Author's Note: This is the first time I write an original fiction, so I would appreciate a lot your opinions, appreciative or not. Constructive criticism is always welcomed (I know that's a cliché!). I would also be happy if you would let me know if/when I make historical mistakes so I can correct them. I will do my best to respect the historical true, but the period I have chosen to write about also allows me some space.
This story will be a rather long one, so bear with me.
Also, I will do my best to keep the female characters as non "Mary Sue" as possible. The only "sentimental" concession I will make will be choosing Dacia (as I am Romanian) as one of the places the action will take place. Since -like I said I am Romanian - my native language is not English (duh!) so please excuse my poor grammar or spelling mistakes. If somebody is kind enough to help me out by beta-reading I will be most grateful.
At the bottom of the page there will be a glossary containing the translation of the Latin words or sentences I may use or different explanations. Although I have no problems in translating Latin into Romanian, I may run into some troubles when translating them into English! So if I don't follow the Latin version mot-a-mot don't start throwing rotten eggs at me!
Warning! : It will contain scenes of violence, bad language, gore, rape and consensual sex. So if you are offended by such themes (although there's more to it than sex and violence!) or you are not mature enough (and I don't mean that in a biological sense!) do not read!
Enough now, let's get started!
Prima Charta: Resistance Is Futile
Motto: ,,N-aduce anul ce aduce ceasul." (Romanian saying) - its English corespondent is,
"It chanceth in an hour, that happeneth not in seven years."
Dacia Augusta provincia, 114 A.D
Aemilia let out yet another sigh of boredom, yawning broadly. This journey was really starting to get on her nerves, how did she end up in this Gods-forsaken province, in the far east corner of the Empire?
Biting her lower lip, she gazed out at the landscape surrounding her, still marvelling at its frozen beauty. She shifted uncomfortably, swearing softly in Latin, as the cart she was travelling in bumped up and down on what could hardly be described as a road. Septimius, the private guard her father had provided her with, had explained that it would take a good while for the Roman roads to appear in the province, especially in this mountain, boarding area. He had pointed out that things were also made difficult by the hoards of still un-pacified barbarians, which often attacked the passing carts, for revenge and for robbery.
After some miles of bumpy road, the path was getting slightly better. This adjustment did nothing to heighten the girl's mood, for the temperature had dropped sensitively, making her shiver violently.
" Great, now I'll get sick! Marcus, I'm gonna kill you, for making me go through this. Daddy said you could stay in Rome, in a year or two you could have easily become aedil, but NO, you just HAD to come to civilise this worthless piece of land. And most importantly, you HAD to drag me along! Pro Iuppiter, I hate you! I'm cold, and hungry, and I really have to take a bath! I can't believe this shit! Dis te aufort! You didn't even bother to leave this, this .. shitty land to come to your own wedding. Well our wedding! I couldn't show my face in Rome for months, and that stupid Aurelia kept making fun of me for marrying a letter! Just wait, 'cause I'll sure give you a piece of my mind!" she nestled into a corner, covering herself with a woollen blanket. "Just you wait .. you could at least have sent an escort to meet me…if you couldn't came yourself.." she thought as the newly found heat lulled her to sleep.
The attack had been so violent and quick that nobody had enough time to react. One minute they were riding peacefully alongside the mountains, the next one they were disarmed and rendered inoffensive. But what probably the most remarkable feature of this attack, beside its efficiency, was the silence it had been conducted in. That was the only explanation of the fact that Aemilia happily slept through it.
Septimius watched carefully as the attackers were moving quickly, taking everything that was valuable, gold, weapons and animals. They were around 15, all tall and blond, with thick beards, clearly Dacian natives, specialised in this sort of things - the fact that they made no unnecessary move betrayed routine - .
The old veteran studied carefully the features of the one that seemed to be in charge. He was young, perhaps in his mid twenties, with blond hair and beard, probably a descendent of the local nobility. Septimius had seen enough during his life to know that the kind of authority was more than conquered - it was hereditary. The leader's eyes were dark and cold, although they had a blue colour. It was obvious that both he and his men resented Romans, and chances were that their group might not survive this robbery.
The loss of the things held little importance for Septimius. His main goal was protecting Aemilia and so far, hidden by the blankets she seemed to be fine. Hopefully, they would depart without even noticing her, or else … he was helpless to help her and he had been in the army for decades to know how men behaved around pretty girls. Especially, when it came to very pretty girls and angry men. And, Mehercules! Were this barbarians angry !
Daizus watched carefully as his men striped the Romans of their possessions. Ten years ago the thought of him robberying would have been inconceivable, he would have killed anybody who would have even joked about it. And now…. He clenched his teeth in anger at the abject posture he was in, although he had told himself many times that he was only taking back what the Romans had stolen from his country in the first place. Had they not come, he would have been living a happy life now, still the spoiled and beloved son of a Dacian noble. His father had been among the few of the aristocracy that stood behind Decebal, until the end, killing himself alongside their king.
Though still a teenager, Daizus had fought in what now was called "the big war". The big war because it had been the final for the Dacian nation. He had been injured before the great battle of Sarmisegetuza and his father had sent him in the north, to a friendly tribe to ensure his health, telling him that they were strong enough to hold on. Now, eight years later, Daizus understood that it had been the last gesture of paternal love, that at that point it had become clear for everybody, except the hot-blooded teenager that they were fighting a lost war. He had been angry and shamed of his father decision, believing that he ought to have died with the others. To add his grief, a comati of his tribe had announced him that the girl he was supposed to marry had been captured and taken to Rome.
Then, as time flew, a movement of resistance had been formed and he found a new reason to move on: revenge. They have taken away his pride, his family, his gold and his status and he swore by Zalmoxe himself that he was going to take that all back.
"Rundacio", Daizus finally spoke softly in his native dialect "You didn't look under those blankets."
"Very well" the older man agreed, jumping into the cart.
Though he was curious to see what Rundacio would find, Daizus noticed with the corner of his eye the instinctive stiffness of the Romans. Indeed, there must be something interesting out there.
Rundacio knelt with a sigh and gripped the blanked, pulling it aside. He was expecting to find a bunch of clothes, maybe even some food but surely he didn't expect the yelp coming out.
A black - haired head popped up carefully, inquiring:
"Are we there yet?" Then, after a blink or two she added " And who the fuck are you?"
Septimius made a move to help the still sleepy girl, but his captor seemed to be expecting this, as he pushed his blade harder into the skin, forcing him to remain immobile.
Rundacio grabbed her arm and stood up, taking her with him. He scratched the back of his head, grinning " It's a girl, boss!"
Daizus just smirked as an idea suddenly came to him:
"I can see that! Why don't you bring her here so I could take a better look at her."
"Auch!" Aemilia cried out as she was dragged out of the cart "Take it easy you stupid fuck! Septimius!" she turned her head to look at her protector.
Septimius made another move to help her but this time the Dacian that held him captive decided for a more radical solution and hit him in the head with the broad flat side of the sword, rending him unconscious.
"Why, you ass!" Aemilia yelled, clawing at the poor unsuspecting Rundacio, leaving four angry lines on his cheek, trying to wrench out of his grip.
Though taken by surprise, the Dacian didn't let go of her but the girl wasn't planning on giving up so quickly, especially since they had the audacity to hurt Septimius. Sure, he was old and smelly and gruffly, but he was one of her men and nobody could hurt them but her! So, she raised her knee and kicked her opponent in the groin, but the old bastard was a tough one and still didn't let go.
"Let me go, you stupid piece of shit!" she screamed enraged at his stubbornness. She had pretty much figured out by her own what was going on and her only concern was how they were going to make it on foot until the next city. She was counting on Septimus for carrying her, but now, injured, that was out of the question and she was really too tired to walk on his own. That was her main concern at that point.
The little one-sided fight had its effects on both the men and the animals. The horses started to get nervous, making high-pitched sounds and the Romans got agitated as well. It was high time for that situation to end.
"Enough!" Daizus shouted in Latin, stopping all motion.
He walked the remaining steps to his captive and looked at her carefully from head to toe. She was small by his standards, yet rather tall for a Roman woman. She had black hair, pulled up in a rather messed up bun and gorgeous big, black eyes. A small, delicate nose, high cheekbones and a beautifully shaped mouth. She was beautiful, but more that: she was exotic.
"Woman" he spoke harshly "your behaviour would not be tolerate."
"Good" she replied "the faster you go, the quicker you'll get rid of it."
"I'm afraid things are a little more complicated that that. I'm gonna tell you a little story and I want you to listen to it carefully because I shall not repeat myself. I was supposed to get married a few years ago but, because of you Romans, I could not. Now that my family is gone I wish to create a new one."
"Good for you" she breathed out wittily "What's got to do with me?"
"Silentium!" he roared, startling her. "You shall be quiet when a man speaks!"
Aemilia bit her lower lip. This guy was really giving her the creeps. He was so tall and had such large shoulders that he appeared to be a titan. He looked more frightening because of his cold eyes, rough voice, and long beard. His head was covered by some sort of hat and his entire body was encased in a sort of mantle made out of unrefined wool. It smelled funny, yet she couldn't help from imagining how warm it must be inside of it.
"So, since one of the Romans took my fiancée away I think it's only natural that I should take a Roman woman to, - how should I put this? -, fill in the gap."
'What was he saying? He's not saying what I think he's saying, is he?' she wondered terrified. That was not happening to her, no, no, no!
"And you will do just fine!" he finished, grabbing her forearm as Rundacio released it.
"No fucking way!" she shouted and once again started struggling as Dazius dragged her behind him. "Let me go, you bastard!"
Her captor seemed unfazed by her outburst, and that enraged the screaming, trashing girl further.
"If you stop, I'll let them live!" he spoke coldly, without even looking at her.
"Really? How can I trust you?" she stopped her struggling to make sure she indeed heard what she though.
"Yeah, really! And I don't care whether you trust me or not" he replied sarcastically.
"Um, bene!" she agreed as she just let herself be dragged to where the horses were.
As they got there, he released her arm and turned to face his companions, signalling them to follow. Aemilia let out a sigh of relief, he was really letting them go.
Undoubtedly, her companions would get help soon and get her out of this strange situation. That if she couldn't escape on her own first.
The rush of the latest events had made her forget the cold climate, but now the cold seemed to be back, seeping ice into her blood. She crossed her arms over the chest in a futile attempt to keep herself warm and tried to stop her teeth from clenching. The man that took her still had his back on her shouting orders in a strange dialect that she assumed it was his native language. Despite his size, he seemed to be quick, so she realised that she couldn't overpower him - she would have to rely solely on her mind that at that point seemed to have gone blank.
Daizus turned to his little captive, noticing her shivering in the cold winds. He should have thought about it sooner, she was only clad in a green tunic that went well past her knees. She couldn't get sick, it would completely ruin her purpose.
He took off his coat and threw it to her, signalling to put it on. He had grown into the mountains and was well accustomed to the weather.
Aemilia frowned as a large, heavy, woollen coat was thrown into her arms. Di Immortales, did he really think she would accept his mercy? With a snarl, she threw it defiantly on the ground, and glared at him contemptuously.
Daizus frowned at her gestures and raising his arm rapidly, he slapped her powerfully, throwing her to the ground. The girl hadn't even had enough time to yelp as she landed on the hard ground, stunned. Nobody had ever hit her! Her entire cheek stung and as she raised her hand she was shocked to discover blood running from the corner of her mouth.
The man clenched his hand into her bun, pulling her up, ignoring her cries of protest. He then proceeded into lifting the coat and wrapped it tightly around her body. He looked around once more satisfied at the way things were and bent slightly to pick up the girl and place her on his horse. He then climbed on the horse himself and signalled their men that it was time they retreated.
"Hold on" he spoke surprisingly gentle as the horse started moving slowly. As the girl behind him made no move, he turned his head towards her and growled " I said hold on!"
Aemilia kept her eyes down, still she had no wish to be hit again so she slowly circled his waist with her arms. As the horse speed up, moving in front of the group she was forced to tighten her grip on him lest she should fall . Taking a last look to her companion, she hid her face and sobbed quietly as more distance was put between her and the civilised world.
Dies Irae = the day(s) of anger/ wrath / revenge
Aedil = Roman magistrate who had similar roles to the contemporary mayor; this function was a part of the "cursus honorum"
Pro Iuppite =By Jupiter! (Used in anger or solemnly.)
Dis te aufort! = May the Gods Take You Off!
Mehercules = By Hercules (Used for emphasis or to express strong feeling. Used by men only.)
Sarmisegetusa = the capital city of Decebal's Dacia
Comati/ pileati= "the ones with long hair"; used for the low class ( the nobility was called tarabostes and they wore a distinctive hat )
Di Immortales = Immortal Gods ( Used when startled )