Lucius Aurelius Faustus is the Tribunus over Caesar's legions in the west, fighting against the Gauls. He's harsh, unforgiving, strategic, and deadly on the battlefield. When an enemy's sword pierces his side, he must retreat to Mediolanum to have the wound treated. Once the medicus has done all he can, he commands Aia, a slave woman, to watch over Tribunus Faustus as he heals. As Faustus appraises the beautiful young woman, he knows she'll be tending to more than just his wound.
To distract him from the pain, Aia regales him with stories of her childhood as a slave, and Faustus finds himself strangely drawn to her. When he demands further distraction, she obliges without question as a slave must. Her gentle ministrations command the attention of the Tribunus, and as he learns more of her, he sees her without the veiled eye with which a master views a servant.
Aia is only a slave, her value measured by nothing but a pair of coins. Another man already owns her, and she is far beneath one who commands Emperor Caesar's armies. Regardless, Faustus finds her warm touch and genuine concern for his healing intriguing, and his inexplicable attraction for her deepens.
A man of his station can never acknowledge feelings for a slave, but during their time together, Faustus begins to understand her true worth.