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Sharpie last won the day on September 15

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  1. It had been a serious question that demanded a serious answer, especially in view of the potential change in Menelaus' status that would be happening soon - and if he did not win, Marcus would see him free via another route. He deserved it, after all. He watched the man consider Marcus' response to his question - he was a serious sort of person who considered a variety of things before making a decision, yet who was not afraid to make a decision on the fly. A charioteer was, after all, by their very nature someone who could make snap decisions having taken in the view at a glance (how often did a charioteer round the spina and have to act instantaneously to avoid a shipwreck, after all? It happened far more often than you might think from the number of times shipwrecks actually occurred). "We will have a further talk after the celebratory races," he said, looking up at the charioteer who was still standing there, waiting for his dismissal. "You may go." The inauguration for the boy and the probable retirement for Menelaus - the celebrations were going to mark some interesting changes within the Whites' line-up. @Járnviðr - thank you! It's been an interesting thread!
  2. "It's never easy to leave people you love, especially when you know you're going to be away for a year or more," Gaius confessed. This conversation seemed already so much easier than that dinner had been. "Irreverent is a... very good description, actually. I daresay he means well, but there's no gravitas to him." Gaius sighed. That was, perhaps, the biggest issue. It was nice to hear that Lucius thought well of him, though he would never have guessed it. "And do any of your brothers act so... Irreverently? I would guess not, but do you have a younger brother, or are they all older than you?" He didn't know how to discover whether they had anything in common - rolling their eyes over Lucius would only work for so long, after all. @Sara
  3. "Why pretend when we both know it was arranged?" Gaius said, consciously having to shorten his stride to keep from outpacing her. "I must apologise for my brother, the other day," he added, very aware that she probably thought the worst of him despite this second meeting, just because of Lucius' outlandish behaviour. "He means well, but..." He shrugged. "I don't think he quite knows when to stop - he seems to have got stuck at the age of fifteen or so, permanently." If she had refused to see either of them again after that dinner, Gaius honestly wouldn't have blamed her for it. @Sara
  4. "I hope it isn't," Gaius managed, startled, and managed a smile of his own. "I mean, I've been to the Campus Martius plenty of times, but this is the first time I've been here, I think." If he was supposed to come right out with some impressive fact about this tomb or that inscription, he'd just blown it. He could practically hear Cassander rolling his eyes - and if Lucius heard about this, he'd never live it down. "I suppose that means we ought to do our duty and explore to fulfil our obligation, then?" he said. "We can't have anyone thinking that you aren't the very best example of Roman womanhood, can we?" @Sara
  5. "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. @Atrice
  6. The Mausoleum wasn't a place that Gaius would have picked for a romantic meeting for two. On the other hand, it wasn't supposed to be a romantic meeting per se, and on the third hand Gaius wouldn't be able to come up with anywhere as good for a private meeting that couldn't have even a hint of impropriety about it. He supposed it was a wonder that Ovinia Camilla had agreed to a second meeting (or that her brother hadn't put her father off wanting one) - the dinner had only narrowly avoided being a disaster, after all. "Remind me not to have any more private dinners with Lucius around unless there's more than two other guests," he said, allowing Cassander to fuss with his pallium until it was arranged to their mutual satisfaction. The deep terracotta colour of his tunic and the dark green of the pallium that Cassander had finally finished arranging both demonstrated his wealth in the evenness of the dye and the saturation of the colour. The sand colour of Cassander's tunic was a perfect counterpoint. The walk from the Piscina Publica to the Campus Martius to their arranged meeting-point took the pair of them through some of the busiest parts of the city, and Gaius would not have been surprised to have found his brother at any of the stalls they passed, turning his hand to being a leather-worker or date seller or something equally as plebeian and embarrassing. It was not to be, thank all the gods - either Lucius had developed some sense, or he was at a stall in another part of the city. And now to wander around the Mausoleum, taking in inscriptions to past and divine Emperors until he ran into Ovinia. Hopefully not literally... "Domine," Cassander said from behind his right shoulder - at least he could trust someone in his house to be where they were supposed to be, doing what they were expected to do. He turned, enough to see his body slave indicate a lady with two slaves following her, and nodded in acknowledgement before directing his steps to intercept her. "Lady Ovinia, what a pleasant surprise to meet you here," he said, once he was close enough to talk. @Sara
  7. "I couldn't stay here and do nothing with my time," Teutus pointed out. They'd had this discussion before he'd moved out, after all. He supposed he could have stayed and continued in the role of secretary, but he would have felt just as much a slave as he had been in law before his manumission. Sometimes he felt that way anyway when he came back to visit, as if the whole of the last year and a bit had been a dream or something - sometimes he half-expected to find a vigiles officer behind him with the order to clap him in irons and bring him back to his master. "What did you expect me to do with myself, once it was clear I couldn't follow your career path?" he asked pensively, focussing hard on the dish of olives in front of him before reaching unsteadily to help himself to some of them. Had Tertius ever really thought about what his son could do once it became very clear that he couldn't do what they'd hoped? Sometimes Teutus wondered if his father really thought about other people's hopes and dreams and aspirations at all if they didn't follow his own plans precisely. @Atrice
  8. "I think he loved her, for what it's worth," Teutus said and swallowed. What had happened had probably gone a good way to messing Tertius up - why care for someone who wasn't going to be around forever, after all? Though he wasn't sure whose decision it had been to sell Hector's predecessor - probably Antonia's mother's. No wonder Tertius was so desperate to be in control himself now. "If things do change like that, I promise I'll do my best to buy you," he said again. There was no guarantee he would be able to, of course - Tertius seemed suspicious of the friendship that Teutus had with Charis, but surely that wouldn't matter if he decided he no longer wanted her in the house. "You're not the complicated one - that's my father and everything he does," he added. "And no, I don't know where my mother is now. Somewhere good, I hope." He sighed. "She's called Varinia. She was taller than you - I think I get my height from her, and my build. She's got dark hair and blue eyes - or were they grey? It doesn't matter. People did say I looked like her, though I've heard them say I look like my father, too, for what it's worth." His hand went unconsciously to the neck of his tunic, where he'd worn her last gift to him for so many years. Except he'd given that to Charis, in the hope it might be luckier for her. He hoped she still had it. @Sara
  9. "A long day, but a good one - a very good one," Aulus said, and wriggled further under the covers. He really was very sleepy by now. He sought drowsily for Horatia's hand; there was a corner of his brain that didn't really want to find himself alone in the bed in the morning - he had never married before, and had more than once found himself waking alone despite having gone to sleep in bed with a prostitute he'd hired. Not that Horatia was on that level at all, but he wasn't quite sure what to expect she might do in the morning, or even right now once he wasn't awake to see it. "G'night," he murmured, unable to stay awake any longer. @Sara (End thread there, or timeskip? It's been fun!)
  10. "Antonia has me, too," he pointed out, though he was around far less to be able to influence her in any meaningful way now. A muscle twitched in his jaw as she mentioned his mother. "No - not like that." He took a breath; Charis knew some of his background but not (it seemed) all of it - she certainly didn't know it from Teutus' perspective. "I was born when my grandfather was still alive - my father's father. He was the paterfamilias at the time, and I know you don't understand everything that means but he didn't do for me what my father did for your son. I was very young when my father went abroad to start his military career, and I don't remember him ever looking at me like he looks at your son, so there's that. Anyway, he came back to Rome at some point and went to set up his own home, taking me with him though he didn't take my mother - I think his father wouldn't allow it because of what had happened between them. And his father sold her when I was fifteen, he had nothing to do with it." And if Tertius wouldn't free Charis - which wasn't for lack of trying, on Teutus' part - he was fairly sure that his father wouldn't sell her, either. "He doesn't want you to leave, I'm pretty sure he's not about to sell you." He sighed. "But if he does, I'll try to buy you. I can promise that much." Buy her, and free her - but that would be too much to admit out loud, it would raise her hopes too far, and he couldn't have her live in that sort of limbo as he had himself. He knew exactly how that vague sort of promise of freedom ate at a person. @Sara
  11. "You are unconvinced - I can tell," Aulus told her and aimed a kiss for the tip of her nose. "For women who are in business already... That is a good idea. There is less fuss about plebeian women going into business, and of course they are the ones most likely to have missed out on even a basic education. What about expanding your book club the other way, too, and becoming a patroness of the arts - a second Gaius Maecenas, perhaps?" It was a shame that women were so often in the shadows - and yet if they were not, the world would be a peculiar place indeed. "Whatever you choose to do, you will have my full support - but you know that, don't you?" @Sara
  12. It would take too long to complete even one length of the pool in Teutus' awkward swimming style, he thought. Talking was much more his speed, especially with someone like Alexius. He gave a mental shrug and found a place along the edge where he could stretch out and let the water bouy his legs up a bit. Just relaxing with a friend - what the baths were made for, after all. "I've got a warehouse, but it's too small and in the wrong place if I'm going to expand," he said. "I've found a bigger one, but while I think it's good, I want a second opinion before I think about agreeing a lease on it. Olive oil was just... well, it was an experiment, really, to see whether I've got anything like the aptitude for this, without spending a fortune on something if it didn't work out." It seemed he had found one subject that he could talk about quite happily - something that wasn't tinged with anger or frutstration or despair or any of the myriad other emotions stirred up by his whole situation with his family, such as it was. "I want to be able to branch out, to bring in different things from different parts of the Empire - beyond it, even, one day. Just having one speciality is all very well, but if something were to happen - and people want luxuries, want to be able to show their wealth in the things they have around them. Someone needs to supply those things, why not me? Us, if you choose." @Atrice
  13. "Indeed," Aulus replied. The man who had the hearts, and therefore the backing, of the Legions was the man most likely to prosper as Emperor. He could only hope Titus would be able to win the men over as his father had done before him. "I would be willing to have you as Tribune, although where I will end up being posted is on the lap of the gods, and with your cousin Titus," Aulus replied. If he could, he would take his friend Longinus as Legate, too, if he was not going to get his own political posting elsewhere (did the man have a scrap of ambition that way? Aulus hadn't seen any such thing - but he had seen how capable he was in a military capacity). "Even a border province does not mean that you will be thrown into skirmishes with any barbarians, after all, and there are several places where the problems are with those within the province rather than with those outside it." He washed his bread down with a mouthful of wine. "I think the one thing we can all agree on is that we want Titus Augustus to flourish in this new role. It must be quite daunting for him, and for you - your father was older when he came to it, and he only took the purple reluctantly, because there wasn't anyone else who could forge a unified Rome out of what was left from the civil war." Aulus was sure that it could not be long at all before people started talking about Quintus as 'a second Augustus' - and really, the comparison was quite apt in some ways, and totally missed the mark in many others. Watching the young man seated before him, one of the generation on whose shoulders the stability and security of Rome now rested, Aulus suddenly felt old. Would Titus, and Tiberius and those other young men, be up to the task? Had Quintus and Aulus been up to the task at that same age? At least this time there weren't jealous Praetorian prefects or passed-over Legates vying for the purple, and the threat of proscriptions and purges. Aulus very much felt the full weight of his current responsibility - if the Consuls and the rest of the Senate were behind Titus, the transfer of loyalty and power from Quintus to Titus would be smooth and easy. He didn't even need to wonder whether Quintus had foreseen this day - the man had plans and contingency plans and who knew what. He had been assured of Aulus' loyalty and had accepted him and ratified him as Consul knowing he might be handing the Empire over to his son during Aulus' Consulship. He had always played the long game, after all. @Sarah
  14. "The 'or something' - I'm his body slave," Attis said, then realised that the other man probably didn't care for his humour even if Longinus did, before his eyes widened. Not many people would care to learn a slave's name, after all. "Attis. You're one of the interpreters, aren't you? Ajax, Aius, something?" The other man had an excuse for not knowing Attis' name; Attis had less excuse for not knowing his. He shivered, pulling his cloak tighter around himself as a sudden gust caught it. "Brr! It's colder than Minerva's tits - how do the British stand it?" @Chevi
  15. He needed a good secretary, and Teutus needed a good clerk. He'd have to bite the bullet and go down to the slave market at some point to see if he could find a suitable slave for the latter role. The slave markets had always given him the creeps when he'd been a slave, even though he'd never been likely to end up there. He saw no reason to think he'd be less creeped out by them now he had his freedom, but he wasn't about to let that put him off. He wasn't sure why he'd asked about the Senate - it had just been a question to try to move the conversation on after the awkwardness of the last few minutes (how had he dared to be so blunt with his father? And he was still here and not out in the streets - not something Teutus had ever expected might happen, not that he had ever imagined unleashing quite that torrent of bitterness where his father could hear it, much less directing it at him in person). And now it all was past him and he was still intact and breathing and in Tertius' triclinium, he was startled to find that his appetite had returned, and reached for some bread, and some of the duck that had been so neatly carved. "You should think about freeing Charis, though - I know it's not something you're used to doing, but she's the mother of your heir. Unless you're going to marry again." Which was entirely possible, of course. The single biggest problem Tertius had, in Teutus' opinion, was that he couldn't trust people. Which had probably been the biggest contributing factor to this whole entire mess in the first place. @Atrice
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