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12 Books in 12 Months

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praetorianguard

First Draft of Caligula’s Blog Complete!

In university, I had a habit of working on essays right up until the deadline, then racing along to the history department to hand in essays right as they were being removed from the box.  It would appear that, certainly when I am unemployed, I have retained this tendency, for not twenty minutes ago, right before midnight on January 31st 2011, I bashed out the last few posts of Caligula’s Blog.  I’ve written 5905 words today, and I wouldn’t advise doing that much in one sitting because now my back really hurts!

The draft is very raw, and falls short of my 50k word target, weighing in at only 33, 173 words.  However, given that I knew nothing whatsoever about the man on the 1st of the month, and most diary style books are shorter than 50k, I regard this as being fundamentally OK.  We’ll see how that changes when I come to look over it again – April at the very earliest!

41 AD
January 24th

I dreamed last night I was standing in heaven, near the throne of Jupiter.  It was very beautiful and humbling.  I was about to say something, when Jupiter gave me a push with the big toe of his right foot, and I fell right on my face.  When I woke up it turned out I had fallen out of bed, so that’s probably why that happened in the dream.

Doesn’t feel like a great start to the day, really.  Still, things can only get better now that I’m awake!  Perhaps I’ll sacrifice a couple of white bulls to the big man this afternoon though, just to be on the safe side.

Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus – or Caligula to you and me – was assassinated later that day by his own men.  His wife, Milonia Caesonia, and infant daughter Julia Drusilla were killed by members of the Praetorian Guard a few hours later.  He was succeeded by Derek Jacobi.

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An excerpt

Currently working my way through the possible torture of the many people involved in plots to kill Caligula.

In this entry the praetorian guard have already questioned and tortured the beautiful actress Quintilia, but she’s given them nothing.  The next step has been to bring in the guy she’s sleeping with, Quintus Pomponius.

Pomponius knows something, but he’s not the main guy.  No huge shock, I realise – he’s hardly got the makings of a criminal mastermind.

Still, I subjected him to a little light torture, mainly on the grounds it’s his fault that poor Quintilia is in such a state.  He should never have involved her in this mess.  I’d never use Caesonia in such a way.  Or I hope I wouldn’t, at least.

Anyway, we ended up giving him a full pardon, at which point he kissed my feet in thanks.  It was actually gross, by the way.  I’m going to have to burn these sandals; the slobber of sycophants and traitors is notoriously impossible to remove.  I’m also making sure Quintilia is given compensation money, hopefully enough that she can remove herself from Pomponius’s company as soon as possible.  I do hope she isn’t in love with the man, he’s so not worth it.

The doctors say she may never act again, certainly not in the ‘beautiful heroine’ role.  Her nose is practically on the other side of her face now.  And yet, she seems to bear Cassius Chaera no ill will.  Towards the end of her interrogation she even gave him a little smile, and I’m absolutely positive it wasn’t a triumphant one.  It just seemed warm and kind.  Reassuring, even.  Surely she ought to be furious with him for destroying her livelihood with a few well-aimed blows?

There again, maybe she’s just biding her time.  Her talent for acting has fooled me before.

To fill you in, Cassius Chaera was one of the guards who actually assassinated our hero not long after.  Quintilia was supposed to have made a sign to indicate to him whilst she was being tortured that she wouldn’t give them away.  That’s dedication to the cause.

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