When you search for me, my soul will be locked, forever in history–bound by the shackles of forgotten memories and a narrow perception of a glorious, golden time. However, in this physical world, “forever” is not a very long time. Just as life is only a temporary state of confinement, my imprisonment, in the stream of ancient times, shall be released in a new life–my glory will be restored and all life will re-live my Golden Era. For every fallen, great empire, a new one rises. In order for my soul to be resurrected and become the eminent Rome I once was, another great empire must fall. This is inevitable…but I digress, for I am not here to unveil the imminent future. In order for the success of my reincarnation, I must reveal the truths of my scantily perceived past. In the history books, no one will ever find the accounted perceptions of all the different kinds and class of people that flourished. One may find journals, great works, essays, or many other written texts with ideas, thoughts, lives and beliefs of only the victors. But what of the common folk or of the people who did not get a chance to win, or the ones who had a different destiny? What about the lovers, the fighters, the slaves, the survivors, and all of the people that could not make an impression on the fate of the future? Everyone, in a subsequent time, is left to forever be lost in the labyrinth of propaganda; infinitely winding through passages and turns, merging into one another, creating paths of precious memories, souls, and lost emotions, to oblivion. I am here to give voice to the ones that did not have a chance. I will aid those memories and souls, with a skein of thread, out of the labyrinth, so the souls of worlds to come can fully understand my glory through many different lenses of life. History will repeat itself, and I will reclaim my flame, but first, all must have a full view of the lost world.
Let us go back 2,054 years from today, during the rule of Augustus Caesar. His regime began 31 BC and ended 14 BC. The skies were no longer red from years of war and chaos; at a time when I could not yet handle my size and power. Augustus, unlike his uncle Julius, ultimately quieted my flame. He united the empire from England to Africa, and Syria to Spain. The young, but wise Caesar was, considerably, the first emperor and created a peaceful republic with a fair government and legislation. Thus, the Golden Era began and flourished for quite some time.
Everywhere, resplendent marble buildings shined a radiant light like that of the sun god Apollo. Only few stand to this day and, even though nowhere near as brilliant and blazing as the architecture was at that time, my structural countenance has inspired and will, forever, flourish in the buildings of today and to come. One can simply walk outside and see hints of my flame. Every person, from commoner to Caesar, had the chance to walk bare foot on the smooth, white, marble surfaces of the Colosseum, Pantheon, various bathhouses, and temples of worship. The only profound aspects, that draw the fine line between commoner and aristocrat, were the burial sites and rituals.
Some of the most transcendent marble edifices were works of art, rather than places of living and entertainment. There is one in particular; a fountain that was intimately nestled in the middle of the sacred grove, just outside of the main city’s walls. An untouched story whispers through the trees and ripples through the water of the river that ran through that grove; he very source of water that supplied the marble geyser. I am here to recite the chronicle of an immortal bond between two spirits; two souls who were lovers, fighters, slaves, and survivors; two beings that flourished in my flame and paint a veracious portrait of my glorious, Golden Era. They did not get a chance to write history or be written in history, for this was not their destiny, but their story is the epitome of significance to my past. For all the pain, war, and tyranny written pertaining to my past, their legend prevails.
One chilled, silent eve, when the stars were close enough to Earth’s night sky that one could reach for the loneliest astral body to hold and comfort as the rest danced slowly with solemn, a tragic fate had befallen a senator by the name of Atticus. His wife was fighting a very dangerous illness that could have only transpired from the gods. Atticus stayed by his wife all night until the voice of the winds whispered to him.
“Atticus. A cure is a necessity to save the one you love. The celestial garden has sent you your remedy from above. A flower awaits you just outside the kingdom gates. With her star shaped petals and her ambrosia within, only she can change your fate.”
He held his wife close to him, and assured her the pain would soon be gone forever. The senator grabbed his pallium and immediately slated for the outskirts of the city. During this period of time, all senators and wealthy beings were free to come through and leave the outer walls as they pleased, however all inanimate items were not allowed through unless approved by the Caesar himself. Atticus explained his situation to the guards and with compassion and understanding, let him go with the freedom to bring whatever he needed within the city. The distressed senator wandered with no direction for several hours. No site of any efflorescent or inflorescent; no sign of a blossoming soul, only lonely land of one crop that stretched further than the Mediterranean Sea and a deep, dark river that laid the foundation for my ancient civilization. Frozen tears of fear and melancholy filled Atticus’ eyes as he dropped to his knees and cried for help to the winds and dancing stars; the only forms of life he could feel.
“You bestow the endowment of life to me that I am not allowed to find?! Is there no hope? Is there no light? Is there truly no chance of saving my other half?” He screamed and begged for the divine to help. No third dimensional being could give aid.
“Not only do the stars give light to the night sky, they are your guardian, your guide.” The winds whispered to Atticus. He climbed from his sadness and hopelessness when he heard the winds and wiped the tears from his eyes to find a bright, ethereal, sphere of light slowly circling around him. He reached out to touch this orb, but it quickly darted in the opposite direction he was facing.
“Wait!” Atticus yelled to the sphere, but it did not stop to wait. Atticus followed the aerial lantern swiftly. He now had direction. He was no longer lost and after another hour of walking the ethereal orb slowly descended towards the ground. No tree or flower in sight, just an endless, ravaged dominion of wheat; the reason why Romans were the masters of trade. When the Earthen soil absorbed that ethereal sphere, a heliotropic bud in the shape of a star, sprouted beneath Atticus’ feet. Atticus bent down to the level of the flower so he could gently caress the baby plant and get a better understanding of the ineffable energy tha radiated from the juvenile floweret. As he was brushing his fingers against the plant, Atticus could see his very essence flow from the polestar of his body, through the tips of his fingers, to the star shaped bud, and circulate back to him. At that moment he finally understood the unexplainable. All of his senses were livened and immersed in a cosmic sea of wisdom. He could see the empyreal web of all life. He could feel the flow of energy from the cosmos to the Earth. He could hear the voices of Mother Nature. When his spirit harmonized with the sprout, radiant, full, exotic petals of mauve blossomed before him and unraveled a beautiful baby girl with dark, curly locks, and brown eyes as bright as the sun, but equally as dark as night. She began to cry, but not like the shrill cry of a baby when they are birthed. Her cry was not loud and devastating, but more of a yearning weep for warmth and guardianship–like the sob of a weeping willow in harsh winds.
“There, there little one.” Atticus affectionately said as he pulled off his pallium, picked her up, and wrapped her in his winged like arms.
“I shall call you Lucretia.” Atticus smiled and embraced his new daughter. The senator, still perturbed by his wife’s condition, plucked the flower from the ground and raced as fast as he could to his dying lover. Atticus made it back with no disturbances or getting lost. When he entered his domus with Lucretia in arms, a bitter tremor slowly clambered up his spine. He ran to the bedroom where his sick wife lay and felt her cold chest to see if her heart. He pressed his lips to her cold lips; no warm breath. Before Atticus could make the elixir, it was already too late. He held his lifeless wife together with his sleeping, infant daughter, mourning, pleading, screaming to the gods to bring her back, but all he heard in return was silence. The gods heard his cries, felt his pain, and mourned with him for as long as he did. Tears like fury, rained down his cheeks to the dry land of my kingdom, for weeks that slowly morphed into years. His only light, his little star in the darkness that enveloped his psyche, Lucretia, was his only source of happiness and life.
The flow of time is cruel in many ways. Time never waits for the weak and never waited for the senators pain to go away. As several years went by Atticus became stronger–his daughter, more intelligent and perceptive. An abundance of trees, flowers, and various other plants had grown into a forest just outside my kingdom’s walls. The skies became more clear, it stormed less frequent, and Atticus was diligently putting every ounce of his love, time, and energy into raising his daughter so she could carry out the family’s legacy. Lucretia was not an only child. The senator had three older sons, birthed from his groin and his deceased wife. Her father had copious love for her and, uncustomary to normal tradition back then in my culture, he held Lucretia above her older brothers; completely disregarding them. Lucretia was given the most excellent education there was at the time and had every Greek and Roman Classic memorized by the time she was five years old. When she was very little she would recite passages and sometimes whole repertoire, which eminently resonated with her spirit, from Homers epic poems, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Virgil’s Georgics, and De Rerum Natura. The senator would allow his daughter to sing and reenact the scenes of these passages in front of Augustus whenever he would hold a senate meeting outdoors in the forum. Every day Augustus held meeting outdoors, was perfect for a young girl to dance and sing those cherished classics. This is where and how our two immortal lovers meet.
Celsus was the scribe and historian for the senate. He did not grow up with the luxuries Lucretia was gifted with. His father was removed from the senate and exiled from the city, and his mother was of Celtic blood. Celsus was a very tall, elegant and warm hearted young man; around the age of 22. He had three desires: to travel the world, to write, and to come back to the main city. When he was very little, persistence was on his side and he would never give up on finding ways to travel and gain an education like that of a senator’s daughter. He worked very hard to claim a title for himself and climbed out of the pit of shadows that his father predisposed him to. Having jaunted the great west and east for several years, Celsus, unlike his father, was granted entrance back into the main city. His wisdom and kindness attracted Augusts and was soon given the title of historian and scribe. The first time he beheld Lucretia, he felt great love for her. Being only five years old, she was somewhat afraid of Celsus because of his abnormal height, and he would chase her around the forum pretending to be the scary monsters she thought he was, until he finally caught her in his warm embrace.
When Lucretia was 12 years old, Celsus asked the senator for her hand in marriage. The conservative sire sharply said no to the young scribe and threatened his life in exchange to never come see his daughter again. He did not like how erratic Celsus’ life was. He was not ready to let his daughter go and feared of losing her. Celsus was broken hearted, for he had true love for Lucretia, and only wanted to be with her. He would have done anything to be by her side for eternity. The sorrowful scribe left the senator’s home with heavy feet, tears in his eyes, and went walking outside of the cities walls in the sacred grove. Celsus was determined to find a way to be with Lucretia. Walking here cleared his mind. He meandered for hours until he came upon the fated fountain, concealed in the middle of the grove. This font of aqua was gold and had the deity Janus in the middle of it. The god was standing in his robe with his hand towards the water. The water rose to the tips of his fingers. Around the base of the fountain was an allegory written from Ovids Metamorphoses, and lion heads on all four sides of the fountain. He was riveted by this majestic font. This geyser reminded Celsus of the time he first heard that myth sung by Lucretia. At that moment he knew he had to bring her there to see it, just once.
When the moon came out and the creatures of the night serenaded the silent, sleeping trees, Celsus hurried back to the city with intent to bring Lucretia to the fountain. When he reached her home, he climbed up a tall, winding vine that led to her room, and crawled through her window where he saw his love peacefully sleeping like a fragile porcelain doll. Celsus ran his gentle hands through Lucretia’s long, wavy, brown hair and kissed her gently on her cheek, forehead and lips. He put his lips to her ear and whispered “I love you” passionately and she arose from her deep slumber, greeted by his alluring blue eyes and a soft kiss on the lips again. Celsus told her about the fountain and begged her to come with him just this one night. She was afraid of her father finding out, but he assured her that all would be well. Lucretia followed him out her window and to the sacred grove. He told Lucretia to close her eyes until they got there and held her hand securely with no intention of letting it go until they reached their destination. Once they got to the fountain Celsus told Lucretia to open her eyes. When she saw the fountain, overwhelming feelings of joy and amazement rushed into her heart. Tears flowed from her eyes, down her cheeks. The particular tale that was carved around the base of the fountain held a special place in Luctretia’s spirit. Celsus asked her to recite the story like she never had before. And she did. For many nights Celsus would come for his love and bring her back to the fountain. For many nights Lucretia waited under her blankets for the scribe to come for her. For many nights, the sacred grove cradled and concealed two souls that came together to truly live and love.