Soldier of Rome: The Legionary (The Artorian Chronicles)

Soldier of Rome: The Legionary (The Artorian Chronicles) by James Mace

Book: Soldier of Rome: The Legionary (The Artorian Chronicles) by James Mace Read Free Book Online
Authors: James Mace
of this room opened directly to the outside. Each recruit claimed a bin and a shelf and stored their gear as best they could. About this time, Statorius, Decimus, and one other legionary came in through the outside door. They wore fresh tunics and their hair was still damp from the bathhouse. Statorius’ arm was still in a sling, though he seemed to be refreshed and in a much fairer temper.
    “Ah, I see you’ve found where we live and where all of your equipment goes,” he said.
    “So what happens now?” Artorius asked, nervously.
    “Dinner,” replied Statorius. He then called to one of the legionaries asleep on his bunk. “Hey, Carbo! Get off your fat ass and get started on supper. It’s your turn today.”
    Carbo, the l egionary in question, groaned as if in pain and reluctantly rolled off his bunk. He then started the fire underneath the cooking stove.
    “What’s with him?” Magnus asked.
    “A little too much wine last night,” the legionary who came in with Statorius and Decimus said.
    “And a little too much of that trashy tavern wench, Lolia” Decimus added, smiling fiendishly.
    “I told you.” Carbo bellowed from the other room. “It was that tavern bitch and her sister.”
    “Like hell it was,” the s oldier piped in, “you were so wiped out last night that you were probably seeing double.”
    Carbo grunted under his breath and started to place some wheat cakes and bacon onto the skillet, all the while grunting about loose women and their sisters.
    “Anyway , lads,” Statorius started, “these are our newest recruits. Artorius, Magnus-who thinks he is a Norse warrior, and Gavius; meet Praxus. Of course, you have already met Decimus, and you’ve now been introduced to Carbo, sort of. The other poor sod passed out over there is Valens. I think he may have had a little too much of Lolia and her ‘sister’ last night.” He paused and then in a low voice asked Praxus, “Lolia doesn’t actually have a sister, does she?”
    “I don’t think so,” Praxus answered.
    “Hmm, anyway, once these new fellows get through the next eight weeks of training and officially become legionaries, we’ll actually have a full crew for once.”
    “The training is eight weeks?” Gavius asked.
    “Don’t worry, it goes by pretty fast,” Praxus said.
    “ Plus, you’re too tired and wiped out every night to have any concept of time,” Decimus added with a smile.
    “You’ll be alright,” Statorius said . “Besides, the real beatings don’t begin until weapons drill in a couple of weeks.” Given their ‘warm’ reception at the hands of the decanus and Optio Valgus, the recruits did not like the sound of that.
    “And it never ends either. Especially with Vitruvius as our chief weapons instructor,” Decimus said, pointing to the bruises on the back of Carbo’s hand and forearm.
    “Anyway, let’s eat,” Statorius said as he walked over and elbowed Valens in the ribs.

    Training started early the next day. Statorius woke them all up well before sunrise, and instructed them to don their tunic, helmet, belt, and dagger and fall out outside in front of the barracks. Optio Valgus stood there waiting for them. He was dressed in full armor and he carried his staff with him. Antoninus came out from another section of the barracks to join them.
    “Recruits,” Valgus said , his voice hard, “today you will begin the transformation from civilians into soldiers. The first thing a legionary needs to be is strong in the mind and the body. During the first couple of weeks, we will condition both. To start the day off we will go for a little run.”
    Valgus led them on a jog around the inside of the fortress wall. The pace felt good at first to Artorius. He thought he was in excellent condition, but as they made each turn along the wall the pace quickened. On the final stretch, they were nearly at a sprint. Artorius was gasping for breath by the end of the run. He looked over to see that his fellow

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