“Well let’s see who dared show up, as I can’t imagine that any of the old faces around here would have the audacity enough not do so.” He smirked, as missing any party of Oriana without good reason would surely attract everyone else’s attention and the free reign of gossip would commence. He had the pleasure of experiencing that himself during the time of his parents’ deaths and all of that crap that came along with it. “Spotted anyone new around here by any chance?” Lucius curiously asked, making his way through the crowd with the hostess, whilst also searching for his precious olives that he really wanted to taste.
“Flavia Lucilla Augusta’s taste for the impeccable isn’t something to sniff at, for sure. I’ll happily take this my good friend.” Making a mental note to himself, Lucius already found his first item of worth befitting his household, as it was now time to find more items of interest; no matter how expensive they were, he had all the money in the world and wasn’t shy enough to refrain himself from too much spending.
“Paulus...anything that is of foreign origin that’ll impress the likes of my senatorial colleagues? Perhaps from the land of the Seres? (e.g Chinese) Their items have begun to fascinate me now when I think about it…So different yet beautiful in their creation, as if they belonged to a different mortal than ours.”
“I’ve been feeling rather well, thank you for asking, as I haven’t felt this inspired and motivated to serve the interests of the empire for quite some time...Still in the search for a suitable wife, but I’m sure that the Gods will guide me to one eventually.” He slightly smiled, as the attempt to find one has proven to be quite the challenge surprisingly speaking, considering there were many senators in his prime age that were in need, but all of the Roman women were either already married or didn’t care enough it seemed.
“As for my sister and her family, they happen to be in good health and spirit, which is wonderful considering I have one less issue to keep track on. Even if it has been a while since they visited, and vice versa, we still keep close contact through correspondence.” He couldn’t help but feel proud over what his sister managed to accomplish despite the perception of their diminished authority in society, and wished that he expressed it towards her more frequently. Lucius may have neglected keeping contact with her for a long time since the deaths of their parents, but at least he was trying his best to repair the relationship after receiving divine intervention from this new faith that seemed to be the answer to everything.
“Anything else my domina wishes to inquire about me, or should we begin with the actual business at hand that has brought us both together?”
“Oh I’m sure there will be plenty of time for both of us to say what we truly think; I’d say we can call that a deal.” Lucius said teasingly...She was quite a pretty Gallic woman alright, hopefully her beautiful presence wouldn’t distract too much from his attention to acquiring important language skills. Finding an open clearing he showed her where to sit down, overlooking a view of the Roman capital beneath them. With no time to waste, he felt eager enough to begin the lesson and by the end of their session, he would’ve probably learned a thing or two.
“Oh there’s so much that comes to my mind that I can’t quite tell you exactly, but sometimes when I do end up here, all by myself and no one else to be found, I simply like to not think about anything particular at all and instead take my time to meditate and reflect, where the realities of life are ignored in favour of a clear sound of mind.”
As she was concentrating on the handsome view, the senator concentrated on the beautiful britannic lady sitting right in front of him. To think that she ended up as a slave and has to fight day and night for her own survival, considering she deserved far better circumstances than the pitiful conditions she had to constantly endure. If she happened to be under Lucius care, she wouldn’t need to worry about a thing, that was for sure. But she belonged to someone else much to his dismay, and having this time alone with her would at least provide comfort and a sense of security, hopefully speaking.
“Your brother sounds like someone I’d like to meet some day, if I knew who he was of course.” He chuckled.
“Of course, we would still be here during the night if I were to show you everything that’s worth to see. I’ll take you outside now if you’d like.” Lucius felt quite relieved over the fact that Lexus accepted his rather generous offer of becoming his mentor, so that he may one day end up like a man of great importance and perhaps show the same kindness in return for someone else of humble origins. Even if the senator wasn’t in a hurry to call it a day with his newfound apprentice, it wouldn’t look good either if he was responsible for his potentially late arrival to this banquet.
“Well thank you for having the privilege of spending the afternoon with you, Lexus; I hope to catch you later this week so that we may begin your apprenticeship...Is there anything else on your mind you’d wish to speak about before we depart from each other?” Lucius asked as the two of them were now standing outside of the Curia.
Lucius chuckled at Ardra's small joke in an attempt to probably lighten up the mood of the rather unfortunate circumstances. "You may become old and barren as you say, but at least you should know that you're among those who'll age gracefully over time, as one can already see that today. Before reaching such a stage however, you'll probably already meet someone who'll be a good husband and father to your future children." The senator said so, hoping that it would lift her spirits up and not give up life too easily, whilst trying to simultaneously follow her instructions in creating a so-called 'flower helmet'; her warm hand mometarily touched his as she took some of his flowers to demonstrate, and it was among the sweetest of all touches that Lucius hadn't felt in a long while to be so genuine, even if it lasted for a second or two. At first it proved to be a struggling matter, trying to twist and bend those twigs without completely breaking them apart and making the petals fall off from the buds. Eventually, he seemed to have grasped the very nature of this procedure.
"Not bad eh?" Proudly he showed Ardra the little creation even if it wasn't as elegant or sophisticated like hers. "I think this calls for some wine after such hard work." Lucius joked, taking the bottle of wine and touched the opening with his lips where hers was previously at as well. As soon as he did so, he could sense that subtle yet identifiable taste of her lips; Oh how it made the senator's senses to be tingled in such a way, it literally tortured him inside as every drop of that honeyed-liquor passed through the mouth and down the throat of his.
"Aye, I would really do something like this for you. Why? Because you happen to be among those individuals who encourage me, day and night, to continue living in this world with a hopeful, positive attitude. I truly believe that if you work and study hard enough, and doing what's right rather than falling into the temptations of others, you'll belong to a new generation that will create a better world for us all." Lucius said whilst putting his hand behind Lexus' back, feeling rather glad that the boy liked this proposal that was just laid out in front of him, as not many kids of his circumstance would've ever possibly achieved and he could imagine what was going on in his mind right now, as if a divine blessing was sent directly from the heavens and now being passed unto him. The senator also thought of the mother as someone who would absolutely approve of this opportunity and allow Lexus to work and study under a wealthy and influential benefactor involved with the Roman bureaucracy; a better gift any mother could've dreamt and asked for to become a reality.
"I would like to meet your mother one day, and tell her how much of a great mother she is for raising someone up to be like you." Lucius reminded himself of his dearly beloved mother Tullia Maria, who was partly the reason as to how he turned out today, adopting the civilian path rather than the military one that his father wanted to begin with; it must've been the spirit of Cicero within him which was encouraged rather than being supressed. "So is there any other location you had in mind to visit? I would be glad to show any of them!" he asked.
"Well what are you waiting for? Try some already as I can see that they're too irresistible!" Lucius allowed her to pick as many cakes as she could manage at first, who happened to be among the sweetest women he'd ever layed his eyes upon and interacted with, both when it came to beauty and her eloquence in the way she conversed amongst other things. He couldn't have felt more than happier in this instant to be sharing this experience with someone else, and this relationship of theirs was blooming for sure; where it would eventually lead to, only they could find out in the end. "I heard that Britannia's quite lush and green due to the amount of rain it receives, so I do believe those words of yours if one were to compare this oasis with your island." He opened the lid of the wine bottle and started drinking from it without letting the lips touch the sides of the opening, making sure that it wouldn't spill all over his toga. It seemed that this particular wine had a slightly different texture and taste to it compared to his standard purchasement, but it didn't matter much as long it tasted good.
"You're quite the most noble of all the women I've met so far, that I can guarantee you." The senator noticed how she began to form a crown from the flowers she plucked from the ground, reminding himself of the female slaves back home in the garden where they were allowed to do so for their own benefit of fun, aside from preparing those flowery headsets for invited guests to wear during special occasions. This made her seen as more adorable and innocent than ever befire in his eyes, contributing to an aching heart of desire. "My name means light, someone who shines in the dark to provide guidance and comfort to those around. It's a rather common name around here, though from experience it seems that most of the men carrying that name contaminate everyone else with darkness, ironically enough." Lucius couldn't help but chuckle at such a thought, considering how quite a few of these names being positive-sounding theoretically speaking, didn't sometimes align with the person's actual termperament and personality.
"Aye, have a little sister who lives outside Rome with her family...Furia Pontia Tullia she's called, which is a feminine version of my father's name. I suppose one could call her a hero, getting married first and earlier than myself whether she liked it or not, as all of us in society have a role to fulfill. My parents picked a suitable match for her at least, and she got to experience giving birth to plentiful of children. It still irks me somewhat, as to why dear father of mine never found someone before passing away; there was a time when I actually got close of being married, to a woman that I loved, whom I still love as a friend today. But our families never went through with the marriage despite the optimistic prospects, and here I am on the lookout for a woman who may have the pleasure or grief to share a life with me...I assume that you were also about to be married off, before your new life in Rome? Forgive me if I'm terribly mistaken."
He finally grabbed one honey-cake and his mouth was totally ready for a food-orgie to say the least, savouring every piece of such delightful treat that could bend the knees and break minds of even the most resiliently, hardminded individuals out there. "Delicious, is it not? Also, would you kindly teach me how to make a flower crown...I got to have some valuable skill to impress the women around here." He laughed.
"Thank you, but there's no need for any kind of repayment, everything's on me." Lucius said, compelling her to exit the market with him, as the destination he had in mind was his favorite hill overlooking a gorgeous scenery of the city and it wasn't too far out from the centre either, and usually there were little to no people at all whenever he paid a visit with a friend or two. Eventually the duo reached the bottom of it, but before reaching their final destination Lucius halted and looked at her. She was naturally scared for her own safety at the risk of saying her old name out loud, but Lucius wanted to make her feel less anxious and concerned whenever she happened to keep him company. It wasn't easy for her to be in a status of slavery the senator thought, as her life could suddenly take a sharp turn to either direction and her fate sealed forever meaning that every decision had to be made with extreme care. Hanging out with a senator on a whim wasn't perhaps part of the protocol either, especially if he was considered to be an enemy of her people and vice versa.
"I understand why your old name ought to not be announced in public like this, but you need to understand that whenever you're with me I'll promise to grant my protection...that I swear upon my family's honor. Ardra...I'm not sure what it means unless you kindly tell me, but it certainly sounds more real and authentic compared to Nypmphia, which is based on Roman water spirits, unless you already knew that. So I'm going to call you Ardra, whether you like it or not, because I can't allow your honor and dignity to be degraded within my presence, which is the same principle I apply to my 500 slaves I possess in my household; each and everyone of them I cherish as real humans and not like animals living on a farm, all of them sharing the same hope of one day returning to their homeland and be reunited with their loved ones, as to which I'll do absolutely everything in my power to make it a reality."
With that said and hoping that those words would cling unto her mind, Lucius found a suitable spot on the top of the hill, namely a patch of grass. He layed a piece of cloth or blanket on the ground for Ardra to sit upon, instructing the Lictors beforehand to give them a bit of privacy at the very least. "I hope this view appeals to your senses, as I sometimes usually find myself here to collect my thoughts and rest under those trees over there."