Miriam looks for Judah in the Peristyle Courtyard


Inside the peristyle courtyard, scores of Nubian houseboys waved palm fronds to augment the sea breeze and chase away the flies. Along the perimeter where many rooms open one to the other beneath the arcade, bouquets of roses bowed from their antique vases, censers smoldered with the fragrance of frankincense, and statues congregated in front of tapestries depicting chariot races in the Circus Maximus, Roman soldiers wielding their swords, and the Senate’s deification of Julius Caesar.

My eyes ached as they scanned the men for Judah, but I saw only Roman faces, their skin fair, their heads rounded, their noses aquiline, and their hair layered in a futile effort to conceal their baldness. A few slouched on couches, but most stood in clusters along the colonnade droning in confident tones about business or politics. Some waggled their heads as they pursed their lips. Others whispered out of the side of their mouths as if they had the palsy. But all wore a toga of the finest white wool carefully draped in perfect folds, those in the elite classes flaunting a Tyrian purple stripe along its border. When their free arm emphasized a point of argument or beckoned to a crony, the stripe would lap at their soft, noble red, slipper-like shoes.

Though bolting toward it, Miriam is oblivious to the assassin’s blade that threatens her very life. With one click on The Deadliest Hate, you can be there for her.

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