QuoteWhat am I to you?
Face ClaimJoe Armstrong
There was a certain tension in the room that he couldn’t ignore. But he tried his best, because he thought Teutus seemed nice and it was nice of his father to invite him. Even if his father didn’t seem very happy right now. Charis didn’t either. His father had just said everything was fine and Wulfric was about to make a comment again, when wails echoed through the house and all the way into where they sat. Not long after, another female slave entered with Peregrinus in her arms. Poor thing must be missing his mother! And indeed, as soon as Peregrinus was in Charis’ lap, he relaxed at least a little bit. Wulfric wanted to offer to help, but wasn’t sure how any of the others would feel.
Tertius watched the whole scene with Jocasta and Charis and then suddenly, Jocasta was gone and Peregrinus was here. His son. All three of his sons in one room! It should be an event to remember, in a positive way, but he didn’t think it would be, for any involved. Charis wondered what she should do.
“You should go and take care of him… he clearly needs your attention.” Tertius said, his attention fixed on Charis and Peregrinus now, “So… you can go. I’ll check in later, see if everything is fine?” Tertius then suggested to Charis, for now choosing to ignore the two grown sons, who did not need as much attention as a baby.
Meanwhile Wulfric watched everyone’s reactions. Tertius’ surprise and the care he showed for his son and for Charis. The way Teutus gripped the winecup he had. Charis unsure about what to do. Teutus looked at him then and began speaking of how none of this was his fault and he apologized for the family Wulfric had come to find.
Wulfric placed a hand on Teutus’ free hand, looking at him, “It is not your fault either… this family.” Wulfric said, “I will find you, soon. And we will talk. But now, not the time.” He promised Teutus, taking his hand back as he said it. And then he decided to actually do something, because for some reason, the others did not.
He hadn’t heard Charis had been excused, but Wulfric stood and looked at them all, “It is time for me going.” He looked at Tertius, “Thank you for inviting me, father. And thank you for letting me meet brother. Brothers.” He added, looking at Charis with Peregrinus, “I am sure I will meet all you again.” Wulfric didn’t care if it was not the proper etiquette, but he knew when he’d overstayed his welcome and he wasn’t stupid enough to stick around where he wasn’t wanted, “Good night to you all.” He dipped his head briefly and then left. Just like that. He didn’t wait for Tertius to respond. On the way out, he found a slave and asked where he could find Teutus’ business for when he’d meet him again. And then he was gone.
While Wulfric was enjoying meeting his half-brother, Tertius was less and less pleased with how this dinner was going. He merely wanted to meet Wulfric again, size him up, figure out what he wanted… and introduce him to Teutus, because he thought they ought to meet. They were siblings, after all. But besides that, he had not expected much. He had certainly not expected this! Suddenly Wulfric and Teutus were discussing the import business that Teutus was starting up and Wulfric seemed genuinely interested in it. Tertius continued to eat and down some more wine while the younger men talked.
Wulfric paid attention to Teutus, speaking of how amber was popular and wondered what sort of goods they needed in Germania. To Wulfric, it sounded like Teutus might actually wish to work with Wulfric about all this. It was very interesting. His mother and his grandfather would surely be proud of him, once he returned to Germania with these news.
“Luxury from Rome is popular.” Wulfric explained, “Things like… pottery. Metal. Oh, and… what is called…” Wulfric trailed off, searching for the word, but it was lost to him, “It like pottery, but it is clear. Like water, or air. But you use it.” He knew the word, this was irritating! He picked up the nice looking terracotta drinking cup that he had and tapped it, “It like this? But clear. It is not something we make.”
“Glass.” Tertius intervened with an annoyed sigh, tired of listening to Wulfric trying to explain what glass was, “You don’t have glass? Or make your own metal?” Tertius honestly didn’t know that and it surprised him. Especially about the metal. He glanced at Charis, who just sat there now. It almost felt like they were both being left out now. It was not at all going according to his head.
“We make metal. Iron. But yours, better.” Wulfric tried with a smile towards his father and then looked at Teutus, “Maybe I visit your business one day soon?”
Teutus spoke in a very… not angry or defensive tone, but he wasn’t cheerful or happy either. Were none of his Roman family members glad to see him here? He came to meet them, to expand his own family, to find out what they were all about. But his father was difficult to figure out, Secundus was strange and hostile too and Teutus acted as if Wulfric was simply unwelcome. He felt his heart sink a bit. At least Peregrinus had liked him, but he was barely a toddler, so did it even count?
But he nodded at Teutus’ words, “Yes, another brother.” He replied, trying to still sound friendly, although he felt the cheer had evaporated. Teutus began talking then, apologizing for something, but he trailed off and he didn’t notice Tertius looking at Charis, who finished Teutus’ sentence. Was that what he would say? Wulfric was not sure. Her voice was guarded too now. And she went on about the big family and how glad they all were that he was here. Something he did not exactly feel right now. Why would they lie to him?
“Yes, big family. And interesting.” Wulfric added, uncertain of what else to say and then other slaves appeared with something they could eat and drink. Wine was poured, plates and bowls were places on the table and then a large basket with bread to dip in various sauces. Tertius picked up his wine and looked at them all.
“Let us drink then… to big families?” He suggested and sipped his own drink. Wulfric did too, probably drinking a slightly larger gulp, thinking that maybe wine would help them all relax. Tertius leaned a bit back on his couch, picking up a piece of bread and dipping it into a savory grape-based sauce… “So, Wulfric… tell us a bit more about yourself. You told me you were a guard at home, but here you work at the market? How come?” Tertius asked with interest while Wulfric was still staring at all the food, wondering what to pick.
“It was… easy work to get. And I find out, in Rome you need coin if you want anything. I think there enough guard and soldier people in Rome. And I am not Roman trained, so I probably do things wrong.” He explained with a grin, hoping they’d believe what he told them. He was curious about Teutus though and looked at him again. He knew very little about Roman society and what people like Teutus did, so he thought he would find out, “What do you do, Teutus? You are judge like Tertius?” Wulfric was unaware that his question made Tertius forget to chew his food for a moment there... so far, in Tertius eyes, Wulfric was not doing very well at all.
Wulfric couldn’t say he hadn’t been a bit anxious about this evening. Yesterday was a short meeting with his actual father – tonight would be an actual dinner, spent together for more than a few moments, eating, drinking. So many things could go wrong, although honestly… what could go wrong? Wulfric had told Tertius yesterday, that all he wished was to meet his family, and that was still what he wanted. That Tertius seemed to not believe it, that was something else. Surely though, it would all be fine. He would get to know his father. See if they had anything else but their appearance in common.
He hadn’t hoped to meet Charis today. Meeting her had certainly been interesting yesterday and he had enjoyed it, because she felt more like someone from home. Even if she was from Britannia and not Germania, she was still a foreigner and used to a different life than here in Rome. His little brother had been very sweet too. He thought it was almost a pity the boy had to grow up here in Rome, like Aglaea’s child too.
But he was here now. A slave led him inside the domus, where he was met by Tertius, very soon instructing him to not announce openly that Tertius was his father. That wasn’t a good start. Wulfric had hoped they could be friends, but Tertius seemed very busy with showing that he was the one who held the high ground here. He was surprised to hear that Charis would join them. She was a slave, after all. Weren’t slaves more or less worth nothing here? Of course, she had given Tertius a son. Maybe that’s why. And his brother Teutus might show up too! He recalled Charis’ words about Teutus and would not forget them. He had to be careful with his older brother.
Charis showed up, pretty, but not dressed up. Her hair was in a braid and she smiled at them both, seeming uncertain of what to do. Wulfric noticed how his father smiled back at her, “Charis, I’m glad you could come, I hope Peregrinus wasn’t too troublesome? You’re already familiar with Wulfric and your… relation, I assume.” Tertius said, indirectly letting them both know he knew they’d talked, “Teutus may join us too. Charis, will you tell the others that we’re ready for the meal? And afterwards, please sit with us and eat too.” Tertius nodded to the couch on his right hand side, that’s where he would have Charis sit.
Wulfric sat down on the edge of a couch too, leaving a space between him and his father. If Teutus came, he’d be next to Tertius. After all, he held Tertius’ name. Wulfric did not. Wulfric just watched the interaction between Charis and Tertius with interest and waited with saying anything, until Charis was back and had sat down too, “I am surprise seeing Charis here. But glad too. How is my b… Peregrinus doing?” Wulfric said with a smile to her, not sure if Tertius wanted him to refer to Peregrinus as his brother or not. So he corrected himself. Hoping that was not a mistake. Aglaea and Charis were both right. Tertius was indeed not easy to read or understand.
@Sara @Sharpie(just jump in whenever you can)
He thought she seemed upset for some reason, but could not really figure out why or how. What had he done to upset her? Was it his… presence? Surely he was not a threat to his brother, that’s not why he was here. But she looked at him, stating that he was above her despite not being her master in any way. Pointing out at the same time how his half-brother Teutus was different from him. Wulfric cast his eyes down for a moment, it almost felt like she was scolding him for simply being who he was… which really was not his fault. And he didn’t want to treat her differently than what he’d do so far. Charis seemed sweet. He liked her. He had no reason to not like her. But it didn’t seem like the feeling was mutual.
Then he’d spied the other slave across the garden, staring at them and then leaving in a hurry. Wulfric decided that was his cue to leave and Charis stood and he followed. Peregrinus was occupied with his mother and Charis was addressing him quite formally now.
“I think there is chance of that.” Wulfric replied, when she said she’d see him when he came for dinner the next day, “Thank you, for talking. Take care… of you and my brother.” He patted the top of Peregrinus’ head with a smile and then he gave her a formal nod too, before he went on his way to actually leave his father’s house. He’d been here a grand deal longer than what he expected, but he hadn’t known he would also meet his baby brother and Charis here. There was a lot to think about and consider, until he returned tomorrow evening for the dinner.
He watched Charis as she sighed and then rocked Peregrinus on her knees. He really was a treasure, his little brother. Would it be good for him, to be raised in Rome? So far, Wulfric wasn’t so sure he liked the way Roman families were run. The experiences and the knowledge he had about them so far wasn’t in their favor. Surely fresh air and more freedom was better? And for now, Peregrinus would grow up here. With his charming smile and blue eyes. Interesting, that both Wulfric and Peregrinus had inherited those from their father. Made him wonder if his sister Antonia and his brother Teutus also had those eyes.
Charis answered his newest questions. Said she’d been here a long time, but when she tried to describe what Teutus was to her, she couldn’t find the words. Then she said Teutus was her master, but Wulfric sensed that wasn’t the whole story. So he let her continue. They’d been close, his brother and Charis. But now she said slaves and freedmen or masters could not be friends. She looked at him, wondering if he understood. What was there to understand? Did she mean… that she also should not be friends with Wulfric? But she was his brother’s mother…
“I understand.” Wulfric said, “Sometimes… life in Rome is strange.” He added thoughtfully, watching her, “But I am not master here. I am not freedman. I am not Roman. What I am… brother to your son.” Wulfric explained and looked up as he saw a male slave look at them from across the peristyle. The slave wasn’t smiling. And then he left. That was odd. But many things were odd and strange today. He got the feeling though, that the male slave was up to no good. And he didn’t want to make life worse for Charis.
“Maybe it is time I go.” Wulfric then said with a small sigh, “But I am happy to meet Peregrinus. And his mother.” He added with a smile, “I hope we can talk more, maybe another time?”
Her mood seemed to have changed and so, Wulfric’s smile faded a little bit too. Aglaea had already explained a bit about his siblings, but Charis would know them better, so she could tell him more. It worried him though, that she offered such a slight smile to him, before she explained more. She told him about his sister, Antonia… young, sweet and confident. Well that wasn’t always bad for a woman, he thought. Wulfric disliked that women had to be so submissive in Rome, when he knew they could be much more than that.
But he listened as she went on, telling about his brother, the freedman. She seemed moved when she told about him, how his father had promised Teutus the world, but now he could not make Teutus his heir anyway. And now his half-brother was sad and angry. She advised Wulfric to be careful and that Teutus might not like him. He could definitely understand why. Think to be promised something your whole life and then when it was within your reach, you were told you couldn't have it anyway. Wulfric almost felt he knew how it was like. He thought his mother's husband, Wulfstan, was his real father until about a year ago. Luckily, knowing the truth hadn't changed his life much. He'd travelled to Rome, sure. But he wanted to. He wasn't forced to come.
Wulfric nodded, thoughtfully… “Thank you, for telling me.” Wulfric then said, while Peregrinus bounced. The conversation had taken an odd, darker turn he thought.
“I will meet him, sometime. And I understand. Why he is angry. I think, I would be also.” Wulfric explained and watched Peregrinus reach out for his mother. He helped the boy move over to her, letting him do most of the work though. Babies were often stronger than you thought they were. He looked at Charis, feeling strangely worried… and there was something she was not telling him, but what? And how to get her to tell? “You know my family well.” He then said, “You speak about Teutus in… eduated way. He is friend to you?”
It was interesting how the Romans claimed to be more civilized than anyone North of the Rhine or just North in general. But at the same time, they were further apart from each other. Everyone were afraid of each other, no one would trust each other and mothers didn’t even sleep with their babies next to them. Not here anyway. Maybe some of the plebians and the poorer people did, but Charis was raising the child of a Senator and he knew they were very important in Rome. So even if she was not his father’s wife, she was still raising an important, free child.
“Maybe try… see if he sleep better. And you sleep better.” Wulfric suggested, “Good sleep make day better.” He added with a smile, because he knew and believed this was true. If you slept bad, you could catch some illness and you’d be easier to upset. If you had too many thoughts or your sleep was interrupted otherwise… that’s his experience anyway.
Meanwhile Peregrinus was bouncing happily on his lap, trying to get hold of this and that and checking to see if anything could be eaten. Wulfric just let him, smiling at the child when he smiled at Wulfric. Charis said she had a room with Peregrinus and called his father generous for that, “That is good. One good step.” Wulfric just commented and looked at Charis, when she supported Peregrinus’ back again. The little boy sat down on his knee and he bounced it a bit, which he seemed to like. He noticed Charis’ sad smile. Poor girl, she wasn’t happy here, was she? Just like Aglaea. They didn’t mean to be here, but there was little to do. Right?
Charis then told him about his other brother and Wulfric nodded, “He not tell me… but I know.” He said, “I meet other slave, Aglaea… you know? She is slave to my uncle, Secundus.” Wulfric explained, “She tell me about siblings. I also have sister, she say? So big family now. If they as nice as this brother... it is good.” He smiled, looking at Peregrinus, who was now reaching for his mother and he let the little one more or less crawl over into her lap, with a little support of course.
He noticed how she held a hand on Peregrinus’ back, as if she would support him, as if she was unsure if Wulfric could handle it. But his one sister had two little ones already and he simply adored them both. A boy and a girl. So why should he not know how to handle his brother? He knew, she would be able to tell very soon anyway. Wulfric couldn’t help but play with the boy and he knew little kids loved exploring and feeling people, so he just let Peregrinus do as he pleased, even grabbing his nose, which both his brother and Charis enjoyed. She commented that he liked mischief and Wulfric chuckled, “Yes, I see.” He said and then he’d complimented her skills as a mother. Peregrinus seemed very happy, after all.
Charis laughed too at Wulfric’s funny voice and then said she wasn’t sure if she was a good mother and Wulfric gave her a look, “Trust me… I know you are. Else he not so friendly, or happy.” Wulfric said and smiled, hoping she’d trust her own skills. Women just knew, sometimes, how to be good mothers. It was a part of them, because they had that magical ability men did not have. Women could produce other people. Men could not.
She added that she loved her son, who now continued to play with the neckline of Wulfric’s tunic and leaned closer to see if it tasted good too. Wulfric let him while Charis continued talking and Wulfric thought a bit about her words. He felt bad for her not sleeping well, if Peregrinus didn't, “Does he have own bed… or you sleep with him?” Wulfric asked, “My people, mother sleep with child while they are little. You try?” He suggested, hoping he wasn’t intruding too much with his advice. He knew his sister did the same and he knew he’d done the same. Houses weren’t as huge or divided back home, you often shared bed with members of your family in their houses and it was perfectly normal and provided some safety. And mothers would always have their babies sleep next to them.
She was sweet when she laughed, Wulfric thought. When people were genuinely amused and happy about something, that’s when they were most sweet and even beautiful. He could see the charm his father must also have seen in this slave, when he took her to bed and fathered Wulfric’s baby brother. There was definitely something about her. When she finished laughing, she said she would not mention the bit of information he just shared, because her dominus would not like it. Wulfric nodded, “That is best, then.”
Then he’d shared some thoughts about what he thought the world should be like, and how one empire should not just go ahead and conquer it all and it was better that it was divided. He mused a bit about that and naturally asked Charis what she thought. She seemed surprised at first, then said she shouldn’t talk about such things, because she was a slave. Wulfric looked at her, it was obvious she had an opinion about this matter, but she was not willing to share it. Was she afraid? Like Aglaea? It must be horrible to be a slave in Rome, Wulfric thought. Poor women.
“Maybe another time. I am curious, now.” Wulfric then said with a diplomatic smile, he wouldn’t force her to tell him something she didn’t dare to speak about, but he was indeed still curious and he might ask her again some other time. She distracted herself by focusing on her son then, who tried to move about and grasped the hem of her tunica. Easily Charis then scooped him up and he giggled sweetly and reached out for Wulfric, then. Wulfric chuckled too, and then she asked if he would hold the little one.
“I would like to.” Wulfric said and with ease took the boy over into his own lap, letting him rest his feet on Wulfric’s thighs and Peregrinus instantly began bouncing a bit, “Like that?” He said, grinning to Peregrinus, thinking about his own little nieces and nephews at home and he let the boy touch his face and grasp at his own tunica all he liked, “He is sweet. He like have fun. You like fun?” He asked the child then and leaned his face closer and Peregrinus grabbed him by the nose, “I think he do like it.” Wulfric said with Peregrinus’ hold on his nose, which made his voice sound funny and the baby giggled louder. Wulfric pulled away then and glanced at Charis, “You must be good mother… with happy child.”
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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.
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.
November, 75 AD
It had been weeks since he first met Aglaea, the nice and gentle slave to his uncle Secundus’ wife. Since hearing about her situation and getting to know her better, she was often on his mind. Wulfric knew he should make moves towards meeting his father, but for some reason, it was difficult to pull himself together to do it. Instead he decided he would meet this cruel uncle of his first, see if there was anything he find out or anything he could do about Aglaea’s situation. Both Tertius and Secundus did not sound like good men, but so far, Secundus seemed worse than Wulfric’s father at least.
He had to be careful though. He did not wish to reveal to Secundus, that he was his father’s son – that he was Secundus’ nephew. So he had to find some other excuse to visit him. Working at the market was luckily helpful. He worked in a warehouse and he found out they made deliveries to certain households in Rome. And when he asked into it from his colleagues, he found out, that they delivered to a Quinctilius Varus household. One morning, Wulfric managed to follow the cart that went towards that part of the city. Since he’d been working well and hard for a few months now, his employer had already raised his payment and was giving him more responsibility. Wulfric was to check that everything went correctly at the house. And he would. And not just in the kitchen and with the goods.
Since he was working, he wasn’t wearing his finest clothes. Just the simple daily clothes, more German than Roman in the style – he was not wearing the new and finer set that he bought recently. Anyone would be able to tell he didn’t come from here, although few might guess where he had his origins. He didn’t know the master of this house might. Once at the house, he let the others unload and stood by, looking at it all. There were mostly vegetables and grains and spices. Everything seemed to be in the correct amounts, but he still had a good excuse ready for meeting Secundus. He asked if the master of the house was home at this hour and if there was a chance to see him. The main kitchen slave said he was at home but wondered why Wulfric would meet him. She wasn’t sure Secundus would meet a foreigner though, but Wulfric said it was important and insisted.
At long last, he was allowed inside, into the fancy looking household. Well somewhat fancy. He had been to a few other places already and he’d seen nicer. It didn’t look so well-kept to him. Quietly, he waited in the atrium for the master of the house to appear, curious to see his uncle in Rome for the first time.
October 75 AD
It was her favorite time of the year. Going to shop for new fabrics. As the daughter of a senator, he tasked Safinia with making sure her apperance was up to par. But she knew the true reason for it. Safinia knew that her father would not stop until she was arranged and close to being married off. But his tactics were...less than tact. She had to apologize for the last time that had occurred and she knew it would not be the last time. But going out to the market did seem to get her out of the home in which they stayed. Safinia liked to coordinate the silks she bought with ones that would be perfect for the occasion or season that the city found itself in. Of course she did not make the dresses themselves. No, no. She seemed to trust the ladies that put it together. However. She did have this little trick that she liked to find thread in order to make patterns on her dresses. It makes them feel like they are something that she wears for her. That makes her feel..well, more like her. Not someone her father could parade around. In fact, it was something a little hurtful. But she would make do as she must.
But not without remaining true to herself. When dressing with the help of one of her servants, she found a pink dress with golden leaves around the top and bottom of the dress. When asked about it, one of the servants said it was a suggestion from her father. Of course. But she kept herself silent as she dressed, also allowing a matching pink hair adornment (or veil for her hair) to be in the back of her hair. Once obtaining the bag of coins that was gifted to her, she grabbed her small basket and one of her house female slaves were out of the house and began their walk. As they walked Safinia liked to talk to the lady with her about the seasons and suggestions from her observations. She always had the greatest helps for the silks she would purchase and she hoped today would be no different either. As they entered the market, the familiar shouts of the merchants were coming through. From fruits to figs to the usual gold, the marketplace was alive as ever. It was a pleasant sound to her ears.
Sometimes she bought a little bit of fruit for her to eat upon her return back. But as she passed by the section with the fabrics, she stopped in midstep as she looked through each of them with wondering eyes as she reached out to touch the fabric but as she looked she felt like some eyes were upon her, but she was so transfixed she couldn't even bear to notice it for right now. It was in fact her simple getaway.
Early October, 75 AD
Wulfric had agreed to meet again with the lovely Aglaea, who was slave to his uncle Secundus, whom he had not yet met. He hadn’t even met his father yet, but Aglaea knew him too and he found it very useful to have found someone, whom he was not related to, but who could provide him with useful information. On top of that, Aglaea was very sweet and friendly and he had enjoyed talking to her. Plus she seemed to need someone to talk to and she needed help with her situation. Wulfric had felt sympathy with her and he was more than ready to help her, whether she said she wanted his help or not. He would be the friend she needed. Really this was a win for both of them.
So a week later, he found himself entering a place called the Gardens of Sullust for the first time. Aglaea had sent word to him via a messenger, where they were supposed to meet and he walked around, trying to find the right place. It was still somewhat warm, but some leaves had begun to change color and he found that he liked the gardens because of the amount of greenery here. Rome, to him, mostly consisted of stone, marble and people. There was not a lot of green and it was nothing like Germania in that sense, where the majority of the land was forests, fields and meadows. Rome had its own charm of course, if you looked at things individually.
He tried that too, while searching for the right fountain Aglaea had said they’d meet by. He found a very pretty one, there were no other people near and he thought it was the right one. Then he leaned against the edge of the basin, enjoying the warmth of the sun and waited for Aglaea to show up as planned.
General Apperance - blue-green (mostly blue) eyes, light brown hair, sometimes facial hair.
Clothes - not these colors, but the style is right, especially for the fancier clothes. Long-sleeved tunica that reaches the mid of the thigh and long trousers. Add to that a fine cape/cloak fastened with a ring-brooch made from iron. Iron is used for the belt-buckle too. Wulfric also carries a small knife for everyday use, usually for cutting things to eat and it is just handy for a lot of things.
Germanic Tribes - find the Chatti in Germania Magna:
Late September, 75 AD
Wulfric was still trying to get used to this huge city. He was quietly trying to figure out more about his father, but the people he encountered in the streets and taverns, that cared to talk to him, didn’t know the man. Apparently he must be wealthy, as Wulfric assumed, since people who were less wealthy didn’t know him. Some had given him a weird look though and then just went on their way. As if it made no sense that a man dressed like Wulfric should want to get in touch with a man named Varus.
Today was just another of these days. Wulfric had managed to find some actual work, working in a warehouse mainly with moving sacks of grain and other things, from one place to another. Or onto carts. Something like that. He was strong, after all. And today he’d been doing just the same all morning and was paid in the shiny coins, that he added to his purse and then made his way out into the marketplace to find something to eat.
A stall selling purses caught his attention though, his own was getting rather worn and those they sold here were very fine. Good quality leather, he could tell. Wulfric purchased a light brown leather purse and then moved away from the shop to attach it to his belt, a little bit away from where the crowds were, because he understood that you should watch your coins carefully and no one should know how much you had on you. With his back to the marketplace, he opened the belt and slipped the old purse off the belt and began moving things from the old to the new one. Unaware that from behind in the shade of a building, he might look like someone else entirely.
Early September, 75 AD
This place was… huge! Wulfric was barely even sure when he entered Rome, it seemed to go on forever and it felt like he’d been walking for days, when he reached this part of it. He had planned to make it to the center of Rome and people kept pointing him this way, towards the so-called Forum of Rome. He knew a forum was a marketplace of sorts, but when he entered this part of Rome, it seemed to be a marketplace for white marble rather than anything else. And painted statues and gold and people literally everywhere.
Wulfric grew up in a town, it wasn’t small, it was large actually, for a Germanian town. He bet the Romans would not say it was even a town, they would call it a village. A gathering of houses, even. And the houses were barely houses, compared to what they lived in. And this place, Rome, was not even a town, it was a city or was it actually a country in its own? Of course he knew it was an Empire, but that word was almost beyond his understanding. He’d never seen so many people before in his entire life, nor had he seen so many buildings made out of brick and marble and he’d not seen… well any of this. The towns he passed through on the way here did not compare to Rome. He had been somewhat prepared, but he was still astonished by this. Some called it the eternal city, because it had already existed in centuries, and he’d believe it if it still stood when all men had gone.
It was also a bit confusing, to be honest. Where did you go? Wulfric wore nothing but his travelling clothes, the more ordinary clothes, and on his back he had a sack with the rest of his clothes and other personal items. He should find a place to sleep, he’d been sleeping under the sky and with friendly people on the way here. He’d even stayed in a few places where you could buy a drink and pay for a bed, which he never tried before. Perhaps they had such places in Rome too? He should also find the palace though. He was a prince. And most importantly, he should find Varus!
But where to begin? He stood staring up at a huge building of white marble, he understood it was a temple of sorts, to their gods, although it was nothing like the temples they had where he came from. It was as huge as everything else. Wulfric scratched the back of his head, he probably looked as disoriented and confused as he felt.
WULFRIC of the CHATTI
23 | 21st of June, 52 AD | Foreigner | Prince | Heterosexual | Original | Joe Armstrong
Wulfric is well-mannered, friendly, openminded and diplomatic – he is generally just a nice guy, who wants the best for those around him and of course especially for those, that are friendly towards him. While he is raised to be a warrior, he does prefer to work things out with words rather than fight. Wulfric has a lot of empathy and is good at reading other people's emotions and he's a problem-solver. He likes to discuss solutions and think them through, before reaching a decision about what to do. He is however also confident, so that when he decides on an opinion, it is the right one and he can be quite stubborn – demanding to be paid attention to, when he wants his opinion to be heard or there is something he desires. Maybe he inherited this trait from his father?
Wulfric likes to be heard and believes that when (if) he returns to Germania, he will come closer to his grandfather and uncle there, because there is a possibility that he could become the next king of the Chatti, if anything should happen to them. He does not really have a mean streak though, he’s not out to kill them, but he is prepared to take over, if he must. In Rome, he hopes to find his father and hopes to be a bridge between the Chatti and the Romans. Wulfric is and wants to be a peacemaker of sorts, if that is at all possible. He is very curious to learn about his true origins and his family in Rome, although the Roman way of life is certain to be a surprise to him and may turn out to be quite different than what he thought.
Standing just about 5’10” tall and with striking blue-green eyes, Wulfric has always been told he is as handsome as he is strong – and he is strong, a warrior and guard of his tribe. Much made sense to Wulfric, when his mother told him about his true father, because he never looked much like Wulfstan, his stepfather. He has some resemblance with a Roman man called Tertius – especially the nose and face shape, but also the shape of his body appears much like his. He has brown and slightly curly hair – and with a bit of facial hair, unlike most Romans. His clothes are native to his tribe of course – mostly made from wool and flax. He has two sets of clothes, a simple set that is brown and yellow/green and a finer set dyed with indigo. He always wears a light green long-sleeved tunica as an undershirt. On a daily basis, you’ll find him with a pair of light brown long trousers, a light green tunica and/or a leather vest for colder days. The tunica reaches his mid-thigh. For finer occasions, he has a pair of indigo trousers with an indigo vest to wear on top, closed with buckles. Add to this of course always a pair of good shoes and a belt with a purse and his trusted short sword.
Stepfather: Wulfstan of the Chatti (deceased)
Father: Tertius Quinctilius Varus
Mother: Frieda of the Chatti
Siblings: Hilda (21) and Signy (18) – half-sisters in Germania
Hrodulf, grandfather – Chieftain/King of the Chatti
Hrolf, uncle - Frieda's brother and next in line to be king
The Varus Clan in Rome
Before Wulfric was born, there were Romans roaming just across the Rhine, on the other side of the border to the great Roman Empire. There were Legions waiting there, just in case anything should happen, since the Romans really wanted to expand their empire. They failed last time though, all thanks to a man named Varus. The stories still went in the tribe about that man and especially how the Germanic tribes worked together to defeat him. But that was all a long time ago and now, the Chatti mostly lived in peace with the Romans, trading with them when they had the chance – carefully, though. Hrodulf, the Chieftain of the Chatti, did really enjoy that Roman wine. Hrodulf had a son, Hrolf, and a daughter named Frieda. And in 51 AD, when Frieda was 18 years old, she travelled across the border to the Romans along with other women and men from her tribe, to entertain and please the Romans, to make sure they would stay friendly with the Chatti.
Frieda was actually betrothed to be married when she returned from the Romans. But among the Romans, she met a charming young man – there were many, in fact – but she singled one out. His name was Tertius and in his name was also Varus, which she found remarkably interesting. She ended up spending a pleasurable night with the young and handsome man. So much that she returned every night the entire time she and her people were with the Romans. Then she went back home and married Wulfstan, one of her father’s best guards, as planned, although she was already pregnant with Tertiu's child. Nine months later, not long before she gave birth, she had a dream. Tertius, the Roman, was holding a boy-child in his arms and placing him on a throne. It was not a dream easily forgotten. A week later, on Midsummer's Day, Frieda gave birth to Wulfric. This also told her that this boy was special. Her husband thought it was his own son, but Frieda knew it was Tertius’ and the older the boy grew, the more obvious was the resemblance to her. With Wulfstan, Frieda also later had two daughters, that are Wulfric’s half-sisters.
Wulfric grew up as any kid born to a princess in Germania would. He had everything he wanted to have, but he also learned how to fight and fend for himself and as he grew older, he knew that while he knew how to fight, he did prefer to settle things more peacefully. He was officially declared a prince to the Chatti tribe, when he reached puberty and went through the rites to become a man – his grandfather was the king and his uncle would be king too, after all. Wulfric became one of his grandfather’s guards when he was old enough, while his father was in the king’s council. When he was 18, 5 years ago, the Romans began to move more into Germania and made their own settlements. Wulfric was encouraged by his mother to get to know them, not yet knowing why. The Romans in Germania taught Wulfric a lot of Latin, as he spent time with them as a kind of ambassador for his grandfather. When Wulfric was 21 years old, Wulfstan, the only man he knew as a father, died from illness. After his death, Frieda told her son the truth about his real father – that she suspected it was a man by the name Tertius Varus and that man was in Rome. And this was why she wanted Wulfric to know the Romans and their language. She wanted Wulfric to go to Rome and find his father and seek further knowledge and perhaps glory - and then come back home. She had, after all, never forgotten the dream she once had. A year later, Wulfric was on his way to Rome and on the verge of fall after he turned 23 while travelling, he finally reached Rome.
Timeline of Wulfric's life:
51 AD - Frieda sleeps with Tertius Quinctilius Varus. A month later, she marries Wulfstan, but is already pregnant.
52 AD - Wulfric of the Chatti is born, officially to Frieda and Wulfstan
54 AD - Wulfric's sister Hilda is born
57 AD - Wulfric's sister Signy is born
66 AD - Wulfric goes through the rites to become a man. Afterwards his grandfather officially declares him a prince.
69 AD - Wulfric is made official warrior and guard to his grandfather
70 AD - Roman settlements form beyond the Rhine. Jullus Flavius Alexander has encouraged traders and settlers to move into Germanian lands, initiating "the peaceful settlement of Germania." Wulfric befriends some of these Romans to learn the language and about the Roman way of life.
73 AD - Wulfstan dies and Frieda tells Wulfric whom his real father is. He soon begins the long travel towards Rome.
75 AD - Late in the summer, just before fall, Wulfric finally arrives in Rome.
Atrice | GMT+1 | PM or Discord #7964
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