Face ClaimChiara Mastalli
"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.
"No - I mean, you're an imperial slave, you'll be allowed out to visit places and all, and I'm sure you can have access to the library when she doesn't need you. You'll want to keep up with what's being published, and all the new ideas, surely, especially if you're supposed to discuss things like that with her. She's a pretty easy-going mistress, really - I'm the one who's got the least free run of things because of being her body slave, and she doesn't keep me cooped up indoors all the time. We're allowed into the gardens if we want, or down to the market, if she knows where we're going, though of course we have to get permission for that.
Hanging around in Mistress Claudia's rooms with nowhere to go and nothing to do sounded every bit as dull as watching laundry dry, to Volusa's mind, although she had a fair amount of her own work to do, and was expected to accompany the mistress when she went out. There was no reason at all that Antheia could not be part of the perty on such occasions, too.
Anywhere secure... no, not really, unless she wanted to trust it to a banker - but that was out of reach of even Imperial slaves, mostly, who couldn't often get out of the Domus Augustorum.
"Mistress Claudia could look after it for you, or everyone's got their own hiding spot, there'll be one around here somewhere." This was not Volusa's sleeping space, she didn't know where the former occupant had kept their peculium.
"Is everything to your liking?" she asked, although realistically there was no much that she could change if it wasn't. "And - if you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them." It was always best to have an idea about things before you got dropped in the deep end, after all, and Volusa herself hadn't really had much chance to find things out first.
"Yes," Volusa said. "Well, sort of." She opened the door into the princess' apartments, and indicated a room off to the side, out of the way. "This is where the other girls sleep." There was an alcove to one side, offering a bit more privacy for the simple pallet it contained.
"I sleep in the mistress' room - I'm her body slave - and Cynane usually sleeps by the door, being her bodyguard." She looked doubtfully between the room and the new slave. "They're not bad girls, not really."
The alcove would be for the senior slave, with its illusion of privacy, and Volusa supposed that a tutor would fit that bill - and she was certainly old enough to supervise the girls.
"I'm supposed to answer whatever questions you have - and right now, the mistress is out somewhere and didn't need me, so we won't be interrupted for a bit."
Volusa glanced over he shoulder and realised that the older lady was having a little trouble keeping up with her, so dropped back to a more sedate pace.
"No," she said in answer to Antheia's first question. "And yes. That is, they're not all the Lady Claudia's slaves, but yes, they do all live and work here. This is the Emperor's home, our mistress is his niece, or cousin or something, and he has other members of his family who live here too, and it's a big house, so there are a lot of slaves to look after everyone and keep the place looking as Caesar's palace should." She paused, to let the older woman catch up, and then continued, walking more slowly, "There aren't really so many of us - there's me, there's Cynane who's her bodyguard, her ornatrix, her cosmetics slave and Isis who does all the general sort of work in her apartments - and now there's you, as well. It's not so many, not really. And there's the house slaves who come by to run errands or bring messages, that sort of thing, but it's usually the same faces and they don't spend all their time with us."
It was probably a lot of information, but Volusa hoped it was relevant and useful information, at least - and she would try to answer whatever questions Antheia had.
"Antheia," Volusa repeated, committing the name to memory - not that that was hard, not when meeting one new person. It would probably be harder for Antheia to remember the names of everyone she was introduced to, of course. The older woman seemed friendly, at least, with a steady calm voice and a Greek accent which was pleasant enough despite the unfamiliar lilt.
"Don't worry if you don't remember the way, it's a bit of a rabbit warren at first. Most folks will give directions, you just have to be direct with them to get their attention," she added, breaking off to snap, "Watch where you're going, Nisus, you clumsy great thing!"
"Excuse me!" came a cheerful reply, flung over the shoulder of a male slave of a similar age to Volusa, who turned back to Antheia with a shrug.
"They don't mean to be rude, they're just... busy all the time. Except when they're not," she said.
The slave quarters were their usual bustling hive of activity; Volusa had expected no less, of course. Her mistress' quarters were less frantic, less crowded and generally a more soothing place to be - almost as if the palace were like a swan, all beauty and calm and grace in the visible areas and frenetic activity below the surface where nobody important would ever see it.
There was one spot of stillness in the corridor, though; an older woman standing by the wall, trying to be as out of the way as she could while obviously looking and waiting for someone. If she had properly understood the half-garbled message passed to her, that someone was her.
"Salve," she said. "I'm Volusa - are you Claudia Caesaris' new tutor?" If she sounded somewhat doubtful, it was merely because she had not expected a woman to be given that role - not that it was impossible for a woman, it was just highly unusual.
But then, her mistress seemed to surround herself with unusual people, so that was nothing new.
Volusa listened quietly. She could picture it, it was the sort of thing that could happen anywhere to anyone, though in the city people generally didn't ambush folks in quite that way.
She blinked at the last statement. Claudia, maybe on the ground with a knife at her throat - and Cynane threw her weapon at him as though it were a spear.
No wonder Claudia was so quiet. And Volusa was aware that the gladiatorial games were often scripted. Perhaps it was the first time Cynane had actually killed someone she wasn't expecting to?
"That... Sounds terrifying," she said, and dropped her bundle of washing a second time, to have her hands free so that she could offer the older woman a hug because she didn't know what else she could do.
Volusa set the tray down and offered her hand to help her mistress into the water.
"Which one is Decimus, if I may ask?" She could not recall the Praetorian in question, though she must have seen him if he had been assigned to guard the princess.
She shifted the tray of food a little closer to the edge of the pool so that Claudia could help herself to some of the delicacies without too much of an effort.
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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