Two Sides of a Coin Personified Augustus
Two sides of a coin personified Augustus. He and the world held similar, yet different views of his character. Like his father, Augustus mistook fear for loyalty, but unlike him, he desired love.
Augustus’ bullying father taught him to show strength and never display any sign of weakness. In this, he failed. He showed kindness to, in his father’s words, his whore mother and her offspring the odious Antonius. His father forever told him, show kindness to others and they see it as weakness. Subsequently, they turn on you and betray you. Therefore, make them fear you and their loyalty will follow.
When Antonius’ father died, Augustus helped his brother and their mother, befriended them, and protected them. The young Antonius knew his place, which put Augustus charge. Augustus’ father allowed his kindness, knowing that one day his mother and brother would betray him, in some small way. Hence, the boy would learn his lesson, and see the wisdom of strength, of instilling fear and bending people to his will.
Augustus often thought about his father; how he had been right, but ultimately failed. How he wound up in a ditch with a dagger through his throat. Clearly, he had not instilled enough fear in someone.
Soon after his 15th birthday the strangers arrived, the mysterious Xanthê, her daughters Valeria and the baby Abelia, along with Valeria’s six ruffians. Even his father and his father’s henchmen feared them. Consequently, everything changed, and his father’s passion for wealth and power lost its zeal. Therefore deserted by their friends and plagued by his father’s drinking, Augustus’ fortune declined. In contrast, Antonius buoyed by their mother’s recently acquired wealth and the ruffians’ protection, excluded and betrayed him.
The voice inside his head nagged Augustus. “Your father was right; remember he told you your snivelling half brother would betray you.” Despite the voices, to please his mother Augustus set up in business with Antonius, and together they prospered. Over the years, the voices continued to taunt him. “See how Antonius sets up a new business without you, and in partnership with the whore’s daughters, you cannot trust any of them.” Augustus hated it when the voices derided Abelia; he always loved and wanted her, but she never reciprocated. Whenever he thought of her, the voices taunted him “She doesn’t want you, look at her fawning over your brother, a married man. She is just a whore, who runs a brothel. Fuck her and have done with it.”
Like many abused people, Augustus was easy prey for the demons. Feeding off the staple diet of his fear and insecurity, it constantly whispered, and fed his sleep with hateful images. Augustus did not want to hurt anyone, but he came to love and rely on the voices; they would never betray him.