In half a moment slaves were up in the rigging and rushing across the deck and tumbling into the galley.
And that night Antipater pushed his prow into the deep sea.
Meanwhile Arria and Appius, fearing the power of this new king of Judea, and thinking also of the peril of Vergilius, travelled slowly, considering what they should do. Appius feared either to go or to return, but Arria was of better courage.
“I must go to him,” said she. “You know not this love in me, dear brother. I would give up my life to be with him. If he is dead I shall never see the seven hills again. I shall go—” she paused, covering her eyes a moment.
“To the city of God,” she whispered.
“May all the gods protect us,” said her brother.
And the day after Antipater had set sail, they, too, with Cyran, the slave-girl, were moving southward in the great, middle sea.
Again the council of the covenant was in session. Herod, unknown to all, sat in the darkness of the council chamber. The intrigue of Salome and the treachery of Manius had led the Lion of Judea to his prey. Swords of fate were in the gloom that surrounded the traitors.
Now there had been, that night, a great discussion of the new king, and suddenly a man sitting by the side of Vergilius had risen. He began speaking in a strange voice, which had, however, some quality familiar to the young Roman. Shrill and trembling with emotion, it thrilled many with a feeling of religious awe.
“The time is upon us,” said he, “when the judges of the council have come to the end of their deliberations. It is for me, therefore, to reveal it to you in part. If there be any here who give not full approval, let them freely express their minds.”
He did not explain that such were, then and there, to be won by argument or put out of the way by daggers.
“I speak of great things, but he that is to follow me shall speak of greater. After weighing all the promises of Holy Writ, and enforcing their wisdom by the counsel of other learned men,” he continued, “your judges declare the fulness of time.”
The speaker paused. He heard a little stir of bodies, a rustle of robes in the darkness.
The speaker went on:
“When Herod dies you shall see a rider go swiftly through the streets bearing a red banner and crying, ‘The king is dead.’ Then shall the commander of the cohorts go quickly and take possession of the royal palace and await the new king.”