When they returned to camp Caesar assigned his own personal physician and surgeon to attend to the wounded archer. He also instructed his cook to muster up anything that the returning heroes wanted. Such were the appetites of Tiro Casca and Roscius that the cook was as verily exhausted as Oppius by the end of the feast. Before he could eat however the centurion delivered his report to his commander on the success of his mission.

"I am indebted to you Lucius. You have served Caesar and Rome in a way that is above and beyond the call of duty. In the past few days you have completed a mission that not even an entire cohort could have managed. It's only fair then that I reward you and the Briton with the equivalent wage of a cohort for the past few days. Please do not insult me by thinking of refusing my offer. Leave the curse of pride to Caesar," the General announced, finishing off a piece of correspondence whilst talking.


"Can I accept on behalf of my mother and arrange to send any payment back home? The money will make her comfortable in her remaining years."

After the debriefing Caesar ordered the centurion to eat, rest and return that evening for a light supper.

Before returning to his tent however Oppius visited Teucer, who was resting in bed after his surgery. Despite all they had shared over the past few days  -  or because of it  -  the conversation between the two comrades was a little stilted. Finally, after one of many pauses, Oppius announced,

"If you like I can petition Caesar for you should you wish to remain here. Your tribe needs a chieftain."

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But the Briton shook his head, in a mixture of sadness and relief.

"I'm afraid you're going to have to suffer my company some more. There's nothing left for me here, not even an embittered ex-wife."

"Britain's loss is Rome's gain. Now get some rest," Oppius replied, fraternally squeezing the archer on the shoulder.

"You should give yourself the same order. You look tired, as though you've been out all night with Roscius, drinking."

"I will. I'm so fucking exhausted that I won't even need to read some of Fabius' poetry to send me off to sleep."

Rain began to drum upon the roof of the tent again and both men briefly looked up, rolled their eyes and smiled wistfully.

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