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  1. Saturnalia, 76 AD It was Saturnalia and that meant many nights of having fun. The first night Marcus had spent in his own home, or rather, his mother’s husband’s home. Marcus had never been adopted and didn’t really consider Tusca his father at all. But he was there, for the dinner and to have fun with the slaves. Or they had fun with him. Apparently he deserved a lot of pranks, but he supposed he should have seen it coming, with how he often treated them. This was their only chance at getting back at him. But this was only the first night. Days went on, more nights came and one evening he thought that maybe he should take Tiberius out for a drink or two. Or ten. He deserved a bit of fun! So off Marcus went to the palace, only to find out that his friend wasn’t there. The praetorians had not seen him and his body slave wasn’t there either. Claudia couldn’t be lured out and besides, her bodyguard was missing as well. There were a lot of people missing from the palace, Marcus learned. What worried him most was Tiberius though. It was one thing to go out with Marcus, at least they’d be two then. But alone? Tiberius, with his history, alone in Rome on Saturnalia? So out he went again, to look for Tiberius. Where the fuck could he have gone? He didn’t even know what he was wearing. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but he was determined to find his friend before something went wrong. He couldn’t have gone far, surely, without a litter or anyone guarding him. Marcus went in the direction of the Forum Romanum first. Something interesting was bound to happen at the Forum and maybe he’d find Tiberius there. On the way, he stopped many people to ask if they'd seen his friend. Maybe one of them would actually have a useful response?
  2. Early December, 76AD It felt like it had been forever since that party in November. She had tried her best to be a good daughter to her father and her family in general. She went to the social events they wanted her to go to, she socialized, she’d even met with her cousin Horatia, which had been interesting. After that she’d been a bit more careful, because Horatia now knew a secret of hers. She hoped her cousin wouldn’t tell, but why would she? What would Horatia gain from ruining Sosia’s future, by telling her family that Sosia was in love with Tiberius? Nothing, she thought. And so she hoped it was still a secret to anyone, what happened that night at the party. Now that was another reason to try her very best to be a good daughter and honor her family. Yet she could not forget the way Tiberius kissed her, the way he held her and the words he said to her. He thought her pretty and sweet… and he liked her. And he kissed her. And said he’d never forget her and they’d see each other again. Already before they kissed, he’d promised her that he would show her the gardens of Sullust and she hoped he would keep the promise. He said he would not forget. He said he wanted to see her again. But when? Then suddenly there was a messenger from the palace. For her. Tiberius had a date set and she was invited to join him for a walk in the gardens. She could barely wait. But what to wear? Gods! Oh she prayed to them too, asked them to help her, asked them to make sure she’d stay on the right path today. But she also prayed that Tiberius still liked her. Despite that her father had set up more than one meeting with possible suitors, wealthy and older men, who were probably nice, but… they were not Tiberius. But the day came. A day in the gardens in the winter. She dressed in a light blue gown and wore a light yellow palla with it. A few pearls, and she had her body slave Helia bring her a few evergreens to decorate her hair with. She wore the green leaves almost like a crown on her hair. Her body slave told her she was very pretty and she believed it. Then she went to meet Tiberius outside the gardens. Helia came with her, and a guard too, but they promised to keep their distance. She wished they didn’t have to come, but her father said anything else would be improper. Now she stood there, waiting. Hoping. Sighing. Until she was distracted by a rare flower, growing just near the gates to the gardens and she crouched down to pick it, maybe to decorate her hair with. @Sarah
  3. Saturnalia, 76 AD - set the night before Another Time Then note: don't read this thread if blood/violence/people inflicting pain in others triggers you Saturnalia was a great time for someone like Marcus Barbatius. He enjoyed it, because there were people everywhere, crowds… and they got drunk, the people of Rome. Acted out. Passed out in strange places. Forgot where they were or where they were going. And then he was there to be a good inhabitant of the city, making it seem as if he would help them. Right until they were alone with him. That’s when he opened the small leather bag he brought with him, that’s when he revealed a blade and that’s when they got hurt. That’s when he made them bleed. Tonight he’d left the slaves at home, behind locked doors, as always, while he hung the key in its string around his neck and then he went out to have his kind of fun. He’d found a drunken young man, who didn’t seem like he was anyone important, just an ordinary plebian or maybe even a freedman. He’d gotten lost form his friends and now he just wanted to go home. Marcus put an arm around him, led him through Rome, right until he looked into an empty courtyard far away from where the parties were in Rome. No one seemed to be there. The youth said he didn’t live here. This was the wrong place. But he had his back to Marcus and that’s when he made his move. Of course it was the wrong place. He’d pulled the youth close to him from behind. There was a table in a corner of the courtyard and Marcus behind the youth over that. The youth seemed to think Marcus wanted to fuck him and actually backed up against Marcus, but soon found out that was not the case at all. Oh he did pull up the man’s tunic, but only to reveal his back, where he dragged the knife over the spine, at first without pressure, and then it happened. The youth whined and winced when Marcus cut him, but he held on. The blood was streaming down over his backside, so beautiful, so red, so warm. Marcus wanted to touch it. But then the youth squirmed and scrambled and managed to get away. Not far though! Marcus followed, tried to knock him over. The youth began screaming! That was no good! Marcus caught him and clasped a hand over his mouth and the other he held against his cheek, “If you scream again, you’ll lose your tongue…” He hissed close to the man’s face. And then he froze, Marcus did. He heard movement behind him. Fuck! Little did he know the young woman appearing at the scene was not going to stop him. @Insignia
  4. Saturnalia, 76 AD Cynane was waiting just outside the palace and hoped that Tiranês would show up soon, as they had decided. It was, after all, Saturnalia! The one holiday the Romans got right, at least. The one holiday where slaves got to feel like free people and could do (almost) anything they pleased. As long as they’d show up for work the next day. Well there was always the next day. Sometimes she’d thought it was a way to mock the slaves, tell them to go and have fun, but remember, you are still slaves. There’s always tomorrow! But tomorrow was not now. She was unsure of where they were going, but her blood-brother said he had a good idea and she’d happily see what he had in store. And keep him safe on the way. She had tried to dress up, but she still didn’t want to look like someone she wasn’t. So she still wore breeches and a thigh-long tunica, easy to move around in. She’d dropped the leather armor for tonight, but she still wore her braids. Maybe a bit fancier than on a daily basis, since it was Saturnalia. She recalled Tiranês speaking of many smaller braids in the hair, she didn’t know if it was a style the women among his people kept, but she’d tried to recreate it. Casually she leaned against the wall, ignoring the stares of anyone passing by, like she always did. If they glared at her and she did look back, they’d wish they didn’t. She didn’t want their attention. All she wanted was the company of someone she liked, and she didn’t like many people in Rome. And luckily, soon enough it was Tiranês who joined her and she greeted him with a smile, “Finally! Shall we go? And... where are we going?” @Sharpie @Chevi ( @Sara )
  5. Late August, 76AD - the day after I just called to say... Tertius sat alone in his bedroom. Hector had been there, but Tertius sent him away, he wasn’t in the mood for pampering and his body slave trying to make himself important to Tertius. He had a lot on his mind. Varinia had been here, yesterday. He had not seen her since his brother sold her, so many years ago. And now Teutus had apparently found her at a slave market, bought her and of course freed his mother. Seeing her again brought up old feelings in Tertius, but honestly he wasn’t quite sure what to do with those feelings. Especially after their conversations concerning marriage… and why he had not married again. Ever since his wife died, he’d thought that he should marry again. But it was difficult to find a woman as perfect for him as Antonia had been. Varinia could be perfect, he’d thought. Still beautiful, they had something together once, they even had a son… and he was sure that if he dared to take the step, there might be a spark there. But the more he thought about it, the more he thought it would be too weird for Charis and Peregrinus, if he married the slave he had a fling with, when he was so young? Then she would act like Peregrinus’ mother. And yet his actual mother would still live here, but as a slave. It felt wrong somehow. He couldn’t do that. Not to any of them. And his thoughts came to the point where he wondered, if he even could give Peregrinus another mother than the one, he already had. He couldn’t, could he? It wouldn’t be right. Which meant there was just one option left, one had considered before, then forgotten and now it came back to him again. But he would have to talk to Charis about it. Because if he picked that option… everything would change, for both of them. For the entire household, really. And he had to know that he could trust her. And so he went out in the hallway, where Hector was naturally lurking close by his own chamber… and he asked Hector to fetch Charis for him – without their son, if possible. Then Tertius went back into his bedroom and waited for her to show up. @Sara
  6. Early August, 76 AD Well lately had been eventful! It wasn’t like he was bored at all with the job he had with Teutus, the warehouse gave him plenty to do. And then he happened upon Ovinia, such a beautiful young woman in need of a proper guard, and he’d escorted her home. And now her father would pay him to escort her out from time to time too. But he liked not being bored and he liked meeting interesting, intelligent people. And who wouldn’t like to spend some time in the company of a lady like Ovinia, even if he should not think further than to actually guarding her. Not with his entire body. Only if he needed to. Gods, what a night it had been! He stretched in his bed. The company he had for the night had already left, he probably had to go to work, and Alexius was alone. Lexus usually also left early for his job and he had it all to himself. He wandered out to splash a bit of cold water in his face and emptied a cup of wine that stood on the table, although it had turned sour over the night. Oh well, a bit of wine was better than nothing, best not to let it go to waste, right? But he was hungry and had little to eat with the wine, so what to do about that? He tossed a tunica over his head and left the small insula. He didn’t feel like going down to the street just yet, so knocking on some door to ask if they’d share some morning bread with him was the next best thing. And he had many friends in the house now. First he considered Didia, but decided she too would be busy working now. Maybe Teutus was at home? He ran both hands through his hair to try and set it, although it probably didn’t work, and then he went knocking on Teutus’ door. He had a larger insula than Alexius had, and he knew Teutus bought some slaves recently… maybe it would be one of them, answering the door? @Sarah
  7. Late September, 76 AD It was late September and fall was definitely coming upon Rome now. The weather wasn’t too cold yet, but it was not summer either. Pinaria pulled her palla closer around her and looked over her shoulder after her servant, Gaia Lucia. The woman was actually a freedwoman, but she and Pinaria had not yet parted ways and she wasn’t sure she wanted to. At the same time, she was not sure if it was actually love between her and Lucia, but they cared for each other. Deeply. And Gaia Lucia came with her everywhere. Soon it would be dark and they needed to head home from the temple. Lucia suggested a shortcut through an alley between a few streets, said she knew it. Lucia said it wasn’t entirely safe though, so they should hurry. Pinaria nodded and followed the former slave. But Lucia hurried a little too much and suddenly she was too far away. It had become darker as they walked and suddenly, Pinaria did not feel safe at all. She tried to call for Lucia, who had disappeared around a corner. Pinaria stopped for a moment to call for her servant again. That’s when she heard it, in the silence behind her. Footsteps coming in her direction. She looked over her shoulder to see a hooded figure some way behind her, “Hello? I don’t mean to bother you… I’ll be on my way…” She said and moved on, but the person kept following her. Suddenly he was right behind her and held a blade to her throat. Pinaria froze and squeezed her eyes shut. She thought about her son. This was not happening, was it? It was... “Please, don’t hurt me… I have a son…” She said, and yet she felt the man pull her closer, “What do you want? I don’t have any money. I gave them all to the temple. You can have my necklace…” She suggested to the stranger behind her, “I don’t care about such things…” He whispered back to her and she felt the blade cut into her throat and stinging pain of it. He’d cut the side of her throat. It wasn't deep, but enough to make her bleed. She felt his other hand move up. He touched the wound and got her blood on his fingers. “Wha… what do… you want?” She stuttered, afraid, but she heard nothing but his breathing as he touched the wound again and smeared the blood between his thumb and his other fingers. Suddenly she heard her name and she dared to look up. It was Gaia Lucia! Lucia came back for her! The man behind her saw it too. He let go of her, but not before he also cut her arm through her palla as he pulled back. Then he quickly ran away in the other direction. Pinaria ran towards her servant and fell into her embrace. She felt her heart pounding in her chest. Together the two women made the rest of the way out into the more open street again. Now, however, it was entirely dark. And there was still a bit of a way to get home. "I'll run for help!" Gaia Lucia promised Pinaria and tired as she was from the sudden incident, she didn't argue before it was too late. Suddenly she was alone again! What if that maniac came back? What in the name of Hades did he want? With a sigh she dared to take her eyes off the street for a moment, as she leaned against a nearby wall and moved the palla away from her arm to inspect the bleeding wound.
  8. October, 76AD She had been in Rome a few months now and only had a brief encounter with her cousins when they first came to Rome. She really should spend more time with them, her brother said so too. Especially since she knew so few people in Rome. Plus, her cousin Horatia would be a good relationship to cultivate, because her husband was one of the current Consuls of Rome. So a date had been decided and Sosia was placed in a litter and sent across Rome to meet with Horatia Justina. It didn’t take too long though and a slave gave her his hand to help her out of the litter. She thanked him gently and reached to pick up a small package, a present for her cousin. Dressed in a light yellow chiton, with a light purple chiton and with purple flowers stuck into her hair, as she liked it, she entered the beautiful home of Horatia and Aulus and waited patiently in the atrium for her lovely cousin to appear. Everything seemed so calm and nice here, she thought. As if the home was bathed in a soft and soothing light. Her cousin had been lucky to marry such a good and ambitious man. She only hoped she could do the same one day. @Sara
  9. September 76CE It made a convenient excuse to leave the palace and Palatine Hill. An Imperial could spend almost all of their time there if they so desired, but Tiberius did not. He wanted to see Rome - and the Empire - talk to people, and keep an eye and an ear on the happenings beyond the Hill. It was part of what made good governance of course, but it was also his interest. It was also a good place to catch up with friends, in a less formal setting. Leaning back against the beautifully glazed tiles and relaxing into the hot water, Tiberius glanced across at his long time friend and often younger partner in crime to himself and Titus as they were growing up. Now, all of a sudden, they were grown, or close to. Not boys but men, with their own responsibilities. Quintus' abdication had made that all the more apparent. But Tiberius hadn't asked Marcus to meet him to dwell in seriousness. "How have you been, Marcus?" He asked out of genuine interest. "What's new?" Marcus had this bright and garrulous nature about him that was immensely cheering and made him very easy to be around. It was something that Tiberius appreciated. @Atrice
  10. Early December, 76 AD - after Male Fantasy He suddenly felt very exposed, in a way he’d never felt like in Rome until now. But as he sat there, still leaning against the wall to his insula, people were looking at him. The fight was over, Ione and the guard had left and although the fight had been broken up, no one had come to ask how Wulfric was doing. He knew he must look like a mess. He could feel that his one jaw and cheek was swollen and would most likely turn blue or purple soon, and he still had the taste of blood in his mouth. And his clothes were all dirty and dusty. This was so bad. He couldn’t turn up for work like this! He wouldn’t get a thing done anyway. He had luckily not passed out, but he knew he’d been close. And his face was hurting everywhere, as was his chest and he had a terrible headache. How was he going to drag himself up the stairs to his insula? And what about the warehouse, when they expected him to come and he didn’t… it was fucked up, all of it. He needed help, now. And the inhabitants of his area didn’t seem to want to give it to him. Wulfric closed his eyes, thinking he might just sleep here then. Once spring came, it really was time to return for Germania. It was now more obvious than ever, that he was very unwanted in Rome. @Chevi
  11. July, 76 AD He was not a slave, on his way to the slave market to be sold to another household. That’s not how it happened, when you were a freedman in Rome. No, when you were a freedman and the man who originally freed you had died, you were entirely free. And since he sold his old home, the one he inherited from his father… and his wife was still missing… and he now lost his job, he had nowhere to go. All he had was the sack with his things in it and the money he’d been given when he left the family and the domus. It had been interesting to work for the Tusca family, although also challenging. He could see why the young lady had needed a bodyguard – she was beautiful and easily tempted and he would never trust her half-brother, whose words were as smooth as butter and his eyes full of mischief. But the family had no need for him anymore and so he ventured into the streets of Rome again, considering what to do. Maybe he should find himself an insula to live in? He didn’t have a lot, so it would be a simple room in the top floor or something. It would have been easier, had he been a slave. Then he would have known where to go. The slave market or a new owner. But now he needed so much more; he needed a new job and a place to stay. He sat down on a step, thinking through his options. What could he do? Maybe return to the market as he thought about and ask for his old job back? That was the best option. He didn’t want to look for an insula before he had a job. So he stood, but as soon as he’d taken a step, the knot in his sack (which was really just a large piece of linen tied together as a sack) fell apart and everything spilled onto the ground. He cursed and sighed deeply, before beginning to pick them up quietly, because this was his lot in life. Things falling apart. As they always did.
  12. Early December, 76AD It had been a strange day, the day he met Ione. That day had begun as an ordinary day. He’d been at work at the marketplace and in the afternoon he was on his way home for a rest. Apparently a bit too busy with going home, since he forgot to see where he was going and fell. And hurt his knees and ruined the trousers his mother had given him. But Ione the whore – that’s the name he heard for such women the most – had helped him cleanse the wounds and then she had also offered herself to him. And he couldn’t stop thinking about that. What it would be like and so on. The pictures painted onto the walls of her simple room were also unforgettable. A few weeks had gone by now since that day and his knees looked much better. The breeches had patches on the knees now and life quickly went back to normal. But he had tomorrow off and could afford to sleep in. So he thought that now would be the time. He paid a messenger boy a small coin to go to the Elysium and say that Wulfric wished for Ione’s services specifically and he would like for her to come to his home. He still lived in a simple one-room insula high up in such a building. It was cheap and really all he needed. But he didn’t lack coin now, since he rarely spent them on anything. The messenger boy came back. The deal could happen, if Wulfric would go to the Elysium to pick up the girl and pay beforehand. And it wasn’t cheap either, considering this would last for a while and it was taking a girl away from the brothel, so she couldn’t work multiple people in one night. He still felt a bit weird about that, the thought of her servicing many men every night. He would far from be her first. But she’d like to see him again and he had decided he’d like to see her too. So there it was. He showed up at Domus Venus just after sunset, telling the guard outside that he was waiting for Ione and he did bring the coin for her. While he was waiting, another girl came at him, trying to persuade him into letting her go down on him while he waited. But he pushed her away. He’d made his decision and it was final. Besides, he didn’t like doing it out in the open. Hopefully she’d be here soon. @Sara
  13. Mid-November, during the Ludii Plebeii Alexius had been looking forwards to this. Ovinia was a sweet and pretty young woman and her father trusted him too, which was important. Alexius just hoped he could trust himself. Well he could. He was quite sure that he could. Besides, he'd be distracted enough by the fights in the arena, to ignore her beauty. Well not ignore it completely, that would be unfair, but it wouldn't be a big deal. What was a big deal however, was that she had agreed to this idea. Lexus had gone with Alexius to a few games too, but he didn't seem to be so fond of it or interested. Maybe Ovinia would be? He’d escorted her once or twice since they met, so she was more familiar with him and hopefully she felt completely safe with him. And she would today too, as he was he taking her to something she might not have been to before. The Plebian Games, which also included both theatre and competitions. They were held each year, but were mostly for the common people of Rome. But it was fun and interesting and maybe it would even be healthy for a noble lady like Ovinia to try this out. Besides, she was with Alexius. What could go wrong? He didn’t know whether they’d make her travel through Rome in a litter or by foot, but nonetheless, he stood outside her family domus and knocked on the door. He was dressed well, in his favorite crimson tunica and dark breeches and a cloak around his shoulders. He was a freedman, so he didn’t wear a toga. Patiently he waited in the atrium for Ovinia to arrive, after a slave let him inside. @Sara
  14. Late March, 76 AD Life was pretty ordinary at the moment. Nothing big was happening, Rome was functioning well and so was the household. Teutus had moved out towards his new insula – a large one, of course, if Teutus was to move out, it better be to a good place. He was trying hard to make amends for all the wrongs he’d done Teutus over the years. He didn’t know if it worked. But at least he tried, right? And he also tried hard to do his best for his new son, Peregrinus, who was growing and looked like he had strings bound around his wrists at the moment. But that was only because he was nursed so well by Charis. She had not gotten back to him yet, concerning what they spoke about last time they had a serious talk without Peregrinus there. She wanted to meet Wulfric and they had agreed she should try and find out what he was up to. Wulfric, his third son… with whom he was not trying hard to bond with at all. He didn’t trust his German son, didn’t know him and wasn’t sure he wanted to. He’d shown up so suddenly and he had brought chaos into something that was almost going well. Peregrinus was to be his heir, Teutus was freed and moving on to do his own thing, since he could not be made to inherit Tertius… so all was well, really. And then Wulfric came into the picture and ruined it all. He often found himself sitting in the tablinum, just looking out the nearest opening but not really looking at anything. Lost in thoughts. Maybe it was his age. Maybe it was something else, he didn’t know. There was so much to think about. He’d almost forgotten what he was doing, when someone came in to block the view through the doorway. Charis. He shook his head, as if shaking off the thoughts and then focused on her. She was waiting politely, as the well-behaved slave she had become. Tertius smiled. At least one thing was going well. “Charis, please, come in… and tell me what’s on your mind.” Tertius said in a friendly tone and waited. He’d not get more paperwork done now anyway. And he’d much rather talk to Charis than do that anyway. @Sara
  15. Early October, 76 AD It was dark in Rome this night. The moon wasn’t shining, there was not just a veil, but a thick blanket of clouds over the city for once. That made it all seem quite dark this time of year and Marcus enjoyed it. He had gone out with a purpose tonight, the usual purpose, wearing a cloak over his head and a proper knife by his belt, hidden by the long cloak that went all the way to his knees. He was ready for something to happen. Something he would like. There had been a few attacks he’d failed at recently and he wasn’t very happy about it. At least none of the women had been talking about him, no one had found out about him, so that was good. Even if they escaped, the next best thing was them not talking. He preferred that. Else he’d have to find them again and make sure they wouldn’t talk. He’d like to find them anyway. Maybe he’d find one tonight? Quite randomly he was walking around for some reason, ended up near the racing court. Not that he had any connection to the place, and yet… as he walked by a certain house with a few barrels in front of it, he stopped. Didn’t he once kill a girl there? It had felt so good. He didn’t mean to kill her, but she struggled and she hurt him and she wouldn’t shut up. So he made her. He’d slit her throat. And stabbed her chest. He realized he was standing still, as the memories flowed through him. He licked his lips, thinking about it made him want more of the same. There had been so much blood. Maybe some of it had sprayed onto the side of the house or something… without thinking twice, he walked closer to the scene. @Chevi
  16. September, 76 AD She could barely believe it when it happened – but suddenly she saw Eucleia’s tail disappear out the front door to the domus and the dog was gone. Her father and her brother were not at home. It was just Sosia and the slaves. What should she do? She had to find her dog! She could not imagine not having Eucleia, she’d had the dog for four years already and she loved her. And how on Earth did she get out? Who left the door slightly open? With a heavy sigh, Sosia opened the front door on her own and looked out into the late afternoon, “Eucleia?!” She yelled, but the dog did not come. She looked over her shoulder and then she wrapped her palla around her and went out. And closed the door behind her. She still stood just on the front door step to the street. She hadn’t said anything to anyone. It was kind of embarrassing, that her dog had run away and no one but her cared so much about Eucleia. They would not go looking for her. Where could she have gone to? She stopped an old lady walking by, asking if she’d seen the dog and she thought she’d seen a blonde dog running around a nearby corner in a certain direction. Sosia thanked the lady and began walking, occasionally calling out for the dog that did not show up. She kept asking people if they’d seen Eucleia and a lot of people had noticed the beautiful and well-groomed dog running around. Finally she spotted the fur walking down a narrow alley behind some houses. Sosia followed Eucleia. This time the dog turned its head when she called. It was indeed her dog! She finally managed to put a leash around the dog’s neck and then turned around. But where did she come from? She didn't recognize any buildings. Now she could really use Davus to help her figure it out. Or even Tiberius. But none of them were here and the sun was setting. She was lost. In Rome.
  17. Late July, 76 AD The warehouse was nice and secure now. Teutus had already gone home a while ago and Alexius made sure the other guards knew their duties for the night. He’d been there the two previous nights and now he’d really like to get some sleep. Certain doors were locked and the guards would keep the rest of the warehouse and the goods safe. So home he went. Lexus was probably already at home, but Alexius would want some food on the way, possibly some wine, so he took a shortcut to a street where he knew there were some good thermopolia. It was already getting dark though, so he’d have to hurry. While he could keep himself safe, he really didn’t need a fight tonight and he thought he could do with a good meal and some rest instead. So he’d just hurry home before he ended himself in a brawl or something. Not that a brawl wasn’t sometimes a good thing. He found he almost enjoyed it at times, and he often met such interesting people during or afterwards! He rounded a corner, he was getting close to the good street, when he saw someone else up ahead on the somewhat dark street he walked on now. There were two people, walking relatively close to each other, a woman by the looks of it and a cloaked figure not far behind her. Maybe a domina and her slave or guard? That’s what he suspected anyway. Nothing strange about that. But they weren’t walking the same way as he, because when the street split into two, Alexius walked one way and the two others the other way. It wouldn’t be long now, before he’d reach one of his favorite thermopolia. That’s when he heard a yell from the other direction. @Sara
  18. September, 76AD It was only practice, not a true competition, and whilst practice battles drew a few spectators - often owners of the gladiators - it was usually only a few loiterers or those who enjoyed watching half-naked men sweat who would attend. Tiberius was neither, but he was only half watching; the young Imperial was deep in thought, otherwise relaxing beneath a canopy. The Ludus was simply a place to be. Sometimes it helped to get out of the palace when he wanted to think. Oddly enough he was less likely to be disturbed here. And he was thinking, very seriously. Titus was Caesar now, suddenly, at a young age, and Tiberius - who admitedly was no older and his relative level of wisdom was debateable - saw it as his duty to support Titus in guiding and guarding the Empire. He also wanted to guide and guard Titus so that he was able to do so, not least because he was his brother, but also because if anything affected Titus, it could potentially lead to a period of instability in the Empire, which it could ill afford. The Empire seemed to burn through Caesar's at an uncomfortable rate, and the pool of potential heirs was reducing. This was one of the many things that preyed on Tiberius's mind as he half watched a bout end. One of the combatants had been injured by a blow from his opponent's weapon, and lay on the sand, shifting in pain. Whilst gladiators were generally looked down on as the slaves most were, they still had value. Sure enough, within a few moments the medicus of the Ludus appeared, working quickly to stabilise his patient. Tiberius couldn't see much, but it was only minutes before the man was moved by two attendants, under the direction of the medicus. Hmm. The beginnings of an idea began to form. Tiberius turned to one of his attendants and asked the man to find out the name of the medicus, and ask that when - and only when - he had treated his patient to his satisfaction, he come and speak with the young Imperial. The medici who usually attended the Imperials had no answers. But sometimes those who sat outside the arena saw more of the combat. @Chevi
  19. September, 76 AD Sosia was busy in Rome, trying to find a way to please her father and her brother. Although it had never really been an issue before, suddenly it was a huge issue that they found a husband for her, before she reached the age of 20. Apparently it was best to get married at a young age, so that you could have plenty of children while you yourself were also strong and healthy. Sosia didn’t mind children, they were sweet, but it was hard to imagine herself as a mother. She had already visited the Aedes Vesta recently, to make a sacrifice, and now the turn had come to ask Minerva for help and guidance too. Minerva covered a great many subjects, so it was easy to find a reason to visit her temple. And wasn’t it beautiful? She thought so when she stepped out of her litter, into the bright sun of this September day and looked up at the temple. It still wasn’t really cold, but you could sometimes feel a cool breeze, different from the summer heat in Rome. She pulled her palla around her and waited for her slave to hand her the sacrifices she’d make. Once again she had managed to find beautiful flowers for the goddess and in a cloth was a carefully wrapped small almond pie. Quietly she climbed the stairs alone, holding the palla in place with one hand and the offerings in her other. She had no free hands. And it all went well. Finally she could step into the faint light of the temple, although she could see nothing as she approached the entrance. Outside it was bright and light and to her it seemed to be pitch black inside, which it of course wasn’t. She walked in. Or, almost. Because on the way in, she walked straight into someone leaving the temple. They were almost the same height, so it was only good fortune that they didn’t butt heads. Sosia however stumbled and to balance herself she let go of the palla, which fell off and down the steps behind her. Despite that, it was natural for her to be the one exclaiming an apology, “Oh, oops, I’m so sorry! I hope you’re alright!” She said, looking up at the young man, who was still a stranger to her. @Sarah
  20. June 30th, 76 AD Alexius life had not been going according to the plan lately. Not that he ever really had a plan, but lately, things had just taken a wrong turn. Not that it was all entirely bad, not that he was bored or didn’t have any lovers or anything like that, but he’d been feeling strange. He couldn't really explain it. All he could hope was that tonight might help. It was now about half a year ago, that he went to talk to Thessala, or rather, let it all out in a good spar with her, that he found out about the event. Thessala had heard rumors that the gang who ran the Domus Venus were considering to put up a day and night of entertainment. A private night, an exclusive night and it wouldn’t just be the kind of entertainment that the Venus was famous for. No, it would be all sorts of things. Including gladiatorial games. It was going to be a big event! That was the first time he heard about it, back when Thessala told him what she'd heard. Then a month or so, he was invited to talk to them. It came out of the blue and he didn’t know what they wanted, it wasn’t like he wanted to be a bouncer at the Venus! Brothels were not really his thing, not at all, in fact. He always felt so bad for the women and men and boys and girls working there, forced to sleep with anyone instead of being able to choose, like he did. But the Venus didn’t want him to become a bouncer or a guard, no… they wanted to see him fight in an arena. And wondered if he’d fight a woman. Because they had managed to get a deal with a ludus about one of their most fierce and famous gladiatrices. With that, they gained his interest and then they also offered plenty of coin for his efforts. Alexius always felt like he was in need of coin. Good wine wasn’t entirely cheap, after all. And to always have food and wine in the home to offer guests, well, that was not cheap either. So he agreed to the deal. He’d fight as a gladiator again. Purely for entertainment, there would be no Caesar there to say one should live and one should die. They could draw blood, of course, and one would win and another would lose, but killing was not on the menu for the evening. You couldn't continue entertaining people if you were dead, after all... It was now a year since the most recent earthquake and apparently that was the perfect occasion to celebrate. He hadn’t really fought in an arena since he was freed, but everyone knew he’d never forgotten about it and he had even at times considered returning, for real, and not just for one night only. That’s what this was though. Now, he could barely wait. He'd worked hard and exercised to return to his former strength - and here he was. Dressed and armored as he’d been in the past, as a Murmillo… walking through the tunnel underneath the seats, the tunnel that led to the private arena. The tunnel that led to the roar of the crowd and a proper fight against a proper opponent. He couldn't help but smile. @Chevi @Sara @Sharpie @Liv
  21. July, 76 AD Marcus rolled his eyes at yet another posh son of a Senator, with his nose up in the sky, talking about that and hither as if he had any say in anything, with his old man still alive. Marcus was free as a bird, at least. His brother, his Pater Familias, was nowhere near Rome. He wasn't even sure where he was. His mother’s husband of course, he did what he could to keep Marcus afloat and out of trouble, but honestly… the man was not here and Marcus could do as he pleased. Which was not listen to nonsense about future escapades in faraway countries. The guy didn’t even know if he’d get there yet! He slipped away from the group of young men chatting and found his own bodyslave lingering near one of the entrances to the peristyle. This was a party or ‘social gathering’ for young men of high quality, to meet and interact and maybe form friendships and alliances to last until they one day would become important men. So boring! Marcus didn't need parties like these. He didn't know why the old man at home thought he did. There weren't even any girls present! “Silvanus… I’m bored. Why don’t you fetch me a jar of wine?” He told his slave and Silvanus arched a brow, “It is not our home, Domine. I can’t just…” He tried to argue, but Marcus rolled his eyes for who-knows-which-time this evening, “You can, because I told you so. And if they say you can’t, tell them that I sent you and if they don’t do as I tell them, I’ll tell our host what awful slaves he has. And what they did to me through you.” Marcus said and Silvanus could not see how he could argue himself out of that. So off he went towards the kitchens to find the wine. Meanwhile Marcus slipped over to a slave standing around with a plate of finger foods. The sticky, but delicious honeyed dates! Marcus picked a few off the tray and ate them, they were the ones with black pepper inside, his favorites! Expensive too! When he was done, he licked his fingers, one by one, until Silvanus showed up with the desired jar of wine, “Great, you got it! Thanks!” Marcus carried it off towards a corner of the atrium, where he could sit down and drink it on his own. Or so he thought. @Chevi
  22. May, 76 CE The sound of a footfall, shod in a boot of leather, crunching the rimed dead grass underneath, as the winter wind tugged at his cloak. His breath, frost filled clouds coming from nostrils, and lips slightly parted. Gathering ice crystals on the beard about cold-dried lips. In his hand, a long spear, as with stealth he approached the den. One tender plume of vapor standing proof of the sleeping bear therein. His weapon raised on high. Eager but still cautious signals, man to man, with steady hands and keen eyes, as they encircled the lair. A final sign, and the hunters moved forward at speed and thrust the cruel tips of iron down, through spaces between logs and earth. Those holding the silent dogs some paces back felt the urgent tug at collar and lead, as the hounds quivered and lunged with anticipation. A wounded roar. A bellow. And the spears withdrew and pierced anew, bringing the creature stumbling out into the thin air of a day far too early. The dogs released by their handlers, baying with frenzy. The spearmen quickly retreating. Several bows twanged in unison and sharp tips found their marks. Blood and foam and an ever insistent cry of rage. Tarbus once again moved in, with the others, on all sides, and quickly the death blow was dealt. Bending over eagerly, to peer into the face of his prey. But instead of hair and fangs and eyes dimmed to the sun evermore, he saw another face, fair and fresh yet washed with blood and sorrow on her brow… Tarbus woke with a start. His heart was pounding in his chest, and sweat suffused his face and back. Another muggy day in Rome was set to begin, the sun just beginning to peep over the rooftops of the grand city of splendor. In the stables it was still dim, and quiet, the horses only just beginning to shuffle about in anticipation of their own day to come. He sat up, having no desire to return to a sleep beset by nightmares. Two years it had been, but always the same come nightfall. He rose and brushed stray bits of straw from his one piece of clothing, a simple tunic spun of rough cloth. He slipped his feet into a worn pair of sandals, and moved to begin his own day, one that would be like all the others, since his arrival in Rome. Much later, when many, but not all, of the never ending tasks that were required to keep and train and race multiple teams of horses entered and competing successfully at the Circus were seen to, he stood for a long moment, leaning against the frame of the wide doors that gave into this section of the stabling. He gazed at the sky, the sun now tilting down into the west, his own gaze fixed to the east. To home, so far away. More than a month’s march, if one also had the use of a boat to cross the water. His fingers went to the simple, serviceable iron collar about his neck, a weight he had grown accustomed to physically, but which served as a constant reminder. He was clever enough to realize, that was its main purpose. Many people there were, in that moment, milling about. But his dark eyes immediately caught the presence of a newcomer. A face he hadn’t seen more than a handful of times, and not since before their arrival here, was still etched in his memory. He knew the former legate at once. But to look at Tarbus, there was no sign of emotion. His face was like stone, though the eyes moved to follow the progress of his owner as the man made his way across the yard.
  23. April, 76 CE “Tst, tst…” Tarbus gave the headstall a shake with his good hand, to get the stallion’s attention. He spoke gruffly to him in Dacian. “Stop being an asshole. You’re not going to get to fuck her so just keep your dick to yourself!” He gave the stallion’s flank a flick with the tip of the lead, making the animal side-step skittishly, its partially released member swinging pendulously as its hooves beat a little tattoo on the stone flags of the yard. On the far side of the stable area, a mare in heat pranced, aware in her own way that she was garnering interest and causing a ruckus. She too might be receptive to some four footed frolicking but that was not going to happen. Typically, mares in heat were not brought to the stables at the circus, just for this very reason. Someone must have screwed up and miscalculated her cycle. Tarbus wished he knew who to thank for this added headache to his day. He chucked the lead strap once more, moving his hand closer to the halter, just in case the amorous racer decided to give him any trouble. The horse leapt a bit, this time towards the slave, but Tarbus stood his ground and muscled the knucklehead, with their shoulders pressed hard against each other, man to beast. “The gods take you! Be still!” Tarbus grumbled sternly, as the groom approached once again, in their combined effort to get the excited animal harnessed and ready to be brought together with the rest of the team. In this the two men were falling behind, and that was never a good thing. Suddenly, the mare nickered, a true ‘come hither’ call. The stallion reared, cowkicked – narrowly missing the groom’s head – and plunged forward, almost knocking Tarbus, cursing, to the ground. But he managed to keep his feet and was running after the horny animal, trying to grab the leather lead that flapped in the air, while those many people in the yard jumped to the left and to the right trying to avoid the fractious creature, who trumpeted his love song to the heavens.
  24. January, 76 AD Alexius just needed a break – and a drink! He’d been working for some senator the last few days, apparently the man had fallen out with a gang and wanted extra protection, so Alexius was luckily at the right place at the right time to protect the man. It would seem that the problems had settled now and Alexius would be out tomorrow, looking for something new to do. Tonight though, he got his payment for the job and he had plenty both to pay his landlord, food for him and Lexus… and for a night on the town. Working shady jobs for senators usually paid well! And who knew what would happen on such a night? It wasn’t so warm though, but sometimes that meant a good chance to find someone to stay warm with. Alexius was hopeful, both when it came to the amount of drink he planned to have and also when it came to someone to keep him company. He just hadn’t found them yet, but the night was young. He wore his regular clothes, just a crimson tunica and short breeches and a belt – and a cloak, of course, to stay warm until he found someone to keep entertained. He soon enough found himself entering Bacchus’ Cup, which he often just referred to as Bellona’s, since she was an old friend of his and fellow freed gladiator – or gladiatrix, since she was a woman. She greeted him happily when he entered and Alexius found a seat where he could watch the door. This was one of his favorite places to go out in Rome. Soon enough a jar of wine stood before him and he filled the first cup to the rim and downed half of it in one go. Then he leaned back against the wall behind him – what did this night have in store for him? He looked towards the doorway and saw a striking brunette enter the place – and it would appear that she was alone. Alexius smiled, hoping she’d look his way. @MsMeowMaam
  25. Mid-January, 76AD Saturnalia had come and gone with the fresh winter winds that whipped about the city. Although it didn't get nearly as cold as Britannia here, Longinus' body was unused to the cold after a summer spent outdoors, basking in the heat of Italia and Greece. The hypocaust was at full steam (literally) for the occasion and the paterfamilias Longinus had spent the early afternoon chivvying slaves to make his domus look presentable. It was an odd place; half-decorated in his late wife's style, a quarter under the influence of his mother with her love for garish frescos and vivid mosaics, and the rest was left up to his tastes. Tastes which bordered on the downright odd. A British battle axe on the wall in one room, some pottery he'd found en route back via Gaul in another. It was an eclectic place that had none of the polish of other Senators and Patricians his rank, but it indubitably suited him. The slaves had done their work admirably though and it was at least tidy. After he'd waved his mother goodbye (thank the Gods) to spend the late afternoon and evening with his cousin Lepidus, Cassia his daughter going with her, Longinus was left alone with the slaves. He didn't know why he felt nervous, he'd come to his decision without much fanfare after a disappointing few months looking into the impossibility of adoption, and unsuccessfully musing over other eligible women. Maybe he was nervous because of the family? They didn't have the best reputation around, and his mother had curtly reminded him as she departed that Tertius - who'd seemed at least affable, and nice enough - had recently had a bastard born son by a slave, a son whom he'd recognised. Longinus had resisted the urge to tug at the neckline of his tunic at the remark, given he'd been in the same situation some months ago with Sestia, although that was a secret he'd take to his grave. He'd invited both Tertius and his eldest brother here today though, and perhaps that was why he felt oddly ill at ease. He found Tertius pleasant enough but his brothers reputation preceded him. Unfortunately for Longinus, his plan required the paterfamilias and that meant Secundus himself. He hoped Tertius could temper him a little though, hence the dual invitations. Poor Longinus wasn't to know of the discord between the brothers. A slave disturbed his thoughts and announced one of the brothers was here. "Yes, but which one?" He asked with a frown and the slave girl merely sighed and shrugged, "I don't know domine, he's tall, dark haired..." Longinus had to suppress a chuckle, "Yes dear Merula, that's very helpful." He shooed her away with a wave of his hand and jumped to his feet from where he'd been sat in the garden. Bounding through the house with his customary energy, he drew to the atrium and slapped on a wide grin he didn't quite feel. "Welcome!" TAG: @Járnviðr @Atrice
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