Face ClaimBob Morley
At least she had been up front about the game. She needed a client, and she had found one. Lucius knew he was an ideal catch: wealthy, from a good family, and not half bad in bed.
"An exceptional one. You know you'd earn a fortune at the Venus with those moves."
"At least I have a career to fall back on" he grinned.
"Are you going to come back to see me there when we're in the city, do you think?"
"Maybe." the Venus was still very much an expensive place. But if he was ever going to look for company again, at least he knew he would get exactly what he wanted. From someone who was not just a pretty face. Lucius sighed, closing his eyes for a moment longer before reality started to creep back in. "Alright, let's get out of bad and see who survived the night. Where did I put my purse...?"
She was either already alert enough to play her role, or she genuinely was satisfied with the events of the night. Lucius allowed himself the illusion that it was the latter. She looked divine, lying in bed with her hair tussled and her skin glowing in the early morning light.
"How am I feeling? Quite content, thank you very much. You?"
"Like I could sleep for a few more hours" he admitted with a chuckle. He reached out to her, running a hand along her shoulder. Under different circumstances, he would have snuggled her close, but that might have been pushing it, given that she was working. "Still think I'd make a good client?"
In retrospect, Lucius was glad that he had not participated in the heavy drinking at the party. He would not have been able to keep up with Vibia any less sober than he was. She was not joking when she had claimed all the rest of their night - and she definitely proved that she was worth the money and Venus' reputation. Not one to be put to shame, Lucius took enjoyment in surprising her, whenever he was not too lost in pleasure to take the lead.
It was just before dawn that they finally dozed off, and soon birdsong was filtering in through the door. Lucius woke up to Vibia shifting next to him in bed, poking him in the ribs as she stretched. His eyes blinked open and he rolled to his side to look at her. She stretched like a cat.
"Morning" he smiled sleepily. How long did they sleep? Probably not more than an hour or two. "How are you feeling?"
Alright, so this was happening. And despite her banter, Lucius actually was enthusiastic about it. He was in bed with a woman who was beautiful, and smart as a whip, and free game in the right time and place. If she didn't mind her injury, he didn't.
She moved fast, straddling him, a clear look of triumph in her eyes before she kissed him. Lucius was a little surprised she would go straight to kissing, but he wasn't going to question it. His hands traveled along her thighs, pushing her dress out of the way as they kissed, until she pulled back, both of them slightly out of breath.
"You never told me your full name."
"You never told me yours" he replied, arching an eyebrow at her. If she was a freedwoman, she probably had a longer name. Not that he really needed to know. He smiled at her instead, hands traveling up to undo the belt of her dress. "Lucius Vipsanius Roscius. Anything else?"
Lucius turned to his side too, so now they were facing each other. The bed was comfortably wide (thank the gods for the hosts knowing what their guests would want). Vibia's hands traveled along his neck and the edges of his face.
"It is dull, at least...dull compared to what else we could do alone together, in a bed. But I had thought you wouldn't want an invalid? Or are you chasing your mind?"
Lucius' lips curled into a smile as her finger traced them. She was not going to let an accident slow her down. "You won the night, remember?" Kind of. "It's up to you how you want to spend it."
They had a medicus. That was good. At least if Lucius managed to misdiagnose the situation in a horrible manner, it would be fixed tomorrow. Vibia winced at the touch, so he knew she was in pain, but short of lots of wine and cold water, he really had no other way to help her.
"Don't worry about it, it's just a sprain. Why don't you read some Sappho to me instead? That'd soothe me as much as a cold compress."
Lucius chuckled, shifting to lay down side by side with her on the bed. "I remember you implying that you find such recitals a bit... boring?" he pointed out. "But I'm sure I can rustle up some other poetry from memory if you want me to."
She gave up the stubbornness and complied, lifting her leg across his. Lucius examined her ankle carefully in the light of the lamps. It wasn't exactly the best lighting, so he touched the injured foot gently. Nothing was sticking out at odd angles, and the swelling was not red or purple. That was probably a good sign. And that was where his expertise ended.
"How's it looking doc?"
"I don't think it's broken, or dislocated" he concluded, with reasonable confidence. "But you should show it to a medicus tomorrow. Do you have one of those at Venus?" It would have stood to reason to have one on call for a high end place like the Venus. People injured themselves easily even when they were sober... "We could get some cold water and wrap it so that it doesn't swell too much."
"My ankle is fine,"
It was most definitely not fine. But she pulled it away as soon as Lucius took a seat next to her on the bed. Stubborn woman.
"And you never told me you were a medics, Lucius. Or are you just an enthusiast of the lower extremities?"
"I know what dislocation looks like." he frowned, looking at her in the light of the lamps. "I told you you have the night, didn't I? There's no need to suffer through it if it's bad."
Seriously, Vibia. She needed to learn to trust people a little more.
"You could have moved to catch me. Remind me never to bet on you if you get into any sort of athletics that involve catching or throwing."
Lucius huffed, helping her up. She had jumped very suddenly. Still it was embarrassing that he had not caught her. She got on her feet and winced, the look on her face a clear indication that she was in pain.
"Just my ankle, nothing important... And w-what do you think of the dress now you can see it in its full glory?"
"Do I look like I care about the dress?" he sighed, watching her hobble for a few steps before he caught up and scooped her up into his arms. She was not exactly heavy, and the last thing they wanted was for someone to see her walking around injured.
Lucius headed to the guest rooms, some of which were already occupied, but others still waited empty and made up for people who have had enough debauchery for one night. Lucius picked the farthest one, depositing Vibia onto the bed before he lit some of the oil lamps on the table. "Let me see your ankle."
"Music, probably. You can earn a mint as a professional I hear."
Well, that was one answer. She had mentioned music before, and how she enjoyed playing it. Maybe she was telling the truth; maybe, later on, she'd fall back on music when her Venus days were done.
"You're going to need to help. Ready to catch me?"
Lucius looked up, holding out his arms to catch her... but she jumped early. The way she slipped off the branch put her just short of his grasp, and she landed on her feet, collapsing to her knees with a yelp. Lucius winced.
"Could have given me a moment" he muttered, leaning down to offer her a hand. "Are you alright? Did you hurt something?"
Topics I Participated In
July, 76 CE
It was high summer, and the nobility of Rome was fleeing the city in droves. Lucius would have left too to visit the estate, except Gaius wanted to keep a close watch on him until the ed of the year, the infamous deadline to figure out what he wanted to do with his life (and for his family). There was only one loophole in this situation: many young, unmarried men Lucius' age (a dwindling number but still there) organized parties at their villas outside the city, inviting each other along for some well deserved networking and debauchery. It was a loophole Lucius decided to take advantage of. Spending time with his peers and building connections? Gaius could not argue with that. Leaving the city and spending free time at a villa? Much better than July on the Quirinal. Maybe he should have been a lawyer.
This current party was in full swing, bordering on orgy. The cool night air freshened everyone up, the wine had been filled and refilled several times, there was music, and, obviously, there were men and women hired for entertainment. And still, with all the luxury and the spices, the party was still painfully boring, in Lucius' opinion. Conversations were bland (sliding into ridiculous as some held their liquor worse than others), drinking games got boring quick, and there was not much else to do. Lucius managed to slip away from the crowd, wandering around the gardens of the villa for a while, getting some fresh air. He came across the small bath building attached to the main house and peeked in, but someone was already... being occupied in there, so he backed out, and decided to return to the trees instead. Maybe there were a few apples left somewhere to pick. Pulling himself up into the lower branches of one promising tree, he looked around in the light of torches that filtered out into the garden.
July, 76 AD
Marcus rolled his eyes at yet another posh son of a Senator, with his nose up in the sky, talking about that and hither as if he had any say in anything, with his old man still alive. Marcus was free as a bird, at least. His brother, his Pater Familias, was nowhere near Rome. He wasn't even sure where he was. His mother’s husband of course, he did what he could to keep Marcus afloat and out of trouble, but honestly… the man was not here and Marcus could do as he pleased. Which was not listen to nonsense about future escapades in faraway countries. The guy didn’t even know if he’d get there yet!
He slipped away from the group of young men chatting and found his own bodyslave lingering near one of the entrances to the peristyle. This was a party or ‘social gathering’ for young men of high quality, to meet and interact and maybe form friendships and alliances to last until they one day would become important men. So boring! Marcus didn't need parties like these. He didn't know why the old man at home thought he did. There weren't even any girls present!
“Silvanus… I’m bored. Why don’t you fetch me a jar of wine?” He told his slave and Silvanus arched a brow, “It is not our home, Domine. I can’t just…” He tried to argue, but Marcus rolled his eyes for who-knows-which-time this evening, “You can, because I told you so. And if they say you can’t, tell them that I sent you and if they don’t do as I tell them, I’ll tell our host what awful slaves he has. And what they did to me through you.” Marcus said and Silvanus could not see how he could argue himself out of that. So off he went towards the kitchens to find the wine.
Meanwhile Marcus slipped over to a slave standing around with a plate of finger foods. The sticky, but delicious honeyed dates! Marcus picked a few off the tray and ate them, they were the ones with black pepper inside, his favorites! Expensive too! When he was done, he licked his fingers, one by one, until Silvanus showed up with the desired jar of wine, “Great, you got it! Thanks!” Marcus carried it off towards a corner of the atrium, where he could sit down and drink it on his own. Or so he thought.
Longinus hurried back - ducking and weaving through the crowds as he made his way back to the domus. The afternoon was hot - too hot - and he couldn't wait to decant the toga that he had haphazardly thrown over his shoulder. He hated senate meetings, for the most part, and today's had only intensified that. Why his colleagues needed to drone on for literally hours about grain allotments was absolutely beyond him, but he made a mental note to develop a fever before the next one, if the same Senators intended to orate.
He'd been surprised that Gaius had sent word that he wanted him to talk some sense into his brother. He was quite sure that if you asked any of his closest friends, they absolutely would not use the word 'sensible' to describe peace-time Longinus. Military Longinus - who had his men's lives in his hands - maybe, but not Longinus in Rome. Still - at the very least, after this afternoon Gaius owed him, and favours from friends was always a benefit. Besides, maybe this fellow Lucius was good company? He liked the man's brother, and had his own wayward streak after all, so maybe they'd get on? Then again, maybe that was a naive hope.
What was also probably not going to help matters was that he was late. Never one to keep to time, he'd dawdled after the meeting, catching up with friends and such before he'd made his way into the sunshine of the bright June day to to find his secretary, Vitus, glowering. Even now as they hurried home, Vitus bore a look of thunder; "I'm not that late, stop it." Vitus merely shrugged and muttered; "It's still impolite." loud enough for Longinus to hear. As they drew to his domus, finally, he hurried through into the atrium and didn't even pause to think about it - unwilling the folds of his striped toga with a haste as he queried; "Is he here yet? Or late too?"
When in Rome, pretend you know what you're doing.
This was not Lucius' first time in Europe. Or even in Rome. Having a wealthy family had its perks, as in, taking family vacations in places outside the good old US of A. Lucius, being the kind of guy he was, also took the gap year his parents believed was the highway straight to moral decline. It wasn't, but it had been great fun, and it included about three days spent in Rome halfway between Florence and Naples as he and some similarly ambitionless youth burned their way through the continent. Rome, in the end, left and impression, though, and how he was back for a senior year study abroad scholarship. Living in the city, instead of just visiting. Probably putting off graduation for another year or so. What was the rush, anyway?
Lucius had been in the city for a few months now, and he was feeling mighty local. Especially since his university pass granted him access to most of the archaeological sites. Right now, he was lounging under the orange trees on the Palatine, surveying the view of the Forum and the Capitoline Hill, and the tourists making their way all around the scenery. All of this place was definitely Instagram-worthy. Lucius folded his arms, pushing his sunglasses to the top of his head, and watched the people. Equally interesting to the ruins. It was fun to make silent bets on which one was going to tumble down the hillside, or lose a selfie stick to a seagull.
June 76 AD
"Dominus, you should not be in here. The guests could arrive in any minute." The old woman looked at Lucius half pleading, half displeased. She was used to him taking up space in the kitchen on most days, but when company was expected, she always got a bit nervous. She was a good-natured person, and she did not like the younger dominus getting into trouble with his brother.
"I know, I know. Give me a moment" Lucius protested, leaning over the table as the slowly dribbled honey on top of the savillum. It had to be done just right. The kitchen was often his refuge from the comings and goings in the house, and since he did not really like other patrician families making social visits, he was trying to stay in there as long as possibly could. Helping out with the cooking in the process. "There. Alright. I'm going. I'm going. Bless you" he grinned at the cook as she ushered him out, but she smiled anyway.
He could hear the front door opening as he made his way through the atrium. Uh-oh. Lucius ran a hand through his hair. He had been shaved earlier today at least, but there was still a streak of flour on his cheek, and he needed to put on a better tunic. Oh, Gaius was going to be mad. Lucius quickened his steps, hoping to duck out of sight before the guests walked in.
This was going to be a long dinner...
Ovinia grinned at her nephew, held firmly in the arms of his nurse and then resumed her game of 'peekaboo'. Lucius was a docile child - now nearly eighteen months old - and his giggles as she revealed her face, booping him on his nose as she did, warmed her heart. "Domina, he does need his nap..." Ovinia rolled her eyes, "He can wait a little longer, Viria asked me to take him out for some fresh air." Probably because she intended to either argue with Ovinia's eldest brother, her husband or...do whatever married couples did when alone behind locked doors. She wrinkled her nose at the thought and returned to fuss over little Lucius.
The slave's exasperated expression was only thinly masked though and perfectly souring Ovinia's mood. She snapped; "Fine. Fine, take him back. But don't pout when Viria snaps at you." The slave only meekly nodded and bundling her little charge up, hurried back towards their families sprawling Domus. That left Ovinia alone with Hostus, one of her fathers slaves who had accompanied the young unmatched Ovinia out today.
The Porticus Liviae was her favourite place in Rome, it had been all of her young life. She found the usual gardens too busy and crowded, and filled with the riff-raff that always made Rome unpleasant in the summer. The Forum - once one had been once or twice in a month - held no interest, nor did the markets, but here? Here was everything you could want. Art and shade, even musicians today - the dulcet tones of a singer drifting from some secluded corner. It was quiet as well, the lull after lunch where the rich were taking their naps and the poor were back at work. Ovinia enjoyed the quiet, it was a respite after a busy few weeks in the Domus with its stifling atmosphere of her mothers moans, her fathers chiding and her brothers quarrelling.
Drawing to a stop in front of a fresco in one of the colonnade's, newly painted, she tilted her head to the side and examined it. "What do you think of it?" She called to Hostus, unaware there was somebody else drawing to a stop next to her.
Summer, 76 AD
Lucius was fully aware that he was in trouble. News traveled fast, even in a city as large as Rome, and the moment he'd spotted some of the family friends in their litters crossing the market, he knew he had a storm brewing over his head. By the time he got home with the Quirialis, Gaius would have worked his way through exasperation and indignation and was probably ready to go straight to lecture.
Lucius did not think he'd done anything wrong. He had been spending a lovely early morning out and about, enjoying the hours before the heat got too bad, and taking a stroll through the markets. He was not really there for the shopping, more like the people; merchants were generally talkative, and they had a lot of interesting things to say. Lucius knew many of them by name. This morning, he was at the Forum Holiturium when a merchant whom he knew for his excellent olives and even more excellent stories about his past adventures around the East struck up a conversation. Suddenly a child showed up with some news from his home, and he was urgently needed; seeing the man was in distress, it only made sense for Lucius to offer to watch the stand for a few minutes, until the man would send someone to take over. It was fun, standing at the stall with the amphorae and bowls of all the different flavors and colors of olives. Some people even made purchases, and Lucius toyed with the idea of living a whole different life as an olive merchant.
But then the litters showed up, and he knew he was done for the day.
Lucius walked into the domus a little sheepishly, looking around to see where the ambush was going to come from.
LUCIUS VIPSANIUS ROSCIUS
23 | Kalendae Ianuariae 53 | Senatore | Disappointment | Pansexual | Original | Bob Morley
Lucius is a disappointment to his family, but not really for the usual reasons. He is not a rebel, and does not (usually) engage in debauchery. And yet, his world view and personality is in contrast with what is expected from a young patrician man. This is partially due to his upbringing - he's spent much of his formative years in his mother's household, surrounded by freedmen, servants and slaves who provided a replacement for his own dwindling family. With a lack of paternal supervision, and the trauma of his father's death, Lucius lost all interest in politics or pursuing ambitions of rank and power. Instead, he just... likes people. Social boundaries baffle him, and he spends a lot of time among the plebeians of Rome. This in itself would not be that unusual, except Lucius is not slumming it, like many other young nobles. He does something much ore embarrassing: he likes to help out. He enjoys being useful and helpful, and is not afraid to put in actual physical work when he feels like it. He has a variety of unusual skills, from gutting fish to fixing a wheel. He is generally a friendly, bright, open person who smiles easily, but tenses up when official obligations come into play. He has a good relationship with his mother and sister, and looks up to his brother, despite their ever-growing differences in world view and ambition.
Lucius has the dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin of the rest of his Italian family. He bears a marked resemblance to his brother, although he is taller and leaner. He spends a lot of time outside, so he tends to have a darker tan, and it is not uncommon for him to forget to shave long enough to look scruffy. He wears his hair longer, almost in the Greek style, which is why it tends to get into his eyes. Lucius enjoys exercise, which keeps him in good health and good shape, but he lacks the noble bearing and poise of the rest of his family, or the mannerisms of his brother who had the luck to grow up under the tutelage of his senator father. Lucius prefers simple clothing, blending in with the people of Rome, and decidedly hates wearing a toga.
Father: Marcus Vipsanius Roscius (deceased)
Mother: Claudia Lemonia
Siblings: Gaius Vipsanius Roscius (b. 41), Vipsania Roscia (b. 46)
Other: Marcus Vipsanius Acastus (freedman, tutor)
53 CE - Lucius is born as the third (and last) child of Marcus Vipsanius Roscius and Claudia Lemonia. He is a late child, his brother is twelve years older than him, but the siblings get along fairly well anyway. From the beginning, Lucius looks up to his brother and sister, and he is the apple of his mother's eye. The siblings mostly spend their time at the family's villa outside of Neapolis.
60 CE - Lucius is 7 years old when his brother Gaius begins his cursus honorum by traveling to Britannia as a military tribune. Lucius misses him dearly, and dreams of following in his footsteps. In the meantime, he spends his days under the care of his mother, and the members of her household. Lucius is a bright, friendly child, a favorite among the slaves and the freedmen. He is too small for his father to take much interest in his education yet, but things will soon change forever.
62 CE - Childhood ends at age 9 when news come that Lucius' father has been killed in Rome by Clemens. Gaius becomes the paterfamilias, but he is still away in Britannia. The household is in disarray. Wanting to see at least one of her children in safe hands, Claudia Lemonia quickly arranges a marriage for her daughter, and Vipsania leaves the household too. Lucius is still too young to count as an adult, and it is too dangerous to go to Rome, so months are spent in uncertainty and anxiety at the villa. Gaius returns for a short time, much changed by the years and the new responsibilities, then leaves again to finish his term in Britannia.
Lucius comes of age in a household much changed. As soon as he takes on the toga virilis in the absence of his brother, he begins his studies with a rhetorician, a trusted freedman of his father named . He becomes as close to a father figure as Lucius has had in a long time, and he does not only teaches the young man everything a patrician needs to know, but also teaches him empathy and understanding for the people around him. By the time he is finishing his studies, Lucius is rapidly losing interest in politics and ambition, and finds comfort in the company of plebeians, freedmen, slaves, and other ordinary people.
68 CE - Gaius returns from Britannia to take up the responsibilities of the paterfamilias, in person this time. Lucius still adores his brother, but in the years that passed their personalities and ambitions have diverged from each other, and neither quite understands the other anymore. Gaius soon travels to Rome to start the next steps of the cursus. Lucius follows him, although reluctantly. Gaius is trying to prepare him for following in his footsteps when it is time to start the cursus.
76 CE - Lucius i 23 and has not started the cursus yet. It is high time for him to become a military tribune, and yet he is in no hurry to do so, dodging his brother's repeated pleas and warnings. He spends his days on his own terms, mostly with people that would not be considered appropriate for someone in his standing or family background. It is becoming somewhat embarrassing for the family name. Something will have to give, sooner or later.
Chevi | Central European | Discord