The Tirones resented being dispatched to the Hill of Skulls. The wailing of the women – as their sons, lovers and husbands died on the cross – was exhausting. But that’s what the recruits got. Watching the rebels and rabble die wasn’t really glorious. Each man stationed to the watch, to make sure no one was freed before the torturing had transmitted its lethal and gruesome message, was not why they were here. For the Pax Romana, the glory of Rome, that was they all were here and they all longed to be Centurions one day: But – clearly – not on this day.
Up they came, and they looked more rabble then rebel this day. Three men barely able to carry their cross came stumbling like dehydrated cattle, who were drawn to the illusion of drinking desert sand imagining it was water was how they appeared to Iduma. One of them clearly was not even able to bear his own load and some Iudaeus was doing it for him! He scoffed, this was the one about which Pilate was worried, he wondered to himself?
Iduma looked to Julianus and they both snickered. Spears were sharpened and they were looking forward to the one thing that made this post bearable. The nails were driven, the usual sobbing ensued. Iduma knew that Kanutus was hoping for some action – last week some fisherman’s son had ‘taken offence’ to his father being executed for the filth & the revolutionary he was. Bored, Kanutus impaled the boy before his own dying father: war was war and they all knew Palestine was a festering ground of insurgence. Best to break them and keep them broken, Iduma mused.
Ah well, the storm was coming and Kanutus had his dice. So, at least here was the perk. It had been awhile since he had won the lot throw, but maybe that would be different. He looked up at the ‘King’ and spat. One of the women around him said something in their guttural language, sounded even like a prayer. But what would you expect from the barbaroi … they began to play for his clothes, after all it was the only thing of value on this or any other day on the Hill of Skulls …