And that was how it came about that, the next day, as the Lady Christiane Lauderdale and the Emperor's Paladin, Marcus Gaius Vulpecula were saying "cheerio," to Cornelius Laudius Claudius, fondly known as Umbraticus, as they prepared to set out for a few days exploration of the region, keeping well away from that part which was coterminous with the others still held by native tribes, many of them known to behave much like the armatole of later times, using sneaky and cowardly guerilla tactics instead of facing a Legion like men! she gave a gasp, and her hand flew to her mouth, trying to stuff the knuckles between her teeth to prevent the shriek which desperately longed to burst from her lips, and the two men turned to look in the direction of her gaze, and saw only two other members of the Legion crossing the Parade Ground; "who's that?" gasped Christiane, clutching Marcus' hand and squeezing it with all her might, to stop her from turning and running up the hills to find the legendary Cavern which might take her back to the last days she spent in Bowden – but then, remembering what had happened there immediately before her arrival her, she slightly relaxed her grip, for nothing on Earth would compel back there; "oh," laughed Umbraticus, winking at her, "that's just Paracelsus Priapus Mafarlanius, the Third Tribune we were talking about, and his slave Domus Dublidais, you'll never see one without the other, so if you avoid one, you will easily avoid the other," and Marcus looked intently at Christiane, who still held tight hold of him: "you look as if you have seen a ghost, are you alright?" and with his free arm, he pulled her into a comforting embrace, and she dabbed at her eyes with a corner of his cloak: "they look so alike two men I used to know, who I was afraid of, it scared me," and Marcus stroked her back, "well, they can't be, for they are not long arrived her, and will be gone ere we return, and anyway, with us here, he included Umbraticus, his friend, bosom buddy and lifelong pal, "no-one can cause you harm," and she smiled back into his frank, open face and, not caring if it was against some protocol about fraternising with the natives, kissed him full on the lips. which, she could feel, pleased him and she believed that her future lay with him, to be miscible in his embrace and feel their two bodies mingling as they became one; and then, with a last shake of Umbraticus' hand from Marcus, a peck on his cheek from Christiane, the two were quickly mounted, wheeled the horses towards the gate and had soon passed out of the great Camp; watched by two pairs of eyes in the shadow of the Quarter-Master's Stores; "so this is where you have been, Christiane," growled the Tribune named Priapus, in honour of his ever-standing organ, "it's more than five years, but I never forget a whore!" then he snapped his fingers and together the two entered the warehouse and got to work! at which point, Dear Reader – I am not going to patronise you with the epithet, Gentle, which I hope went out with Jane Austin – you will be wondering how on Earth Sir Parlane MacFarlane and his sidekick, Dominic Doubleday, the original villains of this story (never mind their descendants – well, Sir Parlane's actually, for despite his over-riding interest in, and enthusiasm for, fucking under-age children, Doubleday has never been able to have sex with anyone his own age and all of the descendants who bear his name, are actually the product of the loins of the MacFarlane baronet in whose company he always is, and the same genes which impregnated his wife Marie, have been passed down through generations and every wife the Doubledays have taken has been similarly impregnated by the then baronets, all obviously descended from Sir Parlane) have turned up in Roman Scotland, when they were last seen restored to the pink Dolls House in Washington DC after the débâcle caused to the forces of Laura Norder (first woman Director of the FBI) by President Duck Trumpet-Trousers' brilliant wheeze of winding the nation's clocks back 24 hours which made the warrants for arrest and seizure invalid because they were now dated a day in advance; well, in the contemporary narrative I haven't yet reached the fateful day when a huge and unexplained explosion rocked the city and the two miscreants were never found again, alive or dead, it was as if they had been vaporised, and for the following twenty or thirty years, conspiracy theorists have been wading through the Archives in an effort to prove that they were assassinated by, either Theresa Maybenot's MI6, Ginger Goldfish's Tartan Spies, or the CIA, all of whom were discomfited at Duck's intention to send his ignoble ancestor to Scotland as the US Ambassador, thus besmirching the reputation of the United States and returning MacFarlane to the Land of his Birth as an Untouchable, under Diplomatic Protection; well, many different versions abound, but the truth will soon be revealed if you Watch This Space! and of the pair themselves? they came to their senses in Ancient Rome, miraculously intact with just a few minor burns, scrapes and bruises, sprawled beside the bodies of two dead Roman soldiers – a Tribune and his slave, both of whom so closely resembled the Bad Men that after they had swapped clothes, they were taken for the real deal; indeed, the discovery that the Tribune was named Priapus in honour of his immense and ever-ready shaft, it only took a cursory glance at MacFarlane's to convince any Doubting Thomases that he was indeed Paracelsus Priapus Mafarlanius and his slave was Domus Dublidais; and that was five years ago in that particular epoch, so when they were despatched to Trimontium in Alba, well, it really felt to the pair that they had Come Home! and to the Master, it fulfilled an old story that he had been told by his Great-Grandmother, an old bat of a woman he hated, but on this particular occasion had listened to with ears pricked and a strange sense of Destiny coursing through his veins, for she told him that the MacFarlane Family and Clan were descended from a Roman who had deserted the Legion and been accepted among the indigenous people and that the Clan MacFarlane was the oldest in Scotland and by rights should have provided the Kings of Scotland for ten thousand years, which was when he had lost interest because it seemed just an ancient crone's drivelling, and yet, and yet, and yet here he was carrying the name Mafarlanius, which was obviously the origin of MacFarlane, and wondered if that meant he was destined to be his own ancestor? but imagine the unreconstructed debauchee’s surprise at seeing Christiane there, having last seen her in Ranulph Ochan'toshan's Bowden cottage in 2017 when she had been felled by a mighty blow to the head delivered by Dominic, just before the sirens of the Police she had called could be heard in the distance: really, he felt, as they began their intimidation of the Quarter-Master, you couldn't make it up!