She shook her head, “I did not domine, I want to be out there quickly and did not want to disturb you.” And I was terrified of what you’d say or do...Charis listened with concentration as he explained his role. It seemed so alien to her, but she was grateful that Teutus had at least explained the basics so she wasn’t totally lost. Besides, she was familiar with judges - they were just usually the tribal elders or druids. The thought of him as a druid was almost laughable, but fortunately she managed to keep a straight face. All she said in the end was, “I understand domine, you important.”
Still, as he asked the question she glanced up at him and met his eyes briefly with an arched brow and a small smile. Now how to play this? She knew he liked her sweet and innocent, he’d said as much before and this new vengeful side was probably intriguing - but would he like it? In usual circumstances she doubted any woman who had been through what he’d doled out would care what he thought, but she also knew (deeper down, in the pragmatic core of her) that his good opinion of her was one of the only things she had that was making her life easier here. And she wasn’t going to risk it just for petty revenge.
Respectfully lowering her eyes again she shook her head and said; “No...I know they have right to be unpleasant.” They were far above her in rank, after all. And as much as she wanted to keep up the facade that she was sweet and innocent and kind (which she was mostly...), there was no harm in seeing if he would understand or jump on her light suggestions. “I just wonder if they should be treating important people slaves like that. I don’t want them punish.” Yes you bloody do Erea! “But I know you have power, and want to know if you think it was right, domine? The way they treat me?” She bit at her lip, “Because I don’t think it was.” This was a test of sorts, to see just how easy he was to influence, and to see if he cared for her...or his property rather, much at all.
She wanted to snap at him that when else was she supposed to find time to visit the baths, if not in the evening? But she bit her tongue. There was no point stoking an argument, not after he had finally shown the faintest bit of human compassion for her. Instead she only looked surprised; “She famous I think, Thessala.” That was how the Thracian woman had pronounced it, wasn’t it?
Not the most skilled liar, Charis had never hid her emotions well, but the months she had spent in Rome thus far had helped and without missing a beat she only offered a little smile: “Men in market sometimes make comments.” Well, it was more men that she’d met on the way back from market but he didn’t need to know that. But she added, with good nature albeit boldly; “But you should not be jealous, domine, I know I’m not theirs.” Because I’m a married woman, and I belong to a man named Immin, not a confusing, cold Roman- she added in her head.
Venturing, given he didn’t seem a particularly bad mood today, to dare a little further she asked: “Can I ask question, domine?” She paused for a little bit for him to answer before continuing; “What is it you do? I know you important, but I don’t know.” She really had no idea what he spent his days doing. Come on Erea, be bold, they deserve it, “Because Vigiles...weren’t kind to me or Gladiatrix, they make lewd comments, and were cruel.” They had been unpleasant - if anything they were just as frightening to her as the men who had tried to rob and violate her, and if there was one good thing to come out of her present living arrangements, maybe it could be that they were taught a lesson. Gods, was she becoming just as cold and cruel as the Romans?
Charis listened patiently and clasped her hands together in front of her waist to stop fiddling with her cheek. Rhoda was right, the more she prodded it, the worse it was likely to get. "In Germania..." She remembered, but wasn't sure where from. Maybe Teutus had mentioned it? Or Tertius himself? She half-wondered what he thought of it there, in a land not so dissimilar to her own home country but now was not the time to think of it.
She was oddly perturbed by his concern. Even if it was just out of concern for an investment that was depreciating in value, rather than in her as a person, it was still unusual. She hadn't seen this side to him before - not even in their intimacy. "I will domine, thank you."
She did not see his smile, her eyes respectfully on his chest rather than his face but as he spoke she frowned a little to herself. "I...y-yes domine." She nodded, confused. Was her face that bad that it repulsed him? Made him concerned that she'd not be worth bedding again? She could only hope. "I sure it won't scar, like my back." She added for good measure. She'd seen Turi and Calporunus when they got in their youthful scrapes, and their bruises always healed. "That was from whip..." She supposed he never asked about, was he not at least a little curious? Swallowing, she fiddled with a thin scrap of linen she had tied around her wrist. Since Tertius had taken her bracelet from her, she had found herself desperate for something to habitually spin, and remind her of the leather and a nondescript piece of fabric was all she could find. "I met gladiatrix, she one who save me." She offered with a little smile, trying to redirect the conversation; "I never met fighter like her before, maybe she should teach me in case it happen again, men here..." She was joking and risked a glance to his face but didn't meet his eyes, "Seem more interest in me than at home." Tertius, Alexius...Gods even Teutus had thought she was flirting...was she suddenly so irresistible in Rome?
"It root, like..." She tried to find her words but struggled, and panic rose in her voice and face, "You ask herb wife for it she'll know what it for." But given he seemed so non-plussed by it, Teutus evidently had no sense of how important it was. Maybe he needed to know. "It stop baby, Teutus." She looked at him with seriousness for a moment, speaking directly this time rather than just suggesting its use; "I don't want baby, his baby." She wanted to add 'no offence' given his own parentage but decided against it. Surely he could see that another slave-born child in this house would be as bad for his prospects as it would be for hers?
Satisfied that he'd at least try she only nodded and shook her head. "You help me escape? Or take knife to him? Or...find me nice new domine who treat me better? Or free me?" She looked at him with a small flash of irritation in her eyes before shaking her head, "You can't do those things then you can't do anything." It was true, after all. What she needed right now was support, but more than that she needed a plan but none would materialise. She felt thoroughly brow-beaten. "Just the yarrow."
"You live here. You belong to me. You’re my responsibility.” Ah. So it wasn't concern for her, it was concern that his property could be damaged. She would have laughed if she thought she could get away with it without further bruises. She only dropped her eyes and nodded at his chastisement. "I am sorry, domine." Was all she said, blandly. She was no longer with her tribe where she felt safe, where she could go out alone and feel safe and secure...Rome was a beast and if she wasn't careful it would swallow her whole.
She sighed in relief as he moved away to lean against his desk, nodding her head respectfully at his suggestions but she arched a brow in surprise. "That is very kind, thank you." Gods why was he so difficult? Forcing her and exerting dominance one moment, being sweet, attentive the next. She pitied his poor late wife having to try and untangle it.
"I'll be okay, though?" She asked, almost piftully. If he thought it was bad and he'd been to war...the worst she'd ever been injured had been when she was seven and she fell out of a tree that she climbed and cracked a rib or two. And of course the miscarriage, but that was a different kind of injury. She'd never even been hit before. This was new territory and his concern confused her. She looked almost frightened...what if it was bad? What if something happened to her? Gods she didn't want to wither away and die here? Stop it Erea, you're fine! She touched the side of her face again and hissed a little in pain. She glanced up at him, a little bit sheepishly. "I...never been hit before. Not like most slaves." Who would have hit her? Back in Britannia she was safe and loved, not like here. "You know about this though?" She added with a bit of curiosity.
Charis offered a little laugh to his banter and ducked her head to hide her blush. She was used to men flirting, but it felt different here, it felt wrong. Especially after what had happened and the vivid memories of that night soon wiped the little smile from her face and she swallowed, muttering; "You would have to ask domine, I don't think he be too happy..." Then again, she'd heard from other slaves that sometimes masters loaned out their slaves. Tertius, however, seemed far too protective for that.
With a little sigh, she nodded; "Who knows." Quickly, she side stepped him and moved to leave, but not before looking over her shoulder with a small smile of genuine affection. "Maybe one day soon, I hope." She ducked her head in thanks and before he could interject, she hurriedly moved to return to the domus.
Well...this first trip out of the house had certainly been a mixed bag...
Charis swallowed. She'd seen her face briefly in a copper plate in the kitchen and it had been warped and she couldn't get the full measure of it. Rhoda's reaction had suggested it was bad, but his words made her worry. Was she scarred for life? She'd never been particularly vain (she didn't really know what she looked like, after all) but the thought scared her. By way of trying to explain, she said after he had finished; "I went to Vigiles with woman that help me, after but...I thought you be angry." And I know what you do when you're angry with me. She added in her head. "And did not want you to worry, domine." She did add for good measure.
His next comment surprised her though and she bit her lip. He didn't like looking at her? Good! She almost smiled but caught herself just in time, but had no time to collect her thoughts as he came closer to her. She didn't know what she was anticipating but his gentle touch wasn't it. She swallowed and looked up at him, listening. What on earth is this? Concern? She thought to herself, deeply confused. Then again, perhaps she shouldn't be. Even though she hadn't wanted it (and he knew that full well) when he bedded her he hadn't been overwhelmingly unkind - he had been as considerate as a man bedding somebody against their will could be. Perhaps this was much the same?
"Thank you domine." She said blandly, not used to this intimacy after weeks of not really speaking to him at all. "I sleep okay but have ache in head." She touched her own fingers to the side of her head that was injured. It wasn't crippling, but the constant pressure in head was painful. She risked another glance up at him and asked plainly, "You not angry with me domine?" No point beating around the bush.