Post #8.2, Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Historical setting: A dark age in Gaul

While I was off in quietude knitting odds and ends of the yarns of memory into some kind of fabric of facts or dreams, the good doctor was visiting the shipyard where the old hull of the dromon is being stitched back to purpose. He is reporting to me on his meeting with the officer.

         “I think the officer is hoping you will join them as they will soon be back patrolling the Saxony Shore with the rest of the fleet. He said he hopes to impress his superior with, not only an old ship still afloat, but with at least one new and younger rower on the benches. Any little good news these days will surely buoy the wider hopes for Roman restoration.”

         “Maybe I can row to my old home again. I hope to journey to Iberia.”

         “You probably won’t row your way to Iberia on that old dromon. The ports on your ship’s patrol are all to the northeast, up the coast of Gaul on what used to be the Saxony Shore. But Saxony is no longer under the Roman order; only the Gaul side of the channel is patrolled.”

         “So, you are saying we won’t be going to Hispania? Possibly I can arrange a wage for my work then buy a passage on a merchant ship to Iberia.”

         “Yes indeed. The navy pays a substantial wage. A loyal navy rower signs on for twenty-six years and at the end of the completed service the wage is issued.”

         “You mean for twenty-six years I will sit in the hull of a warship, and every waking hour draw an oar in perfect rhythm with the thirty-one others – all those men doing the same labor together ever day for twenty-six years?”

         “Well it won’t be as dull as it sounds. Of course, a patrol may encounter pirates or raiders along the way and the dangers will need to be rebuffed. Or maybe Rome will become empowered to fight wars again. That’s why they require only loyal Roman troops for the work. Slaves really don’t fight well.”

         “I don’t fight at all, loyalty or not. They would surely be disappointed.”

         “You are already indentured to the officer for your rescue and your care. I think you will have to make a payment or do the work.”

         “Sounds daunting.”

(Come again tomorrow.)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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