I’ve been absent from WipItUp for a while, but that’s not because I’ve not been busy! I’m close to submitting my latest spanking romance, a historical novel set in Ancient Briton when the Romans built Hadrian’s Wall. A rather bleak place, but hopefully I’ve got plenty to warm you up! Here’s hint of what’s to come.
A young man, she thought. It was hard to tell given his unusual appearance. Mud caked the horses hooves and legs, and even though she did not consider it cold, he had wrapped a cloak tight under his chin, hiding his clothing. All she could see were his feet sticking out below. He gave his steed a small kick with his heels, cajoling him up the steep embankment.
While the boys gnawed on the bread she continued to stare at the men as they drew to a halt before the gate. The legionnaire on guard dashed forward, brandishing his spear. The lead rider swiped the tip of it away with his booted foot.
“I am here to deliver a message for your commander. A message from the Emperor himself.” His voice carried easily over the head of the legionnaire to the other soldiers forming behind him. A deep voice and one that sent a shiver down Bethan’s spine. He spoke in Latin, which she understood, but he did so without trace of a dialect. An articulate soldier? Was that possible? No, he couldn’t be a soldier, even though he carried weapons.
“Dismount and disarm. Weapons are not allowed pass this point,” declared the legionnaire.
There was a lengthy pause before the men complied. The horses neighed when their riders dismounted.
Next to Bethan, one of the boys tugged on her sleeve. “Are they Celts, like us?”
The boy didn’t speak Latin, which wasn’t surprising. He lived in the settlement below the fort and wasn’t allowed inside, unlike Bethan. She was a slave and served in the kitchens. Captured during a raid on her village by another clan, she’d been sold to the Romans. As far as the Romans were concerned all Celts were from the same tribe and payed little attention to the fighting between the various clans. It had been months since she been taken from her kin.
“No. They aren’t, at least not like us. I think they’re gladiators.” She could only guess. She’d not met one before, but she’d heard all about them from those that had seen them fight in the amphitheatres of Eboracum. It was miles and miles away and she’d never been that far south.
“Gladiators!” The boy shrilled.
“Hush,” she said, pushing him away from the road.