Friday, January 16, 2015


I am labeled a barbarian, a word those smug, boy loving, Greeks gave us because my kind didn't speak the language of Socrates and Plato, and those other over thinkers that the world thinks hung the bloody moon. Those fellows have been dead ages and ages, and yet the term 'barbarian' persists, not only does it persist, it thrives. The latest beacon of the world/greatest civilization i.e. the stinking Romans, have stolen that word and labelled me and my kind barbarians. However, like many terms of derision, it is not exactly accurate. I was born under Roman rule, and while I have not quite achieved the iron ring of citizenship, I speak the lingo of the Romans. Of course, my Latin is not spoken like a toga wearing, long nosed Senator in the Forum, and sometimes I find myself 'losing' the correct word in Latin, and having to rely on my more colorful native tongue. I still managed to get by in Rome, when I was in Rome.

I am no longer in Rome, they called it exile, I call it being sick of the place and taking the waters at Mutina, a place just the other side of nowhere. A place still ruled by the stinking Romans, and a place that I am not actually supposed to be. My 'exile' as the stinking Romans called it, banned me from the entire Italian peninsula, and I was escorted by a couple of complete bastards onto a slow boat to nowhere. Nowhere, as it turns out, was called Sinope, and it was the ass end of the world. Not much that would be recorded in the historical scrolls would ever mention the colony of Sinope, and the people there seemed to be quite fine with being on the obscurer side of history. Well, not me lads, I am not the type of "barbarian" that takes being shipped off to the ends of the known world with a smile and a thank you for your kindness legate. I am made of sterner stuff, or am more of a suicidal idiot depending on the person who's opinion you are asking. Either way this dump Sinope was not going to be the place where my bones found their eternal resting place. The dust of this place, and it was a dusty, backward, shit hole, was soon to be shaken from my boots, and the sooner the better.

Of course, the stinking Roman are an efficient (for the most part) lot of bastards, how else do you think they conquered the known world, playing dice? Therefore, my exile while not the most important thing on the local governor's plate was still something of which he was aware. Somewhere, in the best scribe written Latin was a scroll with all my details filed under the 'local undesirable' tab in some bored to death clerk's office. However, being a barbarian, and one that wasn't six feet tall with a beard down to my chest that spoke mostly in grunts and by taking whatever he wanted, I wasn't at the top of anybodies list of things to keep close track of.  However, one does not simply walk away from exile. Even if the slack jawed clerks, and the local vigils didn't seem to care where I was, as long it wasn't in their presence, a plan still needed to be made. Just strapping a pack of beef jerky and fish pickle onto my back and walking in the general direction of Rome was not something that I was quite ready to do, and would more than likely end in my death in some other back water shit hole that no one had ever heard of.

No, a plan had to be formulated, and planning takes a few things. Time being one of them, ideas being another. One of those things I had, the other I was sorely lacking, But, I also knew that the "undesirable locals" scroll contained more than just my name, and I knew some of the other names on the list, and where to find them.  It isn't hard, undesirables whether they be locals or a lot of Johnny foreigners tend to congregate at bars. Never one to turn down a beaker even if it was just the local swill, I hied myself off to the nearest bar to find myself a like minded undesirable. As luck would have it, it only took me 4 beakers, and three bars before I found the like minded fellow I was looking for. His name was nearly unpronounceable in my native tongue, and neither one of us cared for the Latinized version of our names. I called him Stairaid, it was as good a name as any, and it was the one that he chose. There is a lot to be said for the freedom to chose your own name. It is one thing that we are stuck with our entire lives and which we usually had absolutely no say so in picking.

Stairaid was an odd, little fellow but he had the advantage of being a wanderer, and the added bonus of not being exiled as I was. He was just a "move along to the next town" type of undesirable, not the "you are banished, and never set foot in Rome again" type of exile that I am.  How he washed up on the shores of Sinope is a story for another time, but he was a ready as I was to let "these yokels see the back of me."  I knew it would take months, maybe even years for the two of us to reach Rome, but I was determined to be around for the fall. My people had hurled armies at Rome, and that is why there is a whole lot less of us now than before, and the reason I was born under Roman rule. No my plan, in so far as I had one, was to wait patiently, or at least as patiently as I am able for the weight of Rome to make it collapse from the inside. All the "barbarian" hordes that had broken like so many small waves upon the swords and shields of those remorseless Roman legions, served as a object lesson for me, and mine. Rome wasn't built in a day, and it certainly wasn't going to "fall" in a day either.

That journey, which we somehow both managed to survive was not a stroll in the park, not that we expected it to be, and it was full of enough comedy, tragedy, and horror to merit it's own scroll. That is also, perhaps, a story for another time. We made it to the outskirts of Rome, and I even managed one short foray into the city itself. Walking those clear, clean streets and hearing the multiple tongues of the Empire spoken by carters, fish mongers, informers, and even the stuffed toga wearing lawyers of the  Basilica Julia, made me even more determined to 'conquer' this city, and bend it to my will. It is merely a question of time before that will happen, and when it does my revenge will be complete. I am not the "burn it to the ground" kind of conqueror. I prefer a more of a "benevolent dictator" style of rule. The iron fist in the velvet glove is the way to rule civilized people like the stinking Romans, and that lesson has been a long time learned.

Stairaid went his own way once we made it within shouting distance of Rome, he had his own business to attend to, and I didn't think he wanted me to know too much about it. After my brief jaunty visit to Rome, I figured it was best for me to move a couple of days hard ride away, and wait for the fall. There exists a saying that claims "the bigger they are the harder they fall', I would add to that that the bigger they are the longer it takes them to fall. It is just a matter of time, but my problem, the problem I have now, and have always had it quite simple. How long do you await for a city to fall? Whilst I understand that time isn't necessarily on my side, this waiting is a thing that must needs doing. I may be a barbarian, but I am a barbarian with staying power. Rome, that majestic symbol of all the fuckery in the world today, will fall, this I know, and when it does, this barbarian will be there to help himself to all the glory he was denied by his "exile".

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