"I haven’t heard your name, friend; it is my pleasure to meet you, although the circumstances of our encounter are so unpleasant. Are you perhaps a Syrian? I wonder how well the Faith holds in that land, in these dark days.
Forgive me, I am a simple man unaccustomed to the people of the East. It is a joy to converse with a tradesman; you must have many tales to tell. As for myself, I was also a man of business – once, I owned a vineyard in Latium, on the sea-coast south of the Eternal City, Rome. There, the warm sun and cool rain nourished the land, and the earth fed the vines, and their nectar was exquisite; like a modern-day Falernian, it flowed into many a fine country house and pooled, like precious amber, in the chalices of wealthy men’s tables. Likewise, beaten gold sovereigns flowed back to our humble farm.
As for our common captivity, let me say only this: that I was brought low by my love for a woman, the wife of a powerful man, and lost myself in immorality and lust; like Icarus, I flew too high and was consumed in the flames of the sun. I’m sure you know this story.
I am a simple man, I say; I like honest folk, faithful servants, trustworthy partners in business, and good companions to share my evening meal; I’ve no great love for war. The victor must destroy those he has triumphed over – burn their houses, despoil the virtue of their women, kill the citizens or take them as slaves. How can it be right to stain the canvas of the Lord with crimson, and fill his earthly temple with the stink of blood?
I hope only that those who hold power show mercy to those beneath them, and pray that rightful judgement be passed on all men’s souls.
It is good to hear your voice, brother, in this time."
[I was typing this for a while before Gia’s announcement.]