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This is one of the oldest doors in ancient Rome, Italy

This is one of the oldest doors in ancient Rome, Italy

Marcus Lucius didn’t follow anyone for a longer while. He sat on his horse and contemplated about what Octavian had said. There was a kind of confusion within him that he didn’t know up to now. Normally, he would go with Octavian anyway, without thinking about a girl, he didn’t even know really. He was a dead man already, so he didn’t care about himself. He ignored the strange, unknown pain in his chest. It wasn’t any wound he had. It wasn’t any wound he could ever get from anyone.

When he ran out of the house this morning, in the last shadows of the night, all he could feel was the wish for revenge. His past forced him to look back in anger. He wanted to go back to Brigetio, find Quintus and kill him. It wasn’t his wish to kill Quintus in a slow way anymore. Just a simple deprivation of Quintus’s life would be enough, after Julia ignored his presence. She closed the imaginary doors and he needed to open an imaginary window to have an exit in sight. He felt incomplete for no reason. He doubted so many things that he almost freaked out completely. He wondered why all his strategy from the very beginning, was put into question. He loved Decima, but a question put itself into his mind: was it right to go away anyway? He wasn’t sure and this doubt was scary. He didn’t have a free mind and he wasn’t able to decide what to do. Once a doubt surfaced, it didn’t let allow peace of mind anymore. Doubts have a bad habit to sneak up slowly, continuously through the backdoors of subconsciousness. When the suburbia of rationality has already been affected, they conquer the parts of the brain responsible for feeling safe and sure about what a person was thinking. Suddenly, nothing has the same value anymore. The doubt asks your feeling of certainty “Is it sure what you convey?”, then “How sure are you anyway?” and “What makes you feel so sure about it?” follow. The strategy of doubt is to take apart every piece of a statement including its promises and its consequences. Then, putting every detail into question ensues. The cheeky and treacherous way of doubts had brought souls apart. The mills of God grind slowly. Constant dripping wears the stone. The march of doubt is unavoidable.

Marcus Lucius couldn’t fight back. Staying in the field, just a few yards away from the house in Britannia where Maxentius and Julia were supposed to live, he thought about the girl he shouldn’t have in mind. Up to now, he tried to ignore her presence and the slim chances of a further coexistence. It was obvious to him that there was no common future for them. He had his reasons and she had her reasons to keep on living a separate life. He had to take vengeance for Decima. She had to go back to Julius Fabius and probably, she would remarry. Everyone had obligations derived from his or her own past. Following the road of obligations was prescribed as a consequence of former actions.

After the short conversation with Octavian, Marcus Lucius thought about the circumstances of Julia’s marriage. The seed of doubt was already implanted. It was indeed strange that her father gave her – of all human beings – to Maxentius. Everybody knew that Maxentius wasn’t the best or even a good match. The members of the Fabii family usually picked potential husbands and wives carefully. They were the best example for using the strategy typical for families with both wealth and political standing, whose largely inherited money would follow both their sons and daughters. It was called consortium, what meant sharing of property, usually used in a technical sense, but also in the context of marriage. Both parties had to be willing and intend to marry, and both needed their fathers’ consent. If all other legal conditions were met, a marriage was arranged. The more prominent her family, the less it was likely that the girl would have much choice regarding age, appearance or character of her first husband.

Marcus Lucius knew it, but he cudgelled his brains with the question “Why Maxentius?” It appeared increasingly irrational to him to give up the strategy used for years, and the improbability of this fact, made him think about what Maxentius had to offer to buy into the Fabii family. It was impossible to find out the reasons without a better analysis, without more time. If Marcus Lucius came to Brigetio to kill Quintus, he would reveal at least two points: his existence and Maxentius’s death.