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Liv

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  1. The boy made no sense at all. Safinia had just declared him the winner, and he brought up his hands in surrender? It made no sense. Maybe it was how it was done back wherever he was from, but they were in Rome now. So it made no sense. Or could the gesture be how his people gloated? Regardless of what it was, it was confusing. She watched attentively as Azarion gestured some more in an effort to make out what he was attempting to communicate. Horses... four? Four horses? Did he seriously expect her to go with that? "Absolutely not," she declared stonily, impervious to his shy smile. "Even one is more than enough. There is no way I'm letting you steal enough apples for four horses." Safinia crossed her arms but kept the pin facing outwards. If Azarion was being so bold and cheeky as a result of their unintended collision, maybe another blow to the head would set him right. "One apple every other day for this bottomless pit of a horse here and that's that. Take it or leave it." @Chevi
  2. Liv

    Salting the earth

    If Longinus was confident Rabirius was their man, then Titus would go along with it. If his friend turned out to be wrong and apprehended the wrong man, that would be on him and him alone, and his reputation amongst the troops would suffer a lethal blow. But Titus was not the legate of this legion and so he would suffer no consequences if things went wrong - and although he would never admit it, not even to himself, a small, salty part of him actually wanted to see Longinus fail spectacularly and gain some humility in the process. He shooed the thought away as quickly as it had appeared, suddenly ashamed of his innermost selfish desires. They were unmanly and unbecoming and would not - could not - be entertained again, not even for a fraction of an instant. Titus steeled his jaw in self-directed displeasure, oblivious as to how ill-advised it was to return Longinus' uneasy smile with such a gesture. And then with Aulus' gracious speech, he felt even guiltier about his short-lived spite. Even if he could not remember the last time somebody spoke of him in such commendable terms, he did not deserve such praise. If he'd had a mirror, Titus would have been able to see a hint of red colouring his cheeks, but even without one, the warm flush was embarrassing enough. "And you, my friend, are without a doubt the wisest of us," he told Aulus, offering a small yet genuine smile for the first time that day. "We are lucky to have you here to speak some sense to us." Aulus' diplomatic ways were a stark yet much-needed reminder of how much growth Titus still had left to do. If he wanted to be taken seriously, he needed to act the part too and not let pettiness have free reign over him. Finding that his mood had lifted somewhat, Titus changed the topic slightly. "And once they're all rounded up, then what?" He glanced at the two officers in turn. "Public or private punishment?" @Sara @Sharpie
  3. In a faithful imitation of his friend, Titus too listened carefully, though he had no problem sitting still or remained as focused as his state allowed him for as long as Varus' explanation went on. It was what he had expected to hear: one didn't need to be an actual lawyer, but it would be wise to have some notions of due proceedings. He nodded in between sips, finally downing what was left of the tisane. By the last gulps, he had grown mostly immune to the mind-blowing amount of pepper in it. Leaning back and waiting for the agricultural income to materialise and fund their lifestyle might be a life goal for a good number of senators, but as far as Titus was concerned, few things could be as unbearably dull. Wait a number of years for a tree to bear fruit, harvest produce only a few weeks a year, and being entirely reliant on adequate weather, competent works and unblighted crops... Honest and necessary work, but so, so dull. Too slow-paced. Duller than poring through treaties on law and past verdicts; those were, if nothing else, a finite quantity. And not too different from reading intelligence reports or tellings of past war encounters - perhaps a little drier in form, but not entirely unrelated. He turned to face Longinus with a malicious smirk. "Maybe as much work as preparing a campaign, just a different kind of battle." A more civilised one, many would argue. But exactly how much paperwork Longinus would have gone through each time in preparation for various moves was anybody's guess - and Titus' guess was probably not a lot. He knew his friend favoured swift action above many things. "How very noble of you to finally show some consideration and sympathy, dear friend." Titus' tone was jocose, but inwardly he was appreciative of the lull in the conversation. His concentration was waning and he felt he wasn't able to get as much out of the encounter as he should. Probably best to sleep off this bloody fever and try again another day - maybe under the guise of bringing Publius for a play date. He gave Varus a sheepish, apologetic look. "As much as it vexes me to admit it, good Longinus here is right. I do hope I won't offend you by retreating earlier..." Titus cast Longinus a quick, wry glance, but its impact was minimised by a sudden coughing fit, as if to emphasise his earlier statement. "Do feel free to carry on without me, though." @Atrice @Sara
  4. Liv

    Livia Justina

    LIVIA JUSTINA 27 | 4th March 48CE | Senatore | Matron | Heterosexual | Original | Noémie Schmidt Personality If the Livia of twenty years ago and the current Livia were to meet, they would hardly believe they were the same person. Unfortunate life events have forced Livia to adapt and reinvent herself, and each time the end result has differed markedly from the starting point. To those who only know her superficially, she is a quiet and withdrawn thing whose favourite pastime appears to be sewing, leaving some to wonder if she is trying to live up to the deified Augusta of the same name. When in more familiar company, glimpses of the inquisitive and outgoing child she once was surface occasionally. Regardless of who she is with, Livia makes the effort to commit to (an unfortunately good) memory small details and information about the other party; not only does this leave them with a favourable impression of her but it also allows her to direct the spotlight away from herself and onto others. Livia measures her words and acts carefully and holds tightly on to what little measure of control she is afforded. The gaiety and spontaneity of her youth eventually gave way to calculations and worst-case scenarios; her passivity and hesitance to act before all outcomes and consequences are accounted for are not innate, but acquired. She possesses an attention to detail in everything she does, be it from making additions to the hem of a palla to giving orders to her slaves. Perhaps because of this, combined with the few opportunities she has to be the one in charge and her need for someone else to be the weakest link for once, slaves find her a hard mistress to please. Appearance A blonde like some of her relatives, Livia’s hair is long and naturally wavy, its curls exaggerated by elaborate styling. Whereas she used to take pride in it and would gladly spend hours having it cared for by ornatrices, nowadays it looks rather dull, with only a passable amount of effort put into it. Her green eyes, once shrewd and vivacious, seem tired and lifeless. Livia’s smiles are few, quick and short and she finds it safer to chuckle lightly when something amuses her than to break out in full-fledged laughter. Petite and slender at just 157 cm, Livia cuts no imposing figure. Her body has not changed much in the last ten years – no sagging breasts, rounded hips or flabby belly -, but the same cannot be said of her posture: though she still sits and stands up straight, she almost always lowers her head to avoid eye contact and appears to be lost elsewhere within her mind, mostly uninterested in what goes on around her. Her garments are of fine quality but sober in colour and fashion, although the accompanying jewellery is often more eye-catching and intricate. Family Father: Marcus Horatius Justinus (alive, 63) Mother: Livia Calavia (deceased in the Civil War) Siblings: Publius Horatius Justinus (alive, b. 35 AD) Horatia Justina (alive, b. 42 AD) Lucius Horatius Justinus (alive, twin brother) Spouse: Gnaeus Hortensius Clarus (b. 43 AD, d. 70 AD) Secundus Quinctilius Varus (b. 28 AD) Children: Early miscarriage (69 AD) Stillborn daughter (70 AD) Extended family: Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus (brother-in-law via Horatia) Titus Calpurnius Praetextatus (nephew) Calpurnia Horatia (niece) Tertius Quinctilius Varus (brother-in-law via Secundus) - Teutus Quinctilius Varus (nephew-in-law) - Antonia Varia (niece-in-law) Quinctilia Varia (sister-in-law via Secundus) - Sergia Auletia (niece-in-law) - Marcus Sergius Auletius (nephew-in-law and lover) Other: History CHILDHOOD [48 – 60 AD] Livia Justina was the last-born of the four Justini siblings, a few minutes after her twin brother Lucius and with an even better pair of lungs despite her small size. Named for her mother, who fell ill shortly after the birth but eventually recovered partially, Livia grew up a curious and lively child, constantly asking questions about everything and anything and keeping up with her brothers and their boisterous playing whilst their older sister Horatia kept a watchful eye on them. She remembers little of her earlier years in Rome but has fond memories of the family’s time in Hispania and the freedom to run about and play that she and Lucius had there. Eventually they returned to Rome, where Livia began her incursions in the world of learning. Unlike Horatia with her fondness for reading, Livia preferred more active pursuits like swimming or playing ball and discovered a natural talent for sewing and weaving. TEENAGE YEARS [60 – 66 AD] Puberty brings not only its own set of worries, but also a deeper understanding of the turmoil Roman society is plunged into. Between half of her family leaving for Greece for a couple of years and all the rioting and constant fighting for power in Rome, Livia grows up far more cautious and fearful than she should have had to, keeping a low profile and urging her twin to do the same. Their mother is added to the long, long list of victims of the civil war on one fateful day, and Livia struggles with vivid nightmares of the violent demise for months on end. Peace was finally achieved after years of fighting as Quintus Caesar was victorious and life could start to resume its normal pace. For Livia this meant that the much delayed affair of finding a suitable husband and becoming a proper and virtuous matron began in earnest. ADULTHOOD [67 AD - present] In 67 AD and after a great deal of persuading and convincing her father, Livia married Gnaeus Hortensius Clarus, heir to an old and distinguished family and five years her senior. Having already caught one another’s eye at several occasions long before the wedding, the couple’s impressions were confirmed as they quickly grew fond of each other and had a happy marriage in between Quintus’ career-related absences. Their bliss was marred by an early miscarriage in 69 AD, but Livia got pregnant again soon afterwards. However, news of Quintus’ sudden and unexpected death in Judea sent her into preterm labour and Livia gave birth to a daughter too premature to survive. The next two years saw Livia grieving deeply and undergoing drastic personality changes to the point where she avoided visits or gatherings and became somewhat of a recluse. In a clumsy and misguided attempt to bring his youngest daughter out of her mourning and back into Roman society, her father arranges for her to marry Secundus Quinctilius Varus, paterfamilias and older than Livia by almost twenty years but still unmarried and childless. Too apathetic to fight the decision, Livia does as expected of her and exchanges vows with Secundus in 73 AD. The union could not have been more disastrous: her new husband is very prone to sudden, unpredictable and terrifying bouts of bad temper, fuelled by his past tribulations in Germania, and Livia grows even quieter and more withdrawn, trying her best not to provoke his fury. Unfortunately it is not always enough, and Livia has found herself slapped, kicked, dragged by the hair and on the receiving end of various indignities more times than she cares to count. Whereas a more spirited woman would have returned to her father’s house and demanded a divorce at once, Livia feels that the failure of yet another marriage would bring shame to her father and siblings and their families by association, and has subconsciously convinced herself that she deserves her fate for having failed to honour her first husband’s legacy and bring a living, healthy child by him into the world. Her suffering has recently been somewhat alleviated by an illicit liaison: Livia has found a measure of compassion and solace in the arms of Marcus Sergius Auletius, the son of her husband’s sister and an ambitious young man who is none too fond of his uncle. For the time being only their respective body slaves are privy to the affair, although rumours may start to circulate should the pair grow bolder or less careful. Liv | GMT+1 | PM here or DM Liv#5452 @Gothic
  5. Liv

    Once upon a time

    61 AD He was at his wits’ end. He had gone through every trick in the book. Tickling had borne no success: she had twisted and turned and batted his hand away with her tiny chubby ones while crying all the while. She wasn’t hungry, either – Valeria had seen to that not even an hour earlier. Bouncing her on his knee while making clicking sounds resembling a horse’s trotting was effective for all of two minutes, during which Sulpicia stopped her wailing and looked up and around with watery eyes, waving her arms up and down excitedly and squealing in delight before whatever was bothering her won out again and the crying resumed. Rocking and shushing her to try and get her to sleep was as futile as teaching a monkey to read, and making goofy faces or cooing distracted her only for a few seconds. What else was he supposed to try? Holding Sulpicia against his chest as he paced the room, Titus was beginning to feel like he too wanted to cry out in exasperation. Seeing his baby like that, ruddy-faced and eyes scrunched up in discomfort, if not pain, whilst tears ran down her plump cheeks and drool dribbled down her chin, was no crowning moment of parenthood. In fact, he felt like the most incompetent person in the world. Could she be thirsty? She was a bit too warm too, Titus concluded as he softly pressed his lips to her forehead – but that could easily be thanks to this fuss she had worked herself into. A slave brought a small cup of water as commanded and made a respectful retreat. Sulpicia took only a few sips before turning her face away and starting to squall again. Titus put the cup down with a defeated sigh and bit his lower lip, willing his stumped brain to please come up with one more thing, or two, or ten. It did not oblige. Defeated, Titus frowned and poked his daughter gently on the tip of the nose. “Are you hungry after all? Hmm? Do you want your mama?” Sulpicia replied with unintelligible pained babbling before grabbing his finger in a vice grip and bringing it to her mouth. When she began to chew on it with all the might and abandon of a starving man, Titus experienced an eureka moment. Teething. The more he thought about, the more obvious it seemed. Babies were born without teeth – as they very sensibly should be. According to bits and pieces he had heard, they would usually make an appearance during the second half of the baby’s first year of life, should baby survive that long. Seemed as clear as V + V = X. The second sudden realisation that followed the first one only lent it more strength: how could a baby’s gums be so hard and exert such force? Fearing for the integrity of his finger, Titus removed his spit-covered index from Sulpicia’s mouth before she chewed it to the bone. She gave him a puzzled, slightly betrayed look before knitting her brow and expressing her displeasure quite loudly. Let it not be said he was a man who did not learn from his mistakes. Eager for silence to return, he offered her his pinky, vanquished yet relieved that the cause of her stroppiness had come to light. As Sulpicia bit and chomped away at his finger in delight, Titus wondered what could be a suitable victim instead. Soft leather? Wool? He might have to defer to the women in the family, and do it soon. He only had ten fingers, after all.
  6. Clio the slave nodded as Septima confirmed her inquiries. The lives of kings of Rome should in theory be a respectable topic to read about, but some people had led very colourful lives. The last thing she wanted was for her masters to reproach her for her readings, or having other slaves be telltales and snitch on her. Lowering her eyes in embarrassment, she attempted to explain the reason for her reservations. "To be entirely honest, domina, neither do I. She is not the type to read much," the slave admitted, shuffling her feet. It was not something she felt comfortable sharing as it could reflect badly on both her and her mistress, but at the same time, Septima had been so helpful and kind that Clio felt she deserved to know why it would have made no sense to ask her domina for book recommendations. The only thing Clio could recall ever having seen her read were letters. "Nevertheless, if she should grow curious about these stories, it would not be wise to have them mention fugitive or rebellious slaves in a good light... Or, for that matter, star-crossed lovers and secret affairs. She might think it is these things that drew my attention, or that somebody of weak morals gave me the books to convert me to their way of thinking..." Although she could not say it in so many words, what Clio feared was the scrolls making her owners think she was considering running away or that she was having a secret relationship. @Chevi
  7. Oh yum, it looks so tasty! Do you think chickpeas or green/brown lentils would work too? Hate peas of all colours
  8. Early May, 74AD - the day after the events of 'A Dacian fable' Dawn had brought with it a new day, one of more subdued excitement and a return to everyday discipline, though spirits naturally still ran high in the camp. After a wet night of drinking and celebration, the morning sun was oddly unwelcome by many, but the soldiers powered through hangovers and soon the camp was bustling with noise and life. Titus had not drunk to the same excess as most of his men, having learnt his lesson long ago, and so he left his tent and trod through the drying mud unbothered to get a proper look at some of their new captives. He had passable information of who was who in that ragtag tribe, but wanted to get a feeling for himself on who might yet cause trouble and who would go down quicker. Inside one of the smaller tents were a couple of higher-profile prisoners, and Titus immediately focused on a tall, well-built man, still dirty from the fighting. They'd had been given a little water to drink, but not anywhere near enough for a measly clean-up. His right arm looked to be in very bad shape, and the pain must have been agonising; should it regain some function, it would still probably never be strong enough to hold sword, spear or shield again. The warrior in Titus could sympathise - to many a man, death would have been preferable to such an injury. The more pragmatic side of him saw it for the good fortune it was for the Roman side: one less fighter to worry about, as he would not be able to take up arms against the Eagles now or in the future, nor train their youths to do it for him. And this one, with his uncowed gaze, would have been very capable of doing just that. Even now, though he was was restrained by tight ropes sturdily wound round his wrists, ankles and neck, the Dacian managed to affect a smug, prideful air not unlike that of his tribeswoman Titus had dealt with the previous day. Perhaps they were related, although he had no knowledge of this one sporting such fine gold on him, or even a particularly ornate weapon. But the man before him would crack sooner or later, like that wench would if she had not already. Exactly how that would happen was yet to be seen, but Titus wasn't overly concerned; if he did not find the chink in the armour himself, someone else or Saturn as the lord of time would. With a frown on his face Titus studied the other man for a few moments, appraising him as he would a ware. Those instants were enough to form a first opinion, but he would allow the Dacian a chance to make his own case. "What shall I do with you, with your arm like that?" @Jane
  9. Liv

    Salting the earth

    At last this little enterprise was bearing fruit. Three men identified and hopefully unsuspecting of what awaited them, one more to go. Though he was too cross at everything and everyone for a number of more or less explainable reasons, Titus silently approved of Longinus' note-taking; about fucking time, too. "Yeah, don't want to tip them off." Word travelled fast in close quarters, and contrary to the solid image they projected, bored legionaries were as willing and able as old widows when it came to gossip and wagging tongues. He would like to stick around to see if the culprits would be appropriately punished, but time was a scarce commodity as of late. If the affair came to a conclusion soon, then maybe he could linger a little while longer. And yet again Aulus displayed the benefits of keeping a cool head: it stood to reason that the men could not have been strangers to each other, but rather the opposite. Perhaps even tent mates. "All right, let's see..." Titus muttered, more to himself than to the other men in the tent. A cursory glance yielded no results, but he'd only been looking for capital Gs and the penmanship could definitely use some work. It could also be the case that the man in question favoured the older spelling, and so Titus studied the list more carefully. "One Caius Volusenus..." Into view came a very misshapen G, but one nonetheless. Even his daughter could do better. "Gaius Rabirius..." And another one, further down the list. "Gaius Curius... And that's it for this one." He lifted his gaze from the list and let it flit about expectantly, hoping one of the names had sparked a flash of recognition. Otherwise, they might as well order all the Gaii in the whole bloody legion to line up against a wall and have their balls chopped off one by one until a little piggy lost his bravado and squealed. @Sara @Sharpie
  10. Clio had a faint, vague idea of where Rhodes was, but not the foggiest clue as to who its son Apollonius was. If he was a writer, then it was only natural it escaped her; there were many things her masters favoured, but literature just did not seem to be one of them. But if there were too many characters in the story he wrote, it should follow that the script would be extensive - and probably expensive. Perhaps it would be better to go with Parallel Lives, at least in the beginning, until she had got a better grasp on the letters and words and hiding places available to her in which to hide the scrolls. She watched as Septima expertly pulled out some pieces and confirmed she was a frequent visitor to the small shop. It must be pleasant to have enough time and money to buy new books often, Clio wondered without envy; she knew so, so little of Septima's life that she could not be jealous. "Thank you, domina," Clio blurted out, pulled from her thoughts as the other woman presented a few scrolls to her. They were short and flimsy enough that they should be within range of her reading skills and money purse. "Romulus, that was the founder of Rome, wasn't it?" The other Roman name sounded less familiar, but she'd heard people mutter and sometimes even shout swears related to a Numa's balls, so maybe they were one and the same. Whether that was a good or bad thing, Clio couldn't say. Taking one scroll in each hand, Clio took their weight and examined them carefully, afraid to damage them. They would not be difficult to hide among her sparse belongings, but first, she had to make sure their contents were safe if they should ever be discovered. "Domina, is the text in these, um..." She struggled to find the right words - the elegant and polite words - for her question. "... is it, um, proper? Would my mistress be angry if she found these and read them?" If they were chock-full of descriptions of naked people and lecherous acts, Annia Comna would have her skinned. But Septima was still young and she looked innocent enough, so Clio doubted these would be spicy tellings. @Chevi
  11. Her joke seemed to have been well-received from the way the friendly giant was grinning. He certainly didn't admonish her for thinking too highly of herself; what with the flirty compliments he had been spewing, all things pointed to him agreeing with her. Well, now that Clio pondered it, he seemed to be agreeing with her on almost all counts - yet another mark of the professional flirter. Clio had to suppress a chuckle at the man's mention of 'feminine skills' the gladiatrices could use. What would they do, bare their breasts in hopes of stunning a male opponent? Moan sultrily and blow kisses? There was no doubt that sort of match would still draw an audience, but then again, a brothel would provide similar entertainment. For a brief second, she wondered what Thessala of the Magnus would say if she could hear the man at that very moment. Possibly run him through with a sword in a very feminine display of skill. She sat up a little straighter and slowly pushed her cup towards the man in a silent request for a refill as she paid more attention to his words. So he did go to the other ludi... And when his sudden admission came, Clio was glad that she had no cup in her hand nor drink in her mouth, because she would have made a spectacular mess of it all. She had not seen it coming. "You were a gladiator?!" Her voice strained with incredulity and surprise, but somehow Clio managed to keep it low enough that the other patrons would not hear. Yet it made perfect sense. He definitely had the physique for it, even now. And he must have been successful and well-liked, since the ludi allowed him to come and go. And then he even went on to make it as lanista! Mouth agape, Clio looked at her companion with newfound respect. "Wow... That is very impressive. You must have been very good." He had to have, since he was still in one piece, not missing limbs or eyes, and sported no disfiguring scars. "What were you called? And when did you retire? Did you gain your freedom?" Clio rattled off breathlessly, looking at the man with big astonished eyes. @Atrice
  12. Liv

    Squeaky clean

    Plenty of baths in Carthage according to Brysias, but either their etiquette was very different - perhaps still a remnant from their time as enemies of Rome -, or Brysias's household was wealthy enough that they would never have had to set foot in one of the public baths and instead had their own at home. The way she spoke of the province natives certainly made it sound like that; her speech came off as 'us' vs 'them', even to Safinia, who was far from an ardent patriot. Whether those words belied her own opinion or she was simply parroting her owners' beliefs, there was no way to tell. "But aren't they Roman, though? It makes sense that they would want the same amenities we have here." It made sense to Safinia - wherever one went in the empire, common facilities like baths, temples and forums could be found in any oppidum worth its salt. And if you willingly made use of such facilities, then you were a Roman in her uncomplicated, black-and-white world view. As expected, Brysias was impressed (or at least polite enough to act it, though Safinia had already branded her as not-polite a while ago) by her occupation, although she had the decency not to immediately ask for one-on-one introductions. Settling in the water so her back was straight, Safinia broke eye contact and brought a finger to her lip. "Our most famous ones are Menelaus and Flavius. Don't know if you've heard of them. I don't know much about racing but they win often." They were also successful outside the track, bringing in income through merchandise with their likenesses depicted on it. She had yet to talk to either of them, but they did their job and did it well and were therefore good in Safinia's mental books. "I help out in the kitchens. Do menial tasks like collecting water or preparing foodstuffs before they can be cooked. I don't mind it at all, but others might get bored soon, I suppose." Worldly people like Brysias, probably. For Safinia, it was perfect: not too much interaction, no deadlines like when Paula had been alive and they'd sewn into the night, no working from home and no taking work home. It did not pay well, but it was enough for her, and she could always count on being provided a meal or two over a day's work. All in all, she thought it was a very nice job to have. "So I'm not high up enough for any perks." Don't even bother asking. @Lauren
  13. Azarion didn't seem agree with her that that horse had a bottomless pit for a stomach. And yet it had gobbled up what it had been offered in the blink of an eye, and had the audacity of demanding more. If all horses were equally greedy, the Whites could very well plant an entire orchard and still not have enough apples to feed them. Safinia followed the stable boy's nod with her gaze, landing on one of the charioteers. Azarion was right - that one man's appetite in particular could be compared to a horse's, or perhaps a cow's with their four stomachs. She pursed her thin, chapped lips and nodded, conceding the point. As the slave went back to his beloved horse she stayed put, eyeing the creature with suspicion despite its friendliness towards its caretaker - who pat it with affection before hand-talking some more at Safinia. She wrinkled her nose trying to make sense of his gestures and eventually reached an interpretation. If he liked horses better than he liked her, it was no insult to her - she was used to not being liked, just tolerated. "That's fair," she shrugged, unperturbed. "You can't like everyone." And what was like, anyway? Being thankful to someone? Being infatuated with someone? She wasn't sure she grasped the concept entirely. With an uncharacteristic sigh she looked down at her rolling pin, then at the horse (or rather, its head) and then at Azarion. All hope of retrieving those apples was now gone. At least the remaining bits would be all dirty and yucky after their tumbles on the ground. "You win." This battle, but not the war. @Chevi
  14. Safinia noticed the boy's smirk, but did not know what it meant and so did not react to it. He could have been making fun of her - wouldn't have been the first either -, or it could be self-satisfaction from pretending to be shocked by the cold water just to mess with her. Either way and whatever the reason for Azarion's smirk, she didn't care. Funny that he should wipe his wet hand on his clothes and not on the towel he had used on her, though. Maybe the cloth was too soaked through to be useful now, or maybe he had done it out of learnt convention that free people abode by one set of rules and slaves by another. "I saw that when I read your name," Safinia deadpanned in response to Azarion's tapping on his tablet, not quite understanding what he meant. She knew he was a slave, why did he want to draw attention to it? Most slaves she had come across had wanted the exact opposite, if anything. She studied his face intensely in a vain attempt to read his thoughts, then gave a defeated shrug when she became none the wiser. That left it up to her brain to interpret his gesture, and it concluded that the boy could only be asking if she too had a tablet. "I don't have one. I'm free." The statement was as blasé as if she had said the sky was blue or that her hair was brown; it was how things were, something to neither gloat over nor be ashamed of. There was no pride or arrogance in her voice, just its usual matter-of-factly flatness. She was running out of things to ask him. Not that she had been that interested in the first place - her original goal had been to retrieve the stolen apples -, but now she knew that amongst those who made up the Whites there was a slave stable boy named Azarion who came from the East, did not speak and was easily manipulated by at least one greedy horse like a puppet by its master. There was for nothing her to do with that knowledge but file it away in a section of the 'Facts about person' cabinet inside her head. Time to discover how many more apples he might try to abscond with in the future, then. "Do you care for all horses, or is it the same ones every time? Like that insatiable beast?" @Chevi
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