An Owl In A Thornbush

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We're On A Mission From Caesar

Later that night, a pissy-party is going on outside Julii Cooper's house, as well. The rabble has built a bonfire in the street. One of them hurls a flaming brand, which sails clear over the compound walls and down into an opening in the ceiling, where it splashes into the small ornamental pool around which Julii and her guests are gathered. Nice shot. I won't point out that any attempt to burn down somebody's pool is probably doomed to failure. It does, however, cause all manner of commotion among Julii Cooper and her guests. She drama-queens that if Timon and his guys weren't there, the Pompeyans would be burning down the house. "Oh, they're not that energetic," Brutus scoffs. But Julii Cooper is not to be appeased. "If Caesar were here right now, I'd stab him in the neck. He's ruined us," she rants. Octavian starts to offer his analysis that "Pompey's position is deceptively weak," but Julii Cooper isn't interested in his thinking. She complains that all of their friends have abandoned them. I was going to say, this is just about the lamest party ever, with a guest list that appears to consist entirely of Brutus and his mother Servilia. But I suppose she probably invited a lot more people who were too scared to show up. Brutus points out that not all of her friends have bailed on her, with which Julii Cooper graciously agrees. Brutus says that it would be tempting to abandon Caesar, but that would give the impression that they are "slaves to fashion." Indeed. Seems like not too long ago that Caesar was the most popular guy in town. Funny how quickly you can turn the citizenry against you just by coming after them with one puny army legion.

Across town, Pompey and his family are getting ready to begin their "tactical retreat." You know, the concept of a "tactical retreat" is often confused with that of "panicked flight," and I'm beginning to think that's Pompey's fault. His wife, the bird-faced Cornelia, gives rather severe instructions to the servants who are being left behind to defend the house. Another servant of Pompey's comes to let him know that everything is ready to go, and they head for the exits. Pompey appears to have a moment where he realizes what's really happening: Pompey the Great, the Hero of Rome, is abandoning his city without a fight. It's obviously a bad moment for him, no matter how brave a face he tries to put on the situation. Cornelia snaps him out of it by reminding him of the Treasury. Pompey tells his servant -- Durio, he calls him -- to take a detachment of soldiers and secure as much gold from the Capitoline vaults as he can in the little time they have.

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