You should pray for a sound mind in a sound body; for a stout heart that has no fear of death, and deems length of days the least of Nature's gifts; that can endure any kind of toil; that knows neither wrath nor desire, and thinks that the woes and hard labours of Hercules are better than the loves and the banquets and the down cushions of Sardanapalus. [Juvenal Satire X]
Marcus woke up to the sound of the Cockcrow bugle, as usual. Instinctively, he started to get up in his natural routine, but a sharp pain in his leg jarred him back to the reality of his new situation. Cursing, he lay back down on the bed - there was no reason to get up quickly, or really at all. He had automatically lit the oil lamp by his bed, but it did little to light the morning. It felt too late to need it, at home the sun would be well up into the sky by now, the day progressed already, but here it was only just getting started. He could hear Sassticca moving around in the kitchen, getting wood in to light the fire.
Marcus got out of the bed slowly, being careful to stand up using his good leg. However, putting weight through his bad leg hurt. He hissed through his teeth at the pain, although it was no worse than ever that morning. He slowly got dressed, grateful that he had convinced Stephanos to leave him alone in the mornings. Enough light was coming in to make out the shapes of everything in the room, so he blew out the lamp. Sitting back on the bed he slowly pulled his sandals on. He got up, retrieved his stick, and slowly limped across to the atrium, where Sassticca had already put out to breakfast. As was his habit, Uncle Aquila was nowhere to be seen; he usually ate his breakfast in his study, working on his history or writing letters.
Marcus picked up some of the fresh bread and honey, taking it over to his couch by the brazier. He could hear the rain drumming on the roof, the wet leaves being thrown about by the wind and beyond those that sounds of the city going about its day-to-day life. A good day to spend inside and the type of weather that made sense of Uncle Aquila had defied tradition and made his atrium enclosed. It would be unpleasant to be out on the march in this weather, Marcus tried to think, but even as the thought crossed his mind he dismissed it, longing for a reason and the ability to go out into it. He put down the food, slowly getting up and limped over to the door. He looked out over the courtyard and into the garden beyond. The ground looked wet, slippery, and uneven, but at that moment the temptation was too much.
He slowly and carefully crossed the courtyard into the garden. Marcus limped between the fruit trees, until he found a bench. It was half covered in wet leaves, which he wiped off before sitting down. He regretted not having retrieved his cloak, as between the wind and the rain it was unpleasantly cold to sit outside. The grey clouds and falling rain hid any view there might have been. After a few moments Marcus got up and walked back out to the garden, being very careful on the slippery grass. He ducked back into the atrium, sitting back down by the fire, shivering slightly. Autumn wasn't supposed to be like this - it should have days with a hint of cold in the mornings and evenings, with the sun so bright that it felt as if it could cut the air. It should smell of ripening fruit and rosemary. Here it just smelled wet, and even the apple trees in the garden could not overpower that - how fruit could ripen in this, Marcus had no idea.
He picked up the bread, knowing that if he did not eat he would only have Sassticca fussing over him more. After eating he opened up the scroll of Tacitus' history of Britain that Uncle Aquila had left him to read. He had read it as a part of his schooling, looking forward to serving in Britain - seeing the land that his father had been lost in. Now, reading it again seemed bittersweet. He put the scroll down and stared at the flames. He wished for something more productive to do, but couldn't think of anything. His focus up to this point in his life had been on making a success of it in the legions - learning physically to fight and mentally how to command - but none of this left him with much he could do as an invalid. He had never been idle much. At home there had always been things that needed doing on the farm, but here Uncle Aquila's house ran itself smoothly, and as he was a guest, even if there was something he could see to do, it would have been rude. Hunting, once a main pastime, was now closed to him. He had occasionally carved, but that would require getting up to fetch the necessary things or summoning one of the slaves to do so. Marcus considered it, but it did not seem worth the effort.
The day dragged by, ending in the usual ritual of playing draughts with his uncle, Marcus limped back to bed, tired and miserable.