Cold weather has been set in Moscow, we are snowed under with work, gloom and spleen. So it’s especially nice to, go back, at least mentally, to the sunny Taurida.
Gentle readers left the contubernium, a favorite of Fortune, at dawn of an autumn morning in Satire’s garden. Legionnaries had a rest, they were refreshed and ready for the second day of the march. It was unacceptable to go back by the old route for two reasons. Firstly, nobody wanted to climb the rocky spurs once more. Secondly, our friend Fairy was noticeably lame after yesterday’s adventure.
In consideration of these factors, the guide decided to lead our small squad bypassing the plateau. This road was longer, but it was on flatter terrain. The march through the fabulous forest in the cool clear morning put the legionaries in really good spirits. All the hardships of the past day were forgotten, so, when the milites learned about the site of ancient and mysterious city nearby the crossroad, they unanimously decided to make a detour and visit it.
The city of Eski-Kermen used to be located on an impregnable rock, it had been hewn out in this rock in the times of gods and heroes. It was abandoned and now is dwelled only with savages and evil spirits. We left the donkey and luggage, took weapon and went to explore the ancient city. The majestic ruins produced great impression!
Caligae rumbled through the deserted streets, echo of voices resounded under arches of abandoned halls, hewn out in the mountain mass. From the top there were stunning views of the picturesque Taurida.
Impressed by the beauty, our celtic painter made many memorable frescoes and drawings on wax tablets.
We didn’t encounter any savages or spirits, and after sightseeing went back.
The road ran through a gentle slope, so the march was more like a pleasant walk. In the distance a smoke of a small Scythian camp appeared. Easy march, beauty of the rock city and the foretaste of a possible booty made legionnaires lose their vigilance.
And a cave lion of Eski Kermen didn’t fail to take occasion… It was an embodiment of rage and madness. Like a Fury, the lion rushed to the marching legionaries, who were defenseless under their furcae. The lion tore our guide before the commilitiones managed to drive him back to the rocks.
Kind dwellers of the nomadic village helped to impose a splint on his mangled leg. So, it became too difficult to continue our march because of wounded guide and lame donkey. Our wise optio decided to call a steel chariot from the castrum to deliver all the sufferers to the camp.
The return of the contubernium can not be called a triumph. Ten warriors left and only six returned. Two died during the river crossing, two were taken, together with the donkey, by the steel chariot.
This is the end of the amazing story. Thank you for being with us. The next year legionnaries are going to visit the rock city once more, flay the cave lion, and conquer the route, which proved to be so hard this year.