FIDELIA VENETRIX.By Dave Turner.
Disclaimer: I do not own ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘ROME’ or the novel ‘Killer’ I write these stories for fun not profit.
Crossover: BtVS with the HBO/BBC TV series ‘ROME’ and the novel ‘Killer’ by David Drake and Karl Edward Wagner.
Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar; Written in glorious English-English. Both English and American idioms are used throughout this fic.
Timeline: End of Season 3 for BtVS, 52 BCE for ‘ROME’ and ‘Killer’. Book One of the ‘Back in the SPQR’ series of stories.
Words: Thirteen chapters.
Warnings: Adult themes, violence.
Summary: After her fight with Buffy, Faith misses the truck in Sunnydale but hits a cart in Gaul.
Probably…just assume there are.
Definitely an ‘18’ rating with some STRONG language in some of the chapters; YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.Author’s Notes:
Time: The historical events portrayed in seasons one and two of ‘ROME’ actually took place between 53BCE and 30BCE, that’s just over twenty years. Yet strangely no one appears to age much and those that do age do so at an uneven rate. For instance; Vorena the Younger starts the show as a girl of about seven, at the end of season two she appears to be about twelve. Time has been truncated; I shall use ‘show time’ unless it screws with my plotline.
As with the time scale history has been twisted to fit the plotline of the show, again I will be using the events as depicted in the show rather than the history books.
Latin: I’m not a Latin scholar so any Latin that appears has come from Wikipedia or from friends.
The snatches of ‘ROME’ script that I’ve used were lifted from the subtitles on my DVD copy of the series.0=0=0=0Book One. FIDELIA VENETRIX 0=0=0=0The Prologue.1: A Balcony in Sunnydale, 1999
Buffy and Faith circled each other warily; they were connected at the wrist by the handcuffs Buffy had snapped on to prevent Faith from escaping. The terrace where they were fighting was covered with broken glass that crunched under their feet as they sized each other up, watching for an opening.
“What's the matter?” taunted Buffy, “All that killing…you afraid to die?”
As if in answer Faith pulled Buffy around so she could get the leverage she needed to snap the handcuff’s chain. Once again they faced off, Faith snatched up a length of pipe, while Buffy pulled out Faith's own knife from under her jacket.
“That's mine!” Faith snarled.
“You're about to get it back!” Buffy lunged at Faith leading with the knife.
The two slayers exchanged a flurry of blows, but neither one gained the upper hand. Faith dodged Buffy’s clumsy knife attack as they moved ever closer to the edge of the terrace; Faith grabbed hold of Buffy and pushed her, struggling, towards the wall at the edge of the balcony that over looked the street below.
“Man, I'm going to miss this,” Faith felt her confidence rising.
Managing to break Faith’s hold, and in the ensuing struggle, Buffy plunged the knife into Faith’s abdomen. For a moment the two women stared into each others’ eyes, stunned by what had happened. Faith’s blood began to ooze out of the wound to cover Buffy’s hand, as she slowly fell back against the balcony wall.
“You did it.” Faith smiled weakly up at an astonished Buffy. Using the last of her strength Faith pushed Buffy away from her. “You killed me,” Faith clamped her hand over the knife wound, trying to stem the flow of blood seeping from between her fingers.
With an effort Faith climbed up onto the low stone wall that surrounded the edge of the balcony; she swayed slightly, as if caught in a breeze, and looked over her shoulder, down into the street below.
“Still won't help your boy, though,” the words came to her lips with an effort as she gasped for breath, “shoulda been there, B…quite a ride.”
Falling backwards off the wall Faith vanished.0=0=0=0Chapter One.Gaul, about two thousand years earlier.
Two men rode along a muddy track deep in a forest somewhere in Gaul; they were dressed in the uniform of soldiers of the Roman Republic. The lead figure was a well made man of slightly above average height for a Roman. He had blondish-red hair and his armour was of better quality than that of his companion. The second soldier was a heavily built man without a trace of fat on his frame, his hair was shaved down to a dark stubble; his armour of a mail shirt was workmanlike and unadorned by any decoration. As the two men rode through the dank forest they bickered…
“So why did you bring me on this mission?” The larger of the two men addressed his comrade’s back.
“How much chance do you really think we have of finding Caesar’s standard?” The man with the reddish blonde hair, whose name was Vorenus, asked.
The larger man, Pullo, thought about this for a moment or two before answering.
“None what-so-ever?” He shrugged his shoulders under his red cloak at the incomprehensibility of orders.
“Exactly,” Vorenus agreed, “by now the damn thing has been melted down, thrown into a lake or something; this is a fool’s mission.” Vorenus scowled at the dripping trees and wished he was at home in Rome. “I had to take someone with me so I chose you,” Vorenus glanced over his shoulder, “you were already damned to the arena, so losing you would do the Legion little harm.”
They rode on in silence as Pullo considered what he had just been told.
“So,” he said breaking the silence, his voice taking on a calculating air. “If I’m already dead, what’s to stop me chopping you into little gobbets and riding off?”
“My superior fighting skills,” a slight smile cracked Vorenus’ face for a second before it returned to its normal stern expression.
“HA!” Pullo laughed, he glanced on down the track way, he’d heard something up ahead. “Hey, what’s that noise?” 0=0=0=0
Faith was on the edge of consciousness; her body ached all over. No one part of her hurt any more or any less than the other. It was like she had been hurled from a height and had landed on something hard; which of course she had. She remembered the fight, the dull pain as the knife entered her body; she remembered half jumping, half falling from the balcony. She could even remember the sensation of falling, the air rushing passed her ears…and then?
Then nothing, however much Faith tried she couldn’t remember landing. She’d expected to feel the bone shattering impact of landing on the road or in the back of that truck she’d seen just before she’d jumped. Instead she felt this dull ache that was even now retreating into the background of her mind. She lay on what felt like straw that swayed slowly from side to side as if she was being conveyed along some uneven track in the cold and damp.
Forcing herself to remain calm, as it would probably be a bad idea to jump up and start demanding to know where she was…for oh so many reasons. Faith made herself lie still and let her finely tuned slayer senses take in as much information as they could before she started to act. Firstly, she noted with some relief, the ache had retreated until it was now a vague memory. First the good news, Faith wiggled her fingers and toes, everything worked and nothing hurt. The bad news was her hands were tied in front of her with what felt like rope.
Okay, she thought, so far so good. If she could break the chain on a pair of handcuffs; rope didn’t rate as any sort of real problem. She moved a little, and yes she was lying on a bed of straw, and someone had stolen her clothes and replaced them with what felt like a sack with holes cut for her head and arms. For this that ‘someone’ would pay big time; whoever had done it had taken all her clothes and no doubt seen her naked without her permission. If she found that anyone had done anything more than look, she would kill them very slowly and very painfully. Again on the plus side, she realised that there wasn’t a gaping knife wound in her stomach, which while comforting was spoilt by the thought that there really should be a gaping knife wound in her stomach and her blood should be soaking the straw that she now lay on; she should also be gasping her last breath just about…now.
The fact that there were no dressings around her middle would suggest one of two things; either she’d been unconscious for so long that her wounds had healed naturally or; her wounds had been healed un-naturally. This could be good or bad, judging on past experience Faith tended to go with the ‘bad’ explanation. It was time to open her eyes and depending on what she saw take some action. Quietly Faith took a deep breath and opened her eyes a little.
Stifling the groan that almost escaped her lips as the light lanced through her head, Faith tried again. This time her eyes just watered at the excess of light before they grew accustomed to it and she blinked her tears away. Yeah, she was lying on some straw, and yep she appeared to be in some sort of cart being pulled through a forest by some kind of slow moving animals. The clopping of their feet could be heard clearly now she risked moving her head off the straw.
“How much do you think we’ll get for her?” Asked a rough male voice from the front of the cart.
Faith moved a little so that she could see the speaker.
“Don’t know,” came a second voice, also male, “now the war’s over there’s likely to be a glut…maybe we should keep her for ourselves.”
“Nah,” replied the first voice, “I need the cash.”
It took Faith a moment or two before she realised the two men, that she could just see the backs of, were talking about her. Groaning she shifted her position so she could get at her bonds.
“Looks like she’s coming to,” announced the first voice, Faith sensed some movement at the front of the cart.
A rough hand grabbed hold of her ankle and gave it a shake, Faith remained limp and pretended to still be unconscious.
“I suppose we could fuck her before we sell her,” suggested the first voice.
Who the hell were these bozos and where the hell was she? As far as she knew there was nowhere in the United States where it was normal to go around in animal drawn carts talking about selling young women…well maybe there was one or two places but this wasn’t normal. Faith realised she must’ve been transported to Mexico or some shithole place like that. Well, she thought, there was no time like the present to find out what the fuck was going on; she kicked out with both her feet.
Her left foot caught one of her assailants in the small of the back. With a startled cry he lurched forward and fell off his seat, he windmilled his arms wildly as he crashed to the ground. There was a strangled cry and the cart went up on one wheel as it passed over the first kidnapper. The other guy had fared better; Faith had misplaced her kick only striking him a glancing blow. However, it had been hard enough to stun him and it allowed Faith time to jump to her feet and break her bonds. The guy’s eyes went saucer wide as he watched her rip the rope around her wrists apart with no apparent effort. Realising he was facing something more than an unarmed, defenceless, teenage girl he drew the knife that he carried at his hip. He lunged at Faith, the knife held out in front of him.
Not wishing to be stabbed twice in one day Faith dodged easily to one side and grabbed the man by the wrist; she twisted and pulled all in one easy motion. The carter cried out in agony and dropped his knife; Faith kicked his legs from under him and felt the bones in his wrist break under her hand. She twisted the man's arm forcing him to the floor of the now stationary cart. Placing a foot on the side of his head she hauled back on his injured arm and wrung another cry from his lips. Faith smiled to herself, that’d been fun.
“Where are we?” she snarled as she pulled viciously on the man’s arm; he screamed long and hard before answering.
“B-between C-Carasa and Onia,” he gasped trying to relieve the pain by pulling himself up with his other arm.
Neither name meant anything to Faith; (geography had been yet one more subject she sucked at during her brief incarceration in a Boston public school) she did however notice her captive’s feeble attempts at escape; she punished him by breaking two of his fingers. The man screamed again and started to sob and beg her not to kill him.
“Where the fuck is Carsa and Oni?” Faith demanded putting more pressure on the man’s broken fingers and arm.
“Gaul!” Shrieked the kidnapper tears running down his face.
None of this made much sense to Faith; where the hell was Gaul f’christs sake? In a fit of anger and frustration she broke the man’s neck.
“Damnit!” She cursed herself, “Didn’t mean to do that…well not just yet anyway.”0=0=0=0
Jumping down from the cart, Faith looked up and down the track. Apart from the carter’s friend, who lay in an untidy heap in the middle of the track, there was no one in sight. She walked slowly over to the body, all the time scanning her surroundings keeping a watch out for any danger that might lurk amid the great dark trees. She shivered a little and kicked the body with her bare foot. The body remained still. Faith looked down at herself, her earlier assessment had been correct; she was wearing nothing apart from a sack which reached from her neck and stopped just below her knees. No wonder her ass was half frozen; bending down she took the body by the back of his tunic and picked the man up. His head lolled bonelessly to one side, it must be her day for breaking necks. The thought made her smile as she dragged him back towards the cart.0=0=0=0
After about ten minutes Faith was warmer but no wiser, she’d found a few items of spare clothing in a pack on the cart. Now she wore some britches that tied at the waist with a draw string and stopped halfway between her knees and ankles. She’d discarded her sack dress and instead wore a tunic that covered most of her arms and went from her neck to just above her knees. A little work with a knife had altered the smaller of the kidnapper’s footwear so now she wore sturdy sandals on her feet. Over this she wore a cloak made out of heavy wool. In fact all her clothing was made from what looked like, to Faith’s untrained eye, homespun wool. It varied in colour from light grey to dark brown. She couldn’t imagine where in the world people would wear threads like this outside of a commune. The two wannabe rapists had spoken English right?
After searching the kidnapper’s belt pouches - none of the clothes had pockets, Faith added a leather belt, pouch and knife to her new belongings. In the two men’s pouches she had found some coins. These had puzzled her more than the clothes. The coins looked old, like you would find in a museum, but these were new; or at least no more than a few years old. There was something about the heads on the coins that jolted some long lost memory; something she could almost remember but try as she might it just wouldn’t come. Faith shrugged her shoulders and tossed the coin she’d been holding into the air. Catching it she dropped it back into her pouch with the others. Next she looked at the knife; the blade was about twelve inches long and about two inches at its widest. The handle was made out of some type of horn or antler. Again it looked as if it belonged in a museum. It was of no design she’d ever seen before but it fit her hand perfectly. Again she shrugged her shoulders and put the knife back in its sheath that now hung from her belt.
Wondering what she should do next, Faith tried to make the two cow-like creatures that pulled the cart move but they remained obstinately stationary. Although it didn’t look as if the cops were going to turn up any time soon, she still had two dead bodies that were likely to be someone’s friends or neighbours. Time to abandon the cart, find a town, find out where she was; and then phone Wilkins and get him to come get her out of here. Looking one more time at the cart; she decided there was nothing left she could use. She’d found what looked like some strips of beef jerky, but they’d smelt so rancid that she’d left them where she’d found them. However, she did pick up a water skin and place it over her shoulder. Pulling her cloak around herself and tying back her hair, Faith looked up and down the track; one way looked pretty much like the other so she started out in the direction from which the cart had come.
It was after she’d been walking for maybe half an hour that Faith’s skin began to tingle with the promise of danger. She guessed she must be in a National Park somewhere in the States or Canada; there’d been no let up in the number of trees that hung over the track and it was too cold for South America. Letting her slayer instincts guide her, Faith could feel the presence of a dozen or more people paralleling her route as she walked along the track. Halting for a moment she took a drink from the water skin, while at the same time taking the opportunity to look around under the dark trees. She could see nothing, but she could sense her trackers tense and stop; watching her closely as she replaced the stopper in her water skin.
Turning to continue her journey she sensed the arrow fly through the air towards her, snatching it out of the air when it was no more than a hand’s breadth from her face, Faith cast the arrow aside and drew the dagger from her belt and turned to confront her attackers. Half a dozen large men with long swords and large oval shields ran at her from out of the trees.
“What the fuck?” Faith yelled in confusion as she lashed out at the closest man with her foot and brought him crashing to the ground.
Faith was beginning to think that she’d fallen into some weird re-enactors game. These thoughts were hurriedly pushed to one side as a huge man covered in blue paint screamed at her as he charged, sword held high. Faith went low, rolled into the charging man’s legs and sent him flying. Bouncing to her feet again she had no time to finish off her first attacker when two more men came at her. Faith feinted left and attacked the man on her right. Grabbing him by the right wrist she used his sword to parry the attack of his partner, the swords crashed together sending sparks flying in all directions.
Faith realised that if she didn’t start killing these maniacs soon and equalling the odds a little, she was going to end up dead; she smashed her fist into the windpipe of the man whose wrist she’d grabbed. As his eyes bulged in their sockets and his legs gave way under him, she took the sword from his limp hand and turned to confront the rest of the gang.
“Crap!” Faith found herself the centre of a semicircle of heavily armed maniacs, “Oh well,” she sighed resignedly before screaming as fiercely as she could and attacking her ambushers. Men screamed and swords clanged as Faith spun like a whirlwind through the gang. These guys were good, she admitted to herself, normally about now she’d be surrounded by dead or wounded opponents. This bunch were still standing and it started to dawn on her that if she wasn’t careful they would wear her down and kill her. It was just then that she heard the sound of horses’ hooves getting closer and closer.0=0=0=0