- From: John_Brian_K <john.brian.k@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2010 09:24:24 -0800 (PST)
A book for a friend who self publishes.
The first chapter can be found here:
The below is a copy of the first chapter. I personally guarantee a
hassle free transaction for those who may be interested. I may even
be able to convince him to sign and personalize a message.
Note from the Narrator
Greetings. I am Merlinus or simply Merlin. It is the latter that I
called of late. The trappings of Rome have fallen away like the
a fading leper. The sights are horrid, and the losses sting with great
And though I am a Roman at heart, I have not lived under Roman rule in
quite some time. Still, I possess documents revealing my legal claim
large imperial villa on the shores of the Loire River near the city of
Aureliani. It was many, many years ago when I first received that vast
During the consulship of Constantius and Constans, a Roman senator
and my father made a deal. In this deal, the Spaniard signed over his
Gallic lands to me. In return, my father vowed to escort another
daughter and her newborn son to Barcelona. In addition, after a short
stay, Father would bring her back to her home in Armorica. That was
But then, Father caught an ill vapor and died before he could execute
his part of the deal. I stepped forward to fulfill Father’s
obligations to the
senator. It was at this point that I became privy to the other
the plan. Father had agreed to exchange the daughter’s child with the
of the self-proclaimed restorer of Rome, King Adaulphus. So I did what
Father had arranged to do.
Shortly after this secret switch took place, the daughter’s child
became ill and died. Her baby was mourned as if he were Theodosius,
the son of King Adaulphus and Princess Placidia.
So the son of the Restitutor Orbis lived on as Ambrosius. It was not
until years later after gray strands had crept into his brown hair
died. Many may scoff at what I write, but they are fools if they do.
Life is not always simple, and I have no interest in telling lies. So
aware of the truth about Ambrosius Aureliani by your own free will or
stumble into enlightenment as I did.
The sun poured across the eastern horizon as I neared the end of
my long walk. My destination was a certain church near Barcelona.
The overpowering sun rolled over me. I closed my eyes, but still I
not block out its light. Blindly, I kept going until I tripped over a
On my hands and knees, I looked up and saw the church.
A line of people flowed through the church to pay their respects to
dead child. I joined their line and entered the church. Its center
divided two rows of benches. Ten of them, wooden and backless, sat in
each row. People filled them all. Some stood behind them, waiting for
available seat, while others observed from afar. I took a seat when I
could. The church had never held so many mourners at one time.
Some time later, Princess Placidia entered. The hurt in her face tore
at my heart. I looked away, knowing I had caused it. Or, at least, I
partly to blame. I tried to forget about the young lady kneeling in
the silver-plated baby casket. I tried to forget her beautiful face,
her slender cheeks, soft dark eyes, raven hair, and olive skin. She
reminding me that she was still there, crying her last good-byes to
baby, Theodosius. I felt nauseated. My hand trembled as it rested on
knee. I wanted to vomit. Sweat slithered down the sides of my face.
Her king, Adaulphus, stood behind her. He looked more Roman than
Gothic. He sported a black toga with gold sashes. Though not tall in
stature, Adaulphus was distinguished in beauty of face and form.
weeping grew; King Adaulphus placed his hand on her shoulder. She
looked up at him with sad red eyes. Tears streamed down her soft
They had shared a lifetime, though they were together only four years.
For the first time in centuries, barbarians had sacked Rome, and this
man standing behind the Roman princess had led them. As the brotherin-
law of Alaric, Adaulphus fought and killed many Romans. He had
captured countless prisoners for his Lord Alaric, but none so precious
Placidia. After Lord Alaric had perished in Italy, Adaulphus took
of their mobile empire. Though barbaric and Arian, this great man left
doubting his self-proclaimed title of the restorer of Rome.
Originally seized from her home as a hostage, in time Placidia fell in
love with Adaulphus. From the plunder of Rome, he gave her wedding
gifts of jewels and gold. Together, they had united the greatest
of their cultures. Now, they mourned their fate. The hope of a grand
dynasty had passed like the spirit of the child in the closed coffin.
Imperial pleas and threats arrived continuously, all centered around
Princess Placidia. Many of them came from men like Germanus, the
of Auxerre. The bishop stood in the inner imperial circles. He was a
friend of Budicius, a Spanish senator and cousin of Emperor Honorius.
Already that day, I heard the whispered words of divine
judgment, as if the death of baby Theodosius was God’s wrath against
Roman-Gothic union. His death fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel. Though
joined, there would be no future heirs to keep the two empires
What would the masses say if they knew Theodosius lived? What
would they say if they knew that the baby boy was being kept out in
a nearby villa waiting for me to take him to the fringes of Armorica?
I needed to leave. I stood. My movement caught Germanus’
attention, and he looked at me. The bishop had a light complexion. His
face was long but not ugly. He was well-groomed, not a single black
out of place. He kept it short. It glistened from oils in his hair.
ran thinly along his jawline. His regal attire revealed that Germanus
more time primping than praying. His moral demeanor, which I had
witnessed, didn’t seem to warrant such a pious position. He smiled,
knowing that I was leaving, finally, for the villa. Earlier, he had
told me that
I shouldn’t have come to the service, and I should have left for
I had inflicted the queen and her king with something worse than pain.
I wanted no part of my father’s circle of friends now. My father’s
were not mine. Sadly, I questioned the true character of my dead
I had been suddenly pulled into this conspiracy with his death less
month ago. Now it was my duty to complete what he had begun. With
his dying breath, my father begged this from me: “Save the family.”
I didn’t return Germanus’ smile. It melted into a frown, and he moved
toward me. I didn’t alter my pace as I made my way to the aisle.
Germanus caught up with me before I could reach the doors of the
2 Leon Mintz
Though only fourteen, I was noticeably taller than the bishop.
“Why the long face, young Merlinus?” Germanus whispered.
Still walking, I glanced at him with the same sour expression.
“You act like you’ve done some terrible injustice,” he hissed lowly.
“Haven’t I?” I replied.
“No,” Germanus replied. “Your actions shall save Rome and all of Its
Glory. You’ve shown that you’re a true citizen. As true as Caesar.”
“He was a dictator. Spare me your lies. The Empire is in greater peril
than ever, if you think a baby could cause it to self-implode,” I
we stepped free of the church and into the light of day.
“You must see that if we didn’t do this, the Empire would be torn
apart. None of the nobles of Rome would honor Adaulphus or any son
Placidia might bear him, not even one named after her great father,
Theodosius. For God’s sake, Adaulphus is a barbarian. And worse yet,
“What’s not barbaric or unholy about our actions?” I asked.
“The boy is not dead,” Germanus answered.
I continued to walk in the direction of Budicius’ villa where the
Theodosius, was kept.
“Do we have a problem?” Germanus called out as he stopped.
“If we did, that whole church would know by now,” I replied.
“Good,” he replied, “so, don’t worry. Your family shall be rewarded
for serving the Empire in this task. Budicius is a wealthy landowner.
He has the ears of Honorius’ advisers. His Gallic holdings near
are immaculate. Your father would be truly honored.”
“My family is the only reason I am going through with this,”
My words and hard stare melted his false smile once more.
Convincing him of my intent, I turned and continued in the direction
villa. I had made a terrible error in judgment, and now I had to deal
As I walked, I wondered why they insisted on handling it this way.
If the child was a threat to imperial authority, then why not kill the
leave him at the crossroads where some animal would do what the
authorities couldn’t. Maybe Father was supposed to kill the child, and
they thought that he had told me to do the same. He had never
such a thing.
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