Chapter LV - Somnia - et Diem in Urbe

 'Dreams -and a Day in the City'
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After a restless night for some - Markos, Patroclus, Novius and the 'boys' rise early for a morning in the city....and a surprise visit to the Ludi in the Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus by the Acropolis


'Dreams' - After speaking to Markos, Novius found that he was unable to sleep.
For a short while a walked aimlessly round the gardens in the moonlight.
Then, seeing Faunus obviously deep in thought with Glaux, Novius decided that rather than risking another series of complex explanations from Faunus, he would go to the villa library, and search among the many hundreds of scrolls for more information on some of the disturbing things that Faunus has spoken about.
Meanwhile, Adonios had gone to his room - intending to sleep.
He, like Archos, was now sleeping alone.
It seemed that Markos and Patroclus, now that Adonios and Archos were no longer slaves, preferred to use the slave-boys of the villa for their 'amusement'.
It seemed that for someone brought up as a Roman, sex was more alluring if the partner was in some sense 'unwilling', but unable to refuse - and sex that was between 'equals' was not so attractive.
So Adonios tried to drift off to sleep - but his thoughts kept returning to the strange ideas that Faunus had been describing over the evening 'cena' in the triclinium.
At the same time odd images of gladiators and wrestlers invaded his thoughts from previous times in the arena at  Baiae - thoughts possibly brought to the surface by Markos' mention of Roman Games at the Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus.
Emanations of the ONE
Soon, however, other images manifested themselves.....
swirling other worldly images of the 'ONE' - whatever that might be, and strange visions of the emanations of the Æons merged with imagined and frightening images of the Demiurge.
Sometimes Adonios imagined the Demiurge as a rather 'seedy' version of the Etruscan God of the underworld and Death - 'Charon'.
The Demiurge - in Adonios' Dream
But other images seemed to reveal the spoiled Archon as an avatar of an enthroned Zeus, or Jupiter, except that the 'fatherly', bearded face was replaced by an appalling head that was halfway between that of a reptile, or a huge insect.
And through all these strange images Plato and Socrates strolled through the Agora in Athens, carefully balancing on their outstretched palms tiny representation of the 'Forms', which would rotate vaguely, and then transform into a further forms before the first had fully materialised.
Perfection of the Cube - Platonic Form
Council of the Æons
And then the Æons emerged - in some meeting or Council - held in the magnificent halls of Olympus.
They were seemingly debating, in the presence of Glaux and Faunus, the fates of some humans - who they referred to as Markos,  Patroclus, Archos and Adonios.
And like an echoing voice, Adonios repeatedly heard his own question resounding...."Faunus....who or what are you.... really ?...."
And there was no answer...
And finally the dreams turned into a nightmare as a vision of cataclysmic destruction emerged, with Glaux, seemingly unharmed, soaring over the appalling holocaust.

Adonios' Nightmare

'Morning' - Adonios suddenly woke up with a start.
It was morning - bright and sunny - and what he thought had been the ominous noise of a horrific apocalypse was, in fact, just the slamming of a door by one of the villa slaves, and Patroclus responding by loudly swearing, as he warned the boy not to make so much noise.
Adonios was still trembling, remembering his dreams of the Demiurge and the fiery apocalypse.
 So what did it all that dreaming mean ? - if anything.
Adonios would have liked to ask Faunus, but he had probably disappeared, as he always seem to do at critical moments.
Main Garden Terrace - Villa Athena
Adonios got up and decided to have a swim in the large pool in the garden closest to the villa,
(as the Romans and Greeks didn't have soap, going for a swim in clean water was as good a way as any to get washed).
He could feel, as he walked to the pool, that already the grey and white marble paving was warming in the morning sun.
After his dream, Adonios could not help but look round to see if everything was 'normal' - and, much to his relief, it was - apparently.
The Archons, Æons, odd Platonic forms, weird visions of the Demiurge and the conflagration had all been as nothing - and just feverish thoughts and dreaming brought on by Faunus' all too graphic talk.
So Adonios had his morning swim, and then went to the triclinium for breakfast.
Now Markos had it all planned - a day out in the city - and he explained what was to happen as they all gathered for the first meal of the day
First a brisk walk into the city centre - then a session at Markos' old gymnasion - then lunch - then some relaxing shopping - finally a visit to the Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus for some afternoon gladiator fights.
Novius, not surprisingly, declined to come, suggesting, quite rightly, that it was a young man's 'day out'.
He was going to stay in the library, and go through some of Plato's scrolls, to follow up what Faunus had been talking about the previous day.
Faunus was no where to be seen, but Glaux was sleepily sunning himself on a tree branch near the garden terrace - so presumably he was not coming either.
And two slave-boys had been 'volunteered' by Heliodorus to do the guarding of clothes in the gymnasion, and the fetching and carrying, as needed, during the shopping.

Athenian Street Scene - Agora
'A Walk in the City' - So there was no carriage - but instead an opportunity to walk in the street.
What Adonios noticed was that Patroclus had his arm round Archos' shoulder - the first time that Adonios had ever seen him do this in public - and to look at them they certainly looked like brothers......and was that what Patroclus was finally feeling - after all that time ?
So perhaps Faunus' 'magic' was finally working, and perhaps Patroclus was finally 'finding himself' - as Faunus put it.
After all....Markos, now back to his old name...was looking so relaxed, and so much younger, and was walking closely beside Adonios - not as 'Dominus and slave', but as friends - at last.
But Adonios  wondered - would this last once they had left Athens, and returned to Baiae (and Terentius), and also maybe Rome..... or would Markos return to his old, distant and disturbed self  ?
And so, despite Adonios' speculations, they arrived at the gymnasion - and who should they meet but Faunus.
"Good morning Markos !", Faunus said in his perfect, beautiful Greek.
"It's about time you and Patroclus decided to do some proper exercise.
Your both getting flabby from spending too much time in your bunks on the voyage here, and from all the pointless sightseeing."
Now if anybody else had said that to Markos, he would be very angry, but Faunus, it seemed could get away with any cheek, and anyway, what would be the point in getting angry with someone who could simply disappear, right in front of you.
But in reality Markos was wise enough to know that such comments were only meant to hide the seriousness of the situation that Faunus knew was approaching - a situation that Markos anticipated but could not fully name or describe.
And Markos knew that Faunus was preparing him, (and the others), to face and hopefully overcome that looming event.
So... with Markos smiling they entered the main porch of the gymnasion.
"You know, Markos, I used to watch you here, when you were a little younger.
You would come here to avoid the lessons in geometry - train, and then try to steal some lunch, even although your father gave you enough coins to have a good meal.
And then you would turn up at the school, with some hopeless excuse for being late - get the pedagogue's cane across your back, and then do the lessons that you enjoyed - like Homer for instance."
As Faunus told this tale about Markos' early days in Athens, Archos and Adonios looked wide eyed and open mouthed at the youth that they had once called 'Dominus'.
"Well I think that's enough about when I was a young boy." Markos said, blushing with embarrassment.
"So did you know Markos then ?",  Archos discretely asked Faunus, fascinated.
"Well, I knew him, but he didn't know me.
I was just 'observing', as you might say.", Faunus explained.
"So did you know that you would be involved with Markos, and us, all that time ago ?", Adonios then asked, pertinently.
"You're asking too many questions......Adonios", Faunus replied.
"I see....", Adonios said glumly, realizing that Faunus was not prepared to go any further with that line of questioning.