Once safely inside the Tribune Saica's house, we threw off our cloaks to reveal our uniforms. The housekeeper gave me a sterner version of the look with which he'd greeted us at the door.
"Ain't no Twelfth Legion," he said.
Ignoring him, we advanced on the exedra; he retreated before us, slamming his wooden leg down on the floor at every other step, perhaps as a warning.
The smell of food hadn't misled. We interrupted Saica at dinner, he rising from his seat to greet us, and Drusus grabbing the housekeeper and shoving him out of the room. Once Drusus closed the door, he stood with his back to it. That left him conveniently in shadow. No matter--he would have to face Saica soon enough.
Geraint stepped aside. Saica looked at me for a long moment, then reached for his glass of wine, and sipped from it.
"We are sent here from the Twelfth Legion," I said.
Saica examined my uniform as his slender fingers played with the stem of his wine glass. "I know of no Twelfth Legion," he replied.
I cast Geraint a glance. "We have traveled fourteen days from the city of Rudra to meet with you."
"Really?" Saica arched an eyebrow. "Yet I have never heard of a city called Rudra."
"Sir." I took a step closer so he could fully see my earnestness. "Our country is in turmoil. If we do not form an alliance, the Jardian will take control."
Saica shook his head. "Jardian is a name unfamiliar to me." He took another sip of wine.
"Tribune Saica! Your stubbornness does us a disservice."
"You have me mistaken, sir, for my name is Aiken Dromm and I am a farmer."
I heard the tap of a wooden leg outside the door. "Ain't no Tribune Saica," were the housekeepers muffled words.
I snatched the order papers from Geraint's hands. "Bollocks. We're in the wrong buggering story."
Opening: BuffySquirrel.....Continuation: ril