Thursday, March 13, 2008

This week's oddities

I got the results for my Latin test. A2! And for my Celtic essay, I got an A3. Since the question was especially horrible, I'm extremely chuffed! :D I'm still waiting for my marks for my Archaeology tutorial worksheet, but in general, I'm happy to say that my first two terms at uni have been rather a success! :D

Not that I'll be resting my brain much over the holidays. I've got a big Latin translation to do, another essay for Celtic, and one for Archaeology. Luckily, the folks in the Arch. department aren't looking for much over 1500 words, and the question I've chosen for Celtic is much less general than the last one (religious belief in Dark Age Britain, focusing on the writings of Adomnán). So it'll be mostly about that saint guy... I forget his name... :)

Oh, yeah, and here's an irritating little oddity I came across in the Department of Classics yesterday. My tutor hadn't shown up to unlock the room for our tutorial, so I hung around in the hallway, looking at the wall maps. One of said maps claimed to be of The Roman Empire in the Flavian Period. So why the hell were Hadrian's Wall and the Antonine Wall marked on it?! Flavian period: AD 69 - 96; Hadrian's Wall was built in 122, the Antonine Wall, c. 140.

I think I should leave a post-it on the map next time I'm in the building.

Edit: And while we're on the subject of the Flavians, I was listening to Utada Hikaru, when up crops the lyric, Hitori demo tsuzukeru to kimeta mission. My baffled reaction was, "What was that about Domitian?"

Damn Flavians - they're taking over my head! Get 'em out, get 'em out!

Elsewhere, as I read the Life of Saint Columba again for this essay (all of it this time, not just the good bits :P), I came across the account of a priest called Findchan "who was greatly attached to Aed, in a carnal way".

...How the fricking hell did I miss that one? Dark Age cleric/warlord slash? Hellz yes! Thank you, Adomnán, for making my week! :)


Gabriele C. said...

Dark Age cleric/warlord slash? I want to read that. :)

Some of those maps are really strange; we had a few funny frontiers at school as well.

Kirsten Campbell said...

Lol, who wouldn't want to read that? (adds to to-write list, just under Verus/Priscus) ;)

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, so I'm not the only one who has problems keeping the guys out of each other's beds, and some of them historical characters to begin with.

Arminius/Germanicus, anyone? :-)

Crystal said...

Good job on the grades sweet! I'm glad you enjoy going to school. But I have to tell ya, we're a little different when standing out in the hallway waiting for the tutor to come and unlock...

"My tutor hadn't shown up to unlock the room for our tutorial, so I hung around in the hallway, looking at the wall maps."

Yep, my arse would have been gone!LOL! Normally, if he didn't show up 10 minutes after the class was suppose to start we were all counted present and the class was forfitted. Anyway, glad one of us took the time to stick around and STILL learn something;o) YOU ROCK!! Have a great Friday sweet!

Kirsten Campbell said...

Gabriele - Oh, yes!

Actually, I spent a Latin lecture with a friend making up a list of "historical" slash pairings. Our favourite was Caesar/Brutus. :) Wish I could remember the rest of them.

Crystal - Lol, actually, he wasn't late; I was early. My bus had for once managed not to get stuck in the motorway traffic. Have a great weekend.

Gabriele C. said...

OK, for you. A litte Pannonian backstory I came up with one day.

Germanicus slowed his horse to a walk and waited for Arminius to catch up with him. The wind of the Danubian steppes, a wild song as they gallopped, softened to a caress, welcome on sweaty skin.

"That was the last of the lot." Arminius unstrung his bow and put it back in its case. "They should have known better."

"And so should we. Riding off without an escort. Tiberius will be angry."

"Do you care?"

"No." Germanicus grinned at his friend. "Tiberius was born angry. And it was fun. But I wish I had your skills with a bow."

"The result of a lot of training since childhood." Arminius kicked his horse into a trot. "Roman youths learn other skills. Like discipline."

"Oh yes, we've proven how disciplined Roman officers are right now." Smiling, Germanicus spurred his horse as well.

"You can blame it on me, I'm such a bad influence," Arminius said with a grin that was downright mischievious. Germanicus realised how much he had missed a friend like the young Cheruscian, someone straightforward and able to enjoy life, after all those doublefaced people he met at Augustus' court who hid their ploys behind the demonstration of a virtus they no longer possessed, and who sought his friendship because he was of the imperial family.

"There is a rivulet ahead, I remember," Arminius said in a more serious tone. "Let's go there, our horses need some rest and your wound needs cleaning and dressing."

It did indeed, the makeshift bandage around Germanicus' lower right arm was soaked with blood. The Dacians had longer swords and one of them got behind Germanicus' defense; he had dropped his sword with the sudden flash of pain. Arminius sent the man's head flying, jumped off his horse, retrieved Germanicus' sword and handed it back. Germanicus clenched his teeth and continued to fight until they broke lose from the melée and Arminius managed to bind the wound with Germanicus' scarf. A half hearted pursuit ended in more dead bodies, and the Dacians gave up.

"There, I rememberd correctly." Arminius pointed to a sparkling line half hidden by the high, yellow grass of the steppes and a few grey boulders. "It's the river."

"And no trees for a group of Dacians to hide."

The men dismounted at the riverbank, a small stripe of grass that was still green. At one spot, the river widened; reed grew in the little bay, gently swaying in the breeze. An angry bittern whistled at them and flew off.

"It's a Dacian bird, alright. Doesn't like Romans," Germanicus said but a strain in his voice betrayed pain and fatigue.

"You take a rest, I'll care for the horses."

"Arminius, I ...."

"My friend, you don't need to prove anything to me," Arminius said in a gentle tone and began to unharness the horses.

Germanicus sank down near a boulder that overlooked the miniature lake, leaning his back against the sunwarmed stone. What a peaceful little spot in this inimical land. Birds sang and the grass rustled softly, an insistent dragonfly buzzed around his head but he didn't care. The sky vaulted high and blue, a horse snorted; the air smelled hay and stagnant water, with a whiff of ammoniak from the beasts. Summer. Childhood memories, the precious but short time spent in the family's summer villa at Baiae.


Germanicus snapped awake. Arminius knelt before him, clad in his tunica only, his long hair wet from a bath in the river. He had retrieved the pouch with medical supplies from his saddlebag and brought a bowl with fresh water and a flagon of wine.

"Yes, I dreamed. Of home, of my father."

"Pleasant dreams then, I take it." Arminius handed Germanicus the wine flagon. "You'll need it. But leave some for cleaning the wound. I didn't find any coltsfoot or burdock here."

"Are those German remedies?" Germanicus took a few deep swigs from the bottle and held out his arm to Arminius.

"They are. Burdock juice helps to stop the bleeding and coltsfoot brings down swellings." Arminius unwrapped the bloody scarf and examined the wound. "At least it's a clean cut, no ragged ends. But it will need stitches." Germanicus' arm braced on his knee, Arminius set to work cleaning, stitching and bandaging the wound with deft movements that showed it was not the first time he cared for a wounded comrade.

Through the haze of wine on an empty stomach and pain, Germanicus became aware what beautiful hands Arminius had, slender yet strong, with long fingers and wellkept nails, a trace of vein showing on the backs. Their touch warm on his skin. An image of those hands caressing his arms, his chest. Germanicus shook it off.

"There, that should do." Arminius tied the ends of a clean linen strap. "I'll go and clean these things. You should try and sleep some more." He gathered the medical instruments and the scarf and went to where the river ran swift and clear.

Germanicus watched him, for the first time consciously aware of Arminius' body, the well defined leg muscles that bespoke a good deal of time spent on horseback, the broad shoulders of a swordfighter wielding the heavier blade of the Cherusci, the long, golden hair. Germanicus had fought at Arminius' side for months and sometimes thought the prince was a good looking man, but in the abstract way he would admire a fine statue. This new, alive, feeling scared him. His father would have considered it un-Roman.

Arminius returned and draped the wet scarf over the boulder. "I got the worst of the blood out; you should be able to wear it on our way back."

"Thank you." Germanicus felt strange with Arminius so close, and his lorica segmentata seemed uncomfortable. "Would you help me to get my armour off, please?" The moment he said it, he regretted. Arminius had helped him with the segmentata before, but the innocence was gone. Yet, it was too late.

Before Germanicus could open the clasp of his cingulum, Arminius had knelt down and worked on the leather straps and buckles. Germanicus forced himself to relax, to act as if nothing had changed, but he was acutely aware of Arminius' fingers brushing the skin of his neck and arms. Finally, the segmentata and pteryges came off and Germanicus could feel the wind and the warmth of the sun through his tunica. He took a deep breath.

"Does your wound give you pain?" Arminius asked in a concerned tone.

"No, it's ...." Germanicus broke off.

Arminius looked at him, his blue eyes darkening with the realisation. Germanicus leaned back against the stone. Still kneeling, Arminus ran his hands down Germanicus' arms, slowly and with gentle pressure. Germanicus felt a shiver through his body at the incredible sensation, so warm and sure. Nothing like Agrippina's shy, chaste caresses.

"You tremble for my touch?" Arminius said in a hoarse voice.

"I don't know ... what's the matter with me." His own voice sounded strange to Germanicus.

Arminius leaned in closer, one hand supported against the stone, the other still caressing Germanicus' arm. "Have you ever been with a man?" Arminius' breath was hot on Germanicus neck.

"No," Germanicus whispered.

"My friend, then let me show you," Arminius said and brought his lips down on Germanicus' neck, gently sucking the skin.

"Oh, gods!" Germanicus almost jerked at the unexpected sensation. He had never known the skin of his neck was so sensitive. Every move of Arminius' lips and tongue sent a flash into Germanicus' loin. He buried his free hand in Arminius' locks, twining the golden silk around his fingers.

After a while, Arminius broke the contact. "Get rid of that tunica," he said while removing his own garment.

Germanicus complied and pulled the tunica over his head. I should not do that, he told himself when the spell of Arminius' touch ceased, I'll dishonour the memory of my father; not to imagine what would happen if Tiberius found out. We should ride back to the camp. But instead he lifted his hand and touched Arminius' chest, savouring the feel of the soft hair. Arminius never adapted to the Roman habit of having his body hair plucked. "My beautiful barbarian," Germanicus murmured.

Arminius smiled. "My beautiful Roman." He took hold of Germanicus' hand and brought it to his lips, kissing the palm and wrist, slowly working his way up the inside of Germanicus' arm to the elbow. Germanicus moaned. "Lie back," Arminius said.

Germanicus sank onto the sun-warmed grass, inhaling the fragrant smell of summer. Framed by the halo of his hair, Arminius looked down at him and Germanicus could see the tenderness in his eyes. "Hold me," Germanicus said, opening his arms. "Hold me close".

Arminius lay down beside Germanicus and wrapped his arms around him. Germanicus returned the embrace, sliding his hands over Arminius' back, enjoying the feel of strong muscles. He increased the pressure.

"Oh, yes," Arminius moaned and leaned in tighter. Skin warm on skin, slick with sweat, hands roaming. The smell of warm bodies mingled with the fresh spice of the grass. Intoxicating.

No longer caring about Roman virtus, not even about the memory of his father, Germanicus abandoned himself to Arminius' caresses, the magic Arminius' hands and mouth worked on his body, the way Arminius responded to his own touch.

When hands, lips and tongues were no longer enough and Germanicus spread his legs to allow a deeper intrusion, it felt so right to let go and not be strong for once. He didn't know that tears ran down his cheeks as he cried out Arminius' name.

"My dearest friend," Arminius whispered and kissed the tears away. "Let me hold you." For some time the lay, Germanicus' head on Arminius chest, Arminius hand in Germanicus' hair, listening to the song of the cicadas and the bittern that had returned to its nest in the reed. The river babbled and now and then a horse snorted. A perfect summer afternoon, Germanicus thought.

Only when the sun tinted the high grass of the steppes with a coppery shine, and the colder wind moved it like waves, did they ride back to the camp.

Kirsten Campbell said...

Oh, that's hot. Thanks! :)

Gabriele C. said...

They are two very naughty boys. But I can't have that in the novel - an assumed friendship is within the fiction writer's license since they most probably have met during the Pannonian war, both being officer there, but making them lover would take fiction too far.

I wrote that scene to get it out of my system. I didn't help much, though. :)