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The Golden Apple (ao3)
The Silver Branch, by Rosemary Sutcliff
Summary: Paulinus met his father only once. It was a day he never forgot. Written for [community profile] sutcliff_swap 2014

I knew myself the apple of my mother’s eye before ever I’d seen an apple tree. Her love spilled out in honey cakes and honeyed words, and I grew into a plump child, content and carefree. In my earliest memories I’m learning to wind a length of blanket about me and tuck it just so, till the wash-softened folds fall like the marble ones in the frieze at the forum. My toga, she called it, pinching my cheek and telling me how proud my father would be of his proper little Roman man when he came for us. She spent hours each day with her pins and her pots and her mirror, coiling her bright hair, painting her face white as a statue and arranging her bracelets on her arms. Her arms were exquisite, truly exquisite, and her skin smelled as sweet as her cakes. Today was always the day he would come.
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The Unlikely Spies (ao3)
The Silver Branch, by Rosemary Sutcliff
Summary: 'The work that Paulinus had died for went on.' But learning to do it without him took time. Written for [community profile] sutcliff_swap 2012.

A pale fat man haggling for wine on the waterfront, that was where the whole affair started. Near three weeks had passed since Paulinus had walked out into the glare of the torches, calm as a man taking a stroll to the baths. The house by the old theatre was not the only one in Portus Adurni that Allectus’s Mercenaries had burned, and when the Emperor went back to Londinium and his Mercenaries went with him, the trickle of men seeking passage to Gaul swelled like a dry mountain burn after a summer thunderstorm. The Berenice could not take them all, even had not her master Phaedrus been fearful of betrayal. So it was that Justin tramped the shores of Regnum Harbour, asking after work but never taking any, everywhere talking of the fierce August sun and the fiercer new taxes, and everywhere seeking another tradeship whose master had no love for the one who set those taxes.

[Now with added historical notes.]
Fiction in a range of rare fandoms

January 2016

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