Chapter 27- Collision

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Today was not the worst day of Marcus's life, but it sure as hell strived for second place. And if he did not calm down, it could become his last one. Pimpernella had a right to be scared, if not for herself, then for her lover. Centurion Quintus had sent soldiers into a death transfer to Germania for just trying to do what Anagallus had actually achieved.

And Quintus had hanged the guards who had let those fools pass the Castrum's gates. Marcus should know, he had been the one who set the gallows in motion.

Of course bribery had been involved that day, which still festered in Marcus's mind from time to time. Anagallus's and Pimpernella's stunt would probably not cost any of them their lives if it was discovered by their order-loving Centurion. But for Marcus, certainly his position, and quite possibly his station at Mesmer. He had been naïve and stupid. Too soft maybe, but he had not wanted to cut a harmless love affair short.He had trusted Nellie to be smart, too.

Cornelis could not keep Phyllis away from her studies, nor from Marcus, forever. Myra and Lucius would expect to meet her when they visited during the harvest season in the summer. He just needed to keep his cool and fix this, or he might no longer be here by the time she got back.

Phyllis had informed him right before he rode off again, that Pimpernella's parents weren't a major reason for concern and that they got along well enough with her own parents. Pimpernella's father a former Centurion himself, and a rather pragmatic one at that, he might not be against their daughter marrying a soldier, provided he still had a head attached to his shoulders.

Marcus had excused himself from morning exercise after his talk with Centurion Quintus, not wanting to prolong alerting Phyllis. Give them at least some time to talk her departure trough. Biancus had been ridiculously accepting of his non-attendance. Hopefully that mood would last for a few more hours, because although they hadn't been on the warmest of terms lately, Marcus didn't want to put any more futures on the line by involving his friend.

Finding Anagallus wasn't difficult. Not strangling the moron a little more challenging, especially when his recruit started grinning like a lunatic at the mere mention of Pimpernella's name. Soon the enthusiasm faded into sheet-white terror, which meant they could start plotting an escape.

It was close to nightfall when Marcus arrived at Mesmer again. The last day he could have spent with Phyllis for what might be two months had gone to waste. He had one more thing left to arrange, and difficult though it might be, he felt he would magic his way through if necessary in order to save time by now.


Pimpernella seemed to have regained some colour as he passed her on his way to the table were the Gauls were seated. Apparently Phyllis, Philip and her had chosen not to sit with them, today, which already looked too suspicious for his liking. He briefly put a hand on Phyllis's shoulder and whispered into her ear:

"Anagallus is going with you. He'll be waiting at the outskirts of the forest tomorrow morning, at the cave near the waterfall. You'll only need the smallest detour to pick him up."

He sighed as he straightened up. "And I need to convince Cornelis not to murder him."

"I can do that," Phyllis said at once.

"I know. But Anagallus is my recruit."

He glanced at Pimpernella. "We'll tell Bonny once he is safe," he said, his soft words lost in the racket of dining plates being collected unless someone strained to catch them. And Nellie sure did. He tried his best to smile at her. "Don't do anything unusual for the rest of the night. We'll talk tomorrow."

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