@irtis @sgeorgas @down-but-not-out @deathlyhall0ws

(a story after this one: http://www.polyvore.com/you_give_me_your_heart/set?id=111661210)

"You shouldn't get into the water when it's so-"

"Scalding? I know what you're thinking," I said to Lucius, relaxing my head into the warm water. I could feel the grime of the ocean and the sweat in my pores fall away from me and into the warm water. My mind wandered elsewhere partially,"Tell Numerius to leave."

"He's already gone, he'd simply sent a message. He's been here for a while now," Lucius said,"He'd spoken with the travelers for you since you were away for so long."

I rolled my eyes thinking about them, grasping around for my cup of wine whereas Lucius handed it to me, prompting me to actually sit up and drink from the chalice. I looked to him, his wide eyes blank as he watched me. I smiled at him, yet that didn't warrant any response. He seemed so numb, yet I couldn't be worried about it.

"He takes good care of you..."

"I know, I know."

"Perhaps you'd ought to take care of him as well."

"Numerius holds his own, that's why I associate with him. We're like brothers."

Lucius rolled his eyes,"I just wish that you'd possibly-"

"Enough."

He got up, pouring the last of the water into the tub and walking out. I closed my eyes, letting my mind run wild and drive me even more insane. Warm water was nothing. Scalding water was nothing. Nothing wasn't anything.

-

As I retired to bed, I found myself restless. The sheets became to coarse against my skin, my heart racing and my eyes wide in the still of the night. The others were fast asleep after eating their meals, I retiring without much to eat as I'd surely be even more restless in my sleep with food in my stomach. I thought hard about Amus, how he'd still been out and bout attempting to slander my name openly to these travelers who needed to be on my side. I'd debased myself in their sick humor to get them on my side so i thought, and if I were there in Numerius' place I'd ruin him. However, he was still in the first stages of his destruction. Cassia hadn't met him and he'd been restless, boyishly so and possibly holding a stifled erection and anger inside him. He was so frustrated that he spread rumors among disturbed people like the travelers. I couldn't care and I wouldn't think about seeing him today as my day was well spent indeed, strange and absolving, yet well spent. In fact, I didn't know how I'd stayed so restless after such a day.

I suppose nothing evades my mind. It's like the used belly of a whore; receptive.

However, my thoughts were cut short with a violent string of screams erupting from the other room where the others slept. My mind became alerted, and I threw on my makeshift house robe haphazzardly, grabbing my sword and rushing out of my room. If it were an invader, he'd surely be decapitated this night. However, once in the room, I was met with the sight of a heaving Cassia among a nervous Val and a partially alerted Lucius. 

“What is it?”

“It’s fine…I just had a nightmare. I’m sorry to wake everyone” Cassia whispered, looking around the room before laying back on her bed, pulling the stark white sheets to her heaving chest. The others returned promptly to their sleep, yet I remained watchful, discerning what had just happened. Her screams were blood curdling, alarming. I hoped to never hear them again, yet suddenly I felt as if I hadn't reacted fast enough. Luckily I didn't have to brandish my sword, yet my excitement to battle and intruder and spill his blood had simply been Cassia in a nightmare. I stood in the door frame, Cassia's wide eyes looking to me with slight suspicion. I motioned with my hand for her to get up, which she did promptly. I noticed Val looking to the both of us, being nosy no doubt, yet I had other matters to attend to rather than look at her glare at us. I shut the door behind us, looking to her as she looked blanched and full of fright. I lead her down the hall and to my room, pulling her inside and closing the door. 

“What was it?”

I tossed a few more logs into the fire, it's sparks rekindling just a tad bit as she stood far away from me.

“What do you mean?” she asked timidly.

“This nightmare…what was it about?”

She sighed, holding her arm and looking a bit weary as she was probably very tired. I stood before her to provide some sense of security in all of her madness. It seemed to work as she began to speak;

“A young man…his face was just so clear. It was like he was standing in front of me.” she put her hand to her forehead and shook her head looking at the ground. I stood fast, relenting not one bit.
 
“And was this young man a customer once?”
 
She nodded, absentmindedly beginning to pace back and forth until I halted her by gripping her shoulders tightly. 
 
“Do you remember that night in the Valley of Gaul when I ran off to the brothel? You had a big meeting with Servius and Amus decided to make his rounds at the brothels, rather than showing up? Do you remember walking in and he pointed to me so he would become the hero amongst it all, rather than facing the consequences for missing the meeting? Do you remember pulling me from that man’s lap?”
 
“I do remember, but what does any of this have to do with this nightmare, Cassia?”
 
“The next day was of course the banquet. As I previously told you, I went with Valeria, and Helena showed up as well. Then I went and found Amus to carry out my plans, we were talking and he was obviously trying to spark something between the two of us, but then I heard a scream. I rushed out and tried to make my exit along with trying to find Helena and Valeria who were no where to be seen. I was just about to make my exit and then a man grabbed my body and held me to him in a tight grip that I knew I couldn’t possibly escape. They were talking a bit, this man and another Gaul. I was yet to see there faces but I could hear them speaking. One seemed to know I was your ward, his voice was slightly familiar but I couldn’t place it. That was about the time when I realized I had my father’s dagger on me…”
 
I loosened my grip on her arms, looking to her in all of her pitiful state.
 
“I took it out and managed to plunge it recklessly into his body. I don’t know what I was thinking in those moments, I really don’t. I just knew I had to do something or I wasn’t going to make it out alive. Once I managed to get the dagger in his body, his grip released and I was able to turn around. His friend must have run off because he was no where to be seen, but the man who had held me captive was lying on the ground in a pool of blood and sure enough my father’s dagger was right there. I couldn’t exactly fathom what I had just done, so I dumbly stood there looking at the body. I could just see the life just being sucked out of him, it was like watching some god just standing above him and stealing the colours from his body and just draining all his life’s blood on the floor like spilt wine. Then I realized it was him, that I knew this man, and I had sat on his lap at the brothel. That same young man, a young man who was going to pay me to share his bed, and yet the next day my father’s dagger is plunged in his chest…because of me. I did that.”
 
“And this is what your dream was about?” 
 
“I see him walking into the room and sitting on the foot of my bed just staring at me with this snake like smirk plastered on his face. Then I relive what happened, and then he eventually advances trying to get his way with me before he starts to shred my body to pieces. And for some reason I can watch it all as it happens…”
 
“Did he harm you in anyway when it happened? Or did he say anything about harming you?” 

What happened next was bewildering none the less, surprising me to the point that my own internal frustration began to grow. As Cassia stood before me, she pulled back her long hair to reveal a long line that ran from her lower neck to her shoulder blade. I couldn't believe that I'd never seen it up until this point. How could I have been so blind?! I pulled her to the bed and into my lap, her eyes looking into mine briefly before my hand gently traced around the scar.
 
“He clearly had the intention to hurt you. Don’t you dare feel any remorse for killing that man. If you hadn’t killed him, then surely he would have killed you or someone else. Your father was a soldier, a Roman soldier. If you are going to fight, you are going to fight for Rome like he did. Not defend the Gauls. You haven’t wronged anyone from the Roman Army in killing this man, and you prevented the army from a casualty, Cassia.”
 
The poor girl. She had to be traumatized. 

-Manius xxx
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