Resper the Trainee - part 2 As my platoon works day in and day out on building the city, I can actually see it taking shape around me and starting to look like something. Several families from Arete arrived last month, hoping to score some land, with dreams of getting rich off of the mining prospects of the southwest hills. A huge wagonload of cured pork came into the city from the southwest, to feed its growing population, even though the road isn't finished yet. I hear that the pig farm was taken over and greatly expanded, to supply our city and our city alone. I fear for my family, lifelong workers on the farm, who may have been displaced as mere landless peasants. We take our orders from our warlord -- a self-important and angry man who must have drawn the short straw to become warlord of the new recruits -- but also from a pretentious artist who just got here from Arete, when we're recruited to work on the monument. He tells us what to chisel and where, so the monument isn't just a pile of rocks anymore. He has some grand vision of what it's supposed to look like, and it's apparently not just a giant phallus. My friend Kai, a fellow trainee, was unfortunate enough to say words to the effect of "giant phallus" within earshot of the artist, and found himself with double rock-hauling duty for a week. We're not just building the city all the time, of course. The warlords train us well in all kinds of fighting techniques, with all the more time to do so because there doesn't seem to be anyone around to fight. Our battle tactics in the end will depend on what form the barbarian threat takes. And this includes those barbarians to the west who call themselves "Hispania", who build cities in imitation of ours and practice strange rituals. We never know when we'll have to stick arrows into them to stop them from encroaching on our glorious culture. So we practice martial arts, firing arrows and swinging axes (well, shovels that we pretend are axes, because our backward city doesn't yet have anything to make axes out of), and we dream of riding majestically into battle on swift horses. I'm apparently particularly good with the shovels. I hope they get us our axes soon, because the name I hope to make for myself isn't "Resper, Shovel-Fu Master".