Roxtonus & The Lady
Chapter 13
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14


Moving vigilantly through the villa, watching the halls and alcoves for patrolling enemy warriors, Challenger caught Marga and Tribune before they reentered the banquet hall. “Milady, wait!” He implored, taken aback and pleased to see the couple free. “How did you manage to get out?” he asked in a low voice, approaching them.

“What are you talking about?” Tribune demanded, holding Marga firmly and somewhat unnecessarily by her elbow. “We were attacked and nearly killed by that bloody missing tiger. It’s dead back there in the hall after a well placed dagger throw.”

Marga was aware that Marcus had neglected to mention it was *she* who did the knife throwing but the more important anxiety on Challenger’s face prevented her from calling him on it, “What’s wrong?” she asked Challenger.

“An insurrection.” Challenger said, “The soldiers have taken your party-guests hostage.”

“What?” Tribune was stunned, “Why would Lady Marga’s soldiers suddenly mutiny?”

“Not hers – *yours*. We suspect Captain Trejan’s leading them.” Challenger did not add that they initially thought Tribune himself might have had something to do with the siege.

“My men? You must be mistaken. My soldiers, particularly Trejan, are devoted …”

“Marcus listen,” It came together quickly for Marga, “That’s why the tiger appeared so suddenly.” She looked up at Seneca, unnerved by his gullibility. “We were set up. Your Captain, for reasons of his own, has decided you are no longer needed.”

Tribune’s lips pressed tightly together and his eyes took on a piercing shine. “I’ll have him hung by his ankles.” he hissed.

“But there’s more, milady …” Challenger reached forward and took Marga’s hand in his own. He spoke soothingly, “It’s Felix. He’s been found.”

The sympathetic timbre imparted by Challenger stunned Marga silent. She could not push the obvious question from between her lips.

“He’s been mauled and … I’m afraid he may not make it.”

“Where is he?” Marga asked, urgently. She knew her first duty should be to her guests but she was desperate to see Felix.

“Verona and Lydia are sitting with him in Malones’ quarters.”

“Challenger,” she looked at the scholarly man but spoke to both he and Tribune, “I’ve got to go to him. Please, find out what is happening and I’ll try to join you very soon.” She parted with the men and walked swiftly to where Felix lay.

Tribune watched Marga’s back as she left them. He would never understand her attachment to slaves. He then shook his head like a bemused hound and reconsidered. No, he understood her position well enough and, when their nuptials finally came about, he would make some serious changes. “Let’s go.” he told Challenger.

Minutes later, as Marga entered into the bedroom, Verona looked sadly up at her mistress. She sat at the young man’s bedside, holding his hand. Verona and Lydia had washed Felix, bandaged his wounds, changed his clothes and had him resting on comfortable clean bedding. “He’s been calling for you.” Verona whispered and stood, allowing Lady Marga to take her place. Veronica then mimed Lydia to come with her, just a little away, to give Marga and Felix some privacy.

“Do you really think he’s …” Lydia started to whisper a question.

“Yes,” Verona interrupted and that was all she needed to say.

Swallowing, looking at her bruised and battered devotee, Marga picked up Felix’s hand and squeezed it gently, “Come on now.” She whispered lightly, composing her features. “No sleeping on the job, my loyal crony. We have too much to do.”

“Lady …” Felix slowly blinked open his inflamed eyes, “… you are safe?” he spoke hoarsely.

“Never better.”

“I delivered …parchment …”

“I know you did.” Marga met his swollen gaze, “What would I do without you?”

“The tiger … I stabbed it before …”

Marga nodded, accepting. No wonder there had been wounds on the animal. Felix was tackled by the tigress but managed a few blows with his own knife before it got the better of him. “No need to worry about that beast anymore. It’s gone.” Marga smiled gently when she saw the relief on Felix face, “You were so brave.”

In pain, Felix whispered: “The Lieutenant. I saw him after the tiger attacked me. He looked down at me … then dragged me behind a bush … and then took the tiger away.”

Marga’s jaw set. ‘He left you to die.’ Seneca’s men were at fault. They brought the she-tiger back for Tribune and Marga’s disposal, at Trejan’s command no doubt! Fury, betrayal and grief were heavy in Marga’s heart. She could not leave herself blameless. After all, she was the one who sent Felix out to begin with.

“My Lady Marga.” He whispered her name so softly that only Marga, sitting close to him, could hear. “I will always be your loyal servant; in this world and in the next.” Felix promised and took a labored gulp of air, “I love you.”

“Oh, my Felix,” she stroked his hair, “I love you too.” She wanted in so many ways to tell him that he should not speak. He still had a long life to live in the here and now. Still, who was she really trying to convince? Certainly not the young man who had already come to terms with his own mortality.

“Let Roxtonus in.” Felix appealed, unpredictably. “He’s a good man.”

Marga gently caressed his cheek and hair, “Rest now.” she whispered.

“I will …now.” and he closed his eyes for the last time.

Marga bowed her head and sobbed quietly. Lydia, unable to help herself, knelt beside her lady and took her mistress arm, grieving with her.

“What’s this!?” A single soldier, baring the crest of Tribune across the chest of his tunic, burst into the room. He had been dispatched to find straying slaves within the villa and was pleased to see three very attractive women nursing a battered servant.

“Go away!” Lydia cried furiously, standing and approaching the interloper. Her hands rested on her hips and she stood her ground, chin nearly touching the man’s barrel chest. “Can’t you see what is happening here?”

“I don’t care.” He pushed the girl away, cruelly.

Verona caught Lydia and prevented the girl from falling onto the tiled floor. “Move out of this room – NOW.” The blond called with a warning in her tone.

“I like my women feisty.” He commented walking further into the room. He looked down at Marga, who was still sitting in the chair next to Felix. She did not look up at him, brokenhearted and attempting composure. “And who’s this appealing, sad wench?” he asked, having obviously not seen the lady of the house when he initially approached with Tribune’s caravan. He took the tip of his short sword and pushed her dark ringlets away from a smooth cheek. “You’ll have no time to cry for your man once Captain Trejan and the rest of us have our fill of you.” He chortled.

“I’m warning you, leave her alone.” Verona’s voice was a threat as she drew near to the soldier.

“Keep that up, pretty thing, and I may have to show you who is the boss.” His voice was a lewd threat, eyeing Verona up and down.

Verona’s lips parted slightly and her eyebrow arched, “Is that a promise?”

His attention diverted from Marga, the soldier slid his sword into its scabbard and moved in on the slave girl, “If you want it to be.”

“Verona, what are you …?” Lydia started.

“Move out of the way.” Verona side-spoke in a tone that was not to be questioned. She watched as Lydia did as she was told. “If you want me you will have to subdue me.” Verona tempted and watched as the big lug fell right into her trap, smiling and closing in on her.

“Consider yourself subdued.” The soldier said, lunging for her.

Verona took one step to the side and rammed her elbow into his ribcage. With her left foot she kicked hard to the back of his right shin and watched as the man was brought down on one knee. She then balled both her hands into fists, held them together and – with all her might – punched him hard in jaw.

The soldier cried out his fury and pain, “You bitch!” He grabbed for Verona’s ankles, bringing her down. He had her back flat on the floor and was able to restrain one wrist with his own meaty hand. She kicked but he managed to crawl on top of Verona, his heavy weight pinning her to the floor, “Now it’s time for you to know what it is that makes a man.”

“I know what makes a man,” she spat back at him, “Unfortunately you have no idea what makes a woman.” Verona brought up a knee, connecting with the desired part of his anatomy then – the man temporarily detained with agony - Verona brought her free hand down and grabbed him hard in that very same area, applying as much pressure as possible. He howled in excruciating pain and fell off of her.

Lydia, applying a final touch of her own, crashed a vase to the side of their attacker’s head. He lay unconscious as she helped Verona to her feet.

“Thanks.” Verona said.

“You were wonderful!” Lydia exclaimed, impressed. “The way you fought seemed so natural, like you were born to it.”

“We had good training,” Verona dismissed the notion, “Thanks to Lady Marga …”

The thought of their mistress brought the women out of their victorious haze. They looked to Felix’s bed side and saw that the coverlet had been pulled over his face. Marga stood a little away from the body, sad but resolute and dry-eyed. She gazed at her two servants, “You did well but the day is not over yet.” She said, “Verona, tell me what you know.” Marga motioned for the women to follow her out of the room.

She would grieve deeply for Felix later but now she had a disaster to divert.


“Get your filthy hands off of me!” Tribune shouted as the four warriors pulled he and Challenger into the banquet hall. He fought the muscular men but was no match for brute force.

Challenger was resigned as he walked between the men escorting him into the large room. It was unfortunate they had been caught but no wonder. Tribune just could not keep his big mouth shut and when he saw some of the warriors bringing his white tiger to the hall, where the guests were being kept prisoner, he could not keep silent. The soldiers descended on them like volcanic ash on Pompeii.

“Trejan, have you gone insane?” Tribune demanded of his General when brought before him, “We were in this together, you fool! Have you forgotten …?”

Captain Trejan reached out and slapped Tribune across the face with a gloved hand, silencing him. “Who are *you* calling a fool?’ he demanded, “You pathetic worm.” He lifted his dagger and placed the tip underneath Tribune’s chin.

“No!’ Malones called from the crowd, held back by the guards keeping he and the other guests subdued. Tribune might have been a villain but he was still family and Malones didn’t want to see him end up dead, especially at the hands of someone as despicable as Captain Trejan.

“Tribune, you are an idiot. That woman is not going to marry you. And wherever she is,” Trejan noted Marga was not brought in with the men, “We *will* find her and dispose of you both in front of her slaves.” He mimed to a small group of servers who were held away from the party guests, “I’m certain they will receive a hardy laugh from the site of your executions.”

The white tiger walked nervously back and forth in its smaller cage, growling irritably.

“What do you plan to do with that?” Challenger asked, knowing there must be a reason why Trejan brought the unusual Caspian into the room.

“This is a momentous feast and the entertainment has grown a little dull. I thought it might be enjoyable if one of my braver warriors were to do battle with our friend here, gladiatorial-like.”

“That cat is worth a fortune!” Tribune flared, “You cannot just kill him!”

“Would be a shame.” Trejan agreed, reluctantly. He glanced at the men and women of the crowd, “But he’s hungry and deserves a treat. So many fine Lords and Ladies are here today … Now who in this crowd do you think would be most befitting a creature of such noble pedigree?” Looking into the crowd, Trejan’s gaze settled on Malones, “Perhaps a little Lordling?” he quipped, “The nephew of our man of the hour ... Yes, he’ll do nicely.” Trejan called to his First Lieutenant, “Take Malones and tie him to the pillar closest to the far wall. Let’s set the ravenous tiger after him and see how much flesh can be torn away before he passes out.”

The warriors grabbed the struggling Malones and tied him. They were about to release the famished tiger when two wide double doors slammed open from the outside into the dining hall.

“Wait!” Roxtonus entered, lifting a sword which belonged to his companion. He and the hooded Titus managed to elude the outside guards, knocking unconscious the few men that did spot them, and took up a reconnaissance. They peered inside, to get a grasp on what was stirring, and saw the mistreatment of young Malones. Roxtonus held his sword high and pointed it at Trejan, “I challenge you, Captain! Swords. Right now!”

A sudden stunned silence overcame everyone in the room.

“Roxtonus?” Trejan nearly chuckled, “I almost forgot about you.” He considered the tall, strong form for a moment, “You have a name and are a good combatant. The way you dispatched the tiger in Lady Marga’s bed chamber did not go unnoticed. Come and join us and I will make it worth your while. Just think, a slave no more. You will be a warrior with power!”

“I just challenged you, Trejan. Fight me or show yourself as a coward!” Roxtonus’ gaze was steel and his arm, holding the sword, did not lower.

“You’re an experienced gladiator, Roxtonus. You have killed many. Have you ever been truly rewarded for your efforts?” At his answering silence Trejan decided on another bargaining tactic. “I’ve seen the way you look at Lady Marga. Join us and she will be yours to do with whatever you wish.”

“You filthy …!” Tribune began but quieted when Trejan shot him an icy stare.

“It’s hard to believe you were once a proud Roman general, servicing Caesar.” Roxtonus growled, “I remember that you were considered the best, Captain. I want to see it for myself. Or are those days long gone?”

“I don’t need to waste my time with you …” The Captain began.

“Is it true, Captain Trejan?” Challenger asked, from behind Tribune. He saw where Roxtonus was going, purposely goading the Captain into a sword fight by working on his pride. Challenger decided to put his money on Roxtonus. “Some of us might follow you willingly, Captain, if we could be certain you were not all talk but action.”

Trejan looked at Challenger suspiciously, “Isn’t your allegiance to Tribune?” he asked.

“My allegiance is to whoever shows me they deserve it. If you fight Roxtonus and win … I am *your* follower.”

Tribune gnashed his teeth but said nothing.

Trejan looked about at his men who were glancing at one another, wondering if their leader wasn’t as brave a he-man warrior he claimed to be. He then looked back at Challenger. He was very intelligent and they could use his strategy skills. The man would be a good ally.

His head rose. Captain Trejan shrugged out of his cape and motioned for the soldier beside him to hand over a weapon. He looked back at Roxtonus and lifted the sword as high as the slave’s, “I accept your challenge!”

Titus came up behind his new friend and placed a warning hand on Roxtonus’ shoulder, “I hope you know what you’re doing, lad.” he said and stepped back out of the way.


The women, carefully avoiding guards which were continuously patrolling the villa, slowly made their way to the banquet hall. They stopped only a few yards from the entrance, hiding behind a green draped corner. The double doors to the dining area were now open but guarded by two burly warriors. The men were inattentive, they noted, watching something on the inside that – from their body language – fascinated them to the core but also appeared to fill the enemy with some trepidation.

A loud clanking could be heard from inside, along with a gasping crowd, and it did not take an academic to understand what was happening.

“A sword fight!” Lydia hissed with worry.

“Sounds like gladius swords.” Verona commented.

“You know the sound of a gladius sword?” Marga questioned.

“When I first met Neddus he walked me through an armory. We viewed a fine selection of swords. He struck some with stones to show me the difference in weight and sound.”

“Lovely first date.” Marga commented, sardonically. She then stared again at the guards, somewhat comforted by how distracted they were. That could work for them.

“Who could be fighting?” Lydia wondered.

Verona looked down at her hands, fear and something not so surprising in her expression. “Neddus hates corruption. It wouldn’t surprise me if he saw something that upset him and he decided to do something ‘courageous and stupid’.” She quoted a phrase Lady Marga used last evening to describe Malones.

Marga watched her, “Sometimes men are like children. Perhaps Neddus needs a woman in his life to rein him in?” Before Verona could reply Marga changed the subject, “Alright Ladies, here’s what we’re going to do ...”


Captain Trejan gritted his teeth as his opponent rounded on him. The slave was focused, clashing swords with a man who had served Claudius and Nero. Trejan had led, with his generals and lieutenants, massive armies through out most of Europe. But the lure to stop serving the Roman privileged, to remove himself from under the thumb of those he considered fools - brought to power only because of a bloodline - had become paramount. Trejan *had* to become a Caesar himself. With the advent and upheaval of The Flavians it could happen but he needed an army. His men only understood brute force and rightly so, he thought. Sacrifices had to be made, such as cozying up to ambitious idiots like Marcus Seneca, but Trejan knew what he was doing.

Or he *did*.

The Captain glanced down at his left bicep where Roxtonus had swung and cut him deeply.

“Your age is showing Trejan!” Malones shouted. He was rewarded by a cuff from the First Lieutenant but didn’t care.

With a bellow, Trejan set out after Roxtonus again.

Roxtonus knew his own strengths and weaknesses. Trejan was older than Roxtonus but was also militarily experienced and surprisingly well muscled. He hadn’t let himself go. However, he hadn’t fought one on one with another man for quite sometime and it showed. The younger warrior, a gladiator by trade, trained to do nothing but fight and kill for the last fifteen years, had moves Trejan never saw before.

The fight between warriors reached its zenith and, with a wide clumsy arc, a fatigued Trejan’s attempt to take out his opponent failed. Roxtonus blocked the blade, punched out with an elbow in Trejan’s face, and made him drop his sword.

With the gladius to his chest, Roxtonus backed Trejan to a wall and barked, “Yield! Make your men release these people.”

“And what if I say NO, Roxtonus? What will you do?” Trejan breathed deeply, exhausted but still holding, in his opinion, the biggest bag of gold. “I have an army surrounding this villa. You cannot fight all of them.”

“No, *he* can’t.” Titus, his hands clasped calmly in front of him, proclaimed. “But *I* can.” He lifted his hands and clapped hard.

Without warning, the windows and doors burst open and a legion of well armed soldiers, led by Lieutant Cicero, over-ran the room. They had been listening, surrounding the villa, waiting for their leader’s signal to tackle the problem at hand. No one was more surprised than Cicero to see what was awaiting him once he made it to his own meager camp, not a mile away from the soldier’s quarters.

Screams of chaos erupted not just from the elite party-guests but from Trejan’s mystified warriors as they were quickly subdued by the liberators.

At that same moment, Lady Marga, Verona and Lydia came through the inside entrance, holding swords far too heavy for them, and pushed past the distracted soldiers they had pummeled unconscious.

Roxtonus met Lady Marga’s eyes from across the room and they quickly acknowledged one another with a quick smile. “Now,” Roxtonus pointed the sword at Trejan with a bit more bravado, “Do you yield?”

The Captain was ambitious but no fool. ”I yield.”

Roxtonus lowered his sword and heard the sounds of many weapons, those of Trejan’s men, dropping to the floor.

Verona ran to Malones and helped untie him. She looked deeply into his blue eyes and spoke a silent promise. He replied with a blink and held her gratefully in his arms once he was free.

A puzzled Lady Marga looked about, studying the familiar cut of the cloth of these impressive rescuers. She knew there were far too many men to be only her villa’s security staff. “Where did all these soldiers come from?” she called to Cicero.

“You are not going to believe it.” He said, ushering one of the enemy out. He looked briefly over at the cloaked Titus who was standing rather inconspicuously away from most of the action.

“Allow *me* to introduce him …” Challenger spoke up with an amused smile. He walked over to the man, pausing for his permission then, when Titus nodded turned to the awaiting crowd. He recognized him as soon as they were introduced but understood there was probably a good reason to keep quiet. Now the truth could be revealed. Challenger helped the man remove his cloak, revealing a very expensive and impressive chest shield and an ebony toga underneath. Around his neck he wore the unmistakble seal of authority. “Ladies and Gentleman,” Challenger called, “This is Titus Flavius Vespasian.”

The crowd bowed respectfully.

Delighted, Marga moved to the man. Her arms were out-stretched and she hugged him tightly. “Hail Caesar.” She whispered warmly into his ear.


“I am afraid the artisans that chiseled my statues took many liberties. They look nothing like the real man.” The Flavian told Roxtonus as they watched his palace soldiers pull Trejan’s men from the banquet hall. The men were loaded, one by one, into the now vacated outside tiger cages. It was as good a place as any to detain the enemy until a proper method of transport could be arranged.

“It’s amazing when you dress-down how unrecognizable a man can be.” Malones commented.

“But I knew you the moment I saw you.” Marga smiled, warmly.

“And Challenger knew you too.” Roxtonus looked from Caesar to the learned man.

Challenger nodded, “I met Caesar a few years ago when he was traveling through Eire.”

“I was on the road with my men, a lowly soldier doing what my incompetent predecessor told me to do. Challenger was kind enough to share his fire with us.”

Tribune stood quietly. Skepticism was written all over his face. “You were merely walking through Eire, Caesar?” he asked, uncertain if what he was hearing could be true.

“Marcus,” Vespasian explained, “I was not brought up with royalty. I haven’t a drop of Julio-Claudian blood in me. When it came time for me to step up I did it reluctantly. I am not a power hungry man but I know what’s good for Rome. Others thought so too.”

“Yes, Caesar.” Tribune bowed slightly, still unconvinced.

Verona, an arm around Malones, asked: “Caesar, why did you come *here*?”

“Because someone I care about,” he reached over to Marga and took her hand, “made a request. I hadn’t heard from her for so long that I thought she had died along with my dear friends, her parents, long ago. The fact Lady Marga knew where my secret villa was, away from the royal palace, proved her identity.” He touched the underside of Marga’s chin fondly, “My dear, had I known what you were put through …”

“The past is the past.” Marga interrupted, visibly uncomfortable. “I didn’t want to burden you but needed your help. I wish the circumstances of our reunion could have been different, Titus.”

“Yes,” he nodded, releasing her hand, and looked over at Tribune. Caesar’s smile disappeared. “And in the present there shall be some changes. Marcus Seneca …”

Tribune’s back straightened when he witnessed the stern look in Vespasian’s eyes.

“From what I understand you have brought a great deal of suffering into this household.”

“My Lord Caesar Vespasian, I …”

“Quiet.” Caesar barked, sincerely, “You need to pay for what you have done, disrupting this fine Lady’s home and inadvertently causing the death of a servant she cherished. I want you to give Lady Marga back the land you took from …” He paused and redirected, leaning in and whispering – talking directly to the man: “ … the land she *gave* to you.” He snarled with heavy sarcasm, “And I don’t want to hear of *any* problems in relation to the well being of Ambrosia Hill, Lady Marga and yourself ever again.”

Those watching could not easily hear what was being imparted but they could see Tribune’s humiliation. He was nearly steaming with anger and frustration under the surface.

It pleased The Flavian to give him what he deserved. He continued, “I warn you, Marcus Seneca, Lady Marga is like a favorite niece to me and you will rue the day I *ever* became Caesar if you decided to make her bend to your will.” Vespasian folded his arms over his chest and stood back a couple of paces. He spoke now so everyone could hear. “Tribune, I command you to go home to your own villa, with your white tiger, and never set foot on Ambrosia Hill again. Do you understand?”

Tribune looked at the members of Lady Marga’s house-hold then at the lady herself. He was not surprised to see the woman not looking away when he met her eyes with his own. “Very well.” There was no threat he could make in the presence of Caesar. Beaten, Tribune backed up and bowed ever so slightly, “Marga, may I impose upon you to have a couple of your men load my tiger onto one of the wagons?” he asked, politely.

“Certainly.” Marga spoke with a nearly mocking sweetness, “I think I could afford to have some of my girls help you out. In a strictly supervisory capacity, of course.”

With a deeply perturbed exhale of breath, Tribune turned on his sandals and left the room.


She stood with Roxtonus on her bedroom balcony, looking out on the horizon where the sun was beginning to set. They watched as the last of her guests rolled down the path of Ambrosia Hill away from the villa. Marga sighed deeply. “It’s been quite a day.’ she murmured.

“That’s putting it mildly, m’lady.” He replied, “I think I’ve learned far more about the human condition in just three days on Ambrosia Hill than I ever did during the last fifteen years, roaming from coliseum to coliseum as a gladiator.”

Marga chuckled softly and looked down at her hem. Sobering, she asked: “Did you hear about Felix?”

“Yes, I’m sorry. He was a good man.”

“He said the same about you.”

Roxtonus looked over at his Lady’s melancholy profile. Gently, he asked: “Where will you bury him?”

“Beside his mother. It’s a beautiful area over-looking the orchards. Felix would like that.”

Roxtonus nodded, gazing out again at the horizon, unsure what more he should say. He knew how he felt, however. Marga appeared so sad and thoughtful. He wanted, with all of his heart, to reach out and take her in his arms. He would make it all better with caresses and kisses.

“I need to give you something.” Marga said suddenly and looked both pained and pleased to speak of it. She pulled a parchment from one of the folds of the gown she wore and handed it over to her slave, “Caesar brought this with him.”

Curious, Roxtonus unrolled the document and read what was written. After evaluating the first paragraph and comprehending what it said, he looked from it to Lady Marga in stunned silence. Finally, licking his lips and clearing his throat he questioned in a whisper, “I’m free?”

She nodded. “I sent the necessary papers out with Felix. Caesar did a bit of research and decided to correct the misdeed of Nero. I knew if there was a way to change the law our Vespasian could do it. He did it,” she smiled, “for me.” Then, before Roxtonus could say another word, Marga inserted firmly, “I don’t want you to think your freedom was granted because I’m a kind, sweet woman who wants nothing more than to see an injustice corrected. I did it for selfish reasons; initially because I wanted you to take Verona away from here and what I thought was impending disaster. My stipulation for both of your freedoms was that you were to marry and she would *not* go unprotected.”

“I don’t think Verona *needs* any man’s protection.”

“I know.” Again Marga smiled, recalling how the blond beauty aptly took care of the soldier who attacked her earlier in the day. “Anyway, the threat isn’t here anymore – thank the gods – so you can both go on your merry ways.”

“You freed Verona to marry Malones.”

“No.” Marga denied, “But sthe foolish girl probably will anyway. Honestly, there are times when I sincerely believe I’ve lost complete control over all my slaves!” she huffed.

Attempting to prevent a grin, Roxtonus read a bit deeper into the document. “This gives me back my father’s lands, home and a generous stipend to get everything going again.”

“Caesar’s idea again. He felt it was the least he could do considering the unjustness of your situation.”

‘And he would never know about it if it wasn't for you.’ Roxtonus thought but knew Lady Marga would merely have rolled her eyes at the notion of seeing her as anything but a practical, manipulative, and bluntly honest woman. Why she shut herself away like this he did not know but one day he intended to find out. “My ancestral home has been vacated for so long. I can just imagine how everything looks.” He pondered.

“When will you leave?” Marga asked, not looking at him as she spoke.

“I would like to leave tomorrow morning if you will allow it.”

“So soon?” Marga now looked at him, slightly stunned.

“The sooner the better. I have fifteen years worth of tragedy to make up for.”

“Well, I suppose you better do what you must.” Marga bravely looked up at Roxtonus and smiled mildly, “I’ll arrange to have a horse and some food prepared for your journey tomorrow morning.” She began to move away.

“Marga,” Roxtonus put his free hand gently on her shoulder, stopping the woman from moving on. “I would like to keep in touch with you. Would you mind if I sent letters?”

“You can do whatever you want *Lord* Roxtonus.” She gulped but did not betray deeply felt emotions as she continued on.