Thursday, January 20, 2005

Enter Rome

This is the first one of the stories. It is true that most of the information from here comes from legends and other stories passed down generations. I will use this story to present a little warming up to the setting. Again, anyone is welcome to post comments.

"Horses? Last horse I saw was a horsefly. I really do not know what you are talking about. Please, enlighten me further, you almost amuse me," the young man stepped back a few paces away from the huge angry mob in front of him.
"Shut up you blubbering, weasel snouted, mucus-sucking traitor! Don't try to fool me! I gave you three of my best stallion which you said you would cover them in gold plate. Now where are they?" yelled Bratas, a huge man who, when mad, had veins bulging out on his forehead the size of arrow shafts. Behind him was a group of over a dozen husslers and thugs the big man had gathered.
"Oh right, right, those horses. Well you see, they are rather weary now and don't like visitors. Especially visitors who they might recognise," replied the young man, stepping back further. He only did this to get closer to the woods nearby and away from the village in front.
"Don't you dare say that again, you already gave the same vile excuse a...a...uhh...uhhhhh...a lot of times!"the mob finally noticed the man's movement and started to advance.
"Speaking of time, it seems about time to feed the horses. If you all gentlemen would kindly let me, I must go to the stables now, quickly, wearing all that gold nearly starves them and I am late," with that the man sprinted off at top speed towards a small path in the dense forest.
Bratas stood for a while, not realising what was to be done, was the liar speaking the truth? Then one of his "friends" whispered, "sir, the stables are the other way," Bratas let off a tremendous roar so loud the leaves nearby nearly shook. Then he ran forward followed by the rest of his gang.

The young man was a good runner, always practicing knowing that he often had to do this. This speed and Bratas's delay gave him a good start. Also, the big man was not the fittest man in Italy and his pride would not let him be anywhere else but at the front of his group.
A little further the young man found a horse tied to a tree. The road had widened and cleared a little and was suitable for riders and small chariots. "This will be a loss, but no matter, plenty of other big stupid village idiots around like Bratas," pulling out his dagger he quickly cut up the thin rope and slapped the horse a few times with his free hand to make it start galloping away.
While the horse raced along the path, the one who set it free went into the forest itself. He had followed this particular path before many times so he knew he could not get lost. Quickly he found a colossal tree behind which he hid. Behind him he heard Bratas and his men stop, seeing the tracks of the horses, and then run like crazy forward. A few of them decided to head back to get their own horses to follow. Soon they too came galloping back continuing on the road.
Now that he was safe, the young man sat for a little longer to rest. Then he got up and started walking through the maze of trees, bushes, ferns, shrubs, moss, vines, and broken wood. What seemed a long time passed, and finally the traveler came upon a tiny stream. There on the bank he lay down to give his worn feet a break. He wore leather shoes, which, although shielding against the dense foliage, also caused very painful rubbing with his soles. Thus they were taken off.
Despite being exhausted and worn out, the man would not sleep. There was still too much danger of being discovered by some random wanderer. After about an hour, he got up once again, put on his shoes, and jumped easily over the water. The forest in front of him was not so thick and clustered, but not quite a stroll in the park either. It was not long, though, until he came upon a rather wide road, big enough for five strong men to walk shoulder to shoulder. It also had rocks on the side to mark the borders. Now the walking was much easier and less painful, with little to disturb the man. After about five miles he suddenly came upon a sharp turn revealing a wooden gate and a guard.
"Halt, name thyself and state thy reason for entering the kingdom of Rome," said the guard, who was holding a spear in front of the young man.
Name, the young man thought, what was his name, he had used an uncountable lot in his long travels and "business transactions", well since this would be the end of all that, it would be good to make up his name for the last time, "Tradius, Tradius Pretorius, I wish to serve the king" he replied, remembering how these people used more than one word for their names. At the same time he quickly dug in a pocket and held a gold coin in his palm in front of him.
"Vinnius, you sluggard, open the gate and find a guide, we have an important visitor," while yelling this he quickly grabbed the coin and smiled greedily as he looked at it for a moment. Then he stashed it away in a pouch, "very important indeed."

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