"Hmm. I think the thing to do would be to look at what areas are available for a project this size, and determine what the inhabitants of that area would most benefit from."
"That is a good place to start" Felix agreed with a solemn nod "Space is precious in this city."
Especially with all the wealthiest senators trying to put their names on the map of Rome by building something magnificent. The Amphitheater took up a whole of good real estate right by the Forum. Of course, no one complained, not out loud anyway.
"I think I shall take a look tomorrow at what areas are available, so that I can lay a solid proposal before Quintus Augustus. Or at least, begin to look around."
"I will keep an eye out" Felix offered. He'd walk around the city more anyway; might as well do something useful by looking at places, and listening to what people were talking about. If Aulus wanted to win the heart of the Romans, he'd need to know what they wanted.
"Felix, you are invaluable, as always."
"You are too kind, dominus" Felix said with a small smile. Sometimes he forgot that he already had a place in Rome, right by his master's side.
"A palaestra, of course - although what the precise requirements will be depends greatly on the area where this thermae will be built. A thermae near the Praetorian barracks will have very different clientèle than one near here, after all... That is not to say thermae near the Praetorian barracks would not benefit from a good library."
"And they would definitely like the palaeastra." Felix agreed with a nod. Building a thermae was not only a question of how, but also a question of where. Different neighborhoods offered a chance to win the favor of different people, and to serve different communities. The goodwill of the praetorians was a strength in Roman politics. Even if the immediate area was already pretty crowded.
"Do you have a favourite thermae you like to go to?"
Felix considered the question.
"I enjoy the smaller ones" he admitted "More quiet and calm, and the water is usually clearer. Most baths seem to have a problem with space when they become popular..."
“You’re lost?... It could happen to anyone,”
Felix looked a little sheepish about it anyway. No one was ever truly lost in Rome; sooner or later they found the Tiber or the Capitolium, and they could reorient themselves. Lost usually meant something more dangerous than simply being disoriented. Still, he did not know this part of the city nearly enough to wander around alone.
“Where were you before Rome?”
"Rhaetia" Felix answered, but did not elaborate. A lot of men did military service in the provinces. "Britannia and Germania before that. It's been a while."
“If you’d like, I could show you around... It’s not exactly the forum so it may prove disappointing.”
"Well... I have already seen the Forum" Felix noted with a small smile "I wouldn't want to hold you up, though. Do you live here?"
"Thermae, then. Aren't there enough thermae in Rome?"
"Never" Felix smirked. He knew how much Romans liked their baths, and how picky they were about them. It was impossible to satisfy all their wishes in one place. "And not all of them are good."
"A good set of thermae, then, of course. Separate areas for men and women, so that they're available for everyone all day - none of this women in the morning, men after lunch. I would add a library, but Octavius Flavius is planning on a library to replace the Great Library of Alexandria. I suppose a modest one might be allowed without competing."
Felix chuckled. It was all a competition among the wealthiest families of Rome. Who could give the biggest, best, most exciting things to the people. The most blood, the most food, the most books. In the end, it was not the worst thing to compete about, as far as the citizens were concerned. Felix picked a few grapes and chewed on them, thinking the matter over.
"Most baths have something that sets them apart. People pick the ones they want to frequent based on... whatever that special something is. One wouldn't need to have the biggest library if the library was... interesting enough."
Felix was feeling more hungry than social, but he was not going to be rude to his fellow slaves. A woman soon joined them, and Felix shifted on the bench to make room for her. She could have sat next to a lot worse company in this popina. Maybe she knew someone here too?
Attis introduced himself, and so did the redhead who turned out to be called Rufus. Now that he said it, Felix recalled it too.
"Felix. From the household of Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus." They all seemed to serve important people in Rome. Such a coincidence. Just when he was about to ask if the woman did too, a handsome man walked up an acted like someone'd asked him to join in.
“What’s going on? Is this some kind of a joke?”
Was it? Felix briefly wondered if he'd walked into some kind of a pre-planned meeting. Attis took the lead on responding, though, and Felix smirked as he turned his attention to his food.
"This is Hector. Rufus, Felix, and... I don't know your name,"
"I'm Clio. Nice to meet you all. Kaliméra."
"Kaliméra, Clio" Felix gave her a friendly nod, although he knew the Greek greeting was probably not for him, but rather to the man named Hector who seemed very proud of himself. Felix had picked up enough Greek from his mother to converse. He took a bite of bread, and arched an eyebrow at Attis, who seemed to be taking charge of the gathering. "Did I walk into some kind of a meeting here? I can leave if I did."
@Liv @Sharpie @Joaquin
Felix kept himself to the promise he'd made to Aulus... and also, sort of to himself. He went out when he happened to have free time, and his master did not require his company. Rome was still as fascinating as ever, filled with things to discover (and things to run from). He'd met interesting people, participated in a few festivals, and so far he had yet to run into any trouble as a body slave wandering the streets of Rome.
Today, after walking around and visiting the baths, he felt like eating something. He had the rest of the afternoon off as Aulus had sequestered himself in his study with some important people. Walking into the popina Felix inhaled the mixed smells of food and drinks, some probably better quality than others. He got a bowl of food and some wine, and looking around for a free place to sit he spotted a familiar face.
"Attis!" he smiled, walking over, noting that there was also a red-headed man sitting next to the fellow slave he knew through their masters' meetings. The redhead seemed familiar too, but Felix couldn't quite place him. "Seems like we both have the day off... Would you mind if I joined you and your friend?"
@Sharpie @Liv @Joaquin
She shook her head. She was not for sale. He was not sure why, but Felix felt relief about that fact. Some masters were good, like Aulus, but being sold to a whole new person must have been very distressing, even if it worked out in the end. The girl was sitting by some merchant's warehouse, so her master must have been wealthy, and she seemed to be alright with everything, short of random strangers tripping over her.
"Well... alright, then" Felix sighed "I'm sorry for... stumbling into you. I hope you have a nice day..."
@Jenn (yes we can wrap, maybe they will run into each other again under different circumstances 🙂 )
It required effort to talk to someone who could not talk back. Felix understood that she heard him and could make herself understood, and he wanted to make sure she was alright before he just walked off. It could not have been easy, not being able to make oneself heard in a place like Rome.
She shook her head. She didn't need help. She pointed at her collar. She was a slave too. She pointed at the warehouse... did she belong there? Must have been some merchant's slave. Or... was she the merchandise? She did not look like someone who was being offered for sale. She had her basket of... things to do, but still, she was sitting out here alone.
"Are they... selling you?" he ventured.
The woman looked a little scared and a little confused. Felix took another step back, trying not to look like he was about to lunge at her. What was she doing walking the streets alone here?
“I’m sorry. I thought you were someone else.”
Well... he was someone else. But definitely not anyone who knew her. Did someone harass her?...
"I mean no harm."
“Are you not from here, anywhere near then?”
"No... not really. I was taking a stroll, and I guess I walked farther than I realized." Felix admitted a little sheepishly. He should have watched what part of the city he was wandering into. "I'm not even sure where I am. It has been a while since I walked around Rome."
No, she didn't talk. That much was clear from her gestures, and how she pointed at her throat. Felix remembered her making a sound earlier, but that didn't mean she could form words. She would not have been the first person Felix had seen who had their tongue cut for some offense or another. She could at least understand his words.
"Oh. Alright... Well, I apologize." he reiterated with a sigh "Do you... uh, can I help you with something? Are you waiting for someone here?"