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Nikolaos nodded. Antonius merely continued chewing.
“I should like to see where it was you ‘dealt’ with this Valerius, Antonius,” I said. “When you have finished your meal, you will take me there.”
“Yes, Dio,” Antonius muttered through his mouthful.
I awoke to see Nikolaos and Antonius waiting at the foot of my bed. Nikolaos stood calmly awaiting orders, while Antonius grinned like a wolf among sheep.
“Where were you?” I asked Antonius, as I rose. He threw me the evening’s tunic before responding.
“Yanni and I went on an adventure. He took me to see that Roman who’s been causing us such trouble.”
“And?” I had no doubt by the state of Antonius’ grin there had been violence involved. It was only whether the violence was to our benefit or not.
I sat in the taverna trading barbs with Agapios until it was nearly sunrise. There was little enough to talk about. He knew the Romans would soon come for Messana, and was trying to get himself and his goods out before they did. He asked me to recommend a Sicilian shipbuilder. I did. Then we sat, and drank, and discussed the foibles of Rome while he watched his red-haired slave walk back and forth carrying our cups.
Yanni chuckled and handed me one of the lit candles. I smiled, and passed him the knife. Valerius was focused on the candle as I moved toward him. I held it in front of his face and he tried to blow it out. I jerked the candle away from him, but no air came out of his mouth. The flame flickered from the motion, nothing else. He had forgotten to breathe.
When it was done, I took out the knife and nicked his throat. I was surprised when it didn’t wake him. I ran my finger over the blood and lifted it to my mouth.
“Stop!” Yanni yelled, urgently. “Do not taste his blood, Antonius You do not wish to give him control over you.”
I stood there, my finger dripping with Valerius’ blood, and stared at Yanni. “What are you talking about?” I said.
I banged open the door. It smashed into one of the servanti who had been standing just inside. He needed to work on his reflexes. He was stunned, so I left him for Yanni and moved into the room toward the next servanti.
I hit him, hard, across the jaw. He blinked and stumbled backwards. “Why?” he asked inanely. Then he did something, and suddenly there was this odd light around him. It made him look like he was glowing. It made it harder to make out his face. That didn’t matter. I knew where his head was and hit him again.
Hello everyone out there!
Yes, I am still hanging around slowly chugging along. I am finally getting to update The Shadows of Sicily with the bits that have been sitting on my computer since last June. Or at least some of them. When I finished Camp NaNoWriMo last June I was in the middle of two chapters. One of them had gotten very long, and I realised I needed to go back and place someone else's perspective in the middle.
While Decentius and Agapios sat inside talking in vague riddles to plan our futures, I was stuck outside with the cart, Nikolaos and Yanni.
“Shall we move the merchandise over, then?” Yanni asked as soon as we stepped outside.
I rolled my eyes. It was bad enough being stuck out here where there was nothing interesting going on without having to do manual labour. Worse yet would be all the friendly banter I’d be forced to engage in. “Fine,” I said. “Let’s get it done with.”
“Do you have any way to control him?” I asked.
Vita thought for a moment, running his tongue slowly around the inside of his jaw. “Temporarily, especially if he is trying to make new ones. I simply deny him what he needs.”
“Will that control him, though?” I thought of the scratch I had seen on Decentius’ arm that he had tried to pass off as ‘nothing’. “Can you prevent him from simply taking it from you?”
Vita snorted. “I am far stronger than even Fabricius. He cannot take it from me.”
I nodded. This seemed a reasonable action. Rome was trying to take Sicily from Greece, and then could use all the soldiers they could find. Sneaking soldiers in would be less likely to provoke Greece, and might allow them to get an advantage in numbers without the Greeks being aware. Of course, either way my homeland was due to become a battlefield. “Were there any specifics mentioned? Names of people, or ships?” I asked.
Diamantina shook her head carefully. “No, but it sounded as though they would begin soon. ‘Before the moon turned’ I heard Fabricius say.”