He was strong enough and easily pulled Septima to her feet, although she was careful to not bump into him when it happened. Maybe if he had been younger, but that did not mean she was not curious about him. And she did know how to make conversation and seemed very good at keeping him entertained - with stories about himself. Men like that, her grandmother had told her. Marcus seemed not to mind either.
He explained how he'd been involved in racing his whole life and he had trained horses and had raced too, but then he wanted to be a trainer rather than a charioteer. She nodded quietly, that did seem like a good path, although she didn't know much about such a life. It sounded like fun though. Much more fun than her current life. Silence fell a little bit and then he wanted to know about her, suddenly.
"I do like decorating the fountains. Pity it failed." She said with a sad sigh, but wiped it away just as quickly, "I like meeting new people and being social, I suppose. And getting ready for it. Planning it." It didn't sound so exciting though and even though she was the elder of the twins and had that to her advantage, she knew people sometimes ended up finding her sister more interesting, because she knew things and was good at remembering. Thalia was not like that, she had tried, but scrolls and history and science just bored her and she would rather go for a walk, than sit quietly in a study for hours... "I suppose my life is not half as interesting as yours though."
Marcus was kind enough to offer her a hand up towards a better seat and she nodded with a small smile, “I would like that.” She said and let him take her hand in his to get her up and she humped to the edge of the fountain to sit down there. Once she sat, she smoothed out her dress. It had become a little bit dirty, but it wasn’t too bad and hopefully not something her aunt would blame her for.
Meanwhile she’d also asked him a question about Marcus’ work and he seemed more than happy to explain it all to her. He did have many things to oversee, but said he was organized and Septima nodded. She could still imagine it was a lot to keep track of, the job he had. Horses, charioteers, equipment and all the people taking care of all of that, to have it stay in shape. He continued his explanations and compared it to a mosaic floor being laid, which she had seen done.
She nodded, “That makes sense. So you know what the big picture is supposed to look like. And the others help you reach that goal.” She said, thinking it sounded just about right and she was glad she understood it and figured it out. What now though?
“Have you always been doing things with charioteers, then? It sounds like you have a lot of experience…”
Marcus agreed that Clio could go and find a litter for Thalia, and she noticed how her sister hesitated as she looked around. She didn't want to leave Thalia here, which was of course understandable and natural, but Clio really would not mind. Finally her sister stated she'd do that and then she was off.
"See you soon, sister." Thalia said and watched her sister disappear in among the people. She was now left here on the ground by the fountain with a hurt ankle and a man who had been a stranger until not very long ago. Marcus wondered if she had hurt herself anywhere else and Thalia thought about it.
"I don't think so? It's the ankle that hurts the most." She wanted to check if she had any scrapes, but she probably should not show so much skin out here in public. All they could do now was wait for her sister to return.
"So... is it difficult, your job with the White racing faction? You must be overseeing a lot of different things." She said then, trying to make some conversation with the man and as her grandmother had taught her, before she passed, letting a man know she was interested in his life was always a good thing. She didn't know if she was interested in him like that, but it was always exciting meeting new people. Even if you literally met them by accident.
Thalia nodded when Marcus told her, that she would not have to move her ankle anymore. But then she had indeed gained a distraction from the pain, which was Marcus being the head of the White racing faction. Thalia had never actually met someone who dealt with such things, so it was very interesting. But the two others also kept talking, Marcus said that her ankle was only hurt by a sprain and she should rest it and put something cool on it. She nodded quietly and Marcus asked if they lived close by. Clio replied before Thalia could, explaining they had walked and wondered if she should fetch a litter.
"Maybe you should?" Thalia suggested, "I'm sure Marcus can watch over me while you do that. You have been very kind so far, Marcus." She added, looking up at the friendly man. He might not be the youngest and not the handsomest she had seen, but you also got very far with kindness and he had that. And he must also be clever, she thought, since he was the head of a racing faction. He was probably in charge of a lot of things she could not even imagine. It really would be interesting to go and see the races and then maybe Marcus would show them the stables or something afterwards. That would be even more interesting!
But first things first, she looked up at her sister, waiting to see if she would fetch a litter or what the other two would agree upon.
Marcus said her ankle was not broken and asked if she could move her foot. She wriggled it a little bit, but let out a pained whimper... "I can move it, but it... hurts." She said, while he kept talking to Clio and explained how he knew about injuries. Then he spoke about races and the Circus Maximus and how he was the head of one of the racing factions. Head of a racing faction!
"That's an impressive title!" Thalia said before she could stop herself, "I mean... well... it is. It could be fun seeing a race, now we know you. Once I can walk again." She added with a little sigh, wondering how in the name of Hades she was going to get back home again. Now this day wasn't going to be as much fun as she had thought it would.
"Do you think grandfather will let us go see a race soon?" She asked her sister. To her it was exiting, both because of the races themselves, but also all the people there. She loved watching people and talking to them and there were so many interesting things to see. To be honest, it was only half of the time that her eyes were on the actual race.
It was kind of the stranger to approach them and maybe offer his help somehow, and it was surprising he was the only one who did it. There was really every reason to treat him with kindness, she thought, and despite the pain she managed to remember her manners and introduced both her sister and herself. She did not think he knew anything about injuries, but thought he could go for help - then he surprised her by saying he did know about injuries and how to deal with them!
Then her sister asked if he was a medicus before she did, but she did not think he was. He was much too finely dressed to simply be a medicus, she thought to herself, and he then shared his name and said he knew about sprains and broken bones. Thalia nodded when he said he would take a look at her ankle and then he wrapped a hand around her bare skin and pressed gently.
She went all quiet while he did it and winced when he reached the part of the ankle where the tibia met with the ankle bone... "There..." She said. Meanwhile, Clio had been watching them in silence until she wondered how he learned these things. Thalia gave her a look, Clio was not so worried that she could not stop and ask him unrelated questions. What mattered was he knew stuff. She felt a tiny bit irritated that her sister was interrupting, always so curious, even when she should not be.
Thalia still sat on the ground after she fell, trying to twist her leg so that she could see her foot and ankle. That her dress slipped a bit up her leg she barely noticed, she was so busy with seeing if her ankle would swell or get a bruise or something. Her sister had cried out when she fell and Clio hurried to get to her side, asking if she was alright. Thalia looked at her, but before she could answer, there was a man approaching them, also asking if she was alright.
Funny that none of the young men from the fountain had come to her rescue, she thought to herself and looked up at the man - not as young and handsome as those in the fountain, but he seemed friendly and kind, she thought.
"I... don't know. I just fell. It does hurt." She said, glancing to her sister, wondering what she thought about the man approaching them. Honestly she did not fall on purpose, it was not fun being in pain. But that it made someone come to her aid was maybe not so bad? No matter what though, should they speak like this to a stranger? Probably not. She should introduce herself.
"This is my sister, Septima Minor. I share her name, although I am Major." She added, "Do you know anything about injuries, sir?"
She could see that her sister was considering the options. And she knew that she could sometimes be too spontaneous, but that's why her sister was so wonderful to have... she was so much more considerate for some reason, she was thoughtful, she did not just rush into things. You could say that Clio was almost like her conscience in some cases. Maybe now was one of those cases? And she would not jump into the water unless Clio thought it was alright. It was not that she wanted to embarrass her sister, she just wanted a little bit of fun too... she chuckled when the young men whistled and shook her head at them, and then Clio said she thought it was too much since Thalia was almost ready to marry.
"I suppose you're right." She said with a little sigh, thinking that it might always be too much. Right now she was almost ready to marry, but when she was married, certainly her husband would not allow such... fun? She did not think any proper man in Rome would allow his wife to jump into a fountain just like that.
"I won't, then." Thalia said and let go of the garland to step backwards and down from the edge of the fountain. It was then she let out a little yelp as she slipped on the wet edge and fell... not into the fountain, but onto the ground just next to it. Luckily she caught herself before her head hit the ground, but the foot that slipped hurt a little. Well this was not part of the plan and so not fun at all! She sat up more straight and bent her leg to look at the foot and ankle, forgetting all about young men and garlands for a moment.
Her sister blushed when the young men called out to them, but Thalia was more curious than shy about them. There were so many things she didn't know and she was so damn curious about it all! Hopefully her grandfather would soon find a husband for her, or else she did not know how much longer she could wait. She mused about controlling what was in the water and chuckled when the young men said she could do that.
Then she thought about also bathing in the fountains and this got Clio looking at her while they were arranging the garland on the fountain. Thalia was still entertaining the idea though, hoping her sister would not tell on her! But Clio didn't know if it would be a good idea, since people would see it.
"But it is a festival, Clio..." Thalia said, her eyes pleading, "Surely it would not be that wrong, would it?" She said, reaching up to wrap the garland around some more and she took a step to the side. Maybe she should not do it, although it was tempting and it wasn't even cold today. One of the handsome young men kept looking at her and sent her a wink and now she did blush when she looked at Clio again, "Why should I not?"
Her sister commented on Thalia's wonder about fountains not being sacred, but the water was. It really made no sense. But she quickly moved on, barely hearing what her sister said, because it looked like such a fun place to be, this area, right now. And to think this was going on in all of Rome. She smiled by the thought and wondered which fountain they should pick. Clio agreed on the largest fountain and they headed that way, Thalia happily smiling at everyone and maybe she glanced a little too long at the young men splashing in the water. She blushed a little, they were so handsome and their bodies glistening water pearls.
Then one of the young men commented on the twins coming with their garland, calling them nymphs and Thalia laughed, "Are we nymphs now? I wonder if we control the water then... or whatever is in the water..." She said with a smile, "What do you think, sister? If I'm a nymph, I suppose I should get into the water too..." She added with an arched brow and half an eye on the young men, certain that they were paying attention too.
It was a great idea, getting into the water. She looked at her sister and leaned closer, "You would not tell, would you? If I did go in...?"