Face ClaimSam Hazeldine
She was relaxing into it, enough that he felt her begin to move under him, meeting him. He had not really dared to hope, before this evening, that he could make it pleasurable for her - far too many women merely endured the marriage bed, leaving their husbands to find solace elsewhere if they wanted a good time. Horatia was, perhaps, unusual in this as she was in her tastes in literature, but Aulus did not mind - he appreciated her slightly unusual view of things.
And she made him smile, which was always a positive.
Eventually he couldn't hold back any longer, and reached his climax with a shudder, finally rolling off her, breathing heavily as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close to him
"You are an astonishing woman, Horatia Justina," he managed, smoothing hair away from her face. How had he managed to get so fortunate?
He could feel her tensing under him, which wasn't unexpected, and he gave her time to adjust. She slipped her arms around his neck and he nuzzled her neck, which she had left accessible when she'd turned her head away.
Eventually she relaxed under him again, though he thought there was some residual tenseness or nervousness there, even as he began to move. Her smile did look somewhat strained, and he kissed the corner of her mouth.
"Ah, Horatia, my dove," he murmured, and found the soft skin below her ear, leaving another kiss there.
"I daresay my finances can stretch to a purse of sesterces for the winner," Aulus replied. "And there are generally two consuls in Rome, even in these strange modern days that we live in - although I will admit that my fellow Consul found that he had other demands on his time and couldn't be present this evening."
At least those present seemed to be enjoying themselves - even his son Titus was talking with Sulpicius Rufus' son, who must be four or five years younger.
"Well, first blood goes to the Thessalian witch," he added with satisfaction, although the older Lexus was not slow in returning the favour - or attempting to, scoring a hit on the woman's leather belt, which sent the crowd (those not supplied by the Venus, anyway) into roars of ecstasy at the hope that such a strike would end in baring the woman's lower parts to the view of all. Leather being more durable than cloth, they were bound to be disappointed.
"I have no objection at all to bringing them up here," he said - they had all been thinking what he had, apparently. He wondered which of them would gain the Thessalian's favour (or at least, get in there first with a monetary offer to make it worth her lanista's lending her out) and which would have to do with one of the beauties from the Venus - there were bare breasts a-plenty for those who found their attention wandering from the two on the sand below.
@Sara @Atrice @Liv @Chevi
"Just enjoy yourself," Aulus told her. He would get his own pleasure soon enough, and thought she might just expire of embarrassment if she had to actually help him along - she didn't need to, anyway.
He waited for a little longer before adjusting things. "I'm going to -" he said, and shifted until she was fully on her back and he was kneeling astride her. This would likely hurt, a little, but if he didn't do it now, the moment would pass and she would be far too tense.
"You're beautiful," he said, lowering his head to kiss her, pausing to let her get used to the new sensations.
He couldn't help chuckling. "No, it isn't all, not by any means."
He slipped his hand down between them, keeping his eyes on her face to judge the results of what he was doing, whether it was too much, not enough, or even if she was just uncomfortable beyond the fact this was the first time she'd ever been with a man.
He wrapped an arm around her, kissing her even as he pulled her closer to him, bodies touching. Perhaps if he wasn't looking at her, and if she wasn't looking at him, she'd be less embarrassed, if not less nervous. He let his free hand stroke gently down her back and side.
"You are beautiful, I hope you know that?" he told her, lifting his hand before it went anywhere she would not appreciate yet, and wrapping his arm around her shoulders again.
Horatia seemed confused, or bemused, or something. Not amused, though. Ah well, he'd tried. Sometimes he got it right, and sometimes he didn't - this might well prove to be one of the latter times.
He let Felix unwind the toga he was wearing; it was a cumbersome garment at the best of times and unnecessary in the house among his family. "Bring some wine into the tablinum, will you?" he said to Felix. "And yes, that would be helpful - perhaps she could help organise your library, Horatia?"
Although, being Horatia, it was probably organised already - poetry in this section, history here, with a subsection dedicated to military history; architecture here and another subsection specifically for the architecture of siege engines and the like (yes, he had found her complete set of de architectura by Vitruvius. Whether she had read it, or understood it, he didn't know, but she had it in her collection).
They would surely work something out between them; his wife was always very good at that. He ignored the fact that he might be a bit biased - it was the prerogative of every Roman husband to think that his wife was a goddess reborn, after all.
@Jenn @Sara @Chevi
"Well, for what comes next, we ought to be on the bed," Aulus said, looking down into very blue eyes. Her fingers were tracing over his chest in a sensual erotic way that was leaving him weak at the knees (not that he would ever admit it!).
He laid down on the bed, propping himself up on his elbow, and held his hand out to Horatia, inviting her to join him.
Her hands on his face sent sparks coursing through him, though she gave the smallest of nods at his suggestion, her hands moving to the ties of her gown. The fabric came loose and slithered down into a heap at her feet, leaving him speechless - in the best way.
"Beautiful!" The word left his mouth in an awed whisper he didn't even realise he'd uttered.
Even in the light of the oil lamps, he could see that her face was crimson, and he took her hands in his, pressing them to his heart. "You are truly beautiful, columbina mea. I suppose it's only fair if I take my tunic off, too."
He let her hands go and stepped back to give himself room before pulling his own tunic over his head, and then unwinding his subligaculum, leaving him in the same state of undress as she was in.
"Well, that's good, I think," Aulus replied, allowing her to pull his head down so they could kiss again. "Would it help, if I said that you can touch me - we're married, it's fine."
She seemed nervous of letting her hands come into contact with him, and all he could think was that she was somehow worried about doing so without being told she could. He was being silly, of course, but saying the words couldn't hurt if he was wrong, and if he was right, well...
"Can we take this off?" he asked, tugging gently at her white gown. They would have to move to the bed soon, and that was best done after they were undressed or they'd just have to get up again.
Topics I Participated In
Aulus had the wit to dismiss his lictors before entering the house - Horatia had despaired when she'd learned he was not only entitled to twelve lictors as a Consul, but couldn't dispense with them. He had promised to try to make it easier for her by not having them in the house when they weren't needed, although the domus was certainly big enough for them - they had families of their own, anyway, and probably appreciated being able to see them from time to time.
Aulus and the new slave, Tacita, were therefore alone as the ostiarius opened the door to admit them. He caught the eye of one of the house slaves in the atrium and bid him fetch his mistress, and Felix.
He hoped Horatia wouldn't mind his gift, however odd she might think it.
"This is your mistress, my wife, Horatia Justina," he said as his wife made her way towards them, Felix behind her. "And my body slave, Felix."
He smiled at his wife, urging Tacita forward. "Horatia, I've brought you a gift. This is Tacita - she doesn't speak, but she does write, and is learning to read. I thought she might be useful."
@Sara @Jenn @Chevi
31st October, 60AD
Horatia fiddled with the stem of the goblet of wine she held in her fingers. When she was a girl, dreaming of her wedding as all good young Roman women did, she hadn't exactly pictured this. A short, sharp ceremony in Athens with few of her friends and family, and none of her husbands, followed by an intimate party. It wasn't exactly the grand affair she had planned, but she had found it perfect in its own, unconventional way.
At least she'd managed to procure a suitable outfit in the six or so months since her father had agreed to the match and haggled out the details. She wore the traditional white tunica recta, tied with the knot of Hercules. It had pained her that her mother hadn't tied it, as she ought to have, but she couldn't leave Livia and Lucius to attend and so had stayed in Rome - with her best wishes sent by letter. The red veil which has sheathed her face during the remarkably short ceremony was now pinned up into the six braids of her up-do, sheathed by a floral coronet. She looked the part, even if she didn't exactly feel very wifely; being in a foreign land and with Aulus' military colleagues surrounding them at the gathering.
They'd process to the house that Aulus had rented for her and a few slaves shortly, the small party gathering through the streets as they would have in Rome - but with much less fanfare, and more derision from the Greek locals, no doubt. For now though, she was content to sip her wine and make polite small talk to the men and women that had been invited; friends of her family in the province, and his most likely. Occasionally she found her eyes wandering back to Aulus - her husband - and a light flush came to her cheeks. She tried to distract herself with inane conversations; and she was currently embroiled in one with a friend of Publius' about his families villa. According to him, Formaie was far nicer than Baiae. She nodded and prayed that somebody would come over to save her from the dullness soon.
June 30th, 76 AD
Alexius life had not been going according to the plan lately. Not that he ever really had a plan, but lately, things had just taken a wrong turn. Not that it was all entirely bad, not that he was bored or didn’t have any lovers or anything like that, but he’d been feeling strange. He couldn't really explain it. All he could hope was that tonight might help. It was now about half a year ago, that he went to talk to Thessala, or rather, let it all out in a good spar with her, that he found out about the event. Thessala had heard rumors that the gang who ran the Domus Venus were considering to put up a day and night of entertainment. A private night, an exclusive night and it wouldn’t just be the kind of entertainment that the Venus was famous for. No, it would be all sorts of things. Including gladiatorial games. It was going to be a big event!
That was the first time he heard about it, back when Thessala told him what she'd heard. Then a month or so, he was invited to talk to them. It came out of the blue and he didn’t know what they wanted, it wasn’t like he wanted to be a bouncer at the Venus! Brothels were not really his thing, not at all, in fact. He always felt so bad for the women and men and boys and girls working there, forced to sleep with anyone instead of being able to choose, like he did. But the Venus didn’t want him to become a bouncer or a guard, no… they wanted to see him fight in an arena. And wondered if he’d fight a woman. Because they had managed to get a deal with a ludus about one of their most fierce and famous gladiatrices. With that, they gained his interest and then they also offered plenty of coin for his efforts.
Alexius always felt like he was in need of coin. Good wine wasn’t entirely cheap, after all. And to always have food and wine in the home to offer guests, well, that was not cheap either. So he agreed to the deal. He’d fight as a gladiator again. Purely for entertainment, there would be no Caesar there to say one should live and one should die. They could draw blood, of course, and one would win and another would lose, but killing was not on the menu for the evening. You couldn't continue entertaining people if you were dead, after all...
It was now a year since the most recent earthquake and apparently that was the perfect occasion to celebrate. He hadn’t really fought in an arena since he was freed, but everyone knew he’d never forgotten about it and he had even at times considered returning, for real, and not just for one night only. That’s what this was though. Now, he could barely wait. He'd worked hard and exercised to return to his former strength - and here he was. Dressed and armored as he’d been in the past, as a Murmillo… walking through the tunnel underneath the seats, the tunnel that led to the private arena. The tunnel that led to the roar of the crowd and a proper fight against a proper opponent. He couldn't help but smile.
@Chevi @Sara @Sharpie @Liv
Aulus had visited the Temple of Juno where he had offered a sacrifice in thanksgiving for his wife and their marriage, and then gone on to the Temple of Jupiter to offer a sacrifice for the continued health and well-being of the Emperor, and to ask for favour in his quest for consulship - and for wisdom if he was elected (he would go and make similar sacrifices at the Temple of Minerva if he was fortunate enough to be elected).
Although he had Quintus Augustus' approbation, so that was something. He wasn't about to take it for granted, though - anything could happen between now and then, of course.
And of course he'd asked for the priest to take the omens for him, to find out if the gods were in favour or not of his ascending to the Consulship. He was ambitious, to be sure, but his was an ambition tempered with pragmatism, knowing that he wanted nothing further, nothing higher in Rome than that. A friend of Caesar's, not a rival - never a rival. He had supported Quintus Flavius Alexander through the grim dark days of civil war and would continue to support him, and his heirs.
The omens, as far he could ascertain, were favourable, and he left the smoky darkness of the temple feeling more settled and certain. He paused on the temple steps to throw his toga back (he had covered his head with a fold of it as was usual when conducting a ritual) and rearrange its folds into something more becoming a senator and less like a priest, and took a deep breath of the clean fresh air.
December 15th, 75AD
The villa in Baiae was a balm for Horatia's soul after a busy few months (years, really) with her family. She'd spent many happy months here during Aulus' long absence, with her in-laws and children and by herself, and always revelled in its serenity. She'd never asked her father-in-law whether he'd purchased the property himself or inherited it but either way it must have been worth a small fortune given its proximity to a sheltered beach and the lush orchards that stretched to the distance. She knew Titus and Calpurnia enjoyed it as much as her; Titus she suspected because he could pester his grandfather into telling stories from his youth, and Calpurnia because she felt like a proper grown-up in the company company of her refined grandmother. For Horatia it was the peace that she enjoyed the most.
She sat in a cluster of rooms designed, many moons ago, as the womens domain but they opened up into the rest of the house not unlike her father-in-laws tablinum. She'd spent the morning with her mother-in-law in the pursuit of womanly virtue. Calpurnia, to her embarrassment, had taken to bed. Her courses had started the month before and unused to the light-headedness and aches that accompanied it, had withdrawn to curl herself into her blankets in her room. Horatia tried to ignore the knot in her stomach that the start of her monthly bleed meant her daughter was well and truly becoming a woman, and weaving with Aurelia was a perfect distraction. It was not one of her favourite pastimes (although she vastly preferred it to the monotony of spinning the wool), but it was distracting and allowed her to concentrate on nothing but the interlacing and placement of the threads. She knew her family and their reputation would be under intense scrutiny on their return to Rome if Aulus' position as Consul was confirmed and she needed to keep her mind occupied so as not to dwell on it.
Aurelia had excused herself a little over an hour ago for her own respite and a lie down. Horatia, however, ever the perfectionist had decided to occupy herself with unpicking the threads that lay at odd angles and re-doing them from scratch. She worked in silence, errant strands of copper hair falling into her eyes which she had to swat away. She was dressed informally in plain stola and her hair artlessly done up, the very picture of relaxation. She suspected her husband, son and father-in-law out on some boys errand and was not expecting company when the sound of footsteps echoed and she turned her face up, her features melting into a relaxed smile. "Do not mock me," She warned with a gentle grin - she was not known for her weaving prowess and exclaimed her disinterest in it on more than one occasion to her husband, "And do not think I'm suddenly going to take up weaving every day when I'm back in Rome."
(Takes place in the evening of Ave Imperator! and Into the lion's den)
Aulus returned to his home feeling far more light-hearted than when he had left it that morning. He had almost not needed to head to the Castra Praetoria, not with Caesar's reassurance ringing in his ears, but some part of him had needed to meet the man who had unnerved his wife and threatened his children and slaves. After that meeting, he had no compunction whatsoever about leaving him to Caesar to deal with. He was still none the wiser as to why he had turned on Aulus' family, but the threat had gone and it felt as if a sweet breeze had blown through the house.
One of the house slaves offered him a cup of wine and, when questioned, the information that the mistress was in her own private study. Aulus dismissed the boy and turned to find Horatia.
He paused quietly at the door of her room, not wishing to disturb her if she was in the middle of something that could not easily be set aside. He smiled, the fond expression coming easily to his face as he watched her before knocking, the private pattern used just between the two of them.
(Title: The situation as it was before the war)
6th of October, 75 AD
Given the tragedy brought on by the earthquake only a few months earlier, Titus didn't quite feel right celebrating his birthday with huge festivities or partying from dusk to dawn - besides, this was no milestone year, just the passage of time signalling that he had officially grown older. The previous day - the actual day of - had been spent with family, featuring a relaxed and pleasurable evening with far too much food including Betua's mouthwateringly good placenta cake, and only a tiny hiccough when Valeriana loudly and vehemently expressed how unfair it was that she received no gifts, skilfully ignoring the fact that it wasn't her birthday for that to happen.
Tonight's celebration was simple as well, though less child-friendly. Going out for drinks with friends was also very agreeable, even more so when they had a decent-sized chamber and an own dedicated servant all to themselves. Drinking alone was no fun, though, even when it was Falernian and Caecuban, and Titus busied himself with deciphering the multitude of humorous scrawls on the walls and snacking on bread and olives before the others arrived - his stomach would thank him later.
@Echo @Sara @Sharpie
Feel free to ignore posting order!
Tacita woke to both Corva and Linus telling her that she would be going with Claudus to the office today. She got up from her bed and put on a simple but clean tunic. Tacita took her bag, had a quick breakfast, then headed out with Claudus. They headed through the Roman streets, weaving through various side streets until they hit the market warehouse. When they entered, Tacita hung her satchel, with her wax tablet, up on a wall hook- she wasn’t allowed to use it at work unless Claudus gave her permission. Tacita gave a quick look to Claudus with a ‘do you need anything’ look and he shook his head then waved her away. He headed off towards his office and she grabbed a nearby broom and began to sweep the room.
@Sharpie (for Aulus)
November 59 AD; Greece
The slave hadn't been very forthcoming when Aulus said that he was here to meet with his master, but had admitted him, at least. There seemed to be little reason to have admitted him because he was led past any areas of the house where either Marcus Horatius Justinus or his son Publius might reasonably be found, and taken to the garden. It was not the first time that Aulus had been admitted to the garden - he was a close enough friend of Publius' that he had been allowed access to a relatively private part of the house before.
He was not alone; there was someone sitting on one of the marble benches and Aulus stopped, unwilling to intrude further. And yet, as he began to make his apologies, he came to a stop, captivated by what he saw. He had met Publius' sister before, but she had not really caught his eye, among everyone else, with her hair done up in what must be the very latest style in Rome, and weighed down with jewellery, the very height of elegance. This simply-dressed woman was far more elegant in her simple clothing and with her hair artlessly done up.
"I beg your pardon, I had come to see Publius," he managed. "I am sorry to have disturbed you." He would offer to go, but remained frozen in place, utterly captivated.
(Just outside the Thermae Mercuari)
The Thermae Mercuari were not Aulus' usual baths, but they were close enough to his home in the Piscina Publica that he had not gone too far out of his way to visit them. A change of scenery was what he had needed and what he had got, and the massage he had received from one of the bath-house slaves had made him consider returning there in the future; the slave had managed to relieve a knot that only Felix had ever dealt with before, on rare occasions.
He had not expected to run into a vaguely familiar-looking redheaded woman who was obviously aiming for the women's section of the baths. He had certainly not intended to run into her literally and knock the things she was carrying out of her hands.
He stooped to collect up what he could.
Other Characters by this Player
- 16 posts
- Player: Sharpie
- Face Claim: Tristan Gemmill
- Location: Roma