Andrew Girle's Blog

Crime and Speculative Fiction Blooking

The Talking Sword – Sword of Justice – post 5

Posted by Andrew Girle on April 11, 2011

“They gave you a GIFT?” It was not Mikel’s voice. “You impounded half my seed that I need to plant for this season, and instead of making those barbarians pay for it you accepted some pathetic gift? How am I supposed to profit from that?” A spark of recognition came to Lucca – the voice was like that of the merchant, Auric, and he sounded very angry.

“Now then, Auric,” this voice was that of her father confirming her suspicion, “would you have seen women and children starve?”

“Starve? Of course they would not have starved. Those tribesmen would have gladly sold their spare mouths to me in return for food, and the slave markets are always in need of stock.”

“They are not our enemies, Auric. We have no right to enslave them.”

“They are not our enemies yet, you mean. You are too soft, Mikel. It was only in our grandfather’s time that these barbarians swept the length of Italy and sacked Rome itself.”

“You would use the wars of our grandfathers to justify enslaving our friends today? Auric, you would provoke a war for personal gain!”

“You fool. Gold is the blood in the veins of Rome. If the barbarians will not provide it, then I will have it from you instead.”

“What are you saying?”

“I have powerful friends in Rome. I will have you recalled, your estates sold, to make up for the profits you cost me.”

“Don’t you threaten me!” Lucca rarely heard her father raise his voice, but this time he roared like a lion. “Having friends here is more important to Rome than your petty profits!”

“You are nothing but a fool and a traitor!” shouted Auric.

“Get out!”

“Traitor, I say!”

There was a sudden gasp, and a sound like bubbles in water, and running sandals on the stone floor. Lucca edged up to the window and peeked past the shutters. At first she could not see anything in the gloom of the room, but then she saw a white robe on the floor.  Not just a robe, she realised. It was her father.

 

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