A fanfare of tubicen shatters the sleepy Apulian tranquility of Carpena
Senator Aelius Carpe, the town boss, has come home in triumph
His fellow councillors salute him from the town rostrum
Senator Carpe makes sacrifice before the temple of Apollo, where the booty from his latest diplomatic mission is already on public display
While still trailing past the basilica comes the entourage of Princess Selene of Cyprus - complete with her personal panther in its own litter - the lass has some style!
Driven into exile by her kinswoman, Cleopatra, the Princess - that's her in the purple carriage - seeks help from the Senate, who meantime have placed her under the protection of Aelius Carpe.
Sensing their moment a brace of archers atop the Sempronian baths draw their weapons
While across the forum two more draw in turn to give enfilade
Chaos erupts as retainers go down and Tribune Amitus Mantus fights to control his mount. The goblet falls from the Princess' hand as a shaft strikes home.
Ejecting the hapless panther from its litter the stricken woman is hustled into the safety of Casa Carpe
The escort charge into the baths.....
... and the tavern, but the birds are already flown.
Abandoned in the excitement the royal menagerie is left to wander while Mantus orders a general search
At the Domus Petronii the youngsters howl with delight at their new pet - as the searchers decide to start elswhere
While at the 'Faun House' another of the Princess' exotic livestock also finds shelter with the proprietress Domina Pulcher
The insula - tenements for the poor - are forcibly searched
A casualty is taken at the cistern when a soldier offers to protect a young woman fetching water...
... and another when one of the soldiery comes unexpectedly face-to-face with a woman he once made a promise to!
Hopes run high for a moment when the raised horrea at the town granary are searched - but without result.
No haystack is left unneedled
But as the reports come in Tribune Mantus accepts the grim reality - his men have failed, both to protect the Princess and catch her assassins.
He arrives at Casa Carpe to report his failure
Despite the corpse on the couch the Senator recieves him in remarkable good humour...
.... and invites the real Princess Selene forward to meet her failed defender - the loss of an unfortunate double and a few retainers is a small price to pay to convince the Senate of her need for protection - meantime she has Dribble the Doberman
While outside the citizenry get a free show as the venatii from the local gladiatorial school put their hunting skills to work to round up the errant livestock
....And so we say vale to sleepy, blood-soaked, Carpena
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