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Polarity last won the day on October 15

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  1. Upon watching her depart the scene, Turi reflected on the stilted manner in which she proffered her forgiveness of his antics. Feelings of dread and regret hung over him like a cloud, as he considered the damage that may have been caused by his childish outbursts. Today had strained the sole, harmonious relationship he retained with any of his family members and succeeded in emboldening the deep-seeded sense of loss that permeated through his subconscious. The dependant relationship he had established with his eldest sister, since the volatility of their childhood, had provided the only anchor for a youth who would have rather retreated in to the vacuum of his mind, stagnating in the comfort of his fond memories. How was he to abide by the whims and wishes of a sibling to whom he owed so much, yet strive towards his own aspirations and become his own person? A question that would inspire many months of contemplation. Turi inevitably made his way to the forge, picking up the splintered pieces of the shattered training swords along the way. He would cross paths with a returning Immin, making his own way back to the matrimonial house that existed in a state of construction. “She wants to speak with you,” Turi stated sheepishly, gesturing towards his brother-in-law in an effort to bring him to a halt. “Could you make it sound any more menacing?” Immin quirked a brow in reply, evidently curious as to the nature of the discussion. “If you don’t hear from me in an hour, it was nice knowing you, kid,” he smirked as he continued. Turi’s eyes were aimed towards the ground, demonstrating obvious signs of hesitancy in replying to the elder man’s subtle inquiry. “We’re not to train anymore. Erea made herself quite clear,” he explained, hoping he could not sense disappointment in his mentor’s gaze. A brief pause between the two would give way to a sigh from Immin. “I suspected as much. Very well. We’d be fools to risk her ire,” he replied, somewhat surprisingly. Immin placed a firm, right palm on the younger Briton’s right shoulder as he passed. “I’m not the only one who could teach you,” he divulged, casting a conspiratorial glance over to the hut that Erea had withdrawn to. “I have some… old friends, you may wish to meet,” he offered as a parting note, before continuing on his journey. Turi was forced to wonder how much either he or his sister really knew of her new husband. He was certainly peculiar. FINISHED @Sara
  2. MAY, 74 CE Ambrosius had been given less than three weeks to heal on a painfully, sheer bed of thin straw, on the ground of a stone floor, during his captivity with his Roman subjugators in his homeland of Britannia. Four walls and a roof provided the only redeeming feature of his imprisonment and a begrudgingly welcome change from the preceding months, exposed to the elements. It had taken almost a month to reach Burdigala[1] from the port in Petuaria[2], as the seas had proven treacherous around the Britannic coast. Despite his injuries, his robust frame and strong arms would be deemed indispensable at the oar, with the lash of his captors ensuring he remained aware of that fact. Calmer waters would meet them on the Mediterranean and ensure smoother sailing from Narbo[3] towards Ostia, where Ambrosius would once again be forced to limp on his lame leg, when the caravan of soldiers and slaves marched towards the capital. He had been allowed to rest for mere moments as they had arrived at the modest entrance to the pomerium[4], having travelled upon the Via Ostiensis[5] past the Circus Maximus and coming to a halt in the Forum, betwixt the Tabularium[6] and the Tullianum[7]. The imposing façade of the record hall only added to the dichotomy of the dank recess of the neighbouring carcer[8]; dwarfed in grandeur, yet unparalleled in prompting visceral sensations to those in such a precarious position. The myriad of emotions that raced through his mind, as he absorbed and analysed the unfamiliar surroundings that he would now be required by circumstance to call ‘home’, would not shake the immovable and impassive expression that he had adopted months before his present predicament. Ambrosius' persistent scowling and spiteful glowering would remain a trademark of his time in the custody of his legionary lapdogs. “Go find the Praetor,” the commanding officer of the detachment ordered of a subordinate legionary. Ambrosius had understood the Roman’s directive well enough, but this would be the first time he had encountered the term ‘praetor’. He would soon come face to the face with the man who held such a foreign title, but for now he could rest again. He planted his shoulder in to the wall of the adjacent structure and propped himself up, hoping to ensure stability in spite of the pervading adversity resulting from his weak and aching left leg. @The Young Pope Reader Advisory: [1] Burdigala is the Latin name for modern Bordeaux, France. [2] Petuaria is the Latin name for modern Brough, East Yorkshire, UK. [3] Narbo is the Latin name for modern Narbonne, France. [4] The pomerium is the historical and religious boundary of the city of Rome. [5] Via Ostiensis is the Latin name for the via Ostiense, the road from Ostia to Rome. [6] The Tabularium is the record office of Rome and an important hub of civil and judicial activity. [7] The Tullianum is the Latin name for the modern Mamertine Prison. [8] 'carcer' is the Latin term for 'prison'.
  3. Manius planted his thumb and forefinger at the base of his chin, rubbing a fine grain of newly sprouting stubble. As Claudia began her explanation, he quirked his eyebrow at her searching eyes. She was hardly the first horsewoman he’d met and unlikely to be the last. His wife was an adept rider herself, though she preferred the comfort of a chariot. Manius preferred the wealth and stability of a career in charioteering, but his first love had always been the saddle. He grinned at the blue blooded, young woman as she mentioned a wilful stallion in her care. A Lusitanian, no less? Manius had encountered such a horse many years prior, as one had served as the personal favourite and mount to his then Dominus, but future Brother-in-law. He had not possessed the gall to ever attempt riding the bucking bronco, but had further opportunities to do so with other such horses throughout his career. They had been the unruliest breed he’d ever been required to stable and their training was often painstaking. “I may have something that would help with that,” he replied. Noticing the idle stable boy that had brought the mare back to the yard, he gestured toward him to grab his attention before shouting, “Go find me the new training bits, boy!” As the stable boy startled to attention and ran off to complete the task, Manius turned back to his imperial guest. “We’ve recently acquired some new equipment for the horses, to assist in training new riders. As our equipment is largely paid for by the imperial purse, your more than welcome to take one,” he offered, perhaps too eagerly. He did not wish to seem sycophantic, just appreciative of his station. The stable boy interrupted that momentary dismay to present a silver bar, designed similarly to a sort of abacus, with matching silver beads that revolved on the bar. The clicking noise from such a motion would give an indication to the rider as to the mood of their steed. Too much or too little clicking of the rotating beads indicate a problem, such as an agitated or nervous horse. “’Ah! ’tis a beauty, is it not? We got them to assist the novice riders. Just affix it it to your horse's bridle and it should provide a modicum of aid in your endeavours,” he explained, as he presented the mullen to her for review and receipt. “Should you require a more hands on approach to breaking him in, we may be able to arrange a more opportune occasion,” he extended a further proposal. “As for the time being, while we’re not exactly the best market for breeding stock, I believe I may be able to provide some offerings. Just about everything has a price, as I’m sure you’re well aware, but I could hardly refuse a request of our patron. If you’ll forgive the smell, I’d escort you in to the pens, my lady. So that you may view your options in person,” Manius ended on that note and directed her towards the doors of the largest structure in the yard, housing the multitude of stalls for the faction’s racing stock. @Gothic
  4. Character name: Ambrosius Associated Ludus: Dacicus Experience: 2 Type of gladiator: Thraex Death: N
  5. What could she do? The inherent irony in his sister’s question was evident to Turi, as he had long asked that very question of himself. What could any of them do? The Romans were unrelenting and all-consuming, any attempt to live in ignorance of that fact was as redundant as his solitary sword against their insurmountable legions. What would their father have done? If only he knew, it may have provided some solace. “Just… forgive me,” was his ultimate request, delivered solemnly. Their family had truly come leaps and bounds in the years since the misfortunes of a decade past and he had never wished to provide the splinter to his sister’s fulcrum. If Erea were the home and Calpornus the hearth, then Turi thought it appropriate to assume the bastion, so that Ardra may enjoy the luxury of being a bairn. Yet, from bastion to buttress is what she would rather see him be. So be it. He felt no need to fight her on this any longer, his point had been made. If she refused to accept what he had believed inevitable, he must be the one to acquiesce. She had never steered them wrong before, and he would at least be prepared to act should the worst come to pass. He could only hope that he was wrong and she was right, as usual, but he couldn’t shake the inner turmoil aroused by his premonitions. Bracing once more on the door frame, Turi used it at leverage this time, pulling himself back into a standing position. Dusting off the dirt from the rear of his breeches and wiping his hands on his tunic, he extended his right hand out to assist Erea to her feet. “I should go see if Calpornus needs me. Though I’m sure we would’ve heard about it if he did,” he cracked wryly, with the small amount of humour he could still derive from their uncomfortable situation. “I'd also better let Immin know that we’re not to train anymore. Unless of course, that's a discussion you wish to have?” Turi queried, seeking confirmation and approval to go about their separate ways. @Sara
  6. The senior legionary’s self-satisfied smirk was replaced with disciplined constraint upon the entrance of the ludus’ manager. At the delivery of Titus’ casual critique of the Centurion’s protocol, the elder soldier’s produced a parchment and proffered explanation in a practised manner, “By order of the Senate of the People of Rome and the assent of the revered Caesar, Ludus Dacicus is henceforth appointed custody over the accompanied candidates for gladiatorial training.” He relaxed his demeanour at the conclusion of his brief recital, before addressing Titus’ question directly. “Three captives, courtesy of the tribes of Dacia. The young one is a Briton, as far as I can tell. A would-be rebel from what I’ve heard. Supposed to be ‘immortal’, but judging from that scar on his leg, I’d dare say not ‘impenetrable’,” the Centurion guffawed at his own remark. Though unknown to Ambrosius, the arrangement concerning his consignment to this school in particular had been an exceptional case. Traditionally, captives of hostile tribes and prisoners of war were sent to Ludus Gallicus, but these slaves had been spared this fate due to an initiative by the city’s aediles to sponsor prospective talent in an effort to alleviate a recent strain on that associated ludus, as a result of a minor inundation of war criminals. The three other slaves had been selected due to their experience in the Thracian style of combat, whereas Ambrosius’ recovering wound had rendered him unsuitable for the more heavily-armoured classes of gladiator that the Gallic school specialised in. “Is everything in order then?” The Centurion broke the silence his solitary amusement had caused. He clearly wished to be done with this task he’d been assigned and get back to the camp of the urban cohorts, where he’d likely be able to evade further duties for the day. @Brian
  7. Turi's infantile display did little to prove his case for manhood. Perhaps his sister did had the right of it. His actions over the course of the day had served to exhaust him, physically and emotionally. As Erea reaffirmed her familial love for him in spite of the growing tension, Turi was filled with an enormous sense of regret. His harsh words had not diminished her care for him, despite his own wavering. He had failed to recognise her resilience in the face of adversity, one of her most endearing qualities and the foundation of his admiration of her. It was a trait he himself had never possessed and he was beginning to realise the hidden strength inherent of such a spirit. It may be that his sister had more to teach him about being a man than he had ever realised. "I... I love you too," he muttered in a whisper, straining his eyes to hold back tears and clenching his teeth to prevent an audible blubbering. He no longer possessed the energy to construct arguments in favour of his point of view. He was no longer sure he even held the views he had begun arguing on behalf of. The longer their exchange dragged on, the more aspersions he formed of his belligerent ideals as a manifestation of his unconscious desire to return the father and the family he only retained in his memories. His past traumas continued to refuse him a better future. "Enough. I'll stop... I swear," he declared dejectedly, bracing himself against the door frame of their house and descending to a sitting position. His mind continued to race with thoughts, but upon closing his eyes, each of his conceptions remained distorted and indistinct . He first needed to rest if he ever was to attempt to right the wrongs of today. @Sara
  8. You in the woods? You wouldn’t last a week. The island’s wolves are hardly as merciful as your ‘she-wolf’ of a sister. He bit his tongue in an attempt to dull the sting of her words. Though small squabbles between the assorted personalities of their household were hardly uncommon, Turi was rarely prone to argue with Erea, more often preferring to defer to her in most cases. This was surely the worst of their infrequent disagreements, at least in terms of the potential repercussions. Would she truly see their family disown him? Perish the thought. His sister had presented an ultimatum, but Turi knew there was only one conceivable option. “If that be your will, your highness,” he spat sarcastically. Tempting the dragon in his position could be described as ‘foolhardy’ at best, but the fire in his chest had been further sparked by her continued refusal to meet him part way. He had presumed his sister might share his views to some degree or at least held enough faith in him to not believe him so brainless as to naively endanger their family. He had long held a deep respect for Erea, but this exchange had begun to transform his childhood perceptions and he lamented that respect was not returned in her estimation of himself. Was he truly being unreasonable? He thought not. “It seems I need not flee to the woods to find my oppressors. Bind my hands if it please,” he hissed at her admonishment and threw out his hands, mockingly bound. Stalking a few paces towards the discarded training swords, he picked them both up and placed one under his right arm. “But first, allow me,” he declared as he gripped one of the wooden instruments by either end and snapped it in half over his thigh. Throwing the two half-pieces to the side, he grasped the handle of remaining weapon that sat under his arm and threw it wildly upon the stone path that encircled their wattle and daub house. As it landed, it splintered in to several wooden shards. It would be safe to say that his irritation had developed in to a full blown tantrum. “The offending items have been dealt with. I shall go bash my head against the wall to forget all that dangerous knowledge, if it please you,” he huffed and strode past his sister, refusing to look her in the eyes as he attempted to depart, in the hope of escaping a further tongue-lashing. @Sara
  9. His sister’s sharp rebukes and sorrowful eyes had caused Turi to find it increasingly difficult to persist on the bellicose course he had helmed throughout their exchange. Erea always had a knack for appearing to be the rational and sensible one in arguments. As much as he may want to disagree, he had to begrudgingly admit that she was also usually right. His tact would have to change if he wished to make any headway, against his headstrong sister. “I understand the risks, but you can’t see the bigger picture,” he muttered through clenched teeth, in an attempt to temper the building irritability in his tone. If he had to begin to confront reality, she needed to face some harsh truths too. “Will this family you desire call you ‘Mater’[1], for want of their mother-tongue? Will you be happy then? Because we used to do more than live. We used to be happy. We used to thrive. We didn’t just survive,” he slackened his furrowed brow and tried to dull the potency of his reproach. Turi didn’t wish to make his sister feel as if he blamed her in any way, but the defeatism imbued by her response grappled with his own sanguine position. "I may not be a man yet, but I'm going to need to be one. Perhaps, sooner than you may think. I can't keep following in a shadow that my own overcasts so easily. I need to start making my own decisions," he expressed more gently then his prior discourse, but embraced an outwardly, steely resolve. He could only hope the façade wouldn't crumble upon exposure to her rebuttal. @Sara Reader Advisory: [1] 'Mater' is the Latin word for 'Mother'
  10. Silk was certainly an impractical item of clothing for a stable yard, as well as being typically considered immoral and undignified of a proper Roman woman. Focusing more on Claudia's attire, Manius noted it was only her palla[1] that was of pure silken cloth. Her stola[2] was perhaps… a silk-cotton blend? His wife would know. She had her own predilection for fine fabrics and fashionable garments. In these hot summer months, a material such as that would bestow the modesty of cotton, while retaining the ventilative properties of silk. In Manius’ eyes, it at least appeared to be of similar material and hue as his own favoured blue tunics, though likely superlative in quality. Closing the distance between the two of them, he momentarily peeled his eyes from the gentle-born lady to the intimidating entourage that followed in her wake. A Praetorian and a Gladiatrix? One could hardly blame her for such caution. Manius’ earlier incident with the neighbourhood boys would simply be the most recent example of the lamentable quality of residents within the area. The Campus Martius also served as an epicentre of propaganda from the multitude of temples that served as political instruments for Rome’s elites. It might only be natural to assume any number of opportunists could desire to take advantage of such a public outing. “Ave, mea domina[3], Claudia. I don’t believe we’ve met, but I’m always at the service of our Imperial patron. My name is Carisia Magnus, though Manius Magnus to the masses. You may simply call me Manius, as my wife does,” he humbly submitted in deference. “We’re truly honoured by your visit. At least we would be, if I could find anyone else in my employ to warrant such a claim,” he quipped, with more bitterness than he intended. It had been a long day. “Most of the team is running laps in the Circus Flaminius, in preparation for tomorrow’s games,” he explained, attempting to assuage any doubts he may have inadvertently cast on to the competence of his faction members or himself. “We’ll be ready to win renown for the Imperial family, but uh, I’ll spare you the details. You must have important business. To what do we owe the pleasure of your presence?” Manius finally inquired. @Gothic Reader Advisory: [1] The palla is a mantle or shawl-like garment, worn by Roman women and fastened by brooches [2] The stola is the traditional garment worn by Roman women, corresponding to the toga for men [3] 'Ave, mea domina' is a Latin phrase meaning "Hail, my lady"
  11. You and Immin against a legion? Ha! Even she thinks you’re a joke. Lost little lamb, thinks he’s a man. “No,” Turi stropped sourly at Erea’s interrogation. He continued with a petulant declaration, “I can think for myself!” That may have been a half-truth. Immin certainly hadn’t objected to the idea, but he didn’t inspire it. Furthermore, Turi never revealed the implicit disapproval that his sister had previously voiced at the prospect, but Immin had appeared to possess his own unspoken agenda as well. Nonetheless, his sister’s abject refusal to view him as less of a child and more of an equal would inspire additional bellowing from the disillusioned youth. “Petuar has more Romans every time we visit. They’re taking the town without a fight and claiming all the land south, and north of Lindon[1]. Did you know they call it Lindum now? Are we all to become Romans now? The ones that survive anyhow. That’s not what our father fought for. He didn’t die so we could become his murderers,” his rant paused on this appeal to her sentimentality. Hoping to double down on this approach, the delay would amount to the time it took to inhale before resuming, “I don’t propose charging headlong in to Roman cohorts, but I do intend to be able to fend off some legionaries who seek their retirement package in our home. I’d sooner see us die as free Britons, then live in chains to Romans; wouldn’t you?” Surely his sister could see the rationale in learning how to defend oneself. He may be big and strong, but a fist is no match for a scutum[2] and a boxer’s chin is no armour against a gladius[3]. @Sara Reader Advisory: [1] The Roman colony of Lindum, known as Lindon to the local Britons, is located in the modern-day city of Lincoln, in Lincolnshire [2] The scutum is a type of shield used by Roman legionaries [3] The gladius (hispaniensis) is a type of sword used by Roman legionaries
  12. You don’t know any Étaín either. Where did you even come up with that name? You need to stop listening to that Hibernian man’s stories about the fair-folk. He meant your sister, you oaf! Of course he did. This was a lesson. Immin had a way of recognising the obvious, but Turi need only recall their earlier conversation to understand the wider meaning. He needed to face his reality and he needed to begin now. “Don’t be angry with him. He’s right. You’re both right. I’m sorry,” he began meekly. “I’m sorry,” he repeated, gathering his resolve. “I’m sorry I wasn’t being honest with you, but I’m not a child anymore,” his voice beginning to rise in volume, as his determination climbed. “Even Ardra will have to grow up sometime. You can’t protect us forever, but we can safeguard one another. Calpornus is always going to be a better blacksmith than me, he’s said so himself. Why marry a warrior just to watch him wither? I want to be your first line of defence, not the last. Now more than ever,” he hinted towards the direction that Immin had departed, in an effort to have her acknowledge the insinuated eventualities of her new relationship. “When the Romans march north to divide our lands into latifundia[1] for their nobles, am I supposed to thank them for their generosity in sparing our lives? When they steal you away to sate their sadistic appetites, am I meant to plead with them for Ardra’s sake? No. I’ll be ready then and we need no longer live like dirt under the heel of a Roman sandal,” Turi spat out his words and each painful possibility with the vitriol of a person who’d lived through these myriad of potentials a hundred times in their mind. Time is meant to be a healer, but the period between the present moment and the loss of his father had only cradled the evolving animosity of the young Briton towards his nation’s oppressors. It felt though a great weight had lifted from his shoulders as the confession escaped the confines of his lips. It would only give way to the great wait of time his nervous mind would perceive as he awaited her response. @Sara Reader Advisory: [1] 'Latifundia' is the Latin term for extensive parcels of privately owned lands.
  13. Turi possessed neither the aptitude nor the temperament of an effective liar, especially in regards to his eldest sister. He could rationalise a white lie to Calpornus, on the grounds that his brother was among the harshest of taskmasters. He could accept an omission of truth when honesty could be perceived as an affront to the innocent sensibilities of their youngest sibling, Ardra. Yet, he struggled to come to terms with attempting to deceive Erea–the sister that had provided the bedrock of their family for nearly a decade now. Wooden swords?! That was your best idea? You’re hopeless. Whatever happens, don’t look her in the eye. You’ll fold. Again. You always do. The firm press of his sister’s delicate hands against the broadsides of his face would spurn to fruition that very fear. As if reading Turi’s mind, her grasp would force him to comply with her mandated gaze. Suddenly he felt–Guilt. He always felt guilty whenever she disapproved of his actions. If only he could make her understand that it was all for their benefit. Her benefit. At the very least, that’s what he believed to be certain. “Y-you don’t understand,” he began his nervous confession. “I was only try-“ “Trying to impress a young lass,” Immin dispensed a terse interruption, seeming to believe the implication was obvious. The sudden interjection by their ‘so far, so quiet’ third-party had caused the hairs on the nape of Turi’s neck to stand on end. His eyes darted from the momentary attention of his periphery, back to the interrogative probes of Erea’s own. “What? No, I-I’m-” he hesitated, cutting the sentence short. Was that meant to be of assistance? Maybe this is some kind of lesson. Maybe he just wants to watch you squirm. Maybe you shouldn’t have made fun of him earlier. A dizzying array of thoughts swam through his mind as he hastened to find the one that would supply his expected response. Due to the many submissive qualities of his personality and an inherent degree of anxiety, Turi had been a relatively antisocial individual by nature. He certainly never had particular success with the opposite sex. The difficulties he faced in this regard would surely supply this duplicity with far more substance than the previous one. He inhaled sharply, before relenting, “Aye, it’s about a girl.” “Her name is Étaín,” he offered a final revelation, hoping it might somehow startle his sister in to acquiescence. Turi believed it was unlikely to have the desired effect, but he was willing to try anything at this point in his effort to hide the facts of his true intentions. He tempered his expression of concern to convey a sense of embarrassment and his eyes pleaded with hers, silently asking her not to pry further. Would she buy it? @Sara
  14. Immin had been a great warrior, once. On his good days, he was still a capable fighter and on all the days that Turi had known him, he carried himself with a dignified mask that belied the wounded pride of his past vigour. Unfortunately, he had sacrificed greatly for the ideals of his youth; his body first and foremost. It was a concern that had seemed inconsequential early on, when his young pupil possessed nought an ounce of skill. Due to his diligent tutelage, Immin now faced a flourishing strength that befit an adolescent male on the precipice of maturing into manhood, as well as an evolving and tactical mind characteristic of an experienced combatant. The challenging pace that been set by his ward, had caused Immin to exert himself to capacity during their clash. "Well?” Erea asked, or more likely, demanded. Wincing at the bark in her tone, Turi stepped aside and dismounted from his anchored position above the aged veteran. Discarding his shield from the left arm, he assisted Immin to his feet and began to assess the damage to the elder Briton. It seemed mostly superficial, but he had assumed a noticeable limp. Whether that was from Turi’s cheap tactic or the ‘tender loving care’ of his spouse, they may never know. Bollocks! Okay, flattery didn’t work… divert, divert. Be funny. “What can I say?” Turi inquired of his sister, affecting a sweetness to his tone. “Sometimes I don’t know my own strength,” he continued, accompanying his feigned innocence with a signature Cheshire grin. “Maybe we should make Calpornus take a break from the forge, so Immin can have an easier opponent,” he finally quipped, adding to his daily sum of deflections. O bugger, you fool! The forge; that’s where you should be. Calpornus is going to throttle you. With beseeching eyes, he looked towards Immin, hoping he may interject some well-thought out excuse. Turi never did well at thinking on his ‘feet’. If today’s lesson was a demonstration of anything, it was that he was at his best when required to work from the ground up. His silent appeal fell on appropriately deaf ears and his mouth began to release words before he’d even had the time to consider them. “Well, uh, you see… he, uh, Calpornus that is. He wanted us to check the balance of the swords?” Turi ended, what should’ve been a statement, with an upward inflection in his voice and a quizzical expression on his face. @Sara
  15. SEPTEMBER, 71 CE Located near Roman Petuaria[1], Britannia The weather had begun to adapt to the seasonal climate, but on days like today, with their tunics soaked in sweat, it was as if it were still mid-July. Immin was a new addition to the family, by way of his recent marriage to Turi’s[2] elder sister, Erea[3]. He was a strapping veteran of the conflicts with the Romans that had plagued the Parisi tribe over a decade past and Turi quickly grew enamoured of his new brother-in-law’s history fighting against the Romans–a people he had grown to revile since they slaughtered his father on that fateful day, near Petuar in the winter of 62 CE. Their friendship, as well as Turi’s interest in swordsmanship, would result in Immin taking the enthusiastic youth under his wing, versing him in the ways of warfare. On this day they began after dawn, but by noon, that day’s regimen had been fairly exhaustive and presented a lull in the exercise, which had given way to a discussion concerning the boy’s late father. “I remember, on the day he departed for Petuar… he was large enough to wrap all five of us in his arms as we bid him farewell,” Turi recollected fondly on the last impression his father ever imparted on his childhood memory. “Then again, maybe we were just small enough. A matter of perspective, I suppose,” Turi pondered aloud, as his sight dropped to the ground and he reflected inwardly on the rhetoric statement of his own design. “Eyes up!” Immin ordered upon a successful break of his opponent’s tepid guard. “Stay focused,” he further instructed, recognizing his pupil’s wavering attention. Despite the stern vocalisation of his in-law, it would be the firm welt of Immin’s wooden sword upon his collarbone that would register with Turi’s cognisance. Ach! That’s going to hurt tomorrow. He shrieked in pain and annoyance, “Oi! What was that?” Withdrawing a couple of paces from his current position and rolling his shoulders in an effort to dispel the discomfort, he sneered at his so-called tutor. Ignoring his student’s outburst, Immin began to address the issue at hand. “Men don't fight for what they’ve lost; men fight for all the things they can still have. Take care you don’t abscond with your pleasant memories and childhood dreams. A man needs to face the realities of life in order to overcome them. Too many unprepared boys who believed themselves grown, have only to be found wanting,” he ended his protracted lecture on a pregnant pause, leaving his words to ruminate in his young ward’s mind. Turi gawped at Immin in momentary stunned silence upon his surprising, almost regretful disclosure. The adolescent Briton had never been particularly good at reading social cues or interpreting body language. He attempted to deflect the serious turn of their conversation on a humorous note, “Has my sister married a Briton warrior or a Greek tragedian?” “War shapes many things, my dear boy. Whether it be the men who fight them or the minds who suffer them. One need not be Greek nor Roman to recognise a particular poetry, certainly tragedy, in all our lives… now, raise your shield,” Immin concluded their discussion that abrupt note, ending the brief standstill and swinging his training sword overhead. Turi took a step forward, heaving his circular shield above to accept the strike. The weight of the blow would cause his arm to quake and strain under the pressure. Without letting up on the assault, Immin followed up his overhead swing with a piercing lunge in to his pupil’s midsection. His thrust landed square, connecting with Turi’s chest and compelling him into a kneeling position, as air rapidly expelled from his lungs. Immin rested the flat side of his weapon under the boy’s chin, using the leverage to force eye contact. Raising an inquisitive eyebrow, the senior Briton queried, “Yield?” Turi groaned at the prospect of having lost yet another bout to the more experienced combatant, since he’d thought he had substantially improved of late. When Immin removed the point of his sword from the neck of his student, Turi saw an opportunity and seized upon it. When the elder man reached out his hand, presumably to assist the boy to his feet, Turi swung wildly at Immin’s ankles and swept him to floor. The younger man quickly ascended to a standing overlook, resting one of his feet on the trunk of his tutor. Mimicking his assailant only moments ago, Turi rested the flat of his sword on his opponent’s chin and repeated Immin’s inquiry in a sarcastic tone, “Yield?” Their swordplay was interrupted by the sound of footsteps upon the stone path that encircled the house. “Uh, er- Erea!” Turi stammered in his sudden alarm. He struggled to find the words to explain their predicament, since Erea had long voiced her disapproval at the prospect of Turi wielding weapons. Since they lost their father so many years ago, with Rome’s might had proving indomitable. “Um… welcome home, dearest Sister. Back so soon? How was your day?” He attempted to diffuse the situation with a quick succession of questions, once again detracting from the more serious matter at hand. @Sara Reader Advisory: [1] Roman Petuaria, known as Petuar to the local Britons, is located in the modern-day East Riding of Yorkshire. [2] Ambrosius' Briton name was Turi [3] Charis' Briton name was Erea
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