Codex Atlanticus, Ch 3 by wheatpenny ()
Members remain the original copyright holder in all their materials here at Renderosity. Use of any of their material inconsistent with the terms and conditions set forth is prohibited and is considered an infringement of the copyrights of the respective holders unless specially stated otherwise.
** It took me a while to finish this chapter because, even though I knew what I wanted to put in it, I couldn't think how to begin or end it.
I modeled the platform and balustrade in Shade3d. The general's uniform came from Xurge3d's website and the Arch and other buildings as well as the ground texture came from here. **
The next morning we were again loaded into the wagons and taken to the area of the seaport. “Oh geez,” I thought, “I hope they’re not going to put us on another boat”. At the seaport there were other wagons, full of boxes and other things. I also saw a large number of soldiers gathered. These soldiers didn’t look the same as the ones on the ship. They wore the same red tunics, but they also had on armour that had been shined so that the early morning sun reflected off it. Their helmets had bright red crests on the top, so that they looked more like the pictures of Roman soldiers I’d seen in books and movies.
There was another group of soldiers, about a hundred or so, but these were dressed in leather armour, and most of them had long hair and beards. They were manacled at the wrists to several long chains that were attached to the back ends of several wagons.
Finally, I saw another soldier, this one wearing very fancy armour. His breastplate was molded to look like chest muscles and he had a large eagle painted on it. He was riding in a chariot, pulled by six white horses with red crests on their heads, and driven by a man in a red tunic.
All of the wagons began falling in behind him as he started out of the port and toward the city proper. The wagon I was in fell in near the back of the procession, followed by the ones pulling the apparently captured enemy soldiers. As we made our way through the city, there were crowds along the streets cheering the general (or at least that’s what I assumed he was).
Finally, the procession reached a large open area surrounded by buildings. A couple of triumphal arches, one of them flanked by two sphinxes, were there as well. In the centre of the area was a free-standing pillar with a statue on the top. The wagons came to a halt along one side of the area, in front of a large temple. The general, however, continued and stopped a few feet away at the base of one of the triumphal arches, where he jumped down from his chariot and climbed a set of steps leading to a balustraded platform with the large, red letters SPQR on the front. The crowd applauded and cheered wildly.
When the crowd fell silent a man in a striped Egyptian style head cloth began addressing them. I couldn’t understand what he was saying, but several times he gestured toward the general which prompted loud cheers from the crowd. Finally the man stepped back and the general took his place. He spoke to the crowd and pointed at some bulls whose horns were draped with flower wreaths, then he raised his arm and gestured at a temple behind the triumphal arch.. I guessed that it was his intention to sacrifice the bulls there. Then he pointed at the captured soldiers and shouted something and the crowd responded with what sounded like angry “Boo”s (or the Greek equivalent of it). Then he launched into an interminable speech, of which I could understand nothing.
About halfway through the speech some men in red tunics opened the back of each of the wagons and began unloading us. They led us behind the arch to another open area where we were made to stand along a wall. The man in the toga from the previous day was there, clutching the pieces of papyrus that he had written on when I saw him last.
After the general finished his speech people began moving back to where we were. The man in the toga came back to us and grabbed a young girl by the arm, then dragged her to a place in front of the crowd. She pulled back and tried to resist, but he slapped her so hard it left a red mark on her cheek. He began addressing the crowd and pointing at the girl. She was crying, probably just as much from fear as from the pain of being slapped. People in the crowd were shouting and waving their hands in the air. Finally, the crowd fell silent and a man stepped forward. He took a small bag from his belt and counted out some coins which he handed to the man in the toga, who quickly put them into a small bag that he pulled from the folds of his toga. Then he pushed the crying girl to the man who had just given him the money. It was then that I realised just what was happening. This was a slave auction and we were being sold! I guess that’s what Romans did with their war captives. As bad as this latest development was, at least I would not be killed or thrown to the lions or anything like that, and if I played my cards right, I might even find a way to escape. But to where? I could only barely speak the language and I knew nothing about the world I had accidentally hurled myself into.
My thoughts were interrupted when one of the men in red tunics grabbed my arm and dragged me to the front. After the man in the toga talked for a few minutes, gesturing at me, a man in a purple tunic who had just bought a boy who looked about twelve years old came up and paid the man in the toga. Then he pointed at my feet and said something. One of the men in a red tunic came and removed my shackles. The man in the purple tunic said something to the boy and me in Greek and started walking. We followed him. He turned to me and said “I’m Gaius” (from this point, I won’t be giving the Greek words, only the English translation). I pointed at myself and said my name (well, I actually said “Timotheos”, the Greek form of my name). He repeated it and said something else I didn’t understand. Gaius then asked the boy for his name, but he didn’t respond. As we walked down a series of narrow twisting streets I began trying to take in my surroundings. How could I ever learn my way around this laberynth of a city? Well, I was going to have to, if I expected ever to escape. But for now, I would stay where I am until then. As we made our way along, I noticed that most of the buildings had shops along the fronts on the ground floors. Some of the buildingd were six or seven stories high. I never imagined the ancient Romans had buildings that tall.
Finally, we came to a house with red wodden double doors flanked ny two pillars. Gaius pounded at the door and shouted something. The door opened and a man in a green tunic answered. He stepped aside and Gaius entered. The boy and I followed.
Inside was a sourt hallway with three curtained doors along both sides. At the end of the hallway we found ourselves in a large poorly-lit room. In the center was a rectangular pool of water and directly above that was a rectangular hole in the ceiling with four thin posts one at each corner. The walls were painted with geometric murals depicting what appeared to be forest scenes, and the floor had black, white and red tiles forming geometric patterns.
“Melissa!” Gaius called out. A girl who looked about fifteen or sixteen entered from a wide door on the far end of the room. She had dark hair that came to just past her shoulders and a white tunic with a gold stripe along the bottom. He said something to her that included my name and pointed at us. She came over to us and took my right hand in her left hand, and the boy’s left hand in her right hand, and led us out of the room. Outside the door we found ourselves in a sort of garden, completely within the house, but open to the sky. It contained grass and three trees and a pool at its centre. There were stone benches at either end of the pool, and around the edges of the garden was a pillared portico along which were several curtained doorways.
A large mastiff came running out of a door in the back and across the garden. I stood completely still, and the boy shrank back. Melissa put her arms around the dog’s neck and said something to it. It sat down, then Melissa pointed at it and said “Argo”. I knew that the Greek word for “Dog” was “Kuon”and in Latin it was “Canes”, so I assumed “Argo” to be the dog’s name. Melissa took my hand and guided it to Argo’s head. I let him sniff my hand then put my hand on top of his head and scratched him. He seemed to be friendly enough.
She looked at me and said “Timothy, do you speak Greek?” I said “Very little.” She then pointed at the boy and asked “What’s your name?”. He said nothing, and just looked at her with wide eyes. She turned to me. “Do you know his name?” “No”, I answered. She put her hand on one of the stone benches and said the Greek word for it. I repeated it. The boy said nothing. She then began walking around the garden pointing at things and saying their names in Greek, which I repeated.
After about an hour it was starting to get dark, and another slave appeared at the door that the dog had come out of earlier. She called something to Melissa and Melissa led the boy and me to the door. Once inside I could see that it was a large kitchen. A huge brick oven was in the back. There were several large jars and baskets, all of them covered by lids, around the room. In the back, near the oven, was a wooden table with wooden benches on either side. Several other people, slaves I assumed, were sitting on the benches. The slave who had called us back here was putting food on the table. Melissa told the boy and me to sit down. I did, but the boy just stood there nibbling his fingernails and looking at Melissa. This didn’t look like the Roman dining tables that I had seen pictures of in my history class, with the diners sitting on the floor around a low table. Maybe they did it differently in this part of the empire, or something.
After supper, Melissa led the boy and meback out to the garden. Next to the kitchen door were several tiny rooms with no curtains on their doors. Melissa led me to one of them . Inside it was dark, but I could see a straw mat on the dirt floor. She said something I didn’t understand, but it had the Greek word for “sleep” in it. I guessed that she meant that this is where I would be sleeping. She then led the boy to the room next to mine and dragged him into the door. She said something to him and sat him down on the mat then left and disappeared into another of the sleeping rooms. I lay down on the mat. It was quite uncomfortable,. I could hear the boy crying in the next room.After what seemed like an eternity I finally managed to sleep.
Image Comments (2)
Wolfenshire () Online Now! 12:44AM | Sat, 07 November 2015
A very fine and strongly written chapter. Writing in the First Person Present Tense is always difficult to accomplish well, but I think you nailed it here. The characters are intriguing, and the plot is unfolding nicely. Wonderful continuation to your story. And it's so much easier to read now.