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The Day I Became A Letter
cat wearing fez
I wrote this to thnidu's prompt, "If I were a letter [of the alphabet]..."

“Your job,” the procurator told me, “is to be an exemplar, an example to others.”

“Of a letter?” I had been plucked from my studies at the university and brought here by a decurion and his men. Not only was I missing an exam, it was no small matter to come to the attention of the Imperial authorities and I could see the Faculty Administration’s red tape filling my future.

“Apparently the Emperor has received divine guidance on the subject and these appointments for life are being made across the Empire.” The procurator pushed a piece of paper across the desk to me. “Additionally, the divine guidance was kind enough to provide details of the virtues you are supposed to embody as well as telling the Emperor how to find you using the Imperial citizenship records.”

I read the list in silence. Twice. Finally I said, “I think I can live up to these. It seems, though, that I am to be a sober, eternal student. Why is “Z” carrying around those attributes?”

“Exoticness perhaps,” suggested the procurator. “You will note that ‘steadfast materfamilias’ is also on the list. His Excellency, the Governor, has asked me to assure you that he will put the capabilities of his office towards finding you a suitable husband when the time comes. Perhaps in a few years when you have finished your current degree and settled into your new role?”

All I could say in response to that was, very faintly, “Thank you.”

“An Imperial stipend goes with the appointment, of course,” went on the procurator, “and you sit directly under the authority of the Pontifex Maximus and through him, of course, the Emperor. A staff and a residence will be provided for you, in fact a suitable villa within the Imperial gift standing in the north-eastern corner of the university grounds is being vacated as we speak.”

“Excuse me sir,” I interrupted politely, “but isn’t that the Archchancellor’s residence?”

“Up until this morning, yes, it was.”

I sat in stunned silence.

“Finally, His Excellency asked me to convey his apologies for not conducting this interview himself but he’s meeting with the new exemplar of the Legionary to have much the conversation we’re having now.”

“I’m someone the Governor apologises to?” I was flabbergasted.

“Technically this is a divine appointment, not unlike being a Vestal.” He smiled at me benevolently


“Now, as to the details of your stipend,” he went on.

My life was never going to be normal again.

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Can't imagine her fellow students are going to treat her the same! It'll be interesting to see if the aristocrats start trying to get her attention and the plebeian students start turning her away from their little get-togethers.

There are some students who are going to be more interested in her until they find out that her house isn't going to be Party Central. I can't imagine the Archchancellor and his wife are very happy...


If she fails as an exemplar, she probably gets cast out of her position, so... The Archchancellor may very well take every opportunity to make sure she fails.

I think the Archchancellor might want to tread very carefully there...

The emperor sounds like a fun guy. Not to mention slightly inbred...

We wouldn't like to suggest ill of the Augustus, would we? Even if acceptance of some of his edicts can be...challenging.

I enjoyed this a lot and would love to read more!

There may be more, I'm not sure yet.

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