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The simple little model in Aulus's hands was like a window onto the future, making it clear just how much there was still for him to learn, but that the knowledge was out there and there were those who would teach him. Including the man before him. And Tiberius would be a willing student. He listened keenly as the Consul elaborated on the life of those on the border.

"As you say, it would not be difficult to teach the local blacksmith to make these. And they will breed far faster than horses." Or men, frankly. Though as Aulus pointed out, if the attacks persisted then fortification was the only real answer. And in the meantime those Roman citizens out working the fields or tending their flocks would continue to fall victim to raids. "It seems that the preferred answer must be a political one." But then that was always the preferred answer, in his mind.

"Have we captured any of these raiders?" He asked, sipping his watered wine thoughtfully.

@Sharpie

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"We had not, at least as of the last report I had - but it takes time for even official reports to cover the distance from the Parthian border back here to Rome and there may well be prisoners I do not yet know about." He dropped the demonstration model onto the table between them, where it sat, a new straw standing upright.

"The preferred answer is nearly always the diplomatic one," he said with a narrow smile. "Which is why my advice to Titus Caesar will be to send envoys to the Parthian king to see if we can come to some resolution before something happens that both our nations will regret. But politics is time-consuming and rarely produces an instant answer that suits all parties, so in the meantime we must protect our citizens as best we can without allowing serious reprisals that could destabilise everything."

His smile grew wider as he looked at the young man seated across from him. "This is the sort of thing that politicians have to contend with - one reason why our politicians also have to have military training."

Aulus, and the other members of Titus Augustus' consilium, would advise the young emperor to the best of their ability, bringing to bear all their considerable years of experience, but in the end, the decisions rested on Titus' shoulders. It was a weighty matter indeed, and Aulus felt very keenly for Titus and his adoptive brother - Tiberius did not have the same weight of responsibility, but Aulus could see him adopting a role similar to that which Jullus and Octavius had played for Quintus.

They would grow into the responsibility, Aulus was sure of it.

 

@Sarah

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Tiberius nodded when Aulus said that there were no Parthian prisoners that he was yet aware of. Captives might yield important information regarding the increase in raids, or might possibly serve as hostages, or warnings. But that was only if they caught some.

"I will ensure that your words reach Titus." He promised Aulus. The man should be meeting with Titus himself, and he no doubt would be, but Tiberius was happy to be the intervening ear between many of the Patricians and Caesar. He could filter what was worthy of his brother's attention; and this definitely was.

Aulus confirmed what Tiberius had already intuited; a Roman politician needed an intimate understanding of the military because the Empire and her legions were bound up together, existing each because of the other. One could not plan politics without military understanding, nor military campaigns without understanding of the current political environment. That was why he would gladly serve as a military tribune, and learn from the Consul. It was knowledge that would allow him to serve the Empire better.

"Alas but we are not going to solve the issue here and now." He said in tones of genuine regret. "Thank you for your company and wisdom, Consul. I should not take up too much of your time, but I would look forward to future conversations." Calpurnius Praetextatus was a busy man, he knew. This quiet meal and educational conversation had been a real pleasure.

@Sharpie

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"Sometimes talking about things can produce ideas, or clarify our own thinking," Aulus said. "The danger lies in talking too much and not moving to action when action is needed - there needs to be a balance."

The young people had a tendency to act without reasoning things through, the old people had a tendency to try to see all sides and all outcomes without ever making a decision to act. Wisdom lay somewhere between those two extremes.

Tiberius was right, though; they had spent long enough in conversation for right now - they both had their various duties to return to, after what had been an interesting and enlightening conversation.

"Perhaps you would like to come to dinner some time - maybe with your sister. Especially if you are going to accompany me to wherever as my Tribune, it's only right that you should meet my family, and your sister will doubtless like to know the sort of man whose command you'll be under."

 

@Sarah

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"And we are neither philosophers, nor gladiators." The one was all thought, the other all action. But getting another's point of view could be greatly clarifying, even if one did not agree with it. Had their conversation helped Aulus clarify his own thoughts at all?

He'd enjoyed the conversation very much, and looked forward to more such in the future when he served under Aulus, but the Consul turned the tables again with an unexpected invitation to dinner at the Calpurnius Domus. "It would be a pleasure to share cena and to meet your family." Including his wife of whom Aulus spoke so highly and intriguingly. "And I doubt my sister will need persuading. Perhaps your lady wife can talk her into that book club." He suspected that it would sound much more enticing, coming from the lady herself rather than from Claudia's brother.

It was quite the invitation. Tiberius knew that his rank and birth opened many doors, but he didn't take that for granted. He had great respect for Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus as the epitome of all a Roman man and statesman should be, and to be invited so was an honour.

@Sharpie

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"There is no harm in studying philosophy, or training with the sword - I would recommend doing both, though, rather than either or none. Though you seem to have already engaged with the idea of thinking a problem through and trying to find a solution to it." Although their discussion had been merely one in theory for the young man, Aulus had not at all formed the impression that he would charge recklessly ahead with an idea if it had been a practical problem he could see and tackle directly.

He would make a very good officer - and an excellent councillor for Titus Augustus. Quintus' decision to retire must have been made far easier knowing that his son would have such an astute and perceptive advisor among his contemporaries.

"I shall not delay you any longer - your time is valuable, after all. And I will send you that invitation as soon as I have consulted Horatia as to a suitable day."

 

@Sarah

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Tiberius was of the view that there was no harm in studying anything, so long as one did not become focused on that thing purely. Certainly there were those who's calling was to become a master of some art, craft or school of thought, but those who would guide the Empire needed to have a much more all-encompassing understanding. "Of course Consul." He agreed. "Broad knowledge is beneficial. I meant only that we cannot afford to focus on one particular area, but take a wider view."

Aulus was challenging to think, and to choose his words with care. He had not yet started his tribuneship under him, yet already the Consul seemed committed to his role as teacher, guide and role model. It was gratifying in a way, and emphasised that the older man was as dedicated to the future of Rome as he was. His father must have been reassured, knowing that men like Aulus were guiding the Empire, and supporting himself and his brother.

I shall not delay you any longer - your time is valuable, after all.

That drew a faint, wry smile from the younger man. "As is yours, Lord Consul." Arguably more so. "Thank you for joining me, and I shall look forward to that invitation. Gods keep you."

OOC: Fin?

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