Face ClaimAlex Wyndham
"Generals ride horses to battle," Teutus allowed. "But horses are expensive to keep, and the city isn't a good place for them anyway - they need exercising and more room than people do."
It made sense that people in the country were more likely to have horses, though they were going to be a symbol of status pretty much everywhere, unless you happened to live in a place where everyone had horses because that was the kind of country you lived in. Which was a completely foreign sort of place to a city-born person like Teutus.
"I suppose you must find everything here strange, so I would find everything equally strange if I were to visit Germania," he said, though he couldn't imagine wanting to visit Germania. It was too far away, too cold and probably too barbaric.
@Atrice - so sorry on the delay!!
"It's all ours," Teutus said, letting her have a look around. He was proud of it, though it wasn't much in comparison to the grandeur of Tertius' domus further up the Esquiline. But it was his own space - their own space now - and he couldn't deny that it needed a woman's touch.
He indicated the room he'd taken for his own. "That's my room. You'll have this one." He opened the other door, letting her have a look.
He hadn't expected to return home with his own mother, so he hadn't prepared it for her, but it was clean and tidy, with a bed. They'd have to find something for Amandus and Jennus, though Olipor could probably sleep on the couch in the main room. They'd make it work and if they needed more furniture, or better furniture, they could get whatever they needed.
Teutus had no intention of living like a slave now that he had a proper income, and nor was he about to let his mother live like a slave, either. Getting in some comforts was not going to break the bank.
"Uh-huh." Teutus said, and sighed. "I almost wish he didn't, you know."
Not that he wasn't pleased about it when it came to being able to look after Antonia, of course; but Tertius had absolutely gone and played merry hell with him when it came to making him responsible for the baby who'd replaced him in pretty much every way imaginable as his father's heir. Tertius had never cared for him in anything like the same way he doted on Charis' baby, despite everything he'd said to the contrary.
Tertius said a lot of things, in Teutus' experience, but he rarely matched the action to the word. How long had it been that he'd promised Teutus his freedom, after all? He'd only given it when it seemed he had no choice.
"He probably only did it because he trusts everyone else even less," he added, knowing it made him sound bitter. Hades, he was bitter, and jaded, when it came to his father and anything to do with Tertius Quinctilius Varus.
"Anyway," he said, striving to lighten the mood. "This is home - for now, anyway." He led the way up the stairs of the insula to his apartment - three rooms that had seemed too much for just him but now looked as if they'd be slightly cramped quarters for five. The door opened into one large room, and two smaller rooms led off it to one side, one with a window to the street, the other with a window overlooking the walkway around the insula's interior courtyard.
Maybe he should be on the lookout for a domus somewhere - or a bigger apartment, at the very least.
"Nice to meet you, Florus, I'm Teutus, and a fountain would be wonderful right now," Teutus said. Technically - more than technically - his name was Teutus Quinctilius Varus, but that was a mouthful for someone as hungover as he was, beside not feeling right; he'd been simply a one-name slave all his life until recently and it still felt odd to introduce himself with the three names of a citizen.
"I mean, could you please take me to a fountain?" he added, cracking his eyes open again despite the stabbing agony of daylight that assaulted his eyeballs as he did so.
"I don't see any way of reaching the roof," Teutus said, trying to figure out where he'd start looking for access there if he wanted to get in that way. "It's not like a domus or insula, with an atrium or courtyard inside, either." He scratched his cheek as he thought. "I guess good guards would put people off trying that sort of attempt if there were some sort of regular patrols around the building?"
Of course the vigiles wouldn't do anything of that sort, hence the need for private guards like Alexius.
"Does it look like the sort of place you could guard easily? Even if you needed one or two others." A team of guards with regular shifts or something - he wouldn't leave the entire security of the place to one man on his own, that would be asking for trouble, but if Alexius was up for it and knew where to look for others like himself, Teutus was willing to pay for the security and the peace of mind.
Teutus cracked his eyes open to look at the man currently keeping him upright. Mostly upright. "I didn't mean literally," he said, though he'd probably worked that one out.
Think about something he regretted more than the drink? Well, that was easy... just about his whole life, though none of that was exactly his fault.
"What's your name, anyway?" he asked, deciding that he was in no state at all to go rambling about the mess that was his life right up until recently. His family still was a mess, anyway, so that wasn't exactly going to help. Especially if news of his current state reached his master. Father.
"Even so, you've probably got more idea than I do about thinking defensively about things," Teutus pointed out. "I suppose I should be trying to think about how to break in, if I wanted to?" It looked pretty solid and even from the river side there wasn't much that he could see where someone could break in and get things away without needing time.
Cheaper and bulkier goods wouldn't need the sort of protection that lighter more readily transportable goods would, and high-value goods were sure to come under scrutiny from some of the less-desirable parties in Rome. Teutus wasn't about to risk things if he didn't need to.
It did seem a solid enough building, though.
"You've got experience of protecting people, at least. People move, and the sort of thing I'm building my business on are relatively movable goods, so your expertise will help with protecting them. And anyway, you've got the looks of someone in training, who knows how to use his fists or a sword. It'll be a steady job with a good rate of pay, if you want it."
Everyone needed a chance, and it couldn't have been at all easy for Alexius to scrape by on the ebb and flow of casual work offered to him. A steady job with a steady income would mean that he could maybe move into a bigger apartment in the future, for instance.
"History is made up of stories," Teutus pointed out, deferentially. "Although admittedly, it's made up of stories of great heroes and wars and battles and things which probably are boring to girls like Antonia."
Sergia's smile was infectious and made him smile in return. He wondered if he could find a good Latin translation of the Odyssey; although he was fluent enough in Greek to be good at his job as his father's (master's!) secretary, he didn't think he could reproduce the poetry and drama of the original; he was not any sort of poet, in any language.
It was rather a shame that the other stories he could think of that mentioned girls or women - Dido, Lavinia and Tarpeia came to mind - were all rather tragic for the women involved. Not at all the sort of thing that he could imagine appealing to Antonia.
"What sort of stories and poetry do you like?" he asked, curious about Sergia herself now. He really didn't know very much about his cousin; they lived very different lives.
"It isn't mine yet," Teutus pointed out. "I'll only take it if you don't spot anything seriously wrong with it from a security point of view. I need it to be more secure than someone bringing olive oil into the city, after all." He wasn't about to discuss his actual imports out here, where anyone could overhear, but Alexius knew enough about his plans that he didn't need to, he thought.
"As I said, you know far better than I do about how to guard things - if you don't think this can be easily guarded, or if there are other problems I haven't spotted, there are other warehouses and one of them might be better. Though I think this is a good one."
It was certainly good from the point of view of transport and bringing things in without advertising what was on the premises to all and sundry who might have less than legitimate interests in the contents of the building.
"As for working for me, I'd pay a fair wage. You'd be in charge of the guards, and I'd pay you properly for that responsibility," he said, and named a sum.
"Street theatre, yes - they usually do satirical stuff. You might need to know what the big news stories are to understand some of the characters and things," Teutus said. "If you prefer actual plays - either more serious things or comedy - there are several theatres out on the Campus Martius on the other side of the Capitoline from here if you want to see a play, and as I said, it doesn't cost much for a ticket."
There were so many things to see and explore in Rome; Teutus had lived here all his life (well, he'd accompanied his father to his country villa for the summer months, but that wasn't home) and he didn't think he'd seen half of what there was to see.
"The theatre is fun. The races are... exciting. You must have horse races or something like them at home? It's chariot races here - there are four teams and they race together, chariots drawn by four horses. It's very popular."
Probably more popular than the gladiator games which his father preferred.
Topics I Participated In
Teutus' business was going well and he needed to expand because there were certain things he just couldn't do on his own. He had made arrangements with Alexius for his services regarding the security side of it but he needed a clerk for himself (or would do soon), a body slave and a general runner/messenger. The latter two were more urgent than the former; Teutus was more than capable of keeping his own books and records, at least for now.
He also needed someone who could act as an agent, but he would rather not look in the slave markets for someone to fill that role - though if he found someone who could, he wouldn't turn it down.
He had to steel himself to enter the slave market; he had himself been a slave and although he was never in any danger of being sold, it had left him with a sour taste in his mouth when it came to actually buying slaves, though it was something he would have to get used to.
"Good morning," he said as a guard or auctioneer or someone otherwise connected with the trade came up to him. "I don't suppose the boss is around?"
Teutus had found and secured the use of a warehouse near the river's edge, located between the Aventine and where the river swept around Regio XIII, after passing Tiber Island, the Probus Bridge and the remains of the bridge defended in antiquity by Horatius. It was a good-sized warehouse, easily acessible from the river, with its own wharf, and easily secured (though Teutus would ensure that he had a couple of trustworthy guards on the site at all times - he was not going to have a guard or two there only when there was something valuable on the premises, and give that fact away). There were other warehouses nearby and he neither knew nor cared what was stored in any of them, save only that their presence would help disguise his own goods should anyone come looking with less than honest intentions.
He was on the site today to ensure that the latest shipment was stored properly, dressed as befit his station as the owner of the business in tunic and pallium and with a commanding presence (if he didn't particularly feel commanding he could at least look it, and followed his father's example as far as appearances went).
Some of his goods would be sold directly, some via auction (he knew a good auctioneer who would get decent prices and not charge exhorbitantly for his services). All in all, trade was good, and he could present his father with a good report of his dealings.
He turned as his clerk murmured, "Domine, there's someone to see you..."
There was indeed. "How can I help you?"
While Sergia (and Secundus) didn't live in Rome, that didn't stop her visiting her uncle and cousins for some rather extended stays - Tertius' house was big enough to house his family several times over, with a staff to match, as befit a Senator and Praetor.
One member of that staff (and incidentally of the family too, though not officially being a slave, the son of the Senator and a slave woman) was Teutus, the said Senator's secretary. This afternoon, the Senator was out somewhere that didn't require his secretary to attend him, and his young daughter was visiting a neighbour she was friends with, which left Teutus alone to finish copying out some correspondence for the Senator, a task that didn't take him very long once people stopped interrupting him.
Once that was done, with the letters left neatly on the desk in the tablinum for Tertius to sign when he returned, Teutus found a seat in the garden to enjoy a moment in the sun. He hadn't been there long when he became aware that his cousin Sergia was there, and scrambled to his feet.
"I beg your pardon, Domina," he said.
Well, their earlier conversation had gone less than swimmingly, thanks to Charis' presence - not that Teutus blamed her. If he'd known she was there, he wouldn't have turned up there himself, at least not until she'd left to return home.
He sighed to himself; he really needed to get a slave so that he didn't have to do all the wandering around Rome himself. Even if he had a slave, though, he'd most likely have to make this trip himself, this was not the sort of conversation or discussion he felt he could trust to a slave, not this early on in proceedings. Anyway, they lived in the same insula, and he wasn't damn lazy enough that he couldn't climb a few stairs from his apartment (several rooms on the first floor, and far too big for just him - but his father had insisted!) to Alexius', two floor above.
So it was just a few minutes later that he found himself knocking on Alexius' door, hoping that he wasn't disturbing anything untoward this time.
Immediately after Just One Night
"Charis! Charis, please wait - please!"
But she didn't, she kept moving. The crowds were slow and sluggish, the aftermath of the night before had made them so and they moved at a languid pace in a crowd that she found nightmarish given her pressing need to get out of here and certainly not be caught up to by Teutus Quinctilius Varus. It was all so fucked, that was her only real thought. The night with Alexius had been her one moment of glimpsed normality since the afternoon she'd eaten cakes and drank wine in the gardens with Cynane, well over a year and a bit ago now. That was all she had since she'd been forced to Rome; two snatched moments, one ruined by Helios, the other by Teutus. The thought made her feel sick it was so intolerable.
A cart was passing causing a blockage of people at one end of the street as they couldn't pass it. She came to a stop and glanced around, looking for another escape because despite her desire to hurry home, Teutus was taller and had a longer stride and would be up on her in no time. She saw an opening a few feet ahead. It was an alley that led to nowhere it seemed, but it was out of the crowds, and hopefully out of Teutus' eye line. She exhaled a breath and leant against the wall, swallowing raspy breaths heavily.
January, 76 AD, the day after Everything I Wanted
He’d told his son from Germania that he could come back for a proper meal and a talk. Why on Earth did he do that, again? Wulfric’s arrival was sudden and unexpected and he wasn’t at all sure what to do with it. Tertius didn’t return to his work right after Wulfric had left, but instead sat thinking, for quite a while. Drank a sip of wine or two, tried to comprehend it all. Finally though, he returned to his chores, only to be interrupted by Hector, standing by the entrance to the tablinum. Tertius put down the papers and looked at his personal slave, wondering what he wanted.
“I thought I would tell you, that your guest lingered. He spoke to Charis in the garden.” Hector explained and Tertius arched a brow. Why would Wulfric speak to Charis? Why would Charis speak to Wulfric? Was there something they both kept hidden from him? Did they know each other, one foreigner and another? Hector knew Tertius probably had questions and added, “I couldn’t hear what they talked about.” Hector said and Tertius nodded again. So Hector only knew they talked. Tertius should not draw conclusions, it was a bad habit of his. He’d find out about it all tomorrow. And maybe he should invite Charis to share the meal with them. The mother of his newest son and then Wulfric. He wondered if he could convince Teutus to come, but his oldest son seemed so… distant, lately, he couldn’t figure him out. But Tertius made sure to inform Teutus there would be a dinner with a guest the following evening and Teutus was more than welcome to attend. He would not pressure his son. He hadn’t told Teutus that Wulfric was his brother either, because it appeared that Teutus was already disliking Peregrinus. What would he feel if he learned that he had another brother, without Tertius being present? Tertius, Hector and possibly Charis were the only ones who knew and it had to stay that way until he chose otherwise.
The following evening happened sooner than he would have thought - but everything had been arranged. Some good, traditional Roman dishes to be served and the best wine. Tertius waited in the atrium for their guest and for Charis to show up too, if she could make Peregrinus relax a little. He’d been in quite the mood all day.
At long last a slave entered the atrium followed by Wulfric, dressed as finely as yesterday. A handsome young man, Tertius caught himself thinking. Pity he too was born out of wedlock and in a faraway country. But he could not focus on all that. He had to find out what Wulfric wanted, because he still seriously doubted his newfound son came all this way just to meet him.
Wulfric gave him a polite nod when he entered, “Father… I am glad you invite me.” He said in a friendly tone and Tertius glanced around. Thankfully the only other person he could see nearby was Hector. So he stepped a little closer to the younger man, his son.
“Well, I am glad that you chose to attend, Wulfric.” Tertius said, “I would prefer if you did not announce our relationship out loud like that.” He paused, looking at Wulfric, making sure that comment was understood, before he continued, “We are to be joined tonight by my slave Charis, whom you met yesterday, and possibly my other son, Teutus. Now please, come with me. The triclinium is this way.” And together they silently moved through the domus to the dining arena, where cups, wine and plates were already ready for them.
Domus of Gaius Ovinius Camillus
Her father had been tense all day, and now the hour was approaching he was perhaps even less charitable, if that were possible. She sat opposite from him in the garden, her sister-in-law Viria sat a few feet away watching the scene with evident unease. "I mean honestly, a freedman? For my only daughter?" The scoff he made after his rant had finished made her jump. "If you don't want him as a match, why set this up at all? Why not just decline?" she queried with obvious unease but a light voice, trying not to test his patience anymore than the situation already had. "Because Tertius is a friend, and a colleague, and I wouldn't dishonour him so by refusing outright to even meet the boy." Ovinia rolled her eyes, "So we will have this meeting, you will be warm and approachable but do not encourage him," he gave her a firm stare, his words hard, "and then when it's all said and done we shall say that we don't think it is a good match on personality grounds and be done with it." Her father huffed and took a deep sip of his wine, "And you can remain friends with Praetor Varus?" He nodded and continued to drink.
Well, this was a first. She'd been through a handful of these conversations, testing out potential matches and they had always ended in mutual disappointment when an agreement couldn't be reached or one side declined the idea. She'd never gone into one of these conversations knowing that there was absolutely no chance of a marriage at the other end of it and, had she been a more hospitable person, she would have felt a little sorry for this Teutus Quinctilius Varus.
She didn't know him at all, hadn't even heard of him until last week - not by name at least. She'd heard the gossip that the good Praetor had a litter of children via different slaves, although she'd been informed subsequently that it was just the two; a newborn son and this Teutus. What he was like, she didn't know, but having been informed he'd lived a good twenty something years of his life serving at the leisure of his own father, Ovinia wasn't hopeful. Not that she had any need or want to hope - the match wouldn't happen, even on the off chance she did enjoy his company, her father would see to that. But they had to put on a show of it, as if her Papa was seriously considering Teutus as a prospect and she looked every inch the young woman ready to receive a visit from a match. Wearing a white tunica and draped in a palla hemmed with deep blue and gold, she sat arrow straight on the marble bench in the garden. She'd perfumed her skin and the smell of the lemon mingled with the fragrance of the flowers around them. Her hair was neatly combed and whilst half was braided up behind her ears, the other half was left loose around her shoulders. The gold on her throat and wrists glinted in the sunlight.
As a slave appeared and nodded to her father, Ovinia stood but made no move to attend the atrium. Her father gave her a lingering look of warning and then moved to greet his guest - guests? - she realised she didn't even know if the other Praetor, Praetor Varus was attending as well. Smoothing out the fabric of her tunica she shot Viria a 'help me' look, which the other woman returned with a grin. Here goes nothing then.
Her father loomed back into view, accompanied by a tall young man. Dark hair, light eyes - unusual in this neck of the woods. Ovinia inclined her head politely. "My daughter, Ovinia. Ovinia, this is Teutus Quinctilius Varus, the man I told you of." and the man he had been ranting about all day. "A pleasure." She offered a breezy smile as her father spoke a little more; "Viria will keep watch over you - and nothing gets past my daughter-in-law," He shot Teutus a warning look this time. Which was laughable, really, as most things got past Viria - especially when she was distracted. "Enjoy your conversation." He said tightly and then strode off, leaving Ovinia and Teutus standing awkwardly in the garden.
TAG: @Sharpie @Atrice (if Tertius wants to attend!)
Longinus wasn't, by his nature, a nervous man but by the Gods he was skittish now. The meeting with Seconds and Tertius had been odd and disconcerting to say the least, but he'd persevered - sending his compliments to Secundus for a lovely afternoon and pressing his desire to meet the man's niece. He didn't know what to make of Sergia - he'd glanced her once or twice throughout the years at various functions but couldn't recall much beyond dark hair, blue eyes and a pretty face. If he'd spoken to her, he couldn't recall it and he hoped to the Gods he hadn't because the Longinus trying to court a young woman was likely to be different to the Longinus enjoying himself at a party. There was a significant chance he'd acted like an oaf back then, and winced as he paced the atrium.
The house was deserted - his mother and daughter at the villa in Formiae for the next few weeks, which suited him fine. No need to frighten the poor young woman off with his overzealous mother and miserable child. That did, unfortunately, leave Sergia in the company of only men so he'd extended the invitation to Secundus' wife Livia. But tales were told and deciding he'd rather not have to face the couple who spent most of the year oddly isolated in Tibur, he'd also invited Tertius. He liked the latter, more than he liked Secundus at any rate and was hoping the Praetor would be able to temper the moods of his guests.
Dinner was being prepared and the slaves hurried around the place, straightening a few of his odd collectibles here, and a vase of fresh flowers there. He fidgeted as he drew to a stop, tugging at the folds of his pallium and wishing he'd had a good long drink before this. How was it that facing down the Brigantes in Britannia hadn't made him sweat but the prospect of arranging a marriage did? He swallowed and waved a hand at a slave; "Wine." His throat felt as parched as a desert and he gulped it down as it was handed to him. He didn't have long to wait and stew further in his misery though, a slave entered the atrium with a guest trailing behind him.
TAG: @Járnviðr @Liv @Atrice (and @Sharpie and @Chevi if you want Attis or Mets to make an appearance at any point!)
Also figured we could jointly NPC Sergia? And come up with an excuse as to why her mother isn't at the dinner...
It was just about eight months since the birth of Tertius' son and Teutus was no nearer to being able to get out of this house permanently than he had been this time last year. He was closer to setting up his business, though, so perhaps he was nearer getting out than he felt. It didn't help his state of mind that he'd had to consciously avoid Charis, because where she was, her son was too.
Today, though, was a nice bright warm day and Teutus had gone to sit in the garden with his tabula and his thoughts, and found himself just enjoying the sun, thinking very little of any consequence.
By the time he realised he was no longer alone, and realised who the intruder was, it was too late to be elsewhere without it looking as if he was deliberately evading her, as he had done his best to since the day Tertius had taken Peregrinus up as a freeborn child.
December 18th, 75AD
Charis did not look as nice as she had when she had left the domus. The walk across the city with its riotous crowds for the second day of Saturnalia, only to be turned away at the door and directed to an insula not a fifteen minute walk from her starting point had left her flustered and tired. Still! She was out, and even with the jostling crowds she felt relaxed.
She had celebrated the first night of the festival in the domus as was traditional with a meal and that awkward role-swap, and she had tried to ignore the feelings of dread it had brought up. She had conceived her son - she was sure of it - exactly a year ago yesterday and she had spent the evening tense and worried that she'd be summoned in for a repeat, but it hadn't happened. Actually, in the past two months - since the midwife had assured her she had healed and was ready for...life (as she so delicately put it) Tertius hadn't called for her. Maybe he had lost interest, since she had his son? She could only hope (perhaps naively). But then again, they were getting on better and he was being kinder. Maybe things were looking up?
Regardless, the night had passed without incident but given it was a days-long festival she had managed to persuade her dominus to let her out for two of the subsequent evenings. The first was to visit 'Aia' and attend a show, the second would be spent with Cynane - two days from now. How or why Tertius was so generous, she didn't know, but she wasn't complaining. After a few sad goodbyes to her son - dozing in Rhoda's arms, she had left the domus and set off into the night - the first time she'd been out alone in months. She'd worn a plain and serviceable tunica but had done her hair in pretty braids with a few loose strands to frame her face. She felt almost entirely like her old safe - tired more easily, but otherwise returned to her figure and moods as before. She felt at peace. And she wanted to celebrate that feeling.
She finally drew to the exterior of the insula, breathless, with flushed cheeks. It had been over two hours since she had initially set off and her throat felt scratchy and dry from lack of drink, and a chill had seeped into her bones (even she could admit Rome got cold in the winter)! Trying to tidy herself up as she climbed up the stairs, her legs feeling like lead, until she finally drew to the door which she was informed, belonged to her friend. She knocked twice and stood back. She swore to the Gods that if he wasn't home after all of this effort...!
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