QuoteMy will, your hands
Face ClaimCraig Parker
Tertius inhaled another breath, when Teutus tried arguing his case for how he should have been told about Wulfric, “I didn’t even know if you’d show up.” Tertius pointed out and considered to also tell Teutus that he too didn’t seem to trust his father. If he did, he’d let Tertius know where he went and what plans he had for the day or for the year. But he didn’t. He kept things to himself. Like father like son?
His son went on, saying Tertius should not promise Peregrinus things he wouldn’t be able to keep and then claimed he had no secrets. Tertius saw how he spread out his hands, as if he truly had nothing, but that wasn’t the case. Tertius knew that. So maybe he should tell Teutus what he thought about just a moment ago.
“Then what is it you do all day? Where do you go? I don’t know anything. Maybe I don’t trust a lot of people, but people certainly don’t put a lot of trust in me either. You included. I am trying, Teutus. I am. Trying to be what I should always have been to you. But I can’t do much when you don’t trust me. Maybe if you did, you would have sent someone to inform me you were joining us tonight. And then I could have informed you about Wulfric. But none of that happened.” Tertius said and picked up his wine again, sipped it. His mouth and throat felt dry. Only after did he look at Teutus again, “So… what shall we do about all this? Since you seem so keen on telling me things suddenly, why don’t you tell me what you want me to do for you?”
@Sharpie ( @Sara )
Tertius was left a bit stunned by the way Wulfric suddenly left. Surely things were not going according to his head and the arrival of Peregrinus was a bit unfortunate, but that he should just leave like that… he had not expected that. Apparently Charis was surprised too, before she stated the obvious and since Tertius had already told her she could go, she excused herself too. Leaving Tertius alone with Teutus.
Almost as soon as she was gone, Teutus sat up and began talking, blaming Tertius for this and that, mostly things he couldn’t control, but Teutus was apparently quite angry about a lot of things. Why didn’t he ever say this before? Did he expect Tertius could read his mind? Gods, why did Teutus keep all this from him for so long? Tertius asked for honesty and loyalty in his household. That’s all he ever asked for. Why was it so hard to give? If Teutus thought Tertius kept secrets, well Teutus did so too. Everyone did. Even Charis didn’t tell him everything, although at least she got better at it. She understood that to earn Tertius’ trust, you had to be trustworthy too.
When Teutus was done, Tertius downed the cup of water he’d sat with in his hand… for a long time now it seemed. But he set it down and looked at his son. The son who did grow up with him, under his roof, the son he would have given everything, if he could. Yet Teutus didn't seem to understand that. All he felt was... anger.
“Did it feel good, getting all that off your chest? I’m surprised you didn’t speak to me sooner. You know, I can’t read your mind either.” Tertius replied, feeling both surprised and upset at all that Teutus had to say.
“Do you want to know when I learned about Wulfric? Yesterday. Before yesterday, I didn’t know I had another son. And I don’t trust him. He claims all he wants here is his family, but… I don’t trust that.” Tertius explained then, “Now then, it’s hard to tell you things when you’re not always around, son. I didn’t keep you in the dark about Wulfric because I didn’t want you to know. But you weren’t here. I don’t know when you are and when you’re out and about. So how could I tell you?” He paused, hoping that would sink in. Since Teutus was freed, he’d seemed very keen on being anywhere but in the house… and even more so after Peregrinus was born.
“I don’t know what you want and expect from me. You don’t tell me either. Maybe it’s a family trait, hm? But be certain about this, I don’t owe Wulfric anything. He’s not my heir and he never will be. I had hoped you’d be, but the law is the law and though I judge people by it, I do not have the powers to change it. I’m sorry about that. What else do you want?” He inhaled a breath, finally done talking and curious to hear what Teutus expected to happen now.
@Sharpie ( @Sara )
It warmed her heart that he was a good father to his son with her, and in return, of course he was pleased to see her skills as a mother. She’d tried to kill herself and Peregrinus and he was glad it didn’t happen! Peregrinus brought some life into the household and some joy into his own heart, seeing his son grow and thrive like he did. It wasn’t like it had been with Teutus, not at all. When he was born, his father thought it better that Tertius didn’t know his son at all, and he was soon sent away to Germania. And he was too young to take interest in a toddler. Now everything was different. And Peregrinus was free from the start and able to be his legal son and heir, because he was never a slave first.
Yet his mother was a slave. But still lovely to look at and comforting to talk to. When he thought about it, who did he really have to confide in, besides her? It wasn’t the same with Hector anymore. Not since Peregrinus came. Meanwhile, Charis smiled and sipped her wine and silence fell, while they both watched the fighters on the sands. After some time, Charis wondered whom he wanted to win.
“It’s a good question. I remember seeing Alexius when he was still a slave and he was good then. Still is, it seems.” He said and chuckled, “The woman… I don’t know. But she saved you once and for free too. So I suppose that earns her some favor. He did too though. It’s hard to pick!” He added and looked at her, “What do you think? We could bet on who will win. And the winner between the two of us, would get some sort of prize.”
He could of course just cut off this little dinner right now. Claim he had something else to attend to, but he hadn’t. and besides, it would be the shortest family dinner and he feared the slaves might gossip about the disaster if he ended it now. No, he had to sit it through, even if he didn’t like it now. He’d just wanted them to meet! And to figure out what Wulfric wanted, although he knew more about that now than before, at least. Wulfric did want a part in some kind of fortune. Only now he was going for Teutus rather than Tertius.
Wulfric was watching his brother with interest. His father seemed annoyed when Wulfric failed finding the right word for glass, but how did he expect a man born and raised in Germania to speak perfect Latin? He was told that here in Rome, he was actually good at it for a foreigner. Why was his father annoyed then? Teutus seemed much more approachable, even if he too seemed a little tense after their father spoke up.
Teutus easily relaxed though and agreed with Wulfric, that they should discuss it properly. He thought that the trade might be good for everyone involved and Wulfric nodded and offered him a genuine, friendly smile, “You are very kind, Teutus. I am glad that we meet.” He said to his brother and then glanced at his father and at Charis. They’d both fallen silent. Charis looked like she’d rather leave. Tertius he couldn’t figure out. Other than that he was annoyed.
“I hope it is not wrong, that we will meet?” Wulfric then said to Tertius, “I think Teutus is right. That it will be profitable for all concerned. Maybe you also.” He said, hoping he’d not irritated his father too much. He didn’t understand why he had, though.
“Of course it is not wrong. I’m glad you get along.” Tertius merely said, although honestly, he wasn’t sure he meant that. Of course they should get along. They were both his sons. He just didn’t trust Wulfric and his intentions. And for some reason, he wasn’t sure he could trust Teutus either. Would they go against him? Like Brutus on Julius Caesar? Gods forbid! Maybe it was best that Charis was not here after all, but how could he send her away when he'd already offered her a place next to him?
No, if they actually held family dinners for their entire family, they would not lack guests at all. and since Longinus had invited several of the Quinctilii Varii clan, well, he had plenty of guests now too. Livia was kind, offering Tertius some friendliness and support he seemed unable to find anywhere else. His brother he did not count on, not at all. They could be polite and civilized and pretend things for Sergia’s sake, but they both knew the truth. Teutus he wasn’t sure would support him at all these days. Things were… strange between them.
He was surprised when Livia mentioned that she and Secundus were working on having children. Really? Livia would willingly bed his brother? Or maybe he forced her, the brute? They didn’t look like a happy couple to him though and it was honestly rare they were seen together. Last time Livia came to Tertius house, she did not bring Secundus with her. He knew she was friendlier with their nephew than with her husband. How much, he didn’t know. But he had his suspicions.
Longinus asked Sergia about their living situation and Sergia replied, speaking about how she lived with both her mother, her uncle and Livia and all the slaves of course. She was kind enough to not mention that Tertius moved out long ago, because that’s something everyone knew anyway. Meanwhile Secundus drank some embarrassingly greedy gulps of his wine, before he commented on Sergia’s words. He barely sounded interested. Why was he even here?
“Enough about living conditions elsewhere though.” Tertius commented, once Secundus had finished, “You have a fine home, Senator. And I am sure that with time, this place will be crowded too, in a good way of course. Is this where you stay all the time, or do you too have a villa elsewhere?”
@Liv @Sara @Sharpie @Járnviðr
Tertius didn’t really feel old, although he was now 46 years old. He wasn’t exactly young anymore. And sometimes, when he was with Charis, he forgot about how far apart they were when it came to age. At other times, with her, he truly did feel like some old fool. Like right now, as he attempted to express his complicated feelings towards her. And it was, really, complicated! He was her master and she his slave. He owned her. And he could not let her forget that. On the other hand, she stirred emotions in him like no one else. There had been another slave, Anteros, years ago, who almost did the same. He’d sold Anteros, something he almost never did. But they had come too close to crossing the boundary between master and slave.
With Charis, it felt different. He wasn’t falling for her, was he? If that was the case, it happened a long time ago and maybe that’s why he got so upset every time she betrayed him? It didn’t matter though. What mattered most in his mind was that Charis felt something like he did too. Yet would he ever know her real feelings about anything? He’d broken her so well…
When she replied, she agreed that they were fine again and she said he was a good father and that it warmed her heart. Yet she’d paused. As if she had to find the right words. Tertius sipped his wine when she did, inwardly wishing he was younger and that things were easier in Rome. They just weren’t. He looked at the sands a bit. Lexus attacking. Thessala coming at him and their blades crossing, making a sound that everyone could hear. He smiled, enjoying the sound of the crowd and the fight in the arena.
“I’m glad to hear you think that.” He finally said, after that pause, “I think you’re a good mother too, Charis. Despite what happened. Our son seems happy.” Tertius said, keeping the subject centered on their son, which was something they could easily talk about at least.
Tertius was surprised at how this was going. Not at all what he expected, that was for certain! Wulfric might be his son, he could not deny that, but he was not a Varus, that much was obvious. He listened quietly while the younger men spoke and Teutus opened his mouth, mentioning that Wulfric had not expected his Roman family to be like this. Wulfric felt a bit embarrassed by those words, because they were kind of true, but he didn’t want to seem like he disliked any of them. He didn’t. They were just so different from what he was used to.
“I did not expect much. I come here to find out. To learn. About family.” Wulfric simply explained and then Tertius had asked more into Wulfric’s job at the market. He explained more about it and then naturally went on asking what his brother did for a living. Teutus spoke of an import business, that he hoped would grow. Wulfric nodded, thoughtfully. He was curious to hear what Teutus would import and from where, because he had some ideas. He didn’t notice how Tertius forgot to chew or how Charis coughed on her wine when he’d asked what Teutus did. He was talking with Teutus, after all. So that’s where his attention was.
Charis then spoke up, wondering if Wulfric enjoyed his work at the markets. He nodded.
“I do, actually. It is different from home, but good work. Sometimes hard. But I like it.” He explained and turned his attention back to Teutus, “What kind of import business you have? I mean, goods? We have many goods in Germania. Good things, they last long. We trade with Northern people, they have beautiful stone, amber. I hear it is popular here.” What he was trying to say was that it could be interesting to work with Teutus. A sort of family business. If his father would allow it. But Tertius said nothing, still kind of stunned at how the conversation was going. He picked up a piece of bread and forgot to dip it in anything as he ate it, deep in thought. Maybe this was a mistake. Maybe he should have just told Wulfric to leave his house yesterday, and never come back. But that was too late now.
Tertius was just pleased that Charis had not fallen for a womanizer’s charms and that she even slapped him. It must mean something, he thought… that she’d done such a thing to not sleep around, to stay true to Tertius. So he asked the nearest sparsely dressed woman to pour a drink for Charis, indeed referring to her as his companion. Because that’s what she was, tonight. She had been so good and she took such good care of his son, how could he not want to reward her with a night like this?
He suggested a toast then and their cups touched, as she promised she’d always be true to him. Soon after she dropped her eyes, well, she was a well-trained slave too, now, he thought. His gaze also returned to the sands for a few moments, as he enjoyed his drink. Two fine people down there on the sands. And one right next to him. Her words tonight touched him and he wondered how much it meant. He couldn’t help but wonder. She was the mother of his son, after all. And things were so peaceful when they were together, with Peregrinus.
“Charis…” Tertius then began, looking at her once more, “Forgive me, if I misread this… but I feel we have gotten along well lately. And you standing up to him…” He nodded towards Lexus in the arena, but kept his eyes on Charis, “That means something? Whatever it is we have, I think…” He trailed off, couldn’t find the right words. Gods he felt like a fool now… “I just hope that after everything that happened last spring, that we are fine again. You and I.”
She was quite right, that was not going to cut it at all. Tertius tried to focus on the sands, but right now his mind was elsewhere and he could not help but notice, that it took a few moments for her to answer. So she had to weigh her words and figure out what to say? Then she looked at him briefly, before looking away and then explained about an argument. She spoke of Helios, whom he had almost forgotten, but now he remembered… it made sense she was angry at him, although she should not have spoken so ill of Tertius in the first place.
Apparently Alexius stepped in and saved her from Helios and she’d seen him since. She mentioned Alexius even attempted kissing her, but she slapped him instead. Tertius arched a brow, kind of impressed by that statement. He hadn’t guessed she’d do a thing like that!
“How good you are.” Tertius commented with a smile, “I’ve heard he’s charming, so I’m glad to hear you did resist said charms. And I’ll have to admit…” He added, looking at the two fighters in the arena again, smiling a bit, “He still has his good looks.” What a pity the man was no longer a slave and gladiator, because Tertius thought he might actually want to pay for something like that. And he never paid for sex. He had Hector… and Charis, should he want her again. He looked towards the nearest servant or whatever they were, the sparsely dressed women and young men prancing around. A young, darkhaired woman came over, “Please offer my… companion some wine too.” Tertius then asked her with a smile, and she did pour wine for Charis. Once tertius had waved the woman away again, he looked at Charis again, lifting his own cup, smiling, “A toast then… for you staying true to me.”
So Charis definitely knew about Tertius and Wulfric. It was no surprise to him, that she knew. She wasn’t stupid, after all, he even managed to teach her how to read and write. And Wulfric had spoken privately with her and with Peregrinus present too, so Tertius did not assume that Charis did not know about it all. She knew. And now she disappeared a few moments to inform the other slaves, that they could start bringing in the food. Then she returned to Wulfric and Tertius and sat down. Wulfric began talking, seeming surprised, but also glad to see Charis? Why? And then he asked into how Peregrinus was doing.
Wulfric enjoyed her soft smile and even her not-perfect Latin, although of course it was better than his! She explained that his brother was wine, but he didn’t sleep much and had been fussing lately. Wulfric nodded, “Did you try what I tell you? Let him sleep next to you.” Wulfric suggested, paying no attention to what Tertius might think about discussing such feminine things in the triclinium. Then, before Charis could answer, another entered the party… Wulfric’s older brother, Teutus. He gave Wulfric a look and seemed surprised.
Tertius thought it was about time he made an interruption, “Teutus, I’m glad you could come. Please, take a seat too.” He told his son, nodding to the seat next to Tertius, rather than furthest away, which was where Wulfric would sit now. He might be the guest here, but he had also made that claim to be Tertius son (which he could not deny, even Teutus seemed to have guessed already, with how he was staring at Wulfric)… and Teutus already held that place, plus he would be the older brother. He should be next to Tertius.
“As I made sure you knew, we have a visitor tonight. This is Wulfric. He’s come a long way to meet all of us.” And claimed that’s all he wanted, but Tertius still had his doubts.
“Teutus, I am glad meet you. I… did not know I had a…” He trailed off, glancing at Tertius, who had just instructed him to not tell everyone about the relation. Tertius made it clear that he wanted to be the one who told people. Meanwhile Tertius wasn’t sure how to continue. Wulfric kept speaking out of turn or speaking too soon and seemed uncontrollable to Tertius. He didn’t like that very much. Not at all. Tertius looked to Charis, kind of hoping she could save the situation. Maybe that's another reason why he invited her. To balance it all.
Topics I Participated In
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!)
June 30th, 76 AD
Alexius life had not been going according to the plan lately. Not that he ever really had a plan, but lately, things had just taken a wrong turn. Not that it was all entirely bad, not that he was bored or didn’t have any lovers or anything like that, but he’d been feeling strange. He couldn't really explain it. All he could hope was that tonight might help. It was now about half a year ago, that he went to talk to Thessala, or rather, let it all out in a good spar with her, that he found out about the event. Thessala had heard rumors that the gang who ran the Domus Venus were considering to put up a day and night of entertainment. A private night, an exclusive night and it wouldn’t just be the kind of entertainment that the Venus was famous for. No, it would be all sorts of things. Including gladiatorial games. It was going to be a big event!
That was the first time he heard about it, back when Thessala told him what she'd heard. Then a month or so, he was invited to talk to them. It came out of the blue and he didn’t know what they wanted, it wasn’t like he wanted to be a bouncer at the Venus! Brothels were not really his thing, not at all, in fact. He always felt so bad for the women and men and boys and girls working there, forced to sleep with anyone instead of being able to choose, like he did. But the Venus didn’t want him to become a bouncer or a guard, no… they wanted to see him fight in an arena. And wondered if he’d fight a woman. Because they had managed to get a deal with a ludus about one of their most fierce and famous gladiatrices. With that, they gained his interest and then they also offered plenty of coin for his efforts.
Alexius always felt like he was in need of coin. Good wine wasn’t entirely cheap, after all. And to always have food and wine in the home to offer guests, well, that was not cheap either. So he agreed to the deal. He’d fight as a gladiator again. Purely for entertainment, there would be no Caesar there to say one should live and one should die. They could draw blood, of course, and one would win and another would lose, but killing was not on the menu for the evening. You couldn't continue entertaining people if you were dead, after all...
It was now a year since the most recent earthquake and apparently that was the perfect occasion to celebrate. He hadn’t really fought in an arena since he was freed, but everyone knew he’d never forgotten about it and he had even at times considered returning, for real, and not just for one night only. That’s what this was though. Now, he could barely wait. He'd worked hard and exercised to return to his former strength - and here he was. Dressed and armored as he’d been in the past, as a Murmillo… walking through the tunnel underneath the seats, the tunnel that led to the private arena. The tunnel that led to the roar of the crowd and a proper fight against a proper opponent. He couldn't help but smile.
@Chevi @Sara @Sharpie @Liv
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...
January, 76 AD
Wulfric had been in Rome for months now – 4, to be exact. It had been late in the summer when he had arrived and now it was the winter half of the year. It wasn’t very cold though, he thought. Not compared to the lands he came from. He had not seen a snowflake and he had not seen a single pond or lake with ice on it. So he didn’t consider it very cold at all, although of course colder than when he arrived. He had for a while now known where his father lived. And he’d met his father’s brother a little while back... he had not been too impressed, but that was almost a given, with how Aglaea had described him. By now, Wulfric felt he had done all he could to gather information about his Roman family before he met them.
And now was the day. He had paid a scribe to write a letter to his father, saying that he would come to visit. That he was a prince of the Chatti and that he came with an important message for Tertius… though of course he had not revealed that he was Tertius’ son. Now the planned day had arrived. Wulfric wore the new set of clothes he bought a few months back, an attempt to look at least a little bit civilized to the Romans and his father especially. It was just a tunica, dark green, a pair of short breeches – he was no Roman and wore no toga. He had however a forest green and grey cloak, that his mother had made for him, but he had swung the fabric over the shoulders now, as it was not so cold indoors. He had not gotten rid of the beard, although it had been trimmed. His hair was not cut short and precise, which was the way the Romans seemed to like it. Wulfric was proud of his heritage and was not afraid to show he was a foreigner - but he did want to look nice for today.
After having knocked on the door, he was allowed inside by a slave, into the atrium. He already thought that it looked nicer than his uncle’s home here in Rome. It was tidier and cleaner. In fact the floor was almost shining. Quietly he now stood there, with his hands gathered on his back, waiting to meet his father, finally.
The house was silent to begin with, but suddenly the silence was disturbed by the wail of a small child, maybe even a baby, which surprised him! He had momentarily forgotten that Aglaea mentioned months ago, that his father only recently had another son by a slave. Wulfric around towards the sound and saw a short and pretty woman, a slave judging by her clothes, coming towards the atrium carrying a small child that was squirming a bit in her arms. When she noticed him, he smiled at her and at the child – Wulfric had no wife or children of his own yet, but his oldest sister, Hilda, had two children already and he liked them. It was then he recalled this might be the newborn brother Aglaea told him about. Suddenly, the child was even more interesting and he wanted to say something to her, but suddenly the words were caught on the tip of his otherwise often diplomatic tongue. Instead he was just caught there, watching her, smiling at her.
Saturnalia had come and gone with the fresh winter winds that whipped about the city. Although it didn't get nearly as cold as Britannia here, Longinus' body was unused to the cold after a summer spent outdoors, basking in the heat of Italia and Greece. The hypocaust was at full steam (literally) for the occasion and the paterfamilias Longinus had spent the early afternoon chivvying slaves to make his domus look presentable. It was an odd place; half-decorated in his late wife's style, a quarter under the influence of his mother with her love for garish frescos and vivid mosaics, and the rest was left up to his tastes. Tastes which bordered on the downright odd. A British battle axe on the wall in one room, some pottery he'd found en route back via Gaul in another. It was an eclectic place that had none of the polish of other Senators and Patricians his rank, but it indubitably suited him.
The slaves had done their work admirably though and it was at least tidy. After he'd waved his mother goodbye (thank the Gods) to spend the late afternoon and evening with his cousin Lepidus, Cassia his daughter going with her, Longinus was left alone with the slaves. He didn't know why he felt nervous, he'd come to his decision without much fanfare after a disappointing few months looking into the impossibility of adoption, and unsuccessfully musing over other eligible women. Maybe he was nervous because of the family? They didn't have the best reputation around, and his mother had curtly reminded him as she departed that Tertius - who'd seemed at least affable, and nice enough - had recently had a bastard born son by a slave, a son whom he'd recognised. Longinus had resisted the urge to tug at the neckline of his tunic at the remark, given he'd been in the same situation some months ago with Sestia, although that was a secret he'd take to his grave.
He'd invited both Tertius and his eldest brother here today though, and perhaps that was why he felt oddly ill at ease. He found Tertius pleasant enough but his brothers reputation preceded him. Unfortunately for Longinus, his plan required the paterfamilias and that meant Secundus himself. He hoped Tertius could temper him a little though, hence the dual invitations. Poor Longinus wasn't to know of the discord between the brothers.
A slave disturbed his thoughts and announced one of the brothers was here. "Yes, but which one?" He asked with a frown and the slave girl merely sighed and shrugged, "I don't know domine, he's tall, dark haired..." Longinus had to suppress a chuckle, "Yes dear Merula, that's very helpful." He shooed her away with a wave of his hand and jumped to his feet from where he'd been sat in the garden. Bounding through the house with his customary energy, he drew to the atrium and slapped on a wide grin he didn't quite feel. "Welcome!"
TAG: @Járnviðr @Atrice
Personal Assistant and Secretary Wanted!
Let it be known, that Praetor and Senator Tertius Quinctilius Varus of Rome is searching for someone who can take over a vacant job as personal assistant and secretary as soon as possible. Unless the assistant is a slave, there will be an available private room for them to stay in, early in 76 AD. The assistant will also be offered meals in the house and free time as well as payment.
Age: 18-25 years of age
Gender: Male (preferred)
Social Rank: Freedman, Plebian or even Slave to be purchased
Skills: Speak, write and read fluid Latin. Other languages are welcome too. Knowledge of math. Knowledge of the law in Rome is useful too, but not required, as it can be learned.
Personal skills: Must be diplomatic, friendly, loyal and honest to their new employer.
Start date: As soon as possible
Pay: Depends on skills and social rank
The assistant will be entering a household currently inhabited by the Praetor himself, his 11 year old daughter and newborn son, one freedman as well as a good number of slaves.
The new assistant can be an already made character fit for and interested in the job - or an entirely newly made character.
Please contact Atrice via PM or Discord #7964
31st of August, 75AD
It had been 9 days since Charis gave birth to his son. Of course he knew it was a son. Tertius was quite anxious to see the boy, but in this household he was the Pater Familias and he was the one who would decide anything that would happen to the child. So he would do things properly, as you did, as tradition ordered. Which meant he would not see his slave-born son until 9 days after the birth. If the child still lived and appeared healthy, the slave would present the child to the head of the household and Tertius would either pick up the child – setting it free – or not, leaving it to be brought up as a slave. And he would name the child.
Now it was the 9th morning after the birth and today he would finally see his son. Hector had done everything in his power to distract Tertius the night before and he had done everything to attempt to make his master relax, but Tertius had still turned in the bed at night and he’d woken when he ought to sleep. Charis knew nothing of his plans. He had only told Teutus and he trusted that Teutus would not tell anyone.
He nudged Hector when he’d been awake long enough and the slave got up and fetched a basin of fresh water for Tertius. He also fetched a fresh tunica and anything else he knew Tertius would want and Hector did not utter a word. His body slave was probably displeased with the whole situation. He knew that Charis was on Tertius’ mind a lot. He’d been worried since she went into labor and had been happy to hear that both mother and son were alive and well after. The way he lost his wife after Antonia was born… he didn’t want to lose Charis the same way. And she wasn’t even his wife, but… he couldn’t help but wishing he would not lose her. Despite everything, she had to live and be here.
After he got dressed, he sent Hector out to set up a nice breakfast in the triclinium, for himself and for Charis – and then he found a seat in the atrium of the house, because that’s where he had imagined this ceremony would take place. In his hand he held a special amulet for the child. Honestly it didn’t have to be a big deal, when the child was born by a slave and not a wife, and he had not planned it to be. He had sent word to Livia Justinia, Secundus' wife, that a child had been born, but he had not formally invited them. He doubted they would come anyway. It could be a big ceremony, with guests and many family members present, but in this case, with a slave-born child, it would just be the whole household present and Charis presenting the child and Tertius doing what he planned to do. And then it was done. After he’d been sitting there a little while, watching the slaves just do their jobs, he decided it was time and waved the nearest slave over… “Announce that Charis’ child can be presented to me now.” He told the slave, who hurried on to tell Charis and then anyone else at home at the moment, who would witness the ceremony of the newborn child.
It didn’t take long for Antonia to appear by his side, as the first and he gave her a smile and a hug, as she seemed very excited. He had of course informed her that Charis’ child was his, despite Charis not being his wife. He had explained to Antonia that he had been very fond of Charis, so fond of her that at least for a time, he had treated her almost like a wife (but not quite, of course). He didn’t know if Antonia had met her new brother. But he knew he looked forwards to it, no matter what. Slowly many of the house slaves appeared in or near the atrium. Would Teutus show up? He didn't know. All he could do now was wait for Charis and his newest son to appear.
23rd of August, 75 AD
He barely had any sleep last night, after Jocasta came to tell him that he had a new son. Tertius had gone to sleep in the chamber that had been set up for him, the day after Charis suddenly went into labor. He had to sleep somewhere, although it definitely was not the same as his own bed. Hector had done everything he could to make Tertius feel comfortable and he also tried during this particular night, but for some reason, Tertius was just not really in the mood for sex. Finally Hector fell asleep and Tertius turned many times, thinking about freedom, adoption, ceremonies and sons. He’d have to speak to Teutus about the matter.
No doubt his oldest son was worried about his rank in the family now that Tertius would be a father, a real father, to his newborn son. No doubt Teutus was also aware that the child had been born now, so perhaps he could guess why Tertius sent for him. Tertius would have to make sure Teutus understood it all, what had happened and what was going to happen. He'd have to make sure Teutus understood his own rank and Tertius' plans - because he honestly wasn't sure if Teutus did understand at all, why it was taking so long and why it wasn't as easy with him as Tertius had hoped. He’d also tell his plans for the new son so far. No one else knew about the plans, not even Charis. And no one else would know until the ceremony, no one but Teutus anyway.
He could not just discuss it right away though, he was a Praetor and Senator and had to do some honest work first. But after the morning turned into afternoon and the warm part of the day began, Tertius headed home and sent a slave to find Teutus, so they could meet in the tablinum. Here he sat now, on the edge of the table, just like last night, when Jocasta came to dryly announce the birth of his new son. Hopefully Teutus' mood would be at least a little better.
20th of August, 75AD
It had started an hour ago. A dull ache in her back that woke her up from her sleep and wouldn't settle. It wasn't excruciating, but it ached. By the time the hour was up, the ache had morphed into an odd sort of...pressure that couldn't quite be explained or articulated, every ten or perhaps twenty minutes that gripped her belly - deep inside. She knew enough to know that this might be the beginning. She was not due for two, or three more weeks but the midwives had warned her that with her size an early labour was not to be unexpected. She felt the waves of fear crash over her as she sat cross legged on her bed, trying to breathe through the gripping sensation as the other two girls in the room snored in their slumber, oblivious. She felt breathless, and not just from the discomfort, but from the panic that consumed her. She felt flushed, hot and trapped. It couldn't be now could it? She wasn't ready, she hadn't sent word to Cynane or her sister, she hadn't put plans in place if...if things did not go well. She choked and Jocasta stopped her snoring, but mercifully didn't wake. She couldn't stay here.
As the waves of the pressure settled again, she carefully and quietly pushed herself up from her cot and padded gently from the room into the chill of the early morning. It must have been still well before dawn - the sky was an inky black, but there was a bright moon and she found herself following the familiar route into the garden. One arm cupped her bump and the other reached out to the columns to settle herself, not out of pain - that had stopped for now - but from the fear overtaking her.
She finally made it outside on unsteady feet with flushed cheeks and moved to sit on the bench. She glanced about the place, deserted in the dead of night and tried to ignore the memories of all that had happened out here; praying to her Gods (where were they now?), that first taste of a relationship with Tertius, playing with Antonia, arguing with Teutus...everything that had happened to her here had started from the garden. Maybe that was why she was drawn here now? She must have been sat there for a little while as the pressure, the gripping pain started again and she winced, reaching out one hand so her fingers clasped the stone of the bench and she let out breathless little mewls of discomfort. As she breathed through it (dreading that this was only the beginning, and the pain would get so much worse), she didn't realise somebody else was approaching.
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