The next morning, Antonia awoke to the sound of the morning bell.

She looked up to the skylight, where the weak sunshine was already streaming through.

She sighed.

After the events of last night, her body was protesting work for the day.

She contemplated telling Maximus that she was ill, but decided against it. He might call the physician, and the physician would instantly know.

She didn't need that.

Pushing the thoughts of her child to the back of her mind, Antonia got out of bed, washing and throwing on her dress for the day.

As she emerged from her room, she saw that Maximus was already at the table, studying some papers.

She bowed quickly and hurried to the kitchen area to begin cooking.

"Felling alright this morning?" He asked.

She looked up, the expression on her face probably matching a startled deer's.

"I was only asking because you usually rise before the bell, don't look like you've done something wrong" Maximus said, grinning.

Then, a loud knock on the wooden door startled them.

Antonia ran to open it, revealing a soldier.

"Sir, the new Emperor wishes to speak with you"

Maximus grabbed his sword from the table.

"Damn, No breakfast today" He said, flashing a small smile in Antonia's direction.

Then, he stepped closer to her, his expression serious.

"Don't go outside, stay here"

Then, he was gone.

Antonia was slightly confused, but obeyed, reading a scroll in his abscence.

She plucked her favorite off the large shelf, and settled in a chair to read.

Abotu ten minutes later, the door flew in, revealing Maximus.

He strode to her and pulled her out of the chair roughly.

"I have directly disobeyed Commodus, I will be excecuted" He said quickly.

That hit Antonia like a large rock.

She opened her mouth to protest, but he silenced her with a finger.

"You must go to my estate in Venice, I have arranged for them to be kept safe, you will also be safe there"

Antonia nodded, ignoring the tears that pricked her eyes.

She ran to the bedroom and grabbed a satchel, filling it with food.

"Take my horse, it will be about a five day ride" Maximus said, packing a cloak and a few scrolls.

"I will try to be there" He said, grabbing her hand and kissing it.


Antonia needed no further prod, she ran out the already open door, to the stables.

She grabbed Maximus' black stallion and leaped on it's back.

She rode at full gallop out of camp and onto the road.

After about ten miles, she slowed down. She didn't hear anything behind her.

She rode steadily on until nightfall.

She got off the road and led her horse into the trees, making sure she was within sight of the road, but far enough away to avoid detection.

Antonia took out some food, eating it raw. A fire would draw too much attention.

Then, she settled into her cape, letting her thoughts go to Maximus.

Where was he now?

He certainly could outwit an excecution, but could he escape without injury?

As Antonia drifted into sleep, she secretly wondered if she would make it to Italy alive.

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