Face ClaimGuy Henry
"Speak with him?" Marcus' voice grew dry. "You are aware he can't talk, of course?" He smiled. "But as much as we can communicate, I will."
He grew serious again. "There's something else I wanted to talk with you about, other than Azarion. I've watched you with him - he's made great improvements since the first time I took him round the circus in a chariot, and I think you have great potential to be a trainer, if you want the role."
Marcus took pride in selecting the best people for the jobs he required, whether slave or free, and he would not force anyone into something they hated - to put someone into a role they hated would be to run the risk of that person sabotaging things whether accidentally by neglect or deliberately by their actions, and that could potentially lead to injury or death. Much better to have people happy in what they did, after all.
"I was thinking about letting him race in the bigae for the upcoming celebrations," Marcus said. "He's young, but not much younger than any other charioteer, and it would be a good experience for him - although perhaps I should wait for a less prestigious occasion, perhaps in one of the other circuses than the Circus Maximus? I wouldn't want him overwhelmed by the size of the crowd and the importance of the occasion, even if it isn't the quadrigae."
The races between the four-horse were naturally much more prestigious than those between the two-horse bigae, and required far more skill - the skill of charioteers such as Menelaus, who would be racing in the most important races, and for the largest prizes.
Marcus clasped his hands behind his back, nodding at the charioteer's words.
"And what do you think of Azarion's progress?" he enquired, unconsciously lifting a hand to stroke the nose of a curious horse that had put its head over the stall door to huff at his head.
He was still not sure whether or not he should allow the boy to enter the bigae race that would be the precursor to the main races in celebration for the new Caesar. The mute boy had surprised him and seemed to have flourished in a way neither Marcus nor Azarion's master had expected.
Marcus had always found it best to regularly visit the various workshops and stalls of the stables. Although he trusted his charioteers, workers and slaves, it was and ever would be only to a point. Once he took his hands off the reins, so to speak, the place could easily run amok. To know that the faction leader could, and would, descend upon them without a moment's warning kept them on their toes and didn't allow any of them to get too slipshod.
And so it was that Marcus, walking with his usual unhurried deliberate tread, came upon one of his best charioteers taking a breather in a quiet corner of the stables.
"Menelaus. How is training going?"
Marcus nodded at his mute trainee's gestures; he had indeed noticed Safinia's throat. He had managed not to touch the body while conducting what examination he could - he had no wish to have to go through a ritual cleansing just because he had come into contact with a dead body (even that of one of his own faction). He would if it became necessary, but if he did not, so much the better.
He absolutely did not like the implications. She had been out here on presumably lawful business, and had been killed in what passed for daylight here under the shadow of the Circus Maximus. Anyone might have seen it happen, although apparently nobody had seen it. Or associated Safinia with the Whites and come to tell them.
No matter. He watched Azarion carefully pick her up and place her on the litter. She had not been very large in life, she had stood no chance at all against an attacker who had probably been much bigger and stronger than her.
Work would carry on as much as possible (the horses still had to be fed, watered and exercised, after all) but all business would be suspended until the funeral had taken place. And hopefully whatever aedile Linus managed to retrieve would not be some useless purple-striper but would actually be able to piece together what had happened.
He patted Azarion on the shoulder. "You've done well."
And so much for keeping ritually pure. Oh well. In for an as, in for an aureus... he might as well go the whole way, and closed her eyes (Romans took great stock in such things, even though the followers of his own faith did not).
Obviously both slaves were too much in shock to have actually listened to his instructions properly. He pulled his equestrian ring off - the symbol of his authority, it would mean that the person bearing it would be listened to as if it were Marcus speaking. Well, gesturing - he could see no other way of getting the help he wanted than to send the mute boy, with his ring, to fetch the litter and some men to carry it. The other slave would have to fetch the aedile - there was no way on the green earth that Azarion would be able to get near an aedile. Specific direct orders always worked better than a general 'oi, you! Slave!' after all.
"Azarion, you can go back to the stables and send some men with a litter - you'll probably have to come back with them to show them where to come. Linus, go to find an aedile - the Basilica Julia will probably be the best place to look. Bring him to see me - I will probably be back in the stables by the time you return."
It turned out to be extremely important, in fact... Marcus recognised the girl, though it took a moment to remember her name. Safinia. She was lying on the ground in a pool of blood - probably her own; her throat had been cut.
No wonder Azarion had interrupted him - the boy looked shaken, which was only to be expected if he'd been the one to find her.
Well. He bent over the girl; she was definitely deceased - living the life he had, Marcus was no stranger to what death, especially violent death, looked like. She would, no doubt, wish for a burial in the Roman way, and it was Marcus' duty to provide that for her according to custom. He straightened up and called her name three times, to recall her spirit to her body if it was anywhere near here.
After a suitable pause, he turned to the slaves who had accompanied him.
"You will return to the stables and send some men here with a litter," he said - there were several there, usually used for rescuing injured or dead drivers from the circus circuit. "Then I need someone to fetch one of the aediles, and - was she a member of a funeral guild?"
He suspected she was not, but would send for one anyway. They could prepare the body, and the funeral would take place soon, probably tomorrow - Safinia was not a high-ranking Roman senator, who would lie in state in his own atrium for a full seven days. She would get a proper cremation and stele, though, which was as much as anyone could expect.
Marcus frowned. Oh, the signs were clear enough, but he wished that the boy could explain why it was so vital that the doors be shut, especially when half the people who had business to do with the faction or on its behalf passed through these doors. He shrugged, doubtless it would become clear - and he hoped that the boy knew if Marcus had interrupted a meeting with a client and closed people out of the stableyard for no good reason, it would be taken out of the boy's skin with a good whipping.
"Close the doors," he said to the nearest men, and saw a stablehand loitering. "You will come with us."
Ahura Mazda! If he needed to send to the aediles, or to fetch anyone, he was not going to rely on a mute to relay a message.
"All right, this had better be important," he told the boy, who seemed to be on the verge of tears, most uncharacteristically.
Usually, the chariots would start behind a gate. At the beginning of the race, all the gates would open simultaneously, allowing the horses out to run the track. That was not going to happen today, for obvious reasons, and nor was the race going to be the usual seven circuits of the track, each circuit marked by one of the gleaming golden dolphins above the spina.
Marcus made sure that both drivers could see him, and dropped a cloth, the more traditional method of starting a race - and the method used in the smaller circuses which would be where Azarion would make his debut as a charioteer if all went according to plan.
"What in..." Marcus looked up from the discussion he was having. He could not remember ever having someone burst into his office in such a way.
He took in the boy's appearance - of course it was the mute boy (Azarion?) which meant that of course his natural question would go unanswered.
His state did not go unnoticed; Marcus was a man who prided himself that he noticed details, and the kid seemed covered in blood. Or, not completely covered, but his tunic and hands were smeared in blood.
"I beg you will excuse me, it appears that there is something urgent that requires my attention," he said to his visitor. "I shall call on you tomorrow to continue this conversation, if that will be acceptable to you?"
"Of course," the visitor said, rising smoothly.
He'd probably lost the man's sponsorship, but that couldn't be helped.
A waiting slave came to show him out and Marcus turned to give Azarion's agitated signs his full attention.
"Come with you? This had better be important!"
Topics I Participated In
With celebrations soon to commence, so too does the appetite for races increase. The charioteers, then, must prepare for battle. Each race is a battle against themselves as well as the other contestants. A chariot, loosed from one man’s control, is a weapon of instant annihilation. The sport takes a toll on their bodies. Meanwhile, the hungry watchers take in the spectacle. All of this would be enough to make any patrician balk- but Menelaus is not a patrician. He adores the attention, relishes the spectacle, and craves the toll. He plans to live a hard life, even though he dreads the end of it. Why choose caution over bravery? That would hardly be the appropriate path for a charioteer.
Instead, Menelaus prepared for the upcoming races. He did not yet know the details, but they would certainly be expected to participate in the ongoing celebration in some fashion. For now, he had returned from the latest round of practice, and had a moment of quiet in the stables. He felt the rush of it, still, even now that he was at rest. Menelaus took a moment to breathe deeply, smiling, when he heard someone else approaching. He turned to greet the newcomer, curious to see who would be here to speak with him when there was no race in progress.
Late October, 75AD (Immediately after Sunset)
Azarion ran across the stables towards the offices that belonged to the Whites. Some people saw him run, and a stable boy even said something, but he pushed past him. He was only vaguely aware that his hands and knees were stained with blood. The way he was running, doubtful that anyone could tell if it was his or someone else's.
He did not wait at Marcus' door, although normally it was the rule to do so. Instead, he burst right in, and once again, he was painfully aware that he could not just yell, blurting out the things he wanted to convey.
Safinia is dead.
Safinia has been killed.
Instead, he made hurried motions to the man, pointing at the door. He would have to show him.
Azarion was slowly getting better at being a charioteer. A trainee, anyway, since he had not competed in any of the races yet, but Marcus had him on a tight and brutal schedule. Honestly, if he had not cared for the horses' health and safety, it probably would have been even worse. Azarion went to be d every night with aching muscles. But also, he thanked his gods every night that he had something to work for. Even though he couldn't ride the horses freely like he wanted to, and he was not allowed to carry bow and arrows, the chariots gave him a sense of freedom, and hope for his future. One day, they might even free him. If he did well enough.
Which was the only reason why he did not complain when he was told he'd drive a mock race with Marcellus one morning. That man was the worst.
Azarion was not deemed ready for a quadriga yet, but he knew how to drive a biga securely by now. So, the early morning found him up and ready on the race tracks, with only a few men from the sables walking around here and there. Azarion checked the harnesses, the chariot, and patted the horses on the nose, making soothing sounds. Borena and Tabithi had been training alongside him the whole time, and he knew them well. Now it was time to put the whole thing to the test - by racing another charioteer.
The first deep rumblings did not waken Marcus. They did, however, awaken the horses in the stables, and they, in turn, woke Marcus (and, hopefully, the stable staff). And then the earth moved.
"Ahura Mazda!" Marcus swore, and rolled out of his bed. His immediate thought was for his son and daughter, his second was for his staff and horses.
He threw on a tunic and left his room, turning to his children's room. Their nurse was looking out of the door, wide-eyed. "Earthquake. Get the children out into the courtyard, and stay there!"
She nodded and withdrew, leaving Marcus to head to the other side of the house, that overlooked the stables of the White faction. There were several people already down there, milling about in apparent confusion. He looked back to see the nurse holding his children's hands in a firm grip.
"Go with Esther, I will be with you soon - I have to make sure the horses are safe, too."
He headed into the confusion of the stableyard and began to assert order.
"Stay in the middle of the courtyard! "Varica, Bassus, Menelaus, Theseus, Azarion - start bringing the horses out. Don't spook them any more than they are already. Everyone else, you will need to hold them, and if you cannot be calm, at least be quiet!"
@Beauty @Chevi @Echo @Liv @Jane
(Thread title from Horace Odes book III - post equitam sedet alta Cura)
Marcus had no idea if the new slave, Azarion, knew just how closely he'd been watched since he'd been hired by the White faction. He had given him into the care of Varica, his head trainer, and received reports from him that made him take a closer interest in the boy. He had gone back to the boy's master with a proposition. They had struck a deal and it was that which had led to Marcus' standing on the balcony outside his office, watching the activity in the stables below, waiting to spot one particular slave.
There he was.
Rather than summon the kid to him, Marcus descended the stairs to the stable-yard - he would only bring the kid back down here, there was no need to make him do the trip twice for no reason.
"Azarion!" he called, once he could be certain of not interrupting or disturbing him.
13th of October, during the festival Fontinalia
The Piscina Publica were public swimming grounds and luckily placed not very far from their home. And this was quite lucky on a day like today – it was, after all, Fontinalia and it was the day of celebration for Fons, the god of wells and springs. Septima Major was out with her sister, Minor, to celebrate the day. They’d spent the last few days on preparing a most beautiful garland out of flowers and grasses and leaves and now it was done and ready to be hung on a fountain near the Piscina Publica on this very day.
Septima Major was excited – she loved festivals like these and could barely wait with going out. Maybe she spent a little too long getting ready. Septima Minor had been ready for a while, before Major finally decided she was done too. She wore a very pretty, bright green chiton with a yellow and red palla over it. Her hair had been done up on her head, with twirls and curls and a few yellow flowers and green leaves added to the style. It went very well with her pretty blue eyes. On her feet were simple slippers.
They carried the garland together on their way to the fountain. She gave her sister a smile, after she’d waved to a few people she knew on the way – Septima knew many people and she liked to talk to people and make new friends, “Oh I hope someone else didn’t already decorate the fountain we decided on. It’s going to look so pretty, isn’t it?” Septima Major said with an excited tone, “I wonder if there’s going to be music too. And maybe someone set up a shop that sells food and drinks? We could stay a little while.” She suggested with a smile, “Oh, do you think anyone’ swimming in the pools today? That would be interesting.”
The Whites' stable complex was the usual bustling place it always was, with slaves exercising horses by walking them round the yard - one had been re-shod and a mare had recently foaled. The carpenter was busy fashioning a new chariot, and the wheelwright was shaving spokes for a new wheel for one damaged in the last race. Slaves were mucking out stalls and doing all the hundred and one other things that kept a chariot team ready and able to compete in the furious races that had made the Whites famous.
Marcus had been closeted with a visitor for what felt like an eternity, talking about the opportunities that backing such a faction could provide, and had come out of the session the renter (not, strangely, outright owner) of one half-wild barbarian boy who seemingly had a magical touch with horses. Marcus had initially been put off by the FVG brand on the boy's arm, and the discussion over that had led to the final agreement, that the Whites would take the boy on to work in the stables for a fixed sum payable every eight days, and if not fully satisfied, the boy would be returned to his master, no harm, no foul.
They had shaken on it and the boy's master had left, leaving Marcus in charge of a boy who looked still half-feral. At least the tunic he was wearing could pass as white, Marcus supposed. If you squinted.
It was at least not blue, green or red. There was something to be said for small mercies.
"Come along, I suppose you ought to see where you'll be working," he said, leading the boy out of his office and into the bustling yard.
The Whites complex was formed of four separate wings around a central courtyard. There were stables along three sides, enough to house all the numerous horses (it was not unknown for them to put three teams into the same race), with various workshops, the kitchen and dining hall making up the fourth wing. Over the stables were hay-lofts and dormitories for the slaves, with living quarters for the free craftsmen situated over the workshops. Marcus' office was also on this second story, which had a shaded balcony overlooking the central yard, giving Marcus a good view of everything that went on, for which he was responsible.
Basically reply with your character responding to the one above with a gif of their reaction to the person above.
Marcus Eppius Parthenicus
38 | 7th May 36AD | Equite | Dominus Factionis Album | Bi | Canon | Guy Henry
It would be possible to describe Marcus as a man of contradictions. First and foremost he is fiercely loyal to his faction - the only real home he has ever known in Rome as the then-leader was the one to purchase his grandfather in the first place, and his father worked for them in his own turn. He demands excellence from those around him, having little patience for anyone who cannot do the job demanded of them. He wants the Whites to be the very best that they can be, although he will not stoop to cheating; honour was drummed into him from a young age. He can be harsh with those he perceives as slacking, but his demeanour around the horses is very different, as it is towards those who likewise care for the horses from desire rather than duty. His fiercest tirades are directed towards anyone caught mistreating the horses - after all, they are unable to answer back and, not being war horses, if they lash out it's probably deserved. A slave caught mistreating any of the horses is going to feel the lash - Marcus almost never resorts to it for any other reason.
Marcus' overwhelming desire is for the Whites to have the best stable of horses, and the best charioteers and stables, in Rome. He has taken some journeys to places such as Hispania in order to buy horses, and has likewise been known to go down to the slave markets in order to find potential charioteers and other slaves suitable for various roles within the Whites stable. He is not above wishing to give others the chance his grandfather had, and of thereby encouraging other families to whom the Whites will act as employer and patron and community. He especially looks for those from places he knows have a history of horsemanship - Parthians, Hispanians, Britons.
He is fiercely proud of his background and what his grandfather and father achieved, and that he is now running the faction, and has achieved the status of equite, is something he cannot help but be proud of - being the grandson of a freedman is no stigma at all especially in the light of that.
While Marcus is competitive is not above working with other factions when necessary, although the arrangement must be mutually beneficial and he will not even touch the sort of arrangement that will mean deliberately throwing a race. He is torn between wanting to be able to hand control of the faction to his son, and wanting to see his son take a seat in the Senate, which will preclude him from running any such business directly.
Born to the son of a Parthian, and that son's ethnically Parthian wife, Marcus Eppius Parthenicus looks Parthian, with dark hair and darker than skin. Other than that, his appearance is wholly Roman; he is clean-shaven, his curly hair worn short. He stands at five feet five inches (1.6 metres) tall, but carries himself with a proud bearing. He often wears a tunic in his faction's colour, especially around their stables or when representing the Whites. In keeping with his status, his tunics are of a finer cloth than those of his employees and the faction slaves, often embroidered or with braid trimming. He rarely dons the formal clothing of tunic and the toga with a narrow purple border that is allowed to equestrians, as he finds it uncomfortable and restrictive - though naturally he will wear formal clothing on formal occasions and he carries it off as though born to it.
He has no trace of subservience, meeting people's eyes with his own dark gaze irrespective of their own standing in society.
He has sustained various injuries over the years, leading to building a collection of scars on his arms and legs, which show paler against his skin but none of which look like anything other than the scars resulting from things like scraping against protruding nails.
Father: Narses (birth name) Eppius Parthenicus (5BC-61AD, aged 66 at death)
Mother: Roshanak (Hellenised as Roxane) (b. 16AD, age 58, still living)
Siblings: Darius Eppius Parthenicus (35); Vashti Eppia (30)
Spouse: Julia Prisca (b. 44AD, d. 71AD, aged 27)
Children: Marcia Eppia (10), Drusus Eppius Parthenicus (8)
Extended family: Grandfather Timaeus (Tahmasp) (51BC-22AD, aged 73 at death) Various unknown relations still in Parthia, several cousins in Rome
Rome and Parthia have been enemies for a while and despite Mark Antony's campaign of 40-33BC resulting in a loss for the Romans, overall, the Romans brought back several captives to Rome. One of these was a young man by the name of Tahmasp, sold into slavery as Timaeus. The Parthians being known to be a people skilled at working with horses, Timaeus was bought by the then-leader of the Whites racing faction. That skill was well deserved as Timaeus won enough races to be able to buy his freedom, and a comfortable (although not large) house, and marry and start a family. His youngest child and only son Narses continued in his father's footsteps, by choice rather than compunction, serving as the Whites' trainer, working his way up through his career to become the head trainer, and working with both the horses and the charioteers, determined to get the best out of man and beast.
Narses' son, born Mithridates but taking the name Marcus in preference for his Roman friends and because Parthia by now really had very little claim on him and he had almost no interest in the place (except as the home of fine horses and finer horsemen), likewise worked at the Whites racing faction, starting as a young boy and eventually working his way up by skill and connections to become the leader of the faction - and with that professional step came a step in social and political circles as he was promoted to the ranks of the equestrian order.
36AD - born to Narses Eppius Parthenicus and his Parthian-born freedwoman wife Roshanak (Roxane)
39AD - younger brother Darius born
44AD - sister Vashti born
46AD - begins working at the Whites' stables as a stableboy
51AD - given chance to break in and train a pair of horses for the bigae, the two-horse chariot race (which was of lesser importance than the four-horse quadrigae races because less skill was needed on the part of the driver)
52AD - drove in his first chariot race, coming third
53AD - came first in the skilled four-horse quadrigae race
61AD - his father died, leaving him as the paterfamilias, which led to his decision to retire from racing and dedicate his time and skills to training
64AD - daughter Marcia Eppia born
66AD - Elevated to head of the Whites faction; son Drusus Eppius Parthenicus born
70AD - Elevated to equestrian order
71AD - Julia Prisca dies in childbirth, leaving her son and daughter to be brought up by their father and paternal grandmother
Sharpie | GMT | PM or on Discord
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!
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