Hi, everyone. Today’s sample is from my work in progress, Pompeii Fire. As always, since this is a draft, there may be changes to the final text. Enjoy!
“How different life is now,” Stephanus looked around at the countryside. “To think that, just a few years ago, I was buying my freedom and my business. All of those years being paid to pick up people’s nightsoil in town, and look at me! I’m able to help an old friend set up his new business with both my time and my treasure.”
Drusus nodded. “I can only imagine.”
“No, I don’t think you can, my friend. You were never a slave. You never had to say ‘yes’ to things that made you want to choke. You never had to stand knee-deep in piss to clean clothes. The day my former master gave me the nightsoil route was the day my life changed. Everyone in town had to pay me to pick up their chamber pots to collect the urine, and my master let me keep the money. Now I’m a free man with slaves of my own. I don’t have to obey orders anymore, and no one can deny me my wishes.”
Drusus’ mouth straightened into a grim line. “Life is not so simple, my friend. I think we both know that. There is always someone above us to direct things. For instance, you must obey the aedile, or a senator.”
“Yes, yes,” Stephanus waved his hand. “But in daily life? No one may gainsay me. I only wish my Vorena had lived to see this day.”
Drusus shook his head. “She was a good woman.”
“Hmm. Yes. She was a modest, virtuous person, and she gave me a son. What woman could have wanted more from life?” Stephanus sighed with contentment. “Your Servilia was a good woman as well, although it was a pity she only gave you a daughter.”