The canopy of the trees sheltered the two soldiers from the rain as they sat close to their small fire and finished sucking the bones dry of the two wood pigeons that the archer had brought down.


"Some argue that the channel provides your greatest, natural defence against invasion. Instead I think it's your weather. No one will want to conquer a land in which it rains so much," Oppius remarked, whilst tossing another piece of wood onto the fire.

"Never mind the rain. Which way do you think the wind will blow, in regards to what Caesar will do next? Did he give you any indication at your dinner?"

"Caesar wishes to re-draw the maps and frontiers of the world, but ultimately Rome is his home. Also securing peace in Gaul is more important than making war in Britain. I warrant that we'll be sailing back soon."

"Do you consider Rome to be your home too? Do you have anyone waiting for you? Who wants to see you?"

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"My mother still lives in a village outside of Rome. There's also my ex-wife. Whether she wants to see me or not the channel and climate will thankfully help keep her at bay," the centurion remarked, breaking off another leg of his wood pigeon as he did so.

"Did you not love her once? Is there still a spark?"

"It was lust more than love, attraction more than affection," Oppius replied, looking wistful for once.

"What happened?"

"The usual. Life gets in the way of love. I didn't spend enough time with her  -  and she spent too much of my money. What about you? Is there a particular flower in the garden of Britain that you pine for?"

"There used to be too many  -  I was the chieftain's son after all  -  which is why there was never just one. Sometimes I feel I missed out. I'm not sure how much of our love lives could serve as an inspiration for Fabius' poetry."

"My job is to teach him how to kill rather than kiss."

"I'm sure Fabius prefers that scenario too."

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