City of Tiberius, Galilee
“Ah Centurion, welcome my Roman friends,” he said grandiosely in Latin with both hands raised high.
Cornelius saluted and said formally, “Hail Tetrarch! We bring greetings from Governor Pontus Pilate. He sends his warmest regards.”
“I am sure he did,” he said a little too sweetly. “I have received a dispatch that your unit will be policing my region of Galilee. I am so gratified to hear this. This region is crawling with Zealots determined to uproot my good relations with Rome and my good friend Caesar Tiberius. They are ever a thorn at my side. Why, just last week, they attempted to despoil the statue I erected of our beloved emperor. My own name is besmirched by these wild brigands among my people.”
“May I ask, Tetrarch? Who are these zealots?” asked Cornelius.
“I am sorry to say that I don’t know. I have no specific names to provide.” Cornelius noted some reluctance in his voice. “I have reports of wild religious fanatics rousing the countryside that a king from among them will lead them to freedom. In the jurisdiction of Jerusalem, there is a highwayman, a self-proclaimed man named of Barabbas, said he was a Zealot and had made a reputation of himself by robbing your tax collectors even in daylight and eluding your pursuits. These zealots are everywhere.”
As Herod drone on with his prattle, Cornelius so wanted to meet the prophet before Herod takes him down south. “Ah, Tetrarch?” he asks. “I have heard that you are holding a dissenter here. I have orders to question all insurgents.”
“Oh… How did you… Ah well… He is not an insurgent. He is just a desert teacher. He is harmless.”
“Why is he your prisoner?”
“He is not! He is a guest but under guard… for his protection, of course. He will not reveal anything because he does not know anything.”
“Nevertheless, Tetrarch,” He brings out his baton. “I must see this man!”
“Very well, Centurion, I will arrange a translator.”
“No need, Tetrarch,” Cornelius said in fluid Aramaic.
The story continues on in my next post a week from now.
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