Title: Tales From Tartarus
Spoilers: 1.07 Great and Unfortunate Things
Summary: Death is not the end in Ancient Rome. Souls, high born or low, all end up in Tartarus.
Part One : Sura
The blood loss made her head spin and it took all her energy to focus on her man's face. His name felt sweet on her tongue, his real one, the name of the Thracian warrior who died so long ago in slavery, but she had no breath to say it. It was useless. He wasn't that man anymore.
Spartacus held her now, Spartacus wept over her wounds, and Spartacus would perform her death rites.
Whatever the Romans called him, Sura loved him all the same.
The pain dissipated as her vision dimmed. Behind his shoulder, she saw Old Mag, the witch woman, her grandmother. She knew her journey had finally come to an end.
One last time, her eyes saw into the future. Vengeance would be had at terrible cost. His deeds would echo into the future.
Old Mag led the way, leaning on her cane, into the dark.
. . .
It wasn't the place she'd choose, but she'd wait there for him. The streams of Romans marched along the raging rivers that crisscrossed this sunless land. She watched them, those fresh spirits quaking as the ferryman stopped on his route around to all the warped and creaking docks, from her perch on a raised bank. Sura felt more like a sentinel than a spirit.
She couldn't feel the sand under her feet, but she could feel his anger and hatred, pulsating and red, beating like her own heart once did. It was only a single grain in the granary compared to the hate that burned hot inside her. The hate that boiled over into a madness after she was captured. The hate that fueled dark spells, spells so foul she had promised Old Mag that she'd never even consider them. The spells that ripped through Glaber's camp like maggots through a carcass. His soldiers fell ill, horses died, and supplies spoiled. The Persians were always one step ahead. Then there was the curse she had wrought upon the brutes that had violated her. She had used magics Old Mag would have boxed her ears for even asking about, but her grandmother hadn't lived to see the Roman dogs of war tear through Thrace. It had all been done with the blessing of the gods...
Sura had been laying into the dirt, after the last soldier had left, praying silently to all the gods that would listen when she received a dark and terrible vision. She learned far more than the curse. She saw her man's final fate and how she would die in his arms. Thanking the gods with her own blood, she found strength in her forge-hot fury. That day she created the hexes from rat bones and poisonous plants before she carved the baneful runes onto the supply wagons. She made sure that her bile followed Glaber even after she had been sold to slavers...
Coins jingled in her belt pouch as she walked along the cold, dead river bank. She had more than enough to pay the ferryman but still she waited. He would need her, this man called Spartacus, to see him across to the other side.