When I first started this blog – God, more than a year ago, some time in 2015 I think – the original idea was to promote my book, Raiding Cooley which I published as an E-book back then. I confidently expected to start on my next masterpiece almost immediately. See how wrong I can be! Anyway, this blog thingy morphed into different paths, some, or all, of which I hope to continue pursuing. However, the consequent result was that I never got around to doing any new creative writing – i.e. another blockbuster! Ideas did float around in my head, sequels and prequels and so on but it was always too easy to find a reason to do something else. I suppose a story depends upon a character and the plot natuarlly evolves from what the character does and what happens to the character. So, here is my initial draft of God knows what – an initial character. Comments, suggestions, ideas, complaints … anything? Anyone?
An Introductory Paragraph
406 A.D. Roman rule is collapsing in Britannia as the legions are recalled to continental Europe. Barbarian tribes assail the Empire from all sides. Maewyn, scion of proud Brythonic stock long accustomed to Roman rule, refuses to assume his father’s role as Decurion, the “exactor” of taxes from the local Brythonic people.The scene takes place in a Roman style villa in the far western Brythonic province of Britannia.
‘You know what your father needs’ Conchessa paused until her son looked up at her. ‘You do, don’t you?’ she insisted, adjusting her toga.
‘I told you before. I am not going to collect the taxes. I don’t care about being Decurion, do you not hear me? I refuse to do Rome’s dirty work.’
Contemptuous of both his parents’ Roman status and their newly adopted Christian piety, Maewyn glared at his mother opposite the atrium fountain.
‘Your father will explain everything later to you,’ Conchessa continued quietly.
‘There is nothing to explain.’ Maewyn snapped. ‘Do I have to tell him how things are here, in this far-western province of a crumbling Empire?’
”Don’t talk like that to your father. If Calpurnius becomes a deacon in the State religion, his property and responsibilities are passed on, in their entirety to you, his son.’
Maewyn pulled the copper goblet towards him, cradling it in his pale hands and smelling it, before looking up at his father.
‘Don’t you understand?’ Calpurnius demanded. ”The legate is insisting taxes must be collected as usual. Do you think I want to give up all of this?’
He gestured at the tilled fields stretching from the walls around the villa down the hillside, bounded by the blue line of the sea below them.
‘The legate! All the Belgae and Germania auxiliaries in Seguntium are being recalled, even now.’ Scornfully, Maewyn pushed the goblet away. ‘Roman power is collapsing along our coast, and everywhere else.”
‘Listen to your father.’ Conchessa pleaded. ‘Is there anything that you ever wanted that has not been provided for? Ask yourself, where does our wealth come from?’
‘I don’t care where it comes from. You want it, not me. And besides,’ Maewyn spat scornfully, ‘Barbarian raids are increasing. Soon there will be no-one to tax and nobody to give it to, despite your new religion.’
‘Don’t talk to me like that, you ungrateful whelp” Calpurnius shouted, his face purpling with rage. ‘We are Roman citizens and we have a responsibility to our position as Decurion and to Emperor Honorius.’
‘I thought we were proud Ordovices, the last tribe in Britannia Prima to have withstood the might of the Romans?’ he demanded of his father. Standing up abruptly, his stomach roiling in fear at his defiance, he pushed his stool back so that it crashed on the mosaic floor.