Face ClaimBob Morley
Lucius' jaw dropped as he listened to the briefing.
"We are doing what?" Before he could wrap his mind around it, however, they were already over downtown. He could feel the fire before he saw the smoke. His powers allowed him to sense flames, but the pull he felt in his chest right now... he had only felt that once before. Lucius cursed under his breath, gritting his teeth. This was not going to be pretty. "This is a bad idea."
Bulletproof vest. Lucius groaned as she tossed it at him, and put it on, walking down the hallway behind her. He had to admit, he was curious. Didn't feel ready to go on any kind of mission at all, especially not anything that involved bulletproof vests and her. But once again, they told him what to do, and if it all went sideways, it would really just be their fault.
"Yeah because one elemental is just like another" he muttered as they made it to the landing pad for the helicopter.
Camilla burst into the room. She had not done that since that first day. Lucius sat up in bed; he had only been half asleep, and also half dressed, but he still did not appreciate the intrusion. Camilla was in full field gear - looking kind of like a Barbie doll version of a vigilante.
"We have to move, somethings wrong downtown. They want you with us, fuck knows why - they'll brief us in the helicopter."
"They want me in the field?" Lucius stared at her. He was not even assigned to a team yet, given his powers' unreliability. Shit really had to be serious for him to get a call. He got out of bed and started putting on his training gear, for lack of a better option. He already had the gloves on. "Why the hell am I going with your team?"
Apparently Camilla had come to his room to repeatedly call him an idiot and get his shit together. He did not respond well to any of those tactics.
"Okay, well, let me know when you're done with your three-year 'how to quit being an annoying bitch' course" He growled at her, opening the door to let her out. "You really just gotta commit to it."
God, that woman. Lucius had no doubt she'd make his time at the academy a living hell.
She did. Five weeks in, she was just as annoying as ever. They had training classes together, and she made a show of being the overachiever of the whole class. Lucius, on the other hand, was not really advancing at all. He was goo at hand-to-hand combat without powers, and the instructors were getting a more solid idea of how his powers worked when he did use them - but he was not any close to controlling any of it at all.
Which is why it came as a complete surprise when one evening someone banged on his door.
Lucius was not about to argue ethics with this woman. There was no use. Ironic, her saying she didn't have time for this, when she was the one coming into his room to throw a fit. What did she care if he made a mess?
"That's just the thing, princess" he folded his arms; he was not wearing his gloves, and as he was getting annoyed, he could feel his hands heating up. "If I wasn't here, I'd be in prison. So, does that make me a good guy or a bad guy?" He tilted his head. "I'm sure you people can make use of my powers... but you need me to control them first. So. What if I can't?" It was a defiant question, but there was a real fear underneath. He'd thought about this many times. "What if I never get control of this? If I turn out ot be useless? I get shipped back to prison, then?"
Lucius stared at her as she turned the questions back on him. This whole place felt like a nightmare. He did not have good answers to any of that, other than... something felt off.
"Holy shit, woman." he frowned. "I guess I don't want anyone who thinks in good guys and bad guys to point me at anyone to incinerate them." That sounded wrong on so many levels. "People are a bit more complicated than that. And I don't like being anyone's weapon. Do you?"
Lucius rolled his eyes. Establishing a baseline for his powers was one thing; doing it by pitting him against other students was another. And he was really sick and tired of everyone holding prison over his head all the time.
And then she had to go and bring up the you could be useful if you really tried line, like a middle school teacher.
"Oh can I? Really?" he arched an eyebrow looking back at her "What, if I just really applied myself, I could live up to my true potential? Which is... what exactly?" He tilted his head. "What's the endgame here? Pointing me at bad guys and getting them incinerated?"
Lucius rolled his eyes. "Good." Because even if she had come for an apology, she wouldn't get one, no way. She did look annoyed, though. Apparently, because the sprinklers were disturbing whatever she was doing in her princess tower. For fuck's sake.
"So get. it. together. Roscoe, or you'll be moved to an isolation room. And clean this shit up, it looks ridiculous."
"Wait, this is not an isolation room?" He looked around. What would be more isolated then a fireproof box?... A box without a window? Lucius got to his feet, brushing ash off his clothes.
"This place is insane. All of you people are insane. You all knew what my powers can do, and when one gets hurt, everyone gets their panties in a bunch. Well guess what. Fire is dangerous. It's not neat, and it doesn't do shit on command. And neither do I."
Lucius looked up as the door was pushed open without a knock, and groaned at the sight of Camilla. She was bandaged, but also made up and wearing a fancy dress and heels. She'd live.
"What the fuck happened here?!"
"Nothing." he shrugged. "I'm not gonna apologize, princess. You people started it."
It took Lucius a moment to realize what was happening. One minute he was walking out of the classroom; the next, he was turning around, drawn by some invisible urge to move towards Camilla. He looked confused, until he was standing in front of her and the instructor, and it dawned on him that Camilla was using her mind mojo powers. On him.
"You will stay here. You will practice. You will learn to control it. Pick your next opponent. Or pick jail. Up to you."
Five hours later Lucius was sitting in his room, soaked, pissed, and miserable. The rest of the class had not gone any better than his sparring with Camilla. Everyone was hesitant to face him, except for the water sprite, who took some cruel enjoyment in soaking him again and again. More burns were doled out, and he was not any closer to controlling any of his powers. If anything, he just felt like he was completely losing it.
They knew what they were doing when they made the room fireproof. Now that he was sitting on the floor, the walls and ceiling were covered in scorch marks, and the curtains were a pile of ash. Every time the flames got high, the sprinklers activated, dousing him with a new wave of cold water, until the entire room smelled like wet ash, and looked like a scene from a post-apocalyptic hellscape. Lucius swore, resting his elbows on his knees. Hellscape was an apt description.
Topics I Participated In
Somewhere, in an alternate universe...
Lucius Roscoe swore under his breath as he was buzzed through the gates of the imposing five-story building. Press could dress it up any way they wanted, this place was a goddamn prison for powered people. Security cameras? Security doors? High walls and barbed wire? Damn. Were they trying to keep bigots out, or keep the residents in?
For him, it was definitely prison. Or as close as he'd get, for now. Having made a mess of things back home, he was now here as per his deal in court. Get a grip on his power,s straighten up and fly right, join an officially licenced (or unofficially accepted...) team, or else, he'd be sent to a facility that was qualified to hold powered people, and in all likelihood never see the light of day again. Part of him was still weighing that option.
He walked through the spacious grounds to the tall building. They were on the far side of New York City, but ground this big... still a luxury. Then again, probably no one wanted to be a very close neighbor with people who could create lightning and turn into jaguars and whatnot. Or... people like Lucius. Wearing torn jeans and a leather jacket, with a beat-up duffle bag slung over his shoulder, despite his young age he was the kind of person decent folks gave funny looks at. Even without knowing why he was wearing thick, elbow-length gloves in this nice spring weather.
Lucius whispered one last "fuck me" before he sighed, and rang the doorbell. This place was going to suck.
Early 77 AD
The Fates had a sense of humor sometimes. Back when Lucius had walked into a small jewelry shop, looking for a gift for Vipsania and Mother, he had scarcely imagined that sometime in the future he would be brother to the young, bored-looking bored girl that sold said jewelry. And yet, here he was. Adoption ceremonies complete, papers signed, one idiot Lucius handed over by his brother to his new equites family. There was no way back now. He had given up the highest standing in the empire, and decided to go fight drunk people in the streets and run into fires instead.
Gods help him.
Lucius was not new to having a sister, although Vipsania had been married off early, just when Gaius had left. He could see that Mania, attending the adoption celebration, had not been too impressed with having yet another brother (and no say in it at all). So now that the fuss was over, he took the time to go seek her out. What did someone even say to a young woman who was suddenly his sister?... He hoped that he'd come up with the words by the time he found her.
AU - 76AD
Everything stung. The pain of salt water mixed with fresh bleeding wounds dragged her back to the land of the living slowly, with groggy coughs that spilled more salt water onto the sand, and shaking limbs that tried to push herself to her back. Ovinia didn't understand where she was. The last thing she remembered was the darkness of the Ionian Sea stretching out menacingly before them, the white caps of waves illuminated by the moon and stars that twinkled overhead. Now she was here - (finally) led on her back on the sand of a beach, shivering in the warm sunlight of early morning, drenched, in pain, and...alone.
She tried to move her head and managed it with effort to scan her surroundings. Everything was blurry and she moved shaking fingers to wipe the sand and hair and water from her face. The effort caused her to cough again - her lungs burning. Nobody to her right; just wood broken up on the shoreline. She dropped her head back to the sand in effort. After a few breaths she managed to look to her left. She wished she hadn't. Bodies - only a couple, but that's what they were. For a brief moment she considered if they - like her - would rouse when their wounds started to burn but then she saw their faces - down into the water, their bodies still and she let out a strangled cry.
This was supposed to be a small trip; a surprise one, it's why she'd travelled alone besides her bodyslave and a guard. From Rome to Patara to visit her brother, it would have been two weeks or perhaps three, but they had been held in Taenarum and had, had to board a new boat. It had been a creaking thing, uncomfortable but fast and they had set off two mornings ago - lugging around the cape and into the sea dotted by islands that shimmered like jewels in the blue of the water. She wished she'd remembered and she shut her eyes again, dropping her head back to the sand as she tried to flick through memories of the night. She managed to claw back a memory of a creaking sound and a scream. Her eyes flew open in panic again. She had to move. Water was lapping at her ankles and she was shivering, even in the warmth of the sun.
"H-help." Her voice was a croak, barely audible. She prayed she wasn't alone.
February 77AD (Right after Falling Apart)
Blood still glimmered on the cobblestones in the light of the torches when Lucius got to the scene, but it was darkening fast. Even wrapped in a senatorial outfit, the body could have lied there for hours until a carriage bumped into it... but someone had seen a man running away from the scene, and the victim was found. Someone alerted the vigiles. Lucius, nearby just starting his evening patrol, hurried to the scene with the others. The news were spreading faster than a flame. A senator had been killed.
Stabbed, no doubt. Dead as a doornail, no hope of a rescue. The vigiles formed a perimeter around the body, but Lucius managed to convince the centurion to wait before bundling it away from the prying eyes of the plebes. The man had been stabbed, in the street. Not robbed, not beaten. Maybe, just maybe... but why a man? Why a senator?
Lucius sent one of the other recruits hurrying to the insula, for Alexius and Theodorus. Another one for Jason. The centurion was losing his patience fast, but dealing with the death of a senator made him cautious enough that he was willing to listen. That won some time, but not much of it. Lucius swore under his breath, standing by the body. he wasn't even sure what he was waiting for... but he wanted the others to see it too.
Lucius had been working with the vigiles for several months, but he had to admit he had never seen them hop to work so fast and with so much enthusiasm as when the news came in that the Venus was on fire. And it barely tampered their heroic spirit when they found out that the fire, thank the gods, was only near the Venus, but not actually in it. It also did not make them any less helpful to know that there was not a single man among the rank and file vigiles that would have been able to afford a girl or boy from the Venus. It was the principle, after all. And maybe a faint hope of reward.
The building next to the Venus caught from a cooking fire, as far as they could tell. The centurion on the scene immediately ordered the vigiles to start pulling down the burning parts of the roof, and sent some to cover the adjacent roof with water-soaked skins and blankets, to prevent the Venus from catching from the sparks. People stood by, watching the scene unfold; even some of the girls and the clients came out of the Venus, looking nervous.
Lucius was standing at the building's doorway, part of the bucket brigade that was passing down water from the nearby fountain. Smoke and sparks flew everywhere, and made him tear up, even with the scarf over his mouth and nose.
"Are we sure there is no one inside?..."
February 77 AD, the Gardens of Maecenas
It had been Lucius' idea to come to the Gardens of Maecenas, for some reason of his own, and Gaius had agreed, it was neutral enough territory after the various conversations and disagreements they'd had over the last few months, culminating in Lucius' finally leaving the household to pursue his crazy idea of joining the vigiles.
Apart from that, Gaius wasn't entirely sure why he was walking in the Gardens of Maecenas in February; the last time he'd visited one of Rome's public gardens in the winter, the girl had finally decided to call it off. Not that it had ever really been 'on', so to speak, but he hadn't pursued the matter and her father had been willing to let it drop even if he had the right to carry on making arrangements for the marriage.
Gaius was rather glad he hadn't; he would rather not marry Ovinia if marrying him would make her unhappy. And there was the complication of his brother - the two of them knew each other somehow, that had been glaringly clear from the way they'd interacted at that dinner, although he hadn't been able to get anything out of Lucius about how, and of course it wasn't something he could have asked Ovinia.
"So, how are you finding life with the vigiles?" he finally asked, pulling his cloak a little tighter around his shoulders; he had elected not to wear his senatorial tunic and toga for this informal outing, but was comfortably clothed in a dark green woollen tunic with a warm cloak over his pallium.
Mid January 77AD
Ovinia hurried through the alley, hair still damp, curling against her neck under the heavy palla she wore up over her head when out in public now. She was trailed by Lucia and the brutish slave assigned as her guard but as agreed with her father, they were ten or so paces behind. They also stopped when she did, eyes down and watching the street ahead. She hated passing through here now, but hated even more that she smiled to herself at the memories the place held. What promptly wiped her smile, as always, was the crude handwriting scratched into the wall. It had caught her eye a couple of weeks before:
Sweet Saturnalia kisses here turned so bitter. Farewell, bitch.
She'd choked when she'd first seen it and Lucia had promptly hurried to her side, frowning intently at her domina and the writing. Ovinia had shooed her away and bid her and her bodyguard further up the road. She'd withdrawn a hair pin and hurriedly scratched back before she could find any sense:
The kisses weren't even that good.
She'd loathed herself after and spent most of the next few days brooding over her childishness. She shouldn't rise to it. To him. But she did. The embarrassment she felt that day at the Porticus Livae was only intensifying. He'd only kissed her because of the festival. He'd only come to see her because he'd been summoned by her father. She'd been so naive and so hopeful and she'd said farewell to an excellent match, in part, for a youthful infatuation that wasn't even returned. She rationalised that as the reason she'd scratched into the wall. That had to be it. It didn't explain why she had choked, incensed when she saw her message had been replied to a few days later on her way to the baths:
That's because you're frigid. Loosen up.
Lucia had, once again, rushed to her side and frowned at the writing. Ovinia's cheeks were burning red and Lucia had immediately gripped her hand, gesturing for the guard to stay back. "What do you want me to do?" Ovinia had played dumb, shrugging and denying everything as she went to the baths. She'd shaken her head and said she didn't know what it was and that she merely thought the graffiti in poor taste. Lucia hadn't been born yesterday though and it was only when Ovinia's eyes filled with watery tears that her slave had ushered her into a quieter corner of the baths, shrouding her with a towel and insistently asking what she needed. She didn't ask for details, merely what she could do to help. Ovinia knew there was a reason she had always liked the girl. She'd choked it out, embarrassed, upset and confused; "He's a bastard." Lucia had nodded and taken that as instructions, halting by the wall as Ovinia hurried through. She'd scratched back, Ovinia would see a few days later:
Bastard. You are a man with no honour.
The poor girl had not only scratched the words but had to deal with Ovinia's breakdown on it not a few hours later. She'd clearly been expecting it and had come back to the domus full of assurances that no; she wouldn't tell Ovinia's father and no, a kiss with a man didn't make Ovinia a whore. It had almost...bemused her, even as Ovinia refused to admit which man it was. Lucia could guess though. It had made Ovinia feel a little better. Just for a few days, just until she had seen the newest reply on her way to the baths:
Slut. You are a woman with no morals.
It did not occur to Ovinia in that moment that the Lucius she had known would never have been so crude, nor cruel. In her head, it had to be him. It was in this alley they had kissed so heatedly, on Saturnalia as the graffiti had said. It had shattered her, and steadied her hand as she penned her letter to the barracks:
If you do not desist in the slander on the wall of that place where we had shared a moment, I will have no choice but to escalate the matter to my father for his awareness. I will not hesitate to pursue all options to remedy your entitlement and cruelty.
I do not understand why you are doing this.
It had been delivered by a boy she had paid an as to two days ago and she had been hesitant more than ever to go to the alley. She hadn't looked at the wall on the way to the baths but now, hair damp against her skin, cheeks still flushed from the heat of the water and the steam, and body veiled in a palla, her eyes couldn't help but be drawn to the wall. No new writing. No reply. She frowned, relief washing through her but sadness replacing it swiftly. So it was him.
(End of the year, 76AD - after Winter walk)
Lucius was in a foul mood as he climbed the steps to Alexius' apartment. He should have been focusing on the search, on the information he had acquired about the barber and his victims. And yet, he could not stop thinking about Ovinia's parting words, the hurt look in her eyes. And even worse than that, he could not stop thinking about holding her and kissing her. He was going to drive himself mad, sooner than later.
He needed to talk to someone. Focus on the investigation, holding the plans together. Finding the killer. That was something straightforward he could work on, and drown his feelings. If that didn't work, he could always just get drunk. Alexius seemed to be a good partner for either of those.
"I hope you've got one, but if you don't, I've got money" he announced as he walked into the apartment.
(End of the year, 76AD, after Assemble)
Narcissus was still damn ugly. Lucius stood, looking at the paintings, remembering the day a mere half a year earlier, when he'd first met Ovinia Camilla at the portico. It seemed like a lifetime ago. Would he have done anything differently, if he'd known...? Would he do anything different now?
Ovinia had sent word that she was going for a walk. Probably under serious supervision, but her father wanted to keep up appearances. She would come here, because it was her usual place to walk, and today was a nice, mild winter day. Lucius was not wearing his uniform this time, just a plain tunica and a cloak, wandeling along the painting of the portico. Their meeting was not actually sanctioned by anyone. But he had news for her, she deserved to know. And he wanted to see her, see how she was holding up. It was still eating away at him that he could not comfort her after the attack.
AU Timeline - 78AD
Ovinia had not expected to spend her twenty first birthday locked in a cage, tears drying on her cheeks, hair a rats nest of tangles and wearing the itchiest tunica she'd ever had the misfortune to own. Then again, she had not expected her father to miscalculate quite so badly. Civil war - he had said - had been inevitable; people were discontented, food was growing scarcer with the poor harvests and the leadership structure was crumbling. He had believed until the moment he had bid that slave to plunge the sword through his chest, that he had been in the right. She had thought so too. Only now, as his daughter sat alone in her cell, did she begin to doubt it. Her mother had followed him out with a poison sipped in her wine and her brothers were scattered to the winds; some in chains others fleeing for their lives. Somebody had to answer for the crimes of those who had stoked the discord throughout the Empire now the dust had settled, and unfortunately for Ovinia Camilla, the judgement had fallen on her. And all the other crying, wailing once-Citizens locked up with her.
A voice barked a little way off; "Ovinia Camilla!" She ignored it, arms hugging around her knees even tighter and staring straight at the floor. It rang out again; "Which one of you is Ovinia Camilla!" She glowered as the man drew to a stop just in front of the cage, glancing between the rows of women. Somebody's voice piped up behind her. Nessenia. The bitch. "She's there - that one, in the green." She'd never liked the pompous, self-serving arrogant young woman. Before she could tell her as much though a hand found her upper arm and yanked her up and out into the corridor and through into a courtyard. She blinked into the daylight as it burned her eyes. "Wash yourself." The man grunted and she blinked at a large bucket of cold water, and a comb set out on a small stool. She scoffed. "I'm not washing in front of you." The man merely shrugged, unmoved. "You'll be doing a lot more than that if you don't hurry the fuck up." The glint in his eyes set her on edge and she swallowed, picking up the rag. She didn't undress, but he didn't seem that bothered beyond reminding her every thirty seconds that she had to hurry. She took her time, leisurely combing her hair and scrubbing the grime from her arms, from her chest, from her face.
"Move it." She felt a shove to the back and she stumbled. The man didn't care, urging her forward. They drew to the main gate. She remembered coming in, only three days ago but it felt like a lifetime. "You run, you get branded. You fall behind, I use these." The man held up a pair of menacing looking manacles. "Where are we going?" She said in response but the man merely shoved her forward, out of the open gate and into the crowds of a city rebuilding itself. "I said, where are we going?" She protested. She knew where they were going. She knew she was supposedly a slave now and that presumably meant she was on her way to whomever now 'owned' her, but who that person was, she had no idea. She felt a lurch in her stomach. This was the moment she'd been dreading, perhaps more than any other. Images of the girls being dragged off to the brothels filled her mind. She felt her breath quicken. "I said..." She felt the slap before she saw the hand and she winced, clutching her face in pain. "You don't get to demand answers. Now move." The man grunted, angling his hand in between her shoulder blades to hurry her along.
By the time they drew to a stop she was breathless, her calves burning from the walk in ill-fitting sandals. She didn't recognise this region, which was a relief and nor did there seem to be a brothel or popina here. She let out a breath, leaning forward heavily to try and draw more air in as the man knocked on a door. It was a residential road; damaged by the looting and fires that had overtaken the city in the last few weeks of the unrest, but this domus was still standing. How, she didn't know - the Civil War had been going on for over a year and it had left very little of the city untouched. A hand gripped around her upper arm again, dragging her into the frigid home where a slave was standing, looking quizzically at the man and then her in turn. She could see suspicion and resentment lingering in his eyes. "Wait here." The man instructed to her and then jerked his head at the man. "You, follow me. The dominus is in the tablinum." So she was left alone. She did not wait where she was instructed too and instead cast her eyes around - looking at every bit of it. It seemed unloved in, this place; cold and new in a way she couldn't place. A few people milled around, slaves she assumed and she merely cast them an imperious, derisory look and left it at that.
She saw the man who had accompanied her move back into the atrium out of the corner of her eye, from where she was examining a fresco. He offered her a smirk and a chuckle. "Good luck. You're up." Gesturing for her to make her way to the tablinum, before ducking back out of the door. She blinked and slowly, leisurely glided to the curtained room. It was gloomy. She didn't say anything - just gave the man sitting behind the desk and the slave to his right a mild look. The silence couldn't last though, and she added; "Well?"
Other Characters by this Player
- 8 posts
- Player: Chevi
- Face Claim: Zendaya
- Location: Rome
- Activity Level: Moderate