To L. Petronius Longus, of the II Cohort Vigilorum, Rome:

Lucius Petronius, greetings from the land of the Laeitana vintage, which I can assure you lives up to its reputation, especially when drunk in quantity by a man under stress. I solved the Second Cohort's killing (see coded report, attached: the cross-hatch stands for 'arrogant bastard' but in the prefect's copy it should be translated as 'misguided young man'). For the time being I am delayed at this spot. As you no doubt surmise, it's a girl. She's beautiful; I think I'm in love… Just like the old days, eh?

Well, old friend, anything you can do three times, I can manage at least once. Here's another report, which with any luck you will not be reading in the Forum in the Daily Gazette:

Hot news just in from Tarraconensis! Word reaches us from Barcino that the family of a close associate of the Emperor may have a reason to celebrate. Details to follow, but rumors that the baby was delivered by the father while the mother yelled 'I don't need you; I'll do it myself, just like I have to do everything!' are believed to exaggerate. M. Didius Falco, an informer, who claims he was present, would only comment that his dagger has seen a lot of action, but he never thought it would end up cutting a natal cord. The black eye he acquired while attempting to ministrate has already calmed down. His finger was broken entirely by accident, when the noble lady grabbed his hand; relations between them are perfectly cordial and he has no plans to sue…

Helena and I both feel completely exhausted. At the moment it seems as if we'll never recover. Our daughter is showing signs of her future personality; she closes her eyes on the crisis and goes fast to sleep.

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