Saturday, December 08, 2007

First Meeting 1

The door swung open as far as it would go, and a large, broad-shouldered man stamped into the cubiculum, bringing with him both wind and rain. [The last thing you want when a large man bursts into your cubiculum is for him to have wind.] The guttering lamp twinkled off his insignia--a centurion's.

I jumped up from my bunk and stood to attention. [Hmm. Care to elaborate?]

He looked from one of us to the other, and seemed not to suffer the difficulty I was having in not laughing at Marcus, who was standing to attention in only his underclothes.

"Which of you's Aquilla?" the centurion said, in a breathy, raspy voice.

"I am, sir," I said.

An unidentifiable growl in his throat. Laughter, disapproval?

"You've been looking for me."

This had to be Durinus. [This was Durinus, then.] And yes, I had been trying to find him, on and off, although he had proved as elusive as the coin in the shell game. My searches had achieved nothing, beyond enriching the legion's boys--and impoverishing me.

[Aquilla: I'm looking for Durinus.

Legion's boys: We've written his location on a piece of papyrus and placed it under one of these shells. It'll cost you a denarius to play.]

"Yes, sir. The Tribune Poeca ordered me to report to you as a riveter."

He closed the gap between us in one stride, seized my hands, and inspected them.

I bit my lip against the pain in my shoulder.

"Poeca should know better," Durinus told the top of my head. "I don't let the nobility play with melt. Their fathers don't like it."



Aquilla? Again? This guy's made more appearances on this blog than a weredingo.

Vocabulary quiz

1. Cubiculum
a. Scientific name for the phlegmball I just hacked up.
b. A place to find beautiful women asleep.

2. Melt
a. Smelt
b. Metal
c. Their dingdong

The shell game uses a pea. A coin would make noise, making it obvious which shell it was under. By the way, if you want to play the shell game properly, you need the best shells. This site offers three half-walnut shells for $150.00 Along with books, DVDs, and peas (free shipping on a $15 set of three peas).

Not clear why searching for Durinus enriches the legion's boys. How many times can you fall for the "I'll take you to Durinus for one sestertius" line, before you wise up?


Dave F. said...

These are going to be interesting, and hard too. Mostly because the story is ongoing and established before the meeting. One of the characters has already been described and the other is being introduced.

I have a question: In terms of physicality does "Large, broad shouldered man" mean large like Haystack Calhoun or large like Ben Roethlisberger, or large like Superman?

Anonymous said...

Man, EE, you're going to have a busy weekend if you're planning on doing them all to this level of detail!

BuffySquirrel said...

Lol, EE. Quite right, it should be pea! Thanks.

And yes, it's Aquilla again. All part of my secret plan :D.

Sorry, Dave, but only one of those names is at all familiar.

Ali said...

You're in true form, EE. I'm glad you're doing these individually so we can really focus on each one.

I liked this. I did get a little confused by the reference to the Tribune Poeca--for a minute I thought he was receiving orders from the local newspaper. The fault of reading a scene out of context, though, not the writing.

I wonder if Durinus's voice needs to be both breathy and raspy? It seems like one adjective would be sufficient.

Love the line about not letting nobility play with melt because their fathers don't like it.

Bernita said...

Ditton on the adjective and the last line.
Liked the guttering lamp too.

Church Lady said...

I like this and agree with the comments so far.
Should the first sentence say 'stomped' instead of 'stamped?' Just curious.

Who wants to go on a movie date with EE?

Anonymous said...

Cubiculum is Latin for small partitioned space in large conglomerate office.

BuffySquirrel said...

Stomped would work. I used stamped because I envisaged Durinus stamping snow off his boots.

BuffySquirrel said...

I mean mud, not snow. Sigh. I should probably sleep before posting any more!

Bernita said...

I like "stampted."
"Stomped" has attitude.

Robin S. said...

"I jumped up from my bunk and stood to attention. [Hmm. Care to elaborate?]" Oh, yeah.

Wow, EE, your comments on these are a cross between your query comments and your New Beginnings notes.

Hi buffy,

If the broad-shouldered guy is based on someone you know in real life, now might be a good time to mention that, and share.

Anyway, I like your work, and some of your lines especially - such as:
""Poeca should know better," Durinus told the top of my head."

Dave F. said...

Haystack Calhoun was a five-foot, eight-inch tall wrestler who weighed in at 400 pounds. He looked like a haystack.

Ben Roethlisberger is quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Football not Rugby) and is six-foot, eight inch tall and 300 pounds, typical football player.

Superman had a narrow waist and lots of muscles. he is drawn as a heroic Greek god.

You said a "large, broad-shouldered man" and I asked what does he look like because I know at least three different types of "large, broad-shouldered men."

McKoala said...

Ditto the last line; loved it. That line alone has more sinister impact than the rest of the piece. It's the smoothness of it, I think, the making fun of escaping what is clearly a dangerous profession.

BuffySquirrel said...

Where I come from, the "typical football player" needs speed and agility, not bulk. But Durinus doesn't have anything of the hay about him, if that helps.

And thanks, Robin! :)