X - A Villa in Tuscany

X - A Villa in Tuscany

A Chapter by BL

'Their army was a living thing in it's connection. When it engaged in battle it was the scorpion in shape and this was possible by its runners, the communication system, the nervous system, the blood'


Before active duty Severus made the most of his free time with his family in his country villa in Tuscany. He had calculated that with three days hard ride he could catch up the mass of troops leaving Rome as they marched beneath the Alps, between Italia and Gaul. His personal entourage was due to collect him in two days time, which was two days after the second day of Saturn. The day that all troops had been ordered by Cicero to be on the move.

In the centre of the Villa's large courtyard there was a well with a red tiled roof. On its surround it had white painted brickwork, it wasn't deep as the Villa was at the bottom of a quiet and sheltered valley. The underground river at the bottom of it could, when the light was high, be seen running thirty or so feet below. Severus watched from the windowsill of his room as the servants drew water, continually filling buckets and taking them to irrigate the vineyards on the gently sloping hills that made up the surrounding estate. He realised this would be what he would miss while he was away; the workings of his land and the peace and happiness it gave everyone. That everyone was quite literally everyone, it was him, his family, his friends, his servants, the paid slaves and even the unpaid slaves. The estate offered a livelihood and way of life for them all.

'I'm going to miss all this' he said half to himself and half to his young wife, who still lay in bed.

'All of what exactly?' She said sitting up to look at him in a shower of golden sunlight, her healthy long black hair shining.

'Just my home. I want to be a farmer, a vintner,' his voice was misty and distant

'And you will be when you get back' she said getting up and standing behind him holding his shoulders. 'This is this your your last tour of duty, right? And when it's over you are free, you can retire.'

'If it's a success they'll want me again. If not that politics beckons' Severus said still watching the servants walk out through the gates and go down to the fields. He wished he had their simple lives, they were just the ordinary people unaware of the bigger world around them. They could be in Italia, Briton, Gaul, Germania or Spania it wouldnt make any difference and they could still lead a peaceful quiet life.

'Come to bed, we don't have much time' she said.

'Later, I need to read my orders and I'd like to spend some time with the children too, perhaps we could go on one of our walks' he said as though it was a last request.

'If thats what you want'

|- -| ~ |- -| ~ | - - |

~ Twenty legions will be taken to Briton by commander Severus Lambrini, with ten more held in reserve in Gaul at his disposal

~ On completion of conquering Briton to the satisfaction of the Emperor, Hibernia will be invaded

~ All existing trade routes will cease. New trade routes will be set up and connected directly to mainland Europa

~ Copper, Tin and Iron mines (and any other metals discovered) will be seized and have their metals redistributed to Rome via new trade routes set up as above

~ A new city of Rome will be established from which Emperor Cicero will pronounce his reign over the new lands in an opening ceremony

|- -| ~ |- - | ~ | - - |

Severus knew that even if successful, the scale of his operation would mean he would be away for at least two years. He had, not by chance drawn the short straw of the operations so all he could do was make the most of it and get as many perks out of it as possible. Of the three tasks given to the three generals his was by far the hardest. Portus would most likely be home in six months as his war of expansion in Spania, as he saw it was nothing more than a large skirmish, which would be easy to suppress. And Lucius's task would only take a year, meaning he would be home to the warmth of Rome before he knew it. He would not be expected to carry on through the Scandinavian winter and so realistically would have to get things wrapped up by autumn; also in six months. Therefore to make things easier setting up a base and building himself a villa would be top priority and from there the beginnings of this great city Cicero wanted could be formed. When that was done and it was safe he would send for his wife and family. That would make it less lonely. He knew if the new lands were conquered properly he would be given lands and land meant wealth and security.

The map he had seen of Briton created by the great navigator Ordinus only showed the outside, the coast of the island, it had no interior detail at all. There were no mountains or rivers just a crude jagged outline. Trying to put it out of his mind he looked out the window and saw his wife playing with the children so went to join them, enjoying the last of one of his last days.

'It looks like I will be away a long time" he said as she danced in a circle holding hands with the three youngsters.

"Oh!" She said her face smiling at the children not giving away her sorrow.

"So when I'm established I will send for you" she looked uncertain. "It'll be a holiday, a change of scenery, a new home from home"

"You must build us a villa there, just like this one, with its very own vineyard. Just like this one"


Finally they were on the march and were expected to reach Lyon in six days, covering fifty miles a day. After three days they neared the border and as they did the numbers swelled as legion after legion made its way north.

"Why are we stopping?" Ducius asked, but no one replied as his question was too obvious and the answer soon to come. The legions always marched in number order with lowest, highest ranking at the front.

"Stand aside" Thamus barked, his voice carrying over their and the adjacent sections, marching behind and ahead. The lines of men quickly stood at the side of the road, some in the ditch that ran along side and watched as Legion Eight marched by. Legion Eight had been stationed on the Germanian front and had the look of a battle hardened group that had recently seen action. The Germanian front was a long and seemingly unending wall that ran from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. It was heavily fortified at regular intervals with in-built castles and was forever being improved. Behind it within the Empire there was a huge deforestation programme going on and in front of it where it faced the Steppes of Russia there was a network of tentative outposts that crept into the cold, vast and unknown continent of Asia.

"I hope they're with us" Ascoli said

"I think they will be" Thamus said getting ready to move the troops off as the last of Legion Eight's units marched through.

"If this is Eight I wonder what One to Seven are like?" Ducius asked.

"They will be similar, but have darker armour" Artivus answered.

"I didn't mean that"

"Well what did you mean then?" Pico said, breaking in.

"I mean, if this lot look tough then the higher legions will be formidable. Thats what I meant. I just hope were behind them in the grinding house"

"Get ready to move out" Thamus barked at the top of his lungs.

"I would certainly be hacked off if I was them" Toni blurted out not following the line of conversation.

"Yeah" Louie agreed, but no one else seemed to understand.

"First they get stationed in Germania, then they get Briton"

"It's a tough deal" Louie agreed again

"You don't know who's going where" Thamus said angrily as he breezed passed. "Get ready, form up" The twelve men shuffled into position between the adjacent sections. As the last of Legion Eight disappeared they were on the road and marching two abreast. Which meant Pico was next to Ascoli which suited him best.

"My feet are killing me" he said grumpily.

"Mine too" Pico replied.

"Its these sandals"

"Our feet will be freezing in Briton"

"They're rubbing"


"Need to soak them in a tub of hot water"

"Wish he would shut up" Pico said as Ducius's voice droned on ahead of them.

"We will make camp soon" Ascoli said hopefully. Pico looked at him as though he had temporarily lost reason.

"There's half an afternoon yet"

"Left, left, left right left" Thamus shouted, his voice in rhythm with trampling feet. "Keep the pace lads"

"We will camp before Genoa"

"Sounds right"

"I had an Aunty who lived there"

"Well she can put us up then"

"She's dead. Plague"


"Yeah she was only thirty eight"


"Where there are crows there is death" Pico said looking at a gathering of the large black birds hopping about on the grass as the men rested from the days march

Ducius threw his Apple core at them and they scattered. "Problem solved" he said, but seeing the core rolling along the ground they came back in greater numbers. It seemed that death had come back to haunt them.


© 2018 BL

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'A villa in Tuscany'
This was quite interesting to read. I liked it's historical theme of a time far gone. You were able to use imagination within a fiction style...impressive. Past civilization of Rome was a time of great upheaval and cruelty. I see the beginnings of this but also a tender human side in the family life of your main character as he processes what he will do next. Great work so far.

Posted 3 Years Ago

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This is different and I enjoyed reading...took me to new worlds :) xo

Posted 6 Years Ago

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A good chapter, very good dialogues and descriptions. :) Rudi

PS: Thanks for reading one of my stories too (if you have time)

Posted 6 Years Ago

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b,another great chapter my friend.about time for the book

Posted 6 Years Ago

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6 Years Ago

it was my pleasure b

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5 Reviews
Added on February 15, 2015
Last Updated on December 4, 2018
Tags: Empire, hope, romance, Memory, power, fear, luck, kingdom, peace, war, army, battle, spy, dust, adventure, fantasy, fiction, mystery



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