Please see ( Svenius ... -Part 2 and Blended Saga - Epilogue and also related stories by Zhu Juran and Anonymous for the background to this episode )
He might have to call in at the car dealership on his way home. For such an expensive car this seat was not very comfortable. It felt like it had rocks in it and there was far too much pressure from the seat belt across his chest. As he opened his eyes he was puzzled by how dark it was. Almost like a cave rather than a car park. Who was this young woman laying warmly but limply in his arms? Lilliana !
Svenius was not quite sure what prompted him but he put Lilliana flat on her back on the cave floor, and started pressing with his linked hands on her chest, five times, then forced air from his mouth into hers, twice. Again and again he tried to kiss and force her into life. After what seemed an eternity her eyelids flickered open and she began to breathe on her own. There was no water or food in the cave but from the dim light at the entrance Svenius could see that it was near dawn. This would be a good time to forage. He took the two empty water skins and food sack with him and crept quietly from their hiding space.
By the time the sun had risen Svenius had returned with water, grapes, lemons and two small trout. They could not risk a fire but the lemon juice would soften the fish and crushed grapes give back some sweetness, He coaxed Lilliana to drink and eat and she grew stronger hour by hour. As night fell he helped her walk out of the cave under the white disc of the moon, which for some reason made them both uneasy, and they continued their slow journey away from danger.
They kept away from the main roads, trusting only to shepherds tracks though the hills. Food and water were easier to find now they they were among country folk. Svenius, with his great strength, could move rocks, fell trees and even dig ditches in return for food and shelter. A week away from Pompeii and he decided they could now move safely by daylight. He still needed to work but a day of work for him meant a day of rest for Lilliana and then they could travel for two or even three days. At this rate they could reach Rome in about a month and then could try and find a merchant who might give them passage on a ship from Ostia. As a Roman citizen Lilliana was free to travel anywhere in the republic and Svenius would be accepted as being her slave and bodyguard. It might take them some time for them to gather enough money to pay for passage but Rome was the best place to do that and remain anonymous.
Time passed slowly for Lilliana and Svenius in Rome. In the small attic room, that they managed to rent, they could behave as husband and wife. Out in public she was the mistress and he the slave. They scraped together savings to pay for a passage far away from Lilliana's family. He used his strength doing menial work but sometimes acted as a trainer in fighting skills to young Roman noble men. Lilliana used her artistic and business skills to create clothing and jewellery designs for craftsmen to produce.
By the start of March, the new Roman year, they had enough saved to start thinking about moving on. One of the best places to meet merchants in an informal setting was in Crypta of the Theatre of Pompey, near the Forum Magnum, where there were fountains and food stalls. Svenius and Lilliana visited here most days to find a suitable person who would not ask too many questions. It was near the middle of the month when they found a Gaulish merchant from Lutetia who asked them to meet him again on the next day, the ides of March. ...