Cloaked by his hood and dressed in clean, upstanding clothes, no one gave Nimr a second glance. He looked nothing like the brave and fierce warrior that duelled on the sands, and he blended in with ease. The market stalls, the busy streets, the horses with their carts and the shopkeepers with their wares- not one of them recognised him.
Up ahead, the golden armour of Publius, and the red-feathered cap upon his helmet, provided Nimr with an easy marker. The imposing appearance of centurions worked in his favour; he could blend in, they could not.
He followed Publius down streets and crowded alleys, until they came to a small clearing. Dodging horse-drawn carts and overburdened slaves hoisting their masters’ wares, Nimr spotted Publius make his way into the building that housed the local garrison.
Waiting patiently, Nimr watched. Other guards came and went. The sun grew hotter, but still Nimr waited. It was beginning to become boring when Publius finally left, followed by an older man with a bold plume of white feathers rising from his cap. That would have to be the captain, and from the look upon his face he was bearing bad news (which wasn’t surprising- Nimr had after all evaded capture so far, something that would be most displeasing to the authorities).
The two men headed off, and Nimr once again followed them. They strode with great purpose and Nimr couldn’t help but find amusement at how close they were to their quarry. They only had to turn around…
They made progress down streets that gradually became more familiar, which puzzled Nimr slightly. He could not be certain as to why- until they turned a corner and he laid eyes upon the gates of Vibius’ ludus.
This posed a problem. He could not simply stroll into the home of the very man he was to kill, not when the guards would not allow anyone to walk in. There would also be greater odds of being recognised- and the likes of Kaeso would not hesitate to turn him in.
The opportunity to take action was fading. It was also highly unlikely Caius would be present as well.
It was time to wait once more. Nimr kept to the shadows, seemingly another traveler, unremarkable and insignificant.
Time passed. Nimr did not know how much. Boredom and hunger were beginning to take hold in his mind and his wounds from his recent fight with Decimus ached. When would they lead him to Caius?
Ideally they both needed to die at once, but the senator was the bigger prize. Still, if push came to shove, Nimr would dispatch Vibius first.
The sun was now at it’s peak. The heat beat down upon the ground and Nimr was beginning to feel parched. When would they emerge?!
Then, finally, the gates swung open, and Publius and the captain left. Nimr could see Vibius, gesturing passionately at his slaves, before the gates were slowly closed again.
He once again followed the centurions, in the hope of being led to Caius.
Fatigue was setting in. Nimr had not slept, his hunger had grown, and his thirst was almost painful. His eyes were tracking the pair of centurions as they moved deeper into the city, but his head was throbbing and he was losing focus. He did however, note that they approached the Senate Chambers- and he also noted the increasing number of centurions as they neared Rome’s most important building.
Nimr knew he was not in a condition to take on so many guards and his chances of successfully infiltrating such a fortress were slim. It infuriated him to admit defeat, but Caius and Vibius would not die this day. He started back toward Crispina’s home, weary and frustrated- but at least he had a clearer idea of the defences he was up against.
If he had waited, but for a moment, he would have had cause for great concern.
The cooling waters of the baths were soothing to Nepos’ body but he could not so sure about his mind. His argument with Etruscilla was still fresh in the memory and he could not shake the feeling that he had made the wrong decision.
What more could I do though? I desire peaceful resolution but to find the means to find it are almost impossible to reach!
The plan was in motion, Nimr would be executing it, and the consequences would be unavoidable. Nepos knew the allies of Caius and Vibius would almost certainly suspect him and, for all the lack of proof, they could his life far more difficult.
The alternative was to let ruin come. What could anyone do in his situation?
He dipped his head underwater, enjoying how it felt. The respite from the heat was most welcome. If only he could find respite from Etruscilla’s anger.
When he came back up for air, it was to a knocking at the door. A calm rapping. He heard footsteps- most probably Numerius’- and left the matter alone. If it was important he would no doubt be summoned. For now he wanted solitude.
Such a thing would not last. The sound of footsteps returned, only with greater haste and it grew louder. Sure enough, as Nepos had feared, Numerius was opening the door, looking at his master with contrition.
“Apologies Dominus, but you have an important guest.” He said. “Shall I send him to the lounge area?”
“Yes, please. Who is the guest?”
Nepos bolted upright. “The senator? Ensure he is comfortable, and bring him wine.”
“Yes, Dominus.” Numerius departed, closing the door behind him.
Nepos had not expected this. What would bring one of the men who wanted him crushed to his door?
Nepos dried and clothed himself in a light blue toga, slipped on his sandals and made his way quickly to the lounge. He noted that Numerius had already informed Etruscilla of Caius’ presence, for his wife was making polite conversation as he entered.
“Ah, Titus Nepos. Thank you for receiving me.” The somewhat plump, grey-haired man, who nevertheless looked neat and tidy in his cream robe and toga, had deep blue eyes that held a powerful intellect.
“It is my pleasure Senator.” Replied Nepos evenly. “Had I known of your impending arrival I would have prepared.”
“Regrettably there was not time to send word ahead. I come to seek your help, as a citizen of Rome.” How did Caius keep his voice so level, so sincere, given he was even now seeking to destroy the very home he currently stood in?
“I am always keen to serve Rome Senator. How may I be of service?”
“As you may or may not be aware the gladiator Nimr, who until recently fought for your house, has escaped from his new ludus. As of yet his motives for doing so are not clear, but what is clear is that a very dangerous man now roams the streets of the city. I come to seek word on what you believe Nimr may do next, on where he might go.”
Nepos was puzzled. “Forgive me Senator, but why would you ask me in person? Why not send a guard to receive what news I can offer?”
“I wish to be involved as this matter has affected my brother, Vibius, whose ludus purchased Nimr at not inconsiderable cost. I also believe a senator can be less intimidating than an armed centurion turning up at one’s door.”
Nepos clasped his hands in front of him. “I wish I could provide you with valued words Senator, but Nimr was a guarded man. He spoke rarely of matters beyond combat.”
Caius offered a smile, albeit a dangerous one. “A pity. I had hoped he might have parted with some clue as to his desires.”
“He is a driven man Senator, moved by passion for honourable causes. That is all I can tell you.”
With a small sigh, Caius appeared to accept Nepos’ words. “I appreciate your time master Nepos. Perhaps your words will yet prove useful. Until then, good day.” He nodded at Etruscilla. “And good day to you too my lady.”
“Senator.” Replied Etruscilla calmly.
The couple watched as the senator left, then drew breath as the doors closed.
“I notice the senator’s heart still beats.” Remarked Etruscilla, casting eyes upon her husband.
“Yes. It would appear Nimr has failed, at least in slaying Caius.”
“You sound relieved husband.”
Nepos nodded. “I do not desire blood being spilled in my name. I worry though, for Nimr.”
Etruscilla took a step toward him. “You worry he has fallen.”
“I do. Though if he had, Caius would not have come here to seek words on how to find him.”
She looked into her husband’s eyes. She looked… Nepos couldn’t place it. Emotional?
“I sensed the arrogance of the man Titus. The brash, unyielding arrogance of him, to come into this house and ask questions of you. It was not right, but you handled it with great dignity.” Her hands wrapped around him. “And I am pleased you are reconsidering your… current path.”
He pulled her close to him. “If I can get word to Nimr, I will request he ceases his mission. We are still left with a difficult struggle.”
She kissed him. “I confess, having met the man, that the depth of our struggle is perhaps deeper than I first feared. However, every man has a weakness. I am sure we will find his.”
Nepos smiled. “And what is my weakness?”
“Ah dear husband…” She ran her hands over his arse and squeezed, kissing him again. “I am your weakness. You would do anything for me. Such as placing your tongue between my legs and providing me with ecstasy.”
“You have read me most accurately my wife. I would indeed do anything.” He kissed her, took her by the hand, and led her to the bedroom.
Their clothes did not make it there. Instead Nepos virtually threw his wife down upon the bed, who giggled at her husband’s exuberance. Her laughter turned to moans as his hands ran over her breasts and stomach, and his tongue began to lap delicately at her sex. The gentle caress was slowly building up, into longer licks, deeper licks, and Etruscilla shuddered at her husband’s skilled performance. She arched her back when his hands returned to her breasts, groping firmly as his tongue delved deeper, probing and exploring. His breath felt hot upon her thighs and she gripped at the bedsheets, thoroughly enjoying every minute.
“Mmm, it would be wise to slow pace, lest desired end be hastened…” She murmured, but her words appeared to have the opposite effect. Nepos lapped faster, hungrily feasting upon her, and she gasped. His eyes blazed with love for her.
But then, she knew he would probably not take anything less than an orgasm as a satisfying end to his endeavours. His tongue wriggled and felt sooo good!
“Titus…” She moaned louder. That gorgeous wet tongue was snaking about so deliciously, and she felt her body reaching toward that most glorious of moments… she shivered with lust, felt her nipples harden under his touch… and when his tongue stroked tenderly along her walls, it broke the last string of her control. She came, hard, her body wracked with pleasure, crying out in bliss.
When she returned from the peak she had scaled, Etruscilla pulled her husband up for a sweet kiss, and she felt his big cock press against her wet pussy. Her eyes met his, and she smiled, then moaned as he slowly entered her.
“I love you Titus.” She purred.
“I love you, Etruscilla.” He murmured in reply.