Face ClaimEddie Redmayne
"Well, I won't stop you," Rufus said. "Though I'll confess to being a little jealous that's how you get to spend your Saturnalia - both of you," he added, as if he wasn't clear enough and saying as much wouldn't see him go flying out over the balcony to the ground below. Or wishing he could shrink small enough to disappear between the cracks in the floorboards.
Bacchus, that wine couldn't have been as watered as he'd thought, if he'd actually come right out said it. Didia was probably going to hit him over the head with a saucepan or a rolling-pin. Theo, being a medicus, was likely to do something worse.
"I think the quiet night in might have been the joke, this being Saturn's season," he said to Theo, thoroughly prepared to have to make a run for it and find somewhere to spend the night.
Suddenly the flaking plaster of his own room didn't seem quite as bad as he'd first thought.
Rufus groaned at the pun, though he'd leave it to Didia to smack Theo upside the head for it - he might be friends with the pair of them but he wasn't about to overstep his bounds as a friend and do that.
Besides, Theo was standing on the other side of the table and Rufus would have to stand up and move, giving him plenty of opportunity to get out of the way.
"Free, and willing," he said instead. Perfectly willing, not that he thought anyone would really recognise what he meant, or take him up on it if they did - which was a shame but he would live, and their friendship would remain intact.
If only he could keep from dropping hints and things that they wouldn't get. It had been too long, he should probably think about heading to a brothel at some point just to get his mind off it.
"What are your plans this Saturnalia, then? I hope I haven't interrupted anything in particular," he said instead, though whether or not the conversation would return to safer topics was anyone's guess. That ship had probably sailed by now.
"No, he didn't, although I honestly thought he was going to at one point," Rufus replied. "And well. If sarcasm killed, I wouldn't be standing here now, and my master would have sued him for the loss of a body slave. Probably."
He looked her up and down in concern. She didn't look as if she'd been whipped, though someone like the Senator her master probably had a store of punishments that wouldn't leave a visible sign. "I hope - I hope you weren't punished for it? He didn't seem at all happy, though what he expected me to be able to tell him is something only the gods know!"
Rufus had the exact same sense of observation and self-preservation that any slave had when it came to seeing things about free people, and noticed how the Senator's jaw clenched. He braced himself for that hard strike to the face that such an expression usually presaged, but it didn't come. The Senator's hand clenched in self-restraint and when he spoke, his words were laced and dripping in sarcasm.
Rufus had not acted obstructively or done anything to hinder the other's finding out what he needed to know, it was simply that the information was not there to be found out.
He merely bowed his head in submission as the other turned on his heel and stalked away, the crowd parting before his rage as if he were accompanied by the full complement of lictors that a consul commanded.
Rufus let out a long breath, suddenly finding his knees a little weak and made his way to a hot-food stand, the crowd not parting for him in the least.
Thanks, @Járnviðr, that was an... interesting thread!
"No, sir," Rufus said, well aware that he was inching closer to receiving a backhand across the face, at the very least. Which was a risk all slaves ran at some point in their lives, just by virtue of the fact they were slaves, and property, and utterly without any sort of rights at all. "She didn't know she'd been pickpocketed herself until afterwards."
It wasn't as though the thieves were obvious about it, after all; that would completely defeat the whole point of doing what they did because they'd be caught and prosecuted the first time they went out. For all either of them knew, the man (or woman or boy or girl, or slave) responsible could be any one of the crowd around them, still working their trade and calmly making off with someone else's hard-earned coins.
@Járnviðr - I am so sorry it's been so long!!!
"Io Saturnalia," Rufus replied easily, with a grin. "Don't be jealous, Theo - you were just talking about orgies. Or you were the first to mention them, anyway." He looked between the two of them. How was he planning to celebrate his first Saturnalia as a freedman? With friends, of course, getting rowdy and merry.
"I could always give you a kiss too, if you're feeling left out," he added, somewhat daringly, letting the wine do the talking.
He was about to get thrown out and have the door barred in his face, he was sure of it. Which was a shame, he still liked Didia and Theo was pretty cute, too, in his own Greek way.
"Octavius Flavius Alexander is above such things as orgies," Rufus said loftily, and grinned. "Shame, really, but there we are. And I apologise for having a dirty mind - but I doubt I'm the only one." He couldn't help winking at Theo as he spoke. "I honestly don't think anyone talks with me with any hope of having a civilised conversation, I'm no Greek philosopher, you know. I suppose I could make an effort at it - anything to make you happy, Didia."
He put the knife down and turned to kiss her on the cheek.
Just how strong was that wine? It couldn't have been watered nearly enough - Theo was probably going to kill him. Ah well, it would have been worth it!
"Hadn't thought about it, to be honest," Rufus replied, grinning at the pair of them. He'd never truly had a chance with Didia, but when she and Theo made such a cute couple, it wasn't hard to be pleased for her. "I suppose, oddly, knowing it's not just a week for me any more. I haven't really got any plans for how to spend the time this year."
Mostly because anything he could do during Saturnalia, he could do at any other time, now.
"What about you two? Have I interrupted anything in particular?" He was perfectly willing to disappear if it turned out that he had.
Rufus absently smacked Theo's hand away. "You can wait for my masterpiece, surely?" he said. "And no. I mean, I could have gone back to his house, but I've spent so many Saturnaliae there, and my old master's house, and I preferred to spend this one somewhere else. Like with my friends. And surely the resale value would be affected by the hugs patch of wall that suddenly didn't have plaster on it, rather than what was under the plaster strewn across the floor?"
He looked up at Theo with a grin. "You may have some fig, I think I may have done too much. And I hope you put your tinctures and everything away safe this time. Drunk gladiators..." He gave a theatrical shudder. "I mean, they're crazy at the best of times, I can't imagine what they'd be like drunk."
Topics I Participated In
The cheers and laughter echoed in the hallways of the insula, and outside on the streets. It was the most joyous of Roman celebrations, one that Theo truly learned to enjoy since his move to the City. Even though they were a small household, a mere apartment in the insula, he and his wife were happily preparing for their first Saturnalia together. They did not own slaves who could have turned the day around on them, but there were still sweets to eat, spiced wine to drink, games to play, and gifts to give. In the spirit of the festivities, Theo was trying to do his very best in preparing said sweets, with honey and flour and walnuts. A plate of fresh pomegranates stood on the table, one of them already opened and spilling ruby red seeds. As soon as Didia returned from running some errands, they would have the whole rest of the day to themselves. The games would not start until the following day, which gave the medicus leave from his usual work at the ludus.
When he head the door open, Theo glanced over his shoulder, grinning with a smear of flour on his face.
It wasn't that long after Rufus had been accosted by Aglaea's master that he saw her again. He was waiting in line at a hot food stall while waiting for his master - the Senate was debating something dreadfully dull and boring that required the presence of the Emperor's brother but not of the Emperor's brother's redheaded body slave.
He stepped out of the queue - really, he'd do better saving his money than spending it on whatever the food stall sold, that they claimed was actual food but was probably dead rat.
May, 75 AD
After discovering that his money had been stolen under Aglaea's inattentive eye, Secundus had been looking for a way to find the culprit. Secundus happily seized on her mention of a male slave, Rufus, that she had spoken with shortly before she noticed the purse missing. Now, Secundus had elected to investigate the matter personally. Although they were due back in Tibur soon, he could not let this matter rest. No one could steal from the Varus family without some action being taken. It did not take long to arrange the meeting. Rufus served a master who moved in much the same circles as Secundus, and finding him lingering while his master attended to some business was easy enough. Spotting him across the way, Secundus strode purposefully towards the man. The physical description did not quite due the hair justice, he thought with some amusement.
"Are you Rufus? You spoke to one of my slaves, by the name of Aglaea. I have urgent business which requires your assistance."
Two weeks after Morning Rounds, Late July 75AD
Didia stifled a yawn and glanced round in the early morning light. Dawn had come and gone only a few moments ago and the Aventine was still sleeping which...for the Hill, was a mercy. Even up at the top surrounded by the domi of the rich and notable, the Hill still held on its rougher edge, judging by some of the fabulous and explicit graffiti drawings scattered around.
She sent word to Rufus to meet her at the corner of a bakers and a yellow-walled domus and she hoped he'd find it. She clasped two sweet buns in her hand, pilfered from the baker (now very aged) that still left them to cool! The aroma brought back so many memories it was surreal; carefree days when her parents were working and she could wander to and fro as she pleased. She'd had to beg and barter to get this morning off, and she only had until sundown when she'd need to go and help prepare orders for tomorrow in the warehouse districts. Maybe she could convince Rufus to come and lend a hand; the man was a sweetheart, she supposed he'd do it regardless.
She leaned against the wall of the domus, ignoring the suspicious glances the porter cast her. She didn't look much like she belonged in this quarter with her simple tunica and hair loosely tied up with a linen strip. Still, they were going exploring so she didn't mind much. A voice startled her to her left and in her surprise, she dropped one of the buns loosely gripped in her left hand. "Shit! Shit!" She stepped back and grimaced up at Rufus, before trusting out the surviving bun in his direction. "Here...you take this one, even though you're late, tsk." She chuckled, showing she wasn't actually irritated but couldn't help a forlorn glance down at her bun, already being used for a feast for the ants on the cobbles.
Early July, 75AD
Didia was saving the best until last today, despite her brothers grumbles as he pushed the cart up the hill towards their final stop. By virtue of being seen upwards of thrice of a week by some of the slaves, Didia had made enough friends in the households of the great and the good but certain friendships endured more than others. Certain homes were nicer than others as well, and the house of Octavius Flavius Alexander was by far the nicest she had been in. Although, to be fair to the others, all she'd seen of any of them was the kitchen.
Finally at the slaves entrance, the cook bustled them in as usual and her brother set about the unenviable task of unloading great quantities of this and that, pre-ordered from her fathers business. Bunches of grapes were apparently in order in Octavius' house as poor Appius unloaded bunch after bunch, stomping through the kitchen and back to the cart. Didia helped where she could, with the lighter items, until the bulk of her work was done and she drew the cook over to make her mark on the scrap of papyrus (and it was a scrap, it cost an arm and a leg!) to prove the order had been completed without complaint. Poor Appius went on his way, back and forward whilst Didia gratefully accepted a cup of wine.
She enjoyed the company of the slaves here, they were more refined (ergo - Romanised) than some of the others on her rounds, and the cook always made sure she sat and had at least a cup of watered wine before she left. Appius was content just for a break from the walking and mostly spent his time sat on the cart in the shade outside, trying to snatch a few minutes sleep free of screaming nephews or arguing parents, whilst his sister chatted. As she talked to the cook, a familiar face ducked through the curtain and a wide grin stretched across her face. "Rufus!" her grin settled into a gentle smile, "I thought you'd miss me today, you're busy?" The cook shuffled off to tend to this or that - barking orders at the younger slave girls to stash the food away, and leaving Didia and her friend to catch up.
Since becoming a mother, Valeria was no longer a deep sleeper. There was always pattering of feet, small bodies climbing into bed next to her due to a nightmare or monsters in the shadows. Their nannies unable to convince the two children no such things existed. Only mother's comfort could sooth those fears. She wasn't quite sure what her sleep addled mind thought it was when she felt the bed shaking, but after patting the bed to see which child had came to join her she knew something was off. Sitting up, she gently woke her body slave up, about to speak when the biggest of the tremors hit. A scream of surprise leaving both of them as she locked eyes with the other woman's.
"The children!" They said at the same time, and she threw off her covers and ran out of the room just behind the other woman who was heading to wake up Minor. "Octavius! Earthquake!" She called out down the hallway, hoping her husband or his own slave, Rufus would hear her as she made her way to her daughter's room. The girl was just coming out with her nanny and she scooped her up, "Everyone needs to get outside, now!" She said to the gathering number of slaves around her as they all made their way to the stairs to exit the building. "Don't worry about any belongings, everything can be replaced!" She cried out at a few who was trying to save vases and busts from falling over.
What a perfect place for people-watching! After her afternoon spent in the temple, Aglaea had walked through the city to the Forum with a small meal she had picked up on the way and settled on a curb to watch the people go by. There were plenty of senators, obviously, but all kinds of other people, too. Slaves, merchants, equites, plebeians. Aglaea enjoyed her time observing the people of the empire. It reminded her of her home in Judea, especially the crush of the crowd and the variety of people.
After her meal, Aglaea turned to head home when she noticed her bag of coins was missing! She looked all around where she had been sitting, but it appeared it was well and truly lost. "Oh, no..." Livia would be furious.
Rufus did not often get time to himself, and very much appreciated it when he did. He had learned his way around, at least enough to recognise the Palatine from different angles to find his way home again, and was going to take advantage of a very rare afternoon off and spend a few hard-earned asses at the Thermae Mercuari, which were the nearest public baths that he knew of to his master's house.
He knew what to do and how bathing worked, in the Roman fashion, not because he had ever been a customer but because he had attended his master there. It would be nice to be a patron for once, and there was nothing at all that forbade a slave from making use of the baths so long as they did not bring their masters into disrepute. Rufus had no intention of that, of course.
He paid his entrance fee and stripped off in the apodyterium, folding his clothing neatly to leave in a cubbyhole there before joining the other patrons. By the time he came to have a massage, he was as relaxed as he'd ever been, and couldn't help smiling at the waiting slave.
(Jan 75 AD)
Attis was not entirely sure how he had got the afternoon to himself, and nor did he care - what mattered was that he had got the afternoon to himself. What mattered more was that he'd also been given two sestertii to spend and told to go and have fun.
He had wandered around for a bit and found himself in a popina off the Via Lata, which served posca (totally crap but marginally better than lora) and food (greasy but not bad, on the whole). The only free seats were at a large table to one side and he'd debated eating his food at the counter before deciding that he spent far too much of his life on his feet. If someone else wanted to sit down too, well, the table was big enough. There was someone there already, a redhead of a similar age to Attis himself.
"Mind if I join you?"
"Help yourself, it's a big enough table, and there's nowhere else that's free."
Attis didn't need telling twice and sat down. "Rome the eternal city - keeping everyone eternally on their feet," he said with a grin. "It's nice to sit down for once."
@Liv @Joaquin @Chevi
To Charis, from your friend Rufus, greetings!
I trust this finds you well. I have some good news to report: I have found your sister Ardra. She is known as Nymphias and is a slave in the household of Titus Sulpius Rufus, a senator. I have no news yet of your mother or brother, but your sister wishes you well and hopes that you will both be able to meet very soon.
I will keep looking for your mother and brother and hope that I will be able to send you news of them soon.
The above missive was sent scratched into the wax of a cheap plain wooden wax writing tablet, in script on one leaf and capitals on the other.
Other Characters by this Player
- 348 posts
- Player: Sharpie
- Face Claim: Sam Hazeldine
- Location: Roma