An extract from Galba’s Men

As discussed Straton is surprisingly popular for a sadistic rapist. So here for all those Straton fans here is an extract from the forthcoming Galba’s Men when the fellow is being once again selflessly heroic.

Mina was convinced that this was a very bad idea. Ignorant of what Straton’s mission encompassed, she knew it wasn’t good from the overseer’s grim demeanour. Insistent that she had to follow him now, quickly, she padded behind him in bare feet and her nightgown, whip clasped in her hand.

“Straton,” she hissed. “Straton.”

He gestured for her to keep moving.

“Where are we going?”

“Mission.”

Which told her diddly-squat. He did not look right to her either. Straton always moved with surprising grace but tonight he was heavy footed, stopping to lean on walls, rubbing his forehead with desperate motions. It was hard to miss the enormous lump that had formed on the back of his head, Mina assuming the two things were connected. He was determined, though, a sack on his back containing a stack of lethal looking weapons which she hoped would compensate for his wobbliness.

Outside their destination Straton stopped and pulled out a vicious looking nail-studded cudgel. Mina’s eyes opened very wide, Straton telling her gruffly, “Could get nasty.” He handed her a lighter version.

“Whack,” he demonstrated a slap using both hands, taking a wide swing. Too wide, since he lost his footing and had to prop himself against the wall until the dizziness passed.

“Can we not do this tomorrow? You don’t look very well. You’re sort of green.”

Straton went to shake his head, but realised in time that this was not a great idea given the way the floor was rocking for him. “Needed now,” he said and then, “Help me. Please.”

He’d never used that word before, had never needed to. It fell oddly from his tongue. Mina could see he was desperate, truly desperate, and recalling the time he had rescued her from Juba, she nodded. Because that’s what friends did, wasn’t it? They helped each other out.

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Characters in 5 Quotes: Felix

And I thought it was difficult to pin down Sporus to only five quotes!
Rummaging through Palatine, Galba’s Men and Nero in Greece: The Tour! I found so many great Felix quotes.
After much deliberation I have selected the below that best reflect the ‘cross red bearded man’ as Empress Statilia Messalina describes him.

Felix in five quotes:

1) He was a barrel of a man rivalling Straton for sheer bulk with thick red knuckles and possessed of the sort of explosive temper that had flattened Carthage.

2) “How do you think I ended up married? Yes, let my lovely wife be a lesson to you. Keep your legs crossed or pay your way. The alternative is a lifetime of sheer horror.”

Having met Felix’s wife, Lysander knew the truth of that statement. She resembled a marginally attractive orang-utan

3) Philo sympathised, he keenly recalled Felix describing him to Epaphroditus. “We all thought he was a fucking mute but apparently he can talk. Just ain’t got nothing to say have you, Philo?”

4) “Felix?” asked the centurion with a gulp.

So far that evening the centurion had defeated a band of marauding heavily armed slaves, casually executed the remaining prisoners, murdered the jailer and then lied shamelessly to his superior officer. What he was not about to do was get Felix out of bed. Some assignments were just far too dangerous.

5) It was Felix’s experience that behind every suspicious Imperial death there was a Greek secretary staring up at the ceiling pretending he knew nothing about it.

Galba’s Men – A Collection of Tasty, tipbits.

galbas menjpAs everybody who is in Galba’s Men appeared in Palatine, here is a taster of some of the journeys various characters will be undertaking in Galba’s Men.
For some there will be adventure, for some tragedy, for some joy and for others despair.

Epaphroditus:
Though he’d enjoyed his break spending time with his family he was starting to get just a little bored. An Otho scheme was always worth hearing, if only for the sheer level of preposterousness it invariably held.

Alex:
The world is neatly divided between those who can make an amusing anecdote out of being chased out of the Temple of the Great Mother by a dozen Syrian eunuchs armed with costume jewellery, and those who prefer to bury the story in red-faced humiliation. Alex fell firmly into this second camp, hurrying back to the palace thoroughly ashamed as the Galli priests stood in the temple doorway bouncing up and down and yelling at him in their strange native tongues.

Mina:
They reached the far end of the scrum, Mina jumping to her feet and looking back at the pandemonium she had somehow got through.
“Bloody Juno!”

Sporus:
It was possibly the most energetic act he had ever committed. His arms burned from the effort and his feet scrabbled and scraped on the bricks but the thought of freedom from those whirling nutters gave him the necessary spur.

Philo:
Philo was thus a man on the edge, a precipice of an edge which he expected to plunge off at any moment.

Statilia:
“May I say how attractive you look tonight?” came a melodious voice.
Its owner was not a handsome man; he was bulky with bowed legs yet he was rewarding her with the most charming smile. Statilia felt almost giggly under his appraising eyes.

Galba’s Men v Palatine

The main difference between Palatine and Galba’s Men is that Palatine is all about a well executed conspiracy. Whereas Galba’s Men is about a series of misunderstandings that lead to terrible events.

And this time round the terribleness is going to effect not just those at the top.
What Nymphidius Sabinus unleashes in Palatine is going to have consequences for everyone.

Characters in 5 Quotes – Straton

1) An evil, raised scar ran across his neck, the origins of which had been hotly discussed by several generations of imperial slaves.
If it gave comfort that some brave soul had once stood up to Straton, the fact that he had survived such a deadly encounter had given rise to the all too plausible rumour that he was immortal.

2) Pressed against Juba’s naked back, the overseer decided to start his day off on a high. Feeling something distinctly stiff pushing into his spine the slave squeaked, “You can’t.”
Which made Straton chuckle. Because he could.

3) Love was an emotion that hit the overseer periodically every few years and always culminated in an absolute disaster that had Felix threatening to slice off his penis with a meat cleaver.

4) Turning to his side Straton removed a dagger from his hip with something akin to annoyance, punching its owner (a pale slave he had whipped earlier that day) in the face impatiently and gesturing Mina to follow him. Mina had one thought: “What a man!” Then immediately scratched it as the consequences of spending too much time with eunuchs

5) Straton only legitimately took orders from one man, Felix. Anything else he deigned to do had been carefully weighed up as to its “fun factor”. Coshing Sabinus would definitely fall under that category

My Favourite Passage from Galba’s Men

And I think it’s actually funnier out of context. So I shall say nothing more about it.

The world is neatly divided between those who can make an amusing anecdote out of being chased out of the Temple of the Great Mother by a dozen Syrian eunuchs armed with costume jewellery, and those who prefer to bury the story in red-faced humiliation. Alex fell firmly into this second camp

Things to expect from Otho’s Regret

1) The usual crew are in attendance, including Epaphroditus, Aphrodite, Philo, Teretia, Lysander, Otho, Mina, Sporus.

2) There are some new characters and some built up from bit parts in Palatine and Galba’s Men.

3) There will be a battle scene (gulp). So far I’ve avoided writing on the Roman army aware that an awful lot of people are very clued up about the subject. However history demands that the battle of Cremona happens, so no avoiding it now.