Licinia Prima stretched her arms grumbling back on the sound that awaked her. 'Sol has not even lit up the world yet. I hate you, grumbling sound!'
She rubbed her eyes and yawned as she slowly sat on her old wooden bed. Her head sluggishly turned towards her siblings who were still in deep sleep. 'I wish Morpheus and Hypnos would give me the same sleep and dream as theirs.'
She heard someone also got up from somewhere in their house. 'Must be Mother.' Prima sighed tiptoeing out in the yard. She sat on a long bench outside their house watching the stars twinkling as the sun peeked gradually against the horizon.
On one corner of her eye, she saw something glowing in the distance. Her eyesight adjusted from the dimness of the surroundings and with only silhouettes to figure structures, she saw that Vesuvius was the one glowing.
A shudder ran from her head to her toes so she went inside to distract herself from the thought. Prima searched for the person who was up the same time as her and found her birthgiver, Pompeia Minor. "Bonum mane, Mater (Good morning, mother)."
"Bonum mane (Good morning). You're up so early. Anything wrong?" Her mother stroked her back gently and looked at her with concern.
"I was awakened by a loud grumble from somewhere. Did you hear it, too, Mother?" Prima grabbed some dough from the bowl her mother has kneaded the night before and rolled it like how she taught her.
"Yes. You know for a few days now, a low grumble became a morning disturbance for me." Her mother mashed the dough and grabbed some spices on the upper cupboard of the room.
During breakfast, another round of talk with the weird events in their village happened in the dining table. "Father, why are there so many animals going here in our village's forests these days? Isn't it that winter is yet to come at this time of the year?" Paullus Licinius Silvanus asked his parents as he eats a piece of bread.
"I am not sure too, son. Avians and animals migrate later in autumn in my experience." Paullus Licinius Silvanus, the pillar of their household, shrugged and sighed as they all finish their breakfast.
Once they went to their routines that day, a little shake from the ground startled them. The little ones hugged their mother and the older children held onto something to not lose their balance. After the little shake, all of them drank some water before going to their own chores.
Pompeia went to the bakery to tend to their breads and pies with Prima, the eldest daughter. Licinius went to their farm with Silvanus and Pompeius, the eldest and second son respectively. Secunda and Tria taught the two little ones, Quartenia and Maximus, and tended on the household chores on that day.
The bakery is usually bustling even in the grey misty mornings like that October. The Licinii did their best to cater the needs of their customers. Prima was taught to be polite and cheerful to buyers no matter how bad the day looked outside their house and this continued even if she feels off with everything--like right at the moment.
"Ave (Hello), Licinia Prima!" Marius waved his hand as he approached the Licinii's bakery. He halted his horse to stop and smiled to the young lady who attended to his order. He gave her a big wooden box for breakfast bread.
"What will you order today, Gaius Severus Marius?" Prima smiled at her friend who is an avid fan of their breads.
"Semper idem, dulce femina (Always the same, sweet lady)." He jumped off his horse and tied it on a tree near the dusty road. "Autunno (Autumn) seems so grey and smoky this year, don't you think?"
"It sure is, the earth shakes, there are peculiar rumblings somewhere, animals running down these roads and there's light at the top of Vesuvius." Prima hands him the box full of bread.
"And it's very hot too, right? I am no oracle of Apollo but I feel like there is something wrong with our place this year." Marius tied the box to the horse and climbed on it again for the journey.
"I agree. Now off you go General. Be careful in venturing near Vesuvius or Somma," Prima replied and waved her hand as the buffy Roman soldier left his first stopover for the day.
"I will." Marius' voice trailed as he continued on his destination.
The next day, another bizarre event was made evident by the Licinii of Surrentum. Silvanus rushed to his father and told him about the overflowing waters of their irrigation in their citrus farms near their home. The family did not believe it first but eventually affirmed that Silvanus was telling the truth once Pompeius carried a pail of water and said the same thing about their irrigation.
"Prima, Silvanus, today is market day. I would like you to trade half of our cow's milk and pastries to Old Amadeus and buy 10 pounds of vegetables, 3 pounds of fish, 10 pounds of fruits, dried or not, 2 pounds of various spices and 4 little bags of seeds using the money you have traded for our household today," Pompeia instructed her eldest children. "Is that clear?"
Immediately, Prima and Silvanus traveled to the village proper of Surrentum to shop for their family. "Someday, I would not be doing this but you will still do it probably." Silvanus glanced at his sister at the back of their horse, Caligula.
"Probably. I like doing this though. This is fun." Prima smiled at her brother as she gripped his tunica's sides. "What do you think happened back there in our irrigation?"
"I don't know too. October this year is very extraordinary." Silvanus sighed and stopped as soon as they reached Old Amadeus' shop. The siblings tied Caligula in a tree near the road and unmounted themselves and their supplies. Old Amadeus greeted them with a smile. "Well, if it's not two of my favorite Licinii. Gratissimum, nati (Welcome, children). Veni (Come in)!"
"What's in these boxes and bags?" The friendly elder called for his servants to get the packages brought by the siblings.
"Some milk from our cow and pastries Mother and I made from the bakery. We would like to trade them to you for coins to buy supplies at the market center today," Prima politely answered with a blush from her cheeks when she mentioned the pastries.
"Oooh. This would be a scrumptious addition for our breakfast tomorrow in this inn." Amadeus smiled. "By the way, have you felt the ground shakes yesterday?"
"Yes, sir. We did. I never experienced something like that before. What could be the reason? Do you know, sir?" Silvanus excitedly and curiously answered the old man.
"Young man, even I in my old age never encountered events like these days. What do we know? Strange things happen always. Miracles come and go, too. Melius permitte divis cetera (Better leave it all to the gods)."
The siblings nodded as they were given enough coins for their shopping spree that day. Prima looked at the sky as they got out of the shop and sighed at the gray that looked more dark that day. "Brother, let's shop fast today because I can see dark clouds in the horizon. It may rain today in all of the days."
"All right." Her brother nodded. "Let's split up so that we can get home fast."
That night, the family woke up hearing a loud boom and rumble from somewhere. One of their neighbors shouted "Fire is raining down the sky on Vesuvius."
Their whole household went out and looked at the mountain in the distance. "It really is raining fire. Let's get inside and pray."
Prima and her family went to their altar and prayed. Screams and panic enveloped the whole place. Then, everything went to a blur for Prima.
Andie yawned waking up from a brush of skin on her cheek. "Andie, we're here," a baritone voice told her as she felt a kiss on her forehead.
"Can we get outside by the outer deck to see the sights?" Andie asked the man.
They both grabbed their hoodies and went out to see the place. Sunshine shone on the ship when they stepped out on the deck. "It's beautiful. I feel like I've seen it before somewhere--like I think I know this place. Ah, yes. Surrentum with Vesuvius in the background!"