QuoteMy will, your hands
Face ClaimCraig Parker
It had never been his choice, whether she was a slave or not. Even when he came back from Germania, his father was still alive and it was his slaves to free, not Tertius’. And when his father died, Secundus had returned and none other than his father’s body slave had been freed at the time. Not Varinia. And Tertius had left the house anyway, taking his few personal slaves with him, one of them being Teutus, since that was his son. Varinia had still not been his to take. And now here she was in his life again, as lovely as ever and now a freedwoman.
He did want to talk to her, but thought it would be best to not have Charis watch over them. So they’d retreat to a more private area of the house. Tertius gave a simple message to Charis and Varinia followed him through his home. They reached the room by the gardens soon enough, with a few chairs and couches inside and he gestured towards them, he’d let her sit first. Then Tertius chose a chair and looked at her, adjusting her hair. Yes, so very lovely, even at her age and his. Now what?
“I apologize if I didn’t welcome you properly… I was quite surprised to see you here again. It was… unexpected. But not in a bad way.” Tertius added with a smile to her, “Tell me what you do now? I expect you’re staying with Teutus?” He asked, wanting to know more about her. It didn’t take long before a slave showed up with wine and simple, sweet snacks for them and poured for them both. It must have happened recently, that Teutus found her and freed her. Else he would surely have informed Tertius of this event? He knew Teutus missed his mother, after they left Secundus’ house. But he couldn’t let his son stay under the foul rule of his brother. And then Varinia had been sold and no one could do anything about it. Until now, it seemed.
Tertius might have smiled at her, if he’d not been so surprised to see her. It wasn’t so much her with Peregrinus in her arms, it was just her. They hadn’t really had much of a relationship after he returned from Germania, other than stolen glances sometimes. His brother had been reported missing and Tertius busied himself with helping out his aiding father. Meanwhile Variania had been busy with a very young Teutus and her work in the house. And Tertius’ father had made it clear that he did not like that his son had a child with a slave. That’s why he got sent away with Secundus to Germania, after all. So no matter how much he had wanted her again, it just didn’t happen. But that didn’t mean he hadn’t wanted to. It was just a bad idea and he managed to control his urges towards her and bedded the male slaves instead. At least they would not get pregnant when it wasn’t convenient.
She was still good looking though, Varinia was. And he was unable to hide his surprise. She appeared almost regal to him; slim and tall and beautiful. She said it was good to see him, while balancing Peregrinus on her hip and explained why she was now free and that’s why she had come to see him. Tertius nodded, “That is always the best idea… to get ahead of the gossip.” Tertius said to her. He almost forgot Charis was there. Varinia commented on how lovely babies he made and he couldn’t help but smile. Then she reminded him who was also there.
Varinia handed Peregrinus back to Charis and he looked at them both. They were so different! At least to him! And yet now they were both mothers of his children… “It would be impossible to make such lovely sons without such lovely mothers.” Tertius replied to them both with a small smile, trying to retake control of the situation. He looked at Varinia again, “Shall we retreat to a less... busy place?” He said to her, before he looked at Charis, stroking Peregrinus’ little, chubby cheek as he spoke. The boy reached out for his finger, “Charis, will you tell someone to fetch refreshments for us?”
Afterwards, he gestured for Varinia to come with him. He had first considered they might sit in the garden, but that place he kind of thought of a place he shared with Charis now… so one of the rooms in the peristyle next to the garden would be the place.
It had been another ordinary day at work for Tertius. He’d taken care of this and that, he even had to sit down and act as judge once, but eventually, it was afternoon and Tertius was on his way home, followed by his lictors of course. He really did need a new and proper secretary, but it was hard finding a replacement for Teutus. Maybe he should install Charis in that position, she had been given more lessons since the early springtime and she was a willing pupil to him. But he hadn’t decided yet. It was different to use a woman for such a job. Yet, he thought she might actually be good at it.
His thoughts were on such things, when he finally approached the domus and walked inside. Not expecting to find anyone but a slave, approaching him to take his coat and send word for refreshments. But there was no such things. Instead there stood two women in the entrance hall of the house.
Charis and a woman, who was strangely familiar, but how? Her hair was beautifully done, she wore a chiton and a blue palla and he could see the fibula shining. She looked like… someone of rank. And yet she wasn’t, was she? Or was she? She was holding his son in her arms.
Tertius approached them after a brief moment, “Charis… who is our…” He didn’t finish, because when he took a closer look, how could he forget her? Teutus’ mother. His father sold her not long before Tertius married and left Secundus' and his childhood home. He hadn't seen her since. She must have been freed, considering the clothes she wore and the fact that there was no tag around her neck.
“Varinia! This is… a surprise!” Tertius then said, because it was! She looked as stunning as ever, perhaps even more than she did when they were both young and didn’t consider that what they did, would have consequences far into their adult lives… “What brings you here?”
Charis sat and listened quietly, while he tried to tell her a bit about what he did. What his job was. But he still wasn't sure she'd find it interesting to learn about it, since she probably didn't understand much. At least she asked though, which was something. That wasn't quite what he thought though, when he said he wanted to spend time with her. It was one thing to sit here and talk about such things. But he'd rather experience things with her by his side. When he was done talking, he wondered if there was anything in particular she wanted to know about, but there wasn't. She pointed out that he worked a lot and how it must be a burden.
"It can be, sometimes. But I'm far from inexperienced by now." He knew what he was doing and it suited him well. A Praetor had a lot of power, but not the most power in Rome. Which meant he got to control a lot of matters and that's what he liked doing. Sometimes it felt like the Roman citizens in general were easier to control than his own household. Charis wasn't sure what else to talk about now and he gave her a smile.
"Maybe there is nothing more, right now. But we will pick up the lessons again. I'll look at my plans for the near future and fit you in." Tertius promised, "And then we will figure out if there is more to do." He added. There was a lot to think about after today. Both about Wulfric. And Charis.
Would he want more children? He had four, now. One son he had before he even knew what it meant to be a father, one son he didn’t mean to have at all and didn’t know about until recently, one daughter actually born within wedlock and one son he didn’t expect, but had acknowledged as his own from the start. He had not considered more children. Then he ought to have a wife, but did he want a wife? Wasn’t it a bit late? Unless someone made the right offer and it made sense, but it would be more for political reasons than for anything else, he imagined. He didn’t currently feel a need to have a wife. Just pleasant company. Maybe just Charis.
She said she could be that person, giving him a small smile and then suggested they could start now and talk about anything. Charis surprised him, he hadn’t expected her to respond like this. But maybe they really had come to a good place, together. She sprung another surprise on him, when she wanted to hear about his work.
“You want to speak about my work? I fear it might be very dull to you.” Tertius replied, the work a praetor did wasn’t always the most exciting in the world and certainly not to a woman. But she did want to hear, didn’t she?
“I think I have told you a little before. On certain occasions, I function as a kind of judge and administer the law in the city. That’s why we don’t leave Rome so often. I have to be here and can’t leave for long if I do leave.” Tertius explained, “It is a highly ranked office here in Rome.” He then added with a smile, he never wanted to climb higher, as he was quite content with where he sat. He wasn’t sure Charis understood how highly ranked the office actually was – how much power her owner did hold in his hands. But she was curious, at least… “Is there anything in particular you’re curious about?”
She didn’t know which useful things she could read, that weren’t written on the walls of Rome? “Things like… something that interests you. Gardens and greenery, for example. If you learn it well enough, I could take you to a library sometime.” Tertius suggested, that was a good idea. And he’d have to make sure she read something useful to her and not material like poetry or useless romantic stories.
Then Charis suddenly mentioned how none of them could have imagined this conversation, and all that had happened between them, when he first bought her to his household. And he could indeed never have guessed, but here they were, parents together and they had come very far. He could easily agree with that. There had been ups and downs. Now might be another up? Tertius said he’d never have guessed she’d give him another son, thinking about another son added to those he had. But she heard it differently.
Suddenly she seemed uncomfortable, speaking of how she loved Peregrinus and how he’d only now begun sleeping better. Tertius was unsure of why she said those things? Didn’t she just say she had more time in the evenings and nights again? Then it dawned on him. She misread his words!
“I don’t think I need more sons either, now.” He said with a smile, “Did you think that’s what I meant? I have three! I didn’t expect any of them!” Least of all Wulfric! “And I have Antonia, who will soon be ready to find a husband of her own. So all I want, besides that, is… someone nice to spend time with.”
She smiled and laughed when he suggested picking up the lessons again, saying she'd enjoy it. When had she last laughed like that in his company? She seemed happy about this. Tertius couldn't help but smile when she reacted like that. Then she began saying how much she had to learn, and she spoke of names on the walls. Tertius arched a brow, "There are many names on those walls. Most of it is gossip, nothing more." Tertius replied, he'd seen his name too a few times and he wasn't entirely fond of what it said. But he tried to not take it too personally. As he said, it was gossip. "I was hoping you'd use your new skills for more useful things." He then added, but with a smile, he wasn't telling her off, just saying there were other and better things you could read.
Tertius sipped his wine as she did too, silence falling between them for a few moments. Until she looked up, meeting his eyes and saying how none of them had imagined that things would turn out like this, when they first met.
"I couldn't." Tertius said, "I just needed a new slave. And my eyes fell on you. I'd never have guessed that you would give me another son." Tertius said, there was a softness to his gaze, the words were on the tip of his tongue, but he didn't speak them. How he'd never have guessed that he'd become so fond of her. That she would get under his skin the way few had done before her. There had been Varinia, in his young days. But his father had been displeased with her pregnancy and after that, Tertius stopped taking the female slaves to his bed. Eventually, when Teutus was old enough, his father even sold Varinia. Ten years ago, he had the lovely body slave Anteros, whom he grew a little too fond of too. Tertius ended up selling him. And now there was Charis... but he wouldn't let go of her. Not when she was the mother of his son and he enjoyed her company. For this time, he could decide what happened.
Since he’d given her permission to look at him, she did. It was a new experience, kind of, that she didn’t cast her eyes down, but on the other hand, it was nice talking to her, face to face like they did now. Charis was still a slave. But since she had his son and they spent time together because of Peregrinus, it was like it had shifted. At least it felt like it, to him. She was his slave. But more at his level than before. So he carefully requested they spend more time together.
It didn’t take long before she gave him a slight smile and looked down for a moment. As if she was unsure about what to say to that. Didn’t she agree with him? Was it not true that their relationship had improved, and only to the better? Would it be so wrong, if they were to become closer once more.
Then she said she’d like to spend more time with him, and she had free time during the afternoons and the nights. She said she missed several things with him and he nodded.
“I do too, actually. Maybe to begin with, we should pick up on the lessons. Unless you think you’ve learned enough already?” Tertius wondered, looking at her, trying to figure out if she really meant it all. He was quite certain she didn’t mind learning how to read and write properly. And the conversations were good too. But could he trust her on the third thing she barely mentioned? It was difficult. He liked her, he’d always liked her, but she’d betrayed him more than once. It was so hard to redeem his trust in her. He thought he had it. Then she poisoned herself and if she’d succeeded, Peregrinus would not be here. The lessons were definitely a good place to start. Instead of rushing into something they might both regret.
Tertius deemed they’d come to a good conclusion on the whole very difficult issue that was named Wulfric. So very difficult. But ignoring his German son might be the only way to solve this. He really didn’t want to pay Wulfric to stay away, because what if he came back, asking for more? But speaking to Teutus on the matter was a better idea.
He’d then poured wine for himself and decided Charis should have some too, so Hector was briefly invited in to serve them both… although especially Charis, since Tertius had already poured his own wine. But she needed a cup. Tertius did notice the looks the slaves gave each other. His body slave and Charis, who had been his bed slave. Then Hector had been invited back, after her attempted suicide, where Peregrinus might also have perished. Thank the gods it didn’t happen! He adored his young son. And the mother, to be honest.
Charis thanked him and he attempted again to test the waters, to see how they were. Why did it feel so awkward, speaking to her like this? It wasn’t just because she was his slave, surely? They had a child together now. She was more than just another slave in the household. The mother of his son, the first female slave of his own house that he took to his bed, since Varinia. And that was a very long time ago now. She nodded at his words, said he’d been good to her. And was glad he was pleased with her.
“Of course I am. I couldn’t ask for a… better mother for our son.” He then said, “I have been considering something, with you. I feel that we have come to a good place, together. With each other.” He paused, trying to figure out her reaction along the way, “I don’t want to take you away from Peregrinus. He does need his mother. But I would like to spend more time with you.” It wasn't really an order, it was more a wish. A hope, perhaps? That she wouldn't mind such a thing. They were parents together, after all. They could be more, again.
Charis sounded surprised that he wanted her opinion - but really, he did, because he didn't know what to do. It really would be easiest to just pretend Wulfric didn't exist, but what if he stayed here, what if he didn't leave Rome? Charis seemed more familiar with him, more at his level. She might have ideas. And she too wanted what was best for their son, Peregrinus. After some time, she finally suggested to ask Teutus if he knew anything about Wulfric. And tell Teutus to not see him. Tertius nodded, that was a good addition to the plan of ignoring him and forcing him to leave. But then Charis added another suggestion.
"I don't want to give him gold. Give him something, he'll want more. Or he'll come back for more." Tertius said, "I don't trust him or his intentions." He added, "But it is a good idea to tell Teutus to not have any contact with Wulfric. If he stays here, it won't be because of us. It'll be out of our hands." He added and poured a little watered wine for himself. Then he called for Hector - always nearby and hopefully not eavesdropping. His body slave gave Charis a look, but went to fetch another cup when Tertius asked him to. He soon returned and poured a cup of wine for Charis too, before he was dismissed. No doubt not pleased with serving a fellow slave. But Tertius didn't care. Hector wasn't as interesting as he had been. Charis was the mother of his son. Should he invite her to his bed again? That would put an end to how it had all been, since she tried to kill herself. Mark a new beginning... for both of them.
"I'm pleased that you are so good to me. I think... we are friendly again, are we not?" Tertius then asked, trying to find out just how she would feel about the whole thing. Maybe he really was growing old and soft.
Topics I Participated In
Late March, 76 AD
Life was pretty ordinary at the moment. Nothing big was happening, Rome was functioning well and so was the household. Teutus had moved out towards his new insula – a large one, of course, if Teutus was to move out, it better be to a good place. He was trying hard to make amends for all the wrongs he’d done Teutus over the years. He didn’t know if it worked. But at least he tried, right? And he also tried hard to do his best for his new son, Peregrinus, who was growing and looked like he had strings bound around his wrists at the moment. But that was only because he was nursed so well by Charis.
She had not gotten back to him yet, concerning what they spoke about last time they had a serious talk without Peregrinus there. She wanted to meet Wulfric and they had agreed she should try and find out what he was up to. Wulfric, his third son… with whom he was not trying hard to bond with at all. He didn’t trust his German son, didn’t know him and wasn’t sure he wanted to. He’d shown up so suddenly and he had brought chaos into something that was almost going well. Peregrinus was to be his heir, Teutus was freed and moving on to do his own thing, since he could not be made to inherit Tertius… so all was well, really. And then Wulfric came into the picture and ruined it all.
He often found himself sitting in the tablinum, just looking out the nearest opening but not really looking at anything. Lost in thoughts. Maybe it was his age. Maybe it was something else, he didn’t know. There was so much to think about. He’d almost forgotten what he was doing, when someone came in to block the view through the doorway. Charis. He shook his head, as if shaking off the thoughts and then focused on her. She was waiting politely, as the well-behaved slave she had become. Tertius smiled. At least one thing was going well.
“Charis, please, come in… and tell me what’s on your mind.” Tertius said in a friendly tone and waited. He’d not get more paperwork done now anyway. And he’d much rather talk to Charis than do that anyway.
Late August 76AD
She had to do it. It had to happen. Probably it would amount to nothing, but it would at least close a chapter in her life. The young girl she had once been, the one who still carried a torch for the young man who had seduced her, who had fathered her child, demanded it. The more pragmatic woman knew that the young girl was likely to get her heart broken one more time, but at least it would be the end of it.
She had to see him.
Prosperpine had done her hair in an elaborate and very modern style and even applied a little make-up. Not too much, she didn't want to look like she was negotiable, even though she was still an attractive woman with a good figure, just no longer an adolescent girl. But he knew that, they'd basically grown into adulthood together, or at least in the same household. Being unwed she wore not the stola but a rich, brown chiton, offset by a pale blue palla that she wore draped around her shoulders and pinned with a polished bronze fibula. It was the finest clothing she'd ever owned, and thanks to her son and her body slave, she felt like an Augusta.
That feeling slipped for a moment as she approached the family domus where she had been a slave for so many years, but she reminded herself that she was a slave no more, and importantly had not been freed by Tertius, so was not beholden to him. Taking a deep breath, she straightened up, caught the drape of her palla up in her left hand, and rapped smartly on the door.
Charis glanced across to her son, sleeping soundly in the crib next to her. He'd be down for at least an hour, or she hoped so given the night she'd had with him. The afternoon sun was low in the sky as she glanced out of her little room into the gardens. She missed it, working out there. As much as she loved her son and tending to him, her fingers still itched for something practical and useful to do. She'd been that way since she was a girl, always planning her next scheme or enterprise or pitching in when somebody needed a hand. Now she was left to care for her son as her primary duty, she often found herself at a bit of a loose end. Take now, for instance. Peregrinus would be sleeping for a while and she had nothing else to do. His clothes were folded neatly, his toys were organised and stacked away. So she simply sat on the little stool next to his crib and watched him.
She glanced again at the garden. This time of day, she trusted she could count on one visitor who she needed to see. Running into her dominus in the gardens was far less formal than a conversation in his tablinum - and in any case the place held too many sour memories for her to ever be comfortable visiting it. She glanced back down at Peregrinus briefly before deciding he was content to snooze in peace. Pushing herself up, she padded silently through the bustling house into the winter sun. It wasn't as cold as Britannia in the winters, far from it, but she still felt a chill and wound her arms around herself. Maybe this was a sign she was finally getting used to being in this city. It'd be two years in a couple of weeks time, after all, since the day Tertius had sprung her from her cage.
She studied the winter foliage and flowers, pursing her lips at the poor job the general household slaves had done in her absence from the garden, at least to her trained eye. She was distracted a moment later, however, when the target of her venture out here came into view. She flourished a soft smile and then dropped her eyes and inclined her head, speaking quietly in greeting. "Dominus. I trust you had a good morning?"
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
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