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Joaquin last won the day on December 31 2019

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  1. JOAQUÍN Gaia Lupa - HERE (She wasn't listed) Valeria Flacca - HERE Hector - HERE
  2. Setting aside her own travel preparations – namely packing enough costumes to decorate the Roman legions, Valeria had made certain the younger children were preoccupied one way or another while she had her guest, but Flacca was intended to arrive later for a brief introduction, though Valeria hadn’t yet made mention of that to Clio. As a writer, Valeria wanted Flacca to know and hopefully associate with a writer closer to her own age in hopes of lighting and cultivating that fire for writing in her own daughter. The day was humid and the heat almost suffocating and staying in the shadowy indoors offered very little solace, leaving Valeria to shoo slaves out from the gardens so that she could sit there with the gentle breeze and an arrangement of cooled drinks. Valeria herself was dressed in flowy summery garb and floral jewellery in an effort to stay away the temperature. Save for the distant dog bark or the far-off crooning of the cicadas, the inner gardens were relatively quiet. Once Clio’s presence was known, Valeria had the young woman led into the gardens. Valeria was reclining comfortably and when she caught sight of Clio, she slightly rolled her body to greet the new arrival with an outreached her hand for her to take. “Oh, Clio, take my hand,” she greeted with a smile. “Unfortunately, I am far too comfortable to properly embrace you, but you must forgive me and have a seat yourself. What do you think of the gardens?” In Valeria’s opinion, it had changed far too much for her liking now since the earthquake and regardless of Clio’s answer, it would be an invitation for Valeria to voice her own thought. @Chevi
  3. “Very true, it is most understandable,” Valeria answered sympathetically as Pinaria made mention of her late husband and while she would have liked to have offered her condolences, she wondered if the other woman had grown tired of hearing the same empty expressions of pity. Valeria had enough years under her stola since the loss of her brother. There had never been a body to give a sense of closure, but the clumsy good intentions of others never helped bring closure instead they drew-out what was already painful. Although, the memory of her father hiring professional mourners to wail at the funeral of her brother simply to pad the numbers that would have otherwise been significantly smaller, given that ‘Porcus’ was an obnoxious man in life, always made crack into a smile. “I, for one, am most happy that you re-join us.” Valeria placed a hand on the woman’s back unthinkingly as she turned towards Circus Maximus as if she had just remembered it standing there in all its glory. At Pinaria’s suggestion that they go inside, Publius’s face lit up. The races were bustling as ever, and it was possible that there were not many seats close-by. “If there are none, I’ll simply sit on someone,” Valeria jested with the wave of her hand as she walked, keeping an eye on her son. Her daughter dutifully followed, carrying her second daughter. “It’s quite busy today, isn’t it? Must be the weather. There would be no better time to rub your sweaty shoulders against someone else’s.” ‘That’s not true!’ came Publius’s protest, annoyed that his mother and her jokes couldn’t appreciate the races just as much as he did. @Atrice
  4. Joaquin

    Itera Thomas Coquus

    In contrast to Titus, Valeria was enjoying herself. On the boat, the hot day had grown slightly cooler as the wind out on the water almost seemed to take on a life of its own. The boat bobbed up and down with the arrival of every rise in the water that had appeared more serene on land as it shimmered and sparkled beneath the sun. Valeria was filled with a sense of adventure, the same that she had felt initially when she was met with the scenic Dacian country of deep forest and slopping mountains. From the beginning, she fully embraced the wild sea as the wind had begun to unravel and undo the morning work of the slaves that had curled and tucked her naturally straight hair. She observed the distance growing between them and the city of Naples as they were rowed, eventually their view was met with shoreline and the occasional opulent seaside villa beyond the city on one side and a scattering of boats and then the endlessness of the sea on the other. Through the sound of the wind whipping in her eardrums, Valeria angled her head down towards her husband. “Did no one tell you this boat was a ten-day journey?” she asked with feigned surprised, brushing her thumb gently against his hair in a subconscious gesture to at least say that she was there for him. She could both understand his impatience, having felt that to a degree while sitting in a carriage on her way to Dacia, and equally take some pleasure in his pain. The island itself was beginning to materialise into something more than a dark blue shape in the distance, she could make out its greenery and sandy beaches. After briefly pausing, she said, looking up towards Aenaria, “Rejoice, Titus. I can actually see land now. I’m not joking this time.” @Liv @whoeverwantstotorturetitustoo
  5. After her short-lived retching, Gaia felt immediate dread wash over her that her brother might take out his disgust or irritation on her and if not in that moment, then later as he was never one to forget anything. Her body was shaking as if she were out in the cold and her hands rose to meet Spurius’s arm as he pulled her closer in his direction protectively. It was him that was comforting her rather than the other way around as it should have been. Even though, Titus had expressed for a second time what he wanted, Gaia still worried for both Spurius and Titus, the two other women, and herself and the unease she felt was almost paralysing. It was difficult to think clearly. She had seen women and new-borns go from flesh-coloured to almost stone grey with death, which never became any easier, but seeing the remains of someone contorted and crushed under a wall was… beyond description. She rose up from under the table, knowing the woman’s body was still where she had last seen it but kept her eyes up, glancing at the ceiling as if searching to see if it would give on them. As Titus ushered them out, she held onto Spurius, gripping him firmly with both hands, as she began to move out from the room and through the door. One foot of hers slipped a little on the floor that had collected pooled blood. Once they were in the hallway, Gaia quietly said to Spurius, fighting to sound calm and collected, “I think Titus is right. If anything happens, you keep going. You must promise me that.” @Beauty @Laria
  6. Aurelia had audacity. While they had once been companions in their youth, their choices had led them along very different paths and that no longer lent her the same permissions to speak so familiarly about her husband as she had – or even to bring up her own deceased so pitilessly. Had it perhaps been Horatia, Valeria might have laughed as Valeria enjoyed a little vulgarity and mockery sprinkled like seasoning into her life. But with Aurelia, it was uncomfortable and awkward, especially with her reputation in mind. It, of course, had nothing to do with her nether regions which probably looked more akin to something that had died by the roadside and had been sitting in the hot sun for a few weeks. But rather how she was known for her irresponsibility and recklessness. Unfortunately, the gods did not grace everyone with good sense. The stupidity of others was often entertaining but from only ever so afar. It was a different thing when it found itself in your own home. So long as Valeria kept some form of distance – emotional distance – then perhaps, she would indulge the other woman. “Very well, one cup of wine and then you must leave,” Valeria relented. She never held Aurelia responsible for the deterioration of their friendship. Life happened. However, she hated unexpected visitors, strangers that were far too familiar, and being dressed down in the presence of guests and Aurelia had managed all three. “This way now, or do you intend to stand there and flatulate at the door?” she shot over her shoulder as she turned to bring the woman out into the gardens. @Beauty
  7. Valeria’s feet crossed the warm floor of the tepidarium as her eyes crossed to the older women that Horatia referenced with a smile tugging at the corner of lips in amusement. They were deep in their conversation. Their expressions, the shake of their heads, and occasionally audible “oh, nooo” made clear how much they enjoyed feeding off one another’s energy as they shared the confused details of some scandalous occurrence or other. “I’m already lamenting the middle-age beauties. Everything has begun to sag,” Valeria jested with a loud laugh that made a few heads turn and a solitary distant tut in disapproval could be heard. She did not dread age, by now she had come to terms that one day, it would certainly be her and she hoped that if that were the case, it would be Horatia there with her just as those matrons had each other. “Though I am in the right mood to be just as outraged by some gossip as they are. Here, let me start, there’s talk of a gladiator with three cocks.” As she broke the water surface and slowly lowered, feeling how the warm water eased the stresses in her muscles, she understood Horatia’s contentedness in the time away from home. “Let us not forget the drunken men who sleep on the floor of our domus,” Valeria added with a chuckle, but she agreed. Being a mother and being a person were two things that women like them often had to balance. “Then we must make plans for the next week and leave our husbands wondering if we’ve finally set them aside for each other as much as we do with them and the little triumvirate they have arranged with themselves and Longinus.” @Sara
  8. When Spurius appeared, Gaia felt herself lift up with a breath of relief and she could not help but want to hold him, returning his concern for her with the same as she placed a hand on his cheek and haphazardly moved her hands down to his shoulders, here and there carefully to see that he was not harmed while moving through the Elysium. They were joined by two half-clad slave-women who squeezed themselves under the table, shrieking in a way that tempted that primal level of fear to come out by those around to hear it. They looked fear-stricken, one of the two sobbing uncontrollably with the other looking unresponsive, her eyes staring but her vision was not reaching anywhere. Gaia could still make-out what her son was saying over the noise and nodded. “Titus, we should go, we should all go,” she added the last a little louder so that the other women could hear, even though her voice was shaking. “Please, Titus, come with us.” She wanted her brother to agree with them. She did not want to leave without him. She looked towards the entrance into the room, worried that they might lose their chance. In that moment, she realised why one of their workers was weeping and it had not occurred to her why before, everything had happened so suddenly. Just near the door under a portion of the wall that had collapsed as a result of the shaking was what remained of a third woman who had not made it under the table. What if that had been Spurius instead? Gaia had seen blood all her life, as a woman through the months, childbirth, and miscarriage, and as a midwife, but not like this. She felt herself suddenly grow numb, beginning from the lips then spreading like poison through her, and her stomach felt warm and tight. Her eyes travelled to her brother briefly, wanting to say something, before she felt her body betray her as she bent and vomited towards his lap from the sight of the body. @Beauty @Laria
  9. When Titus beckoned her over, Gaia slid down from Gnaeus’s knee and crossed the floor on eager feet towards him to greet him into a light embrace. She often stood on the periphery, watching her brother together, when she was not scrubbing the strainers, bronze pans, or discus in water that she had collected by bucket and carried into the domus but between the two of them, Titus was the one who would humour her with a game of hide-and-seek. On the other hand, Gnaeus rarely ever did, it was why his game of horse was read like a treat. From his face, he did not appear happy suddenly. Gaia held onto Titus absent-mindedly as a woman and the slaves entered, but the suggestions made by her second brother sounded terrifying, her body shivered at the thought. She looked to her father, but all while the tense conversation between his sons transpired, the man was vegetating on the recliner, too indifferent and incapacitated by his laced drink to intervene, not even to question why his second son was brandishing knives or purchasing slaves and revealing the fact days later. “Nothing?” Gnaeus probed, tilting his head, noticing that Titus had not said anything. But of course, he would not. To him, it was disappointing that his brother did not share his taste in entertainment. “Nothing at all? How about this? Instead of that, you can wear this, and I’ll watch your woman fuck you from behind.” A ratty wig was tossed towards his brother’s face. Gaia watched it as it bounced onto the floor, she could smell it from where she was standing. “Can we go outside?” Gaia whispered to Titus, tugging on his garments, while her eyes rose up to Gnaeus. It was usually what she did when inside, her brothers in particular, became too much. “What was that?” Gnaeus asked. “Please, share it with the room, Gaia. I’m sure we would all love to hear it.” @Beauty
  10. It seemed other families in Rome had the same idea to make use of the summer weather to see the races. “Oh, yes, this is all of us, but I haven’t been counting,” Valeria joked with the shrug of her shoulder, while her son impatiently turned around to stare at the Circus Maximus in youthful longing. The magic of the races just a few paces away, but his mother was an obstacle. “Valeriana, Flacca, Publius, say hello to Pinaria,” she instructed. Valeriana was the first to greet the woman, followed by Flacca, and Publius’s lifeless and sombre ‘good-day’ followed. “I have been well, thank you,” Valeria answered. “Although, you might have heard about my father. No, he has not died, not yet, Gods be willing, but his health has been ebbing and flowing for a while now. I must have told you that, hadn’t I?” She likely did not need any direct telling, it was as good as common knowledge now, much to her father’s dismay given his pride. “I was not able to make the reading group with Horatia Justinia. How did it go? Any gossip that will wake me up before the races?”
  11. “Poor little pear,” Valeria offered with a sympathetic tut. She was a late bloomer, but it still felt as if it were a wave good-bye to the carefreeness of childhood and a welcoming gift into the pains of adulthood. “Sulpicia had a prior engagement with a girl friend of hers, unfortunately.” That was Valeria’s go-to answer whenever she did not feel like diving into a ‘well, my adolescent daughter is going through one of her inexplicably strange moods and it’s best not to take her out of the house’. Besides, it was freeing to be her own person without having to stop and remember ‘did I feed the child?’ “But I remember when Sulpicia was that age,” she mused, moving her body to ease the battle of removing her clothes for the slaves. But gods, did she feel old saying that. It sometimes amazed her that it was possible for her to be a grandmother. She peered at her friend who was already fully undressed. “Are you this quick with Aulus? Anyway,” she said, returning to their original lovely conversation. “I believe I kept it quiet it from him for a while but detailing shocking news to husbands always requires a little diplomatic expertise. A little word foreplay to get him ready, some lubrication to soften it, then you go in with full force with it. Titus has not broken into a traumatic sweat in the middle of the night… yet.” The marriage of their daughter was an inevitable future and that was one area that Valeria could not jest about. Finally, free of her clothes, Valeria sauntered towards her friend. “Ready,” she confirmed, giving Horatia an approving slap on the ass. It deserved a poem. @Sara
  12. “Oh, I will be,” Hector promised Tertius, half-swooning because of his master’s show of concern. Tertius could drop a pin and it would give Hector the breath of life. The slave then vanished back into the domus with the kind of bravery that only a narcissist could have. Underneath his bare feet, he could feel the ground quivering still, as if Terra Mater had a change of mind after a morning quickie and decided to prolong her waves of pleasure. Inside the domus was quiet and devoid of the other slaves that were usually scuttling around like vermin. As Hector headed towards the kitchens for a cloth and water, he paused to peer into Tertius’s room, just the way it had been left. In all the earlier mayhem, Hector hadn’t noticed his tunic had been thrown aside on the other side of the floor, and seeing a wine cup that had set aside the night prior, he took a quick sip and then pressed onwards. The kitchens were dark, plates and vases had jostled from the surfaces and crashed into the floor, creating little shards that poked into his feet when he first entered. On his return, Hector bounded up to Tertius’s side with a happy smile like a puppy looking for its pat on the head and a high-pitched ‘good boy’. “Here you are,” Hector said to Charis in one of the most insincerely friendly voices while thrusting both the cloth and the nearest water he could find in her general direction. “Would you like to know the state of the interior, domine?” he asked, turning to Tertius in a way that seemed like he was giving the man his full attention but with the subtle body language that almost communicated a ‘you two aren’t a part of the conversation’ to the other two, especially Charis. @Atrice @Sharpie @Sara
  13. If it had not been this situation, the blend of Titus’s serious tone and the quote of her writing might have made Valeria crack and break her silence with a loud, drawn-out snort as she bit back her laughter. It did not elude her either that his reaction compared to what it could have been was rather mild and gods, he deserved credit: he was trying to place himself into his wife’s head. Giant, purple, veiny cocks. “Fuck, no,” she answered truthfully, however. Did he think she wanted to suffocate between a hefty pair of buttocks as well? “It’s all really in good fun. It all started with a very bored, very curious girl trying to see what was getting everyone’s togas in a knot and it just turned into its own thing from there.” That was a way to simply explain it without jumping to quickly into dissecting her mind slice by slice, but she was ready by now to delve further if need be. “You have met my father,” she added with a gesture of her free hand towards him to illustrate her point. “Think about what a man like Landicus means to him.” Her use of her character’s name, by then, was also her admission. “Besides, it’s funny. You cannot tell me that you do not at least think that a man who held an entire conversation with his lover by whispering into her vagina so the sound could reach her ears isn’t even the slightest bit funny.” @Liv
  14. Gaia was out of it and under the influence, she stumbled, intoxicated, while her feet vibrated against the shaking ground and the walls around her chattered with the threats of cracking. She had not seen her brother coming, instead she had been staring out at the darkened hallway, then the next minute, she felt her body plummet towards the ground as something large and heavy collided with her. For a split second, she let out a brief, high-pitched yelp, thinking – instinctively – in that short period of time that she had been struck by a section of the wall. It did not register that it was human until she was on the floor, the skin of her arm aching from the impact with the ground, when her eyes rose from the obscuring of his arm to his face. She felt a mixture between relief and then disappoint or fear that he was alive. “What are we doing under the table?” she asked, her eyes with wide with worry. She wanted to bury her head into her hands and wish the earthquake away, but she knew not to give into the temptation of panic. Once you fell down that road, it was hard to come back. She had felt the earth rumbles before, of course, but this was different. In the back of her mind, her son, the hurt, their money came up, but that would all be for after. If there was an after. “Shouldn’t we be going outside?” she asked again, but perhaps it was better that they remained where they were. If they moved again, their luck might run out. She wanted to believe that Titus was right. @Beauty
  15. If anyone was dead, it was Aurelia Phillipa. Perhaps not dead in body, but certainly to Valeria’s memory. Years had passed and usual slogging through the everyday took precedence over a friendship that met its natural end in childhood. In fact, that was what sourced all the confusion in Valeria’s face as she was embarrassed by what was now essentially an acquaintance assuming a close friendship. “I appreciate the flattery, Aurelia Phillipa, but it seems your sight has aged since the last you saw of me,” Valeria replied, though she did not know how well the other woman would receive her comment. She had not been expecting any guests and for once, dressed in far less pomp and theatre than she usually did. “Since you speak of ghosts, I don’t suppose you were coming to see if I were still alive, were you?” she asked. Oddly, in the last while, there had been plenty of people checking in with Titus or offering their condolences but where the news of her death came from, Valeria did not know. The silver lining being that it offered Valeria the creative inspiration to fuel conspiracies of wives being replaced by lookalikes through her writing. “Well, now you’ve had one good look at me in the flesh. You are free to leave now.” @Beauty
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