Centurion Drusillus, Marcus's second in command at Isca Dumnoniorum, was promoted after the siege in which Marcus was injured, and posted to to Borcovicus, on the Wall - twenty days march from his unofficial Isca Dumnoniorum family. Here are his letters home - including one where he mentions encountering his old Commander again. Drusillus was promoted to centurion from the ranks, so although he can read and write, he's not exactly an icon of literary style.
My dear Lucilia
I hope you can find someone to read this letter to you. I am miserably sorry to write this, but I must travel North at once and will not be able to visit you before I go.
The fact of the matter is that I have been promoted and have urgent orders to take up my post in the North immediately. I am leaving now, the courier is waiting while I write this, and my posting is twenty days away, so I will not get enough leave to be able to visit.
Lucilia, I never expected promotion. You know I had hoped to take up my praemia in Britain and settle with you in Dumnonia when my time with the Eagles was over. But the Eagles have been good to me, and I cannot refuse this call.
Now I must go, and I can only hope that you can forgive me. Know that I will think of you and the little one every day. If you can find a letter writer and wish to write to me, a letter directed to Borcovicus will find me
A very sad Drusillus
Your letter has made me so happy. I had not dared to hope you would be willing to leave your family and travel to the Wall for me, or that your brother would agree to it.
I will have to save some of my pay before I can send you the money for the journey, but I will do so as quickly as I can. For a wonder, my pay is not in arrears just now. I think this is the first time I can remember being paid on time.
I am settling in well here at Borcovicus and am in charge of a good bunch of lads. They are a little wild sometimes but you will remember I am used to that.
The letter writer did a fine job and yes, I could read it all, do not worry! Give the little one my love.
A very happy Drusillus
I am sorry to hear that things are not going well for your friends at Isca Dumnoniorum, but happy to hear that you and the little one are doing well. It always goes hard with the women and the children, the winter after an uprising.
I have written to the new Commander, Cassius, and asked him to make sure you are looked after. If you have any more problems with the garrison, please go and ask him for help and show him this letter.
Thank you for your letter and for the socks. It is horribly cold up here on the Wall after the warm of Dumnonia so I do need them. Can you find some more underpants like the ones you sent last time and send them to me? They are lovely and warm.
Do you remember my old Commander, Flavius Aquila? He was the one who used to go hunting with your cousin’s husband Cradoc and drove his chariot. You told me Cradoc was sure he would fall off, but he didn’t. Do you remember how young Vinna tried so hard to seduce him? I don’t think he even noticed her, poor girl.
This Aquila was injured during the siege, you remember, and was invalided out. I didn’t expect to see him again. He was one of these very Roman Romans, and an equestrian too, I thought he’d gone home to Rome.
Then he turned up here three days ago, travelling South from beyond the Wall! Thin as a stick, with wild hair and a scrubby little beard, leaning on some wild-eyed Brigantes lad. I almost didn’t recognise him. Apparently he had been carrying out some secret mission for Rome in the wild lands of the North. It is all very secret so you must wait till you get here and I will tell you about it.
Rather him than me: when I retire I shall be putting down my sword for good.
I am still saving my pay as I promised and in the spring I will be able to send for you and little Sabia. I have my eye on a nice little house for you in the vicus, right under the shelter of the Wall. It catches the morning sun. I thought you would like that. It is nice and close so I can visit you when I am off duty.
There is a market here in the vicus so don’t worry about that. You will be able to go shopping for the things you want for the house when you get here. But I am sending some money with this letter so you can get the striped blankets you mentioned, and the dinner set in Aquae Sulis like you wanted.
your beloved Drusillus
(in The Eagle movie, Centurion Drusillus is renamed Lutorius Drusillus Salinator. This annoys me strangely, as I have a clear mental vision of both Drusillus and Lutorius, who are quite different: I wish they'd just left the Lutorius out.).
Men Marched to the River
After the battle with the Muddy Seal People, the last survivors of the Ninth retreated to a roundhouse for a well-earned pint, and made up a song to celebrate their general awesomeness. Some of them were Celts, and some of them were originally Saxon recruits from the Rhine, so what they ended up with was sort of a little bit Beowulf and a little bit Y Goddodin.
(In case anyone is wondering why I post these sorts of things complete in several different places rather than linking, it's because that way I cannot easily do any real analysis of how many people read them. I feel this is good for my mental health. )