Face ClaimMax Minghella
"Rome is the biggest city I've ever seen," Davus admitted, though he'd known only two others - but each of those others was a major centre of commerce and culture in its own right, too. Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great nearly four hundred years ago, and he didn't know when Corinthos was founded but, being Greek, it was probably even older. And Rome was nearly eight hundred years old, from what he'd heard and worked out.
"I'll come in with you - I can't spend too long, though." He really did have chores back home to do, and wouldn't he be for it if he was too late home to do any of them. He was probably in for an earful as it was, but he couldn't leave the pretty girl all alone in Rome. Anyone could see that!!
"There's the gardens if you don't want to go shopping," he said. There were the shops and stalls if she didn't want to look at the gardens, too, of course. And if she did look at the shops and decide to buy something, she'd need someone to carry it for her, wouldn't she?
Even though he'd seen that her body slave was following them, so she could probably carry anything that needed it, he didn't think Sosia had realised the girl was following them.
He indicated the way in, making sure that Sosia's slave knew where they were and would be able to find them again.
The inside of the Porticus Liviae was a bustling busy place, surely just the sort of place any girl would like?
"Yes - it's the building just there," Davus replied in answer to her query about whether they were anywhere near the Porticus Liviae. It was a pretty impressive building from the outside, situated on the lower slope of the Oppian Hill, which was one of the least impressive hills in Rome despite being one of the major seven that the city had been founded on.
"It looks better from inside, admittedly," he added, though the outside was nothing to sneeze at, not really. But then, Rome was stuffed full of impressive buildings - all the temples, and the Circus Maximus and the new Flavian Amphitheatre - far more impressive buildings than it knew what to do with.
"Well, if you stay in the better part of the city when you go walking your dog, you should be all right - though I wouldn't go out at night if you don't have to, it's very dark in places and there's all the traffic because they don't let carts and wagons and things in during the day," he said. Not that he really went out at night, most of his evening chores were in the house. It was pretty rare that his master went out after dark and needed someone to carry a torch for him to light the way.
"Fair is better than not - if one person messes up, he doesn't blame all of us," Davus said. Honestly, that was all any slave wanted in a master, when it came down to it - not to be blamed and punished when someone else messed up, and not to be punished too harshly for something minor.
She really was far too sweet and innocent to be wandering around Rome on her own! Someone was bound to take advantage of her unless she had someone to protect her, and her own slave probably wouldn't be much better if she'd served her mistress for long and therefore not been in Rome or anywhere like it before.
"I don't think I've seen the sea since I came to Italy, not really," Davus said with a shrug. She would probably feel sad for him, or sorry for him, or something, but it was just a fact of life. The last time he'd seen the sea had been when he'd been brought ashore at Ostia after the crossing from Corinth, and that had been ten years ago. He missed it, but it was hard sometimes to remember what it was that he missed.
"I don't know, I think most dogs can be guard dogs if they see a stranger in the house, but I don't really know anything about it," he added, back on the subject of dogs.
It turned out that there was a lot he didn't know; she probably thought him dull, or stupid. Oh well.
"He's, uh, fair," Davus said. He wasn't sure his master would like to be thought of as 'nice' - he wasn't entirely sure his master could be thought of as 'nice'. Romans didn't, in Davus' experience, want others to think of them as nice people. Strong and powerful and things like that, but nice?
Sosia was an exception to that, but then again she was both young and a woman.
"There's gardens here, if you don't want to look at the shops and things," Davus said, and tried not to look too surprised as she asked him what he liked doing. "I don't... That is, I don't often get the chance to do things I like," he said. Or the opportunity, even when he had the time. "I miss the sea - if you live near the sea, don't you like to just go and sit and look at it for a while?"
There weren't really many places in Rome where a slave could just sit and think. People always thought a slave sitting doing nothing was a slave being lazy and shirking their work, for some reason.
"I'd like to meet your dog - dogs can be very friendly and funny," he added. "My master doesn't have a dog, but he did give a puppy to a friend of his - it was the cutest thing. It looked as if its skin was too big for it, it was all wrinkled like a just-washed tunic."
"My mistress is Valeria Flacca - she's married to Titus Sulpicius Rufus, who's a senator," Davus said. Telling her that couldn't hurt anything - his master's name was inscribed on the tag hanging from his slave collar anyway, though admittedly in pretty small letters.
She hadn't mentioned a mother, but that could mean anything, of course. Perhaps it was merely that her parents were divorced. At least she had a friend who could show her around.
"I would be honoured," he added, although whether her father would accept a friendship between his daughter and a slave... Davus had never met anyone quite like Sosia. She was far too sweet and innocent to be living in a place like Rome.
He would have to look after her properly until he could pass her back into the care of her own slave.
"What sort of things do you like to do, Domina?" he asked as they arrived at the Portico of Livia. He glanced behind to see if her slave was still in sight.
@Atrice (I lost a whole chunk of this post, I the rewrite is OK! :D )
"A bad thing, Lady? No, I don't think so - though I don't really know what young ladies like to do in Rome. My mistress likes to go there, or the Emporium Magnum - though that's a bit of a walk from here," he added, hoping she wouldn't change her mind and want him to take her there instead.
"There are all sorts of places in Rome that I'm sure you'll visit, with friends or family," he added. He did notice her maid tailing them and breathed a sigh of relief - at least there was someone who had a better idea of propriety or whatever than the young lady did. He didn't feel quite so desperately as if he was about to get in trouble now.
It was a bit of a walk, but eventually they arrived - it was a magnificent structure on the lower slope of the Oppian, a hill which might number among the famed seven hills of Rome in some counts, but really wasn't anything spectacular in itself.
"It is, Lady," he said, trying to hide his astonishment that a lady such as Horatia Sosia was not intimately familiar with the place. "You can go shopping there, or just go walking, and there's gardens in the middle if you prefer that," he said - he'd been more than once, with the mistress when she wanted to go shopping or whatever. It just seemed the sort of place that a nice well-brought up lady would like - and he wouldn't get in trouble for taking her there, hopefully.
Well. He was probably going to get in trouble for not going straight home, but there wasn't anything interesting waiting for him there, and he wasn't the only slave in the household by a long way. If anything needed doing right now, they had plenty of other slaves who could do it.
It wasn't too far away - they'd skirt the Subura to get there, but they wouldn't leave the main road and it was partway up the slope of the Esquiline, which was a perfectly genteel neighbourhood.
He swallowed the last bite of his lunch and stood up, wiping his fingers on his tunic as he joined her at the bottom of the steps, noting the dubious look her maid gave her as she left them alone together.
Well, that was unexpected - the girl didn't even know him or anything. She seemed awfully naive and Davus wasn't quite sure what to do. It would be easy to take advantage of her - it wasn't in his nature to do that but she didn't know that, did she!
"I think the bits of Rome I know aren't going to be very interesting to you," he said. Or suitable for someone of your status - but he couldn't really say that out loud. Her father would probably have some very choice words for him if he took her anywhere unsuitable, but really, where did high-class ladies like to go? Shopping might be a good bet, if they didn't go too far or stay too long - he did have to get back to his master's house at some point today, after all. "Have you been to the Porticus Liviae?"
It was fairly close, had lots of stalls and places for a young lady to browse through, and wouldn't leave him having to walk halfway across Rome to get back home.
"I've been here for..." he had to pause to think and work it out. "Ten years. Is it really that long?" It didn't seem like it - he'd lived in Rome as long as he'd lived in Alexandria, by his reckoning. And the five years in Corinth too - it did sound about right.
"I don't mind at all, thoug I don't know about teaching you about Rome, Lady - I'm not likely to know the bits you'd find most interesting." Gods help him if they went to the sort of places he was most familiar with from errands and the like. She'd be more interested in the sights and the gardens (which required payment to enter which meant that Davus had been there a grand total of once in his life, accompanying the mistress when she'd decided to treat the children - and they'd had a small entourage of which Davus was only one member).
"What sort of things would you like to know?" he asked. He might know something, at least, even if he didn't think it seemed impressive.
"I miss it," Davus admitted, before he quite realised that he'd said the words out loud. It wasn't the sort of thing he'd say to a free person, not usually, but then, he'd never really had this sort of conversation with a free person before. Well, there had been that conversation with Artemon, but that had been a conversation with a fellow Egyptian and wasn't quite the same.
He shifted as she asked what gods he worshipped; it probably wasn't a good idea to admit he was thinking more and more about the Jewish God and the recent sect that was gaining popularity. "There are all sorts of gods worshipped in Egypt," he said (which was only the truth). "I was down near the temple of Isis here in Rome recently - did you know she had a temple here?"
It wasn't a lie, prceisely, but wasn't the entire truth - he had been near the temple of Isis, which was where he'd met Artemon. He hadn't been in the area to join the worshippers there, though.
Topics I Participated In
Davus had dropped his master's toga and several tunics at the fullonica, and while he was supposed to head back, he'd managed to avoid getting told that directly, which was enough justification in his mind to be able to head down the hill to the Forum, for a short while at least. If accosted, he could always come up with a reason for being there; the cook always needed something from the market and there were plenty of reasons for a house slave being out of the house.
He stopped at a hot food stall for a snack, only to realise that the previous customer had left their change behind.
"Excuse me!" He called, trying to be heard above the noises of the crowds.
For the fifth time that day Titus had to shoo away Betua's anxious form that kept hovering about the entrance to the kitchen. Yes, it was her territory as much it was his possession, but there was a tradition to uphold. If she found the results of said tradition inedible she was free to go and serve something up on the sly. If Titus had to be honest, though, he thought he and this three helpers were faring quite well and did not warrant such levels of worry. Valeriana had helped pluck a chicken with unfettered, gleeful abandon, tearing out the feathers in small but forceful fistfuls before gathering an amount she deemed sufficient and running off giggling, possibly to disturb her indisposed mother. Publius was surprisingly adapt at peeling fruit and vegetables; in another life he might have made a fine tailor, or perhaps a medic. Still, the boy was just the right amount of both careful and daring with a blade in his hands. And Titus? Well, he had finished plucking the chicken, quartered it - clumsily, yes, but he was no butcher -, taken out the nasty bits and tossed the good ones into a big clay pot where onions, lentils, carrots and chestnuts awaited company. Copious amounts of garum and red wine and a handful of assorted herbs and spices, selected with no concern for how well they would go together but merely for their fragrance, had followed suit and the pot, properly lidded, had been placed in the oven to work its magic and hopefully turn all that food into a passable stew.
At the same time, his eldest hadn't been idle either, and had prepared quite the artfully decorated platter of assorted cheeses and cured meats before moving on to dessert: apples boiled in a mix of red wine and honey with chopped walnuts and more honey on top, and some stuffed dates and preserved plums on the side in case someone didn't fancy apples. Titus felt a surge of parental pride well up inside him: if his attempt at preparing a meal for the slaves failed, Sulpicia would save his honour by making sure they would still have something decent to eat.
The clay pot was smelling like it might be done cooking, and after a moment's deliberation with his son on how they would take it out of the oven without incurring serious burns, Titus spotted two thick and seemingly well-used squares of leather hanging from a hook just by. They served their intended purpose and soon enough the pot was set on a table and uncovered, belching out a great curtain of steam. It smelled like food, which was a start. As he portioned the stew into two big bowls Titus dipped his ran his fingertip along part of the edge of the pot and brought it to his mouth to taste. All right, so maybe he had been too careless with the garum and the gravy was a bit saltier and thicker than intended, but he had had worse. All in all, it was a valiant effort; he was pleased.
Now all that was left was to serve it to the critics. He picked up one of the bowls, Sulpicia the other and Publius the charcuterie platter and the three of them made off into the triclinium, where bread, wine and olives had already been freely made available to the servants. Titus had the feeling it wasn't only just Betua's expectant look that was trained on him, and that made him a little uncomfortable - nobody liked to be judged, after all. But a natural inclination for resting bitch face and years of making intentional use of it meant his expression remained mostly neutral, even as they placed the food on the table and began ladling the stew into individual bowls for the slaves' convenience.
"Dinner is served, my fine ladies and gentlemen. I hope you'll enjoy it."
@Chevi @Ejder @Sara @Sharpie
I suggest no set posting order since there's a few of us. Also, feel free to NPC Betua and any other slaves!
October 75 CE
After a successful praying session to the ancient gods of his homeland, Artemon was feeling quite ready to honour another Egyptian custom of old - a nice mug of beer. Even though his deity of choice was Sobek, the crocodile god to whom he had not found a temple yet, he had faith that neither Isis nor Serapis would object too much to being second best.
The small tavern a couple of streets away was mostly frequented by countrymen of his and, as far as Artemon was concerned, had pretty decent beer for its price. He hummed an old tune all the way there and headed straight for the counter upon entering, where he parted with a bit of coin and was given a big cup with a generous amount of beer inside. He took a sip, sighed in delight and made his way outside again, intent on enjoying his drink under the autumn sun...
That was, until he walked into something quite solid and proceeded to spill half his beer over it. As he processed the event he first mourned the loss of his drink, and only a moment later did he realise he had unwittingly given a young man a beer bath. With a sheepish smile Artemon awkwardly and futilely tried to pat the man dry as he apologised in Egyptian. "I'm sorry brother, my mind was elsewhere."
"Onions, garlic, figs, cumin, lentils," Davus murmured to himself, repeating the shopping list over again (minus the items he had already bought, of course). "Onions, garlic... oof!" He had been distracted in his search and ended up very nearly walking into someone. The someone, when he'd recovered his wits and stepped backwards, an apology ready, turned out to be a young woman, of similar complexion to him, dressed simply, and with a veil over her head.
"Apologies," he said, checking that he hadn't dropped anything - he hadn't. "I wasn't watching where I was going - I hope you're not hurt?" His Latin was perhaps more melodious than a native would pronounce it, thanks to his Egyptian Greek accent.
24 | July 51 | Slave | House slave | Straight | Original | Max Minghella
Davus is generally a quiet, reserved type of person. This is partly due to his upbringing and station in life and partly from natural reserve. He is thoughtful, intelligent and observant, traits that might otherwise get him in trouble - and did so on more than one occasion in his younger days, until he learned to rein himself in and just be what the Romans wanted him to be, a useful tool and of no more intelligence than that. He is very aware of the insecurity that comes with being a slave, having changed owners several times since he was ten, and while he has served in the household of Titus Sulpicius Rufus for six years (the longest he has spent in any one place since his birth), he knows that it would take one word from his master to see him at the slave market again, and he would do almost anything to avoid that.
Of average height, Davus is clearly one of the many foreign-born slaves in Rome, although this is given away more by his features than the colour of his skin. He has the dark eyes and dark curly hair that denote his Egyptian background, although the paleness of his skin owes far more to his Roman father than his Egyptian mother. He looks more exotic the more time he spends out of doors in the sun as he naturally tans. He wears the clothing provided by his master - simple tunics in undyed linen with a plain leather belt, although he may be given smarter clothing if he is to serve guests at a party or other event. If he leaves the house, he will have simple leather sandals.
Father: unknown (in reality Gaius Clovius Frontinus, a legionary stationed in Alexandria)
Mother: Tabia (slave)
Siblings: None known
Extended family: None
The web of the Roman slave trade was a wide net, cast right across the Mare Nostrum from Aegyptus to the Pillars of Hercules. Davus was born a slave, the son of a slave, in an Egyptian brothel in Alexandria, but was fortunate enough not to be exposed to die as many prostitutes' babies were. He grew up in the shadow of the Museion and the great Library of Alexandria, although he never had the fortune of entering the place. When he was ten, he and his mother were shipped across the wide blue Mare Nostrum to the biggest slave market in the world at Delos, where he saw even more people than he'd seen in Alexandria, and with other colours of hair like red and gold and very pale skin, which he couldn't recall ever seeing before.
It was at Delos that he was separated from his mother; her buyer didn't want to spend even the few sesterces a ten-year-old would cost, and so Davus endured the first and greatest heartbreak of his life. He was eventually bought by a trader from Corinthos. He served in his house for a few years, before eventually being sold again when his master's fortunes took a turn for the worse. Now aged fifteen, he was sent west across the sea to Ostia and thence to Rome (along with sundry other slaves and various goods from all over the Empire and beyond).
Unable to speak anything other than Greek and a smattering of Egyptian, he was sold again to a senator in whose house he learned Latin (which he still speaks with an Egyptian Greek accent). Eventually, aged eighteen, he exchanged households yet again, finding himself being given as a welcome home gift to one Titus Sulpicius Rufus and his wife, and he has been in their household for the last six years.
He has heard stories of the Christian God all his life, but has not yet decided whether this path is one he is willing to embark on, despite being told of the love and comfort that believers have found in Him.
Sharpie | GMT | Discord (#4424) or PM
Basically reply with your character responding to the one above with a gif of their reaction to the person above.
The game here is pretty simple - a question is asked and one of your characters answer it... it can be a "this or that" question or a deeper and more personal question. The answer is IC of course. Once answered, ask a new question for the next character 🙂
I'll start of course 😄
Have you ever been in love? ❤️
have one of your characters answer a question!
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