Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Antioch Season 1, Episode 8

Following on from the last episode, we carry onto the next round. Mark's posts are in blue, mine are in green, and any post-editing commentary are in red. The gladiator rules used are Munera Sine Missione. Each round will be posted as a weekly episode.

A win is a win, and GALLUS has now accumulated six arena victories, a very good record by any standard. Most gladiators would consider themselves lucky with three career victories, and still being alive! He is now the top fighter in the Ahenobarbus ludus, and receives special favours (better food, special attention from the female slaves etc). Ahenobarbus finds himself keeping half an eye on his attractive wife Lucia, in case there is any funny business going on. She likes to ogle the fighters training, from a balcony, concealed behind a screen. However his slave informers report nothing is happening on that front. At the moment, anyway.

GALLUS pocketed a further five aureus for the win over USSUR, taking his total to 27. If he continues to be lucky he can look forward to freedom and financial security, very rare for a gladiator.

But meantime, day to day business continues. GALLUS, Ahenobarbus himself, and CRISPUS, another experienced and trusted fighter, have to escort a large sum of money from the ludus to Athenodorus's house. It is several month's takings from his shadowy dealings as Aedile, and secrecy is paramount, so he insists the movement is done late at night. The bags of gold are carried in discreet backpacks by two unarmed civilian slaves.

The three men, all in civilian clothes but carrying concealed swords, and light armour under their tunics, set off through the poorly lit quiet streets escorting the two porters. About two blocks from their destination (a side door into Athenodorus's villa), they encounter a Night Watch patrol, four men under a sergeant. They are allowed to pass after being briefly stopped. Ahenobarbus does all the talking, and a small sum of money changes hands.

Around a couple more corners and into the alley leading to the side door. And then: in front of them is the unmistakable form of Pericles, with two of his street thug henchmen. And behind the party another two henchmen step out of the shadows. Someone has betrayed them it seems.

What will Ahenobarbus do:
(1) Start talking to Pericles with the aim of bluffing his way through?
(2) Shout for help, to alert the Watch, Athenodorus's men, and awaken local residents?
(3) Attack Pericles and his gang (while defending the porters and their money)?
(4) Back away with his men and try to get out of there?

A tough one. That damn Pericles and his band of thugs! Ahenobarbus, a man of action, and so close to home, attacks – picking option 3. He hopes to take out Pericles first…..

The short and bloody dust-up in M&M street* was under way. CRISPUS charged one of the henchmen in front of the party and knocked him down. Then Ahenobarbus followed up and killed the man. Meanwhile GALLUS pushed the two porters up against a side wall and stood between them and the two henchmen of Pericles who were in the rear.

* Named for the large block of flats running along one side of the street. See photo which shows the moment just before Ahenobarbus reacted. The various boxes and tins represent buildings.

The other henchman of Pericles moved into contact with Ahenobarbus and was knocked down. Pericles himself then attacked and knocked down Ahenobarbus. Men were falling like ninepins! One of the rear henchmen tried to move past GALLUS to bring help, but panicked (turnover) and did nothing.

Ahenobarbus stood up and counter attacked with the support of CRISPUS, and Pericles was forced back. CRISPUS also despatched the fallen henchman, so Pericles had now lost both the men with him, leaving only the two at the rear of the party. GALLUS stayed where he was defending the porters.

Pericles managed to get up again and shouted (group order) to his remaining men to attack GALLUS and seize the porters. They only got one action so moved into contact with GALLUS but could not attack.

GALLUS fought valiantly against the two henchman but was slowly forced back. Luckily the two porters had enough sense to edge along the wall to keep out of the way. Ahenobarbus attacked Pericles again, and again knocked him down. This time there was no mistake, as CRISPUS at once jumped on the fallen gangster and captured him. The other two henchmen then ran away (I did not bother about free hacks).

The little party then reassembled, and reached Athenodorus's house in high spirits, bringing not only the gold but also one of Antioch's most notorious gangsters as a prisoner!


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