So things are a bit slow at work today, so I got a Vacation day!
It is very strange. For how slow we are at work, it is CRAZY busy in my personal life. As such, I haven’t had much time to get much writing done, and when I did, well the hamster left the building, leaving only that squeaky wheel.
On this vacation day, I have gotten so much done! Writing included. I feel that I have teased you with enough information, that I am going to be generous and give ya’ll a sample chapter. ( Please keep in mind, it is still in sever rough draft mode, and needs a bunch of editing. )
I walked down the streets of Herculaneum toward the forum where the marketplace was. It was busy today as we had just received a fresh shipment of supplies from Pompeii and I wandered the market taking notice of some of the new fabrics that came in and the new jewelry. I passed by the meats and fish, and stopped by Madam’s herbs and oils stall.
“Madam.” I said to the older lady behind the baskets of herbs.
“Sidonia” I have the spell oils that your grandmother wanted. Would you like to take them with you or would you like to have me drop the off later.
“I can take them” I said. “And also if you have any turmeri, wormwood and garlic, I’ll take those too.”
“Turmeri.” She said. “That’s a bit rare, but yes I do have some.”
“I will pay of course.” I told her.
“Of course. I wasn’t complaining my dear.” She said turning to collect the ingredients that I had requested.
A few minutes later she came back with a bag and handled it to me. “I added a few others that your mother has always been looking for. No – Charge of course.”
“Thank you Madam.” I said smiling and handing her 8 gold pieces.
“Oh! Sidonia, that is too much.”
“Keep it. You deserve it. You’ve always done well by us, and kept our lives safe.” I said meeting her eyes meaningfully.
“As you have with mine. Thank you.”
I turned and headed out through the market to find my Father. When I saw him, he was standing with a man and his son, probably closing some business deal or something. When I got closer my Father saw me, “Ahhh, Sidonia. My garden flower.”
“Father” I said giving him a welcoming hug.
“Sidonia, I believe you have met Decimus Avidius Vipsania.” My Father said waiving his hand toward the man he was speaking with.
“Yes. How are you today Mr. Vipsania.” I said.
“Doing well.” He said as the ground started shaking under our feet. Fruit fell from their baskets in the stall that we were standing next to, the tents shook as if they were trying to shake the dust off after a windstorm, and then just as quickly as it started — it stopped. “Well, doing well considering all these tremors. Herculaneum is a great prosperous colony, I’m not sure why the gods feel it necessary to shake fear into the people around here.”
“I agree Decimus.” My Father said eye me to keep my mouth shut. There are not many who know that we don’t view the gods the way most do around here. We worship the earth, and the sanity of what she can give us. Respecting her and taking only what we need for our spells and potions.
Behind Mr. Vispania, was his son who, when his eyes met mine, smiled and stood up straight. He was a few inches taller than I, strong enough to show the outline of his muscles in his arms, brown curly hair that hung just below his ears, and those blue eyes — they sparkled like sapphires. “Father, won’t you introduce us?” He said in a voice that sounded like music.
“Yes, of course. Sidonia Regillia, eldest daughter of Alus Galerius Regillia, I’d like to introduce you to my eldest living son, Tiberius Maximius Vispania.” He said.
Tiberius took a step forward and took my hand, kissed it gently, and said, “Sidonia. Beautiful name for such a … beautiful woman.”
Now it wasn’t that I wasn’t used to men floundering over me, but Tiberius, well he made me blush like a bloomed rose. Not only was he handsome, but he was not arrogant and pompous like so many other men who had clamored at my feet.
“Thank you.” I said, then looked at my Father who smiled. Sometimes I could swear he could read my mind.
“Tiberius, where is your wife?” He asked.
“Oh the subtlety of my Father”. I thought as I tried not to roll my eyes.
“I’m not married sir. I’ve been away the last couple years as an adviser for the Empire.” That sentence made my stomach fill with butterflies and then fall through to the floor. He wasn’t married, which meant he was available, but an adviser for the Empire? My family couldn’t afford to be too close to the Empire. The Empire was very accepting of any religion, which is how they are able to cross and conquer such vastly different cultures, but Earth worship, no. No one was that accepting. We had run into too much trouble in the past. So while we operated our shop as an herb and medicine shop, those who took our goods with seriousness, knew that we helped in extra ways also.
“And are you still with the Empire?” My Father asked. “Or are you here to help out your Father now here in town?”
“The Empire and I… well shall we say, had a difference in opinion. I’m no longer associated with the Empire. So I came home to help out my Father. I wish to make a home here.” Tiberius said looking at me with questioning eyes.
“A home.” His Father said with hope written across his whole face. “I’m so glad to hear that son.”
“Well, we hadn’t really had a chance to talk about anything other than business Father.” He said turning his attention. Though if you don’t mind, I would like to ask Mr. Regillia and Sidonia, if I may take Sidonia for a walk around town.” He said to my Father, then turned to me. “If that is okay with you Ms. Sidonia.”
I couldn’t hide the blushing now. “Yes, I would like that very much.”
“Though it is not usual protocol. — Very well, have her home before the ships arrive from their day fishing.” My Father said then he gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek.
“Oh Father. Can you give these to Grandmother and Mother.” I said handing him the bag. “There are extra in there also from Madam. Including some rare varieties.” I said.
“Of course.” He said. “Excuse me, Decimus, I need to deliver this to my wife.”
“Of course. We shall discuss other matters later.” He said and turned to Tiberius. “Her Fathers rule, before the boats come in have her home.”
“Yes Father.” Then Tiberius turned to me. “Shall we?”
I smiled and nodded, trying very hard not to let the blood rush to my cheeks.