blanket-cloak to ward away the chill of the approaching evening.
These two, one the slave owner (although reluctantly)
and the other a slave (also very reluctantly), neither of them seemed
to be able to
He turned to the man, and said," We'll go on to the stream ahead and water the animals and then return to the city."
The woman merely looked up at him momentarily and then resumed her dull-eyed stare before her.
"Well, if you cannot reply, at least pull your cloak closer about you." the man said gruffly.
The woman merely shrugged and pulled her tattered robe closer about her shoulders. The man looked away in utter frustration.
They approached the stream and the muddy part of the road leading up from it, The man guided his horse to the side of the road to avoid the worst of the mud. As the man moved his mount down to the edge of the stream, he heard the creak of leather behind him and turned to see the woman dismounting.
"What are you about woman?" said the man in an exasperated voice.
"I am saving my master some few coins, as I am sure that he wants me to do," came the reply .
The man surprised at the response, said." what the devil are you talking about?"
The woman pointed to an old , muddy and badly worn slipper-shoe
made of what looked like rawhide. "I will save this slipper and make
"Oh, leave the filthy thing in the road, and I will buy you a new pair of slippers, when we return."
"i don't want a new pair of slippers," spit
the woman, "I only want what I deserve, and this muddy , used sipper
is all I want from you." Her
"Commander," the woman said, her voice now much
moderated and hesitant. It was the first time that she had called him
by his title. He turned in the saddle. The woman holding the old slipper
in her hand pointed to the thick brush along the road, under a large spreading
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Marcus Minucius-Tiberius Audens
Marcus Philippus Conservatus and Franciscus Apulus Caesar
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