Well, she'd had his curiosity, but now she had his attention, Antonia noted with a twitch of the corners of her lips. "Most other Romans forget that Rome was founded upon justice and what justice properly entails," she riposted to him, "Upon the rape of a woman, our people rose up and overthrew the Etruscans, created new laws, and created a new government. It took an innocent woman's blood to give the men the rage they needed to get what was a long time coming and demand their due." She paused and then said, "I always thought it was a pity that it took the spoiling of a young wife to goad the Romans into action against their masters, when they should have demanded it long before. It's why I try to treat those in service with me fairly and justly. 'Tis what Rome was founded upon. But I guess that story isn't the best to tell a slave or someone in service, is it?" She smiled wryly at him, noting the irony that where she spoke of justice in the tale and how Rome should remember it's roots, it could always be used instead to inspire slaves to rise up against the Romans now.
A double-edged sword, indeed.
She paused in her movements, turned and looked at him straight on though he couldn't recognize it with her hood in the way. "I promise to you that I'll give you that additional half to your hands and no one else's," she said solemnly, wondering at how it had needed to be said aloud. Who was his master or mistress that such a bargain needed to be guarded against with a proper contract? The story of Lucretia weighed heavily on the back of her tongue again and suddenly she found herself fighting the urge to walk into the Domus Venus and purchase the man's contract from the master or mistress of the damnable place. Even her Lovers knew that to leave the Lovers was to leave with a fresh start where ever desired.
"You can call me Antonina," she said, using her childhood nickname and failing to give a proper family name. It was perhaps too glib of her to give a name so dear to her, but, in truth, at forty years old, Antonia had accomplished much and felt safe in what she regarded as "her" city. The amount of wealth her family owned in addition to the very real protection the Lovers gave her sometimes made her feel invincible. Perhaps it was she, not those who received Triumphs, who needed someone to constantly whisper in her ear that she was mortal.
"Now, onward to dark alleys and whimpering babies, shall we?" She chirped and adjusted her cloak, the wine red color parting slightly to reveal a slip of her modestly garbed waist. "While we walk, tell me about your life. Leave no detail out. Are you Roman born or from far afield? How did you end up at the Domus Venus of all places?" She glanced over her shoulder at him, gesturing with her hand for him to stand equal to her rather than behind. While she spoke, her bright blue eyes continually scanned the darkness, intent on finding a still bundle or a flailing small limb. Her ears strained for the lightest of wails that would clue her in to her goal.
Beneath her feet, she felt the grime of the city, almost slipping her at times and, at least once, causing her to reach out to the wall nearest for purchase. Someone would come through a clean them at some point, but for now, it was as treacherous for footing as a Pompeiian wine tasting after the twentieth round.
Mid May 75 AD - in the street, near the Domus Venus
It was just another evening in the Domus Venus and Helios was waiting for his next patron to show up. He had been up all night last night, busy with patrons and clients and for some reason, he couldn’t sleep very well today. Which meant that tonight he was more tired than usual and now he sat in the main room of the brothel, dressed in a simple sleeveless tunica that he’d tossed over his head and with shining cuffs around each arm. His hair was put up in a high ponytail tonight, mostly pulled away from his face save for a few tresses for the sake of looks.
He hoped the next patron wouldn’t demand too much and at the same time, he hoped they’d stay all night. And give him both their body and a lot of stories about their lives. He had already had one tonight and he wasn’t feeling up to that much. Maybe he was getting too old for this shit. He really needed to do more with his life. Dareios made him realize this, a few years back and he had not stopped thinking about it since. Freedom was a thing in his near future, he hoped.
He watched with a cup of wine in his hand, as another client walked through the door and spoke with the matron. He wanted a girl. And girls were lined up and the man selected one and off they were. Helios hadn’t been lined up with others like that in years; he wasn’t that young anymore and he could offer more than just a body. He was more a courtier than an actual prostitute these days, but most people didn’t know the difference. On top of that, he collected secrets and sold them either to his mistress or to other people willing to pay for them. Secrets could be very valuable. Knowledge was valuable... and Helios was lucky enough to have a good memory.
Helios emptied his wine and let the matron know that he would be on the streets for a bit, hoping to find work and a useful and interesting client or something like it, out there instead. Near the Domus Venus he leaned against a wall, watching everyone who walked by and hoped to catch someone’s eye or see someone interesting to follow.
((the thread is open, but please let me know first before you join))
((the date is not set in stone, can be changed to June or April))