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Hadrian's Wall, England constructed in 122 AD to mark the northern border of the Roman Empire in Britain, the wall stretched across the width of Great Britain just south of the present day border with Scotland

Hadrian’s Wall, England constructed in 122 AD to mark the northern border of the Roman Empire in Britain, the wall stretched across the width of Great Britain just south of the present day border with Scotland

Nerva was used to be on the run in a chaotic, energetic way. Usually, he was the messenger of really good or totally bad news. He was trained to be a fighter, but he didn’t have any occasion to prove himself in any combat until he settled down in Eboracum. Appius used to say that Nerva had to focus on the tasks of great responsibility. Bringing the news and being a communication channel had the same high priority as swinging the sword on a battlefield. However, the training hours were part of Nerva’s exercises. Being a messenger was risky as well. Appius was sure that Nerva had to be prepared for any kind of action, reaction, decision. On the long trips, Nerva visited many different places and didn’t graft his soul anywhere. He wasn’t like a planted tree that knew where its roots were. He was like the seeds from an orchid family that are generally blown off like dust particles or spores after ripening. Nerva was here and there, but he had no home to return to. Most soldiers preferred a place or a chosen location to call their home. Nerva didn’t. He loved to be in motion, from one point to another. He loved small talks. He loved new faces and scratching the surface of the world. He didn’t feel related to places, but he felt connected to people. His relation to Appius and Octavian was Nerva’s only point of reference. Octavian and he were like brothers. Appius and he were like the master and scholar. With Marcus Lucius he started building a strong friendship.

In Britannia, through the daily routine including riding the same routes and looking at the same trees, frozen bayous and other elements of the surrounding, Nerva discovered that being in one place could calm you down and bring some rest into the soul. However, he needed some days to settle down his thoughts and doubts. Only then, a kind of unknown, but welcomed silence flew through him. He understood this the evening, he got wounded. He inveighed against the entire world and was close to snapping any moment. It wasn’t the pain in the body that annoyed him so much. It was the awareness of being captured in a rainy, unhappy, immutable place, the furthest, the less interesting part of the empire instead of having a talk here or there. Nerva noticed that Marcus Lucius had killed the rest of the offenders and in the moment, when the little fight was over, Marcus Lucius changed from the enormously fast, active, outstanding warrior into a calm, peaceful man watching the sunset at the horizon. Nerva looked in the same direction and the last sun rays brought a new thought: the place was impressive with its masterfully synchronized colours of the sky, woods and the road ahead.

When Marcus Lucius stitched him later that night, Nerva felt good for the very first time. He calmed down after he drunk a sea of wine. Actually, he wanted to drink to forget his thoughts, instead, he made peace with the situation. He got the illuminative impression that the more he tried to run away the more troubles were combined with the escape. It was obvious that he had to accept the circumstances. He hadn’t forced himself to like it, but he could learn to tolerate it. It was a step into a good direction.

Continuous ups and downs used to give him adrenaline shocks in the blood. He liked the kick, because it distracted him from thoughts coming from the deepest corner of the heart. During the two weeks with Marcus Lucius, a special kind of inner peace established itself in his soul. He started paying attention to the dark, gloomy, but calm places around him that became the perfect environment for him. Just the rain ruined the idealistically sombre climate.

Nerva wasn’t informed how long the delay with Julia’s travel should take. Marcus Lucius hadn’t explained anything – neither directly after the talk with Cornelius, nor in the following two weeks. Marcus Lucius said he wanted to talk with Julia later, and “later” was so undefined that it could take years before a talk would take place. Marcus Lucius looked tired, sad, as if he would be forced to carry a heavy load on his shoulders. Nerva felt it through his sleekly rough skin. From the very beginning, from the day he came back from a journey that never took place, Marcus Lucius asked Nerva to stay in Britannia. He didn’t define any tasks, he didn’t describe anything, he simply expressed a question that had to be answered with something like “Yes, I do” or even “Of course, I do”. Marcus Lucius didn’t have any right to decree anything, but his appearance forced Nerva to behave friendly and stay supportive. When Nerva asked which kind of help was needed, Marcus Lucius shook his head with refusal. When Nerva asked whether he had to go to Appius, Marcus Lucius refused again.

-I need you here. We’ll wait for Octavian to come back with news and advice from Appius. Then, we’ll decide what to do next. We have a month for trainings and patrols.