Rome
Testudo Et Lepus (The Tortoise And The Hare)

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M. Giant: B- | Grade It Now!
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A New Man

A much more ragged assembly is making its way up the road into the hills. Ah, so this is what a Cisalpine looks like. I've always wondered. Pullo rides along the loosely formed column of refugee soldiers, shouting Vorenus's name. Finally, the man himself turns his bloody face to his old friend and snarls, "What are you doing here?" Pullo wastes no time, blurting, "Your children are alive." Vorenus just looks at him. Ever see somebody scowl in shock? I have now.

Looks like Antony's army has picked a spot to bivouac, if I understand that word correctly. Antony is multitasking, getting a slash in his right shoulder stitched up while receiving a casualty report from one of his tribunes. There's really no good news here. The bottom line is that Antony's had eight thousand men killed. Standing next to Antony, Posca reels in shock. "Oh, do cheer up," Antony tells him. "You're still alive, aren't you?" Posca hopes so: "If this is the afterlife, it is extremely disappointing." Posca hits his accent extra hard on that line to make it funny, and it almost works. Antony gives orders to redistribute the surviving men among the remaining cohorts, saying that he wants to head north and establish a base camp in the mountains before the snow flies: "And Tribune, don't look so damn grim, eh? Set an example." The Tribune apologizes, cracks a sickly grin, and heads off to carry out Antony's orders. Antony bitches at his medic: "Are you stitching me up or making a dress? Hurry up, man!" I imagine there are quite a few posters who would buy a dress made of Mark Antony, no questions asked. Posca questions the wisdom of a base camp in the mountains for the winter, and wonders if they shouldn't think about offering terms while they still have some army left. Antony won't hear this "fucking slave talk," but even he doesn't know what his next move's going to be after reaching the mountains. "I'll think of something," he bluffs, and then yells at his medic some more. Don't tell me he's having that done without Novocaine!

This is when Vorenus arrives to request leave, Pullo at his side. "Now that is a real soldier for you," Antony says appreciatively. "Most men just slip away into the night, but this one? He asks permission before he deserts me." He asks Vorenus what's up, and Vorenus quickly says that his children are alive and in slavery. "Good news, bad news, eh?" Antony remarks, and self-pities that losing one more good man today isn't going to make any difference. Vorenus and Pullo are about to gallop off, but Antony stands up to give them a message first: "Be sure to tell everyone you meet that Mark Antony is not defeated. He will return and all those who defied him will pay!" And he'll talk about himself in the third person some more. "That fucking little brat Octavian shall be first!" he yells. "Will do, chief!" Pullo chirps agreeably, wisely refraining from waving around that scroll he's got with Octavian's seal on it. With that, he and Vorenus are on their way.

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Rome

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