Tintagel Cycle: The Poisoned Throne

I, Paulus, once of the Dracos Legion, and a decurion, speak to you of times past and the terrible things I have seen. You need not doubt my veracity. I have grown old in the service of the legions and so I have learned that truth is always preferable to kindly lies, although base men will never believe it.

You can believe me, for I was there for it all.

I was the decurion attached to Claudius Constantinus, my centurion, and, at times, my friend. I rode with him to Corinium on the grey day that started the whole tragedy, when we accompanied that fat fool, Marcus Britannicus, to meet his betrothed, the Lady Severa. Although he was our commander, the nomen of Shithead, was a perfect description of that craven idiot. He brought about his own death, or else I might have ended my days in comfortable retirement on a small farm near Isca.

Alas, I wander now with the sons of Constantinus, and all hands are turned against me. Still, I refuse to despair. Mithras has a need for this old man and the soldier’s god will not be denied.

I have been called upon to apply torture to women, an ugly necessity, and to escort Lady Severa to her kin in Tintagel, a lesson in humility. I saw my legionnaires die and their deaths still weigh heavily on my soul. In time, I stood behind my centurion when he was crowned High King of the Britons. Oh, that was a day for feasting and drinking! But it came to naught, as do most human dreams of glory.

My centurion changed once he became a king. Aye, he had much to worry him, with Hibernians, Picts and Saxons laying his lands to waste but, as always, we beat them. Who can stand against the legions when their hearts are strong and their hopes are stronger? I held Constantinus’s son, Ambrosius, when he was first born, although I was away with my master when Uther saw the first light of day. And I helped to train young Constans when he was still a boy. I have seen it all, so who can gainsay my memories?

I went to Gallia with Constantine, my old master, who had changed his name to suit his new status as Emperor of the West. But do not ask me of those dreadful years when my centurion became a lesser man when he strove for honours that were beyond him.
But that’s the way of the Great Ones, isn’t it? Still, Constantinus the Centurion needs old Paulus to speak for him now.

Perhaps I despair at times when I am far from home, but a man of the legions should never fear the judgment of the forum. I have come to think of myself as a Roman and a Briton, an odd choice for an old patriot.

So you should read what has been said of my master, the warrior who became Fortune’s Fool, as do all men who strive to swim against the tides of the world.
My eyes are growing dim and the lamp gutters, so it must be time for sleep.


Paulus, Decurion of the Dracos Legion.