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THE BIRTH OF ROME
Synopsis of Chapter 22: Birth of Brutus
Luc and the young warriors from Capua return to Roma and learn about the murder of the king and the Senators, including Luc's brother Marcus. He then learns his friend Collatinus was murdered by his own wife, Tullia, while Lucius murdered his wife Agelastus. He must survive to find justice someday, and pretends the blow to his head addled his brains. His secret is known only by his steward and his soon-to-be-wife, Vitellia. Superbus disarms the city and disbands the legion. Ten years later the Etruscans pass through Roma to attack the Greek colony of Cumae. Superbus' son Titus goes with them and survives a terrible Etruscan defeat.
Excerpt from Chapter 22: Birth of Brutus
At noon he saw Lucius and Tullia strolling arm in arm down the Forum. He paused and let them come up to him. He was going to let them walk by if they decided to ignore him, but he was seen and they shifted their course to meet him.
"Luc, Luc, I had wondered what happened to you," Lucius said amiably. "You haven't been around lately, have you?"
"Oh dear, look at that gash," Tullia added. "Did you have an accident?"
Luc just stood there looking back, without much expression on his face. They began to wonder if he had heard them.
"Luc, did something happen? How did you get that nasty cut on your cheek?"
"War," Luc answered. "Caere. Fought a battle on the sea."
"Yes, I had heard something about that," Lucius said. "They beat the Greeks, didn't they. You were part of that?"
Luc stared over Lucius' shoulder without speaking. When he saw Lucius exchange a questioning glance with Tullia, he nodded his head.
"You were wounded in battle? Is that what happened to your face?"
"Yes. Sword to the side of the head. Helmet saved me."
"Oh, that's good, good," Tullia rushed to say. "You are very lucky, aren't you?"
"Lucky that blow didn't knock your head right off," Lucius added. "We're sorry to hear about your father. He raised me like I was one of his sons. Do you remember, Luc? You were four when your father moved your family out, I was sixteen. Do you remember?" Luc nodded vaguely.
"That blow must have mashed up his brains. He's like a dumb brute."
"Poor Luc," Tullia cooed, insincerely, "poor Brutus."
"I've called a meeting of the Senate for noon, Luc. I have to go. Please tell your mother that we were saddened to hear about your father's stroke, will you?"
Lucius and Tullia continued walking down the Forum, and when they were a short distance away Luc overheard: "He won't be a problem. He doesn't know anything." Luc smiled, and went home to talk to his mother.