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  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. October 74AD Work in the Whites' kitchens was menial and repetitive, but Safinia found herself quite satisfied with it. Her tasks were simple and her orders clear, her social interactions were few and mostly revolved around cook and the other assistants, and the pay was enough to buy bread every day. If she had been cut from a different cloth, Safinia might even have whistled a merry tune as she stumbled comically into the kitchen, her thin arms straining to carry an enormous wicker basket filled to the brim with onions. She caught sight of a human figure moving stealthily in the shadows of the dimly-lit room. Non-cooking personnel were not normally allowed into the kitchens and pantry, so this person could only be an intruder. But there were better foodstuffs to steal than apples and pears, which were what the thief seemed to be headed toward. Safinia ignored the train of thought of the thief's possible motives and preferences and put the basket down on a sturdy oak table with a loud'thud'. The noise would definitely alert the other person to her presence, if her footsteps hadn't already. Grabbing a rolling pin conveniently left on the table, Safinia went in the intruder's direction. On a personal level, she could not care less if some measly apples were taken; professionally, cook would have her flayed and tanned if it came to light that she'd spotted a food thief and done nothing. "Hey!" She shouted at the figure, gripping the rolling pin tightly and keeping it on her side at waist level. "What do you think you're doing?" @Chevi
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. While Dacia had been a far and foreign frontier that inspired feelings of adventure and then home, Valeria had quickly welcomed back Rome, especially where it offered her the ability to further her career as a writer. Away, Landicus disappeared for a time and her own writing accumulated in notes and piles of poetry that many did not see or hear save perhaps Titus. Feeling a performative itch, Valeria had set up a reading of her poetry where she could spoil her inner theatre kid, full of different voices, dramatic speech, and wide gestures. Compared to the hypothetical numbers that she estimated for Landicus, the gathering for Valeria Flacca’s poetry was humble and predominately, if not all, women. She never felt competition between her two selves but in the light of putting more effort and thought towards her Valeria Flacca poems, she was still perceptive enough to feel that true art went underappreciated for anything sensational and provocative. For her reading, she had arranged a meeting which had been announced and set it at the park, situating out in the greenery and under a small and stony pavilion with supportive pillars. For the occasion, Valeria had chosen a colourful wig and equally eccentric makeup. After the crowd gathered, Valeria had dived in and after the recital had come to its conclusion, the gatherers dispersed, leaving a few lingerers whom Valeria shared a little small talk with. “Seems as if there are many poets here today. Do you write as well?” she said, turning to one a beautiful young girl, who seemed not much older than her eldest. @Chevi
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. It was just another day at work for Helenus. He’d woken up in the simple dormitory he shared with a bunch of other male slaves of the thermae. They had gone to break their fast with a bit of bread and olive oil and watered wine, and then they had gotten ready for the day. Helenus hadn’t spoken much yet today, he often didn’t feel like talking much in the morning. But in the corridor towards the men’s bathing area, he met one of the girls that was his best contact in the women’s bathing area. “Greetings. Hopefully it will be a good day.” Helenus said to her and she stopped and they moved to the side of the corridor to not be in the way. “Hopefully it will. Is there something in particular you hope will happen today?” She said. It was all a code though, their conversation. It sounded simple enough and like casual chatting, but of course they were discussing the plans for the day. And what they might gain. “Just that the sun will shine upon us. Remember to let me know if it does.” Helenus said and she nodded. Of course she would, that was her job. They were both slaves, but she’d been told to listen to Helenus, for he had done this in a few years already and he knew what he did. He was a good bath slave and a good thief, even though he appeared to be just a sweet and submissive slave. But underneath the surface, the girl was convinced he wasn’t. She couldn’t know he was only a good thief because he had to be. He didn’t want to taste the whip, he didn’t want to die and he didn’t want to gain a worse job than this. They parted ways to go to each their section of the great thermae. He had only taken care of one patron though, when the girl appeared in the doorway to the men’s section, “Helenus. You’re needed.” She said, and he knew what that meant. Helenus quietly followed her to the women’s section, where she pointed out a wealthy lady who was just finishing getting undressed. He wondered if her slave would follow her or what. @Liv
  10. With Publius ill, Valeria often visited her father’s in the mornings, giving him the company of his only living child and helping out her mother around the domus to alleviate the stress. His sickness, which was described by the physician as a ‘pneumonia’, seemed vile with a heavy phlegmatic cough and given his age, there was always a buried fear inside Valeria that one breath would be his last. When they had first arrived in Rome, Valeria had herded the children along with her but as time went on, it seemed better that only she went for a multitude of reasons, even if their presence did seem to brighten their grandfather’s days. After one such morning, Valeria returned home, seeking out a particular reclining seat accompanied with cushions that was brought out by the slaves into the gardens. Despite the fact the days had been growing colder, the Italian sun was warm against the skin. She was rather proud of ‘her’ garden, as she liked to call it, despite it being considered an ‘indulgence’ by some, in the summers, it would be lush and bursting with vivid flowering plants, including saffron and hyacinths, but now, the greenery had begun to fade into autumn. With a scroll that she had obtained the night prior at the launch of a novel by a writer who had gained a celebrity status, she settled down comfortably with a wine glass that was refilled frequently at her request. She had never heard of him, Pustula they called him apparently, but so far, it seemed so bad that it was good, which might have been the unintentional appeal. Intermittently through all the shuffling of the parchment, there were loud but short laughs. @Liv
  11. Lucius was no stranger to the typical Roman banquet and all of its forms, whether it was the epulum, the cena, or the comissatio, as he would attend them all befitting a member of the most esteemed nobility. However in contrast to the past, he was a completely changed man and no longer did this senator drink himself to sleep, or go about fornicating with others no matter if they were total strangers to him or not. No longer did he find them to be as pleasurable or interesting as he once did, though naturally it depended on who hosted them, considering he attended them just to uphold his image rather than out of pure desire. A banquet hosted by no other than Oriana Laecania, daughter to Aulus Ordovian Laecanius V, wasn't supposed to be missed and instead one ought to attend it even if one were to be in a pretty bad shape. Lucius couldn't exactly put it, but it was something about Oriana's parties that always ended up in great success where every guest always had fun and felt quite good about it in the aftermath, including someone 'mature' as Lucius himself. His father Lucius Major and Aulus' relationship went back decades and it wasn't uncommon back in the day that the families would pay a visit to each others' homes, which is how Lucius Minor managed to get to Oriana to begin with. Finding her to be a beautiful, independent, and daring character compared to most Roman women, he would consider her to be one of his closest friends he could ever confide in, and she proved to be highly supportive ever since his parents died a few years ago. There were actually plans for him to consider marrying her, but for reasons only the Divine itself knew, it never went through and now not even Lucius himself knew if he would pursue it though in the end she probably was already being eyed by another rival senator. It was probably for the better that she remained as a friend rather than on the entire next level of the relationship phase, though one would never know if the circumstances would change. Lucius thought that she truly deserved someone who could treat her as the worthy woman she truly was. Wearing his finest toga and nearing his party destination, it would also prove to be a good opportunity to visit the now dying Aulus whose attendance at his father's funeral was appreciative enough, and he would more than likely show the same respect, when it was time for him to also move on to the next world. "Ladies." he said to two of them passing the other direction, the latter duo couldn't stop giggling and being mesmerized by his good looks, as his dear mother of his always remarked about, and old reputation as the ultimate man to spend the night with. The old Lucius would've immediately taken them home, pop up a vase of wine and they would've had a hell of a salacious journey waiting for them, their screams of pure lust heard across the entirety of Rome. However ever since he met old man Linus and his propagating Christian faith, he could no longer continue those old ways of his that only brought temporary, perceived happiness and sense of satisfaction. His eyes were opened up to a whole new world that he thought didn't exist, where the One True God helped him regain his confidence as a man who actually had a purpose to exist in this life to begin with. "Here we go again." Lucius made a positive sigh, before knocking on the door to Oriana's Domus as he could already hear that the Banquet was in full commotion. @Sydney
  12. Inside, the halls had been filled with laughter and chatter. Valeria had seemed to navigate the party company with ease from the beginning, happily moving from one familiar to another with her wide smile and excited hand gestures, sharing familial updates to those who asked and wild stories wherever she could squeeze them. But despite her comfort, she was still a homebody and preferred the time alone with her pen than in the company of others but like a sponge, she sucked in inspirations whenever someone sighed while wilfully imparting gossip or it appeared in an acquaintance’s tick or appearance that morphed them into a character of interest for Landicus. Deeper into the night, the empty space around the seating arrangement above decorative meal-courses with feathers, flowers, and ornaments saw the ebb and flow of musicians, dancers, acrobats, and prancing comedian actors and Valeria, in her deep red wig and heavy kohl, gave a loud cackle at almost every single joke without fail. Aside from the music, the sprinkled innuendos at the otherwise tame party seemed to be one of the few moments where she hadn’t gone inattentive while glazing past the different faces, who seemed more focused on making a presentation of themselves rather than genuinely enjoying their time, in the chamber. After the food, people began to cordon off and disperse into their small social groups peppered around the domus. Outside, a few voices belonged to some of the partiers standing in the white pillars which circled the gardens and alternated between shadow and moonlight. “You’re one of the musicians, aren’t you,” Valeria said with a kind smile and a glass of wine in hand. The girl with young with a pretty little face. With artists of any kind, Valeria often felt warmed up to them, perhaps a bias by the possibility of a similar spirit. Of course, there was always the difference between playing for payment and playing in one’s own home. “You did a marvellous job tonight. I hope they’re paying you handsomely.” @Sara
  13. By the time, Gaia returned, the sky had turned dark and the street was illuminated by oil lamps. Stepping in from the quiet of the outside, which no longer had the rumbling of crickets of the summer and late autumn, Gaia already felt a wave of dread. It was strange that there had even been moments where she regarded him as a brother in the sense of the word as a sister should, like when they were younger, and he would join her on the floor with her wood horses. Over years, it soured. In one of the rooms, firelight was glowing, falling into the dark hall, and as she slowly stepped into the light to pass, a seated Titus came into view. Their eyes met and she entered the room to join him instead of hurrying away. “Your slave Barca, her entire face is swollen,” she informed him rather than giving a greeting and honestly it disgusted her to even speak. The fingers rested on her leather satchel had lifted to gesture lightly at her own face the extent of what he had done. “Her eyes wouldn’t open.” She didn’t elaborate on what she did to help her, only because Titus wasn’t likely to be interested of the things, that through trial and error or from Hippocrates, from physicians, midwives learned. And while she was certainly no replacement for a physician by any means, she’d seen enough from the aftermath of a birthing bed that she knew a pungent injury when she saw one. “She can’t work like that. For every slave that you indispose, there’s one less to make an earning.” If he couldn’t understand by sense, then perhaps by money. @Beauty
  14. Whenever he was given time for himself, Hector was never shy of being performative about it. Although he might not have openly screamed it from the hilltops, there was always a ‘notice me’ about him as he passed the other slaves in the domus by. At least in the past. With everything, he felt far too deflated to flounce about in self-importance. He had accepted Tertius’s word as law, but it didn’t necessarily cease his mourning. Instead, Hector simply left without his usual one-man parade. Before Charis, he might have needed a push to leave the home, he always happy to be more of a shadow than Tertius’s own shadow, but ultimately, he would not have thought anything of it but now, it pained him even more to do so. Even if Tertius was occupied elsewhere, he still felt like somehow Charis was sinking her talons into him. Hector usually tried to keep some degree of an exercise routine outside of tending to Tertius, which was arguably a set of exercises of its own, and that day, he took to walking through the streets of Rome in an effort to get his blood flowing. The fresh air, which was as fresh as the air of Rome could be, and the bright yellow Mediterannean sun provided some level of cleansing. In a way, he felt he understood the Greek adage ‘healthy in mind in a healthy body’. The soft breeze gently stayed his exasperation as he walked. Eventually, he found himself pausing where a cluster of people had gathered around, either leaning against columns or sitting back against white stone, to watch some performance by a small troupe in cheap coloured masks. Since arriving partway through the ordeal, the nature of the story completely evaded him, but he lingered out of curiosity due to laughter being emitted by some of the passers-by. One of the performers swished along the line of people before stopping just before Hector out of happenstance. They made a comedic statement before scuttling off and breaking into song, but the context was still lost on the slave with the most he could give in reaction was a curve of his brows and a blink in disbelief. “What was that supposed to be?” he commented, receiving a sharp ‘shh!’ from a nearby middle-aged woman, who he recognised from the nearby markets. She had pressed a finger against her lips and looked ready to tackle him if he made another sound. His eyes lifted up to the opposite end of the crowds and met with the familiar face of Helios, who was either watching or passing by. While Hector still admittedly held a grudge for his advancements on Tertius, he no longer considered it remotely in the same league as with the Briton. Circling the crowds, Hector approached the other man. “What a surprise, seeing you here,” he uttered in greeting, giving what was a brief smile. @Atrice
  15. Quietness had come after a bustling and busy morning for the household and finally, Valeria had tucked herself away from the distractions of a husband and children to focus on her writing. Comfortably beneath the streak of light reaching through the window, Valeria curled her legs under her sprawling gown and rested against her thighs was a wax tablet. She had turned the corner into her imagination space in an effort to find colourful ways of boasting about massaging one’s member while peering in at unsuspecting (and equally busy) couples from the perspective of a frail, lecherous old man. All the while, she presumed, her four-year old was in the next room. Stylus in hand, she jotted ideas, scratched them out a second or third time, paused to re-assess the meter or verse, before returning back to the drawing board. Her concentration wavered every now and again from a to-and-fro pitter-patter in the backdrop and immediately, her suspicions were that her four-year old was loose, free to run as wild as her little heart desired. Valeria peered her head outside the doorway of chamber to find one of the household’s newest acquisitions: Nymphias. She had made her face and name familiar to her after Titus had made her mind Valeriana. Despite their closeness in age and despite Titus’s ability to get responsibilities across, it was one thing when Sulpicia had her eye on her sister but the new slave, the conveniently lost one with the thick, bright locks was something else. “Did you ever think of putting a leash on her?” she asked, purposely gesturing out a long rope-like shape to have her words understood. @Beauty
  16. 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
  17. Sara

    Midnight Games

    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
  18. the morning after Special Treatment It had been a very enjoyable afternoon and early evening together with Charis. She had really improved since that incident with Helios and the following punishment; she had understood the point, that Tertius was definitely the one in charge and she should not think she’d be able to control his actions. And now she’d learned and he had rewarded her with a relaxing day away from the house. They had talked and shopped and finished it all in the Gardens of Sullust with a bit of pleasure. Tertius had been satisfied when he returned home. Charis had gone in through the slave entrance, while Tertius used the front entrance of course. Inside the house he’d been welcomed by Hector, who had seemed to be more than willing to make the evening good for Tertius too. There was food and drink and a massage before Tertius had drifted off to sleep. No pleasure with Hector tonight, but he did still want his body slave to sleep in Tertius’ bed, under the same covers. Hector’s warmth close to his own; he’d become so used to it now. Things were about to change a little bit though, and he would tell Hector about it soon enough. But this night, he preferred to not talk and just sleep. And Hector knew better than to ask his master about the day with Charis, when Tertius didn't mention it at all. Morning came however and light shone through the little window in his chamber. Tertius lay a bit awake in the silence. He could hear other slaves move around in the house, but no one went in to disturb Tertius or Hector just yet. Silently he waited for Hector to wake up, so that the day could get properly started. He rolled onto his side, watching the sleeping handsomeness by his side and gently stroked Hector’s unruly, soft and blonde hair. So far, this morning, everything was as it used to be. @Joaquin
  19. (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
  20. 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
  21. Hector lay back lazily on the bed in the small chamber, intermittently switching between filing away at one fingernail after the other and drawing his outspread hand closer to his face for examination. He hated the space, if only because there were little traces of Charis here and there, but he had opted to be there rather than anywhere else, where he would have normally been enjoying the warmth of the sun, to avoid the other slaves. That was the one good thing about the bedroom when compared to the accommodations for the slaves, that he had his privacy, for the most part. The entrance creaked to give way for Charis and immediately Hector fell as silent as a grave and his body stiffened. All of a sudden, his relaxed, self-indulgent air changed into something purposely frosty and passive aggressive as he continued tending to his nails without bothering to address her. At least for a very brief while before he ceased his pretentions and looked up towards her with a look like he was going to be sick. He eyed her to wait and see to see if she had noticed that he’d gone about rearranging their belongings, specifically clumping hers into a back corner. He had felt very productive doing so. “I thought they looked better over there,” he said in a tone that made it out like uttering words for her were such a chore or distraction from the important things in life. @Sara
  22. Sara

    Respite

    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!
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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.
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