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Beauty

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  1. Had Valeria corrected her, Aurelia might have listened and considered the other woman’s thoughts. When it came to her brother Brutus, Aurelia rarely ever listened but with some few others, she was capable of thinking before acting. She never had structure but could be serious. Her older children, at times, and her late husbands could attest to that, the last especially. In his final months, there was not much laughter, particularly from Aurelia’s part except when tearful jests slithered from her lips to illicit a small smile from her husband, who was, to put it plainly, more an inactive bit of flesh than man. And still, Aurelia did not think of him as a “vegetable”, such a word denied him his humanity and individuality, even in his most trying and less ideal moments. And yet it had also been her, not her slaves, who had cleaned his waste personally, out of the seriousness of love. Alas, Aurelia was left in ignorance and to do as she pleased, behaving perkily and spiritedly, which made her feel very much alive since every loss and collapse that marred her life. It was no front, however. Upon hearing what Valeria had said, she grimaced. One cup of wine was simply not enough for her. She did believe she could subtly push for two cups. After two, one rarely counted how much wine one had or would have. She let out a laugh at “flatulate” as if her age had been cut into half and followed after Valeria, motioning for her slaves to remain behind. During normal circumstances, she might have allowed them to follow but considering the present, Aurelia did not want to be disrupted. The gardens were well-kept, she gave credit to Valeria and her husband’s slaves, and for the time being the two women were alone. The sun’s golden rays fell down upon Aurelia’s jewels which dazzled in the bright, Roman light, likely spoiling the eyesight of anyone who dared to look in her direction. “Your gardens are very beautiful, it has a very human touch,” she said, meaning it felt welcoming and friendly. Her own gardens, or rather her brother’s, everything was tended to with utmost precision. Not that Valeria’s gardens weren’t, only that she did not know if her own gardens appeared the way it did because of her brother’s tyrannical reign or because Aurelia was very particular with interior design, almost as if over compensating for her reputation, opposed to the gardener's talent. This one felt real, less conceited. @Joaquin
  2. Blood collected on her clothes, dribbled down her arm, and pooled on her fingertips. The pain she felt on her cheek was excruciating and the atmosphere between them was tense. Her mind muddled, his words both stuck to her but also went through her like mere wind in the background, simply like a normal every day occurrence. When he brushed past her, she exhaled and only then felt life and emotions return to her. She trembled violently and her heart beat faster than before, even as she moved to slowly and carefully clean everything up exactly as she was told. As she thought back on how he had left her rather than continue or take her life, she felt as if he had shown her kindness and felt almost thankful towards him. He could have done worse yet he hadn’t. He could have gotten rid of her, much like everyone else in her life had, but he hadn’t. She was well aware of how she felt, being mindful, and was disgusted but it was better than feeling anger or sorrow about her conditions, emotions that would only exhaust her and make it unbearable to be alive. When all was cleaned, prim and pristine, she took to cleaning herself off. Her hands shook as she poured water over her wound, the blood only mixed with water and her actions seemed to only produce more pain. After some time, she quietly headed towards the room shared with the other slaves. They were, by this point, fast asleep in the darkness. Though others were with her, she felt virtually alone. All she had was her mind, which felt even more confusing than Marcus. Creeping into her bed, she curled in a foetal position and stared into the never-ending black, unable to sleep or even cry from agony and adrenaline. When the morning light came, she would see the sore wound, badly bruised, a purplish, black and yellowed mix of colours, which would still be leaking traces of blood. @Atrice
  3. As she glared at him, he glared right back. Being a man of business, he never liked it when things did not go his way, having to then trace his former steps and follow the path of his alternatives. There were always the alternatives, certainly, but the main road was one he usually had his eyes set upon. Titus could be stubborn. While he sensed nervousness, and like a spider, was drawn to her fear, he was all too conscious of the roughness of her tone. Brows creasing and the muscles of his face grimacing, he struck her across the face with his hand. Eyeing her without any hint of human emotion, he straightened himself as if he hadn’t just smacked a woman in the face. But women, particularly slave women, weren’t worthy of sympathy. While not the most devout, he liked to justify their suffering by the hands of the gods. Some were gifted and others cursed based on the whims of their divine betters. “Your master needs to teach you manners when speaking to your superiors,” he said, his voice calm despite the brutality he had wrought just moments ago. While Titus had certainly provoked her, not that he saw the situation this way, he couldn’t imagine the way she spoke to her master Longinus, if she had spoken so carelessly to him like an equal. “I think you forget not only your place but that I have influential friends.” He purposely paused to let the point sink into her mind. “Don’t think I can’t pull the right strings to see you and even your master removed. What happens before that, I cannot promise will be very pretty. After all, people can only take so much. You can care nothing for yourself, that much is clear with the way you act recklessly, but surely you don’t want anything to come of the man? I assume that you would not allow for another to suffer needlessly because of your own foolishness.” He wouldn’t have a senator killed, let alone mistreated, as such men were more useful to Titus alive and well than dead, but he only wished to toy with her, picking a part her mind before he finally left. In the end, if her master did not comply with his proposal, the girl was still much like a bridge for Titus to wander into finer territories as surely other arrangements could be made. Or so, he believed. “Show me your breasts and I will leave your master be. This will also stay between us. Forgotten and brushed away.” @Echo
  4. BEAUTY Aculia - POST HERE Nymphias - POST HERE Titus Aspanius Lupus - POST HERE Tiberius Herius Bassus - POST HERE Aurelia Phillipa - POST HERE Manawyddan - {dropping/presumably dead}
  5. Bassus trailed after her and whirled his head in Safinia’s direction. “Of course,” he said patiently, taking her comment as purely conversational, if not then curiosity. “It helps build upper body strength, which can come in useful. A good charioteer needs strength to control his horses.” But it wasn’t all about strength, a charioteer needed a strategy and courage, the latter for merely taking part in a brutal game. Out of the sun’s hot beams, the cool air of the kitchens washed over him, but was now sweating, even if only by a little, from having been outside and carrying something as weighty as a basin of water. Just as she had indicated, he set it down and wiped his hands against his white attire, seeing as his palms had collected perspiration. He could have very well left by now but Bassus was always keep on getting to know those around him so he settled by a wall and folded his arms comfortably. The mention of ham drew a chuckle from him but realising she might not have understood why he found her words amusing, he thought to make it clear. “I’m a Jew, Safinia,” he said, smile still spread across his face. As if she did not know that already. “The earlier books in our texts state that we must not consume certain animals and pigs are one of them.” He shrugged. Why certain animals was a question of the ages, even Bassus himself had asked as a child, only to be told by his parents that it was the way of things. Over the years as he grew, the Jewish diet became something of habit and cultural pride. He tried to follow the diet as specified in religious texts but it wasn’t always possible, especially when he had been a slave. “I suppose those who authored such writings or our god Himself have their reasons, which can be talked about from sunrise to sunset. But I think just a bit of bread will be just fine. Thank you.” @Liv
  6. Beauty

    Itera Thomas Coquus

    Also in contrast to Titus, Aurelia was quite enjoying herself. With every upward motion and drop, Aurelia was at the side of the boat, gripping onto the wood for dear life, shouting profanities in the wind and enjoying how it made her insides flop. And she wasn’t even drunk yet. She planned to go straight to the vineyards and then to the beaches, if time allowed for it. Aurelia had taken the time to dress over-the-top like a statement that said she was there for pure self-indulgence. Brutus, her brother, was not with her, unwilling to crawl outside of his deep, dank office back in Rome like the tedious piece of meat that he was, and so, he was not there to restrain her. Unfortunately for the masses and she was living for the moment, hoping to spend money, not only for herself, but to purchase trinkets for her children left in Naples and wine for her brother. The wind played with her hair, shoving loose strands into her face which she had to occasionally tear away from her face, and caused her overly luxurious clothes to flap. As the ship moved slowly in the waters, forming ripples, she could see their destination in the distance. Valeria seemed otherwise engaged so her eyes then fluttered downwards towards the water which the sun reflected off of. She rested against the edge of the ship, her chin sitting firmly on her hands as she watched the waves and examined fish. As much as she reverted to a child when on ships, she just wanted it to dock already. @Liv @Joaquin (+ others)
  7. From the amount of abduction and forced sexual intimacy present in Roman tales, Bassus could definitely tell how the Romans thought. But perhaps he was just bitter. Despite his thoughts, he smiled widely and nodded, it sounded like a deal, to discuss written works. And when she laughed at his comment about horses, he laughed too. Her laugh was a little infectious. “You are quite fortunate to find a friend in your mistress,” said Bassus. It put him at ease to hear that she had found some joy in spite of all she had endured. He had a complicated relationship with his faith, if only because it felt like his god had ripped everything away from him but her outlook inspired him to find happiness, even when things seemed hopeless. For a time, he left their conversation at that as they headed into the shop where he purchased honey cakes. When they emerged into the hot sun and sat down, he decided to re-direct the conversation back a few steps. “I was a slave once,” he said, he often didn’t openly admit to such a thing, purely because he wished to move on. He was both neutral and hurt by his history, a peculiar paradox. “My last master was a gentle old man, interested in horses, and he showed me that not all Romans are bad.” He suspected the same was with Aglaea’s mistress. The man’s daughter had hated Bassus’s guts. She had always told him that his smile was fake and, of course, it was, he had lost everything and despised slavery. He bit into the honey cake, chewed and swallowed. “This is the best I’ve ever tasted,” he said but perhaps Aglaea’s presence had something to do with that. “A land flowing with milk and honey… Do you ever miss Judea or wish you could go back, if you could go back?” @Echo
  8. As he squinted off into the distance, staring at nothing at all, Nymphias was attempting to tip-toe away. Her lips were sewn shut and her eyes stared ahead of her, intent on leaving him as if she had never seen him and he had never seen her. If he asked her what she was on about earlier, she’d pretend it wasn’t her at all. It was her twin. She turned back to make sure he was still looking into the rain but he had since turned to look at her. She stopped and instantly turned to face him, forcing a smile on her face. “I was just stretching my legs! I am a woman and that’s what women do when they get…,” she lowered her hand around her abdominal area. “Bloated.” She gently walked over to him, her feet creating soft pit-pats against the floor, resigning to throwing away her dignity. She’d just embarrassed herself, he thought her an idiot, and she was stuck in a lie now. How did it come to this so fast? She pointed ahead of them. “Don’t you see it? It’s tall and looks like a person.” But apart from the bobbing trees, there were only shadows. “Perhaps you should check it out?” Would she send him in there to get all wet? She extended her hand outwards to collect some droplets of rain. “It’s so rainy, this is almost like Britannia!” @Ejder
  9. As he spoke close to her ear, Nymphias’ cheeks turned as red as apples and shivers were sent down her spine. Pleasure? Nymphias had very little clue on how that worked exactly, always understanding it to be what one felt in the heart, but had heard pleasure in the sentences of those describing the act of love-making. She was at a ripe age where she took most things at face value. “Of course we will” had told her that, yes, they would lay with one another when husband and wife. She believed it would happen and so, if that was the case, she did not see any harm in them being together in that way, even now. She was indeed nervous, mainly because she was inexperienced. But Erea had done it with her husband, she knew that much, and survived. She could too. She felt his lips against her jaw and giggled, it tickled against her skin but the feeling excited the butterflies in her stomach and made her heart beat quickly. “Because…,” she said, her voice quieting, a little nervous, it was nothing of the like that she had done before, that much was certain, but she knew one thing: that she loved Helios. He had waited, been nothing but kind and truthful, helped her while she had been sad in Rome, and she believed they were now going to be husband and wife. It was all the more reason to give herself to him. He would be the first and certainly the only man, she thought. “I want to be with you, Helios.” She sat upright so she faced him properly, looking him into the eyes she often got lost in. She never knew one could feel so much until she had gotten to know Helios. “I mean, the way that husbands and wives are. Because I love you very much, I have told you many times but… I want to show you. That’s why I ask.” @Atrice
  10. “Oh? Can you?” she said, daring him. As he prepared himself, she bit her lip playfully. “Very well, let the games begin, charioteer.” With that, she fled the room, rushing throughout the house, gently clutching her clothes as if to allow herself more ability to run freely without interference. She zoomed through another room, tossing her head back, feeling her hair smack against the back of her neck, to see if Marcellus was following after her. When she saw him, she let out an almost childish laugh, quite enjoying being chased. He was fast. While her slaves literally slaved away, setting up decorations and preparing for the party that was to come, she was behaving like a giddy young girl. As she turned from one hall into another, an elderly servant holding a jug of wine opened his mouth in horror, not able to let out a scream in that split second, as Aurelia almost collided with him. She had gotten a flash of the terror in his eyes before she kept on running. Slaves had to step out of the way of their mistress. Such behaviour was common in the household when Aurelia was around, whether it was her or her with her younger children; however, when her brother returned, it was as though a dark cloud had rolled in, casting only shadows. He wasn’t malevolent, merely boring. Aurelia could feel her heart hammering away in her chest as she entered the gardens, laughing hysterically as Marcellus was hot on her tail and it was apparent that Aurelia stood no chance against a charioteer. “No!” she cried out mischievously, he was closer now. “Nooooo! I say we have a rematch!” @Echo
  11. It seemed that Longinus quite dissimilar to Titus. He himself cared very little for humour, though he did, at times, laugh at the works of Landicus, understanding its irony and social observations. Apart from that, not many could make Titus laugh. Very few things made him smile except for money and whores. His eyes were glued to the knife that she held out and slowly he picked it up. He fiddled with it, playing with it between his fingers, watching it swirl with his cold, light eyes. The same way his brother used to before he had some terrible idea growing in the womb of his mind. “If he cannot whore your body out, he can whore out your skills through other means than the pits,” said Titus, his mind always searching for business expansions. It was a waste to see such talent solely used in the gladiatorial pits. His eyes slowly settled on the young woman before him, she was not much older than his nephew. “If he is nice enough, surely he will see reason,” he said, eyes on the knife twirling between his fingers. A trick he had learned when younger. “But I will go easy on him, I suppose.” Titus had no true intention to ruin a senatore’s reputation but with wicked encouragement, he believed, he could make something out of nothing. He had high hopes for the Elysium and reasoned most men could be led astray if given the choice, the vilest of the Elysium clients only indicated that. He stopped playing with the knife and held it firmly in his hands, eyes boring right at the young woman. “Why don’t you undress and let me observe you. I know your talents but if we are to make an investment out of you with you as a slut, I need to see what the men of Rome will be flocking to fuck.” @Echo
  12. Nymphias’ lips thinned, becoming nothing more than a line on her face. She couldn’t understand how their domina could allow for a young child to be separated from his mother and still go to bed at night, let alone kiss hers goodnight. The news would be haunting Nymphias for many days and only further displayed to her as to why she had to keep her time with Helios quiet, if only not to suffer any more than she already had being away from family or to face Zia’s same fate. Helios had warned her, after all. After some time, she nodded slowly and gently. “I do,” she said nervously playing with her fingers, her voice a little quiet. Her eyes darted left and right, frightful that anyone, even other the slaves, could be listening in. Still, she was one of the luckier ones, she came to realise, she had met Azarion who had scars and had lost his tongue, likely from misbehaving. Her voice dropped to that of a whisper. “I have been planning to do everything the Romans tell me to so then they will eventually let me go.” She then lowered her head, a little embarrassed and her face flushed. “But also I am hoping a friend helps me become free. I think he wants to be free and I think he would help me, he knows a lot of things about Rome.” She couldn’t say anymore than that, Helios had told her to keep silent about them. “I don’t think I can become free by myself,” she said honestly, she knew she was hardly as clever as those older or more experienced than her, and she often looked to them for guidance on how to think and act. “But I think when I become smarter like him and free, I will free my sister too and then find my mother and brother. How about you, what are your plans? Do you think we can help each other? We are stronger together than divided, aren’t we?” @Sara
  13. The frown told Bassus that Azarion didn’t always want to be a charioteer. Admittedly, Bassus had to pause a minute to know what the boy was saying when his head tilted in his direction but then it dawned on him. While there were some scrolls in Judea that spoke of words spoken with one’s hands and he had conversed with plenty of others much like Azarion before, Bassus couldn’t pretend he always knew what the boy was trying to say. But he tried. “Me? Well, no,” he said honestly as they walked through bustling crowds. He had always enjoyed the company of horses but had never expected or desired to make a career out of them. Neither had he ever cared to gain grandeur or fame, he had craved for contentment, and yet here he was. He had everything he hadn’t anticipated and none of what he wanted. “My family owned an orchard and my father, brothers and myself were scribes as well. For a time, while in Rome, I acted as a tutor or accountant.” He left out his history of slavery, partly from personal shame and because his time as one had been less than favourable but slivers of the truth remained in his words. “If I wasn’t a charioteer, I would have liked to follow my family’s footsteps but being a charioteer pays quite well.” He shrugged and then looked on ahead of them, his eyes settled on the tavern. “We should keep our eyes on the prize, hm, Azarion?” he said cheerfully, pointing ahead of them. “There lies our Garden of Eden. Our forbidden fruit. Remember, you see a woman, you smile widely. Let’s see your smile.” He looked down at Azarion, ready to see that handsome smile. @Chevi
  14. Vibia was lucky and did not even know half of it. Sexual encounters were often interrupted by her younger children. It was on all accounts a definite mood killer. It was one of the very few times her slaves were reprimanded, discipline was mostly left to her brother who ruled with an uninspiring fist, but it was the sole reason why the Domus Venus was a desirable alternative. What Vibia said next, however, intrigued her and her grin widened. Vibia was being cheeky, if not a little tricky withholding juicy secrets of the higher class. Even so, it was like a game to be won, not that she was competitive by nature, merely liking to play for the pleasure of it all. Her secret did elicit a laugh from Aurelia, who felt every bit like a “bad girl”, completely disgraceful and scandalous in the presence of the younger, light-haired woman. Like a leech, she was drinking Vibia’s youth and shocking life. The way Vibia brushed her fingers against her lips, played with her hair, and teased, only made Aurelia excitable. Aurelia’s hand fell to Vibia’s side, running along her curves, but not long after, Aurelia leaned in, pressing her lips against the woman’s. Her kiss was strong and deep but then broke away. “I think we can change the rules of the game,” she said, who liked to play games by the ear, simply going with the flow. She was curious about what the high-born people of Rome got up to day in and day out. Aurelia’s fingers crawled up Vibia’s arm, coyly. “What if I double the price for this session, would you tell me then?” It was so like Aurelia to be thoughtless with money, though she believed this was certainly her money’s worth. She reached for a hand of Vibia’s, lifting it to her lips and stroking the skin with her thumb. “Or must I try harder?” @Sara
  15. Bassus had to admire not only the imagination of poets but their ability to craft a story with words, entertaining people all the while. It was certainly not something he thought he could do, though he quite enjoyed reading tales for their themes and what they had to offer. Bassus turned to her excitedly. “I actually quite like the Aeneid,” he said cheerfully, excitement in his voice. In his opinion, it was one of the most compelling tales, difficult to turn away from. “And I suppose that’s what makes it so memorable. You can spend all night going in circles, talking about the ending alone.” Hearing her speak more gave him a good insight as to the sort of person that Aglaea was. Admittedly, he had hoped to make a friend, as he always did, but had not expected to meet someone that he felt fascinated in, eager to see and learn more about. “I assure you, horses are a lot more afraid of you than you are of them,” said Bassus playfully with a laugh. He found her nervousness with horses charming. “Perhaps I can show you just how harmless they can be?” That was, if she had the time and chance. Hearing her story, he noticed how her voice became solemn. It was hard not to take another’s hurt as one’s own. “You are very admirable, Aglaea, very little people see blessings in their darkest moments,” said Bassus with a smile, one he kept in hope of comforting her in a small way, but he was speaking of himself. He had been a slave once too and had lost all hope because of it, simply moving through life like a ghost. She was stronger than he was. “You remind me of Joseph and the coat of many colours, able to find miracles after despair, and I respect your faithfulness to religion. I am also sorry to hear about your parents, that must have been very difficult for you. I suppose your mistress is someone important to you?” He only guessed because she was willing to buy her a honey cake. @Echo
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