|Fantasy Fiction posted September 11, 2014||Chapters:||...4 5 -6- 7...|
A Meeting Interrupted
A chapter in the book Vision and Sound: Their Stories
Born Enemies: Part Three
Two souls encounter each other through time in various lifetimes. This is their story as they learn and grow over the ages.
Allutia stood there in silence. That had to be the last thing she expected to hear. Feelings? Oh my. Feelings. But, what can come of that. I cannot have feelings for him. For my master. For the enslaver of my people. The annihilator of my people. But, I do. What to do. I cannot do this. My feelings do not come before everything else. I'm no traitor. "I do not know what I am to tell you, Tibertin. You speak of things that can never be. Can you make war end? Can you make friends out of enemies? Can you elevate slaves to equals? It is true in some ways that you and I both are small in the grand scheme of things. You a soldier in a mighty army at the whim of a powerful ruler. I am but a citizen of a country that is all but vanquished, now a slave. This is all talk that leads to nowhere."
"Like a traveler in the desert finds an oasis, such is the world that I can offer you. Within my own dominion, I am unquestioned. If I wish you to be my companion then that is what you will be. It is an existence superior to the slave quarters where you now dwell. I am sincere in what I tell you. I tell you alone and no other. It is between us and will always remain so. I tell you this having met you but once. It is your laughter that holds my heart captive. There is no limit to my resolve to hear you laugh again. It is a prison that I have been consigned to. There you have it. This is the moment of foolishness in my life that has befallen me. It is without sense to me, yet I succumb to it."
"What you ask is beyond every principal I hold dear. What have I if I don't have my standards to live by? My holdings have become your holdings. My status is now as you see fit to make it. My very life is at your whim. I am but your slave. Now, you ask me to ignore all of that and embark on a fantasy with you. I should join you on a mythical oasis right here in the middle of your chambers while all around us the tormentors of my people giggle at the door. And when the fantasy is done, then what, a sword across my neck? I cannot deny that you turn my eye and my mind as well, but what would you have me do?"
"How do you benefit your people by denying your own happiness? How do you benefit yourself? Surely I would be more kindly inclined were you to soften my resolve with your smile. I have influence, as you might suspect. Treaties might be pursued in lieu of campaigns. I have a say in that. I'm not the authority. I am but a soldier. But my word carries weight. I do understand your pride and unbended knee. I admire you for them. I only know that I offer you more than you have now. It can only be an improvement for you and your people. A favorable look cannot be a detriment in my view. Surely you understand that it is the greatest respect that I can tender you to ask for what I can have with a snap of my finger?"
"No. What you ask for you can never have without my say so. You can have your way with me a thousand times and not have what you ask for. My body is but a vessel for what you seek. What you seek is inside and beyond enslavement. Denounce your position and join me in the fields. Soil your hands tilling the fields of your enemy. Then we meet on common ground. Then Tibertin, I have no doubt that what you seek would be yours."
"Have mercy!" He picks up the vase again and whirls around the room with it. "Dear sculpted artifact. You would listen to sense, would you not? Should I renounce my position and become a slave to my own people?" He puts the vase to his ear. "What's that? Daft? Madness? Yes, yes… I see… Hmm, then climb a tree and denounce my country and its rulers… yes, yes… ahhh, beg to be cast to the fields and be treated like a slave." He begins to limp around the room. "Strike me again, master! I am lovesick. Only the pain of your whip takes my mind off of it. Yes! The sweet pain of every blow!"
Allutia couldn't help but laugh. Tibertin was clearly hopping mad and he was practically hopping as he vented his anger with a ridiculous soliloquy. It came across as amusing though. "Please, Tibertin put that poor innocent vase down and we will talk."
"Ah. Laughter. That is what makes the hell you put me through worth it. Like the music that is in my mind. That is what your laughter sounds like. What must I do, Allutia? I am no longer myself. I… "
At that moment, the doors burst open and a soldier rushed in. "Tibertin! They have arrived early. They are but a day's journey from our city. They come from the north. We must act now. The north is without proper garrison."
Tibertin froze and looked at Allutia. She returned his gaze. It was a moment of reality for both of them. The candor they spoke of alone had vanished completely. They had become Tibertin, the military leader of the Roman Republic and Allutia, the lovely slave girl that he had summoned for unknown purpose. The arrived soldier had no awareness of any of that. He stood there with bated breath awaiting an answer.
"Bring up all troops from the south and prepare all troops in the city for battle. Spread the word and see to it immediately. Send a courier to the consul and tell them of my plans."
Allutia remained silent. That is what a slave girl would do and she was that.
Tibertin addressed Allutia. "We have much to discuss. In light of this crisis, I think we should wait until its resolution to continue." He would normally wave his hand in dismissal. This time he simply stood there.
Allutia, as a slave girl, should have bowed and said something deferential. She said, "as you wish." She turned with some fanfare and walked proudly back to her quarters.
Mirratta was the first to greet her upon return. "Well, how was it? Or did you speak of politics this time?"
"There is no time for petty games now, Mirratta. Our armies come from the north to free us. Pass the word. We need to be ready. Freedom is at hand. Let the men know. Our people will be here within a days' time."
Tibertin had made a terrible strategic error and it hadn't even occurred to him. He had alerted the entire slave population that their people were on their way. There was a sizable number of slaves. It would be a force to be reckoned with if they all revolted at the same time. They now had a reason to do just that.
With the protection of their own countries army assured and the certain preoccupation of their oppressor's army, it would be easy to join the battle. There was a good chance that the slaves could turn the tide and gain their freedom. Tibertin was in trouble and he was not aware of it.
The women he loved was the women that betrayed him. It didn't occur to her until much later that she had betrayed Tibertin. Her thoughts were of her people. I may have caused the death of a man that I love. Yes… I am letting that word enter my mind. But, my people have to come first. I can't let my people remain in bondage to satisfy my personal whims. My life does not compare to the life of a nation. I pray to the gods that he is protected in battle.
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