Deia dipped her head as Thessala said likewise. She seemed like a vibrant person, Deia thought, and fun to be around, though the prostitute felt that she was hardly able to match such energy at the moment. She had to save that for when she was actually out at the party. Thessala proceeded to explain that she actually was a gladiatrix and Deia nodded in response, drinking a little bit more. She had never been to the arena before, since she'd only recently arrived, and she doubted she would probably never have the pleasure.
"Is that a very dangerous job, then? I can't imagine..." She had the sudden thought that perhaps it might be preferable to face an enemy who was tangible, rather than her fears of insecurity and abuse. It would certainly be preferable to face an enemy with a sword in hand, anyway; even if she didn't know how to use it. Thessala said that they didn't let her bring swords out of the ludus and she grinned. "They do keep us under lock and key, don't they?"
Deia smiled sheepishly, a bit disappointed that the curses weren't real. "I guess that's all the same, then," she said. What would she even do with a curse? Curse Titus? That wouldn't do at all - if his luck ran dry, then so would the luck of all the workers at the brothel. If his fortunes dried up, his mood would sour even more than it already was and he might dole out more punishment than he already did.
Deia nodded as the other woman introduced herself as Thessala. "Deianira. It's nice to meet you." She eyed the other woman as she explained her own line of work, understanding that she might have preconceived notions about her line of work. Not unjustified notions, either. "So, what do you do with your time when you're not 'cursing' people?" she asked, giving a grin.
After the initial surprise at the woman coming into the room, Deia was able to focus on her appearance more and she was intrigued. It wasn't everyday that she saw a woman in such wild clothing, besides what Titus might make a centerpiece lady wear to catch the eye of the customers, and it was fascinating. Deia herself rarely decorated herself besides cosmetic changes to her face with kohl and rouge, let alone jewelry.
The other woman explained that she was a witch and some of the things she did. Deia let out a wry grin at the mention of curses. "How much do curses cost?" She was mostly joking, but if they worked... Sometimes she felt like she was cursed somehow, though she'd never done harm to anyone on purpose. She blushed a little at the woman's question about her occupation but shrugged and told her anyway. "I work at the Elysium," she remarked delicately. "What's your name?"
It seemed that as quickly as Deianira was sold by her last master in Greece, she was once more owned by a brothel owner, this time in Rome. Titus Aspanius Lupus was everything she had come to expect in someone that ran such a business: slimy, dark, cruel. But somehow, she trusted that cruelty more than she would have trusted kindness. She knew that the slightest kindness someone showed her would be distrusted immediately; she would think that the person wanted something from her. So it was good that Titus was like her last master so that she could understand him, and expect whatever was coming.
After being picked up in the market by Titus, he had shown Deia around the brothel and given her a moment to collect herself before being put to work that night. She wasn't surprised by this turn of events; after all, he had bought her to make him money, so it only made sense that she would be put to work immediately. But she was a little apprehensive, after not working for several months. She found herself in a back room for the workers, quietly picking at a bowl of some greasy soup and a hard crust of bread, thinking about how she had come to this place. She was alone for now with her thoughts.
Deia watched dispassionately as he stood up, cleaning his blade. She only hoped that his passion for blood and blades extended only to people he paid and that his knife wouldn't be buried in some hapless passerby who looked at him wrong. But one could never know what a man like him was going to do. She followed him with her eyes as he gathered a few coins for payment and put them on the bedside table, then turned to look at her and ask her if she had a name.
Her name didn't matter. In the free people of Rome, names were like signals to others, telling them social class, wealth, connections. But to a slave, a name was like a tracking device, particularly with someone with a unique name like Deia's. And Marcus would certainly use it to track her down at the Elysium next time he wanted to cut her and fuck her, no matter how hard she would try to escape that. "Deianira," she said finally, her voice flat and emotionless.
As Deia came out of her daze, she realized the knife was still in his hand while he was on top of her, doing his business. She was still a little out of breath as he finished and lay on top of her, her blood sticking their skin together in some strange pagan way. But after a moment he returned to his earlier position on his knees with the knife in his curled fist, looking at the wound he had inflicted which was still stinging a little. She would have to go and see Gaia after he left so she could get it looked at. She hoped she wouldn't need stitches.
She heard his voice again and held her breath again, unwittingly. He was saying he might do this again and she fixed him with her stare, eyes still a bit glazed over. Why should she have any opinion about this statement? He was going to do it whether she like it or not, and if he was going to do it again, it was because he had liked her performance. Even though she had been as far from acting as she possibly could have been. Finally she shrugged. "As you wish, dominus." She was tired now. Too tired to care.
For a moment, all Deia could think of was the sting of the wound he had given her, a wound that would turn into a scar soon, marking her forever. She could never leave this man behind when his mark would forever be on her. But after a little while, the stinging subsided to a manageable pain, enough so that she could focus on him whispering above her, saying that it was his right to cut her again because he paid to do it. It was really a helpless plea and she knew it. But what else could a woman fearing death say?
But she hadn't died and the pain wasn't unbearable. And then came the part that she knew was coming: he entered her swiftly, with no warning and no preamble. This she understood, like she had understood his hands tracing her curves a moment before. She was a little dazed from the rush of emotions she had experienced the minute before, so she barely reacted to his action past a soft grunt at the initial entry. And she didn't move much, letting him do with her what he wanted to do, though she did turn her head to the side again. At least the cutting was over.
Deia looked up suddenly at the noise, watching in amazement at the behavior of the other woman, talking back to someone and making a rude gesture as well. Gods, if she only had the gumption to do something like that! She would tell Titus and all her customers to go straight to hell and walk out. But she knew what would happen if she did that, and she didn't want it to happen. So she remained quiet and kept her head down around the brothel. This woman's appearance, however, was surprising and slightly amusing after the strain of the past hour and weeks.
Deia gave a shadow of a smile as the other woman held out the jug, offering her some in a strange accent Deia hadn't heard before. "Well, I guess that would be alright. Thanks." She received the jug in her hands, reasoning that the night would be much easier to endure with a wine-clouded mind. As she drank, she examined the other woman. "I guess you're here as entertainment, too?"
Oh, to be anywhere than here! Back in Greece, on the road between Greece and Rome, in Hades, even. The terror and adrenaline at the suspense that coursed through her body was making her shake, but she couldn't bring herself to look at the blade anymore, even if she wanted to know where it was. She kept her eyes squeezed tight as he drew his hand over her body at last. This sort of touching was something she could understand, almost the touch of a normal customer. But this was no normal customer.
She opened her eyes momentarily as he spoke, swallowing hard as a sob escaped her, and then turning her head away. How could she not struggle against him? She felt his hand on her breast. And then the knife cut into her flesh. She bit back a scream as pain coursed through her skin, pressing her lips together and biting them to resist opening her mouth and releasing the noise. She clenched both fists as well, more tears falling onto the bed. After a moment, she felt the blade leave her skin and she released a breath she hadn't known she was holding.
Deia was out of breath, her chest rising and falling rapidly, which made the blood from the wound dribble out quicker and trail down the side of her body in a way that strangely tickled. Against her better judgement, she tried to pull her arm out of his grip so that she could cradle the wound, feeling that that might make it feel better, as well as tried to turn her body away from him. "Please," she sobbed again. "Please don't cut me again! Please!"
The tears were leaking out of her eyes in earnest now, as she watched the hand which held the blade rather than his face, and she raised a hand to wipe them from her cheeks. His eyes roamed over her and she knew that he wasn't seeing her as most men did, how she would look in certain positions, but rather where he would lay that knife to her skin, puncturing flesh, drawing blood and pain. His voice chilled her again as he commented that she was good at obeying orders, and he proceeded with his orders, telling her to lay down on her back. "Please, dominus..." she whispered, almost only to herself, as she felt the blunt edge on her throat. She knew it wasn't any use but instincts used for survival were fighting their way to the top, threatening to take control of her body and make her run, fight, anything but submit to the knife.
Finally, she couldn't stand looking at him anymore and she closed her eyes, laying back slowly. She felt the weight of him shift the bed as he settled between her legs, sensing, rather than seeing, his eyes continuing their journey around her body. Absurdly, she wanted to tell him to just get on with it. The tension was getting to be too much and she just wanted it to be over. She wished she could train her mind to ignore that pain like she usually did the discomfort of any other customer. She wished any number of things as that moment before the knife fell stretched on into eternity.