Blood of Rome

Letter to Lucius Cloelius 6



I forget what it feels like to have the sky over my head; to look up and see the stars, to see the moon illuminate and cast shadows through trees or off buildings. I try and think of a sunrise but the thought fills me with fear and my heart beats fast, my temples throb. I run through the tomb as fast as I can, I push off walls, sprint through empty chambers and sometimes, just to feel the wind again, I fall, the air rushing past my ears as I twist and turn to catch ledges and slow my descent.

I read. I fight. I hunt. My little corner of the tomb is a mess of scrolls and carvings. The previous occupant filled the place with small statues of some sad faced woman. There must be thousands of them broken and littered around the chamber.

The hunt. I train in these dark tunnels. I push my body and my senses, dodging traps and my siblings. Sometimes Sia joins the hunt for she must feed too and it is strange when the tables turn so – to be the prey and not the hunter.

I have hunted with my brothers and sisters too. The outsiders are let loose within the tomb; Sia lets them in. They give us practice and food. I have hunted them alone and in a pack. It all depends on the outsider threat. Some are well armed and I have taken a few choice weapons to use against others in the future. I have also fashioned myself some armour from the debris left behind by their corpses.

A strange occurrence happened the other day when I came across a group of outsiders. There was a woman amongst them. She was nothing special but as I watched her, I found no fear in her. I felt aroused watching her as the group she was in fought against the tomb itself, clutching their weapons, brandishing their flames. It has been a long time since I have known the touch of a woman and I longed to talk to someone not dead. I have certainly made love to Sia for as long as I can remember and I have even cavorted with some of Sia’s prettier children. This was different though and I felt strongly drawn to this woman.

I approached the group and pretended I was lost like them. The fear of the flames rose up inside me but my desire for contact quickly overrode the terror. I could see the suspicion in their eyes but they needed more weapons to fight against the noises they could hear in the dark -for my brothers and sisters approached.

Over the next night the outsiders were claimed one by one; picked off by the shadows until only the woman and I remained. She still showed no sign of fear and I found her beautiful. Worth fighting for…worth saving from the monsters.

When I returned to my chamber Sia was waiting for me. I lay my head in her lap and cried as she stroked my hair.





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