The Fall of Rome - 2

Caesar’s victory was celebrated for two days in the camp. The men were allowed to sack the village and take personal spoils. Vercingetorix was put on the knee and left in a cage without clothing, as well as without a crown. Vegetius was in the cage next to the king of Gauls. Due to his drunken rampage at the beginning of the battle, he was to be executed for disobeying orders while in a combat situation and for striking a superior officer. Vegetius still had his clothing but was just as stripped of all dignity he once held as the fallen Gallic king beside him.

‘Well, I guess I’m just meant to spend my last days like a rat in a cage.’ Vegetius said to himself.

The fallen Gallic king looked over to him with eyes that said, ‘Really…?’

‘Oh,’ Vegetius said, ‘You understood that, did you?’

Vercingetorix just looked back down at the dirt spot between his legs that were sitting crossed-legged in front of him.

‘Not much of a talker, eh?’ Vegetius said.


‘Right.’ He continued. ‘I guess I wouldn’t talk too much either if my people had just been defeated again, possibly for the last time in history.’

Still no reaction from Vercingetorix.

‘Do you mind if I call you Verci?’

Verci looked back up to Vegetius with a little less expression than he had before, but still a touch of, ‘Really…?’

‘I just mean to say ‘Vercingetorix’ is a bit of a mouthful, no?’ Vegetius said. ‘Did your mother call you that? Your wife? Your children? Your slaves?’

Verci looked back down as if he was already exhausted from this talking fool.

‘I bet they did when they were mad at you, eh?’ Vegetius laughed at his own humor. ‘Am I right?’

No reaction.

‘The slaves, of course not.’ Vegetius continued. ‘Probably not your children either. But women, I mean they’re all the same, right?’

Still nothing. But at this point, Vegetius was mostly talking to himself. ‘I guess I really wouldn’t know though. Never had a wife. Never really knew my mother. I was born a slave.’

Vegetius looked over to Verci.

Still nothing.

‘Far from here of course.’ Vegetius continued. ‘Went to the center of the world and lived on the streets like a rat for a few years until I turned 17 and joined the Legion.’

Vegetius smiled.

‘Now this damn legion has me trapped and fed like a damn rat again!’ Vegetius screamed and kicked at his makeshift cage.

‘It’s not fair, you know?’ Vegetius continued. ‘I mean I served with these men. Under Caesar himself for nearly 5 years. And this is what I get?’

Verci was looking at this point, but one couldn’t say for sure if he was really listening.

‘I know.’ Vegetius said. ‘I got a bit drunk before the battle. But who doesn’t, am I right?’

Vegetius looked over to Verci.

‘I mean, we knew we were going to win, so what’re a few celebratory drinks before the battle going to hurt?’

Vegetius trailed off mumbling as he found himself now staring at the dirt in front of him.

‘Say, Verci.’ Vegetius seemed to wake back up. ‘Those women that you threw out of the camp a month or so back, was your wife in that lot? I mean, you had to think that we wouldn’t feed them, that they would be left out there to starve. You sure as hell didn’t take them back in either, did you? Ha. You, old cock, you. Did you put your wife out there knowing that? I bet she was really screaming your name then, eh?’

Vegetius laughed a little.

‘Vercigentorix!’ Vegetius fake screamed in the girliest voice he could muster.

‘Something like that right?’ Vegetius laughed a little more at his own humor.

Verci looked back down.

‘I like you, Verci.’ Vegetius said. ‘I’m gonna buy you a drink if we ever get out of this shithole.’

‘Legionary Vegetius Saturninus.’ A legion guard said as he approached the cage. ‘You are to have a word with Centurion Flavius Armiger.’

Vegetius stood up, a bit surprised.

Flavius walked in already with disappointment on his face.

‘You’re to come with me. Get your kit together. We leave immediately.’

‘Wait.’ Vegetius said. ‘I’m to be executed out here in this godforsaken wasteland?’

‘Why would you need your kit for execution? You’re to come with me and do as you’re told.’

‘Like hell, I will.’

‘Get your shit together. We’ve been given a special assignment by Caesar himself. If you complete it to my satisfaction. You’ll be given immunity for your unlawful actions.’



‘Right.’ Vegetius said. ‘Let’s get to it then. I’ll polish Caesar’s cock until Antony is so blinded by it he’ll think he’s in heaven and on his knees for Jupiter himself.’

Flavius groaned and walked out of the cage.

Good luck, Verci.’ Vegetius said. ‘We’ll have to grab that drink later.’

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Flavius and Vegetius rode for two days. They found nothing. ‘So, why me?’ Vegetius said. ‘Why you, what?’ Flavius said. ‘Why pick me for this special assignment?’ ‘Because,’ Flavius said, ‘as you can

They rode in silence for the first hour. ‘So what’s this special assignment, then?’ Vegetius was the first to speak since they had parted the camp. ‘We are to find and retrieve Crassus’s lost aigle.’

There was something about the blood, the chaos, and the mud that sullied the experience that once gave us the pride to play in the blood, chaos, and mud. All these boot-lickers back home going around