SPYING IN A TREE – Roman fort 2 miles east of Bethsaida
As they neared the fort, Cornelius noticed a different signus over the gate. It was the signus of Tribune Arturos.
“The Tribune is a day early,” exclaimed Flavius.
Upon entering the fort, Cornelius was summoned to the Tribune immediately.
As Cornelius and Flavius enter his office, Arturos turns to them and says, “The General has approved your plan! I myself do not like it. But I have to admit that to do your task, you have to get closer to the people. Very well! Flavius! You take command here. Let us get this over with. Assemble the cohort!”
“Is there no other way?” pleaded Flavius. “This may get you killed with a knife on your back!”
“I will be fine.” Turning to the Tribune, “Sir, I suggest we do this outside the west gate where the camp followers and those out working in the fields can better witness this.”
Trumpets blared throughout the fort. As the legionnaires assembled in formation, a crowd of field workers, some fishermen, a number of Arab traders and the camp followers gathered wondering what the commotion was. Some wondered if they were leaving for battle. Then the assembly stood at attention as Arturos rode slowly to the center followed by Cornelius and Flavius. Cornelius saw that Jacob and Trax were peering down from the fortress wall. The tribune then handed a scroll to Flavius to be read out loud. Showing a little reluctance, Flavius read out the reprimand and demotion orders. Cornelius heard Jacob’s gasp up in the wall. He expected that. But what he did not expect were the mutterings and disgruntled look on the assembly. Cornelius took a step forward and starting left to right he scanned the faces of the men with a disapproval glare written on his face. Slowly, the men’s muttering quieted down as Flavius finished reading the order. Then Arturos ordered Cornelius to surrender his helmet to him. Cornelius took off his helmet and presented to the tribune. Arturos then took out his dagger and stripped the white horse-hair plumes from the helmet. Then he dropped it on the ground making Cornelius pick up his plume less helmet. Cornelius placed his helmet back on and ceremoniously saluted him then marched back into the fort.
As Cornelius entered his quarters, Jacob and a teary eyed Trax were waiting. “How could they do this? The money came from your own strong box!” Exclaimed Jacob.
“What is done… is done,” smiled Cornelius. “Now, let us pack up and move my baggage to a room below. These quarters belong to Flavius now. Tomorrow, we go to Capernaum.”
The story continues on in my next post a week from now.
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