Commodus stalked through the lines of tents like a cat returning from a good hunt. He had murdered his father, and now he could be emperor.
Simple as that.
He returned to the small town that had been put up in the last few weeks, which had quarters for all the officials.
After being in Germania for the past 3 years, they had decided to build a settlement there. Spying his potential prize, he sauntered over to a serving girl, not more than 18, who had a glorious body that he had claimed as his.
Commodus couldn't believe his luck as he strode through the hall towards the girl; the only reason that he wasn't emperor now, was because his meddling older sister, the previous empress was still in the south, battling the Egyptians.
But his father, the former emperor, was dead.
The gloating prince now reached his prize, which had been cleaning a tapestry in his tent, grabbed her around the waist despite her protests and threw her on the bed, planning on ravishing his captive all night.
The serving girl awoke with a start the next morning, nearly jumping out of her skin when she saw another man in the room.
She scrambled out of the bed, bowing deeply, and wincing at the pain in her abdomen. Commodus was many things, but when it came to nightly activities, he was everything but gentle, at least, as far as she knew.
The girl looked up at the man in the room, recognizing him as general Maximus. She bowed again. "General"
Maximus nodded. "I shall go get you some new clothes and some food" and with that, he left.
The serving girl noticed she was only wearing a silken wrap of some sort; Commodus must have covered her up after she passed out. Within a few minutes, the general was back, with a bundle of clothes that he threw to her, and a plate of fruit and bread.
"What is your name?" as he turned his back to give her some privacy while she changed.
"Antonia" She replied.
She was touched that the general would give her privacy and ask for her name, it was unheard of.
she looked at the clothes. He had given her a very nice tunic, a belt, and some woolen boots, the likes of which she hadn't worn since she had served in the palace.
"Very well Antonia" he continued. "I am general Maximus, as you know. I am your new master."
Antonia's eyes widened, it hadn't crossed her mind that she was now a servant to this man.
She dropped to the ground, in the customary bow to a new master, rapping her head three times on the stone floor.
"Ah! Get up, I don't care for chivalry, you'll give yourself a headache" her new master said as he sat down in one of the chairs by the hearth. Antonia stood quickly, slightly in awe of this new respectful master, he was right, her head did hurt.
"Sit down, and have some of this glorious fruit"
Maximus said, gesturing to the platter. The servant's eyes widened again.
Antonia timidly stepped forwards and took a slice of bread and an apple slice.
"How old are you?" the general asked, regarding the girl in a gaze of much interest.
"Nearly 16, sir" at that, Maximus' gaze hardened.
"That is too young for him to be taking you to his bed. He told me you were at least 18" so he did know what Commodus did to her.
"I'm required to do what my master asks of me, no matter how painful"
Maximus looked out the window. "You shouldn't have to"
then they were both silent. After a while, Maximus stood.
"Well, I much to attend to, you may start work in my quarters" Antonia nodded, and then followed him out the door.
Once in Maximus' quarters, she gasped. It was very messy. Papers littered the desk and floor, the bed sheets were rumpled, and random objects piled all over the place. She sighed, and started with the dishes, then moved to the clothing, then the rest.
When Maximus came in later in the evening, he had supper waiting, and his apartment sparkled. As Antonia brought him his dinner, he took the opportunity to thank her
"thank you Antonia, the place looks beautiful" the serving girl blushed, then stood to the side, waiting for him to finish. The general noticed.
"What are you standing around for? Why don't you eat?" Antonia bowed her head.
"It is customary that the master eats first, and then the servant may eat after he goes to bed"
Maximus choked on a bite of his stew. "Serious?" she nodded.
"Well, I amend the customs, you will be welcome at my table, now that there is room" Antonia suppressed a giggle, and then retrieved her supper, spending the rest of the mealtime learning much about her new master.
Over the next few days, Antonia served Maximus, and learned much about military life.
She was the only woman in the camp, aside from the lady Lucille and her servants, but Maximus protected her from the dangers of being in a camp with 5,000 men.
One day, Antonia was getting water from the well, and a man decided to make an advance on her, grabbing her waist, and trying to drag her of to the military commons, but Maximus happened to hear the yells and decided to check it out, realizing that Antonia was the middle, he broke up the fight, and set punishments for the entire regiment.
After that, she had no more skirmishes, although she had to deal with jeers and catcalls wherever she went, but years of serving had taught her to ignore it.
Over the next few weeks, the camp underwent fortifications, the germanians were rising up, and they were planning an attack.
In his spare time, Maximus taught Antonia how to defend herself, finding that she was a natural.
But it surprised everyone when the attack actually happened. It was almost noon when the lookouts saw the flags of the Germanians coming from a ridge behind them. As the army scrambled together defenses and weapons, Maximus ran to his quarters, intent upon warning Antonia.
"Antonia!" he cried, bursting through the doors. "The Germanians are attacking!" Antonia's eyes widened, then she grabbed the bag they had stashed before.
Maximus grabbed her shoulders and shook her slightly. "You must run, and hide, do not come out for anything until I come for you. Understand?" the servant nodded, and then ran out of the open doors. Maximus looked after the girl, realizing that in his heart, he did not want her to go.
Antonia ran, dodging soldiers, sword and horses, clutching the bundle to her chest.
She ran into the forest, heading for the thicker cover. She found a rock cave that by the looks of it hadn't been used by an animal in some time.
She shimmied under the ledge and discovered there was a larger cave inside. It had definitely been used by a wolverine by the smell, but not since the summer before last. All the fighting had driven most of the animals away, making it hard to hunt for an army, but they survived. Only then did she open her pack. Inside were a book, some food, some bandages, and a knife. Antonia took the knife and stuck it in her boot.
After a day, her food started to run out, and she knew that was trouble. She started to ration better, but she figured she only had enough for two days at most.
"Damn, I should have packed more food" she said to herself as she searched her pack for the very last morsels. It was midafternoon when she heard rustling in the trees. She sat up and grabbed her knife. It was silent, then a twig cracked nearby.
Antonia could hear her heart pounding faster and faster. Then a party of Germanians burst out of the trees. Antonia kneeled down, not wanting to be seen. Then she heard them start to talk to each other.
"Aye, we have these damn Romans now" one said.
"Yes, Heimgard and Neyja will bring troops around the side and we will come from here, effectively destroying them!"
the group cheered. "I have a hankering to kill that general, what was his name?" one asked.
"Maximus" another said. Then the group burst into laughter and moved out of the clearing.
Antonia gasped. They were going to kill Maximus. She couldn't let that happen.
Antonia leapt from her hiding place, abandoning her things. Then ran for the camp.
She couldn't hear any fighting, then she crested a ridge and saw the roman army gathering in battalions, ready for a forward siege, but not ready for what was coming.
Antonia ran down the hill, dodging servants and soldiers until the got to the edge of the battalions. She ran down the middle until she reached Maximus. "Antonia! What are you doing here?" he yelled from atop his horse. "The Germanians are coming from the rear!" she yelled back.
"I saw a company of them and I heard them speak of it!"
Maximus shook his head. "Alright" then he offered his hand down to her.
Antonia grabbed it and swung onto Maximus' horse. She held onto his waist as he directed orders to the men. When he was finished, he dropped her off at the edge of the forest.
"You must go back to where you were" she shook her head. "I want to fight!" now Maximus shook his head. "I cannot risk you getting hurt" he turned his horse to ride away. "Why? I am just a servant!" she called after him.
"Just stay here Antonia" and with that, he was gone. Antonia turned around and walked back to the clearing. Then an arrow embedded itself in a tree right next to her head, and big Germanian leaped out of the trees at her.
so, what'cha think? i don't think it's that great, but i couldn't get it out of my head. :)