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  1. Today
  2. Plot | Species | Rules | Gangs | Advertise | Discord
  3. Tertius had not thought he was going to have more children – his wife died after giving birth to Antonia and he already had Teutus, who was now free and to be made heir of Tertius’ fortune. But then Fortuna decided he should be a father again after all, and he was not going to let Charis change the ways of the gods. She was going to have a child, a child that was his… and that was it. She swallowed when he told her that she was having the child, whether she wanted to or not. And then she would know what was going to happen, after the child was born. He tried to explain to her, that it would depend on her behavior and that she could relent and maybe things would be better then. Or she could not relent and she might not see the child. This seemed to surprise her, she wondered why she could not see ‘him’. A boy? How did she know? And yet although she thought she knew this, she did not know what he meant… “I will not have my child nursed and brought up by a selfish and deceiving mother.” He said and inhaled a breath, because what came next was another crucial matter, “If you do not relent and change your behavior before the child is born, I will find another nurse for the child.” Tertius explained and backed towards the door, “Do you have more questions today… anything you’d like to say? Else I really think I need to get on with my day.” At least he gave her a chance to apologize for her behavior. Whether she wanted to take or not, well that was up to her. She knew the terms no matter what she chose. @Sara
  4. Callista began to remove the brackets that decorated her arms, carefully setting them down on the vanity once removed. She pondered what Horatia had said. "You're quite today... something on your mind?" She paused for a moment, thinking of what her reply should be before saying "it's nothing important" as blood began to flow into her cheeks, causing her to blush slightly. She felt her face warm and quickly looked down, as if to get a closer look at the clasps she was unfastening, in an effort to conceal her now pink cheeks. "How are you domina?" she quickly asked, in an attempt to change the subject. Her words came out rushed and flustered though, if anything they made her embarrassment more apparent. She usually could conceal her emotions better than this but it seemed as if her body was betraying her, what with the blush and poorly executed attempet at speech. @Sara
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  6. Yesterday
  7. Why on Earth Alexius should have better places for his attention than with someone like Felix, was beyond him. After all, Felix was quite good looking and so far very easy to get along with and spend time with. So what’s not to like? Plus, of course, Alexius wasn’t exactly picky and he did not care much if his companion and the target for his attention was slave or free. All he cared about was whether they showed the same interest in him, as he did in them. He didn’t know though, if Felix just didn’t get it or was toying with him, when he didn’t really respond to Alexius’ quite obvious suggestions. So he wondered if Felix, being a body slave to his master and all, never pleased him. Meaning using his hands for that, of course, since they were talking about hands. But Felix didn’t answer that. Instead he firmly told Alexius to not ask such a question. Alexius arched a brow, a little surprised at the sudden change in Felix. Of course, a man born and raised and still living as a slave, in the same house, would be terribly loyal to his master. Too loyal, if you asked Alexius. The gods knew he'd never been that loyal, but he was also born free and lived spent all his slave-years yearning for freedom again. But he didn’t mean anything bad with the question. He thought they were having a good talk that could lead to more. Or he hoped. “I didn’t mean to offend you.” Alexius then said, “Apologies if I did.” He added, watching Felix carefully, hoping he had not turned the handsome man away from him now. @Chevi
  8. Charis buried her neck in Cynane's, as if savouring every last moment of this embrace and her friend. She was still trying, determinedly, to think that everything would be fine and she would rid herself of the child and things could go back to 'normal' (whatever normal now was for her). Yet in her actions, her fear was evident. She couldn't stomach the thought of not seeing Cynane's face again or the poor woman hearing of her passing. What if she never saw Ardra again? Or was buried somewhere so far from home? She tried to shake the thought from her mind as best as she could and hurriedly pulled away from the embrace. "Two weeks." She affirmed and raised her hand to stroke her friends cheek in a familial way. "Two weeks and this will all be over and we will have wine and grin and laugh again, I promise." Before she got upset and the tears that were gathering in her eyes fell, she turned on her heel. By the time she reached the domus - some time later - Jocasta was waiting for her, arm on her hip and smirk on her face. Her absence had been noted, she said, but Charis only brushed past her. She needed to speak to Teutus, and she needed to do it now. TAG: @Atrice Thank you for a fab thread!
  9. Charis swallowed and kept her eyes down at the floor, her hands softly stroking the imperceivable bump on her belly. Whether you want to or not. This was possibly the most epitomising moment of slavery so far for her; she had been raped and abused, shackled and chained but that had not broken her spirit. She felt she still had options after each. But this? To carry a child for nine months and endure the rigours and very real possibility of death in childbed, against her will? Nothing could have summed up just how little freedom she had, than that. Tertius likely didn't even realise it - he was a man of class, and a man full stop. He would never understand, but she was beginning to. Her frown increased as he finished speaking and she glanced up at him - the fire dimmed in her eyes and pure confusion filling the void. "B-but it will be my child? How can I not see him?" She had a sense - an inkling that whatever grew inside her would be a boy. It was a foolish thing to think she could predict it, but it felt right. If anybody who was allowed to see her - Tertius or the evil little witch Jocasta - cared to really examine her they would see the cogs on her mind begin to slow and falter. She had lashed out initially - a sign that she was not well mentally, but this creeping dread - the realisation that everything was so far out of her control now - was something else. She sat in silence, hands over her stomach and frowning. TAG: @Atrice
  10. Charis didn’t seem to know what a praetorian was and Cynane gave her a smile, “Praetorian. They are the official guards for the imperial family. But they’re only men.” She explained then, it did not seem likely that Cynane would be freed and promoted to praetorian. If she was freed, she might stay as a bodyguard. Or they would force her to actually become a Roman woman, who would wear a dress and have a husband and children, if she could. She couldn’t imagine herself as a Roman matron wearing skirts. Cynane had mentioned how Roman men didn’t like their women with weapons and her friend laughed and said they could not be blamed. Cynane couldn’t help but smile, when Charis said she’d call on Cynane if she was ever in trouble. Cynane took those words to heart and although it had been said in jest from Charis, once more it meant something to her… “If you are ever in real trouble, I will fight for you if I can. Trust me.” She said with a smile to her friend and soon after, they came upon a great sundial in the gardens and Charis suddenly realized she had to go. Their conversation had been so relaxed for a short while, but now reality returned. “Oh…” Cynane said and turned to her friend, “Be safe, please. I hope the herbs will do you good and not bad.” She would beg Brigid to protect her friend, even though Charis did not seem to want it. She feared the herbs would do Charis bad and she’d die… she might never see her again. Having a child removed like that could be dangerous, as they already discussed. Cynane would rather keep Charis with her baby than lose her friend for good. Cynane leaned in to embrace Charis, perhaps a little tighter than usual. She didn’t have a lot of close friends, after all. @Sara
  11. Calpurnia's eyes widened and she glanced across to her mother for direction, at the same time Aulus did. Her mother's lips twitched in a sly smile and she nodded her head, adding; "I think that would be very pretty, don't you?" Calpurnia beamed and forgetting herself, and her shyness, in the face of her fathers generosity - moved to wrap her little arms around his midriff in a hug. "Yes please!" She beamed and giggled before righting herself. Horatia saw the storm before it came, however, and was swiftly on her feet moving back over to them before Calpurnia would realise her unprompted kindness had knocked all of her pebbles and treasures into the grass from her fathers pallium. She knelt quickly, in between Aulus and her daughter and set to rifling through the grass with silent concentration until she had fished out four of the five treasures. Calpurnia was still distracted, talking about what she wanted her necklace to look like - mercifully oblivious to her lost stone. Horatia quirked her eyebrow to Aulus next to her and said gently, joking; "You cannot take your eyes off of them for even a moment...lest disaster strike..." She meant it not as a criticism but as a joke and hoped he'd take it as such. Now...where was this lucky stone with a hole in the middle?! TAG: @Sharpie
  12. He would love to allow her to do some exercise, take a walk and a proper bath in a bathhouse and so on. But with how she acted, he didn’t want to. She did not deserve such treatment. She deserved to sit here and consider everything she’d done and hopefully reach the conclusion, that maybe she had been wrong and maybe it was the best idea to just submit to her master. Which she should have done a long time ago, but it had all been pretense. That was part of why Tertius was so angry with her right now – all her lies. None of it had been for real, from her side. She had made promises, sweet words had escaped her lips, but they’d been lies. She had deceived him and he would have no more of that. And now she dared to wonder what was going to happen ‘after’. Tertius naturally asked what she meant and she would know what was going to happen after the child was born. Meanwhile she sat on the bed and suddenly laughed and spoke of the child. “You are. Whether you want to or not.” Tertius just said, he didn’t see the reason to laugh. This was hardly an amusing situation! “Concerning what happens after… well, that… depends on your behavior, dear Charis. You could have a better life. I gave you so many chances to have it… but in the end, you decided to betray my trust.” Tertius said, “There are however many months until that child is born, and much can happen. Maybe you will stop being selfish, relent and it will be better for you again and you will be a mother. Maybe you won’t and you’ll never see your child.” He stopped to watch her reaction to that statement. @Sara
  13. Aulus smiled at his daughter's sudden enthusiasm as she set out four more of her small treasures. "That one means luck," he said, indicating the one with the hole in. "And this one... May I?" He picked up the blue and held it up to the light. Sea-glass, he thought - or river-glass, at least, though there was no reason it could not have been discovered at Baiae. "I am buying Titus something that he would like, but of course you don't want the same as him, because he's a boy and you're a girl. But I would like to buy you something for yourself - would you like me to have this one made into a necklace for you to wear, like one of Mama's?" Though not, probably, on as delicate a chain. It would be a very pretty thing that she could wear on special occasions as she grew up, though she might be a little young for such things - he had no idea what little girls of five liked, when it came to adornments, after all, and looked up at Horatia and Titus, who could be Penelope and Telemachus, or Andromache and Astyanax or any of a dozen other legendary women and their sons. He could not help the smile that came as he realised both of the named women were famed for their devotion and constancy, though they had suffered as a result of war (Andromache more, perhaps, with the loss of her son after Troy fell). "Very much - it makes a great change from supply lists and drills, and a very pleasant change at that," he said, returning his attention to Calpurnia. @Sara
  14. Calpurnia grinned and bobbed her head, delighted at her father's interest. Horatia had heard it all before, of course, so for Calpurnia this was a new audience to impress with her trinkets. She snatched up her bag and began to rifle through as Horatia silently mouthed a 'thank you' over her daughters head to Aulus, amused at the scene before her. She had glimpsed his tender side, both in those few short months of marriage and with his newborn son before his departure, but it was nice to be reminded of it now. Especially as she had grown increasingly concerned, as the years had worn on, that life in military camps would roughen him. Calpurnia produced four more stones; a shiny blue one that was almost translucent, one with a hole through its centre and two that Horatia had no idea why her daughter had picked up - they just looked like pebbles to her. Nonetheless, her daughter dutifully laid them out in neat rows on Aulus' pallium. Ever the perfectionist, much like her mother. Not wishing to intrude on the moment - she glanced across at Titus who looked a little forlorn at being left out again (the perils of two children!) and moved to stand - holding out her hand to him. He did not take it and she arched her brow - suspecting now he had a male figure in his life to impress, such shows of affection were not wanted. She dropped it and indicated to a waiting slave that had finally caught up with them to fetch her a drink. "Why don't you show me the fountain whilst Tata is busy?" Titus pouted a little but nodded and turned to wander over to the fountain. She took a seat on its edge and ran a hand through the beautifully cool and clear water. She cast her gaze back to Aulus and Calpurnia and with a hint of amusement, feigned innocence, asking him; "Having fun, husband?" She felt more relaxed here and hoped to the Gods the tumultuous awkwardness would settle down, sooner rather than. TAG: @Sharpie
  15. Aulus took the offered pebbles. The one from Grandtata's garden was striped and the other... he turned it in his hand, noting how it sparkled in the sunlight. A pale gold, similar to the colour of her hair. "Do you know, I think Grandtata is right? It's very nearly the colour of your hair, after all." He adjusted his position, reclining on one elbow to bring him more onto Calpurnia's level as she sat there, and spread his pallium out, putting the two stones neatly on the fabric. "We won't lose them, this way," he explained. "What other treasures do you have in there?" He was infinitely grateful that this was a private corner of the Gardens, and even more grateful that neither Titus Sulpicius Rufus nor Lucius Cassius Longinus were anywhere near Rome - especially Longinus. He'd never hear the end of it if Longinus found out he ever had this sort of conversation with anyone. Bringing miscreants to justice was far more the sort of thing those two knew him for (and offering much-needed common sense when he did it, too) - and this was as far from that situation as Britannia was from Rome. @Sara (Why, yes. Yes, I did refer to That Thread with the three of them. It took place before this, after all! )
  16. Horatia smoothed her daughters pale blonde hair in a gesture of pure maternal love and smiled gently at Aulus, grateful he should try and take (or feign) an interest in his daughter. She had a vivid imagination, and Horatia suspected, deep intelligence but her gender largely prevented her from being seen as such. At Aulus' intrusion Calpurnia glanced up at her mother and Horatia's lips twitched, amused. She knew exactly what her daughter was thinking. The little girl - so irritated at not getting any attention - was now shy in the face of her father. Trying to coax her out, she knelt and on her knees, leant to rifle through the little pouch before producing two little stones. She deposited them in her daughters little hand with a conspiratorial wink and a sly smile. Perked up by this, Calpurnia spun round - back to her mother and facing Aulus and despoiled the two stones in Aulus' hand. "I-I found this one in the garden of Grandtata's." Horatia mouthed 'my father' over her head to Aulus, "A-and this one from here," The little girl grinned, despite her shyness, "D-do you see how spark'ly1 and shiny? Grandtata s-says the Gods made them and left them for me!" Horatia chuckled. It was a pretty story, although to be fair, she had no better explanation of how the latter rock ended up in the Gardens of Sallust - half-buried. It was beautiful, and no wonder Calpurnia wanted to show it off - even if her military man of a father couldn't appreciate it. TAG: @Sharpie 1 Calpurnia found some Pyrite, or 'fool's gold'
  17. Aulus spent a few minutes more with his son, demonstrating how best to hold and wield his sword before saying, "I think you've got it. Why don't you practise that for a bit while Calpurnia shows me her pebbles?" He would rather spend the time with his son, mostly because he understood the sorts of things Titus was interested in, but there would be time for that, and he also wanted to have some sort of relationship with his daughter. He sat down again, before looking at Calpurnia. "What do you want to show me, sweetie?" he asked, though the picture of Horatia and Calpurnia together was almost too pretty for him to want to interrupt. Two fair heads together, one with rose-gold hair and the other with pale gold, and tried to think what figures in mythology they could be - before Calpurnia looked up at her mother with a question in her expression that Aulus couldn't decipher. "If I spread my pallium out a little, you won't lose any in the grass, either," he said. @Sara
  18. And getting to know me, she thought in her head but didn't say anything - only smiling gently at Aulus' insistence they should go with him. In truth - the thought was a welcome one. She knew plenty of women that would loathe the idea of leaving the trappings of comfort they'd come to expect in Rome to trudge halfway across the Empire to some dismal province. But Horatia had grown up in a military family - as a girl she had spent time in Germania and Hispania and then on to Greece and was comfortable with a life away from Rome. Likewise, she was also a woman had been installed with the idea that her husbands word went and so if Aulus was to leave and desired the family move with him, she would not argue. Not unless there was serious risk to the children involved. She tried to shutter the feelings of discomfort, however, at being taken away from her family with a man she - really - barely knew. They'd come to get some familiarity in time, she was sure of it. She just had to deal with and cope with the awkwardness and the unusual in the interim. She watched with genuine pleasure as Titus heeded his father's lesson, although she was growing increasingly aware of Calpurnia's fractiousness on her lap. It came to a head, sooner than anticipated as the little girl - evidently upset about being left out of the conversation, snapped at her brother; "Tata should look at m' pebbles now! N-not swords!" in a voice that Horatia recognised was close to a tantrum. Her daughter was a well behaved little girl - exceptionally well behaved for the most part, even with her riotous imagination - but all little children were prone to bouts of tantrums and upset, regardless of their upbringing. Wishing to diffuse the tension and not embarrass Aulus (or herself and her parenting abilities!) she quietly shifted Calpurnia off of her lap and moved around to face her. "Why don't I look at the pebbles whilst Tata and Titus talk of boring manly things, hm? Or we could make some daisy chains for your hair?" She stroked a soft finger over her daughters cheek to get her to stop glaring at her brother. She knew, history had taught her, that men often favoured their sons - understanding their pastimes and their inclinations in a way they could not with their daughters. She sought to save Aulus from that difficulty by suitably distracting little Calpurnia so he could bond with his son. TAG: @Sharpie
  19. Last week
  20. "Well, Calpurnia, I'm going to be here in Rome for a while yet - a long time, to get to know you and Titus, and then after that I will probably be made a governor somewhere and I'll take all of you with me." Governors, being in post for several years, could reasonably expect to take their families with them, of course, and Aulus didn't expect that his career would deviate from the expected norms again. "Although it depends on what the Emperor says, of course." Titus' sword was a well-balanced thing, even for a toy; Uncle Publius had chosen well (not that Aulus expected anything else of a doting uncle who happened also to be a professional military man). "Did Uncle Publius show you how to hold it?" he asked, looking at Titus' grip, which was nearly right. He shifted to one knee, to make it easier, and reached to carefully adjust his son's grip. "There, like that - we use the very tip, which is why we hold it like that. And of course, you ought to have a shield on your other arm. We'll have to get you one as well as the scabbard, I think." @Sara
  21. Horatia shifted Calpurnia on her lap as she leaned forward, as if to get a better view of her father. Not that she could see her daughter's face, but the little girl had a frown furrowing her brow; "Why did you not t-take Mama and me and Tit-Titus to 'tannia?" And Horatia rocked her enough to make the little girl giggle, speaking to her children rather than looking at Aulus directly; "Britannia, not 'tannia...and because it wasn't safe to and your Papa was very busy, and you," She squeezed her daughter's midriff - a grin of adoration for her children on her face, "Surprised me and were still in my tummy at the time young lady." Calpurnia giggled and Titus distracted himself suitably with handing over his sword to his father. How amusing, she thought, that even at seven years old he'd already internalised enough about the role of a man that he found such things distasteful to think about. She glanced across at Titus and noted the awed look on his face as he gazed upon his father with a sword, and then she pivoted to look at Aulus. Even with a child's toy he looked like a natural with the sword. It reminded her of those fleeting moments in Greece - both before and after their marriage where he'd still been in service and thus any moments they did get to spend together as newlyweds were in the context of stolen snatches between manoeuvres or other military matters. She had seen him, and adored him, in his armour with his weaponry then and this little moment gave her a glimpse of it now. She said nothing, however, and blushed a little to herself as she turned her face away - setting to pick at the daises with Calpurnia. Titus grinned his sweet, gap tooth smile and nodded hesitantly; "I would like that very much." Horatia coughed indiscreetly and Titus added a hurried; "T-thank you Tata." TAG: @Sharpie
  22. They walked towards the booksellers with their many scrolls and the smell of paper and ink. Felix wondered if Callista had books in mind already, or if they were going to browse. Or maybe ask. He had to admit, he was not sure what the domina normally liked to read. "Plays, poetry, mythology, anything that I believe the domina might enjoy. She tends to read story's that somewhat mimic her life, the story of a hero who leaves for honorable reasons and then returns to his dutifully waiting wife, and when he returns there is celebration and they never part again." Callista smiled, and Felix chuckled. She clearly had an affection for her domina, and the story she'd lived through. Maybe they had the kind of bond that Felix and Aulus shared. Either way, he turned his mind to the task, and he immediately had to admit that he was not an expert on books. "So... the Odyssey?" he ventured with a smirk. He was fairly sure domina had already read that, but it was the classic story about waiting and return. His mother told him the story when he was little. Most of it, anyway. @Laria
  23. Aulus smiled and stretched before joining the others on the ground; it was a warm day - warmer in Italia than in Britannia, of course - and the grass was soft. He didn't really care what the slaves would say if he returned with grass-stains on his clothes. He didn't even particularly care what anyone else would think if they noticed he had grass-stains, either. "No, not like this - it is a very wild country indeed, and the people there live in villages of round houses, some of the made of stone but most made from dried mud, and with roofs made from straw - nothing like our houses here, at all. But there are people there who want to have towns like we do, with temples and forums and gardens, so they are beginning to build them, in the south at the moment. It will all look very different when you are my age, I'm sure, and maybe you'll see for yourself one day." He noticed Titus fiddling with his sword. "May I see it? It looks a very good sword - a proper gladius, in fact." Titus pulled it out and handed it over, a little hesitantly. Aulus took it, holding it as he would his own sword, though it was much smaller and much lighter, being made for a child and not someone of Aulus' size. "Thank you," he said, offering it back, hilt first. "Do you think I could borrow it, maybe when you are doing your school-work, so that I can get it measured for a scabbard? It would be much easier to carry that way, after all." @Sara
  24. “I bet you know, if you think about it.” Oh, he knew. It was not that hard to get it, even without the amused laugh. Felix was just not sure where Alexius was going with all this. A good-looking, free man like him, an ex-gladiator even, had better places ti fish for attention than with someone like Felix. “Your master… never asked you to massage him? Or to please him… in bed?” Alexius probably did not realize he made a mistake until Felix's amused smile disappeared. Flirting was one thing; private information about his master's habits, that was quite another. Here, Felix knew exactly where his loyalties were. "That is not a question you should ask." he said quietly, but firmly. No one faulted Roman men for taking their pleasure with their slaves, but it was still a private matter, and not something Felix would talk to a stranger about. @Atrice
  25. Sara

    To Walk Alone

    Horatia choked and her shock that accompanied the scream almost knocked her from her perch. Sense caught her at the last minute and she wound her arms around Titus - still at her breast - to keep him from tumbling from her lap. The scream had died to a mewling pain that echoed around the trees and even from this distance away she heard voices, more than one, from the place she had sought refuge with Decius. She sat rooted to her spot for a few long moments in agonising indecision. Where could she go? If she stayed where she was whoever had inflicted that raw pain on another human might find her, but to run away deeper into the forest risked her losing her way and who knew if she could find her way back to the road as night set in? Titus shifted against her chest and the motion blinked her out of indecision. Cautiously, on legs that felt as solid as the sea, she stood and as quietly as she could - she moved through the mud. It was slick against her sandals and she had to reach out to grip onto low branches and trunks to regain her balance as her other arm held her son - still latched on to keep him quiet - against her breast. She squinted into the dull light until she saw the embers flickering from the fire Decius had started moments before and immediately her spare hand came to her mouth to muffle her scream of shock. Decius lay prone on the floor and even in the dim light and drizzle the blood that swelled and bloomed from a wound at his throat was visible - soaking the leaves below him. Three men stood around although she could see four horses in the far distance in the clearing. She felt her skin come over in goosebumps and the hair at the back of her neck raise. Their conversation was muted but she could catch words here and there; they were taunting him. "Does it hurt to die?" One sneered and Horatia felt tears prickle in her eyes. Another snorted and moved with his sword to prod at the mans stomach until Horatia could look no more and screwed shut her eyes. "Let's do this again...Who was with you?" He asked and she heard Decius scream again. "N-no one was w-with me." Was his stuttered response through gargles of pain and it was in that moment Horatia realised what was happening. Whoever they were - bandits - Clemen's men -she didn't know, but she did know that they knew Decius was not alone and the wounds the man was receiving were in response to his silence. Horatia waited no longer, and before she could take stock of her surroundings, she bolted. Titus was pulled away from her breast and placed on her hip as she ran through the mud and the underbrush. His screaming intensified at the shock of being ripped from his source of food and before long she heard the sound of feet behind her. The light was fading but she had always been perceptive and remembered the route back to the road. Before long, she stumbled onto the dirt thats signalled the road and blinked. A man stood there, grinning a gap tooth smile as if he'd been waiting his whole afternoon for this moment. She had forgotten about the one man unaccounted for in the clearing. "Hello love." - Part 2 of 5 -
  26. "As you wish." She offered a light smile, slightly buoyed by his reaction but didn't go farther and say anymore than that. She knew full well that his decision was final - even if she was ultimately under her father's authority and not her husband's, within their marriage she was still duty bound to his plans and will. Even if he allowed her opinions, ultimately it would still be a significant change to her life for the last five years. Perhaps that was the root cause of this feeling of discomfort? Their new dynamic would take time to bed in. Titus looked absolutely delighted by his fathers reaction and then glanced around. There was a couple - a little way off - equites or well-dressed plebs Horatia guessed - but they were too enamoured with one another to pay the family much heed. Without much ceremony, he trotted off to a secluded spot on the grass and plopped himself down. Calpurnia wriggled free of her mother's hand and bounded after her brother, taking a seat on the grass. Horatia glanced at Aulus and then moved herself. She dropped the palla from her hair to spread out enough to sit on - the stola she was wearing might have been plain but it was expensive and she knew the slaves would mutter if she got grass-stains on it. Calpurnia moved quickly to sit on her mother's lap and Horatia winced a little at her weight but shifted her to a more comfortable position. Titus fiddled with the hilt of his wooden sword, obviously itching to get it out, but not wishing to pre-empt his father. Quietly, he asked; "D-did you have gardens like this in B-Britannia, Tata?" TAG: @Sharpie
  27. "I would rather discuss it and come to a mutual decision, than merely agree with your ideas - or veto them," Aulus said quietly. A marriage didn't have two equal partners, of course, but he was not going to ride rough-shod over anything she did, and wanted her to know that he respected her. Wherever his next posting took him, she would be running the household - he could not do that and do his duties (probably running a province, if his cursus honorum went according to plan and precedent). They were so new to all of this that she probably expected him to dictate every decision, and yet she had made every decision for herself and the children for the past five years. He took his son's hand, grateful that his children seemed to be coming out of their shyness a little, and was towed to a quiet spot with a fountain, shielded from view. "Oh, how delightful," he exclaimed. He had had no notion such a place existed - it had been many years since he had last visited the Gardens of Sallust, after all, but even when he had been in Rome, he had not really explored the gardens. "I think it's lovely, Titus," he said, looking down at his son, who had let go of his hand and was standing, looking slightly nervous, though that look dissolved into a beaming smile at his father's words. "Where shall we sit, do you think?" he asked. The grass looked soft, and there was a marble bench nearby - though he would sit wherever the others did, and did not really expect the children to want to sit on the bench. This was a place made for being at ease, after all, and Aulus could shed his dignitas in private and come down to his children's level, at least for a little while. @Sara
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