CONTAINMENT PROJECT EVALUATION
DATA LOG 1
Name: Qar’Ek Da’qu
Administrative Ambit: Chief of historic evaluation of Containment Project facilities on SOL-00I
Date: 5th day of the fourth month, year 372 after the founding of the republic
The following selected entries were taken from a house in D. R. -44. While exploring the place we discovered several scrolls written by a boy called Publius Septimus Tertio. We believe them to be connected to diaries in D. E. 1920.
See also: D. E. 1920 > McAvin Auto > diary entries
Ides of September
762 a. u. c.
Salve. My name is Publius Septimus Tertio. My father gave me this scroll, as well as several others, as premature gift. I’m sixteen and will be a man in three months time. The bulla around my neck still speaks of my youthful innocence.
As you can tell by my name, I am the third child of my family. This consists of my father, Lucius Septimus, my mother Rhea Terrentia, my older sister, Lucia Septima, sixteen years, my older brother, Terrentius SIlvius, seventeen and named after my grandfather, Silivus Varo – and me.
Mons Petrae. That is the name of the city in which I live in. In which I was born in and in which I will most likely die. Circa 2000 people live in this city that lies somewhere in between Eboracum, Lindum and Mamucium. But no one really knows. We don’t have any large hills, valleys or gorges. Instead plenty of fields, forest and meadows inhabited by deer, moose and wolves.
Of course we’re not alone. There’s a Temple of Bacchus to the north, a Britonic village to the west- And in between that… stones. Mons Petrae – that is the name of the city in which I live in*. The name is derived from a circle of ancient stones; according to the Britons so ancient that now even they understand the meaning of the mysterious engravings on them.
Whatever. The first scroll is already completely full. Will give each scroll a number, so that I can sort them in the correct order.
* Memo to me: may I should read what I actually wrote, such that I don’t repeat myself in every other sentence. ________________
5th Nones of October
762 a. u. c.
I don’t know what to think about the day to come. According to my father, I am to visit the lupinary for the first time. And this, despite that fact that it’s still two months long, till I’ll be wearing the toga virilis for the first time. Whatever the case may be, I’ll meet this task with stoic confidence. May Jupiter still give me strength!
It wasn’t all that bad, despite my initial fears. I received a few coins from my father and was accompanied by a friend of the same. The guy basically just dropped me off as he had other business to attend to.
I looked about, peered at the frescos on the four walls around me. Maenads… nymphs… well-built, young men… he ladies’ specialties. All this was supposed to awaken the lust inside me. What was awoken though was my curiosity, for I found something strange on the table of the domina lupinaris. They were definitely coins, but not like the ones known to us Romans. If you’re not a Roman for some reason, then let me explain that each of our coins is made of but one type of metal. There is copper, silver, gold etc. The four that I found on the table though, were something different entirely. They were completely round, silver with a golden ring. I didn’t understand what was written on them, but I can write it down, as I had memorised it well: T-W-O P-O-U-N-D-S. I don’t know what it means. I only know one thing: it’s definitely not Roman!
Yet I had apparently stared at the money for so long that I jolted when the domina lupinaris addressed me. “Hey, what are you doing?!” she called and I just stared at her as she was Medusa incarnate. My first reflex was to cut and run, but then I remembered my stoic upbringing, stood my ground and laid my intentions bare.
She nodded, vanished and soon came back with three young women and two young men. Being put on the spot, I chose a young Nubian girl and went to her room.
You want to know, how it was? Well, as a stoic I’ll just say that I did what was expected of me.
By the way, I didn’t question the lady of the house about the mysterious coins. Neither did I question the man leaving the lupinary before me.
Pridie of November
762 a. u. c.
A few weeks had passed since my entry in scroll four. I can hardly believe I’ve written NINE rolls thus far – on both sides, mind you! Have asked father to buy me ten more such that I can record everything.
Since my day at the lupinary I asked myself, where I had actually seen, what I had seen. I convinced myself that it had only been my nervousness at the time and that the gods were playing tricks on me. That I had seen things that didn’t exist. But no, I’m not crazy. It happened again.
Today is the festival of Samhain, a festival dedicated to one of the deities of the nearby Britonic village. According to their mythology this is the night where the human world and the world of the ancestors and ghosts are closes to each other and when one can get in contact with the latter.
Whether that works with us Romans as well?
Anyway, at dawn a great march of musicians, dancers and priests is formed. It winds its way from the village directly through Mons Petrae before moving on to the ancient stones where the villagers give sacrifice for the coming years.
The best thing about it? Barrels full of alcohol!
Apart from sweets and a few small gifts there are copious amounts of alcohol to be consumed! I myself don’t drink a lot (stoic, remember?), but it is interesting observing how even a strict Catonian like Gaius Cornelius gets stinking drunk off wine and beer each year.
But this year it was different. Not only because I’ll be a man in ten days time, but also because I now know that I’m not crazy. I noticed it when standing close to the forum together with my mother and sister, watching the parade consisting of masked and costumed devotees of this foreign mythology. My gaze wandered from time to time from the actual happening and I caught myself simply staring at random people for several moments.
Until I saw her: the woman in the blue dress and the long, curly black hair. No, that wasn’t the strange thing about her. What I noticed was a piece of jewelry on her right hand. What am I saying, hand? She had it around her wrist. I walked a few steps toward her while trying to appear as casual as possible. She apparently hadn’t noticed me yet and thus I could risk a few more gazes toward her piece. It had a golden band and in the centre of it something I can only describe as a large eye. However, it had three large and broad needles on it which, on closer inspection, even moved!
Juno Inferna, damn it! Yes, it WAS dusk and YES, I did have a little bit of wine to get into a festive mood! But Hades may steal my coins from me if I lie! I KNOW what saw!
Even if assume that this kind of apparatus was designed by a Roman – what does it do? What’s the point of it all? Sadly I couldn’t question the woman about it as she walked away from me as soon she saw what I was staring at. I tried following her, but lost her in the alley maze of the city offside the forum, which is why I returned back to the parade.
The festivities have ended and now I’m beginning to feel the alcohol rushing to my head. However, I want to use the last free spaces on this scroll to ponder my discovery. Father frequently tells me that I’m gifted with a great sense of perception and skill of observation. But do I have the skill to see things that either don’t exist or that I’m dreaming up?
Maybe my manly, grown-up self will have more answers in the days to come.
5th Ides of November
762 a. u. c.
Today was the big day. I was awoken by my brother who found it absolutely hilarious to put a wooden penis in front of my face.
Whatever. I got dressed and joined my parents, as well as Septima and her future husband, Marius Decimus. We had breakfast, during which Marius and my father reminded me of the duties of a Roman citizen.
We then went to the only large temple this town has where my father sacrificed a white bull in honor of Jupiter which was eaten at midday. Take a wild guess which two… manly parts I was allowed to eat. The feast was followed by a binge. And what a binge it was! It’s a miracle I can even remember anything!
By the way: I haven’t noticed anything mysterious the entire day. Maybe it had just been my imagination. ________________
8th Calends of December
762 a. u. c.
Finally! Finally, I have proof that I’m not crazy and that I’m not imagining all this! But… let’s start at the beginning of this eventful day, shall we?
I am now a man. And as such, I am in want of a wife. And for me there is but one: Darya from the afore mentioned, Britonic village. She’s the daughter of Tela, one of the warriors and we’ve know each other since childhood. Back then it was mere friendship, but now… well, it’s more – at least for me. I can’t get seem to get her out of my head for the past two years. Her long, red hair, her cute freckles, her beautiful, well-proportioned body…
But, I digress. I thus put on my toga virils underneath a thick blanket on this day, took my father’s horse and rode down the street in the wintry cold, watching my breath as it escaped my mouth.
It didn’t take me long to reach the village and be greeted by Tela. I immediately made it plain, why I was there. I think it’s not an understatement to say that they were all pretty astonished. Most of all Darya, but I believe she harbours the same feelings for me as I do for her. Either way, Tela then gave me a long talk about how I would not only marry into the family, but also the tribe, should it really come to marriage. Yet he didn’t seem estranged to the idea in general and thus sent me back to my father saying he would contact the latter as soon as possible.
Halfway back to the city though I stopped for a break. I hadn’t eaten anything since morning and therefore sat down next to one of the gravestones along the road. If you’ve read scroll twelve, then you’ll recall me not being sure, whether I had only imagined those mysterious things.
Now I know that it’s true! How so? I found something while eating. At first I thought it was merely an old twig, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be something completely different!
I grabbed it, picked it up and took a close look at it. The thing looked like a simple stylus, yet didn’t have a tip at first. That appeared only after I accidentally twisted the top of the apparatus. My instincts told me to take it apart to see how it functioned. But the realist in me was of the opinion to leave, as it was, lest I destroyed it entirely.
At first, I also believed it to be made of some finely polished wood or stone. But when I accidentally, and quite easily, broke off the handle, I realised it was made from a material totally foreign to us Romans.
Even more astounding was the fact that a blue… liquid issued out of it and followed the movements of the tip when I held it against my skin.
I don’t know where this thing comes from. It’s only important that I now have proof that I’m not crazy! The coins and the jewelry could be ascribed to my anxiety and the wine. But this finding… it means that something fishy’s going on here.
4th Ides of December
762 a. u. c.
Today was the big day. Well, for Septima, not for me. Today, she was finally married to Marius Decimus, a baker. Free bread for the family, then? Whatever. Fact is that the festivities were overshadowed by a scandalous occurrence. One of our slaves had tried to flee the city using the cloaca. Mons Petrae has a cloaca? Since when? Joking, of course it has one.
How they got him, you may ask? This useless animal got lost and instead of popping out of a gully in Eboracum, popped out of the gully in the centre of the forum.
I was present and watched as my father tormented the guy mercilessly with the whip. The dog wailed and cried and kept stammering about the same, senseless things. Of subterranean tunnels made of iron, of torches as bright as the sun. Of long, nonsensical numbers and strange markings on and beside doors and ladders made of iron.
I’ve seen quite a few things in this city. The coins… the jewelry… the mysterious stylus I’m using to write these lines. I therefore made a decision and convinced my father to hand me the whip. I then walked around the doomed, looked directly into his blood-covered face and asked him one question: “From where did you enter?”
"Centre," he replied after some delay.
'Centre?' Was he talking about the forum? That couldn’t be right. They apprehended him from there and surely someone would’ve noticed a slave disappearing into the cloaca. Angry and upset at the fact that this didn’t make a lick of sense I again went behind and beat him thrice as hard as I possibly could. His blood still partially clings to my face and my hair.
18th Calends of January
762 a. u. c.
'Centre' – what by Vulcan’s dick is that supposed to mean? This question has been nagging me for the past five, fucking days!
He couldn’t have meant the forum. Read scroll twenty for further information on that. Was he talking about the ‘centre’ of the Britonic village? That can’t be right either, as its ‘centre’ is dominated by a giant menhir – not a gully. I hope Minerva sends me a sign as soon as possible. Because I have no fucking clue!
PS: I’m catching myself more and more fidgeting around with the head of the stylus while drowned in my thoughts. Let’s hope it doesn’t become a bad habit of mine!
I have a clue what this… animal could’ve meant by ‘centre’. In scroll one I had mentioned that aside from the village there are two other places: The Temple of Bacchus and the ancient stone circle. Two completely straight roads lead from the forum – in towards the temple and another towards the village. Hence, we’re talking about a right triangle when you connect village and forum, temple and forum and village and temple.
If you then connect the inner corners with the middle of the opposing lines you be in the ‘centre’ of the triangle – the ancient stone circle. You think I’m sounding absolutely insane? Well, I can assure you that you need the same amount of time from the forum to the stone circle as you do from the menhir to the stone circle.
13th Calends of January
762 a. u. c.
On this day, Tela came to us together with Darya and voiced his agreement to marriage. Shortly after that, a few contracts were signed – the ceremony was soon to follow. I though about showing the mysterious stylus to my new wife. But I dropped that notion when I remembered that Drogo was in town today.
Drogo is a cross-country trader who travels between Eboracum and Mamucium every month and does a pit-stop in Mons Petrae to do business. Incidentally, he tells what happens in the great, wide world.
This was how I (or more accurately, my parents) heard of the assassination attempt on Caesar who had almost been murdered in the curia, if it hadn’t been for Brutus of the Junii, who had thrown himself onto Caesar and thus, saved the republic.
We also heard of the discovery of a small island a few days west of Hibernia and he was the one who informed us of the failed Germanic uprising a few months earlier.
If Drogo knows more about the mysterious stylus, I’ll ask him.
I showed Drogo the mysterious stylus today and asked him if he knew what it was. But I wasn’t prepared for his reaction, to be honest; he gave me a stern look and asked me to hand out the stylus to him. And since I was a little bit intimidated by him and since I didn’t want to make a scene in the middle of the forum, I did so. He quickly tucked it underneath his clothes and spoke: “This is a dangerous thing you’ve found there. It’s extremely powerful and one may incur a terrible curse when used wrong!”
Now, admittedly, even the most educated of Romans regard any sort of curse with great seriousness. But I guess I’m probably cursed myself now anyway, given that I used it to write scroll twenty. Thus, Drogo’s warning was in vain. But I also don’t believe it to be an object holding great magical powers, but rather an apparatus of a culture foreign to us Romans.
Whatever the case may be, it’s Drogo’s loss. I’ll stick to my conjecture I espoused in scroll twenty‑one. The Saturnalia will begin in five days time. A time of merriment and amusement – and also a time where alcohol flows like water down a hill. Which is why I’ll suspect no one noticing my short leave of absence.
9th Calends of January
762 a. u. c.
The Saturnalia are in full swing. I’ve prepared well for my upcoming expedition, getting a thick blanket against the cold and collecting a few torches, should I really have to go underground. Of course, I also took with me three scrolls in order to record everything I would experience. I didn’t involve Darya into my plan directly, yet asked Tela for permission to visit the holy site. He replied that – since I was basically family now – I could visit the holy site as often as I wanted to.
At the break of dawn, I set out on my journey. I rode down the road leading to the village on an expendable horse and then road down the path leading to the sacred stones. Upon reaching the sacred boundary, which was implied to me by decorated animal skulls and other barbaric trinkets, I got off the horse and went on my way in the blistering cold.
It took a while for me to reach the stones and they were completely different from what I had imagined them to be. At first, I had imagined them to all look like the menhir down in the village. But they were all thin, twice as tall as a man and evidently hewn into their present form.
And the entrance to the mysterious iron tunnels? Nowhere to be seen! I swear on the Black Stone! I searched and searched. I walked around the circle, took several thorough glances at the central altar where the villagers conduct their sacrifices. Nothing. Absolutely nothing! I was about to end it all and walk back to my horse when I noticed something interesting. Two of the stones stood father apart then the rest and after taking a closer look, I noticed a parallel row of small stones leading from the large stones into the deep, dark forest.
I didn’t think twice about it and followed the row of stones toward… a tomb! Yes, it was a large, house-like tomb! The walls were made of natural, grey rock, built like a rotunda. It had a roof which once most likely was made of wood, but what now most likely overgrown and now covered by a thick blanket of snow. I cautiously crept toward the entrance and pulled out my gladius in fear of wolves – you never know!
But what I found weren’t wolves, but merely a tomb – ordained with the same, ancient decorations also found on the large stones. Circles, spirals, depictions of animals and the such like – all coloured in a bright shade of sky blue.
9th Calends of January
762 a. u. c.
Sorry for recording my experiences on two separate scrolls. Like I said, I entered the round tomb holding a torch which I tediously lit outside of it. The first thing that caught my attention, were the many alcoves containing shrouded bodies – every shroud painted in the same, light blue colour. I explored the area and took a look at the grave goods. Ancient jewelry made of animal bones, pearls made of polished stone as well as numerous urns and pots filled with all sorts of stuff.
I grabbed one of the pots out of sheer curiosity to see what was in it. The first thing I noticed was that it didn’t even feel like a ceramic pot. What was more remarkable though: when I tried juggling Pot and torch, the former fell out of my hand – but it didn’t break! There was only a dull thud as the pot hit the ground of the tomb. What was going on here?!
But I didn’t think about it at first and instead focused on my prime objective: finding the entrance to the mysterious, iron tunnels. At first, it appeared I was in for another let-down, just as with the large stones. This changed though when I sat down next to the central altar in order to eat my bread which I also packed that day. I realised that the sound of my gladius was distinctly different from the sound of my torch when I laid the former directly in front of the altar, the latter somewhat aside from it. It sounded… hollower. An underground tunnel?
I jolted to my feet, used my blanket to brush away the dirt and dead leaves which had been blown in through the seasons. It was also then that I noticed that both must’ve been placed there on purpose as there was nothing of the sort anywhere else in the tomb. I studied the ground in front of the altar with great care until I spotted a round handle made of iron. My heart started pounding faster and harder. If this useless slave had been here not so long ago, then the handle should still function.
I bent down and let my fingers run over the surface of the handle. It didn’t feel rough or aged, quite the contrary. It almost appeared to me, as if this handle was used rather frequently. I lost no time and at first pulled lightly at it, pulled harder when it didn’t budge, causing a hatch to open before me just like a cellar. I grabbed my torch and tossed it down the hole in front of me to see how deep it was.
Let’s just say: it was deep, very deep. Though not deep enough for me to lose track of the torch now lying on the ground.
I quickly pulled the blanket over me, girded my gladius and climbed down the iron ladder described by the slave. ________________
9th Calends of January
762 a. u. c.
It was exactly as the slave had described during his deserved punishment! It took me a long, long, long while before reaching the bottom and once I stood on solid ground, I was immediately greeted by the afore described torches as bright as the sun hanging on every wall. I hence put down my torch and went up to one of the bright lights to inspect it more closely. Yet I learned that theses lights aren’t just bad for your eyes, but for your skin as well, as the light didn’t just blind me for a short while, but also burned me when I tried to touch one of them.
Furthermore, I also realised what the slave had meant by those nonsensical numbers and mysterious markings when looking at the ladder I had climbed down. To the right it read: D.R.-44 HLL. Five hundred R -44 H Fifty-Fifty. What by Bacchus’ ass does that even mean?! Oh well, whatever. I looked about and since I was already here, decided to go off exploring.
Yet upon walking further and further – my gladius ready in order to defend myself – I quickly realised that this was no cloaca! And above that: nothing Roman! Here and there, I stumbled upon more ladders with strange markings next to them, upon strange devices such as a one-man-cart with two wheels with a ‘back-cart’ being tied to the rear of it. Yet the most bewildering thing I found was a strange, round creature, similar to a turtle, scuttling across the floor, giving off a faint humming noise. Since I’ve always wanted a turtle for a pet, I tried baiting it, but the animal didn’t even notice me. I therefore found it appropriate to follow the strange creature farther and farther down the tunnels.
However, this led to me getting completely lost, unable to find the ladder from whence I came. Fear crept inside of me. I prayed to Jupiter, Minerva, as well as countless other deities while wandering aimlessly through the tunnels in search for another ladder. And after what seemed like an eternity, I found another door. And this one also had markings next to it, just as there was beside the one I came from: D.E. 1920 RD. As I mentioned before, I have no idea what it means. I only knew that it was a way out of here. A way out of this… hole. I thus tucked my gladius away, gripped the lowest rundle and climbed upward.
Written by Thedarkflintstone
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