Face claimAlicia Agneson
"I missed certain parts of you." She acquiesced with a little grin, "But your talking is not one of those parts." She was jesting. She'd found few decent conversationalists in the Venus - or rather - few that she enjoyed the company of. Marcus was a rare exception and certainly brightened up what could often be a decidedly monotonous existence.
She eyed him in silence as he spoke, trying to gauge him. Absently her fingers went to the rich gold necklace she had forgotten to take before she had collapsed onto her pallet. It had cost her most of her wage of the previous month but what women didn't enjoy the finer things in life? Still, she concentrated carefully on him. "Of course I've seen you." She rolled her eyes, "And my pretty little head knows that you keep all of us lovely flowers safe but...is that...it?" She offered a little laugh, perhaps cruelly and dismissively. Vibia had a shockingly high opinion of herself given her own station, and it was only natural she held those in her life to the same standards.
Amused, she pulled her hand away from his and folded her arms across her chest. Tilting her head to the side, she arched a brow. "A grown man and all he does to earn his glory is...guard some rowdy whores?" She laughed again, cruelly and arched a brow. She liked to goad others, but sometimes didn't realise the sharpness of her own tongue.
She rolled her eyes, but couldn't help the sly grin of pride that spread across her face. "Mhm." She assented, still lightly stroking his forearm as his own hand moved over hers. "I'm having to make do with listening to others get their money." She didn't know what she'd prefer though, in truth. Sweaty men groping her, or not earning money. It was a close call. Jesting, she arched a brow, "Do you think I'm losing my looks? An old and haggard whore is good to anybody." She was a vain woman, and religiously inspected the small mirror in her room for lines on her face, every morning. She was relieved most days, to see no new ones appear - although she was trying to smile less. Apparently that only encouraged ageing.
She didn't fail to notice the way he stiffened at her fleeting joke at his wife's expense. Her eyes narrowed and she studied him. Curious - that one in his line of business could still have some...sensitivities. She couldn't imagine a life with boundaries any more. When you lived and worked in a brothel, your concept of privacy rapidly diminished she supposed.
"Missed might be a strong word." She rolled her eyes but cursed herself at the little shudder that shook her shoulders and ran the length of her spine as he kissed her fingers. "You can spend time with me as long as I don't get a better offer." Some of her regulars were good bedmates, and a few were even her type. Still, Marcus provided a welcome distraction from the falsity of it all. Still, she leaned forward, leaning her face into spare palm - the other still running circles over his skin. "So secretive." She grinned, but was genuinely intrigued. "I don't think you've ever told me what you do...when you're not skulking around here, listening to people fuck." She grinned. "What do you do?" Even if she wasn't being tasked with uncovering the Syndicate's dirty little secrets, she would have likely still asked.
Something about him, despite her better judgement, was fascinating to the young woman.
Vibia smiled a little as the younger woman came to join her. She did not much enjoy the company of women - she had always hated the competition they posed and how they prodded and nagged at her insecurities - but she was awake now, and at least finding out who she was working with would be useful. If only to one-up them and take their clients later.
Still, a small frown creased her brow. A body slave to a prostitute? Narrowing her eyes, she tilted her head to the side and studied the woman. "Why did he let you go?" It was a blunt question, but phrased nicely. If she had been a worse mood it would have been what did you fuck up, for him to sell you? There must have been something she had done, surely. With an impish grin, she shrugged thin shoulders, "Why would a man want to sell a pretty young woman like you? And cheap enough that you'd end up here?" That must have been hard, she thought with brief, unusual sympathy. The life of a body-slave, as she had seen in her previous domus was much more palatable to that of a prostitute - even in a brothel as high-end as the Venus.
Vibia sighed but kept her face imperious and without emotion. "A year or so now. It's fine." It wasn't, but there was little choice for her - she had a debt she needed to pay. "Before that I was a slave, but I was freed when my domine died." She shrugged. She wasn't ashamed of her past a slave, if anything it was a good explainer for why she had ended up here. She didn't have the patronage of another, like most freed slaves. "But I play music so I don't have to deal with the...unsavouries that sometimes come in." She added with a haughty grin. Her skill had kept her out of the beds of some of the more perverse - albeit wealthy - clients that walked through their doors.
"And how do you like it here, Justinia?"
"Mhmm." Vibia murmured with a roll of her eyes, "I give you more than my charms, you should count yourself blessed." It was hardly like bedding him was a hardship, however. And he was useful, in some respects. Snapping her hand back to the table at his kiss, she grinned. She liked the games she played with him' she couldn't be like this with the clients of the Venus for the most part; most wanted seeing to and to be back on their way. This was different and it sent a little shudder up her spine, despite her better judgement.
Pouring two generous cups of wine, she shrugged her shoulders but felt tense at the talk of work and her voice belied it. "The heat isn't helping, they're rowdier than usual...as I suspect you heard on your rounds." Her lips twitched into an impish smile, "But she's just got me playing music to entertain them while they wait, most of the time...I suppose it's better than having a balding old man larger than a whale on top of me but..." She shrugged again, "I'm not earning much." She didn't know if it was because she was free, and so was less profitable to keep than the slaves, but Vibia's patience at the madame was being tested.
Taking a deep sip of wine, she returned her hands and the cup to the table and reached out to gently stroke his forearm. "I haven't seen you for a little while." There was no malice in her voice, but suspicion lingered. She knew how pretty some of the other young women were, and how easily controlled. She thought herself made of harder stuff, and failed to see how she herself was being manipulated, both by the gangs that kept her and uncomfortable feelings of lust for a man she really should have no business dealing with, sat opposite her now. "The wife distracting you at home?" She arched a brow, amused, "Or has another of the girls been...giving you her...charms?"
Vibia rolled her eyes. Was the girl as dim as she was pretty? So much so that she didn't know her own name? "Justinia." She repeated, slowly as if trying out the name for size. "Has that always been your name, or was it not your choice?" She tilted her head to the side. It was a pretty name - nicer than Vibia. A name the young freed woman was still trying to get used to after a lifetime as Mellusa.
With a little smirk of pride, she tossed her hair back over her shoulder. "Yes. One of the...free ones." Although this life didn't feel especially free. "I take it that means you're one of the..." She arched a brow, "Slave ones?" She didn't smile. It wasn't that she felt bad - nobody chose a life of slavery, but she had endured it and so would Justinia.
Fortunately for Vibia, her life enslaved had come to an abrupt end, but the same couldn't be said for those bought by the brothel and Syndicate. They'd stay until they were used up and then...well, she supposed she shouldn't dwell on it. With a yawn she gestured with her head back to the couch and turned, resuming her position on it. "Sit with me. I'm awake now," She shot the younger woman a pointed look, "And I like to know who I'm working with." Just in case there was anything useful there, although looking at the pretty, young woman, she doubted it.
"Tell me," She reclined back, "What were you doing? Before this...here?"
Vibia narrowed her eyes, sweeping over the other woman who hastily dusted herself off. "You should be more careful, daydreams don't serve any purpose for anybody." She snapped, still sitting but her irritation flared in her eyes. She'd seen plenty of girls, both in her old domus, and now here, whose eyes and minds were filled with silly dreams. It only caused them trouble, and Vibia had learnt better.
With a frown, she stood gracefully and walked a pace to draw nearer to her company. The other woman was smaller, and seemed younger. Pretty though, Vibia mused with a slow smirk. She was also a new face to the freedwoman, who largely kept herself to herself - particularly amongst the slaves. Whilst she did the same job, she at least got paid for the task and could up and leave. Social hierarchy was alive and well it Rome it seemed, when one prostitute considered herself better than another.
Pulling long blonde hair over her shoulder, fingers running through and separating its waves, she arched a brow and asked - with a gentler but still inquisitive voice; "I don't know you." It wasn't much of a question, and so she added for good measure. "You're new...ish?" She could well have arrived at any time over the last six months - Vibia wasn't one to socialise with meek, quiet women. Purposefully, she glanced lingeringly up and down the younger woman. "What's your name, girl?"
Early July, 74ad
Vibia was trying to sleep. The heat was up in the city and it had driven the clientele of the Domus Venus into languor in the days, but the evenings had been a constant stream of patrons. Fortunately for the young freedwoman, she had been excused from servicing said patrons and had instead been instructed to simply play her cithara, to entertain the waiting guests. It was a little dull, but given how quickly the drink was flowing, she wasn't particularly keen on the other side of her job either. She tried to enjoy that side of her work as much as was possible, but given how freely the clients were knocking back the wine, she doubted she'd have a particularly satisfying evening.
It was a little after midnight, and wrapped in a thin sheet, and with the sounds emanating from the other workers rooms, sleep seemed an impossible fantasy. Propping herself up on her bed she cast a quick glance around the room; noting with despondency the overturned pitcher that should have been full of wine had she thought to replenish it. With a groan, she swung her legs over the side and pushing back long blonde hair from her face, stifled a yawn.
With some effort she stood on wobbly, sleep-deprived legs and sauntered to pick up the pitcher. Haphazardly she threw on a thin dressing gown to cover the tunica she hadn't bothered to remove when she had collapsed into her bed some hours ago. Padding on bare feet she unlatched her door and crept down the dimly lit corridor, past rooms with sounds that would make even the hardiest of Roman blush, into a back room where she took a seat at a table. She could have summoned one of the slave boys to refill her wine but her room had felt like a prison in the heat and she needed the air. Sitting herself down in the darkened room, and pouring herself a cup of sweet watered wine, she sighed.
This had...not been what she imagined freedom to feel like. She was still at the beck and call of others; both the domina of the brothel, the wider Syndicate and the Collegium of course. Still, she had her health and wits, and it wasn't a particularly onerous job. She suspected she'd only be here for another year or two before her worth diminished and she could actually be free. But what she'd do with that freedom was anybody's guess. Startled from her reverie by another figure moving into the small side room, she arched a brow and grinned at who she saw. "Can't sleep either?" She leant forward to place her face in her palm, surveying him, "You should complain to Titinia that none of her girls or boys could satisfy you to sleep." It had been some weeks since she had seen Marcus, but she wasn't about to turn away company. Gesturing with her head to the pitcher she asked, "Wine?"
Early evening, early July, 74CE
Vibia yawned, stretching out on a rich couch in the entranceway to the Domus Venus. She had been up most of the previous night with one of her regulars, a man with about as much wit as her left thumb, but he was good natured and tipped generously. Not to mention he was at least somewhat satisfying. She had no particular plans for the day and so was enjoying simply resting. The early summer heat had become intolerable in her room and at least the main rooms had some of the coolness thick walls and a lack of windows could offer, and so here she lounged.
In the year she'd been in the brothel she had come to know most of her peers relatively well - but her status as a freedwoman often left her at odds with them. That wasn't to say she didn't socialise, but she supposed her (hypothetical, or presumed) ability to be able to just up sticks and walk out if she so chose, irritated the slaves that also services the nobility of Rome. If only they really knew what she was doing there. Smiling a little to herself, she let her eyes flutter shut. There were fewer clients when the heat was up - nobody wanted to couple when they already felt the sweat roll off their faces it seemed - and so she figured she had at least a few hours before she was to prepare for the evening.
Wearing a loose fitting tunica, but with her hair immaculately pinned and a gold necklace around her throat, she looked the very picture of contentment. Unfortunately it wasn't to last. A sound in the room disturbed her and she snapped her eyes open, irritated. If the girls and men of the brothel wanted to talk, why couldn't they do it where they wouldn't disturb her? Fire in her eyes she gracefully moved to sit, her voice loud and authoritative. "Can't you see I'm trying to get some peace?" She blinked into the dim light of the evening in the direction of the noise. She had no authority, not really, not here, but the domina was nowhere to be seen and Gods she wanted some sleep.
TAG: Open to anybody at Domus Venus!
(Aemilia R. L. Mellusa).
24 | March 50CE | Freedwoman | Occasional Prostitute and Musician | Bisexual | Wanted | Alicia Agneson
Vain, cold and stubborn to a fault, Vibia is not a woman easy to get to know. Her years in slavery and now in prostitution have hardened her through and through and she struggles to be personable unless in the company of clients. That doesn't mean, however, that she's unemotional. When frustrated or angry, the slaves in Domus Venus can feel her wrath, as can any furniture in her vicinity which is often left upturned and scattered. One of her predominant personality traits is her ambition and the ruthlessness that accompanies it. It's what earned her her freedom after all, and when she wants something she is likely to do everything in her power to get it. She has a sharp wit and is surprisingly intelligent but often feigns ignorance when it suits her to do so.
She is, however, almost the complete opposite in the presence of clients. Quiet and demure (but always watching), or playing the lustful woman with abandon, she can effortlessly change persona to suit the men and women that frequent the brothel. Her skill in music has also afforded her an advantage as she only takes clients when she needs to, or wants to and can otherwise sit and quietly observe patrons. This ability to transcend the usual position of a prostitute often rubs her fellow workers up the wrong way, but Vibia feels she's earned it. She does, however, harbour ambitions out of her current situation - namely in the great gangs of Rome, but time will tell just how far she can rise before her past catches up with her.
Of average height for a woman, standing at around 5ft 5, Vibia has subtle feminine curves and a graceful gait. Trained both in her household and now at Domus Venus in taking care of her appearance, she is fastidious with maintaining her looks and dedicates a great deal of time to her looks. Lucky, given her past life as a slave, her body is absent of marks and her skin is very fair for a woman born and bred under the Roman sun. Similarly, she has light blonde hair and bright blue eyes, she assumes inherited from her father.
She dresses opulently, but somewhat modestly for a prostitute - preferring to hint at what lies underneath her clothes rather than baring all like many of her contemporaries. She nonetheless adorns herself in expensive jewellery, one of her many vices, as she has no need to save her coin like the slaves beneath her who are desperately accruing their money for their freedom. She wears little makeup besides some tint on her lips, and perhaps kohl around her eyes in the evening.
Father: Unknown, but she suspects a slave in her former household called Notus (deceased)
Mother: Apate (former slave, now freedwoman).
Siblings: None that she is aware of.
Extended family: None that she is aware of.
Step-father: Gaius Plinius Blaesus
CHILDHOOD [50 – 60 CE]:
Vibia, or Mellusa as she was then known, was born verna in her masters household in Rome. Her master was an equite, and generally a kind and conscientious man - allowing Messula to remain with her mother and grow up in the household. Her childhood years were spent similarly to many young household slaves; helping with menial tasks and general household duties. Her mother did what she could to help her daughter, but remained cooly detached - Vibia now suspects her birth and existence was a reminder of a painful interaction with a somewhat sullen slave called Notus, but nonetheless Vibia found friendship and companionship with the other household slaves.
TEENAGE YEARS [60 – 67 CE]:
Her life changed for the better, however, during her teenage years. Her mother still distant and cool, Mellusa befriended a new arrival into the household; a musician skilled at the cithara who her Dominus had purchased at great expense. Slowly she began to be tutored, and whilst not a natural musician - she had enough wits to be able to recite simple pieces. This particular skill also brought her in closer proximity to her Dominus, who endeared her to play at dinners and parties in favour of his more highly skilled slave, owing to Mellusa's wider appeal and beauty. The attention she received was striking, and with hindsight it was her early adolescence and these interactions and the praise she reaped during them that set her on course to be the manipulative and cold woman she now is.
Her later teenage years, and growing looks, also caught the attention of her Dominus for other reasons besides her skill with the cithara. She soon found herself forced into his bed, and whilst initially reticent - the man was going on in years and declining in looks, she soon found that it afforded her certain privileges, as faced with a youthful and charming slave, he was powerless. A widower with no children to follow him - for his son and wife had died in the fire at the docks in 62CE - his life lacked any great purpose. It was during a late night conversation after coupling, that Mellusa discovered his intention to free his slaves in his will, which painfully - given his age - still felt years off.
ADULTHOOD [67 – 73 CE]:
Now a young woman of seventeen, and still being forced into the drudgery of every day life of a slave, Mellusa grew restless. Her life seemed to be in limbo - on one hand she was a house slave, a musician and a lover to an aging man, and on the other she was a young woman on the cusp of life - knowing one day she will be freed, but having no firm sense as to when. But a new arrival into the household snapped her out of her indecision, and set her on a path that she could never escape. A new slave; Briontes, would entice his master more than Mellusa who was soon discarded, and demoted. Stripped of the comforts that being a lover to the Dominus could provide, Mellusa seethed.
She would like to say she hesitated in her actions, but the truth is she didn't. Whether amoral from birth, or simply out of virtue of her upbringing, she snatched up her cithara - immensely valuable - and set off into the night. It did not take long, nor much asking around to find somebody from the Servian Collegium. Bored of her life, bored of the man that had used her and abandoned her, and desperately seeking the freedom she knew his will promised, she did the unthinkable for many slaves and sought an arrangement; her Dominus' life for the cost of her cithara and her free use to the Collegium should they ever need her. Whilst in retrospect she was escaping one form of servitude for another, in her haste she didn't even blink and agreed to it.
It took a month, and for a brief moment Mellusa worried she had been used, but eventually, her chickens came home to roost. On the way back from dinner in a litter, her Dominus was attacked in what was made to look like a robbery. He lingered in their household for a week before finally succumbing, and the household was freed via testamentary manumission in 73CE. It did not take long, however, for the Collegium to come knocking. She was asked (but more like directed) to the door of Domus Venus. Whilst the peace and accord between the Collegium and the Syndicate was established, she supposed in their view it never hurt to have somebody on the inside. Whilst initially reticent to join the ranks of prostitutes in the brothel, her skill with music has saved her the most menial of tasks or grotesque of patrons to service.
NOW [74 CE]:
It has been a year since she entered Domus Venus and adopted the name 'Vibia' - keeping her past well and truly buried. During that time she has earned the respect of her fellow workers and the clients that pay her coin to perform or couple. The last year, however, has seen a change in her fortunes. Whilst not expected to routinely update her handlers in the Collegium, she is now in a predicament - having fallen for the last six months, into a relationship with Marcus Falco. She has yet to make the Collegium aware, but as his attentions are divided on other women in the brothel, and Calvanus, she's beginning to feel that bitter seed of resentment grow again. What she does next, and who she will ultimately end up serving; the Collegium, or the Syndicate, is really anybody's guess.
Sara | GMT | Discord