21. The Gods Can Show You Whatever They Want

Lucius hears about a rash of attacks near the railroad crossings, and he cannot stop talking about them. It bothers him when Inglorion insists that Brutus is an adult, an army veteran, and probably more prepared to defend himself and his property than they are. Clearly he expects Inglorion to check on Brutus, and won’t […]

2. At the Foot of the Black Mountain

At first, Inglorion felt the serene clarity that follows a long illness. As Inglorion lies there, in his son’s embrace, emotion and sensation well up within him. He says, “Where are we, Lucius? I don’t understand how you found me.” “What do you remember?” “Very little. It’s strange. I can’t recall where I’ve been recently. […]

1. Inglorion in the Elysian Fields

Inglorion emerges from a long, cold stillness. His limbs are cramped like he’s been lying in the same position for too long. He’s limp, drained and aching, as if he’s suffered a long bout of fever. Instead of the melancholy of influenza, he feels calm, distant. He rolls onto his side, lies there for a moment, then […]

30. Stay Cool, JP

The dregs of light and color drain from the clouds; the sky goes black. It’s a cloudy night, the dark of the moon. Just as Tereus is thinking of lighting a candle, he hears a whinny of terror from the stables. There’s a frantic equine scream, and then a chaos of sound: Paris smashing his […]

28. One Last Thing to Break

Soundtrack and Video: Frank Turner, “Recovery (Live)” Six weeks later, Tereus presses a note into Valeria’s palm. It says, “Meet me in the hayloft tonight, if you can.” Of course she makes her way to the barn, climbs the ladder into the hayloft. It doesn’t much matter what she does. It feels like her conduct […]

27. Feeling His Humiliation

Lucius Shelawn sits in the library, as he often does. If someone were to ask what he’s doing, he would say that he is feeling his humiliation. No one asks, so there’s no opportunity to say this, but it is what he thinks as he sits there, hour after hour. “Library” is a grand name […]

26. Sympathy and Longing

Fall sets in. Winter is coming. There’s little work on the farm. Tereus and Valeria divide it between themselves silently and efficiently. Lavinia cooks on occasion and watches the children. Camilla continues to help her mother. Valeria tries to teach Claudius his letters, but he’s restless and can’t be made to practice with his chalk […]

25. Collateral Damage

When she returns in the morning, Lucius is awake, and she can hear him and Tereus talking quietly, though she can’t make out the words. Their voices are almost indistinguishable — clear, sweet. As young men they could imitate each other flawlessly. Tereus would mimic Lucius’s precise, measured diplomat’s tones, and Lucius could easily adopt […]

24. The Furies Settle in the Rafters

When she rises at dawn, Lucius is still not there. She bathes and dresses hastily, checks on Camilla and Claudius, who are in trance. She finds Lucius in the library, curled up on the couch like a kitten. She feels real affection for him, the way he’s hunched one shoulder, wrapped his arms arounds himself.  […]

23. Reckless Greed

Tereus’s passion is fierce, painful. He’s always enjoyed sex, but for him it’s a casual pleasure, well below drinking and battle and smoking, and good food, for that matter. Now that he is deprived of other vices, his constant, punishing rounds of craving and satisfaction center on Valeria and the need to possess her. Valeria […]