Standard Bearer

Chapter 20

Oppius wiped his sword upon his trousers, which he hoped he would never have to wear again, and looked up to see Fabius appearing from out of the trees, along with another young recruit, clutching a bow too.

"We were in the area, for archery practise of all things," Roscius exclaimed, grinning.

"Well as Teucer says, the harder you practice the luckier you get," Oppius replied whilst the two men gave each other another firm, meaningful handshake. As ever, much remained unsaid between the two friends and soldiers. "Fabius, I could get used to you helping to save my life. I may have to write a poem in your honour," the centurion called out to the recruit. "Now attend to Teucer, before I have to give you another compliment."

The youth smiled sheepishly and attended to his comrade.

"I must thank you too, legionary," Oppius remarked to the soldier who had rushed out of the forest with Roscius.

The soldier turned around, after pulling his javelin out of the barbarian. He was older than Oppius, a veteran. His build was compact, his body marked with scars.

"Thank me with a drink, or four, and we'll be even," the veteran replied, grinning as he found a couple of gold coins upon the dead Briton. As he smiled Oppius noticed that one of his front teeth was missing and the other one was chipped.

"Lucius, meet Tiro Casca," Roscius remarked.

"I served a little with your father. He was a good man, tough as leather. It seems you can handle yourself in a fight too. I also saw you on the beach. You're your father's son," Tiro Casca announced, nodding in approval and respect.

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