Theo blinked, his eyes watering from all the dust. Part of the building had come down. There were sounds slowly filling the stunned silence. He could make out Alexius' naked form, and Annis' blonde hair now. They were both calling for Thessala, but Theo could not see her anywhere.
This was going to be bad.
There were people inside that building. Under that rubble. People were going to need medical attention. Probably a lot more than he was equipped for now, with only one bag of his supplies at hand. Thea looked around, trying to see who else was in the courtyard. Who was in charge?...
It felt much like a battlefield.
Theo knew battlefields.
"Bring the injured over here!" he called out, his voice raspy from all the dust. He moved to the corner of the courtyard that was in the shade, and away from the rubble. "You!" he pointed at one of the gladiators standing around, seemingly unhurt but confused "Grab buckets from the kitchen and go get as much water from the fountain as you can. You! Go get all the sheets and clothes from those rooms over there. You! Head out, see how the other ludi are faring, and if they don't have serious injuries, get the medici! The rest of you, start digging!"
"Get out of there!" Theo yelled at the people trying to break down the doors. He could see the roof slip, and he knew they were not going to make it in time. Dust erupted everywhere as part of the building collapsed. The medicus took a step back and coughed, his mouth, nose and eyes filled with dust. Blinking, he tried to make out shapes in the courtyard as the shaking finally stopped. There was an eerie silence, all of a sudden. For a long moment, the whole world just... ceased.
"Annis?" Theo ventured, ears still ringing, stepping closer to the building "Alexius? Thessala? Where is everyone?..."
"Ruining my fun as always, Theo,"
"I live to serve" Theo chuckled. Annis sat up and swayed, holding a hand to her head. She had lost a lot of blood. Theo moved around, grabbing a pillow from a chair and setting it behind her. "Go easy."
"A little, yes. Nothing I can't handle. Do I still have to stay awake? I think I'd like to sleep for a few days."
"Just stay like this for a moment. Not good to stand up all at once." he awrned her, returning to cleaning and bandaging the wound on her leg. "In fact, you might want to sleep with your back propped up, for now." he finished tending to the wound and folded her tunic down respectfully. "Alright. Do you need help getting to your room?"
"Yes, I suppose I don't want my leg falling off either."
"I doubt it would. You'll just need to keep the wound clean." Theo noted, moving along the table. He undid the straps that fastened Annis' arm, and then started on cleaning her wound. "This doesn't need stitches." he glanced up at her "Excuse me, I'll have to fold your tunic up a bit. How is your head? Do you feel nauseous?"
The whole world was shaking, and Theo could already hear cries of pain around the ludus. It was going to be a busy day, if he managed to come out of it unhurt. He heard Annis yelling, but she seemed to be running in the other direction. Some brave fools seemed to be running back to help those stuck inside. Theo muttered some prayers to all the gods.
This was bad.
"Get out of there, the roof won't hold!"
Theodorus was not a stranger to the earth moving. He had felt it when he was a child, and then again since he'd moved to Italia. It was always a great and terrifying thing to experience, the sheer anger of the gods, and the destruction it could bring to places that were not built to last.
This, however, was his first earthquake at the ludus. And the first of this magnitude.
Theo rolled out of bed as the building began to shake, and it dawned on him than this was worse than he'd felt before. He bolted for the door -Astrius was already outside somewhere - and then changed his mind, running to his workshop and grabbing for the bag he kept there for emergencies. Another shock, and something toppled over and broke; shards showered around the medicus as he scrambled outside. People were already yelling and running.
"Stay in the open!" he yelled at no one in particular, noticing a scantily dressed Annis nearby "Stay away from the roof!"
"By the time you're done with me, you'll be an expert tailor. You could start your own business."
"Embroidering patterns on people? Sounds like a plan" Theo chuckled, finishing the last stitch. Who would pay him to poke them with needles? Even Annis was barely handling it, looking forward to the moment he was done.
"Oh, yes. Very big plans. First I'll lay on my back, then on the side with the uninjured arm. I might get a wild hair and sleep on my stomach. How long will it take for me to heal, though?"
Theo wiped the wound with a clean cloth, and proceeded to cover it with clean bandages. "I can take the stitches out in a week or so. But you will have to be careful with it a bit longer than that. And I still need to take a look at your leg too."
Theo wondered too sometimes, about what his life would be like if Pannonia had not turned out to be a shitty place. Would he be a wealthy Roman noble now, with a wife and a domus and a couple of kids? It was hard to imagine. Just like it was hard to imagine Annis as the mother of a brood of children.
"I guess we'll be a couple of singles, then. Lonely together and all that... Nonsense, you're a catch. You can do all the sewing for your household,"
Theo chuckled at the idea. Neither of them was in a position to marry, although for very different reasons. "Well, that's one household chore I can do."
"Are you almost done? I'd like to go waste away in my bed soon."
"Almost done" Theo nodded, starting on the last stitch "Big plans, huh? Languishing in your room?"
Annis laughed at his question. It might have been a silly thing to ask, but at least she was amused for a moment, focusing on things other than dying.
"No, not really. I... met a man, you may know him. Alexius? Well, he was nice. But I don't think he's quite courting me."
"I don't think Alexius is quite courting anyone ever" Theo chuckled, tying another knot. He knew the former gladiator, he was a good man, and a very popular one. "But I hear he is... pleasant company" he added with a smirk. Gladiators and their exploits. In and outside of the arena.
"No, I don't think my lifestyle is conducive to courting. What about you?"
"I don't think I can afford it" Theo admitted with a chuckle "I am not exactly an eligible match."
"But I have heard the rewards are worth it,"
"So I am told." Theo smirked. He was not married, and also not in a position to consider marriage at the moment. He sometimes wondered if he ever would be. It was hard to imagine having children of his own; Theo did not spend much time around children, and was not sure if he'd know what to do with them. He wondered if Annis thought differently. Could a gladiatrix even keep a child?...
Right now, she looked worn, and in pain. Theo wished he could give her some of the wine.
"Uhm... not great. But I think I'm okay. Not gonna die anyway."
"Not dying is a low bar to clear" Theo noted, dabbing the cold water on her forehead, before he returned to stitching. "Talk to me. Do you have someone courting you? Someone you have your eyes on?"