Face ClaimChiara Mastalli
Well, there it was - they had totally run out of all possible innocuous subjects and it was only natural that Antheia try to sound Volusa out about her background and her own place here.
"Yes," she said simply. "My parents are both slaves here, I was brought up in the Palace." It made it easier and harder at the same time - and she had been witness to some of the events leading up to the civil war, although she'd been very young and kept as much out of view of the principal members of the household as possible, whoever wore the purple at the time.
Even now, she rarely saw the Emperor himself ever, and when she did it was usually at a distance. Though that might change with the new Emperor being Titus, Quintus' son.
Nothing that Volusa needed to worry about, anyway.
"What about you? You, uh, sound Greek." Which meant very little, really, except that she'd lived in Achaia, but whether as a free person or a slave, Volusa couldn't tell.
Volusa had been prepared to be asked something more personal - had she always been a slave, how had she got the position of the mistress' body slave - and while the query was none of those, it was one that really should not be asked anywhere the family or any other free person should overhear. She should have expected it, really.
"Yes," she said, simply. "Very - she won't put up with nonsense or anything, but she's very kind. I think you'll like her."
She certainly hoped Antheia would, anyway - she was not blind to the mistress' faults, but nor would she follow her blindly, two extremes that personal slaves could often fall into. Volusa had spent her life in servitude in the Palace and was familiar with both the hero-worshipping sort of slave and those that treated their masters with disdain when out of their sight. She had little time for either sort, and hoped that Antheia would not turn out to be either, though she didn't think the older woman seemed to be that type of person.
"As often as I can," Volusa replied. "You'll probably have more chance than me to come here, though - I'm the mistress' body slave which means I'm with her nearly all the time, and sleep in her room."
It curtailed the freedom to come and go which she had had as just another palace slave back before she'd been given the responsibility of serving the princess exclusively, but that lack of freedom did have the benefit of putting her above most of the other palace slaves, with the exception of those slaves who attended the other members of the Imperial Family.
"The only time we shouldn't be here is if we're wanted elsewhere, or if someone in the family is out here, but that doesn't happen very often."
She looked at the older woman, who was looking a bit happier than she had earlier, and dared add, "If you want to ask me - anything, you can."
Antheia's reaction was everything that Volusa could have wanted and she smiled at the older woman.
"I come here as often as my duties allow, but I'm with the mistress more than any of her other slaves except Cynane, who's her bodyguard," she said. Antheia would probably be able to be out here more than Volusa, because her own duties would allow her more free time than Volusa generally got.
"This way," Volusa said, and paused. She would rather like to just take Antheia there without saying where it was, let it be a pleasant surprise when they got there, but it wasn't really fair to just take her somewhere in this maze without giving her a hint. "I want to show you one of my favourite places - it's one of the gardens. The family do use it, but not often, though the princess comes here when she wants to be outside. It's the closest peristylium to her rooms, after all."
The Emperor had an open garden much closer to his audience chamber, and there was a much larger space that he used that belonged to his own private apartments - nobody need worry too much that they would interrupt (or be interrupted by) the emperor himself or other senior members of the family, not in this smaller private space.
The corridors Volusa led Antheia down were quiet, obviously not service corridors, but not as well-trodden as more public parts of the palace, not even as well-used as the plain narrow service corridors that kept the slaves out of view.
"Here," she said, after a moment, turning a corner and stepping aside.
There didn't seem much else to say, really, at least on the topic of music and education.
"I ought to show you around, I think - the Palace can be a bit of a maze until you get your bearings, and even Mistress Claudia doesn't spend all her time just in her own apartments," Volusa offered after a moment. "That's if you're not too tired or - anything."
They couldn't go exploring the whole Palace for obvious reasons; there were several places that were off-limits to people like them, but there were several places where they could go, and Antheia ought to learn how to get there from the princess' apartments - or how to get to the princess' apartments from there. Who knew when she might have to run an errand, after all?
"Well, more educated, then," Volusa said, putting into words her thought of a moment earlier. That was indisputably true, too; Antheia was a trained philosopha and musician and Volusa had no actual formal education in anything whatsoever - she could spin and weave, but what female house slave could not? Likewise, she could sweep and dust and scrub floors, but none of that required any sort of mental acuity, and all that she needed for her current role was a quick eye and a sense of which colours would go well together and be suitable for whatever activity her mistress was about to undertake.
"I'm not really a singer," she added. "It was fun, though, I would like to do it again - I've never really been able to listen to music, much." Perhaps Claudia would like the two of them to perform together, something Volusa was less sure she would enjoy. She was shy when it came to anything that might draw attention to her, after all.
Volusa dropped her eyes momentarily. "You're cleverer than me," she said. Or more educated, anyway. "I know the first bit of the Aeneid, but I don't really know much about Troy, not to put to music... arma virumque cano..."
Her voice was likewise untrained, but she could hold a tune and not miss note unless they were particularly difficult half-tones or something.
It was nice to hear real music, properly, and not just as an incidental to Volusa's own work - being a female slave in the Imperial palace meant that she didn't really get to deal with many of the family's guests or visitors because they had male slaves to deal with all of that sort of front-of-house thing, so Volusa had really only heard music properly in passing or when the musicians were practising out of earshot of the family.
"You play very well, though," she said a little later, once they reached a natural pause.
"I... don't know," Volusa replied, a little surprised to be asked. Nobody had ever offered to play anything for her before, so she didn't really have a particular song she liked. Most songs she knew were working songs, the sort of thing slaves sang to keep a rhythm, or to soothe their child to sleep.
"Though, there was one I heard once, I don't know what it's called," she said, something coming to her mind - an afternoon spent weaving, before she'd entered Claudia's service, and in the distance, someone playing the cithara. If there were words she likewise didn't know them. She began humming, trying to remember the tune.
"It helps me sleep,"
Well, that made sense - everyone ad their own ways of settling in and making things easier on themselves, and it wasn't easy to transition to a new owner (not that Volusa herself had ever really done that, she'd just gone from a general skivvy in the Palace to the service of one member of the Imperial Family in particular).
She turned away a bit, to try to give the other as much privacy as possible - unpacking things was a private moment when you had few possessions, after all, but couldn't help seeing the cithara. It would be nice to have some music in the evenings some time.
"Have you got any other questions, while we've got the time?" she asked.
Topics I Participated In
March 76 CE, the slaves' quarters in the Domus Augustorum
Antheia lingered in the passageway as she'd been told. Though she was pretending to inspect the striped pattern on the walls, her attention was focused on her surroundings like a sunbeam bouncing off the inside of a shield. Her previous mistress had been a rich patrician, but even now she could tell that this household was a great deal larger than that one - all variety of people came scuttling about around her, heaving heavy arms behind them, carrying trays, having urgent conversations in low voices and numerous different languages. Not one of them seemed to spare her more than a cursory glance. Antheia tried to catch a passer's eye sometimes, smiling, but everyone seemed so very wrapped up in their own heads. She hoped life wouldn't always be this frantic - she had at least had time to build up a rapport with the other slave members of her previous familia - but she suspected life would still be a lot calmer for her than for these frantic attendants, fetching and carrying all day. All Antheia had to do was attempt to teach the young Claudia Caesaris. She hoped that her new domina wouldn't try to make that task any more difficult than it had to be.
The sullen porter had told her to wait here for someone called Volusa, then had dashed off again with a scowl on his face. And so Antheia leant against the wall, readjusted her chiton on her shoulders, retraced the pattern of the mural with her eyes, and waited.
The palace at night was peaceful, and the prince was one to sleep past dawn. Not raising until Apollo's rays peaked through the gossamer drapes that fluttered in the gentle breeze. That night, however, Titus was awake. Fretting in his bed as he felt some sort of unnerving feeling settled into the pit of his stomach. Almost as if he knew the gods were angry for some reason. His body slave tried to get him to cast the thought away. That is just his mind playing tricks on him. Still, it needled at him. Until he finally began to doze off thanks to mere exhaustion.
That was when the earth began to quake, rattling the buildings of the city, including the palace. Titus bolted up right as the room around him shook, he could see his men slowly coming to, shouts around the palace could be heard. "We need to get to the gardens." He told them as he stood, grabbing his tunic and sandals. Pulling them on as he moved quickly out of his room. Slaves were running around trying to save what they could from being destroyed as they too headed towards where they would be safe at.
Another tremor hit, this time stronger , forcing him to make haste before he stopped and realizing he didn't recognize any of the slaves as his younger brother's. "Get to the gardens, I need to go find Drusus!" He said, pushing his servants and his tutor towards the way to safety before making his way towards the rooms he knew housed his brother.
30 6 75 | sorry fort he anticlimactic starting post lol | open to those living in the palace. | no posting order, short posts are ❤️
Late September, 74 AD
set after Road to Danger and Consequenses
They had survived and they had returned home to the palace… safely, all of them. Decimus’ arm and shoulder had been taken care of, Claudia was unharmed although quite shook of course and she would need time to recover, mentally. It was a huge ordeal to be attacked by bandits in the countryside, get yourself involved in a fight with them and have a knife to your throat the way she had. And then have the leader of the gang killed by Cynane with a well thrown knife to his throat! That was a huge ordeal for a princess, she knew that. And she would be as gentle and understanding as Claudia needed her to be. She would be whatever Claudia needed her to be, to be honest.
Cynane was fine though. She found that she had actually felt alive during the fight, she had done something she knew how to do and she had come out more or less unharmed and she had painted herself with the blood of her enemy to show her victory and gain some of his power. The blood was long gone now though and Cynane appeared as fine and clean as always.
It was about a week ago it happened now and things were still a little bit tense around Claudia’s quarters. Her slaves at the palace had only heard the stories and not many of them knew the full story about what happened. Cynane had seen the looks Volusa gave her, but they’d had little time to talk. Now, as so many other times before, Cynane found herself standing outside of Claudia’s quarters, guarding her princess and those she had around her. She stood there, quietly, ready and alert as always. If anything happened to her mistress again, gods, she would kill again!
The scene went through her mind again and again these days and she was once more alert as ever, however also lost in the thoughts and the memories. Throwing that knife... seeing Claudia stand, soaked in blood. It felt kind of immoral, but gods she'd been beautiful even then! She was startled then, by the sound of Volusa suddenly coming out from Claudia's chambers and she instantly turned around, facing the younger woman.
Basically reply with your character responding to the one above with a gif of their reaction to the person above.
Shortly after Saturnalia, 73 AD
Following the death of her husband, Julia got a crash course in what was required to prepare a body for cremation. Alaric, had come to pay his respects to Canus and make sure she was taken care of. Julia had been grateful for his visit. Following his cremation and a suitable mourning period she felt she had one more thing to do. Following Canus’ involvement in the Clemens uprising and Quintus coming out of the ‘war’ as the victor, Canus had been forced into a period of servitude to the Imperial Family. His period of servitude came to an end when he was finally released due to poor health. Julia sat down at her desk and penned a very short letter informing Caesar that he had passed. She wasn’t looking for anything from him, simply felt that he should be made aware. Julia sealed the letter with her family seal then set it aside to take to the Imperial Palace.
A few days later Julia arrived at the Imperial Palace and handed the letter to Caesar’s secretary. She informed him it was for Caesar’s eyes only, but it was not urgent. After this was done, she decided to say a quick hello to Claudia if she was available prior to returning home. Julia headed through the Imperial Palace towards Claudia’s quarters.
Cynane had been in the imperial palace a few years now – and she felt she’d adjusted as well as she could, to being a guard to a princess. She’d learned early on that the princess never actually had her own, personal guard before – and now she didn’t just have any guard, she had a warrior and a former gladiatrix watching over her, whenever she left the palace, whenever she attended a social event or just whenever it was really required. And Cynane found out she was happy to spend time with her young mistress, who was usually very kind towards her, despite of course still treating Cynane as a slave – because that’s what she was.
Yet at the same time, from the very beginning, Claudia had proved curious and willing to learn from someone more mature and experienced. Cynane, as her guard, wanted Claudia able to defend herself and she had already on her first day shown Claudia some useful moves. By now, they did not practice as often anymore, as the young princess also had other things to do, but Cynane made sure her mistress didn’t forget. Just in case.
Today was a day like any other. Cynane woke and made herself ready for the day. With just her hands feeling her hair, she created three braids starting from her forehead and ending on top of her head. She pulled those three braids into one thick braid and let that fall down her back. Then she put the leather vest on top of the light blue tunica and added whatever else was needed for her outfit. She hadn’t actually had to defend the princess yet, but she had to look her part and she had to be ready. At all times, she would stay alert.
After a short visit to the kitchens to break her fast, she moved on towards Claudia’s chambers to find her mistress and find out what was in store for the day. As she approached the right chambers, she saw Claudia’s shy and very loyal body slave, Volusa, coming out from there, “Greetings, Volusa. Is our mistress up yet?” Volusa and Cynane were both among those considered Claudia Caesaris’ personal slaves, and while they didn’t always get many chances to talk, they knew each other at least - maybe not so well, but that's just how it was. Volusa was very young, they didn't have a great deal in common, but here they were, tending the same person. Cynane had before considered if she should also attempt training her a bit. Anyone taking care of the princess should know how to defend her. It would only be right, wouldn't it?
Volusa entered her mistress' chamber on silent bare feet, placing the breakfast tray beside her bed before turning to lay out her under-tunic ready for when she wished to rise; Claudia would tell her what else she wanted to wear, but having at least an under-tunic ready was always a good start. She was beginning to get used to this new routine, although it wasn't the same every day. Well, why should it be? Especially on a nice day like today; Volusa actually wouldn't be at all surprised if her mistress preferred to dress and then take breakfast in the colonnade surrounding the garden.
That would be easy enough to arrange, of course - once Mistress Claudia was awake.
Volusa crossed to the shutters, opening them to let the sun in, thankful that it did not fall directly across her mistress' face, although the newly-admitted brightness caused the young lady to stir.
"Salve, Domina," Volusa said quietly, wanting to wake her but not startle her. "I've brought your breakfast."
Serving one person was far to be preferred to running around, ordered about by several people, all of whom though their orders should superceed everyone else's. It was far easier to please just one person!
18 | 15th May 56CE | Slave| Body-slave | Straight | Wanted | Chiara Mastalli
Volusa is perhaps a little shy until you get to know her, but once you do, if you have proved she can trust you, she will be as friendly and loyal as anyone. She is a keen observer of people around her and a good judge of character. She is loyal, which is perhaps a little strange in a slave, at least for some people. If one of her friends is attacked, whether in person or in fact, she will leap to their defence almost before thinking the consequences through, which has got her in trouble before now when she has sought to defend a fellow slave against a perceived injustice meted out by a free person.
She is generous with the little she has, and doesn't mind helping someone, if she has the time, or lending them some small possession, such as a pretty piece of fabric to add interest to a friend's outfit, or suggesting something another friend could do with her hair. She does save the little peculium (pocket money, slave savings) she gets, though, with a vague idea of maybe one day buying her freedom and running some sort of business of her own.
She is optimistic generally, trying to find the good in people (especially people she likes, or who her friends like, or who like her friends) but if betrayed, that runs deep and she will be unlikely to forget it and to forgive the hurt caused - she is more likely to forgive those who hurt her than those who hurt her friends, and she counts her mistress as a friend although she cannot forget the gulf between them as slave and free.
She stands at 5'2" and is naturally slender, with fair skin that tends to burn, peel and then tan in the sun. She has brown eyes and long thick brown hair that she tends to wear in a variety of styles, usually plaited or in a bun, and generally with a scarf or strip of cloth wound around. It is not unknown for her to be borrowed so that the hairdressers can try out new styles, or parts of new styles, before trying them on their mistresses.
She naturally has a serious look unless she is actively laughing or smiling or otherwise engaged with people.
She wears the clothing her mistress allows, but is partial to bright pretty colours (or as bright and pretty as she is permitted), liking to combine fabrics and patterns to produce something interesting. She remains fascinated by the rich smooth cottons and expensive silks that her mistress wears, and the effects they produce, although her own clothing is limited to linen, wool and occasionally cotton and she does what she can with them.
She has a long thin scar on her right arm from getting physically between a friend and a suprior's temper.
Father: Hermes (slave) (age 40)
Mother: Mira (slave) (age 38)
Siblings: Helenus (slave) (age 16)
Extended family: She is part of the Imperial familia, the Imperial household, and counts her fellow slaves as being her family
Volusa is verna, a house-born slave, born into the Imperial household in May 56CE. She had a fairly uneventful childhood, despite the turmoil of who would be the next Emperor - whoever ended up running the Empire, the household must be kept running, with the housework done and meals provided. There was gossip and rumours, of course, what house's slaves don't gossip about things, but Volusa was not really interested in the wider world except as it affected her and her immediate circle. After all, no child really finds politics an interesting topic when there are more important things to discover, such as if there will be honey-cakes after dinner tonight.
Being a slave all her life, Volusa has experience of several aspects of the work required to keep a house running smoothly, from fetching water to chopping vegetables in the kitchen, and dealing with all the fiddly things a proper Roman banquet requires, to dusting, sweeping and scrubbing the floors. She has not had the same experience of being kept more for show, as her father was - expected to stand around just in case a family member required something to be fetched or a message to be taken, as female slaves (especially children) are not such an impressive display of wealth as a young male slave - or several of them.
Being taught from a young age to be discreet, not to be seen if possible and to definitely keep out of trouble, it was a great surprise to Volusa to be told in 71CE that she would no longer be required as a general household skivvy, but had been selected to be the body slave of Claudia Caesaris, the Emperor's own niece. (Well, the Emperor is her new mistress' uncle, or cousin, or something along those lines, anyway!)
This represented a huge promotion; she would no longer be directly responsible to the house steward (although he would still be responsible for meting out any required disciplinary action if Volusa somehow displeases her mistress) and might even be given her freedom rather than having to buy it.
She has been her mistress' body slave for about two and a half years or so by this point, and really has very little complaint to make about her life; her mistress is as fair as any other free person can be expected to be and has high standards that Volusa cannot always quite match, although she does her very best. What the future holds is uncertain, but Volusa is in the best position to meet it that she has ever been.
Sharpie | GMT | PM or 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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