“Welcome to Pelusium,” the Tyrean captain said, “gateway to the Delta, last haven of Pompeius, and our final destination. Here I think our routes will part.”
“Yes,” the tall Roman by his side nodded. “I think we’ll stay on terra firma for a while.”
The captain looked over his shoulder, at the Aegyptian woman leaning on the gunwale, her face pale, and somewhat greenish. She glanced at him and grimaced. “A pity the sea doesn’t agree with your woman,” he said. “Or the other way around.”
“She’s not my woman.”
A shrug. “Anyway, I could use a strong man in my crew. Should you ever change your mind—”
“I will come and look for you,” the other said.
They shook their hands the Roman way, grabbing each other’s forearm, and then the big man went to collect his things, and to check how the seasick passenger was faring. The captain frowned at them, and then went back to more pressing things. The crewmen were folding and securing the sails. From the pier, dock-hands shouted greetings and directions, and the helmsman started manoeuvring to moor.
As soon as the gangway was deployed, and before the harbormaster could walk up the pier with his table and his writing tools, the Roman and the Aegyptian nodded a goodbye and disembarked. The captain followed them with his eyes until the Roman’s red headscarf and the woman’s white tunic did not disappear, swallowed in the bustle of the port.
Two Roman roads departed from Pelusium – one followed the coast west to Alexandria, the other struck south to Heliopolis and Memphis.
Aculeo & Amunet are back (and there’s two new stories in the works).