Emperor: The Field of Swords
post. There would be no loss of discipline in the provinces when the Tenth had gone. The quaestor brought two cohorts to the east under Julius’s orders, some of them local men who had joined the Roman forces years before. It was enough of a force to keep the peace, and Julius took pleasure from the fact that the problem was no longer his.
        There were a thousand things to organize before the ships could throw their lines from the dockside and move out to sea. Julius pushed himself to exhaustion, sleeping only one night in two, at best. He met with local leaders from all over the country to explain what was happening, and the gifts he left them ensured their aid and blessing.
        The quaestor had been quietly amazed when Julius told him how productive the new mines had become during his term. They had toured them together and the man took the opportunity to secure a loan from the coffers of the Tenth to be paid back over five years. No matter who ended up in the position of praetor, the debt would stand. The mines would be developed and no doubt part of the new wealth would be declared. Not before the post was made permanent, Julius thought wryly. It would not do to excite the hunger of men like Crassus in Rome.
        As Julius walked out into the courtyard, he had to shade his eyes against the fierce sun. The gates were open and the fort had a vacant feel that reminded him of the village with the statue of Alexander. It was a strange thought, but the new cohorts were expected the following dawn and the fort would come back to life then.
        In the glare, he did not see the young man standing by the gate, waiting for him. Julius was crossing to the stables and was jerked out of his reverie as the man spoke. His hand dropped to his gladius in reflex.
        “General? Do you have a moment?” the man said.
        Julius recognized him and narrowed his eyes. His name was Adŕn, he remembered, the one he had spared.
        “What is it?” he said impatiently.
        Adŕn approached him and Julius kept his hand near his hilt. He didn’t doubt he could handle the young Spaniard, but there could be others and he had lived long enough not to drop his guard too easily. His eyes scanned the gate, watching for moving shadows.
        “The mayor, Del Subió, told me you need a scribe, sir. I can read and write Latin.”
        Julius looked at him suspiciously. “Did Del Subió mention the fact that I am about to leave for Rome?” he asked.
        Adŕn nodded. “Everyone knows it. I would like to see the city, but I do want the work.”
        Julius looked him in the eye, weighing him. He trusted his instincts and he could sense nothing hidden in the man’s open face. Perhaps the young Spaniard was telling the truth, though Julius couldn’t help but suspect his motives with the legion about to set sail.
        “A free trip to Rome, then you disappear in the markets, Adŕn?” he said.
        The young man shrugged. “You have my word. I can offer nothing else. I work hard and I want to see more of the world. That is all.”
        “Why come to work for me, though? It wasn’t long ago you had Roman blood on your hands.”
        Adŕn colored, but raised his head, refusing to be cowed. “You are an honorable man, General. While I would rather Rome did not lay its hand on my people, you made me curious. You would not regret hiring me, I swear it.”
        Julius frowned at him. The man seemed unaware of the danger of his words. He remembered the way he had stood before Julius’s men in the long room, struggling to control his fear.
        “I must be able to trust you, Adŕn, and that will come only with time. What you hear from me will be worth money to those who pay for information. Can you be trusted to keep my business secret?”
        “As you say, you will know in time. My word is good.”
        Julius came to a decision and his frown cleared.
        “Very well, Adŕn. Go up to my

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