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  1. June, 75 AD The races didn’t interest her very much at all. She was here for Claudia’s sake and that was it. She had stood behind her beautiful mistress during the whole racing session and now, someone had won and someone had lost – and Claudia was safe and happy, which was all that mattered to Cynane. The incident with the bandits might be a long time ago now, but she had not forgotten and she would not forget. She would not leave her mistress alone if she didn’t have to. But after the day’s race, Claudia was returning to the palace with the imperial family and told Cynane to take a little time off. She’d been busy standing, after all. As if you could call that busy. Claudia even gave Cynane a little extra coin to spend and soon they parted ways, after Cynane had talked to the other guards and informed them to come find her if she was needed. She would not venture too far away from the area of the races. And then she left on her own. Think, that after all this time, people were still staring at her – because she wore a somewhat masculine tunica, a leather vest and braccae and good sandals, not those simple ones that would fall apart the moment you walked more than ten steps in one go. Her hair was pulled away from her face as usual, with the twists and the braids she liked. Yes, she still looked foreign. No, she didn’t really care. She found a nearby tavern and walked in to find a drink – only to find that it was almost impossible to find a seat, because one of the charioteers had ventured into the very same taverna and now the place was crowded because charioteers were popular... “Can a woman just get a drink, or what?” She asked, trying to make her way through and someone hissed nearby, “It’s Cynane! Make way or she’ll gut you!” Someone said with a laugh and she rolled her eyes, although at least she could finally reach the bar and order her ale. Stupid gossip though, as if she had a knife with her at all times – as if she needed one! Soon though, she had her ale and now… how to find a seat in here? @Echo
  2. Mid-July, 75 AD It had been a few weeks since the earthquake that shattered Rome, although he had heard that other parts of the nearby country had been hit far worse than the city. Still there was rubble here and there and some buildings, that had been too old or too badly built, had crumbled. Luckily not the little insula he shared with his son! Lexus had been fine the day after, it seemed, although a bit shaken. Alexius hadn’t even been at home when it hit, he’d been at the ludus with an arm wrapped around the divine body that was Annis. As soon as he was able, he’d returned to his son and they had talked things through and went out to help where they could in the city. Now that was a few weeks ago though and people had worked together to rebuild what was broken. Life went on in Rome, as it always had and always would in this eternal city. And he had returned to the ludus more than once to help out there too. Not today though; instead he went to visit one of his most familiar thermae, the one that was near the ludus and in the same region. The bath too had suffered some damage, but most of it was working once more and he thanked the gods for that. He hadn’t thought much about what happened here so many weeks ago, when he met the handsome young Florus. They hadn’t met here, actually, but he had smiled at Florus for the first time and then caught him to share a drink. Sadly, after Alexius had dared to touch Florus’ hand, the youth more or less bolted out. He wasn’t very experienced and even still a virgin. Pity with that, Alexius would have loved to teach him a thing or two about pleasure. Luckily, there were plenty of fish in the water in Rome and Alexius wasn’t bored or unsatisfied. Now he was back at the thermae, going through the less damaged baths and finished with a nice massage. After this he returned to the changing room and put his tunica back on – in the summer there was no reason to wear breeches, it was far too hot in Rome this time of the year. As he strapped the leather belt around his waist, another person entered the changing room from the baths and Alexius looked up at him briefly… and then looked again at the very handsome and very naked youth over there. What a sight to behold! “Florus!” He exclaimed with a grin, recalling how they’d talked about drinking together again sometime, “How good to see you again.” @Ejder
  3. July, 75 AD For how long had she been coming here now? Last time she saw Charis in person was in February, before she attempted to get rid of the child. It had been months now since she last saw her friend and she supposed most people would have given up by now. But not Cynane. She did not give up on her friend, not when she had promised she would be there when Charis needed her. And so here she was, again, standing opposite the home of Tertius Quinctilius Varus, where Charis lived. She hadn’t tried to approach anyone from the house, not since she met Teutus, who had been entirely unhelpful. Such a friend he was! She still hadn’t seen Charis though and she came here every week, on the same day they used to meet and around the same hour. Nothing had changed when it came to that. But there had been no sign of her friend and she didn’t wait as long as she once had. Maybe it was pointless. Maybe she should give up and return to the palace and come back next week… But then, just as she was about to turn away once more, a petite figure left the domus and it was a figure that was easily recognizable – even with the bump she had, she was quite a few months pregnant now, wasn’t she? Cynane felt slightly bad for having almost scolded Charis for wanting to get rid of the child. It wasn’t a child of love, after all. And her friend almost died because she didn’t want it – but now she was having it anyway. She almost felt shy, as she decided to approach her friend. She walked closer, hoping Charis would see her, unless she had forgotten everything. She didn’t seem to notice Cynane, so she approached her and touched her shoulder gently, suddenly feeling almost on the verge of tears and overwhelmed by meeting Charis once more… “Erea…” @Sara
  4. Late June, 75 AD Charis had been allowed to do more and more, since their last proper conversation in the beginning of May. Now it was late in June and Charis was very visibly pregnant. It was impossible to not notice her, when he walked around the domus, although most of the time, they still didn’t interact with each other. She hadn’t done anything out of order though, since he let her out of the room and she was being a very good slave. She did as she was told and nothing else. So she was allowed longer trips to the market and the baths, just about as much freedom as the other slaves. She wasn’t spoiled like before. But she was also at the same level as the others. He couldn’t help but sometimes watch her. Perhaps he still had a fondness for her, despite it all. And add to that the fact, that she carried his child! The first child he would have since Antonia was born. His third child. Teutus had been a mistake, back then, but today he was grateful for his son and still pleased with the fact that Teutus was now free and held his name. Any child Teutus would have, would carry on the family name. But there would be another child and Charis had been so certain it was a boy. Despite the fact that he now had Teutus written into the will as his heir, you never knew what could happen. A second son wouldn’t be bad. He would have to talk to Charis again. Discuss her well-being and the child. Especially the child. What were her hopes – what did she think would happen? She had behaved so far and the idea of taking the child from her had faded along with his anger. He almost wanted to forgive her for her disobedience and her lies. And then he might actually accept the child and free it right away and name it his child. And let Charis be his son’s mother. But it all depended on how this conversation would go. Tertius had the triclinium made ready for this talk. A bit of wine, a bit of water and he’d asked Rhoda what Charis preferred to eat these days; he recalled from his time with his wife, that she had certain cravings when she was pregnant. This would be the first time he would spoil Charis after she tried to kill herself and the child; and after her punishment. But all that was in the past now. Now he sat on one couch and another was ready for her. He sent a slave to fetch Charis. Tertius was willing to move on… if she was. @Sara
  5. 30th of June - The Earthquake It was an early morning… actually, it was barely morning. Everyone in the entire household were asleep, not even the kitchen slaves or those taking care of the heating system were awake yet. Silence roamed the corridors and the chambers and Tertius was also asleep in his room together with Hector, always by his side now – at least when they were in here. In the last week, there had been light tremors to the ground. It had been shaking a few times, or perhaps more rattling, it wasn’t anything big and not something he hadn’t experienced before. To most people in Rome, these things weren’t entirely uncommon. Tertius had of course made sure to sacrifice to the right gods and to his ancestors too, asked them for help, just in case something should happen. And nothing had happened and all seemed to be fine. Until now… He woke up with a start, as the bed was shaking much. In fact, everything was shaking! It had been a warm night and he hadn’t cared to put on any clothes after sharing some pleasure with Hector, but now… “Hector!” He literally shook his body slave’s arm, “Earthquake!” He exclaimed while he heard vases or jars of wine fall off tables and shatter and there was dust in the air from the walls or the roof. Tertius jumped out of the bed. His tunica still lay on the floor and he quickly pulled it over his head while thinking that this was more than just a light tremor! No one in the house would sleep through this, surely! Tertius ran out of the room, “EVERYONE out into the peristyle!” He yelled. If one of the doorways gave in or the roof, people could die! Hopefully Hector was right behind him, also waking people up, while Tertius ran to Antonia’s room to get her up. And where in the name of Hades was Charis… oh, the child! Gods! Why were they angry? @Sharpie @Sara @Joaquin
  6. 24th of June, Fors Fortuna Months ago, Alexius met the very handsome and friendly Felix when he’d gone out for a night on the town. He’d interrupted a gang of guys about to beat someone up; and that someone turned out to be Felix. This Felix was someone he’d like to meet again and they had actually planned meeting for Vinalia Prima in Aprilis, but for some reason, Felix never showed up that night. Alexius had gone to his house as planned and patiently waited for his new friend to show up, but he never came and Alexius grew impatient. It was Vinalia and he couldn’t wait all night. So he had moved on since then, a lot had happened and at the same time, not much at all. His son had met a girl and Oriana’s father had decided she no longer needed a bodyguard to live in the house. Alexius had to move out and maybe that was for the best; the affair he had with her was doomed anyway, so he didn’t even know why he stayed. Well he knew… he had feelings for her and they were returned, but how could she ever marry a mere freedman, when she deserved so much more? Now he had a new home and Lexus had of course moved in with him. They got along fine, although most of the time, they didn’t see each other much. Lexus had a job and Alexius took little jobs here and there too, to make everything work and so they could pay for their home. It was late June now and time for another of his favorite Roman festivals – the Fors Fortuna. And didn’t he enjoy it? Not just because there was usually a lot of wine and pleasure involved, but also because it was the good fucking Fortuna they celebrated! The goddess of luck, the one who turned wheel and hopefully in the right way! He did earn his freedom once, years ago, and he would thank her for being alive and healthy and for having brought his son back to him. On the way to the temple, he walked past the home Felix showed him months ago and he stopped for a moment, kind of hoping he might actually see Felix again. And Fortuna worked in his favor, even today. Or perhaps, because it was today, she did it. The great Fortuna! He couldn’t help but grin, when that handsome creature emerged from the house, hopefully to also participate in the festival, “Felix! How good to see you! And on this blessed day, even!” @Chevi
  7. June, 75 AD It had been a fine day at the Circus Maximus. Caeso had been racing with his favorite horses, all a lovely brownish red color and his good chariot had not been broken today either. When he finished the last round of his part of the races, he was smiling, because he knew he’d performed well and he had won. Well the team had won. But Caeso had won too. After the race, he went to the stables to help with the horses and cleaning up and he was approached by a messenger, telling him he was invited to a party in the nearby Aventine the same evening. It had been cleared with his master, it was fine that he went, of course it was. Caeso would not be a fugitivus, ever. So for the evening, he dressed up in his finest green tunica – light green for the general fabric, but it had been hemmed with a darker green in a finer fabric, so that it was almost shining. He hadn’t done much to his hair since the afternoon, it took a while to do the twists pulling his long hair towards the back of his head and he kept it like that. He didn’t mind standing out. It was well-known anyway, that he liked it like this. His mother had taught him to do it, ages ago, and she had been taught by her mother, who was born in Germania. It looked impressive, he liked it. At night, he showed up at the right domus and was allowed in, of course he was. There was already a lot going on. Slaves, probably whores, were dancing in the atrium and they probably would not just continue to do dance next to each other. People were there, watching the naked dancers and others were laying on couches, eating delicacies and again others were just conversing. He recognized some of the other charioteers and when some of the guests at the party noticed him, they raised their cups to him, celebrating his win. He gave them a nod and picked up his own cup of wine. Honestly it seemed a little bit dull to him, this party. He hoped it wasn’t going to be an orgy, because then he was leaving again. Caeso went to quietly lean against a pillar in a corner of the peristyle, just watching people, not caring to approach any of them. Why was he here anyway? @Laria
  8. Early June, 75 AD It had been a few weeks since that day, when Marcus had a hangover and he and Caecina decided to go for a ride in the countryside near the villa there. And they ended up by that stream and a game of truth or dare turned into something else. They had not had a chance to be entirely alone since then and maybe it was for the best. At first they’d sent each other stolen glances, after the kiss, but one day turned into the next and soon they fell into the ordinary routine. Maybe it didn't mean anything after all; maybe it was just a foolish spur of the moment thing and she had already forgotten it. Marcus didn't know, he hadn't asked. But maybe today? And now they had a few days to stay in Rome with Juliana, although she was occupied with social visits much of the time. And Marcus? He had plans. He and Caecina had talked about visiting the Poppina Via Lata together and he would still show it to her. He had asked if she wanted to go to the market with him one afternoon and she agreed. They were of course followed by each their own body slave, Marcus with Silvanus and Caecina had her Astraea with her. There was also a guard somewhere, alert and on the lookout, but Marcus paid him little attention while they both settled in each their own litter to be taken away from the domus in the city. Marcus told himself it wasn't so bad taking her here; it wasn't even evening and things usually got a little bit wilder in the evenings Once they reached the Poppina, as he had instructed the slaves that carried the litters to take them to, he stepped out first and held a hand for Caecina to help her out. He had a kind of mischievous smile on his face as he looked at her when she stood, “So… maybe I lied a little. As you can see, this is not the marketplace. Remember the day we talked about the Poppina Via Lata?” As if she would forget; he kissed her that very same day! But here they were and they were not alone. The litters would be taken away for now and they were left with their body slaves and the guard. @Echo
  9. Outside the Circus Maximus, the crowds were swarming and increasingly smellier as they began to bump shoulders under the hot sun while trying to push into the complex and its seating arrangements. Naturally, Valeria had very little interest in watching the gladiatorial games, much less the races, and household names like ‘Menelaus’, ‘Bassus’, or ‘Marcellus’ of the Whites evaded her. She often left such things to Titus to take Publius, but she thought of it as a treat for her children, a spur of the moment decision following a morning’s visit to her father’s. The younger two particularly would find excitement amongst the crowds, charged by the social energy and adventures that circled the track over and over again. Flacca, on the other hand, was at the age where she seemed to want to be elsewhere and instead carried reading along with her. Regrettably, it was not the great Landicus, but it was still something that made Valeria smile. Although years ago, when Valeria had done the same, would have made her father hiss a “put that away”. It was poor manner to read in company, after all, but to Valeria, it was poor form to be unread. As they tracked through the crowds towards where they could make their entrance, Valeria instinctively held onto her son’s shoulder to keep him close, while her eldest was carrying her squirming sister, who kept trying to climb over Flacca’s shoulder to point out people or animals in the surrounding area. As Valeriana pointed in one direction with a “look!”, Valeria followed as she swept through some of the people spread out and around the stadium and caught the familiar face of Pinaria Gaia. “We’ll go inside in just a moment,” Valeria told her children, only to be met with Publius’s complaint. “But our seats!” “But Pinaria Gaia!” Valeria complained back, mimicking her son’s whine, before she added “it’ll only be a minute” even though in momspeak, that essentially meant the same as when she created a side-trip to the markets with her children and had them bouncing from foot to foot in exhaustion as she turned minutes into hours of looking at fabrics and jewels. As Valeria approached, she tilted slightly as if to get a good look at Pinaria as she excitedly opened her arms. “Fancy seeing you here,” she greeted her with a laugh. @Atrice
  10. January, 75 AD That autumnal conversation with Helenus had been on Clio's mind for a few months, running in the background like that big hairy spider you knew lives in a corner of the house but still spooks you every time you actually see it. It had been surprisingly insightful in more than one subject. For all the airs she put on, it had struck Clio at the time how she really had nothing more to offer than her exotic looks and occasionally witty remarks - but, she justified to herself, none of her past and current owners had purchased her for what was between her ears and they had similarly had no expectations of her attaining the intellectual levels of a philosopher or mathematician. Still, she was nothing if not determined, and she no longer wanted to be seen as a pretty face and only that. Servitude was no excuse not to educate oneself, Clio reasoned, and so she had put a portion of her savings inside a small leather pouch and headed off to the Emporium Magnum, where she assumed she should be able to find reading material appropriate for both her literacy level and purse. It was, naturally, easier said (or thought) than done. As she stood in one of the many pathways inside the market, shoulders jostling when she and other patrons unwillingly walked past one another, Clio began to wonder if the whole thing was such a good idea as it had seemed. She reached the quieter quarter of booksellers and stood and watched from a corner, biting her lip in indecision. What would her domina say if she found out? Clio didn't need books, they added nothing to her value as body slave to Annia Comna. What if it gave domina the idea that it was some secret beau that had put the thought into Clio's head? And if she did buy something, it should be something harmless, nothing that could evoke thoughts of rebellion or escape (even if none existed in Clio's mind!). She shuffled her feet, her lost gaze flicking from one tent to the other without really taking in anything. A scroll might be the better option, yes... Small and easy to conceal, and not too expensive if it was taken from her... Or maybe saving her coin for Mersis' hair ornaments was the right thing to do, as she'd been doing all along. That orange pin had looked so lovely against her black hair that domina hadn't even been angry, but appreciative. Frustrated, Clio let out a loud groan, not giving any consideration as to whom might hear it . Was the path to education really so thorny?! @Chevi
  11. Early June, 75 AD Of course she knew she needed to find a new husband - or at least try. That was a woman’s role and lot in Rome. Grow up, get married, get kids… if you lose your husband, get another or your family will dislike you. She didn’t want to be disliked. And she did want to find a man who would marry her, for how else was Gaius to have a proper father to raise him? Her brother did well, of course, but he had a wife and kids of his own too and Gaius was just a nephew and not his own child. She needed a man of her own. But she also needed Lucia. She hoped her future husband would accept her. Pinaria could not imagine marrying and never embrace Lucia again, like she had done it the past year. She wanted it all. And somehow, she’d have it. That’s why she had gone to the temple today – to pray and make a sacrifice, so that a good man of honor and bravery would somehow be hers. After all, as long as she was married, she was a good wife and mother. She did not spend time alone with other men and certainly, if she did, they never touched. Not that she didn’t know Gaius had not been as good as her at that; and he didn’t even hide it, but she didn’t blame him. She didn’t love him, but they were friendly with each other. And they were wife and husband and a wife did not sleep around. She had to make sure her kids were also his kids. But now that he was gone, surely there was no problem with bedding someone else and especially not when the other person was a woman, who could not make her with child. It was alright, in her opinion. She hoped the gods would agree. Quietly she left the temple and found a marble bench nearby to sit on and ponder, while looking up at the beautiful structure in front of her. She knew the gods had their own strange ways and that humans were probably nothing else than toys to them. She had lost so many people in her lifetime. People she cared about or should have cared about. She never even knew her mother! She hoped that she would not lose Lucia and that the next person she came to care about, would not disappear on her either. She barely noticed that someone else joined her on the bench, until she moved to stand and her palla was stuck underneath the other person. It was somehow ripped off her and she stood with just her chiton on and a very surprised look on her face, "Excuse me!" She said, clearly upset, while reaching for her palla to get it back and put it on. This was very inappropriate!
  12. Late April, 75 AD It had been a good day at the Ludus Magnus. Alexius had really begun enjoying it there. First there was lovely Thessala, who was a great friend and a great sparring partner. She seemed to enjoy fighting with him too. And then there was Annis and how could he not adore Annis? Gods that woman was just sexy and fun and… so many good things. Their medicus was nice enough too, Alexius liked him and really, all the gladiators, it reminded him of the good old days and it was never bad to watch them train up close either. Surrounded by dirt and sweat, but for some reason, he liked it like that! After sparring with Thessala today, he went to the nearby public baths together with some of the other gladiators, to clean up before going out tonight. It was late afternoon and as far as he knew, Oriana didn’t need him tonight. She hadn’t said so. They had fallen apart lately… so he thought he might just go out and enjoy a drink or ten and someone lovely too. There were other people in the baths too of course and Alexius noticed a young man looking towards the area where the gladiators were bathing and joking between each other. He almost felt as if he was one of them, but of course he wasn't. He could leave. They would have to return to the ludus, they were slaves. Alexius gave a young man watching them a smile, while he dried his body with a towel and got dressed in his blue-grey tunica and short breeches again. Then he exited the baths and stood for a moment outside the gates, stretching his arms and legs a bit. Gods it had been such a good day today! Fighting made him feel alive! As he stood there, the young guy from before walked up the road towards where he stood, probably actually planning to walk past him… but Alexius saw the way he looked earlier and honestly… the youth didn’t look too bad himself! “Greetings... I think I saw you just before, didn't I? You saw something, I know that.” He'd been naked, after all. Alexius asked with a playful tone and a wink, when the younger man was close enough. @Ejder
  13. After receiving the news that her that her engagement had fallen through Marcella's first instince was to chase down her now ex-fiance and demand an explanation. He had giving her some bullshit excuse that he was going to Aegypt and didn't want to take any woman that was not already his wife with him. He didn't even have the courtesy to tell her in person, she had to hear it from his mother, no doubt the woman would tell all her friends about it and she would become even more of a laughing stock than she already was, she could hear the gossip now, "the shrewd Marcella finnaly found herself a man, only to chase him off after less than a month." She eventually calmed herself enough to not follow him all the way to Aegypt in a blind rage, but she couldn't stay in the city. Instead, she left her father in the care of some trusted slaves and traveled to her brother Vitus' home in Naples. He had welcomed her but his wife was put out by her unannounced arrival. That night she had left the domus alone to visit a nearby beach, she had to make her way down a small cliff to reach it put there was a path carved out that made it easy enough to walk up and down, even if it was steep. The first thing she did was toss the engagement ring he had left her into the waves, the ring was then followed by a flurry of rocks. She was angry, angry at him, angry at her brother for forcing them together, but most of all angry at herself. What made her think that she had finally found someone who would not only accept but also love the woman she was? She spent the night angrily throwing stones into the ocean until she fell asleep right there on the beach. She woke up to pebbles falling on her face and the ground shifting underneath her. She jolted upright with sand covering the side of her face and half of her hair. Wide eyed, her head whirled around as she tried to understand what was going on when the ground once again trembled. This time she got on her feet and ran to the shore in an effort to get away from the crumbling cliff that would surely kill her if she tried to go up it now. She had two options, stay here and hope that the debre from the cliff wouldn't crush her or further enter Neptune's domain in an effort to find safer place to wait this out. A rock the size of her fist fell inches away from her and her mind was made up, she offered up a quick prayer to Neptune begging for his mercy and apologising for throwing those stones before diving into the ocean and swimming far enough out that the waves wouldn't just push her back onto the shore. As she treaded water she tried to think of where she could possibly go to escape this earthquake. The cliffs could go on for miles but if she could just find a boat to board she would be safe. @open
  14. Early May, 75 AD Ah, time for a bath. Silvanus was with him, of course, but he might get left behind to watch the clothes… Marcus didn’t want anything stolen from his things and he knew the bath slaves could be quite good at picking stuff up. It was nice to be in the city, but it wasn’t like he never came here. He didn’t mind the travel between the villa and Rome, because he loved being in Rome, despite all the filth and dirt in the streets. At least the houses where he came were nice and he really did enjoy the baths. Silvanus carefully helped him undress and was instructed to never take his eyes off Marcus clothes, when Marcus finally wrapped a piece of cloth around his waist and entered the actual thermae. He moved straight into the tepidarium, the hot sweating room, where he found himself a seat by a wall on a marble bench. The hot and humid air was thick in the room and he could see other men sitting here and there, but he couldn’t make out who they were. Then a tall and darkhaired figure appeared from the mist and sat down near Marcus, on the same bench as he. He paid him little mind at first, but thought he looked familiar out of the corner of his eye. And when he turned his head, who was it… none other than Lucius Cassius Longinus? The man who brought him to Rome, although he barely remembered much from it, since he was nothing but a small child. Of course he had seen the man since then, but they didn’t spend a lot of time together. He’d know him anywhere though and now he’d seen him, it would be rude to not speak to him. “Greetings, Senator.” Marcus said politely, as he’d learned, while brushing some of his blonde locks away from his forehead. He could be quite different with his friends but as far as he knew, Longinus was a respected Senator and if he wanted to get his own hopes up about reaching so far, he should remember his manners… even in the thermae, “What a coincidence to find you here.” @Sara ((does the dating of the thread work for you?))
  15. Sara

    End of a Chapter

    10th June, 75AD TW: miscarriage Longinus sat in silence on the beach, down the cliffside path from his villa just outside of Formiae. It was deserted, even at this time of year by virtue of the setting sun which cast long shadows over the sand and reflected off the water. The villa itself was no more populated with a skeleton staff of people he had forgot he even employed; a girl to cook in the kitchen and a few odd-job slaves that crept around him with thinly veiled annoyance in their eyes that their dominus was suddenly intruding on the peace and serenity of having run of a patrician's villa without oversight. He'd left everybody else behind in Rome; Vitus his secretary had been left with instructions not to disturb him for anything (save the health of his mother or daughter). Attis was still at Titus', despite the fact the morning he had found out he had been due to go over and collect him. He couldn't face his body slave's smirks or even worse his concern or gods forbid his pity. His mother and daughter were left with run of the domus, and all of his other attendants were left behind. He needed to be alone. It had happened so quickly Longinus only now had time to breathe. On the morning of the 23rd of May he had received a flustered, tear-stricken slave girl into his house who breathlessly informed him that her domina, his betrothed was on a ship bound for Carthage - escorted by her fathers men. Abandoning his trip to collect Attis, he instead had, without a moment's thought, taken a horse to Ostia, only to find out the ship had sailed at first light and was long gone by now. The rest of the day had been spent trying to barter passage on a ship to follow it, and it was only the insistence of his mother - finally - late that night, that made him relent. He would wait, he thought, to find out exactly what had happened. He would wait to be summoned by her father, and then make his amends in the proper, dignified fashion. The letter he received on the 30th of May, the day before his wedding - when all the preparations were set, when nobody had been informed that anything was awry - was almost unbelievable. The graffiti that had gone up around the city - that he'd seen and largely ignored - had been sighted by those close to the Proconsul of Africa. He had sent his men, as quickly as good winds would allow, to collect his daughter and her sons - sweep them back into his aggressive, controlling arms. Yet that was not the worst of it. She didn't describe what happened, or how it happened, but the child was gone. Miscarried, lost forever. Gone. With no ties to him now, and her fathers rage, she - the woman he had been due to marry tomorrow had signed the letter; The last few weeks, months had given me more pleasure or happiness than I ever thought to experience. But it is not enough. I see the folly in thinking I could have so much, for ignoring my father, for ignoring my duties as a mother and as a widow. I was wrong. Please do not come here, please do not write back Lucius. This is over - even if it is not the way we ever envisaged it to end. My children - those still with me - must come first, and I can no longer tarnish their reputations via my actions. I am sorry. Goodbye. Sestia. Throughout his life he had experienced loss - as many do. His father, his mentor and friend, his men in war and in peacetime, his wife and now his betrothed and his child - who the Gods never even allowed to draw a breath. Yet the sting of this loss was so acute he could not cope. Not this time. He had packed that night and instructed Vitus to send messages to his friends on his behalf, saying merely that the wedding was cancelled and the engagement broken off. Should anybody pry, the reason was that the dowry could not be agreed. It was something simple - clean and neat that expunged them both of the dirtiness that had befallen them. He had left for Formiae the next morning after a brief, cold farewell to his mother and a challenging goodbye to his daughter. He did not know when he'd return. What was left for him in Rome now to bring him back? A daughter that barely knew him? A mother that was content to live her life as she'd always done in his absences? Friends, of course, but they would move on. It wasn't as if he had a great desire for politics or glory. No. He'd be better off in Formaie he thought. So there he sat, on the waters edge. The wine he had drowned himself in that evening gave him pleasant, muddled sort of thoughts. It took the edge off of the wound that stung like a British axe to his chest. He cried. He didn't know the last time, certainly couldn't remember the last time he had cried but there he sat, sobbing into his hands. In the space of two weeks he had gone from a man of ambition; a decorated thrice-serving legate seeking a praetorship with a beautiful woman whom he loved (he begrudgingly admitted) about to be his wife, with a child on the way, to a man sat sobbing in the sand, alone. He wondered if the Gods were laughing or sobbing with him.
  16. Sara

    An Evening Alone

    Late February 75AD Getting his mother and Cassia out of the house had actually been easier than he had imagined. A light suggestion of a trip to the baths had ignited his daughters imagination, a long with a further hint of a particularly riveting new show being performed had sent his mother into delight. It had only gotten better when he had suggested that his cousins would be attending (having found out earlier in the week) and that perhaps an overnight stay with his cousin Cassia, her husband and his other cousin Lepidus would be in order. Given their youth and lack of parents (Gods the Cassii-Longini were really an endangered species at this point...) his fussing mother had delighted at the idea of the baths, a show and then some good old-fashioned nagging and prodding at his poor cousins. Still, as he walked around the oddly deserted domus he felt a grin stretch on his face. His family would have a good night and perhaps he could remedy the chaotic trip to the Esquiline a couple of weeks previous when he had visited Sestia. He tugged at the synthesis he wore and eyed the few slaves that weren't squirrelled away in their quarters, given the majority weren't required for the evening. Vitus, his secretary, had cracked what Longinus was convinced was his first smile ever at the thought of having a night away from his masters. The meal that had been prepared was nothing comparable to the lush spread that lovely Sestia had prepared but it was fine in its own simple way. Wine had been decanted into elaborate pitchers and those slaves he had kept out for the evening dutifully stood waiting for his guest. Running a finger along one of the oddities he had in his home (Longinus' decor style could only be said to be eclectic - fine antiques from Greece alongside a rusty Briton axe on the wall, and frescoes and mosaics depicting the most peculiar of scenes) and brushing off the dust he sighed, impatient. He didn't really know what he was expecting of this evening - although the more youthful side of his mind was grinning in boyish glee at a particular outcome - but he was looking forward to her company most of all. His friends in the city were largely all male, and despite their pedigree - were hardly a refined lot. The swelling of his knuckles and the splint he was forced to wear between and around his index and middle finger on his left hand a testament to that1. At least the split lip had almost completely healed. Distracted in his thoughts, a slave approached and coughed indiscreetly. "Sestia Vaticana is arriving, domine." Grinning, he practically bounded from the room to the Atrium to greet her. TAG: @Lauren 1 Longinus broke a knuckle after punching the ground during a particularly rowdy night out with Titus Sulpicius Rufus about five days before this thread.
  17. March 75 AD - same day as Science and Beauty Lexus snuck into the house, hoping no one would notice that he’d been gone for a very long time. He was a gardener in the house, sure, but he wasn’t a slave and he had done his job in the morning hours. He couldn’t help it that he ran into Septima and they got up to all sorts of weird things after that. She was pretty nice though, Septima. He never really talked with a girl the way he talked with her, or looked at her like that. She had some interesting ideas and she was clever. No one ever told him girls could be that smart. His mother had been, of course, but she was still just a seamstress and that was her lot in life. Septima was more. “Hey lad… where have you been?” Alexius voice said somewhere behind him and almost startled Lexus, who jumped and turned around to face his father. They had gotten to know each other better after Lexus moved in here, but it was still strange to actually know Alexius. He never knew him before. And they seemed so different. “I’ve just been out for a walk, that’s all.” Lexus replied and wanted to be on his way, but apparently his father had time to kill and that had to be with him. “Oh? Where to? I know Rome like I know my own purse.” Alexius said with a grin, “Let’s find something to drink and talk.” He added and led the way to the kitchens where he picked a random jar of wine and two cups. Alexius liked wine, a lot, Lexus had noticed. At least he never got violent because of it. Or if he did, Lexus didn’t see it. “So… what do you want to talk about?” Lexus asked and was reminded that Alexius already asked where he had been walking, “I went to the gardens of Sullust. They’re very pretty and have some interesting… flowers.” He said and wanted to kick himself for that last part. As if Alexius cared about pretty gardens and flowers. Besides, that’s not what was most interesting today. “Flowers?” Alexius said with a little laugh, still not truly believing his son had a huge interested in that. He poured wine for them, “I think there’s something you’re not telling me.” He added with a wink. Was his father really that smart? Well, he better spill the beans anyway. Maybe Alexius had some good advice. “Alright, you got me. I met someone. A girl.” Lexus said and felt the heat rise in his cheeks, he knew he was blushing. Gods it was so embarrassing! But he knew what his father thought of women and how much he liked them, so how could he not blush, when talking about these things for the first time ever, with his father? “You met a girl?” Alexius downed some wine, “That’s about time. What are you, 16 years old soon? Is she your girlfriend?” He asked right away and Lexus coughed as he’d just had a small sip of his wine. He shook his head. “No! I just met her, that’s all. She was very nice and we… had fun. But she’s not my girlfriend. I don’t even think she could be. She’s above me.” He explained and Alexius arched a brow, as if that meant anything to him! If a woman was nice, you'd approach her. That's how it worked. “That never stopped me! As you know! So you haven’t even kissed her?” Alexius asked, thinking it was really about time his son got that far. “No, I didn’t. We just talked. And I’m not like you.” He added, looking up at his father, the infamous womanizer, who actually didn’t even just go with women, he knew that much. Alexius would go with anyone, that’s what he heard through the grapewine. He’d probably go for Septima too, which would be too weird! She was too young anyway, he didn't know if Alexius would have anyone that young. She was better for Lexus... not that he thought he had a chance there. Meanwhile Alexius wasn't too pleased with his son's comment about not being like his father.
  18. Sara

    Boys Night

    Nones of May 75AD Longinus sat drumming his fingers against the rim of his wine cup, occasionally glancing at the door. What he enjoyed most, of course, about the Poppina Via Lata was the two-building scheme. The night would start here, in the building reserved for Rome's upper echelons before descending into the depravity with the plebs and the slaves next door. He took a sip and resumed his drumming, waiting for both Titus and Aulus, nerves eating into the pit of his stomach. Judging by the surprised reaction in their letters neither of them were none the wiser as to the true (at least initial) motivation behind the wedding which was a relief. He'd carefully considered what he'd say and it largely centred on; not being sixteen anymore so knowing what he wanted; that he likes and admires Sestia; he's not getting much younger and needs a son, and well...it is him. Longinus was certainly never a man that could be considered entirely conventional. He did hope to brush the whole 'permission from her father' under the rug as much as possible, but his friends were astute men and would likely ask. He just hoped he'd come up with something convincing on the spot to explain it, because so far his mind was coming up decidedly empty. His attention was caught by a shadow blocking his path and he glanced up from his thoughts to the face of his friend. A wide, beaming smile crossed his face as he embraced the man. TAG: @Sharpie @Liv
  19. Mid May 75 AD - in the street, near the Domus Venus It was just another evening in the Domus Venus and Helios was waiting for his next patron to show up. He had been up all night last night, busy with patrons and clients and for some reason, he couldn’t sleep very well today. Which meant that tonight he was more tired than usual and now he sat in the main room of the brothel, dressed in a simple sleeveless tunica that he’d tossed over his head and with shining cuffs around each arm. His hair was put up in a high ponytail tonight, mostly pulled away from his face save for a few tresses for the sake of looks. He hoped the next patron wouldn’t demand too much and at the same time, he hoped they’d stay all night. And give him both their body and a lot of stories about their lives. He had already had one tonight and he wasn’t feeling up to that much. Maybe he was getting too old for this shit. He really needed to do more with his life. Dareios made him realize this, a few years back and he had not stopped thinking about it since. Freedom was a thing in his near future, he hoped. He watched with a cup of wine in his hand, as another client walked through the door and spoke with the matron. He wanted a girl. And girls were lined up and the man selected one and off they were. Helios hadn’t been lined up with others like that in years; he wasn’t that young anymore and he could offer more than just a body. He was more a courtier than an actual prostitute these days, but most people didn’t know the difference. On top of that, he collected secrets and sold them either to his mistress or to other people willing to pay for them. Secrets could be very valuable. Knowledge was valuable... and Helios was lucky enough to have a good memory. Helios emptied his wine and let the matron know that he would be on the streets for a bit, hoping to find work and a useful and interesting client or something like it, out there instead. Near the Domus Venus he leaned against a wall, watching everyone who walked by and hoped to catch someone’s eye or see someone interesting to follow. ((the thread is open, but please let me know first before you join)) ((the date is not set in stone, can be changed to June or April))
  20. The graffiti that went up in late May 75AD, a week and a half before the wedding of Lucius Cassius Longinus and Sestia Vaticana was poorly drawn but effective. It depicted the pair in question in what can only be described as explicitly lewd acts. Scrawled underneath the images was the phrase; 'Lucius Cassius Longinus and Sestia Vaticana fucked here. A wedding? Or a cover-up?'. It littered corners near the tavern in which they had met in the Subura, on the side of poppina's on the Esquiline and undoubtedly in other places yet undiscovered throughout the city. Feel free to post any reactions in this thread!
  21. Atrice

    The Morning After

    Mid-May, 75 AD There were plenty of villas in the countryside near Rome and this was just one of them. And it was the one he just happened to live in – because really, where else should he live, when his brother made sure they had no family home anymore? Not that life was bad here. There had been a social event – a party – at one of the other villas last night and Marcus had persuaded Caecina to come, explaining how important it was with the connections they’d make, although really he just didn’t want to go to the party alone. And she probably knew that. They’d lived together on and off since Flavia Juliana married Caecina’s father, after all. Now it was the day after the party and Marcus had slept in and was woken, when one of the slaves came to clean up a little of the mess Marcus made last night, when he came home. The fine toga was dropped on the floor along with his sandals. He sighed and covered his face with his hands, he had a headache. Of course he did. He drank wine last night. And not just a little. He barely remembered the ride home in the carriage, but he remembered Caecina had been there too. He hadn't left her at the party. Or maybe it was her who didn't leave him behind, when she left? It was all a bit of a blur. “Something to drink. Not wine.” Marcus waved at the slave without looking at them and they hurried to find what he wanted, leaving him alone for a bit too. He sat up in the bed and pushed the covers away. He’d passed out in his tunica and held up a bit of the sleeve… yes, he needed a clean one! When the slave returned, he asked for a clean tunica and that was fetched for him too. Soon he was somewhat dressed – just the tunica and a belt – and the slave got him some slippers too. With a cup of water in his hand, he wandered to the peristyle and found another sofa to lie down in. It was a warm morning and it was nice and quiet in the villa so far. He closed his eyes, just a little bit… and then when he heard some footsteps approaching, he assumed it was another slave and didn’t even care to open his eyes when he made his next request, “Get me something to eat.” @Echo
  22. Atrice

    Mad World

    Late March, 75 AD "... we will see each other in two weeks, like usual…" That’s what Charis had said, last time they met. Back when Charis had revealed she was pregnant and she was going to take some herbs that could remove the child. She weas certain she’d be fine, even though Cynane had been quite worried about her friend. And after two weeks of waiting impatiently, Cynane had gone to look for Charis at their usual spot in the gardens. She had also gone to that spot near the house where Charis lived, to wait for her there. But there was no Charis. A week later, she did the same. And a week later. Many weeks passed and there was no sign of her friend and Cynane naturally feared the worst. She asked around at the markets, where she knew Charis usually came, but no one had seen her. She was just… gone. It wasn’t right! Fucking Roman! If only he had not touched Charis, she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant and she would not have taken those herbs… and removed the child and... it went wrong, didn’t it? Charis didn’t survive. Pretty and sweet and fun and caring Charis was gone. Charis, maybe the only person in Rome she dared to reveal herself to. Because of her stupid prick of an owner! A month had passed since she last saw her friend in late February. She had been out, looking for Charis again. And now she ended up here, near the domus where Charis lived. She stood for a long time, watching the house from the nearby spot where they sometimes met and sometimes said their goodbyes. She stared at the house and wished her gaze could set it on fire. She was of course sad that Charis died, but Cynane had learned to change emotions of sadness into those of anger and hatred – it was easier to be angry than sad. And it was really a miracle that the house did not burn down while Cynane looked at it from a distance. She wanted to scream. She wanted to tell Charis’ owner a thing or two about how she felt. No, wait, she’d rather show him. That would be more interesting! Finally she walked up to the house and around to find the slave entrance to the place. And there she knocked on the door. A woman, who must be Rhoda, according to Charis’ description of the woman, opened up and gave Cynane a strange look… “Yes? Who are you?” “I’m a friend of Charis’. I want to see her.” If she was dead, she could not see her of course. But at least then she would know the truth instead of just assuming. She needed to hear someone say it; Charis is dead. That would make it easier, right? Rhoda got a puzzled, but also somewhat sad look on her face and she glanced over her shoulder, then back at Cynane, “You can’t see her. No one can.” She explained and Cynane sighed deeply. “So it is true then. She’s… dead.” Cynane said, the words came easily although they were heavy. She fought the urge to cry in front of a stranger. She would not cry, not here, not in front of this woman… not in public… “She lives.” Rhoda then said, almost in a whisper, and Cynane looked up again, “But you better leave. She’s not coming to see you or anyone anytime soon. It’s best you don’t hope for it.” The older woman added, but that didn’t help. “I see. But I will hope. She would do the same for me. Tell her that I’ll be waiting.” Cynane replied to the woman. “I can’t tell her, I’m not allowed to see her either. Now go!” Rhoda insisted and closed the door. Cynane glared at that door. So Charis was alive - but not allowed out. Was she locked up somewhere? Chained to a wall? Cynane had tried that as a gladiatrix… it wasn’t amusing. At least she lived, though. Cynane finally left with heavy steps and came out in front of the house again, angry and upset, to walk back to the gardens where she could be alone. Meanwhile she let it all build up inside of her again – all the anger. Fucking Romans! She was walking so determinedly, that she didn’t care about what happened and unintentionally (or was it?) her shoulder bumped hard into that of a younger and well-dressed man on his way towards the front entrance to the house. @Sharpie
  23. Late May, 75 AD Alexius could barely remember, when he last saw Charis – but it was quite a long time ago. Not that he had thought much about it, it wasn’t as if they ever planned to meet. They just happened to run into each other, after that first time they met, when he saved her from that wretch called Helios. Luckily for Helios, Alexius had not seen him since. And he had seen Charis. She was a very lovely young woman and still not assimilated into Rome, something he actually appreciated. Alexius knew now that he was more Roman than what he wanted to be, so Charis was a breath of fresh air to his too Roman self. And an attractive one too. Not that he’d forgotten what happened the one time he kissed her, nor the fact that she wanted them to be friends, despite how much he had wanted a few benefits with the friendship. But on the other hand, he did enjoy spending time with her. Not that they were close friends, but he liked her. And now he had not seen her in a long while, in fact all winter. He had been busy with Oriana and his job and his son, who lost his mother and now only had Alexius. And when spring came, so did the desires once more… for more than the strange affair going on at home. Now it was almost not even springtime anymore; summer was approaching quickly and Alexius had an afternoon off to enjoy the pleasures of Rome. He’d gone to the market and while other people went there to look at the stalls, even if they were unable to buy anything because they had little money… Alexius went there to look at people, even if he was unable to flirt with everyone because he was supposed to have enough at home. But did he? With Oriana always on the lookout for a future husband, that most definitely would not be a freedman and former gladiator? With a son from his time as a slave… he doubted it, still. Not that they talked about it anymore; the subject was too sore and none of them wanted to give up on the other, it seemed. Even if it was doomed. So now, with a doomed affair at home, he sat down to watch people, with a cup of wine in his hand from the nearest taverna. He had found a stone bench by a building, so that he could lean back. And as he sat there, watching one lovely person after another walk by, there was suddenly a very familiar figure among them! Alexius smiled, downed the wine and approached her with the empty cup in his hand. “Charis! It is you, isn’t it? It’s been too long.” He said with a cheerful smile, which turned into one of surprise when she turned to face him and he’d see her pregnant state. Now that, he had not expected! He could easily imagine who the father of the child was, but this wasn't new. They had a lot of catching up to do, didn't they? “Far too long, it seems!” @Sara
  24. Early May, 75 AD So here he was again. At the arena, to see gladiators fight. Maybe it was an addiction? Now that he was no longer a gladiator, he could at least look at them. Think that he used to hate it, back then, but now that he was free, it was what he enjoyed spending time looking at. Thinking back to the time where he stood down there, on the sands, with the crowd wrapped around his finger as they called out his name and threw praises his way and the women threw more than just that. But then there was the part about being a slave, being forced to fight to survive. Being forced to kill to live and he had no choice. And then of course the other part of it. Gladiators were little more than most other slaves, owned by the Empire and anyone in it could buy a private time with him. And he’d have to do whatever they wanted him to do, because that’s how it was, when you were a slave and a gladiator. Great, so he’d been daydreaming again and now the first entertainment had come to the sands. No Thessala today, it seemed, but there was the gorgeous blonde, Annis. He’d seen her before, both fighting and also at the ludus, when he came to see Thessala and spar with her. But he’d yet to meet this one. She was good. She had a warriors blood in her, he could tell. And she was tall, because she was not born around here. Alexius did enjoy gladiatrices and not just because he’d loved one of them, once, back in the day. They were so fierce, so independent in their own way. Not sweet and meek like Roman women. That’s also why he enjoyed Oriana so much, because she could act the same way, sometimes. But the gladiatrices… there was just something about them. She won, of course. He yelled along with the rest of the crowd and then decided it was about time he met this one. Spared her the humiliation of sleeping with a random Roman who bought his way into her cell and to her bed. He wouldn’t force her. But if she wanted him, he’d be stupid to say no, wouldn’t he? So he left the seats of the arena and hurried down the steps and corridors and towards the gladiators dark corridors underneath the arena. He knew these like the palm of his hand. Finally he encountered a guard and paid a few coins to be allowed access to her. Annis would have been shown to a room of her own, most likely unaware of who was coming to see her. Gladiators and their female counterparts were often sold to wealthy romans for fun – he’d been through all of that too, once. But that wasn’t why he’d come here… he just wanted to meet her and hear how she was doing. He was led to the right room and the guard unlocked the door and let him enter. The door closed behind Alexius and he looked around in the faint light of the room, finally setting his eyes upon the fierce and blood-stained blonde warrior. Gods, she was more stunning up close, wasn't she? “Greetings, Annis. You fought well today.” He said with a charming smile to her, not coming closer to her just yet, instead staying near the door until he knew how approachable she was. @Echo
  25. March, 75 AD Things were still strange at home. He did his best to try and connect with young Lexus, his son, but he never had a son before and did not quite know how! Lexus had seemed surprised too at meeting his father, and then his son's mother was suddenly dead and everything was strange. Add to that Alexius' affair with the mistress of the house - an affair he certainly enjoyed and when he was with her, there was nothing he wanted more but to stay with her. Yet he was nothing but a freedman and former gladiator and she was much too used to luxuries to ever marry a man like him. It just wouldn't happen; he did not think it would. So sometimes he just had to escape the strangeness of Oriana's home and get out and have a drink or two, as usual. So Alexius did that. It was evening and at the tavern he had a good talk with a very handsome young man, but in the end, the youth left with a just as attractive lady and Alexius had halfway considered if they would need a third party to their fun... but then decided to let the young have their fun and experiences alone and thus he wandered out onto the street, half-drunk and with a mind on finding his way home. First though, maybe just one more tavern and one more drink? Alexius had no idea if it was late or early in the evening, when he approached the next tavern and opened his purse to check if he had more coins. He did. Good, more wine then! Just leaving the tavern though was a gang of men, four of them, and they were dragging someone between them. Clearly someone who did not want to come with them! Alexius was not very fond of injustice like that and seeing someone unwilling being manhandled like that, made him want to help. Alexius saw them enter the alley near the tavern and now he definitely thought that something was shady about this. He decided to follow - because there were three things he never turned down. Wine, good looking people and fights... and this might be the latter! And just as he guessed, in the alley the unwilling person was pressed up against the wall by the men and Alexius inhaled a breath. "Hey, what are you doing? Let them go!" Alexius called out to the men and two of them approached him, "... or what?" One of them asked with a laugh and Alexius walked closer. They were definitely bad eggs, these! "Just do as I said, let them go. I don't want to have to hurt you." Alexius said and they laughed again. One of them pulled a knife. Well, fuck. He didn't bring any knife. Not that he would ever back out of a fight, just because he had no knife. He survived years in the arena, so he could definitely survive this too. Alexius inhaled a breath, bracing himself. Later, he barely remembered who started, but there was a struggle with the two men - while two others held the fifth person by the wall - and Alexius earned himself a fresh wound cut into his arm and a bruise on his cheek, but for some reason, the men had not planned on fighting a bodyguard and former gladiator. They had not planned on sticking around for this long and they didn't want to get caught. The two by the wall decided to call it off, and the four bad guys ran for it. They left the person they dragged among them, in the alley behind them, over there by the wall. Alexius brushed his clothes, they were not too dirty despite that he'd landed on the ground with at least one of the men and he took a quick glance at his upper arm where the knife had met his flesh. It was bleeding. The sleeve on his tunica was soaked. Nothing new there... he decided to pay attention to it later. There were more important things here, because the last person still stood over there by the wall in the shade of it, "Hey, are you alright?" He then asked, slowly approaching them. ((who the person is, you decide... could be your male or female character or a third party and your character was just a bystander or comes in after the fight... that is up to you))
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