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Found 10 results

  1. Liv

    Join the masquerade

    Early January, 76 AD - at the villa in Tibur Livia read the missive once more, although by now she knew the words in it by heart. She should have been happy for her brother-in-law for attaining such a prestigious position, but all she saw at the moment was the sanctimonious Horatia gloating yet again at how perfect her life was. Wife to a consul! That was something Livia would never be; Gnaeus' flame had been snuffed out far too early, and the thought of Secundus even dreaming of it sent her into a fit of disdainful giggles. As much as she wanted to refuse the invitation, she knew it was an impossibility. To be absent would be not only insulting but proof of bitterness and envy, and whilst she did feel that way, Livia had to keep up appearances. She put down the letter with a grunt of annoyance and went to her room, mentally going over the clothes she possessed that could fit such an occasion. It would have to be appropriate in all respects... and in order to be as accurate as possible, she would need a model. "Aglaea!" she called out, already rifling through a few stolas. The dark green one always complimented her eyes nicely, but Livia wasn't sure there was enough fabric to make the folds have the desired appearance. At the sound of her body slave's steps, she turned round with the green stola in hand and held it out at Aglaea, pointedly averting her gaze from the slave's waist; just because she had mostly come to terms with things, it didn't make them a less touchy topic. "You must try this on. My sister has invited us to dinner later this month." @Echo
  2. Early October, 75 AD Wulfric had agreed to meet again with the lovely Aglaea, who was slave to his uncle Secundus, whom he had not yet met. He hadn’t even met his father yet, but Aglaea knew him too and he found it very useful to have found someone, whom he was not related to, but who could provide him with useful information. On top of that, Aglaea was very sweet and friendly and he had enjoyed talking to her. Plus she seemed to need someone to talk to and she needed help with her situation. Wulfric had felt sympathy with her and he was more than ready to help her, whether she said she wanted his help or not. He would be the friend she needed. Really this was a win for both of them. So a week later, he found himself entering a place called the Gardens of Sullust for the first time. Aglaea had sent word to him via a messenger, where they were supposed to meet and he walked around, trying to find the right place. It was still somewhat warm, but some leaves had begun to change color and he found that he liked the gardens because of the amount of greenery here. Rome, to him, mostly consisted of stone, marble and people. There was not a lot of green and it was nothing like Germania in that sense, where the majority of the land was forests, fields and meadows. Rome had its own charm of course, if you looked at things individually. He tried that too, while searching for the right fountain Aglaea had said they’d meet by. He found a very pretty one, there were no other people near and he thought it was the right one. Then he leaned against the edge of the basin, enjoying the warmth of the sun and waited for Aglaea to show up as planned. @Echo
  3. It wasn't that long after Rufus had been accosted by Aglaea's master that he saw her again. He was waiting in line at a hot food stall while waiting for his master - the Senate was debating something dreadfully dull and boring that required the presence of the Emperor's brother but not of the Emperor's brother's redheaded body slave. He stepped out of the queue - really, he'd do better saving his money than spending it on whatever the food stall sold, that they claimed was actual food but was probably dead rat. "Aglaea!" @Echo
  4. September 75 "Onions, garlic, figs, cumin, lentils," Davus murmured to himself, repeating the shopping list over again (minus the items he had already bought, of course). "Onions, garlic... oof!" He had been distracted in his search and ended up very nearly walking into someone. The someone, when he'd recovered his wits and stepped backwards, an apology ready, turned out to be a young woman, of similar complexion to him, dressed simply, and with a veil over her head. "Apologies," he said, checking that he hadn't dropped anything - he hadn't. "I wasn't watching where I was going - I hope you're not hurt?" His Latin was perhaps more melodious than a native would pronounce it, thanks to his Egyptian Greek accent. @Echo
  5. Late June, 75 CE What a blessing it was, to be able to leave the house without her mistress on occasion. It only came every so often, usually no more than once a month, but Aglaea savored every minute of it when it did come. Of course, her outings were usually stipulated on her ability to run some errands, like picking up a purchase at the jeweler's or going to the market for the kitchen staff for a random ingredient. Today's final chore was to deliver a package from Livia to her brother-in-law, Tertius's home. Aglaea was unaware of the contents, but she knew Livia had intended it as a gift for either the master of the household or his son, so she knew it was important to be timely. She approached the house from the back, knowing her place as a slave very well. The door she slipped through seemed to be the culina, which was bustling in order to prepare for the afternoon meal. Aglaea sensed that her best move wouldn't be to disturb the various staff here, so she made her way carefully through the dingy room and toward the main part of the house, looking around for a household servant who could help her deliver her package. Glancing around, she noticed one girl she recognized vaguely, someone she might have met before. "Excuse me-" she approached the girl, who was a bit younger than she was. "It's Charis, isn't it?" @Sara
  6. Late September, 75CE Aglaea groaned softly as she leaned over the bucket, seated on the floor of her room adjacent to Livia's bedroom. Ever an early riser, for a few days now, the woman had been woken up in the mornings with horrible nausea, yet unable to get anything up. It was a most perplexing ailment, as it seemed to disappear after a while of its own volition. Surely, the cook was doing something wrong, and Aglaea resolved to go and give her a piece of her mind. Just as soon as she was able to rise from the floor. Life recently had been nothing but chaotic - actually, it had been chaotic ever since Secundus had come into their lives. The man sowed chaos wherever he went, frightening Livia and bullying the house staff, mumbling to himself and forcing Aglaea into the position of protecting her mistress from laying with him. Aglaea had soon decided that she would lay with Secundus and yet protect herself at the same time. Like many Roman women, Livia took silphium in order to prevent pregnancy, and like any good body slave, Aglaea was responsible for retrieving the tincture from the apothecary whenever they ran out. But unlike a good body slave, Aglaea took a small amount every time she saw Secundus, hoping with her limited knowledge of the substance that it would be enough to stop pregnancy and all the symptoms that came with it. Her head shot up from the bucket with wide eyes. It couldn't be... but what else? No sickness from food showed itself with nausea without vomiting. And now that she thought of it, she was a few days late for her monthly cycle. Oh, God. With the sudden realization hitting her like an enormous weight, she stayed stock still for several seconds, before burying her head in her hands, weeping quietly in despair and misery. How could she ever explain this to her mistress? And what would happen to the child once it was born? How would Secundus react? Would Livia send her away and refuse to ever see her again? And how could Aglaea blame her for that if she did? It seemed a horrible betrayal without context. She had done everything she knew to do to prevent herself from bearing Secundus's child. She couldn't bring a child into this household with a clear conscience, knowing what sort of father he or she would have. And the consequences this would have for her relationship with Livia, her nearest and dearest friend... her heart broke. In time, the tears subsided and she began to think logically. She just wouldn't tell Livia. She could wear a tunic that flowed more to hide her bump, maybe bind the bump with cloth to limit the appearance. And then, when her time came, she could slip out of the house, have her baby somewhere safe, and then return to act like nothing would happen. Perhaps she could even leave the child on the doorstep and pretend as though it was a foundling - those were common enough in Rome. Wiping her eyes clear, and feeling the despair and nausea subside, she dressed for the day. She could act as though nothing had happened. She had lied before. Once dressed, she slipped into Livia's room to help her dress. The day had to go on. Title inspiration @Liv @Járnviðr
  7. Late September, 75 AD Wulfric was still trying to get used to this huge city. He was quietly trying to figure out more about his father, but the people he encountered in the streets and taverns, that cared to talk to him, didn’t know the man. Apparently he must be wealthy, as Wulfric assumed, since people who were less wealthy didn’t know him. Some had given him a weird look though and then just went on their way. As if it made no sense that a man dressed like Wulfric should want to get in touch with a man named Varus. Today was just another of these days. Wulfric had managed to find some actual work, working in a warehouse mainly with moving sacks of grain and other things, from one place to another. Or onto carts. Something like that. He was strong, after all. And today he’d been doing just the same all morning and was paid in the shiny coins, that he added to his purse and then made his way out into the marketplace to find something to eat. A stall selling purses caught his attention though, his own was getting rather worn and those they sold here were very fine. Good quality leather, he could tell. Wulfric purchased a light brown leather purse and then moved away from the shop to attach it to his belt, a little bit away from where the crowds were, because he understood that you should watch your coins carefully and no one should know how much you had on you. With his back to the marketplace, he opened the belt and slipped the old purse off the belt and began moving things from the old to the new one. Unaware that from behind in the shade of a building, he might look like someone else entirely. @Echo
  8. May, 75CE - After The Crush of the Crowd Even after Aglaea's enjoyable conversation with Rufus, it was time to return home and tell Livia what had happened. The slave wasn't really afraid that Livia would be angry, and she was sure that between the two of them, they could smooth it over with Secundus, if he even found out. But Aglaea was still kicking herself. How could she have been so stupid? She'd been in Rome for fourteen years and never been pickpocketed - and now, the one day she doesn't tie her coin purse on tightly enough, someone in the crowd took advantage of her oversight. And now she had to confess. Aglaea took the back entrance into the domus, greeting a few friends in the kitchen before seeking out her mistress and finding her in the master bedroom. "Livia - could I speak with you for a moment?" She seemed alone, so she figured it was safe. "You sent me shopping this morning... I got what you asked for but I... I lost the rest of the coin." She bit her lip, trying to judge the woman's reaction. "It wasn't a lot of money, but... I figured you should know." @Liv @Járnviðr
  9. February, 74CE Aglaea shivered as she pulled her shawl closer about her. It was wintertime in Rome, and a chill had stolen through the house despite the efforts of the house slaves to stave it off. But there was not only a physical chill, but one that had seeped into the hearts of those newest to the Varus household, particularly Aglaea. Only a day or two after the marriage of Livia Justina and Secundus Quinctilius Varus, the latter had presented a proposition to Aglaea: lay with him in the place of her mistress, lessen her burden by bearing her master's child. And this was the source of the chill that had entered the slave's heart. She had recently found a new faith, Christianity, but the texts of Judaism had given her trouble about the moral questions of the situation. How could she possibly take Secundus to bed and sleep well at night, with him being a married man? And, moreover, the husband of her own mistress. Though she supposed that the act of adultery was a sin reserved for those of a higher social standing - perhaps it didn't quite apply to slaves, and that was one hope she held onto. And if not, she prayed every night for forgiveness of her sins, should her acts prove to be such. Secundus had asked for her sparingly, at least, she had to give him that. Only a few rendezvouses, every other month or so. But every time she was sent for, she felt a chunk of ice fall into her stomach. Besides her moral questions, Aglaea had been skimming a little off the top of Livia's silphium every month when she was asked to retrieve it from the apothecary. She really hadn't been educated about how much to take, so she could only hope that she'd taken enough to delay the inevitable result of her meetings with her master. Tonight was one of those meetings, it seemed. After seeing her mistress safely tucked to bed, she'd been preparing to retire herself, when a young house slave had come to her with a message. She was to meet Secundus in the tablinum, that place where she had agreed to carry Livia's burden, after midnight when the rest of the house had drifted off and they wouldn't be noticed. Now she shivered against the cold that came both from within and without as she entered the tablinum and dipped her head to the man waiting there. "Good evening, dominus. You sent for me." Title inspired by this song @Járnviðr
  10. Liv

    Drowning sorrows

    April, 75 AD Over the last two years Livia had become remarkably good at finding opportunities for slipping away and savouring the short moments of freedom she could find. That morning, one such opportunity presented itself, when Secundus had finally gone to bed in the wee hours of the morning after spending most of the night going on drunken tirades. If previous times were anything to go by, he wouldn't rise before noon, which gave Livia a few hours of blessedly alone free time. She sneaked out of her room and almost immediately came across Aglaea, as she expected to be the case. "There you are!" Livia exclaimed with unusual yet somewhat contained excitement. "Have the kitchen slaves prepare us a hamper, we're eating outside today. I want to go for a swim." Her swimming spot was nothing more than a stream that ran through the property and had the unfortunate tendency of drying in particularly hot summer weeks, but it almost felt like a world away. Secundus didn't approve of her doing so: the slaves or a traveller passing by could get an eyeful, and decent Roman matrons didn't do such things. But she wasn't a decent Roman matron any more than he was a decent Roman man, so that made them even in her mind. "Oh, and bring a change of clothes for us both." Even if Aglaea ended up not joining her in the water, Livia could use them to dry off. @Echo
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