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Liv

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Liv last won the day on January 20

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  1. Tertius was as gracious a host as he was straight-forward in speech, inviting his guests to the manumission of his slave son. Titus gave the man a non-committal smile and murmured "It would be an honour." He reckoned it would be more of a familial event, but from what little he'd seen so far, Varus was a contact worth exploring. He'd have to confer with Valeria later and get her opinion on it. It was kind of Longinus to omit the rather carefree way in which Titus had referred to Tertius' niece in their correspondence, which only proved how seriously he was taking the meeting. Ordinarily, such a golden opportunity for ribbing would not have gone to waste. In exchange, Titus would refrain from badmouthing Britannia and any native habits Longinus might or might not have picked up there. "Thank you for your kind words. It's still bothersome, though," Titus admitted, feeling more than a little self-conscious as his eyes darted back and forth between the two pitchers. Water might be the better choice for once since not all spices were created equal, particularly when one was sick. "And your niece sounds like a very fetching young lady, which is why it came as a surprise that she is not yet married. Have you not found the right man yet?" he asked, sharing a meaningful look with Longinus. If his friend had any wits about him, he should be paying very close attention now. The master of the house sent his body slave to get someone, and in the meantime Titus had no choice but to grab the water jug and pour himself some water. Varus was nice and all, but his slaves could do with being more attentive. This kind of lapse wouldn't fly at his own domus. As he took a large gulp of water as quickly as his sore throat would let him, Tertius' body slave returned with a female slave in tow. She looked strikingly familiar, but Titus' fever-addled brain was unable to place the resemblance right away. Prolonged staring to jog his memory would not be polite; going by the fine garments on her and the way she settled next to her master, this was a slave of some importance to Varus. Gods, where had he seen the likes of her? It had been very recently, that much Titus was sure of. Was it her face or her hair that looked so well-known to him? Perhaps both. Even her build was like one he'd seen before... but where? He furrowed his brow in contemplation and saw no other solution but to steal a glance at the woman every now and then when their host wasn't looking and see if it came to him. @Atrice @Sara @Joaquin
  2. I'm game too! Wonder who'll be the first to crack under the pressure
  3. Liv

    Fill the glass

    Clio was still nervous, overanalysing practically everything both she and Helenus said, but she wasn't yet sure if that was a bad thing. As a body slave, she tended to be hyper aware of her mistress's moods and subconsciously took note of all the tiny changes that came with them, but even in her own free time, she found it nigh impossible to turn off that part of her brain. The disadvantage of mingling with one she didn't know well, like the thermae slave, was that it was seldom clear which signs meant what, if they meant anything at all. With that in mind, Clio decided to stick to posca. Wine might dull her senses if she got carried away or overly excited. "I could use a refill." She thrust the nearly empty cup at the servant and was about to hand it over when the sudden sound of metal clanging on the floor jolted her, almost making her drop the cup which would have rolled off the table and joined the coins. Unsure of what to do, Clio remained seated, looking at her hands while Helenus hurried to pick up his money. He probably felt embarrassed enough that her helping him with the coins would only make it worse. The hairy man took the coins and Clio's cup with a grunt and ambled away; he would be back soon. "It's all right. Did you get them all?" She spoke softly, hoping it would relay to Helenus how unimportant the blunder had been. Everybody, slave or senator, had surely dropped a coin or two in their lifetime. Talking while they waited for their drinks would also help to move on from the little incident. "Nope, he's not," Clio replied, shaking her head in a teasing manner and dislodging a few tufts of black hair in the process. Despite her apparent gaiety just then, she didn't want to say too much about her dominus either; he was even more terrifying than his wife could be, and a lot less willing to forgive any transgressions whether involuntary or on purpose. But at the same time, she couldn't say too little either, because that might make Helenus curious and send him on a personal investigation. She'd have to share some tidbits and hide others, hopefully in a balanced way. "They're well-off, but they're not patricians." Maybe Helenus would assume they were some sort of rich merchants... which could be spun as truth, in a way. "What's so bad about being a public slave?" At least they didn't get sold that often. @Atrice
  4. Liv

    Fill the glass

    Helenus seemed to be in quite a state thanks to the odd episode he'd been through; Clio recalled him being a tad more outspoken at the baths. The uncertainty of it all had to weigh heavily on his mind... but was that the only reason he was looking so downcast? She hoped he wasn't regretting having accepted her invitation to a drink, or feeling bored to death. Oh, she knew exactly what he meant when he described the woman. She lived with one herself, and one thing Clio had learnt over the years with her mistress was just how flighty such women's moods tended to be. Things could be sunshine and roses one instant, then fire and fury the next. Their unpredictability was what made them so fearsome. "Yup, I know," she nodded in commiseration. If the wheels of complaint had been set in motion, it was just as Helenus had said: he had no power to decide anything; but if he had been a model capsarius thus far, maybe his supervisor would take that into account and soften the blow if he could, or rather, if he wanted to. His eyes finally met hers, and Clio smiled at him in encouragement. His question seemed to be more for confirmation than anything, as he'd probably have connected the dots after their previous encounter. "Correct. I've been with her for over two years now. She treats me well, I can't complain." Although she was speaking the truth, Clio was reluctant to share her domina's name right off the bat, though she couldn't quite put her finger on the reason why. She didn't think Annia Comna's name would be known to a thermae slave - though he might have heard of the Ludus Dacicus, if only in passing -, but if Helenus was more deceitful than Clio had been able to discern, knowing who to go to with blackmail in mind would have made the task even easier. "She's a bit like the lady from your story. 'Beautiful but deadly'," she quoted, wondering for a split second just how deadly. Well, everyone had their own secrets, and those of Annia Comna were of no concern to Clio unless the woman wanted them to be. The hirsute barkeep came round at last and grumbled out an impatient "What'll it be?". @Atrice
  5. So Bassus was simply after preferential treatment in matters of food. From a logical point of view, it made sense to attend to his request, for a well-fed charioteer should perform better. However, Safinia was not sure just how high up the food chain Bassus was: he looked twice her age and so his career could very well be on its last legs. She would have to confer with others before committing to such a deal. She followed his gaze downwards with her own, not instinctively comprehending what he was hinting at but having a good idea thanks to a decade of living surrounded by, and a part of, the hoi polloi. Like so many men, it seemed this one fancied himself a comic. Safinia knitted her brows and stared at him unblinkingly; fortunately he saw fit to clarify he was only joking... or was he? This encounter was getting stranger by the second, even down to the friendly patting of her arm. "I always ask why," she nodded, still unsure of where this was leading. How did it go from food to a promise of protection? Had a horse trampled on Bassus' head one time too many? It was difficult for her to follow the shift in topics, but he was not being unkind. Her expression relaxed into one of marginal interest, but her hand was still firmly planted on her hip. "Why should anyone mess with me?" she asked, shaking her head slightly. Safinia was only an inconsequential cook's assistant, and a very new one at that. Nobody had any reason to quarrel with her. Yet. "And why do you know my name?" @Beauty
  6. Snip snip snip went Barbatius' scissors as locks of dark hair started littering the floor around his feet. The man worked at a leisurely pace, but each gesture was masterful and precise; fascinating, even. The barber's question snapped Titus out of his study, and he flashed the man an apologetic smile. "Pardon me, good Barbatius. I meant no offence to your skills, only to senator Longinus' face." Boom, arrows shot. Behind the joke, he shared Barbatius' wish that his friend wouldn't leave the shop dissatisfied; a poor experience would reflect as badly on the barber whose skills were deemed subpar as on the one who had introduced businessman and client. Titus nodded as Longinus couldn't and gratefully accepted the wine from the woman slave. "Just the wine is fine, thank you." He wasn't particularly peckish yet, and whatever delicacies Barbatius could offer them would almost definitely pale in comparison to what he could have in his own home - but he wouldn't be so rude as to disparage any bites if the barber offered. His friend's description of Dacia made him chuckle, although he cast the sitting senator a look that could be described as intense or murderous, depending on the observer. "They have surprisingly good wine there, and the weather is generally fair. Compared to Britannia, it couldn't be anything but lovely." The one thing both provinces had in common was the resilience of their peoples, though they had no choice but to submit in the end... but Titus didn't think Marcus Barbatius was the type to relish tales of military feats. Titus sipped at his wine, pleasantly surprised by its quality. Barbatius seemed to aiming for a good impression, and decent drink always helped. Titus needed no further impressing since he was content with the man's skills as was, but Longinus might enjoy the liquid help to leave his preconceptions behind. Going by the way the latter was chattering, Titus got the feeling he wasn't quite at ease yet, but maybe Barbatius did have some good stories to tell. The divine Julius couldn't have been the only man who tried to hide a receding hairline... @Atrice @Sara
  7. Safinia couldn't for the life of her understand why the boy was being so stubborn about the apples. The horses were fed plenty and well, often even better than the humans, so they shouldn't need extras. Unless the apples released some miraculous force within the horses that made them go faster, but if that had been the case, surely somebody would have told her. At the arching of the boy's eyebrow, she responded with one of her own and a blank stare. Five apples was way too many, but she still couldn't comprehend why he felt he was in a position to negotiate. If he continued being difficult, maybe she would tell on him. Time spent arguing with this stable boy was time not spent peeling and chopping onions, and that was what she had been hired to do. Safinia shook her head no. "One. I can explain away one missing apple, but not five." If he really needed to feed apples to so many horses, he could simply slice and dice them. Then each horse would get its apple cube, problem solved. @Chevi
  8. Liv

    Salting the earth

    The gods were on his side and seemingly more than happy to smite Longinus and his flimsy tent. It was very satisfactory, and as pleasant as it would have been to add to the wetness of the scroll by throwing his wine cup at Longinus' desk, Titus had had enough of their back-and-forth bantering. "I'm not joking. Do you honestly think I would come all the way here from Londinium at full speed just to play a practical joke on you lot? I value my time more than that, and thankfully so does the proconsul," Titus retorted with an edge to his voice, and pinched the bridge as he closed his eyes for a second and inhaled deeply. He needed to calm down. It was not Aulus' fault that Longinus was a complete arse with an uncanny gift to get on his nerves. He'd be having a look at those records later - provided he found them -, but first he wanted to know if the two officers could have a particular suspect in mind. "Good. Make sure nobody else touches them." The rolls would be essential to finding out the extent of the fraud, and possibly even at what level it was committed. If he had to go through the whole mess scattered about the tent to find them, then so be it. Aulus, at least, was according the matter the seriousness it deserved, and Titus found himself thankful for the man's presence. He was sharp of mind and sensible, and might have some useful pointers. "From what we've been able to gather, some 120 new slaves, give or take, have disappeared from your records between the last two to four months. Mentioned in the earlier records, declared dead in the newer. But that's a rather high mortality rate, don't you think? Two slaves on average dying every single day, when other camps having been losing at most a third of your numbers in the same two months. And no mention of disease that might justify this." Titus drank a little more wine to wet his lips and throat, then resumed talking. "There's also some inconsistencies with valuables, gold and silver for the most part. But we can get into that later. For now, I'd just like to hear your thoughts on who in this camp may have a hand on this." The two officers in front of him were, of course, above suspicion, since neither needed to acquire even more wealth in such schemes; that they were also not inclined to corruption helped their case. @Sara @Sharpie
  9. At last he backed down, although he did not seem pleased. A more sensitive person might have been provoked by the unceremonious way he dumped the apples onto the table, but not Safinia - she just saw the act as him finally doing as she had been telling him. His gestures were fluid and not entirely difficult to figure out, but as she got the gist of his complaint, Safinia was rattled by indecision. The boy did have a point, but cook had been very clear. On the other hand, if the boy was a valued worker, he might tell on her and cause even more trouble, even though she was only doing as she had been told. As the cogs in her brain whirred and turned, Safinia put the pin down on the table and eventually came to a compromise she hoped would be satisfactory. "You may take one." If the cook complained, she could lie and say it was rotten on the inside when she cut it in two. Just how many horses would have to share one single apple did not cross her mind. @Chevi
  10. Why was the boy being so pigheaded? He was not even free but an ordinary slave, and here he was, arguing with her without saying a word as if he was in charge. Safinia made a mental note to check with somebody else about his status later, just to make sure he wasn't supreme commander of stable boys and had free reign over the pantry. As if he could read her thoughts, the boy gestured with his hand, but the plea in his gaze went completely unnoticed by Safinia. Rather than immune, she was completely oblivious to it, like an illiterate child that only saw drawings where others read letters. "It's not up to me to decide. I'll get in trouble if I let you leave with those apples." @Chevi
  11. Eye rolling usually meant annoyance. But why was he rolling his eyes at her, when he was the one who got caught doing something he shouldn't have? It simultaneously baffled and annoyed Safinia. Even she knew to show repentance in such situations, regardless of how fake it may be. But this boy was almost acting as if it was she who was in the wrong! So he did not want to put them back. He wanted to feed them to... something? someone? of great height. Safinia assumed he meant to give the apples to the horses, since he was a stable boy. Still, cook's orders had been very explicit: nobody that didn't work in the kitchens was allowed in, except their boss Parthenicus. There had been no mention of treats for the horses, either. "You can't. If you want to take some you have to ask cook first. Put them back." She was not about to risk her superior's wrath so some silly horses could enjoy their snacks. @Chevi
  12. I'd love to see @Atrice's Helios and @Sara's Vibia trying to outsmart and outplot each other.
  13. When the figure met her gaze, Safinia had a flash of recognition: his face was familiar, but she couldn't immediately place it. He was also with the Whites, she was quite sure of it, and and his showing clothes confirmed the fact. She narrowed her blue eyes, finally placing him as a stable boy - probably. There had been so many new names and faces for the past few days that she had had a hard time keeping up, but she thought she'd spotted this one hanging round the horses once or twice before. So he was no longer a stranger, but he was still a thief. And he seemed scared, or maybe just surprised? Safinia had never been good at telling emotions apart. The signs and expressions were just too similar. "Put those back." She lowered the rolling pin to let it rest at her side, but didn't loosen her hold on it. "You have to wait until lunch like everybody else." If he was so hungry that he would risk stealing from the kitchens, he should have just asked for seconds during breakfast, or start buying his own snacks in the city. @Chevi
  14. Clio didn't know that she believed Nymphias' judgement on Briton men: the girl was obviously biased and still seemed very attached to her uncivilised land, not to mention that her young age likely meant she hadn't come across a very wide range of men of different dispositions. It was a fact that uncouth males could be found everywhere, and the only thing needed to lure them out was a minimally good-looking man or woman, but were Britons really more polite than Romans? Clio merely nodded softly, pretending to agree so her friend wouldn't feel slighted. She smiled at Nymphias' question about her make-up, although it too reminded her of her encounter with the Briton gladiator: he had been just as curious about the eye paint as his fellow countrywoman now was, and Clio would provide Nymphias with the same explanation she'd given the young man. "It's very popular all across the Empire, in Bithynia we called it stimmi. It protects your eyes from the strong sun and keeps the evil eye away." Hearing Nymphias declare it looked pretty on her made Clio grin from ear to ear - that was one of the reasons she painted her eyes, but not the one she most easily admitted to. "It starts to come out with water, like if you cry. The good stuff stays on much better, but I obviously can't afford that," she explained, failing to mention that she'd sometimes take a little bit from her domina's higher quality stash. " Clio paused to think about when had been the last time she'd gone without the cosmetic, and when she couldn't remember, concluded that she did indeed wear it all the time. "Yeah, I guess I do," she stated with a one-armed shrug. She always applied it after waking up, and did not dare remove it to sleep; one was at their most unprotected from curses when asleep. "You don't wear it in Britannia, do you? I met another person from there who was also very intrigued about my make-up." Maybe they had another way to curse people, or very weak sun. Or maybe they were simply very fond of their blue drawings. @Beauty
  15. October 74AD Work in the Whites' kitchens was menial and repetitive, but Safinia found herself quite satisfied with it. Her tasks were simple and her orders clear, her social interactions were few and mostly revolved around cook and the other assistants, and the pay was enough to buy bread every day. If she had been cut from a different cloth, Safinia might even have whistled a merry tune as she stumbled comically into the kitchen, her thin arms straining to carry an enormous wicker basket filled to the brim with onions. She caught sight of a human figure moving stealthily in the shadows of the dimly-lit room. Non-cooking personnel were not normally allowed into the kitchens and pantry, so this person could only be an intruder. But there were better foodstuffs to steal than apples and pears, which were what the thief seemed to be headed toward. Safinia ignored the train of thought of the thief's possible motives and preferences and put the basket down on a sturdy oak table with a loud'thud'. The noise would definitely alert the other person to her presence, if her footsteps hadn't already. Grabbing a rolling pin conveniently left on the table, Safinia went in the intruder's direction. On a personal level, she could not care less if some measly apples were taken; professionally, cook would have her flayed and tanned if it came to light that she'd spotted a food thief and done nothing. "Hey!" She shouted at the figure, gripping the rolling pin tightly and keeping it on her side at waist level. "What do you think you're doing?" @Chevi
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