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Ancient Ruins, Llyn Dwyarchen, North Wales

Ancient Ruins, Llyn Dwyarchen, North Wales

Because Julia didn’t see Marcus Lucius for days, she assumed that he spent all the hours training with the legionnaires as Nerva once mentioned. No other information was available to Julia which made her feel increasingly insecure. Nobody had even the slightest idea where Marcus Lucius and Nerva spent their time and it wasn’t supportive to ask any legionnaire of Cornelius, because it could just raise unnecessary questions. She was increasingly tensed and stressed. It wasn’t a nice, comfortable state of soul. Therefore, she preferred to stay in cold, empty rooms, because she could deceive her senses and guide her thoughts to her basic instincts.

Nerva was unsettled and orbited around Julia’s bedroom. He couldn’t find his peace, especially when he remembered the last days, lacking understanding of the local language, not following the concept of Marcus Lucius and the wound he got. He wasn’t used to be injured. Additionally, he wasn’t sure what to do. He needed instructions. The best strategy to come to a conclusion was to step back and go to the basics. He thought about the day after Octavian left Eboracum, when Marcus Lucius spoke with Cornelius. It was a private talk, but Nerva was just a few meters away from them and could hear every word that was said. Cornelius had sent all his men away, but Marcus Lucius ordered Nerva to stay, so Nerva stayed and listened carefully. Cornelius confirmed the deal of the last day as if he wasn’t sure that Marcus Lucius really didn’t intend to take the official leading position.

-I called off my soldiers. – Cornelius added quietly.

-I’ve noticed. Thank you. – Marcus Lucius confirmed.

-What do you plan to do? – Cornelius was interested and stressed. His tension was visible.

Marcus Lucius didn’t show anything that could provoke Cornelius.

-We have to be prepared. The legionnaires have to train. I’ll overtake it. In a month, they’ll start patrolling the surrounding. – Marcus Lucius’s words were short, quickly spoken.

-What do you plan to do during the month? We can get attacked again! – Cornelius sounded ruffled and angry.

-They’ll start patrolling the surrounding in a month. – Marcus Lucius repeated with the emphasis on “they”. – We’ll start patrolling immediately.

Nerva wondered about the strict, exact, emotionless tone and. He appeared confident and masterfully on another, unknown level. When Nerva had met Marcus Lucius for the very first time, he saw a wounded lion that fought for a good thing. Even when he lay on the ground unarmed like a child, he emitted a kind of seriousness and power. Nerva was impressed by the generous gesture of Marcus Lucius when he allowed him to sleep in his bed in his wagon, while he himself stayed sitting on the floor. During the following weeks, there were not many contacts between them. During the last days, Nerva used to look at Marcus Lucius as a buddy, great, reliable, but silent companion.

But in the moment when Marcus Lucius and Cornelius talked, something changed. In a natural, acceptable way Marcus Lucius became a leader. He was no tyrant, who forces you to proceed with all possible means. On the opposite, Marcus Lucius didn’t need to force anyone to rule the situation. Appius had foreseen this strength when he once said that Marcus Lucius had to grow up to become the real son of Maximus. In this one scene, it was really the case. A man stepped down from the way he was following before.

Nerva was relieved to finally have someone close to him, who knew what to do, how to behave, which orders were needed. It was a good feeling, even though there were some doubts about Marcus Lucius’s identity and Octavian’s ride to Appius. Appius was the ultimate decision maker and consulter.

During the following days, Marcus Lucius kept silent and the patrolling started again. In the rainy days, evenings and even nights, they were on the road stepping by villages in the locality of Eboracum. The village inhabitants kept their distance, even though their strange talks were louder. Nerva didn’t understand a word and he didn’t feel comfortable when someone obviously was talking about him but he couldn’t grasp the context. The ambiguous facial expressions of the locals weren’t supportive.

Not the weather, which was clearly worse than in any other part of the Empire, was the most tiring thing. It was the constant silence during the time spent patrolling, that was most annoying. Therefore, Nerva enjoyed the moments when he got a report from Rufus, a good companion on the battle fields and during the trainings, but the worst friend in the private life. Rufus didn’t participate in any celebration, he didn’t pray, he didn’t drink, he didn’t go to the women to have sex. Octavian wasn’t good with such things, either, but Octavian – at least – tried to settle in.

Nerva needed a consultation for future actions. When Julia asked what happened, Nerva kept silence and referred her to Marcus Lucius. He didn’t want to tell her what further steps Marcus Lucius had planned, because he wasn’t informed about it. On the way back to the villa after the talk with Cornelius two weeks ago, Marcus Lucius had mentioned he was thinking about sending Julia to Naples with delay. After he sent a messenger to her father to give the note about the change of plans, he started the daily routine of patrols. As cause for Julia’s delay, Marcus Lucius mentioned the latest occurrences and the higher risk of travelling these days without describing anything in particular. Nerva wasn’t sure whether Julia was involved in these plans. It was rather less probable. Nerva wondered when Marcus Lucius would find time for it. For more than two weeks, Marcus Lucius was just on the road and Nerva became his best companion. Even though they didn’t talk at all, there was a special kind of connection that bounded them together.