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Sains last won the day on August 19

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  1. It was certainly better for the both of them that Longinus no longer held the authority that he once did. Conversations on the front had been far more grim and serious and, although it was certainly appropriate for the time, he'd always hoped there'd be a day when they could share a drink as equals in a place that wasn't sopping wet for most of the year. Though a divide between the two in terms of class was certainly present, it was far more muted than it had been out there. Longinus's assessment of life, while amusingly troublesome, was something that Decimus could sympathize with. A man in his position was privy to almost all aspects of Imperial life short of all the private tasks that slaves had the obligation to perform. Whether or not anyone truly enjoyed all of that pageantry was an interesting thought, though he knew it certainly beat begging in the streets. As the conversation shifted towards the new Caesar and his overall demeanor, Decimus was caught mid-gulp. After lowering his mug and wiping away a bit of the stuff that had stuck around on his lips, he leaned back into the booth which gave an odd creak at the strain and rubbed at the short hairs that made up his beard. "What can one say? He's very... friendly." , he began, "Whether or not it's for show I can't say, but he certainly knows how to brighten a room. He even gives morning greetings to some of the guards when he wakes." A short pause would allow the Praetorian to finish the contents of his mug before waving it about as a signal to one of the tavern girls who'd hopefully come sooner rather than later. When he was sure they'd seen, he leaned in a bit closer to Longinus and spoke in a far lower tone of voice. "For all that he's young. Damn young. He's never seen a battle, let alone a war. Things are all cake and honey now, but when the Parthians kick off again, or the Caledonians, or the Germans, I'm not sure how he'll fair. He can swing a sword well enough, but sometimes I think the only thing that's keeping the borders safe is the fact that our old leader still breathes." @Sara
  2. A bodyguard was entirely believable for one with his build. There was always the possibility that he had been in the military before and his career had led him to this life, but, like Aia, Decimus imagined that he would certainly have mentioned it. It was certainly a badge of honor that many Romans enjoyed revealing if not outright boasting about. He could remember a number of times where he'd had to shut himself up about the entire thing as he could go on for hours. This interesting tidbit of information was soon complimented by Aia revealing her own career, much to Decimus's delight. Though there were certainly some in the world that had no stomach for a working woman, let alone a clever one, Decimus found no end to his love for just such a woman. He'd often told her about how he would have dreaded the prospect of marrying a boring young ditz. "Sometimes she whispers that tongue in her sleep; gives one a real taste of the frontier.", he'd jest. "I do administrative work for the legion, though I did serve in her ranks some time ago." Of course it was a half-lie, but he didn't really feel comfortable telling this man about the fact that he was a Praetorian quite yet. It wasn't something that he necessarily shouted from the rooftops, even though he usually didn't keep it a secret. The fact that they'd not yet received a marriage dispensation also contributed to the ambiguity of his answer, though hopefully that would be taken care of soon. @Atrice @Chevi
  3. Decimus recognized Longinus from the moment he stepped through the door with all of the vim and vigor he'd been known for in Britannia. It was refreshing to see that his old friend hadn't lost his spirits being bottled up in Rome all this time. "Salve, Sir." he said with a familiar grin. "They can do without me for a day, and besides, how could I let you suffer through another day with the upper crust? I trust civilian life is as boring as ever?" Though he certainly knew how Longinus felt about spending his days in the city, away from the frontier, he couldn't help but hope that his friend wasn't too disgusted with his life out-of-armor. He had no trouble remembering how he'd felt when he'd first heard of his new assignment in the city and, even though it was one of the greatest honors a legionary could receive, he'd wondered if he could truly live with the idea of wandering the halls of the imperial palace until he withered away or retired to a life of farming the countryside. If it hadn't been for Aia, who knows if he would have stayed sane? While it was true that some men feared the prospect of life on the frontier, dangerous as it was, Decimus had lived for it. He'd lived and breathed it for the majority of his life, and when it finally came time to say goodbye to it he'd always felt that he could have done more with his time out there. Sure, there was the chance that the new Augustus would go off on a campaign of some sort and he might be lucky enough to tag along, but as it stood there seemed to be little chance that Decimus would ever lead that kind of life again. Perhaps Longinus felt the same fears? Surely not. A man with his reputation and experience could hope to command anywhere he wished so long as the position were open. Perhaps he was already planning to make a break for it as soon as the Emperor would let him. @Sara
  4. 76 CE Late July In the seemingly endless din of parties and street traffic that ruled the eternal city it appeared as though Fortuna would grant one night in the dog days of the year that one could manage to hear their own thoughts. There didn't seem to be any apparent reason for this sudden cease in the overall commotion; perhaps everyone had just grown tired of the whole thing. It wasn't as if it would last, of course, but as the lone guardsman loosened up with a mug of mead he couldn't help but wonder about the nature of the nobleman's note. Longinus had asked him to meet at this tavern through a slave, but it hardly seemed to Decimus that there were any reason for him to want to hang out in a tavern laden with Rome's lower orders. Even though they were old friends he couldn't help but wonder what would make spending a night with him seem more appealing than hearing about the latest gossip that was passed around the dinner tables of Rome's wealthiest circles. The light outside of the tavern had grown scarcer and scarcer in the hour since he'd arrived, and with the darkness came the warmth of the newly lit candles that would help carry on the regular patron's habits till they'd had their fill. Decimus was no great thinker, and he'd never claim to be, but in the back of his mind he'd always wondered how fulfilling a life of luxury could be. He wouldn't say that money was useless, and he certainly hoped to end his life with more of it than he'd started with, but the thought of enduring conversations about fashion, laws, and land-use seemed mind-bogglingly dull to him. Maybe it was something one only truly came to enjoy when they had wealth. Either way, he was sure that he would hear Longinus's views on the subject tonight. It was either that or they'd talk about Britannia. He certainly couldn't blame the man for talking about it either. Britannia was probably the most excitement that either of them would see in their lives, save for if the drums of war truly started beating again. Becoming Praetorian had left little room for the thought of ever visiting the front in any long term capacity. The new Augustus didn't seem all that interested in beginning a new campaign, but that observation only came from the limited time he'd spent in the man's presence. Perhaps Longinus would know something that he did not. Either way, he was perfectly content to wait for the man at the small booth he'd snagged for the night. @Sara
  5. Ultimately Decimus had hoped that his ambiguity would serve them well in the long run. It was not as if it had been a lie, after all, and all it revealed to Alexius was that they were not from the city originally. If Alexius were any more curious about their origins, well, they'd cross that bridge when they came to it. As far as Alexius's career were concerned, Decimus already had a few presumptions worked up in his mind. It was definitely something oriented towards heavy labor, (as if that weren't obvious) but something about the way the man carried himself made him guess that it wasn't hauling grain bags around warehouses. He'd seen enough warriors in his time to know that this man had seen some combat in his life. His movements were more intentional than a man used to the brain-dead work of a pack mule. Further than that; the scarring on his body was a clear indicator of some form of abuse, and it wasn't all from whips. They looked like blade cuts, and it was clear they weren't from any boring old butchers shop. Nevertheless, he was interested to hear Alexius's response. Perhaps he was a former legion-man. @Atrice @Chevi
  6. Decimus would have pressed further if he were overly curious of the man's background, but in truth it was hardly something that he needed to know. In his own experience he'd found that many people, especially those from the provinces, had no interest in discussing their past. One could hardly be surprised when this was the case as picking up everything and moving to a land completely foreign to one's own was hardly a decision made lightly. Even with the financial incentives and political opportunities that waited for one in Roma the prospect of actually moving there would be daunting for anyone; god's knew it had been for him. "Well there's this Thessalian back in camp that usually doesn't nick you up too badly if you stay still.", he'd say, doing his best to limit his movements as Marcus set about snip-snaping away at his hair. He spoke with levity, though he'd never thought that Attikos had done a particularly bad job on him. He could only count one time that he'd been cut and that was probably because he'd moved in an unexpected way. Nevertheless, this was indeed a new experience for the veteran. "But no, you'd be the first. I don't know if it's much of an honor, but you have it." @Atrice
  7. It certainly was a step up from any military camp either of them had lived in during their unique service, though there was some pleasure to be gained from sleeping under the stars. It was one more thing to miss amidst the ceaseless noise and torchlight of the city, but something he'd grown used to by now. He could hardly care what the people who lived on the ground floor were living like; to him the fourth floor would always have a unique spot in his heart. After all, it was his. He didn't have to submit it to an inspection every other day or make sure that it was cleaned to a certain standard (Although he didn't expect Aia would let him off the hook there). He was renting it, sure, but as long as he paid his dues and didn't put a hole through the wall it was their own little slice of Rome. Taking a moment to admire the contents of the room, bare as they were, he turned to face the two as their conversation drifted towards the topic of their personal arrangement. Admittedly he'd first perked up at the mention of a bed, but that certainly wasn't worth mentioning. "I could probably build one if you gave me enough time; spend less that way." Keeping their presence here as uninteresting as possible was one of the highest priorities, at least in Decimus's mind, to dealing with any one of their new neighbors. He figured it would be better for the both of them if he were as vague as possible, though he certainly couldn't deny the fact that they were involved with one another. Sure, this 'Alexius' would know their names, but it wasn't as if Claudia would send her agents of the night to beat his door down to try and discover some sort of romantic scandal. "We've traveled a lot together, but this is our first time renting. We've probably spent more time around a campfire than a hearth." he'd say, wrapping his arm about her affectionately. "I hope I can rely on you to tell us about the area, Alexius. Anything we should know about the other tenants? No screaming babes I hope." @Atrice@Chevi
  8. Decimus truly hoped that he never sounded too pompous whenever he revealed his line of work. Of course it was no secret to anyone that the guard knew how to fight quite well, but he hoped that his pride wouldn't eventually turn into arrogance as time went on. He dreaded the thought that he might one day be a fat old quartermaster who boasted of his swordsmanship and high status to anyone that might care to listen. "Aren't too many of us," he'd begin, shrugging matter-of-factly, "Gaul's good country; mind you I've only ever walked the roads, though. The forests were nice." Honestly it was strange to think about the fact that he'd never truly gotten to experience the countryside of such a vast province. His lot had always been to travel through the great expanse of fields and forests towards the hotbeds of action that had dominated the news-reader's tablets in recent memory, though there were always rumors of uprisings in the lands tamed by Caesar. At any rate, he was still young. There'd be more than enough time to wander the world once he was out, or better yet, the state might pay him to do it as a bodyguard. "I think it's best that you surprise me. I'm sure you know what you're doing with those things, and I've no eye for fashion." This was exciting now! He could only imagine what the man might do that may be otherwise unexpected to him, but beings that he had cut his hair in the same way for most of his life it was quite reasonable to think that nearly any variation might impress him. "Why'd you leave Gaul then? Not enough customers?" @Atrice
  9. The guardsman would nod in greeting to Alexius as Aia presented him and wave a hand so as to indicate that he should follow Aia up the stairs while Decimus would follow the both of them. He was quite content to let Aia question the man during their ascent, for he was quite occupied with glancing into the rooms that they passed at each landing. Some doors were open, but most were closed; nevertheless, he couldn't say that what he'd seen so far looked bad. The stairwell was fairly clean, or as clean as one might expect, but what really grabbed him was the mix of aromas that wafted around the building. Of course there was the occasional fowl smelling moment, but these were overshadowed by the lovely aromas of home-cooked meals. Sometimes he heard laughter, other times he'd hear a shout from one of the apartments below, but there was a certain calmness in the chaos. Perhaps he was only idealizing the place, after all they'd only been here for a few minutes. One might hope that he wouldn't be called upon to join in on the conversation until they'd reached the room. He'd hate to have to admit that he'd been daydreaming while they were walking up. @Chevi @Atrice
  10. Decimus smiled and nodded in agreement with his love, though he did appreciate the man's offer. He was well built, that was for certain, and for a moment he thought to ask whether he was a legionary man; something about the way he carried himself seemed to hint at the fact that he wasn't, though. "I take it you live here, friend?" A safe bet. It would be much more of a surprise if this was just a good Samaritan trying to gain favor with Fides. Either that or he was a pickpocket. It might not have been good of Decimus to pass so many judgements on the man just by giving him a once over, but perhaps he'd grown to become a bit of a cynic towards the virtuosity of the average citizen. @Chevi @Atrice
  11. The very thought of living the "home life" had always been a distant thought in Decimus's mind. When one lived and breathed the army for a dozen or so years the real world was thrust away by the cornu's blare and the thunder of marching men. It was something that he'd noticed when he'd been allowed to travel back to his home upon his transfer orders coming in. He'd rise long before the dawn and spend his days (which were probably intended for some form of vacation) diligently performing the more menial tasks that his family hadn't gotten around to. Perhaps that was why he'd been so excited to go about moving into the insula, however humble it might seem. He liked to imagine that beginning this new chapter of their lives together would bring a fresh perspective to life. Also, it sure beat the hell out of sleeping at the Castra. The insula had proven to be a fairly affordable option and the owner seemed kind enough so, overall, he was optimistic. The business of traveling light for most of their lives had left the both of them with little to bring to the place at first, but he was sure that as the years grew on they'd find the time to fill it with baubles and knick-knacks like proper citizens before too long. "Oh, I can hardly wait." he'd say with a smirk. "Do you think they'll bring us our songbirds and pork before or after the silk and jewels?" As for the tenants that passed them on their ascent to their new home, well, they looked fairly average. Standing amongst courtiers and stuffy old men hadn't caused him to gain an ego, thankfully, and he'd still always prefer an honest working man to a prim and proper senator. @Chevi @Atrice
  12. Decimus watched with some interest while the man rooted through his various vials and jars for the right scent. When the vial was finally held to his nose he took in a short whiff to confirm that it wasn't something too obnoxious, but he recognized the familiar, if not rather simple, smell of lavender almost immediately. "That'll do fine." he'd comment, looking straight on as he supposed he ought to. He certainly wasn't dressed in any sort of fancy clothing. He wasn't going about in his toga, and the tunica draped about his person was certainly not the sort of rag that one would see a prole wandering about in. Plain white with a light blue trim about the edges made it one of his favored articles of clothing, but that certainly wouldn't have done much to indicate what he did for a living. "I serve Caesar as a Praetorian." he replied, still quite proud to say it. "I don't live like a Senator but it's better than hoofing it around Britannia for the regular rate." He'd joke about it, of course, but in all honesty it was quite a bit a better than what he'd been making in Britannia. Honestly when he'd gotten a look at his new rate in palace service he'd almost thought it had been a clerical error! Of course there was also the raw honor that came from the posting. Very few of his countrymen could ever hope to see Caesar up close, let alone work in his home. @Atrice
  13. Decimus sat patiently while Barbatius had the water brought forth, though he hardly knew what he might ask for in a scent. It wasn't because he was simple, or that he had never once thought of adding a scent to his body. He'd wager any sensible man wouldn't get very far in society if he took no care for his appearance or, indeed, the way that he smelled. Of course the common staple of all grooming in the camps had been oil as it was simply the easiest thing to get your hands on and most of them were well accustomed to that scent. He'd started out using oil on his skin and, eventually, had taken to dabbing it into his hair whenever he thought he might need to smell a little less like a barn when on the march. This practice had given way to taking advantage of various plants in the north that he'd thought smelled nice. Of course he didn't know what the bloody things were called and he'd never thought it so important that he should seek someone out for their proper name. At any rate, it wouldn't do him any favors to ask this professional for, 'Those blue flowers that grew by the pond near Causennis'. "What have you got from up north?" The question was certainly very open ended, but it was meant to be. He couldn't think of anything substantially unique about that territory in terms of smells, but he did know that Aia might well appreciate a smell from her past like that. Perhaps the needles of a northern pine? Maybe he'd surprise the poor girl by coming home smelling of bear fat. It all really depended on what Barbatius had in stock. "Anything from Gaul?" If he spoke any more he was sure that the man might think him a barbarian of some type, and the comment about compensation for the service had not left his mind since the man had reminded him of that integral part of their interaction. Luckily for Decimus, he never found himself light on coin these days. While Barbatius took the time to think of an answer, he'd pull a purse from his belt and give it a few shakes before letting it rest on his thigh. "Don't worry for the coin either, friend." he'd offer with an amused smile, "Rome pays me handsomely but give's me no time to spend any of it." @Atrice
  14. If Decimus appeared somewhat apprehensive it was for no other reason than the fact he'd never set foot in this sort of shop. Upon hearing a friendly voice he was content to come in and have a look around, and what he saw didn't disappoint him. He didn't know why, but for some reason he'd expected that these sorts of shops would be able to accommodate more than one chair. Indeed, he felt quite privileged that he could expect to receive the full attention of who he could only assume was the proper barber and not some apprentice or other servant. In military life a haircut was as simple as one of the slaves running a razor about your head a few times before you were sent back to man your post, though there were some among his number that did sport some impressive dos once in a while. "Oh... Thank you!" he'd manage, moving towards the seat. It was a wonder, all the little bottles! There was quite a collection sitting on the table and one could only imagine all the different uses he might have for them. In the back of his mind he obviously expected that the majority were to be used on the hair of women. A man's hair, at least in his mind, was extraordinarily simple compared to the long locks that a woman would maintain. And among the finest and most impressive he'd seen came from women of status! Images of Flavia Juliana, and even Claudia came to mind as he made himself comfortable on the seat. A nod of thanks would accompany that order to Manus, though he hardly knew if he'd be greeted with water or wine. The barber himself was a handsome enough looking man. He seemed to be about the same age as Decimus, though one could hardly be sure of a thing like that on first glance. "I could do with both of those actually." @Atrice
  15. Had he been an optimist, Decimus might have thought that the city would receive some sunlight on the tail end of autumn. For the better part of the week the city had received naught but cloudy skies and a few brief showers of rain. One would think an eternity on an island cursed with fog and dreary days would have hardened him to the dull winters of the peninsula, but Decimus had never grown too fond of this type of environment. Yet, despite the oppressive grey skies, he was in a rather good mood. Aia and he were seeing each other somewhat regularly and they'd decided to make some significant steps towards living with one another, though he knew it wouldn't be as easy as that. He'd had the opportunity to bring up the matter to Claudia a few times, but those brief moments never lasted for long. A slave would enter or she'd be speaking with someone and he'd always decide that the matter could be solved on another day. It was now, in one of these famous interludes of anxious avoidance, that he'd decided to walk the city to clear his head. Old habits died hard and if he couldn't walk through the forests of an unknown land, then the streets would have to do. Of course he'd been doing it for some time and the familiar sounds of an awakening city were now as well known to him as the singing of the robins had been back in Britannia. Generally his practice of wandering the city for exercise usually ended when he reached a wall or other sort of landmark, but today he'd decided to take a more relaxed approach and just... wander. This was how he came to be in front of the home of Marcus Barbatius, though he knew nothing of what that name meant or what deeds that man had performed. To Decimus, the sign that indicated that this was indeed some form of barber's shop was only an intriguing oddity. He'd never made use of them, for someone was always willing to cut the simple styles that would keep the Centurions away from him for a few pieces of copper. Shops like this had always seemed like a luxury when he'd seen them in Camulodunum, but as an older man with significantly more coin he was beginning to have an interest in these sorts of services that had been hitherto unknown to him. With casual interest he passed through the doorway and made himself known as his eyes adjusted to the interior of the shop. "Salve?.." @Atrice
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