I’m back! Here’s a few more words from this chapter (gods, I can’t remember the chapter number, it’s been so long). Gaius and Bry visit the imperial palace archives. Whole draft chapter soon. 😀
Bry whispered, “Dominus dreaded every visit to these archives. He thought they were haunted, Commander.”
“I’d like to think our dear Lucius now knows whether his suspicions were correct. Come—let’s finish our work and pray Fortuna shines on us.”
The large, rectangular table in the center of the intimate reading room was lit by bright beams of sunshine streaming down from the spaces between the columns supporting the rotunda above. Around the perimeter of the circular study space gilded busts of past emperors who were now gods glimmered from their white marble perches: Augustus with his unblemished, serene fortitude; Claudius in all his scowling, insecure sobriety; and the only two members of Rome’s previous dynasty still revered, the elderly soldier Vespasian and his beloved first son, Titus, fucking unlucky sod. A portrait celebrating Emperor Trajan’s heavy brows and cap of short hair would join this silent statue gathering one day. Lucius had been confidant that the Emperor would transform into a god after his death. The wagons of Dacian gold he’d brought back to Rome in triumph had guaranteed Emperor Trajan divine immortality.
“You sort through that lot and I’ll review these records,” Fabius barked as he pushed a stack of scrolls to Bryaxis.
“Are we looking only for the missing financial ledgers, sir?”
“Any curiosity may be important, so watch for those Greek abbreviations and any bizarre drawings in the margins as well.”
Bry swallowed and unwound the scroll closest to him, anticipating the caress of Lucius’s deliberate, handsome handwriting.
Sending positive thoughts to all our friends in harm’s way.