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  1. December, 74AD - the Via Latina, a day's walk/half a day's ride from Rome As was customary, Horatia lit the sprig of incense in front of the marker, erected some way back from the dusty road that drove south to Naples. Unlike many of the funerary monuments constructed on this route, the one she came to visit was set back into the forestry - concealed from travellers, and secluded. Her arms were covered in a thin film of goosebumps at the memories that flooded her mind in this place, and why she had deigned to visit, in secret. It had been twelve years but everything was as vivid as if she were reliving it yesterday; the wight of the toddler Titus in her arms, the ear piercing scream, the smell of blood, the feeling of fingers working under her tunica1. She swallowed the lump in her throat and wiped her eyes on the back of her hand. This was an evil place, full of awful memories, but one she had to visit. A year after the incident she had erected the stone to Decius, the man that had lost his life here. He was a slave, his absence hadn't been commented on or noticed by her parents in law, or Aulus when he had returned home some seven years later, but Horatia keenly felt his loss. He had protected her, even in immense pain. He had been kind. And so she visited every year she could, on the anniversary of his passing, of that fateful day. She never told her husband or own family where she was going; insisting that she was going to visit a friend in a villa and so needed a horse and her freedman; employed for her protection. Said freedman stayed well back from her, standing with the horses on the road. Neither did her husband or her family know about the little monument she had erected; she used funds from her father which she had informed him was for repairs to a women's respite home in the Aventine. She had then told her parents-in-law a similar tale to get double the funds so she got her stone and the women got their home. Everybody won, but poor Decius. She sniffed back her upset as she crouched in front of the marker, until she heard a twig snap; somebody walking through the clearing. She spun around on her heel and blinked, trying to figure out who it was. TAG: OPEN 1 Horatia is thinking about her flight from Rome to Baiae in the civil war, as recounted here.
  2. (Letter dated late November 74 AD) Titus Sulpicius Rufus to his dearest friend Longinus, greetings . As promised, brother, here is the list you desire. Most Almost all of the work is Valeria’s, but I took the liberty of summarising it lest you end up with two full scrolls for each lady. Calpurnia Praetextata Sister to our good friend Aulus of the same name and by all accounts a very beautiful woman, although I have never seen her up close. I don’t think it gets any more prestigious than marrying a former Vestal, although fertility is naturally an unknown quantity in her case. Claudia Caesaris Second only to a Vestal is the imperial household. Again, I am not closely acquainted with this lady, but she is young and said to be very good-looking. I can ask my sister-in-law Cornelia for more information if it pleases you. Oriana Laecania It saddens me to inform once more I have no first-hand account of the beauty of this lady, but according to Valeria she throws some very nice parties. My dear wife tells me she is Equite but looking to move up and comes across as rather smart. Young widow, no children, plenty of money of her own so she won’t go after yours. Caecina Tusca I know it has been your lifelong dream to settle in that mucky shithole we know as Britannia, and to accompany you in your misery who better than the proconsul’s daughter? Think about it, you could have dinner with your father-in-law every night! Too bad it’s not a hereditary magistracy… right? Quinctilia Varia Widow, on the older side, but not too old to have a third child. Comes from a good family, too. Do you like redheads, Longinus? Sergia Auletia If the mother doesn’t cut it, maybe the daughter will - but don't go thinking about threesomes now! Valeria says she hasn’t been married before. Licinia Aureliana My sister-in-law’s niece, daughter of her sister. I haven’t actually seen her in years but she’s said to be very pretty. If you do not find anything to your liking on this list, Longinus, then I will once and for all be convinced that the Britons sacrificed the real you, cock and balls and all, and summoned your castrated lemur to take your place. I shall make sure the appropriate rites are observed and pray for your soul once a year or so. Farewell, my dearest friend and brother. @Sara
  3. Late September, 74 AD after Road to danger and Consequences Everything was taken care of with the princess. Flavia Juliana had slaves ready to help Claudia and Cynane remained quiet, alert and resilient while Claudia was bathed and her blood-soaked dress removed. She didn't speak unless spoken to. She did not take her eyes off Claudia for one tiny instant. It was while Claudia was under her protection, that she could have been hurt… she could have been worse off than she was! She could have been violated or even killed, although the first would honestly have been worse for the princess than the latter. When you died, you died. Living through the aftermath of the other thing… was not something she wished upon the only Roman she truly cared about. Maybe even loved. Now Claudia had been bathed and dressed in clean clothes and she had been given a room of her own to stay in while they were here. Aia and Decimus were elsewhere, while Decimus was being patched up and had to rest. Cynane followed Claudia, she would not leave her alone right now. Like a shewolf, she would guard her young with her life. She watched how the last of the slaves left the room and finally she and Claudia were alone… to think and to talk, probably. They needed to, after this. Claudia would need it and Cynane would be there for her. But for now, Cynane remained standing near the doorway, so she could check anyone who might want to enter. And she waited for Claudia to say something. Just something. Anything. @Gothic
  4. The end of 74CE It was strange to be in the domus without the dominus there. It was not Tranquillus' natural state to be alone in the household. He would have followed his master like a shadow to his visit to a friend's house, except Titus had another job for him to do. This morning, Tranquillus had to accompany Sulpicia Flacca for a visit to a relative's home. She was too young to wander Rome unescorted, and guards or a female body slave alone were not good enough company for a girl of noble birth. So, believing that he could manage fully well without a body slave for his visit to Longinus, the head of the household ordered Tranquillus to escort his daughter instead. The tutor would not have been much help in an altercation, but he was tall and stern enough to look the part. The visit was shorter than expected, as the relative was not feeling too well. Tranquillus and the young mistress returned home by lunchtime, and since the dominus was still away, there was not much to do for the body slave. He sat and read, organized things, finished some errands that needed finishing, and felt somewhat awkward with the unexpected afternoon off. Tranquiulls liked to plan his days off ahead of time. How inconvenient. When Titus finally arrived home, with a new acquisition in tow, the look on his body slave's face was not unlike that of a household dog perking up for his master's return. @Liv @Ejder
  5. 13th of October, during the festival Fontinalia The Piscina Publica were public swimming grounds and luckily placed not very far from their home. And this was quite lucky on a day like today – it was, after all, Fontinalia and it was the day of celebration for Fons, the god of wells and springs. Septima Major was out with her sister, Minor, to celebrate the day. They’d spent the last few days on preparing a most beautiful garland out of flowers and grasses and leaves and now it was done and ready to be hung on a fountain near the Piscina Publica on this very day. Septima Major was excited – she loved festivals like these and could barely wait with going out. Maybe she spent a little too long getting ready. Septima Minor had been ready for a while, before Major finally decided she was done too. She wore a very pretty, bright green chiton with a yellow and red palla over it. Her hair had been done up on her head, with twirls and curls and a few yellow flowers and green leaves added to the style. It went very well with her pretty blue eyes. On her feet were simple slippers. They carried the garland together on their way to the fountain. She gave her sister a smile, after she’d waved to a few people she knew on the way – Septima knew many people and she liked to talk to people and make new friends, “Oh I hope someone else didn’t already decorate the fountain we decided on. It’s going to look so pretty, isn’t it?” Septima Major said with an excited tone, “I wonder if there’s going to be music too. And maybe someone set up a shop that sells food and drinks? We could stay a little while.” She suggested with a smile, “Oh, do you think anyone’ swimming in the pools today? That would be interesting.” @Chevi
  6. After Theo and Justinia’s last encounter, she wondered if he would ever come back. Days and months had gone by and she hadn’t seen him. Part of her was worried that something happened to him—the other part of her was nervous that he wasn’t coming back because she was too much trouble. Men came and went (literally), and without any sign of Theo, she wondered if he skipped town. She wouldn’t blame him; the situation they got into was scary. It wasn’t like him to not be in contact with her over a long period of time. Maybe he moved on, and she would’ve understood. Justinia wasn’t the new prostitute at the Venus anymore, and she had time to observe. It wasn’t a terrible place, but her once-cheerful optimism was long gone. She wasn’t as naive. Men did many things to her, some of which were unspeakable, and it made her grow up even more. Things were easier when she finally came to terms with her situation that she wasn’t going to get out of it anytime soon. But as Saturnalia started, she was able to leave the Venus. She just wanted answers. Justinia wanted to see if Theo was still at the Ludus. Maybe he hadn’t left, maybe he was working on the things he said he would. But high hopes were a thing of the past for the woman. Still, she wanted to know. Justinia finally got to the Ludus and she entered. It seemed as if it was pretty Barron, with a lot of people celebrating Saturnalia with their families, friends, or at a popina. Exploring a little more lead here to see someone still working despite nobody being there. She knew who the Greek man was. “Hello Theo,” she said, confirming that he hadn’t skipped town or died. A genuine smile popped up on her face. @Chevi
  7. Mid December, 74AD Longinus enjoyed the walk up the Esquiline Hill, perversely finding the ache in his legs satisfying. But he lingered now, outside the domus for Titus to join him before he was admitted. A request for a meeting had been sent a little over a week ago and he was bringing his closest friend for moral support (and because he suspected the opportunity to speak to a Praetor was decently tempting for Titus). He'd had absolutely no luck in engaging Tertius' elder brother, Secundus about the matter of his niece (his letters going unanswered and the offer of wine and a meeting refused). In frustration, he'd complained to his mother where he'd been promptly been informed that the oldest Varus was rumoured to be of unsound mind and that should Longinus wish to make any inroads, it would be better to speak to Tertius. And thus he'd found himself standing outside the domus, enjoying the last few dregs of warmth from the December sun. Seeing Titus approach he grinned and offered a dramatic roll of the eyes, "What a good first impression we're to make - late." He snorted and inclined his head to the slave who promptly swung open the door to admit them. Their presence was announced and Longinus couldn't help but glance around as he waited for the older man to join them. The domus was suspiciously quiet, or quieter than Titus' whose home was filled with the chatter of children and hurried feet of slaves running after them. He'd understood the Senator was widowed, much like himself, and had a young daughter of similar age to Cassia (his mother really was the font of all knowledge) and supposed the two men had more in common (at least superficially) than he'd anticipated. As Tertius approached, he cracked a broad grin in greeting; "Salve Senator Varus," He moved to clasp the other mans arm. "Thank you again for agreeing to meet me." TAG: @Atrice @Liv (& @Sharpie if you want Attis or Teutus to join!) Charis is also in the domus and may/will join the thread if/when invited over by Tertius. She's currently working in the garden, dressed up in the fancy chiton Tertius had picked out for her and looking eerily identical to her sister Nymphias...just more petite and brunette.
  8. 18th of December, 74 AD It was about time. It was the second night of Saturnalia, the 18th of December, and it was for this night that Tertius had planned the feast for the slaves of the household - and also freeing his son from slavery, of course. Tomorrow Teutus would no longer be a slave. And it was perfect to use Saturnalia for this ceremony and celebration, because this was when tables were turned for slaves anyway. During this week of Saturnalia, gambling was permitted and it was also common for the masters to provide a table service for their slaves. Someone had to cook it though and it hadn't been Tertius. But no one would be required to serve him tonight. He would pour his own wine and break his own bread. The triclinium of the house was not big enough for all his slaves, so tables had also been set up in the the peristyle - luckily the weather had been good enough for it. Tertius had invited a few friends and then of course all of his slaves would attend the feast. He hoped that Longinus and Rufus would come, as it would be good to have some fellow Senators present too. They had not sent word, but that didn't mean they would not show up. Antonia had been dressed up nicely for the occassion and everyone had been told to wear their finest clothes. He even had Jocasta make a new set of clothes for Teutus, for formal occassions. A chamber had been made ready for Teutus to move into, starting on this night if he wanted to. His own chamber with his own bed, his own table and chair and his own clothes. It would be a new life, but Tertius trusted his son could manage it. Tomorrow, he would be Teutus Quinctilius Varus instead of just Teutus. Finally. Now he was waiting in the hall just inside the front doors, hoping to see his slaves in their finest clothes. It was however also Saturnalia and that was the time of year where masters would often switch places with the slaves. He usually did a little thing with Hector at Saturnalia, but this year he considered to do it with Charis instead. What would it be like, if she was his mistress? That could be a very interesting... game. But he had not decided yet and before everything else, the ceremony of freeing Teutus would happen. So far, Tertius stood alone in the hall, but soon someone would join him here. A table had been set up earlier, with drinks for everyone, before all the slaves and Antonia went to get dressed for the feast. While he waited, he sipped a cup of wine casually. @Sara @Joaquin @Sharpie
  9. Mid-December, 74AD Longinus cast a disapproving glance to Titus and muttered; "Here? Really?" It was not that Longinus was a snob, and the middle-class suburbs were nothing overtly offensive, but the man was trying all he could to get out of this particular activity. He wasn't even overly attached to his beard, or his hair (both of which had been dutifully trimmed a month or so ago), but he was reluctant to admit that his friends or mother were right. The man was stubborn to a fault. Glancing at his friend again, he ran a hand over his beard for the (probably) the final time and sighed. "The things I do for women, eh?" He chuckled and moved to enter, but not before hesitating. "This bloke's supposed to be good, isn't he? I mean, he's not going to cut open my throat, is he?" He arched a brow at his friend, but with an amused glimmer in his eye, "I can't have survived the battlefields of Britannia to die bleeding in a barbers chair..." He snorted in amusement but with a heavy sigh, swung the door and blinked into the dim light of the man's shop. He'd not routinely employed the services of a barber for the past few months, and much as he enjoyed the company of his body slave, he didn't trust Attis as far as he could throw him when it came to razors near his throat. He coughed, to alert the man of his presence and rolled his eyes at Titus. TAG: @Liv & @Atrice
  10. The evening of About Time, Saturnalia 74AD Charis sipped at her cup of wine and padded gently into Tertius' cubiculum, the man himself following behind her. Over the course of the evening she'd had the offered wine and food and her merriment at feeling free, even for the shortest period of time possible, had put a smile across her face. Atop her head sat a braided wreath of flowers which she'd hidden away and then promptly brought out for her favourite friends in the house mid-way through dinner (one for Rhoda and Parnes, one for little Antonia and one for Teutus), and she'd offered one to Tertius for her own amusement. That he wanted her tonight was no surprise, she'd dressed up for the occasion of Teutus' manumission and the festival, but she hadn't failed to notice Hector's horror that he would not be spending this apparently coveted night of festivities with his master. Still, she had other things on her mind than Hector; Teutus' freedom and her sister paramount amongst them. Still, with the wine in her blood and the happiness of the evening on her, she entered his room with a smile for possibly...the first time since he'd started summoning her. Or, at least it was the first genuine smile. Turning to him she raised her fingers to the coronet of flowers and brushed over it. She didn't particularly want to extract it yet but the routine of these sorts of nights was familiar and mundane now. Gone was the immediacy of their earlier interactions and instead, much like an old married couple, they undressed themselves and proceeded with the act without the heady lust of their earlier encounters. Lifting off the wreath and setting it down on a side table with her wine, she eyed him (for tonight she could actually look at him without fear of reproach) and asked in a light voice, "Tonight was lovely, Tertius." She smiled and set about unpinning the plaits and twists in her hair, unbraiding them one by one as she took a seat near the only window. The wine had flushed her cheeks and warmed her skin and she could do with the winter breeze. Arching a brow at him as she continued to unbraid her hair she asked; "Did you enjoy tonight?" She wanted to ask exactly what this equal footing on Saturnalia entailed but decided to hold off, preferring to test the boundaries first. TAG: @Atrice
  11. Early May, 74CE Zia grinned at her son, holding his hand firmly but letting his little legs wander as he took in the sights and the smells of the military camp. To a child, what had happened and where they were now was some great, drawn out adventure. To Luto's four year old mind there was nothing sinister in all the men in their red cloaks, nothing malevolent in the tent in which they were hurriedly stored in with all of the other women and children. His big brown eyes took it all in as if he were living one of the great tales of heroism his father and grandfathers had told him. Little Luto even went so far as to wave at a few of the passing legionaries as they were escorted through the maze of straight lines to, what she presumed, was the commander's tent. Her smile was in part for the energy of her son, but also for the thought he'd be sleeping in a tent like the rest of them during this very uncharacteristic May rain which drizzled down on them, soaking man and woman alike to the bone. She'd not told anybody who she was since her arrival in this place, but presumed somebody else had spilled the beans. Probably Diegis, the idiot. She had considered it safer to be an anonymous woman and boy caught up in the chaos of the skirmish than one of its architects. That anonymity, clearly, was not to last. She'd not seen her husband since he was bundled away under a swathe of red cloaked men in stupid helmets, but she knew he'd seen his father and brothers fates. A small part of her ignited at the thought that it left him as the chief, a bigger part hoped he wouldn't prattle on about it too much. She'd heard rumours about what had happened to the chieftains of occupied provinces; paraded through the streets of Rome in chains. She hoped her husband had more sense than to prattle on about his family. Finally drawing to the tent she cast a dismissive glance over it, her nose wrinkling in displeasure. This was where the great and the good of Rome lived? She was a little horrified. Shunted through the flaps, her hand still clasping her sons, she blinked into the dim light. It was barely dawn outside, and the candles that lit up the canvas made it smoky and hard to see. She didn't recognise the man sat in front of her, but then they all looked the same in their silly little outfits to her. Luto, however, unfettered grinned at him and pointed at the crested helmet set aside, beaming whilst he asked in Dacian; "Can I play with it?" Zia yanked back his arm as he moved to touch it and reminded herself to drill some sense into her boy at the next opportune moment. She said nothing to the man and instead just arched a brow, waiting for his big speech. TAG: @Liv
  12. October, 74 AD. Clio fidgeted in her seat, casting nervous looks about her surroundings. In the early afternoon, the popina was far from at its busiest, but even from the relative safety of her corner table and stool, she didn't feel very comfortable being at this place alone. In front of her was a crude ceramic cup half-full with posca; at least while unaccompanied, she preferred to stay as sober as possible. Had the other slave received and understood her message? What if he could not - or did not want to - come, and Clio sat there all by herself for hours like a fool? It had been hard enough to negotiate these few hours of relative freedom, and it had involved lying to her domina - something the black-haired slave usually tried to avoid and for good reason. She had risked a lot to be here, and even now, alone with only her thoughts for company, Clio still wasn't quite sure why she had done it. It would have been so easy to cast everything aside as a fortuitous meeting and small talk, but no, she had to go and follow up on her parting words. Inhaling sharply through her nose, Clio tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and grabbed her cup to take another sip. Just as her glace swept through the entrance door, a familiar figure came through it, and she very nearly spilled her drink on the table. Why was her heart beating so fast all of a sudden?! @Atrice
  13. Early December, 74 AD I ask for so little. Just fear me. Love me. Do as I ask, and I shall be your slave. It had been a week since he met the almost-too-sweet Nymphias, who had been lost in the wrong part of Rome. She'd almost been assaulted, but Helios didn't want outsiders to steal jobs from his colleague, so he had stopped the assault... and somehow earned her trust in return. He had also earned a few kisses and her having a crush on him. In fact he had earned his own little and oblivious informant in her! She was quite young, but that was not a problem. Helios lost his own virtue when he was younger than she, and the same went for many of the other prostitutes of the Domus Venus. The problem, if there was one, more had to do with her ignorance. She was so pure, that he almost felt he was mean. But only almost. She was so sweet and pretty and useful, after all. That meant he had no problem with leading her on, seducing her, making her want to talk to him again and tell him all of the secrets she knew... but probably didn't even know were secrets. Now a week had gone since he met her and he promised to return to wait for her, near her house, at the spot where they said their odd goodbye. He had tried to not think too much about her. She was just a girl, even just a slave, like him. She meant nothing and she wasn't even his. And yet she was, kind of, with the way she let him kiss her and the way she seemed willing to do anytihng he wanted her to do. And he could be anything she wanted him to be, in return for that. If she wanted him to be a romantic boyfriend, so be it. As long as she would put her trust in him and tell him her secrets and give him her lips and maybe even her body... for by the gods he had not asked for that, but he wanted to kiss her again and he wanted to touch her. Helios wanted her. And not just for what was in her head. It was a curse! Still he did it; he returned to the right spot, just around noon, and leaned casually against a wall while waiting. Today he was dressed in a better tunica than last time and he'd visited the thermae this morning to get clean. He had combed his long and golden locks and put half of it up in a ponytail. Calvunus had seen him as he left the brothel and asked whom he was charming, but Helios just laughed and went on his way. No one had to know about this. Now he could only hope the girl would actually show up... @Beauty
  14. October, 74 AD He had promised to come and spar with Thessala. And while there were some promises he sometimes had problems with keeping – like promising to be true to a wife, once – there were others he could definitely keep. Now of course he wasn’t married to Oriana, but he still knew she’d be very hurt if he betrayed her trust. They had a proper talk about it recently and at least now she was prepared though, wasn’t she? Although of course he’d do what he could to not hurt her. He wanted to make her happy, for as long as he could. But he also needed to do what made him feel good. And fighting always made him feel good. At least fighting wasn’t being unfaithful, right? He’d enjoyed fighting ever since he learned it and now it had been a long while since he’d had a fight with another gladiator. Alright, so this one was female and so what? It wouldn’t be a first, for him. And she’d proved that she could fight very well, he’d seen her in the arena. It was rare that gladiatrixes actually got to kill one another, they were just there to entertain, but that didn’t mean they didn’t put in a lot of effort in their fights. Thessala certainly did. He hadn't dressed up today so much, as he knew he'd probably work up a sweat. Hopefully at least! He wore his short breeches and a dark brown tunica and some of his armor too, although not the full set, as it was too heavy and warm for this. He didn't own any gladiator armor anymore, after all, and that was usually made for fights like these. As he entered the ludus, it was kind of a strange feeling, but he shook it off. He couldn’t use such feelings for anything right now. He’d sent word to the lanista that he’d come and spar with Thessala for a fee. After he’d had a chat with the doctore – and given him a little bribe, so that he could take Thessala out for a drink after – Alexius went looking for Thessala. She was training with another gladiatrix and he smiled, leaning against the wall for a moment, watching her. That woman, she really was impressive, and not just her looks and her moves, but her entire expression. When the training match was finished and Thessala would turn his way, he waved at her with a playful grin, “Thessala! I hope you’re not too tired yet.” @Chevi
  15. Atrice

    The Bodyguards

    The whole strange ritual of Lupercalia was over – at least for the noble lady Cynane was serving. And she wasn’t just any noble lady, she was the princess. She was however also a young woman who was very much ready to be married soon, so she had to be present for an event like this. And Cynane was always near her, making sure her mistress wasn’t actually harmed and just enjoyed herself instead. By now though, they had retreated, as there was a private party for high-ranking nobles and of course Claudia was going to attend. And so Cynane was too. As always at such events, she had retreated to rest against a wall, not interrupting the party with her presence, she was just there, watching her mistress from afar. They had arrived early though, and she watched as more and more people entered – some carrying marks from the bloody strips of goatskin. Proof that they too had attended the ritual and the fun afterwards. If you could call that fun – it was strange fun. On the other hand, not stranger than so many other ancient rituals, both here and in Britannia. A slave offered Cynane a drink and she gladly took it and looked up as another group was entering the party. A tall and beautiful noble lady had appeared, with a guard in tow too it seemed. The guard was soon left to fend for himself, not following her around and Cynane tilted her head, watching him. He seemed so out of place here, for some reason. He was definitely no ordinary guard, she decided, but she didn’t know him yet and Cynane was always careful with strangers – especially when they were men. If he looked her way though, she’d raise her cup to him and have a sip, acknowledging his presence. @Sarah
  16. July, 74 AD It was another day in Marcus Barbatius’ life, meaning another day of work. He had a few patrons coming in to see him today, they had already made it known they wanted his services on this day, but there were also a few open spots and especially before noon. Senators always came later in the day, when they were tired from their supposedly hard work and needed a proper shave and a scented lotion rubbed into their cheeks and oils onto their bodies. His condo was in the first floor of the building and just beneath his condo, was the workshop. He slept with the key to the chest around his neck and now a slave turned up to help him get dressed. A tunica and a simple toga, that he wouldn’t mind getting some hair onto along with some of the scented oils and lotions. The slave silently helped Marcus put on the sandals, helping with the straps that went around his leg and then he had some early breakfast served. A bit of cold, watered wine and bread. Apparently they were out of honey and didn’t have much olive oil, but his kitchen slave had managed to purchase some butter and that at least was something. The mornings were silent in his home. Slaves rarely spoke, out of fear they’d say something wrong to displease their master. Nobody wanted to displease him. Silently he went to the workshop in the street level, which had been cleaned with a broom and a brush and some wet cloth. There was an actual chair there and a few stools and a working table. Shelves of course, with beautiful bottles and jars with lotions and oils. There was a heavy scent in the room because of all that and Marcus opened the door and opened the shutters to the window to the shop to let it be known, that it was open for business. The slave he’d chosen to help him out today stood in the corner of the room, waiting to be asked to work and Marcus removed the key from his neck to open the chest. He picked one of the razors and decided to start the day with sharpening some of the tools while waiting for potential clients.
  17. Second week of October, 74 AD It had been weeks since that day Claudia Caesaris decided to go for a ride outside of Rome and they had been attacked by a roaming gang of bandits. And survived, because Cynane was bold enough to throw her knife right into their leader's throat. It had felt good. Then later that day, it felt less good, because she discovered she had not only of course received some bruises and scratches, but a blade had crossed her side in the heat of the fight and she had only noticed after she took care of her mistress. As a former gladiatrix she had long since learned to ignore such, to her, small injuries when there were more important things to focus on. The wound had healed though and Claudia had also recovered well enough to finally mingle with others again. She was so brave, Cynane thought. So brave and strong in her own way and so hard-working! Other women of Claudia's rank might have wanted to isolate themselves, but she didn't do that. She kept on going. Cynane had been extra watchful over her since the attack though, and tonight she was once more escorting her princess to a social event, a party. As usual, Cynane would find a pillar to stand by, where she could see the entire main room and her princess, without interfering with her conversations and her friends. She stood there, silent and resilient, ever alert and watchful. Clad as usual in her brown leather armor, the light blue tunica, breeches, well-strapped sandals and a weapon by her side. Since this was a party, her hair was made up nicely with braids and twists, as she liked it. Volusa had more than once showed her Roman hairstyles, but she never felt they suited her well. Not that looks mattered if you were attacked. Speaking of attacks, there was a different one coming her way. An attack of memories of the past. At first her gaze wandered past him as she scanned the room one more time, but then her eyes returned to him and they widened. She inhaled sharply and felt her heart pound hard in her chest. What in the name of *Aeron was he doing here? She had not often thought of him, but she had also not forgotten him, even if she had truly hoped to never see him again. It was her captor from Britannia! This was the man responsible for her enslavement and for her still being here, today, as a slave. She had not been freed as he talked about. And she never had a chance to escape that would lead to her living afterwards. Eppitacos already knew Cynane could hold a grudge for a long time. In this case, it was no different. She knew it was him. Though it had been more than ten years, age had been as kind to him as to her. When he walked closer to her, although he didn't seem to notice her yet, she found herself breathing through her nostrils in an attempt to stay silent. But she wanted to yell at him. And beat him up. Maybe the other way around. She inhaled another breath and closed her eyes. At least she had better self-control now than then. @Sara *Aeron - goddess of war and slaughter in Celtic mythology
  18. Early July, 74ad Vibia was trying to sleep. The heat was up in the city and it had driven the clientele of the Domus Venus into languor in the days, but the evenings had been a constant stream of patrons. Fortunately for the young freedwoman, she had been excused from servicing said patrons and had instead been instructed to simply play her cithara, to entertain the waiting guests. It was a little dull, but given how quickly the drink was flowing, she wasn't particularly keen on the other side of her job either. She tried to enjoy that side of her work as much as was possible, but given how freely the clients were knocking back the wine, she doubted she'd have a particularly satisfying evening. It was a little after midnight, and wrapped in a thin sheet, and with the sounds emanating from the other workers rooms, sleep seemed an impossible fantasy. Propping herself up on her bed she cast a quick glance around the room; noting with despondency the overturned pitcher that should have been full of wine had she thought to replenish it. With a groan, she swung her legs over the side and pushing back long blonde hair from her face, stifled a yawn. With some effort she stood on wobbly, sleep-deprived legs and sauntered to pick up the pitcher. Haphazardly she threw on a thin dressing gown to cover the tunica she hadn't bothered to remove when she had collapsed into her bed some hours ago. Padding on bare feet she unlatched her door and crept down the dimly lit corridor, past rooms with sounds that would make even the hardiest of Roman blush, into a back room where she took a seat at a table. She could have summoned one of the slave boys to refill her wine but her room had felt like a prison in the heat and she needed the air. Sitting herself down in the darkened room, and pouring herself a cup of sweet watered wine, she sighed. This had...not been what she imagined freedom to feel like. She was still at the beck and call of others; both the domina of the brothel, the wider Syndicate and the Collegium of course. Still, she had her health and wits, and it wasn't a particularly onerous job. She suspected she'd only be here for another year or two before her worth diminished and she could actually be free. But what she'd do with that freedom was anybody's guess. Startled from her reverie by another figure moving into the small side room, she arched a brow and grinned at who she saw. "Can't sleep either?" She leant forward to place her face in her palm, surveying him, "You should complain to Titinia that none of her girls or boys could satisfy you to sleep." It had been some weeks since she had seen Marcus, but she wasn't about to turn away company. Gesturing with her head to the pitcher she asked, "Wine?" TAG: @Gothic
  19. Late April, 74AD Charis breathed heavily as she sat on the floor, taking in the shade and the minimal breeze offered. She'd been warned that the heat of the city was only going to get worse, and this was actually rather a mild time of year. For a woman, however, who was used to the cold climes of her homeland in Britannia* it was already intolerable. The sheer amount of people here likewise didn't help. It seemed that whenever she was able to actually leave the domus, the streets got a little bit busier and the atmosphere more insufferable. Already in a poor mood after being disturbed in her sleep by the chattering of some of the other slaves, this morning's tasks had not helped. Whilst she was used to walking, Rhoda's instruction to head for the market (when she could very well have gone herself) irritated the slight Briton beyond measure. Fortunately for both of them, however, Charis had an uncanny ability to be ruthlessly efficient. Having collected the wares that were needed, she had lugged them back to the Quirinal Hill with time to spare. Oblivious to the fact that as a slave, she should never have time to spare unless instructed that she could take some time off, she assumed she was not expected back for a little while. Feeling as if she was melting, she had taken respite under a small tree between houses. Her own household was, perhaps, a ten or so minute walk from here and she felt suitably out of their watchful eye enough to enjoy a few moments to cool down and catch her breath. Few that passed her paid any attention and a couple of boys - slaves she assumed, judging by their clothing - had also taken a few moments in the shade. She wondered for a half-moment if they were Briton and struggling with the heat as much as her, when something else caught her attention and she glanced up. TAG: @Gothic Let me know if you need a little more for Gaius to go off of! *The Parisi, Charis' tribe, are from modern day Yorkshire so enjoyed northern climes!
  20. It was of course important to stay in shape. Tertius knew all about this, especially with a young and handsome body slave and lover like Hector… he was certainly in shape still and Tertius had to keep up with him. On top of that, he just didn’t want to sit down and eat and drink until he could barely move. No, he wanted to keep on looking good and staying fit. Today he decided he’d exercise at the Thermae Aventini – well first some exercise in the surrounding grounds around the magnificent building with the thermae and afterwards, he’d of course go to have a bath and maybe a massage. First things first though – the important part and then the relaxing part. He’d left his proper clothes on a bench in the gardens outside the thermae and there he’d let his body slave stay with the clothes, so they wouldn’t be stolen. He wore his tunica and the short breeches as he went for a run around the thermae. After the second round, he was feeling rather warm and stopped by a fountain to splash some water in his face. When he looked up, he saw another man doing the exact same thing on the other side of the fountain and he couldn’t help but smile. The other seemed familiar, one of his fellow Senators, but there were so many and it was impossible to keep up with them all. He believed this one was called Calvus and decided it would never hurt to make another friend in the Senate… “Greetings… it is a good day for staying in shape, is it not?” @Mord
  21. It was a very early morning in the baths. The sun had barely risen, but Helenus was up already, taking care of himself before he needed to take care of so many others. He left the sleeping quarters of the slaves and walked through the dark corridors, not yet lit for the new day… up towards the actual thermae, where he thought he might take a swim before anyone else woke. The baths were often nice and quiet this early and he liked that. Of course some Romans would be up early and he didn’t expect it would be quiet for very long, but right now… it was. The nearest bath was the women’s section and it was entirely empty right now. He never ventured far into this area when the baths were open and people were flocking everywhere. Then Helenus would only walk to the end of the corridor from the slave quarters to peek into the area with all the shelves for clothing. Right now, that was empty too and on bare feet he walked in. There was so much space here, when the baths were empty. He made a sound just for fun, to hear the echo and smiled by the sound of it. When he reached the big swimming pool, the natatio, he stopped for a moment, looking at the still water in it. Then he slipped out of his simple tunica and into the water. It was a bit cold at this hour, the ovens were not at their full heat right now, but it was fine, this was how it usually was for Helenus. The slaves who worked here didn’t get into the water when everyone else were. They’d have to do it before. Helenus dived under the water for a moment and then swam a few times back and forth. Then he let his body float a bit, while he lay on his back, staring up into the decorated ceiling of the room. This was so nice. What a pity he’d have to stop soon. He stopped floating then and dived under the water again. Only to be startled when he came up to the surface and brushed water away from his eyelids. He wasn't alone anymore. And he was not in the men's section of the thermae... he blinked the water away, staring at the woman up there. @Gothic
  22. Early October, 74 AD takes place after Out of the Blue A slave turned up at the party Lexus was serving at, and asked to see him. Lexus had not been at home all day – earlier in the day, he had gone to see Oriana Laecania about that job in her garden and apparently also met his father. That was… strange, which was an understatement. So unexpected and yet it seemed as if Oriana knew. Had she guessed it already the night they met? He didn’t know and he had not yet had enough time to think about what it meant. For after the day, he had this job in the evening and he had to go and do his job, as he had promised. And now a slave came to him, so he had to go and see what it was about. Lexus had to leave the tray he was carrying to another servant and came to the door. The slave outside seemed to be catching his breath, as if he’d been running fast. He recognized the slave as one belonging to his mother’s friend, Auletia. What was wrong? “It’s your mother… she’s… not well. You have to come.” The slave said and Lexus forgot about the coin he’d earn for once and hurried to put on his cloak and follow the slave to their home. They came into the simple insula they lived in, where his mother was placed on the bed. Lights had been lit and her friend sat on the bed beside her. His mother, Ginevera, didn’t look so well, to be honest. She was pale and there were bruises on her cheek and her throat. And more was hiding underneath the blanket she had been covered with. “What happened?” Lexus said, shocked and very worried to see his mother in what seemed to be a rather weak state. “She was on her way home just before the sun set. She’d been washing clothes by the Tiber. She was attacked, Lexus. Someone tried to rob her and she said she fought back, which explains the bruises and what happened after. They didn’t like that. She had passed out when someone found her and brought her home…” Auletia said and Lexus sat down beside his mother and took her hand. His mother’s friend continued, “It happened only a few hours ago. Your mother said where you were working tonight, so we sent my slave to find you.” Lexus squeezed his mother’s hand. She wasn’t even that old, “Mother… I’m here now. I’m not leaving your side again.” He said. His mother coughed, held her stomach and her body tensed for a moment. Then she squeezed his hand back. He wanted to tell her he found his father, but how could he, right now? It wasn’t the right time for that. “I know. You’re a good boy, Lexus. I am not well. I don’t know if I’ll live.” His mother said. She didn’t lie to him, at least. Lexus felt the tears pressing against his eyes, but forced himself to be strong, for her. “I’m sure you’ll be fine. But now you need to rest. Some say a good nights sleep cure most things.” Lexus just said and when her eyes closed as she fell asleep, he went outside to catch his breath. Of course she’d survive, wouldn’t she? It wasn’t that bad, was it? He couldn’t imagine a life without his mother. While there was more to his life now, she had so far been the only constant in his life. Sure he had met his father now, but only today and he didn’t yet know what to think or feel about that. Or if his father really wanted Lexus in his life, now. He could not lose his mother now. He loved her. The medicus came outside, while he stood there and he wiped the tears from his cheeks. His mother’s friend stayed too, along with her slave, to tend to Lexus and to his mother. He kept his word; he didn’t leave her again.
  23. August, 75 AD It had been a good while since that night she went out to Bacchus’ Cup and had met that Senator Metellus – or Lucius, as she most often thought of him as. In fact, it was more than a year ago and she had forgotten everything about him. Or, not everything, but most things. So much had happened since they met, and yet here she was, still a slave. He had teased about wanting to see her again, but since nothing had happened, it must have been teasing and nothing more. It was all for the best anyway. He was annoying as *Lugh, but also handsome and attractive in his own… Roman way. Cynane usually did not have high thoughts of Roman men and Lucius had not impressed her at first, but apparently, he got under her skin, because she’d thought about him more than once since their odd encounter. She hadn’t expected however that she would ever hear from him again. He was a high and mighty Senator, he might even have a wife and Cynane was nothing but a Briton slave to him. He had his fun with her, he had his jokes on her and that was that. She went back to her life and he went back to his and although she thought about him, she also didn’t think she would ever see him again. Unless maybe at some fancy banquet for the wealthy and noble, and then he probably wouldn’t notice her. But then a messenger showed up, now, more than a year after they met. And apparently, suddenly, there had been some sort of an exchange between Claudia and Lucius and it was arranged, it had been allowed… Cynane had been invited to his home, alone, without her princess or anyone else. A slave, invited to spend time with a Senator. She knew how that looked, but knew that Claudia wouldn’t just rent her out like that. What did he expect though? Did he just want to spend time with her or did he want to bed her? She simply didn't know. What did he want with her? She put on the only actual dress she had – a stunning crimson piece that she almost never wore. Claudia had given it to her early on. She could barely remember when she last wore a dress - they were so inconvenient! Cynane was much better with wearing breeches and a tunica, so she could move and not these difficult skirts that most other women preferred. But she pulled the chiton-like dress (it was held together with clasps over her shoulders) over her head and made her hair up as nicely as she could. She had Volusa help her with the little braids, she didn’t want to look like some Roman woman. She had a light brown palla that went well with the crimson dress, but of course also brought a cloak for the travel to his home. Gods this was so weird, she thought, while she walked through Rome on her own in the late afternoon. She had never been invited to someone’s home like this, she was just a slave, after all – but soon she stood there, outside the fancy looking domus on the Caelian Hill and she inhaled a breath and knocked. A slave let her inside and invited her to wait in the atrium. Cynane looked around quietly, inhaled a breath. She had no idea what to say to him. Or what this night was going to be like. What did he expect? What should she expect? And then she finally heard the footsteps of someone else approaching the otherwise silent atrium of the domus. @Brian *Lugh - a Celtic trickster god
  24. It had been a good long while since she’d last laid her eyes upon Charis. Actually not since that day they went to the park, drinking and talking to Helios of the Domus Venus. She worried about her friend, wondering of course why she hadn’t seen her. She’d gone more than once to the play they had departed before, close to her house but not too close, hoping that Charis would show up. But she didn’t. Hopefully she was alright; hopefully nothing had happened to her. Maybe it was her hard-to-read Dominus who had locked her up for unknown reasons. Or she had behaved in the wrong way and displeased him and he’d killed her. All kinds of thoughts had gone through her mind and she had even considered going to knock on the door to ask for Charis – she just wanted to see her safe. She knew her friend probably wasn’t as fragile as one might think, but on the other hand, she was no warrior like Cynane and she was so delicately beautiful. Again she had a few hours where Claudia wanted to rest and other of the guards had taken over, and Cynane once more discovered that her feet led her to Charis’ home. She rounded the corner and found a place in shadow nearby, where she could watch the house. She probably wouldn’t come. Cynane crossed her arms, feeling a little bit irritated and angry at Charis’ dominus. Although to be fair, he probably didn’t even know about Cynane. She didn’t know if Charis had dared to mention to him that she had friends outside the house. Just as she was about to leave, a person came out from the little alley leading to the servant entrance to the house. And it could only be Charis! Cynane smiled at first, happy to see her, but the it faded, because she was still worried. When Charis came her way, she waved at her, “Charis! Thank the gods, it really is you!” She said in their own tongue, when the other was closer to her, “I was so worried!” @Sara
  25. His stepmother had nagged him endlessly. Berating him for not taking the time to connect to more experienced Senators, or meet with Caesar or the princes. Anything! Gaius would have preferred to do anything else. All he wanted was to drink, fuck and enjoy all the treats that life gave him. His one redeeming quality was that he was an excellent soldier, and that he had produced children. Her nagging eventually succeeded in him going out with the intention of meeting fellow Senators in order to boost his career. She had threatened to reach out to Senators on his behalf and likely would if he did not act. It was bad enough for her to pressure him into remarrying again. He had done his duty. Married and the Gods decided that she would get peace from him through death. Now? He would enjoy his Mistress, lovers, and other people who his stepmother did not like. Gaius did agree to go to the Circus Maximus and socialise. Perhaps he would see a lovely man's wife and seduce her? It all depended. He approached and sat down, exhaled slowly and rolled his eyes heavenward in irritation. Further way, he could have sworn he saw a familiar face and it was Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus. If Gaius remembered correctly he had a ravishingly attractive sister as a Vestal. Going to waste! It was almost as though he heard his mother and stepmother's voices in his head to both nag him. Gaius grunted and rolled his eyes. He smiled wide and raised his hand in a warm greeting. "Ave good Praetextatus! Would you like to sit with me and talk a moment?" He offered. Briefly there was a person who walked in front of him so he was able to frown. The last thing he wanted to do was listen to a boring fellow, and then smiled again in a warm greeting. @Sharpie
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