Excerpts from THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE Novel by Harry Whittington
I am going to focus on the Livius and Princess Xenia scenes. This side story was unfortunately edited from the movie version. I will share the best excepts from this novel on my blog, starting with this one. Lena Von Martens would have played this character in the movie. Due to editing time constraints her character (Helva) was given a much reduced screen time. In the original story, this barbarian Princess has an affair with Livius while he is patrolling the Northern Frontier. This story also focuses on the Germanic tribes and how Livius and Timonides try to incorporate them into the Roman way of life. Livius’s love affair with Xenia epitomizes this effort, romantically speaking.
Slightly on edge, Livius said. “There’s much for a Roman to think about these days, Commodus.”
Commodus laughed, but did not speak and they moved past the praetorium to the quaestorium behind it where was housed the quarters of the paymaster, and the prisoner’s pit.
Walking, Commodus glanced idly into the pit at the barbarian prisoners. Among them were blonde, blue eyed women and children, the Marcomanni. All about them war loot was piled high, arms, shields, helmets.
Commodus moved on, then slowed, looked intently at the two young blonde girls chained to stakes in the pit. Something about the debased position of the two women, bound and helpless, struck at Commodus, and he felt a quickening inside him. He seldom got enjoyment from ordinary pleasures any more, but when his object was helpless, or full of hatred, or fear, or rage, like the wild beasts in the arena, ah, then this was something else.
One of the girls straightened against the stake, standing as tall as she could. Her blue eyes were glacier-chilled, fixed on Commodus and Livius outside the barrier. The girl tilted her head, crying out defiantly, straight at them, but not speaking to them at all. “Oh, great god Wotan! God of the warriors…Today we have nothing to offer you.” She spat towards the prince and the tribune. “Tomorrow – your altar will be decorated with Roman heads!”
She pointed directly at Commodus and Livius. Commodus watched her, licking his mouth with anticipation.
“What are they like- these barbarian women? he said.
“I don’t know, ” Livius said.
Commodus laughed not believing him. “Shall we find out?” He took a drink from the wineskin, extending it, laughing, toward the two girls.
When Livius hesitated, Commodus spoke irritably, “What’s the matter? Have you lost your taste for that , too?”
Livius turned slightly, glancing back toward the praetorium in the sweated heat. A bitter shadow crossed his face. He took the wineskin from Commodus, drank deeply. He flung the wineskin from hi, emptied. Commodus smiled approvingly. The two barbarian girls stood straight against the stake, staring at them, eyes burning.
Commodus shouted: “Guard!”
A guard came running, his sandals battering the hard ground. Commodus pointed to the two women.”Bring them to us.”
The guard hesitated.
Commodus jerked his head around. “Well?”
“One of them, Highness, is – a princess.” “A barbarian princess!”
Commodus laughed. “So much better. Which one?”
The guard indicated the girl who had shouted defiantly. “The Princess Xenia, Highness. The other his her handmaid, Tauna.”
“Fine.” Commodus nodded. “Bring them to my quarters. Now.”