The Centurion’s Daughter, An Excerpt

No one saw Phaedra come in the gate as she made her way through the large garden. She had been afraid to enter the villa from the stable. The whole villa seemed sound asleep. Even the stable boy did not wake up when she unsaddled her horse. The watchman was apparently out in the vineyards, having heard some noise that aroused his curiosity. The night sounds of the insects and the frogs around the pool in the center of the garden were loud. As the young Phaedra walked through the garden, trying not to make too much noise on the fine gravel path, the noise of the insects and the frogs temporarily ceased until she had passed.
Up above a full moon shone, its silvery beams disturbed only by fluffy, floating clouds as they slowly passed overhead beneath its legendary spell binding light. There was a warm spring breeze wafting over the garden, bringing the delicate fragrance of the blooming purple iris to Phaedra’s nostrils. She breathed in the fragrance of the flowers and looked carefully around her. Perhaps the goddess Iris was letting her know that her mission would end successfully? Iris was very partial to messengers, and certainly Phaedra had played that role this night.
So far so good! Phaedra sighed and smiled in spite of her nervousness. She had yet to navigate the villa successfully. She prayed no one would be up at this late hour. If the master knew she was coming home this late…
Phaedra was a Greek slave, a petite brunette just a little over five feet tall. She was probably about 18 years old. Her mother had been a pretty, highly favored slave belonging to the Mistress Melusine, and Phaedra was born while her mother was in Melusine’s service. She did not know who her father was. Phaedra was a beautiful girl, well proportioned, with lovely olive skin and dancing dark eyes. Her lips were full and red. She wore a white chiton which shone in the gorgeous moonlight.
There was one flaw in her appearance: a jagged two inch scar ran from her right cheek bone down to the right side of her chin. She had been recently assaulted by her Roman master, who was fast becoming a notorious drunkard. His drunken assault upon his daughter’s maidservant had caused a family crisis, which was still not resolved, although the initial tears and stress had at least subsided.