"I can understand the desire for a cat, but why a snake?"
"They are pretty? I hear they worship them in the East." she shrugged. A snake at least would have been more interesting than a dog. Even though the puppy was kind of cute, and smart enough to follow basic instructions. Such as 'pee on that nymph'.
"Good boy. Don't think the master likes this thing particularly - don't you think she looks constipated or something?"
"I am starting to lose track of what the master does or does not like. I never thought he'd keep a pup either" Metella noted, giggling as the dog waddled over to lick Attis' leg. "Does your arm hurt? Let me take a look."
"And I was angling for the master to get me an elephant or something. Not a gods-damn battle dog. Are you filling Cassia's head with stories of your barbarian queens, then? They're not Roman, I don't think it's an employment option for a well brought-up Roman girl. Especially a patrician girl."
"Any woman can be anything if they put their mind to it." Metella grinned, waving a hand. If the girl wanted to be a barbarian queen, all she had to do was... um, run away from home, cross the Alps, get across the limes, find a suitable barbarian king to marry, marry him, kill him, inherit his kingdom, and voilá! As the Gauls would say. "And I hear elephants have a high mortality rate in Italia..."
Attis, on his part, was nudging the pup towards the nymph statue.
"Go on, Licky, that's the one you want to pee on."
"I think I want a cat." Metella mused, taking a seat on a bench "One of those fancy Egyptian cats. Or a pretty snake."
"Never name a pet, Attis."
"Yeah. I've seen fully grown dogs smaller than he is now. I hope the master doesn't mind having the entire house rearranged every time he wags his tail. The dog, I mean. And blergh."
"I think he likes the idea. Not the rearranging. The size. Of the dog. Don't quote me on that." Metella grinned as Attis dunked his head in the fountain, and the dog went sniffling around the flower pots.
"What on earth possessed him to decide a dog that size would be a good addition to his domus, rather than sending him out to the villa, anyway? Though he'd make a good pony for Cassia."
"She can ride it into battle once she realizes being a warrior queen is a legit cursus option." she shrugged, watching the pup sniff some flowers. "You never wanted an impressive pet?"
"I caught him, you can show him the best flowerbeds to dig up and which statues he can piss against. That grumpy-looking nymph would be a good start."
"She would make an excellent dog toilet" Metella agreed. She didn't like the nymph much. Hopefully dominus didn't either.
"I think he should've been named Fugitivus,"
"Or Saliva" she grinned as she opened the garden door, and let Attis in with the dog. Both of them were going to get a lot happier once they were among the greenery. "He is going to grow up big, isn't he..."
Metella was thoroughly amused. She giggled as Attis gathered up the wiggling pup into his arms. He looked a right mess down on the floor, but he had saved the day. So far.
"Yes, he needs a collar. And we need a sign at the door. Cave canem" she ginned. "Nice catch. I think he likes you. And I'm not kissing you for a while."
Attis was good and slobbered by now. Eventually she paused the giggling long enough to offer him a hand to help him up from the floor "Let's take him to the garden. You need to teach him where he can wee."
The small bundle of loose skin and fur displayed a remarkable sudden burst of speed the moment the door opened. Whether it was attracted by the outside world, or just grateful for a third option, Wrinkles made a scamper for escape, while Metella and Attis realized at the same time that dominus would have their skin if they let the pup get loose. Attis reacted first, throwing himself headlong onto the floor. He missed, but the valiant attempt distracted the dog who, happy to have someone on his personal altitude, turned around to start licking Attis in the face.
Metella doubled over laughing, and waved at the doorman to close the door.
"Attis, grab him!"
"Fine, what do you want to bet then?" Metella rolled her eyes. "Who gets to ride the thing into battle when it grows up to be the size of a horse?"
Attis was right, she had her ways of getting out of most chores she was not strictly ordered to do. Dogwatching was never going to be her responsibility... except for this instance, because somehow the two of them found themselves alone with the pup in the atrium. Sure, there was the slave at the front door, but he was otherwise occuped by some messenger or another knocking...
The door opened.
"Oh. No. No you don't..."
"What're you going to bet?"
"Whoever loses has to watch the thing next time the dominus leaves it home. Here boy! Come to mama."
Attis was just too easy sometimes. Metella chuckled, moving to the other side of the garden entrance from him. Either way, the puppy was going to make progress. Once it was done chasing its tail and gnawing on its hind paw.
"You think it has fleas?" the thought just occurred to her, and she was not very pleased with it.
"Well, it doesn't listen at all, that's a lot like Cassia" Metella agreed, chuckling as Attis also failed to have any effect on the pup. Apparently small dogs and teenage girls were not all that different. Metella tilted her head.
"C'mere, pup!" she repeated, tapping her knee. "Be a good boy."
"Hey. How about whoever gets the dog to go to them wins a bet?" she grinned at Attis. Anything was more fun with a bet.
"It's a dog. It's not supposed to be useful for anything. Well. Maybe keeping the master amused. And if it leaks - or anything else - I am not cleaning it up."
"Very helpful of you. I called it first" Metella reminded him with a grin. The dog was indeed amusing, the way he waddled around the atrium. She wondered what it would be like when it grew up. Probably less cute. That was the way with people too.
"Though if it's as leaky as all that, the garden might be a better idea than the atrium."
"Garden it is" Metella agreed, moving towards the door. The dog, on his part, cricled around and noticed his own tail instead. "Come on! Come on good boy! Not you, Attis. Come this way!"
Spring 76 CE
The concept of pet dogs was a new one for Metella. She had had dogs around before, back in the village, and even in Rome sometimes, but they were usually dogs for hunting, or for guarding, or strays. This one... well, this one was here to stay. It was dominus' dog, a tiny bundle of blinking eyes and wrinkles, hence the name.
"I am still not sure what the purpose of an inside dog is supposed to be." she admitted to Attis as they watched the pup sniff around the atrium. He moved with a waddle, and seemed interested in everything. "I mean, it is adorable, but it's gonna leak everywhere. And why are we watching it again?..."
Two freaking months.
Sure, Attis had been cheeky, and he had to deal with the consequences, but really, Longinus was pushing the boundaries of petty revenge here. Not that Metella would tell him that, lest she'd be sent away to some other domus too. But she could make hints. She did, with great frequency, until the whole marriage thing went to shit, at which point dominus up and left, and suddenly the house was fairly empty, with the young domina and Metella left to their own devices under the care of the staff.
The marriage thing was sad. Being left alone wasn't. Metella liked having the relative freedom of the dominus being away. It didn't last long, and things were bound to return to normal (ish) eventually. It would have been definitely more fun if Attis was around.
Eventually, that time came too. On a hot day at the end of Junius, when there was not much to be done in the house except sit in the gardens and eat some fruit, hoping that the evening would cool down the hot summer air...
For a freeborn slave, especially one from Britannia, Metella is surprisingly comfortable with her position in Longinus' household. Being nurse to her master's daughter is a good job to have; Metella is maternal by nature, genuinely cares for Cassia Antonillia, and takes her job as the child's guardian seriously. She has a soft spot for children in general, and has a tendency to spoil them, but she can be strict when she needs to be. She is fairly outspoken, especially with other slaves and especially with men, knowing that her standing within the household allows her a certain measure of freedom. She has a lot of energy in her everyday life, going around taking care of things with determination, and she tends to get into banter with anyone who makes comments at her. Where it comes to love, she is fairly free-spirited, enjoying the pleasures of companionship, but not really dreaming of husband and family. She is quick to anger and can be quite scary when she doesn't manage to hide it, but she is deeply protective of the people she cares about, regardless of their standing.
Metella is of medium height, with a curvy body and soft features. Her hair is red, fading to strawberry blonde in the summer, and naturally curly; moisture or rain makes it frizz, and she fights an ongoing battle trying to wrangle it into buns or braids. Her skin is pale and she has lots of freckles; she is prone to catching the sun and turning various shades of pink or red easily. She has hazel eyes that usually sparkle with smart attention and amusement. She has dimples when she smiles or laughs genuinely, but much more often she wears various levels of sarcastic smirks, especially when she is dealing with men. She has soft hands and soft hips and she spoils children with soft hugs. As a slave and a nurse, she is most often seen wearing a simple dress of one solid color, and a scarf wrapped around her head to keep her hair at bay.
Father: Senorix (unaccounted for)
Mother: Veldicca (unaccounted for)
Siblings: four younger siblings (unaccounted for)
Extended family: none
Other: Belongs to Lucius Cassius Longinus' household, as nurse to his daughter Cassia Antonillia. Occasionally has recreational relations with Attis, her master's body slave.
52 CE - A baby girl named Senovara is born into a Briton family in the eastern edges of Britannia. Soon after four other children are born, and Senovara (Senna for short) holds a position of oldest sibling and tiny matron of the house. Her father and mother are farmers. Her father is not a kind man, and Senna takes on a lot of her mother's neglected duties of caring for her siblings.
64 CE - When Senovara is barely twelve years old, her father gets involved with fighting the Roman invasion. Having more patriotism than fighting skill he is taken as a captive in one of the skirmishes. In the following retaliation the family scatters, leaving their farm behind; Senovara gets lost in the wilderness, apart from her younger siblings and her mother, and is captured by the Romans. They add her to the spoils of the raid, and their young legatus Lucius Cassius Longinus takes her as his personal prize. Longinus takes a liking to the clever little girl, treats her fairly, and adds her to his personal household. She gets a new name - Metella - and begins to learn Latin. At the end of the year Longinus takes Metella to Rome.
66 CE - Longius' daughter is born, and he designates Metella as her nurse. She remains in the household after Longinus returns to Britannia. She loves the little girl, but she has a lot of conflict with Antonia, her mistress, and she sinks into quiet resistance. Things get a little better when Longinus returns home in 72, but Metella has a hard time following the domina's orders. She busies herself with caring for the child and secretly spoiling her.
74 CE - Antonia dies of illness, and Metella remains as the only mother figure of Cassia. She takes her role more seriously now, apart from the occasional dalliance with Attis, who seems to be noticing her more and more. Poor thing.