Freedom

We're so different. Completely opposite.

We speak differently – of course his accent being the most obvious sign, but even how we phrase our sentences and choose our words is different. I am blunt, I get to the point quickly, no unnecessary words or pauses. I speak what's on my mind, and clearly. He tends to speak slowly, cryptically, giving little bits of information at a time, as if weaving a riddle for the listener to unravel. He seems to take great pleasure in choosing his words, when he chooses to speak at all.

We dress differently. I stick to the basics – brown tunics, brown pants, brown boots. Simple clothing for a simple man, no need to spend time on this. Clothes are, after all, just clothes. If it can cover you and protect you from the elements, it shouldn't matter what it looks like. He, on the other hand, seems to enjoy his clothing. He wears greens and blues the most, browns and blacks and orange and red and sometimes I wonder where he gets all these from, as they're certainly not military issued but then I remember he used to do this for a living, before. Before. If he did it then, he can do it now, surely. Not sure where he gets the time or the materials, but he always was a cunning thing. Charming, too. He'd have no trouble, just a swish of his ratty green cloak and a few chosen words in that quiet, accented voice of his and he'd have whatever he pleased. Too bad it never works on the guards.

We think differently. He grew up in the forest, surrounded by nature. He'd seen battle, of course he had, but it hadn't been a staple in his life like it had been in mine. My childhood was fairly peaceful, but the wars, loses, victories, invasions... they were ever-present, even in my forgotten corner of the country. And soon enough, the army had come to our village, carting off all able-bodied young men for war. Such is life, and I had no right to question it. Little wonder though, I suppose now, that he had.

He's a Celt, I'm a Roman. My philosophy on life is polar opposite to his, I'm beginning to see. Of course I can't expect everyone to have the same philosophies, but before him I never had to consider it. I wanted what any good Roman wants – glory for Rome. I want my city to be remembered and feared, for her golden streets and her unchallenged victories, for the power and glory and light my city is.

This is what everyone wants, and I've never questioned it, until Cicero.

I am not sure exactly what he wants, but I know I would have considered it foolish two months ago. From what I've gathered through our meagre and oftentimes cryptic conversations, Cicero wants freedom. Quite natural, for a slave, but this desire reaches beyond himself. He seems to believe that everything in the world should be free. Every animal, every plot of land, every man, woman and child. Land, sea, sky, everything. Nothing and no one should have to feel constrained, used or possessed, not ever, he says. Of course, he hasn't said this directly, as that would get him killed, due to his position as slave. But that just makes his desires and hopes that much more meaningful.

He says it's man's right to live as he pleases and to feel safe. No slaves, no empires, no wars. No constant fear, no tears, no dread in the night as your village is invaded and burned and pillaged by Roman soldiers, acting by lawful decree of the power-hungry puppet on the throne of a nation far from home. His eyes looked glassy, and I don't think he meant to say that last bit. I'm not offended. I've known what Rome was becoming for a few months now, though I've tried to deny it in my heart. Rome is all I've known, and I refuse to believe my life was for nought. I have killed and fought and watched men die for Rome.

But on one account we seem to agree – home is where the heart is. This is certainly true in my case. My wife and son await my return home, and I long to rid myself of this heavy sword and wash my hands clean of this bloody business. Of course, I doubt this will come to be any time soon. Being general of a Roman legion tends to put one in high demand. I wonder what Cicero has to return home to. Does he have a family? Wife? Not likely, he's still young. Brothers, sisters, parents? What became of them when he was captured? He will probably never get the chance to go home. Once a slave, always a slave.

Cicero deserves better.