Chapter 13

Cadet Lumni ran in sheer panic and stood behind a tall locker in the barracks as a leather-clad woman, fully armed with a short-sword, came racing into the the room.

“Bah!” Kore flung up her arms. “Where in blue hell is everyone? Hey! Yes you. Is General Astrella in here?” Kore pointed to a door whilst heading towards it.

“Oi!” Lumni ran and stood in-front of it. “No he's not but you can't just barge in anyway. How did you get in here?”

“My friend, Jyp, made me a gate in your fence.” Kore grinned. “Come on Cadet ...”

“Lumni. He isn't in there! Come on, out of it. Not even gladiator champions are allowed in there just as they please.”

“Ah! You know me?” Kore's ego started to inflate.

“I saw you going lunatic in the arena yesterday.” Lumni said. “A bit uncontrolled for you, I thought.”

“It was.” Kore admitted. “Look, I want to see Ben, it's very important.” Kore bounced up and down like a hyperactive child.

“Ben?” Lumni rose his eyebrows at such blatant familiarity. “Well he's not in! He disappeared a few hours ago to see Captain Creed. You know? Vespus?” He said sarcastically.

“Yes I know Vespus too.” Kore smirked. “Where?”

“Well Captain Creed was up at the Villa but I don't know if they'd arranged a meeting elsewhere.” Lumni shrugged. “They usually come back here, everyone does.” He nodded to the General's rooms. “None of the other Generals do that, you know, only General Astrella. The rest of them think they're too good to speak to us peasants in their own rooms.”

“Such a nice man. Villa, yes? Thank you Lumni.” Kore turned to leave.

“I'll come with you. I was expecting him back here too and he hasn't arrived. I need my duty sheets signed before I can go off my shift.” Lumni grabbed his papers and followed Kore.

Ursus Toller walked alongside Cadet Roscus, through the governmental Villa that was her home, and had become her prison.

“I can't thank you enough for this, Cadet Roscus.” Ursus whispered. “If you want to return to your post now and go along with my original suggestion, then that would be fine too.”

“Just to raise the alarm that you were gone? No ma'am, not the mood the generals and the Governor are in. I'd be on Killian in no time. It's OK, I swear. No one knows I'm off duty because no one takes a lot of notice of me.” Dom shrugged. He'd been about to finish his shift when Lady Toller had asked him into her chambers and implored him for help in exiting the Villa for a while. Dom had suggested that they simply walked out of it. Two other guards had taken over the watch and all Lady Toller had to tell them was that she had an appointment. That was it. It wouldn't be possible, just now, for her to walk around unsupervised, and thanks to Dom Roscus, she wasn't.

“I'm so sorry you got the foul end of my ... of the Governor's temper earlier, I knew he wouldn't be happy. I was desperate to have those papers delivered while the Administrator and the General were there, and you were my only hope. Thank you Cadet Roscus.” Ursus smiled and Dom got flustered and went red. They were now out of the Villa and it's grounds and not one single person had attempted to stop them. “Arseholes expect me to just sit there weeping my time away.” Ursus muttered then noticed the look on Dom's face at her colourful language. “Nice talk for a Lady eh?” She winked, and reverted to her pre-Toller accent, which was very slightly rural. Dom started to laugh. “Right! I'm off to the brothel.”

“The ... the ... the where?” Dom spluttered.

“I need to be de-lady'd.” Ursus laughed. “Oh not in that way, calm down. I need a change of clothes from this billowing affair to street clothes, that's all. I'll look a tad silly traipsing about in a silk and gold gown.”

“Quite, ma'am. You'd be lucky to be still wearing in within ten minutes with some of reprobates out here.” Dom observed. “They'd go with the hair off your head if it even looked gold.” He'd walked her to the brothel and didn't look to sure about leaving a titled Lady to such a place. “Stuff it, we can't have you just striding in there ma'am, everyone and their aunt fannies will know within minutes. If you stay in the lobby here, out of sight, I'll go ask for Jasmine, she's sound is Jasmine.” Dom nodded and left Lady Toller out of sight, temporarily. Faust almost stood on her as he walked down the stairs, tugging down his tunic.

“Pardon me ... eeeeek! Lady Toller?” He just looked at the woman in sheer shock. What the hell was she doing in the whorehouse? “Are you ... lost?”

“Just waiting to see Jasmine.” Ursus smiled. “Enjoying your retirement, General Cooper?”

“Definitely. Pardon my saying, Lady Toller, but are you sure you have the correct Jasmine?” Faust glanced upstairs towards the room he'd just left.

“Hell.” Dom came through the door, with the owner of the place who was to call Jasmine. “Well out of sight ma'am.” He muttered. “General Faust.” Dom nodded politely.

“Manage OK Dom?” Ursus asked and Faust almost fell over. What was going on here?

“Jasmine! Client for you!” 'Lady' Blanche yelled up the stairs. Jasmine appeared, shouted 'hello' to Dom and Dom cringed visibly. When he did open one eye, he saw Faust Cooper glaring at him for an explanation. He must have thought Dom had invited Lady Toller here.

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