Andrew Girle's Blog

Crime and Speculative Fiction Blooking

The Talking Sword – Sword of Justice, post 3

Posted by Andrew Girle on March 18, 2011

***as promised, I return you to your normal programming***

“My daughter, you are very observant to see the beauty in this gladius,” he said, “tell me what else you notice about it?”

“Mikel!” snapped Francesca, “Did you hear me?”

“Yes dear, but this is important.”

Lucca looked closely at the gladius, turning it clumsily in child-sized hands. The blade was two men’s fingers wide with little taper, except for the final third where it narrowed to a point. The crosspiece was plain, except on the under-side where delicate whorls were etched. The grip was sharkskin grey and the diamond shaped pommel inlaid with ivory.

“It does not look like a soldier’s gladius at all. It is too long and there are carvings under the bit here,” she pointed at the crosspiece of the hilt, “that I have not seen on a gladius.”

“Very good! This is not a guardsman’s sword, but a gift from the king of the Celts across the river, to me. A gift of thanks for the seed we gave them when their crops failed.”

“A gift from barbarians. It should have been tribute.” Francesca’s voice had returned to its ice cool.

Mikel stood and said mildly. “Only the Senate may demand tribute. I am only Town Governor, and Rome is a long way off. Out here on the border, it is my belief that we have more in common with our neighbours than with some far off land.”


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