Face ClaimRobert Hardy
Marcus closed his eyes and drained his cup. When he'd finished, he let out the breath he'd been holding, wiped his mouth on his sleeve and set the cup down.
"Naturally, I will let you know of her situation. I understand; your concern for her is equal to mine."
Horatia's attempt to placate him with flattery was feeble, but the intention took the edge off his mood nonetheless. Ordinarily, he would have expressed in return how much he enjoyed her company also, but this was one of the situations where affection had to be withheld, despite his wishes. She had crossed a line.
Oh, but it shouldn't be like this! The wine, the stress, it all made him want to clutch his daughter to him and never let go. Although he was loathe to consciously admit it, part of him also knew that if he hugged her, he'd probably break down. He didn't want to be weeping inconsolably in front of the poor girl. As a father and a senator, he had an image to maintain, and besides, he couldn't let her see the monstrous self-loathing thrashing around in his stomach, not that he had anywhere near the introspective powers to realise that was what it was. And so he did what he usually did, pressed his lips into a thin line, gave a small cough, refilled his cup and resisted the urge to reach out to her.
Perhaps it was time to make an exit, before he used up all his willpower. But he didn't want to leave, not now. He needed her. That was why he'd come.
The silence was currently a heavy one, so Marcus allowed his gaze to soften a little, looking into his daughter's face to let her know he wouldn't pursue the matter anymore.
Marcus tried tipping the remainder of his wine down his throat, but it seemed to have closed up suddenly; rather than drowning his panic, he'd watered it. No, it couldn't be. Marcus Horatius Justinus was not the kind of man who was blinded to reality. That Livia had really been suffering and he'd failed to notice it was a possibility too horrible to contemplate. If it was true, he would be so horribly, disastrously wrong that everything would fall apart. He prided himself on knowing his daughters. He knew what they were thinking, how their minds worked, how they felt... or did he?
Two options faced Marcus. If he was indeed right, and Livia was still the same old joyous girl, then questioning himself would be ultimately pointless. And if he was wrong... well, he'd already made his mistake. No point crucifying himself with self-doubt until he knew the worst. The reality of his mistake would destroy him, he knew that. And he was certain he wouldn't let it until it hit him in the face, an enemy no longer lurking in the dark woodland of denial but ready for the charge. If it was coming, it was coming whether he liked it or not. To spend all his effort scouring the treeline for its dark shape would be a waste of time; it would send him over the edge.
And so he chose self-deception.
"I don't like sarcasm; it's vulgar and it's impertinent," he said dryly with a sudden, devastating quietness. He refused to look at Horatia, merely reaching out to pour himself another glass of wine, filling it to the brim, daring Horatia to cross him again by protesting. "And as you say, I am sure she will not ignore me for long. She knows better than that."
Marcus smiled at Horatia's compliment. It was well a sign of her respect and love, even though she had no authority to comment on matters political. Naturally, he would excel at the position. Marcus' ability to command, and to command respect, was never in question, especially not in his own mind. His confidence in other matters, however, was not as strong. The validation of Horatia's confidence in him pleased him more than he'd ever admit to himself.
The look on his eldest daughter's face as he mentioned his attempts to contact her younger sibling gave him a start. He had no idea Livia's unresponsiveness had been equal in her correspondence with Horatia to that with him. They had always been so close as girls; many an hour he'd spent watching them skipping around in the garden from the doorway of his study, until they noticed him, collapsed into a fit of giggles and scampered off to another corner of the house. He hadn't been surprised when his youngest had stopped writing frequently. After all, she was living in a peaceful idyll miles out from the drama and heat of the city with a new husband. She was probably too busy having fun to think very often of her old father. But Horatia had with her a sisterly bond, something that even the carefree Livia, wrapped up in her own head and life, bless her, would not fail to maintain. Something about Horatia's admission that they'd fallen out of contact somewhat disturbed Marcus more than he'd care to admit. Unconsciously, he gripped onto Horatia's wrist, hard, as if afraid she'd slip away too.
He looked across the garden, at the floor, at his knees, then finally at Horatia.
"My dear, I didn't know... well, she's probably too busy living her own life," he said with a thin laugh. "She's... grown up. I can't expect her to write every day, can I? Well, I shall keep writing, hopefully I'll get through to her eventually. I'm sure there's nothing... well, of course there isn't anything wrong. You know how Livia is."
Well, I am not a very religious man, if I am honest, but I would say Juno, goddess of Rome herself, is the deity whom I favour. I prefer, however, to sacrifice for the protection of the Lares, and to appeal to the genii of those we have lost. Those immortal spirits with a personal connection are the most powerful.
If you could meet one historical figure, who would it be?
Marcus’ agitated hands were now still and his eyes were twinkling as Horatia spoke.
“Ha-ha! Yes. By Jove, I’d forgotten all about that! How fortuitous in the long run that it all fell through - now you have Aulus, a far better chap than I think Latus could ever have been. And you know you wouldn’t have been too long in finding another husband anyway. On the shelf forever! Preposterous. Your mother did far too good a job with you to let that happen,” he beamed.
As she squeezed his hand, Marcus’ stomach felt bottomless, almost collapsing in on itself. Even now, he hadn’t given her away completely. She may not skip into his study anymore like she used to, wriggling onto his lap to look at whatever he was reading, sounding out the words in her bell-like voice before pausing, turning to him and asking him a question, her head tilted slightly to the side. Those days were gone. But here she was, still Horatia, still the girl who, every time he raised the bar for her, would rise to meet it, the girl who would take every word to heart and act upon her papa’s advice to the letter. And he was still the paterfamilias, still able to push her to new heights of success with his guiding hand.
“Thank you, my dear. I will drop in on you more often. But be warned: you and the children, and Aulus, of course, are all so precious to me, you’ll hardly be able to keep me out of the house!” he wheezed, his nose wrinkled in mirth.
Eventually, Horatia let go of his hand and Marcus gave a few coughs and a sigh as his laugh died down into companionable silence, which Horatia broke after a polite pause with an inquiry into his plans.
“Well, it’s difficult to know where to focus one’s attention, in truth,” replied Marcus. “It’s about getting one’s foot in as many doors as possible, building influence in the consilium and with the new Caesar himself. And of course my main concern is with doing as much as I can for Titus and Caplurnia.” He coughed. In truth, he was feeling a bit deprived of any particularly burning fires in which to place his irons, so to speak, though he could smell the smoke of danger in the air still. Feeling useless didn’t agree with Marcus. He shifted uncomfortably, reminded of the listlessness, the depression that had motivated him to visit his daughter in the first place. “As for myself - well. I could aim to make myself legatus Augusti propraetor, and I think I could secure it. But everything that’s dear to me is here in Rome. With Aulus as consul, the children nearly grown up… no. No, my place is in the city. I don’t even think I will go to the villa this year, you know. Although I have been positively showering Livia with letters asking to come and stay for a few days at Tibur.”
To deny that the conversation had affected him would have been a blatant lie; to admit to it would be to acknowledge his own vulnerability. Marcus made these calculations in the subconscious part of his mind beneath the veil of self-deception he had covered it over with, and came to the decision that the best course of action would be to ignore Aulus' apology and carry on.
As talked turned to Horatia, Marcus regained a bit of his composure, even managing a fond smile.
"Hm!" he exclaimed in vehement agreement through his mouthful of wine, gulping it down quickly and choking slightly as he replanted the empty goblet firmly on the tabletop. "My dear boy, I am so very glad I could find her a husband who appreciates her as much as I do. She's the perfect woman for a future consul of Rome: a loyal wife, dutiful mother and a clever shrew at that!" He chuckled warmly at the thought of his daughter and her books. "Don't underestimate the value of a good woman like that." By now he had finished off two goblets of undiluted wine, and he could feel a slight heat rising in his cheeks, his nose wrinkling in silent laughter that he was at a loss to control, or perhaps was fed up of controlling. "Do you know, a lot of people think that love matches are a terrible, terrible idea," he continued, whacking the table on each 'terrible', "terrible, they say. But I… ah, you there! Yes, you. Some more of this fine stuff you served us before, whatever it was - sorry, Aulus, what was I saying? Ah, yes. Terrible. But I knew, my boy - I KNEW - that I should allow it. Yes, I assure you, hardly a doubt crossed my mind. It's so much easier, you understand, when your offspring has good taste. My youngest, you know, married a fellow of whom I did not approve, to be… hm, discreet… but I… well. It was a mistake. Anyway, the poor fellow's snuffed it by now, and I married her off to good old Secundus - sterling sort of chap, isn't he? Yes! - but the foolish child, bless her soul, didn't really want to. She's an absolute darling, Livia - I do love dear Horatia, but she can at times be a bit… well. I'm sure you know. Yes, but my Livilliola doesn't have the… the judgement to choose by herself."
This little monologue was tiring him out, he realised, lapsing into silence and looking steadily back at Aulus as if to say: come on, young man. The burden of the discussion is now yours to shoulder. Well?
Oh, you fool! You silly, old, emotional fool! A matter of the plebs, a matter of funding, a matter of pleasing the people, that was all this was. And here you are, blathering on about high-falutin ideals, dictators, her… What must this young man think of you? That you've drifted off in the middle of your lifelong vigil over Rome, waking up every now and then to shout like Cassandra about doom, destruction and the fall of the old ways then snoozing through the boring bits? What Aulus had said made perfect sense. Actually, Marcus agreed completely. After all, was it not the wheel of violent plebeian revolution which rolled over his life, trampling his home in its unrelenting rush? Was it not its tracks which ran across that ivory-white form in huge red bruises, sending that delicate spirit flapping away on dove's wings to take refuge from mortal pain in Elysium?
Marcus bit violently down on his lower lip, glaring at the table. His thumb began to run feveredly over his signet ring, until he employed his senatorial self-discipline to restrain himself, placing his palms flat on the table and raising his eyes to reply to Aulus' condolences.
"Thank you. I know you are."
He spoke ever so softly, the harsh edges weathered off his tone by the abrasive winds of reason.
"You're a dear boy, Aule Calpurni. And she's lucky to have you. Horatia, I mean. And Rome."
Marcus felt a little… well, irked for a moment, but it passed. He was a reasonable man, and Aulus had argued his point well. So he listened tacitly to what his son-in-law had to say, nodding slightly as he spoke.
When he had finished, Marcus looked down at his interlaced fingers, sighed for a moment, then began his reply.
“My boy, I can see we both want the same thing - peace for Rome. I would never doubt that for a second, and that is why my opinion of you is unwaveringly high. But you see,” Marcus broke off, smiled and laid a hand gently on Aulus’ arm, “your desire to be merciful has made you forget what happened. We may have had a decade of peace, but that doesn't mean that our peace is stable in any way. Even now, you say that it was not the fault of those who fought against Caesar that they chose this path. Those were bleak times, when Roman turned against Roman. But they did more than that. Roman turned against Rome herself, and in doing so, they turned from inimicus to hostis. This was not a simple race between the purples and the greens, Aulus, where men are distinguishable only by the colour of their tunic. This was the clashing of order and anarchy in hand-to-hand combat. If these are indeed young men of the type who might be tempted into thuggery, then better it be in the backstreets of the Subura than in the Senate. Don't let the formality fool you, my boy. That noble house is every bit as brutal, and a criminal in a purple-edged toga is still a criminal. In the city, they can cut a few coin purses. In the Senate, they have the power to spread disorder and moral degradation throughout the Empire. I saw first hand the consequences of tolerance towards such characters, I lost my wife, Horatia lost her mother." He looked away, blinking rapidly, then looked back up, a sad smile in his eyes. "But you're young, of course. You want the best for everyone, I know. But life, life, Aulus, doesn't work that way." He squeezed his arm once more. "You're a good man. I'm sure you will understand me."
Finally a topic Marcus could happily discuss for hours. He saw so few people outside of the Senate these days, and as clever as Horatia was, she wasn't... well, she wasn't a politician, just a politician's wife. He'd be glad to have a proper chat about things, get some of his stewing angst off his chest.
Marcus paused, considering his answer, then gave himself a mental rap over the knuckles. No. You promised yourself to always speak your mind. Anyway, Aulus is a decent young chap. He probably agrees with you.
Marcus leant forward, tilting his chin downward slightly and looking up with cool eyes at his son-in-law from under his brows, which now knitted in the middle to show due senatorial concern.
"No, I was not able to attend that day - bad cold, I'm afraid - and more's the pity, because if I had, I'd have very much liked to have spoken my mind," he began, not noticing that the volume and urgency of his voice was slowly rising as his eyes grew steadily wider, flashing like a stallion's. "These children have had time enough since the glorious day their fathers' miserable souls descended were claimed by Hades to stew in their reeking pools of resentment, brewing up dissidence, festering in revenge. And now we propose to aid them by compensating for the dishonour and penury rightly brought upon their ignoble families. What we are doing, my dear boy, is giving these men, the remnants of the bilge-water we drained from Rome ten years ago, an extra push up the ladder, so that they too can don the purple and take their place among the ranks of excellent citizens to pollute our numbers and spread their anarchy among our numbers. Now, truly, I respect and love our Caesar, may the Gods protect him, and I have no doubt he was acting from the most benevolent of standpoints, but I believe that through his actions he has endangered the very integrity of the Senate. And it is vital, VITAL, Aulus, you hear me, that the Senate continues to be a body of upstanding citizens able to support and advise Augustus, not a breeding-ground for discontent and insidiousness. I am absolutely INSISTANT upon this point, you see?"
The young man had been listening in reverential silence. Good. A nice, well-mannered boy. After a few seconds for added effect, Marcus uncrumpled his brow, smiling slightly but without undermining his earnestness, to signal once again that he expected a response.
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The fateful day had come. The day when Livia had run out of excuses to politely refuse a visit from her father and was forced to accede to his request. Her hand had shaken as she wrote the reply the previous week; her whole body trembled now as though she had a fever despite the summer heat, making it nigh impossible to put on her pearl earrings. Standing a few feet away, Ursa merely stared at her feet, having already been subject to two verbal lashings: the first for not rushing to help straight away and the second for being so infuriatingly inept at it that Livia was better off doing it herself. Aglaea's soothing manners were sorely missed, but Livia could not let her father or any of his retinue catch glimpse of her body slave, and so young Ursa was forced to take on the mantle - and, unfortunately for her, was not performing to her mistress's standards.
As the damned second earring finally went in, a bronze-skinned youth came into the room and murmured that her father had arrived and was being shown in. An quick expletive escaped Livia and she hastened to the atrium, smoothing the sides of her loose-fitting, rather drab brown stola and adjusting her honey-coloured palla so that it too was loosely draped over her figure. Behind her, Ursa followed with anxious steps, already preparing herself to be blamed for a treacherous brooch sliding off or a similar occurrence.
The atrium came into view and with it the silhouette of Marcus Horatius Justinus. "Pater!" Some of the elation in Livia's voice was genuine, and she used it to cover the uneasiness that lay beneath. She held her hands out to him, silently hoping he would be content to take them in his rather than draw her into a hug. "I trust you had a safe journey?" A sharp glance at a red-haired slave spurred the poor soul to action, and within seconds he was generously filling a goblet with wine and handing it to their esteemed guest. If there was one thing Secundus was right about was that their slaves were sorely lacking in discipline!
"You must tell me all the news from Rome! It always takes so long to get here," Livia complained as she motioned for them to move to the sofas, fully assuming the role of the spoil younger daughter that she was so adept at playing.
Early 76CE. Horatius Justinus is in Rome; Quinctilius Varus and his wife are in Tibur. @Járnviðr
Marcus Horatius Justinus warmly greets his son-in-law Secundus Quinctilius Varus
I hope your little stay away from the hustle and bustle of the Urbs is agreeing with you, mi Quinctili! - we all deserve a nice break every now and then! I hope you won't resent me feeling a little bitter you have my darling Livia all to yourself! I trust her good nature and sweetness is brightening your spirits just as much as the locale. And I must admit, if you'll allow me to say so, that your own presence here in Rome is also very much missed. You are perfectly justified in taking your little holiday now, as this is as close to a quiet period as we have had in the city for a long time, but I am working ever so hard to make sure our new Caesar (a promising boy, in my opinion) learns that he can trust in me and my friends and that it is essential to cooperate with the leading men of the Senate, and I can think of no advocate for our dear values sounder or more respectable than your good self. By no means do I want to foreshorten your leisure by excessive nagging; I do not wish to be the type of father-in-law who considers that his son-in-law should be at his every beck and call. My desire to see you back in the city is motivated merely by my high opinion of you, your position and your connections. I am, as I am sure you know, very glad to have you as part of my family.
If you cannot return to Rome, I would at least be very glad of an occasion to visit you and my dear daughter in your delightful residence in Tibur (though not for long - as I say, I am needed at Caesar's side). Every day I long to be in Livia's sparkling company again. If you'll permit me to say, every time I visit I secretly hope that I will find her a mother-to-be at last! But I'm sure you are just as keen for the family line to be extended as I am, and I trust that you will inform me of any news as soon as such a happy occasion is upon us.
Do write and let me know as soon as possible of your situation. My very best regards to you both. Vale.
“Horatia, my dear!” @Sara
Marcus had been feeling rather at a loose end of late. Business had been tiring - adjusting to a new Caesar was never an easy thing - and so some quality family time was exactly what he needed. Livia’s carefree giggle was just the thing to perk up his spirits right now, but she was in Tibur, and besides, she hadn’t cracked a smile for a long time. No, Horatia would do just as nicely, he reminded himself as he entered the spacious atrium of his elder daughter’s domus, a nicely decorated room fit for her husband’s social status, bright and welcoming as his own had been at the height of his career. He loved his eldest daughter too, very much so, in fact, and he was far too honest and respectable a man to have favourite children, of course, he reminded himself. Horatia had become a particular source of pride for him recently, with her husband starting his year as consul (a good choice, he had been, that Aulus. Lesser men would have baulked at such a hasty match, but Marcus was not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. The boy had potential, he had seen it immediately, and Horatia would clearly be happy with him. He had been right to give his approval). In fact, as he spread his arms in greeting now and looked his daughter over, a sense of pride stirred in him. Horatia was looking even more beautiful than she did in her youth (she’d inherited her mother’s almost startling good looks, the type that even the years couldn’t steal away), and she was wearing a lavish stola Marcus had never seen her wear before (one of the numerous fruits of her husband's thriving career, no doubt). Marcus always been harsh on her, he knew that, and this was why he’d done it - with his guidance, she had become an impressive woman, matronly and refined. Marcus’s own face creased into one of his increasingly rare but utterly sunny smiles as he let his sudden sense of satisfaction show itself. Must let the girl know she’d done him proud.
“It is lovely to see you again. You know, you look wonderful. I’m so glad things are going well for you. Shall we sit down?”
MARCUS HORATIUS JUSTINUS
63 y/o | born 12CE | Senatores | Senator | Heterosexual | Wanted | Played By: Robert Hardy
In public life, Marcus is an imposing figure. His voice is loud and grave, perfect both for long senate orations and barking orders at soldiers. Marcus always likes to remain inscrutable. He makes no effort to cover the fact that he is balding slightly, or that he has tiny wrinkles around his eyes.
Privately, Marcus is a doting father. He is quick to show disappointment but also just as willing to show warmth on occasions when his children live up to his exacting standards. His voice is the kind you can hear ringing through the whole house at dinner parties, his manner gruff and forceful but his words kind and observant. Marcus' goal in life is to ensure his children are the best they can be: he is exceptionally good at observing others' natures and flaws, but is totally oblivious to his own, and this hypocrisy can be a source of conflict with his family. Marcus is a very private man, but when he chooses to open up to those closest to him he reveals that, really, he is deeply sensitive. In fact, he has been in a state of constant depression for fifteen years, aching inside behind his outgoing public façade. But Marcus can't keep it up forever. At some point, the façade will crack and all the grief will come pouring out.
Marcus put a lot of pressure on his children. Though motivated only by love, his domineering personality overshadowed all his offspring's childhoods and resulted in them growing up to be rather meek and humourless. Even now, Marcus has a great deal of control over their lives. Now they are in adulthood with children of their own, some of his children are starting to harbour resentment towards him as a result now they realise how their father's influence has affected them.
Despite his unusually short stature, Marcus' stockiness and general poise make him quite the imposing figure. His eyes are a brilliant, incisive blue. Despite his age, he still has a reasonable amount of straw-yellow hair, and he has passed this fair complexion onto his children. His face is that of a wise Roman senator, lined with years of grief and thought.
On his right hand, he wears a garnet signet ring, given to him by Livia Calavia when they were young. He never takes it off.
Spouse: Livia Calavia (deceased)
Children: Lucius Horatius Justinus, Livia Justina, Horatia Justina, Publius Horatius Justinus
Secundus Quinctilius Varus (son-in-law)
Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus (son-in-law)
Titus Calpurnius Praetextatus (grandchild)
Calpurnia Horatia (grandchild)
Lucia Gaia (daughter-in-law)
Spurius Horatius Justinus (grandchild)
Lucia Justina (grandchild)
Marcus comes from a family greatly marked by the age of upheaval they lived through. His grandfather had been with Cato the Younger, his close friend and mentor, when he disembowelled himself at Utica. Marked for slaughter on the Triumvirate's list of prescriptions, the staunchly traditionalist Marcus the Elder had only narrowly escaped by going into hiding. He went on to unwillingly serve Octavian at Actium in order to preserve his life. This is precisely the attitude his son and his grandson inherited after him - while deeply nostalgic for the old Republic, the family owes a debt to the mercy of the Caesars. Better to work to keep Caesar in check and preserve the old values than to try aimlessly to restore a Republic now irretrievably lost.
With all this high-flown talk being bounced around his home, the young Marcus didn't have much time to be a child. As his father's heir, the values of integrity and duty were impressed on Marcus from an early age. He learnt to speak fluently and eloquently in both Latin and Greek - the precocious young Marcus was a source of amusement and wonder at his father's dinner parties, where he would discuss earnestly and maturely any subject with the writers and advocates his father surrounded himself with at these occasions. However, once his father was posted to serve under Germanicus in the 10s CE, Marcus left the literary climate of Rome to follow his father there. While not naturally drawn to soldiering, much of his childhood was spent in Germania in Germanicus' camp. Marcus soon learned to shed his rather dour disposition somewhat in the company of soldiers and their sons, developing the reserved but occasionally persona he has to this day. While in Germania, he met his best friend, Decimus Tullius Germanicus, a jolly boy more interested in wielding a sword than a pen, and his betrothed, the young Livia Calavia, more literary and pensive than her intended husband, to whom the young Marcus took quite a shine.
in 30 CE, Marcus, having now earned his toga virilis, returned to Rome and soon was elected to the vigintiviri thanks to his quick mind and his father's many contacts. After this, he served as tribunus laticlavius under his friend Decimus Tullius' father. For a while, Marcus lived happily, overjoyed to be able to spend more time with his dear friend and his new wife, Livia Calavia. Though not necessarily a natural military strategist, Marcus worked hard and earned recognition for his efforts. Throwing himself into his work was important - to live up to his father, to stave off the longing to be back in Rome and, most importantly, to distract himself from the fact he was quickly falling in love with Livia Calavia, his childhood friend and best friend's wife. When Decimus was unexpectedly killed, therefore, it felt like a blow from the gods, cruel but sweet. Out of respect and love for his late friend, Marcus tried to distance himself from the now available Livia, but within two years his willingness to resist the hand of Fate decayed. On his return to Rome in 35 CE after his term as tribune, Marcus married Livia Calavia, with whom he was very much in love.
The couple spent the next six years in Rome. Both in public life and at home, Marcus was perfectly happy: with his father's respect, a purple-bordered toga and a lovely, intelligent wife, Marcus quickly moved on from the guilt and loss he felt over Decimus' death. He established himself as a firm successor to his father in the Optimate faction. In 40 CE, Livia finally fell pregnant and produced a healthy son, Publius. He loved the boy very much and showed it by giving his all to set him up to be a great man and an heir to the family's legacy. Though he hated to admonish his son - he was bright, athletic, quick-spirited and everything he'd hoped he'd be - Marcus knew that to spare the rod was to spoil the child. After all, he owed his own success to the exacting standards his own father impressed upon him.
In 42CE, the family moved back to Germania, well known to Marcus from his boyhood, where he served as legate. His second child, Horatia, was born shortly after. In 48 CE, he received the news of the birth of his two twins, Lucius and Livia, with great joy, but this feeling was not to last long. The birth had had its toll on Livia, who fell gravely sick. The gods took mercy, however, and Livia recovered, albeit greatly weakened and unable to bear more children. Having come so close to losing the woman he loved more than anything filled Marcus with an even stronger desire to protect and cherish his family.
During the 50s CE, Marcus split his time between shaping his children into the successors he wanted and advancing his own career, including a stint serving as a dependable leader in Hispania under Jullus Alexander to quell the popular uprising that broke out in the province. In 52 CE, he backed the consul Scipio's appeal to restore the old powers of the senate. The unrest spreading through the Empire throughout the decade worried Marcus, and he tightened his grip on his family's lives even further, desperate to protect them from the lethal power games of the Imperial family. The formation of the Quinquevirate also worried Marcus, who is acutely aware from his grandfather's stories the danger of such alliances. Unwilling to back either Darius or Camillus, Marcus was overcome with a feeling of powerlessness, his traditional views of the power of the Senate lost in the clamour.
Eventually, the riots and murders in the city presented too much of a threat for Marcus and his family. He was among the first of many traditionalist senators to flee Rome for Antioch in early December of 60CE. Deciding cautiously to return to Rome in mid 61 CE now the threat of civil war seemed to have died now, he was one of many who advocated severe punishment for Cyprianus and all who would compromise the institution of the Senate for their own personal ends. Then, in December of 61 CE, disaster stuck for Marcus. His beloved wife, Livia, was accidentally caught up in one of the many plebeian riots taking place in the city while she was out on an errand. When Marcus arrived back from the Senate, he found friends gathered round her in the atrium. Her body was mauled and bruised. Overcome by a sense of horror deeper than anything he thought he could feel, Marcus sank to his knees, lying next to her mangled corpse for twenty hours without once moving. Despite his pleading in the Senate, his sense of duty and honour, he had failed to protect the one thing that mattered to him more than his ideals. Grief-stricken, Marcus retired from public life and took refuge once again in Antioch until news of Cyprianus' downfall was confirmed, whereupon he was persuaded by his son Publius to return to Rome.
From then on, Marcus has remained in Rome as a stalwart figurehead of the Optimate faction. His ambition, though, has been entirely quelled by his loss, and he never seeks the consulship, preferring instead to devote his time to helping his children progress in both public and private life. His children recognise he's never quite been the same since Livia's death. Marcus refuses to so much as look at another woman, let alone remarry. His attitude towards his children is more doting and overbearing than ever. Now, the year is 76 CE, and old conflicts seem to be stirring within the family. What part will Marcus play?
Player: locutus-sum | GMT | locutus-sum #9606
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.
Basically reply with your character responding to the one above with a gif of their reaction to the person above.
The game here is pretty simple - a question is asked and one of your characters answer it... it can be a "this or that" question or a deeper and more personal question. The answer is IC of course. Once answered, ask a new question for the next character 🙂
I'll start of course 😄
Have you ever been in love? ❤️
have one of your characters answer a question!