He’d been a gladiator for more than ten years of his life. And sure, now it was more than ten years ago since he was freed, but Alexius hadn’t changed that much. Maybe he was a little bit more thoughtful now and maybe he was a little bit more… caring, than what he used to be, at least with the right persons, but much of it was still the same. And he did still enjoy what he enjoyed back then; wine, fights and pleasure. And two out of three in one day or night was the best.
Today with Thessala, he planned on the first two things. He suggested to get away from the others to train and Thessala showed the way to a smaller courtyard that they could have alone. Alexius set the shield down and took a look around while he weighed the sword in both hands when they came, this was rather nice and private. He liked that.
Thessala seemed ready to fight though and he chuckled at her words.
“Forgive me if I’m a bit rusty, I don’t get to spar with another person every day.” Alexius reminded her and looked at her with the two swords in her hands, “Weapons really do suit you.” He said with a smile, while picking up the shield with his left hand and holding the sword with the right. Nowadays he rarely used a shield, but he’d not forgotten it. He assumed she wanted him to start, with what she said about him showing her.Alexius might be tall and long-legged though. Thessala would have the advantage of being smaller and more agile - and younger.
So Alexius approached her, the shield protecting his body and when he was close enough, he lowered the shield as he lounged forwards to strike his wooden sword towards her right side and he pushed against her with the shield too. The moment he struck her, he lounged a long step backwards behind the shield again.
Oriana was perfect just the way she was - beautiful, independent, daring compared to most Roman women... she was strong and had a mind of her own. He'd always liked such women. Well he liked many kinds of women, he also liked those that were less outspoken and needed his protection, but Oriana also needed that. She might have a strong mind, but she was quite petite and she had no skills in fighting, not as far as he knew anyway. She needed him and his skills - and he liked that too. Alexius actually liked being needed like this. And he liked being needed by Oriana especially. She said she liked him the way he was too, but then didn't want to talk more about sad stuff. She mentioned not being able to keep her hands off him. He smiled and returned her kiss, pulling her closer and into his lap, wrapping his arms around her.
When the kiss broke, she said she was glad she knew more about him now and that she was really falling for him. Alexius nodded, "I'm quite sure I'm falling for you too." He said with a smile, "How could I not? You're such a gorgeous and smart woman... you've got it all." He let his hands wander to open her dress. She was the one who said she didn't want to keep her hands off of him and honestly, he'd like to see and touch more of her too now. For tonight, she definitely had Alexius all to herself and he did what he could to keep it that way. Only he didn't always trust himself, because he knew how easily tempted he was, but they'd take one day at the time and see how things went.
He smiled when she claimed he had no idea, when he said that her being her was plenty for him, "Oh really?" He said jokingly back and then they'd arrived at where the training weapons were kept. Alexius had dressed down for this trip today and he hadn't brought his own weapons, since he didn't have training weapons lying around like that. He'd have to borrow from the ludus, but they should have plenty. He explained how he used to fight, but that he could fight with anything. Thessala seemed surprised to hear how he used to fight and he laughed when she said she thought he'd be something lighter. No way would he ever be 'something light' in a battle!
"It's hard to find me out of my element if you place a sword in my hand." He said, smiling, it was impossible to not have a good time with Thessala and by now he'd decided he didn't care if there were double entendre to his words. She could handle it. So could he. And he was just here to train, after all.
He picked up the short gladiaus and the shield, that should be plenty for today, if it was just wooden swords. He could handle a few bruises.
"I guess we shall. Perhaps a bit out of the way from the others?" He suggested, glancing at the other gladiators, who'd seen that Thessala had a special guest today. They didn't know him, of course. He doubted any of the gladiators here today would know his face. Maybe his former name, but they'd not seen him fight.
"I'd buy a lot of wine. Rent a tavern for as long as possible and buy freedom for all my slave friends. And throw a big party for them. I don't know what else I'd do with so much coin."
What would you do, if you'd maybe become infatuated with more than one person at the same time?
"If you're not living your ideal life right now Gaia, you're spending time with the wrong people *wink wink*. And I don't think I'm afraid to die. I just hope to die for a good cause."
What is your greatest fear?
She probably hadn’t even seen him come in, but that gave him a good chance at taking a closer look at her. He recognized her style and movements easily, although she wasn’t dressed up as she usually was in the arena. And actually this was better. He could see her moves more easily and her body too. The long braid suited her well also, although she did of course look magnificent in the arena. But today there was no show… only training.
Thessala gave him a grin and came closer to him, joking about how she should have dressed up for him. He laughed back, “There’s no need, you being you is plenty.” He replied, and although it was said in a playful tone, he meant it. Thessala then wondered if he brought any weapons. Alexius shook his head.
“No, I don’t have wooden swords lying around.” Well except for his rudis, but that one wasn’t used for fighting, “So yes, I do need weapons. What would you prefer? I fought as a murmillo back in the day, but today I guess anything will do.” Alexius asked and pushed from the wall. She wasn’t as petite as Oriana or many other women he’d been with in the past. Still though, when they stood close, he was still taller than she. Not that it made her less impressive, he thought.
He jokingly mentioned how the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, if her mother also had an affair with her bodyguard so many years ago… an affair that ended with Oriana being born. Although he hoped that what he had with Oriana was better than what they had back then. At least or hopefully, if they had children (and he hoped not, in this case, because how would that fit in with her father’s plans of her marriage), said child would not grow up disliking their mother. He knew there were some hard feelings between Oriana and her late mother and she certainly didn’t miss her. Apparently though, she had a father and he wondered if she ever met her actual father, then… even if it was just a few days ago she learned about him.
And apparently, she had. Oriana gladly told him how they had met a few times and she didn’t seem very fond of him either. She told him the man’s name and where he worked and Alexius thought it might be interesting to pay him a visit. Just to see how her real father was like and if she looked like him at all.
“That says a lot, yes… even though the Venus is known as Rome’s finest brothel.” Alexius said, “Not that it means I’d go there.” He added, just to ensure her that although he knew of the place, he didn’t go there. He knew she’d gone there, that night she met with the prostitute and spy Helios and they’d had that fight in the street after… and then shared a quite intimate moment in the alley afterwards. Now that was a night to remember! That wasn’t what they were talking about though and he forced himself to think of the present conversation…
“It doesn’t matter who your parents are though. I like you just the way you are.” He then said with a smile, “And as long as you don’t become any of your parents, I’d say your father in this domus did a good job.”
October, 74 AD
He had promised to come and spar with Thessala. And while there were some promises he sometimes had problems with keeping – like promising to be true to a wife, once – there were others he could definitely keep. Now of course he wasn’t married to Oriana, but he still knew she’d be very hurt if he betrayed her trust. They had a proper talk about it recently and at least now she was prepared though, wasn’t she? Although of course he’d do what he could to not hurt her. He wanted to make her happy, for as long as he could. But he also needed to do what made him feel good.
And fighting always made him feel good. At least fighting wasn’t being unfaithful, right? He’d enjoyed fighting ever since he learned it and now it had been a long while since he’d had a fight with another gladiator. Alright, so this one was female and so what? It wouldn’t be a first, for him. And she’d proved that she could fight very well, he’d seen her in the arena. It was rare that gladiatrixes actually got to kill one another, they were just there to entertain, but that didn’t mean they didn’t put in a lot of effort in their fights. Thessala certainly did.
He hadn't dressed up today so much, as he knew he'd probably work up a sweat. Hopefully at least! He wore his short breeches and a dark brown tunica and some of his armor too, although not the full set, as it was too heavy and warm for this. He didn't own any gladiator armor anymore, after all, and that was usually made for fights like these. As he entered the ludus, it was kind of a strange feeling, but he shook it off. He couldn’t use such feelings for anything right now. He’d sent word to the lanista that he’d come and spar with Thessala for a fee. After he’d had a chat with the doctore – and given him a little bribe, so that he could take Thessala out for a drink after – Alexius went looking for Thessala. She was training with another gladiatrix and he smiled, leaning against the wall for a moment, watching her. That woman, she really was impressive, and not just her looks and her moves, but her entire expression.
When the training match was finished and Thessala would turn his way, he waved at her with a playful grin, “Thessala! I hope you’re not too tired yet.”
It might seem like an adventurous life to her, but when you’d been the one living it, it was quite different. To her, Germania probably sounded a bit exotic, but he’d been born there. And the travel back and forth was now one he’d done three times in his life… and he doubted he’d do it again. It was a long journey, dangerous at times, and when Germania wasn’t even home anymore, why should he bother going? It would seem he really did belong in Rome now and for the time being, he belonged right here with Oriana.
Now he’d been talking a lot about himself and wondered if he should know anything about her. First she chuckled, but then he asked about her mother. It wasn’t something they ever really talked about before and he had the feeling that her relationship with said mother wasn’t the best. Still, at least she had one. He could barely remember his.
She then told about her mother’s death, and how they had burned her body… Oriana said it was to make sure she was really dead. Then then she said her mother haunted her today, because apparently her mother had done what Oriana was doing now. Alexius arched a brow, surprised to hear that her father wasn’t her real father. And that her mother had also slept with her bodyguard back in the day…
“I’m impressed that he still takes care of you, then… she slept with her bodyguard, did she? I guess the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Alexius said and pulled her closer into an embrace, because it seemed like she’d need it, “Not that I believe you’re anything like her, besides that.” He said and then let go of the embrace again, looking at her, because now he was curious. If her real father had been a bodyguard, Alexius might have more in common with him than with the man who lived in this house… “Is your real father then still alive? Have you met him?”