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  1. May 77AD Attis had felt somewhat peckish and tried to resist giving in to the urge to find something to eat. He'd even managed to resist... for all of maybe half an hour, before giving up and going in search of sustenance. He'd come away with three honey cakes, one of which he'd deposited in Metella's hands (along with a kiss on her cheek) before wandering along to Longinus' tablinum. The relationship between the two was mostly repaired since the trip to Greece - repaired enough for Attis to slide back into old habits, though not quite so much that he'd walk straight in and deposit one of his acquisitions under his master's nose. "Domine? Are you busy?" His tone implied that he rather hoped Longinus wasn't - or that, if he was, he wouldn't mind being interrupted. @Sara
  2. Early winter, 77 AD It felt like a lifetime since he last had paid Longinus a visit, but surely it could not have been more than a few weeks - or months. Not much had changed as far as Titus could tell, the decoration still as exotic as always and the slaves just on the verge of slacking off. Well, one thing was markedly different. He watched in morbid interest as the dog scratched its ear with a paw the size of a toddler's head, somehow not ripping it to shreds as it did. The thing was humongous, really. He had done the right thing by passing it on to Longinus; a creature this big would definitely have a voracious (ergo expensive) appetite. The puppy of a few seasons ago was no more, in its place a one-headed Cerberus who was now deeply engrossed in nibbling at its own tail, presumably to scratch an itch. It wasn't even that old - a year or less by now if he recalled correctly. Was it even finished growing? A child could ride it like a horse. Titus had a blissfully brief vision of his youngest wreaking havoc in his domus with such a dog as her mount, and again told himself he had absolutely done the right thing. Whatever damage it caused would probably go unnoticed amidst all of his friend's dubious ornaments. A rustling noise coming from the right caught his attention, and he peeled his eyes from the dog only to find himself with the empire's cheekiest body slave. "Well met, Attis. Tell me, who is in charge of this four-legged giant?" Please let it be you went unsaid, although the expectant smirk on Titus' face betrayed his thoughts rather eloquently. @Sharpie (and @Saraand @Cheviif any of your people want to join in at some point)
  3. Britannia, 67AD Attis had grown used to the life of a Legate's personal slave with the Legions in Britannia. He was still growing used to the weather and the wet and the mud, but after that first time tripping over a grass hummock, he hadn't manage anything quite so ignominious again, certainly not where anyone could see. Oh, for paved roads again, though - they were building some outside the fort, but the fort itself was still a ditch, a wooden palisade and rows and rows of tents, with one or two more permanent structures like the bathhouse and the Praetorium and prison. It hadn't taken him too long to find his way around, Roman army camps were laid out in nice neat straight lines with all the important buildings (or tents) in the middle and the less important ones outside of them and so on, right to the edges of the camp by the palisade. Which meant that at least his master's tent, one of the nice big ones, was near the middle of the camp. Longinus was elsewhere at the moment, either on the parade square or in the Praetorium, and Attis wasn't needed, so once he'd finished his current chores, he ducked out of the tent for some air somewhere. He pulled his cloak around his shoulders; autumn here might be pretty but there was a chill in the air that he really wasn't used to, and he'd been told it would only get worse as winter wore on. There was a familiar slight figure up ahead, the interprex Aius - Attis had seen him around, of course. Longinus didn't always dispense with Attis when he was doing Legion business, and occasionally had need of an interpreter while doing Legionary business. "Salve," he said, stepping out of the way as Aius approached - Attis the slave was marginally beneath Aius the free peregrinus in the grand scheme of things. It seemed they were both going the same way, to the cookhouse for food. Of course. @Chevi
  4. It wasn't at all unusual for Longinus to have a friend, or friends, come to visit, even unexpectedly, and on this occasion as on others previously, Attis had taken Ragum out to the garden in an effort to keep the dog from knocking the visitor over with the force of his wagging tail. He was a friendly dog (and therefore probably a completely useless guard dog) but he was the size of a small pony by now. Attis looked at the thing and reconsidered; he wasn't that big - yet! The size of a small donkey? Large goat? He would have realised he wasn't alone much earlier except the dog had started barking from almost the moment the front door opened and the ostiarius admitted today's visitor, who turned out to be Sulpicius Rufus. He wasn't alone, and Attis couldn't help smiling as Tranquillus came out to see the garden and get deafened by the dog. And probably knocked over by him, too; Attis couldn't hold him. "He's friendly!" he said, as the dog finally escaped his grasp and ran to greet the newcomer with a furiously wagging tail and deep joyful barks. And a very wet tongue. @Chevi
  5. June 76 The gardens of private houses being relatively common areas for householders' friends to wander around in, somehow Attis was not surprised when his master's friend's brother came out into the sunshine after his conversation with Attis' master. He had enough warning to be able to take a firm grip on Rugam's collar and plant his feet; the dog was friendly and enthusiastic, and probably going to be the size of a horse when it stopped growing, juding by the size of its paws. He wondered if it would fill its skin out as it grew, or if the skin grew with it so it would end up just as wrinkly as ever. Like someone wearing a badly-arranged toga. "I hope you don't mind dogs, sir," he called, trying to give fair warning (as if Rugam's barking hadn't been enough warning). "He's friendly." He'd shut him away if he needed to, he didn't really know the man to know whether he ought to allow the dog to say hello, or not. (He tended to reserve the dog's most enthusiastic greetings for people he wasn't overly fond of, if he had some warning - the other day with Tranquillus had been more or less a fluke.) @Chevi
  6. Attis had been woken by others' disturbed sleep and nightmares more than once in his life, but it had been a long time since he had been woken by his own nightmare. Tonight's dream was vivid, though. “Hold him down,” the Centurion was saying from somewhere out of sight above him and the two soldiers holding him tightened their grasp as another came to hold his head still. Attis' eyes were fixed on the sword that was being brought closer and closer to him, its tip glowing red-hot... He woke with a gasp, sitting up, one hand going to his forehead even as he glanced over, hoping that he had not disturbed his master. The scar was still there, of course, but cool to the touch, painless now but still visible to everyone who looked his way – as it had been intended to be. Attis was lucky he hadn't simply been killed for his stubbornness, but the soldiers (whoever they were) had toyed with him as a cat did its prey – and that had been Attis' saving grace because they had no sooner completed branding him than another group of soldiers came riding up, giving Attis time to get away. The room around him was pitch-black, it was still the middle of the night, and he threw back his blanket, finding that he was desperate for some air and to wet his throat, both of which could be found out in the garden, where he could slake his thirst at the fountain, hopefully without disturbing anyone. As he straightened up from the fountain, a sound behind him made him turn. Obviously, he hadn't been as quiet as he had hoped. “Domine! Did I wake you? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to.” @Sara
  7. (November 74) Granted, Rome was not as cold as the wastes of Britannia, but Attis had still wrapped his warmest cloak - his only cloak, were the truth known! - around himself as he took full advantage of the afternoon off his master had granted him, and headed out of the house, wandering wherever he took a fancy. He could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times he'd had the opportunity to do that, and still have three fingers left over. Today, apparently, his feet wanted to explore the Forum Boarium, so he headed down the hill, past the packed insulae on the lower slopes of the Aventine, passing the Circus Maximus (no races today, apparently, or he might have gone in and watched the carnage of the chariots) and crossed the Aqua Appia to the traders, hawkers and general crowds of humanity in the Forum Boarium. He stopped to buy something to eat from a hot food stall, and let his attention be captured by a group of street performers in their gaudy costumes and painted masks, purporting to tell the story of Alexander the Great, or somebody - he missed the introduction over the sounds of the crowd. @Echo
  8. Mid July, 75AD, Port of Piraeus Longinus disembarked the boat with a grumble. The crossing hadn't been bad but it had been irritatingly long. He hadn't been to Greece since he was a boy, and the ten day journey - down the coast of Italia and then through the mare nostrum into Greece had been mind-numbing. For a man that had too much energy at the best of times, being contained to a small boat was torturous. At least he didn't suffer from the sea sickness as Titus did. Small mercies. Now they were in Greece, it...was not what he had imagined. Where were all the grand buildings and beauty that the writers wrote about? All he saw was a fleet of ships, warehouses and the pungent smell of fishing vessels that turned his stomach. He glanced at Attis, displeasure in his eyes. "This is a shithole. If it wasn't another ten days to get back, I'd suggest we get back on the boat." His mood had barely lifted in the few weeks he had been back from Formiae in Rome, and whilst he was no longer cocooned in the depression he had been, that depression had been replaced by bouts of anger and snappiness. Poor Attis. This trip to Greece had supposed to be with his wife, before their child was born. Instead, it was with his faithful body slave. He liked Attis, a tremendous amount, but it wasn't comparable. His mother had nonetheless urged him to still go, suggesting that the fresh air and change of scenery would lift his spirits (and keep him out of her, and Cassia's hair). He looked around at the slaves unloading baggage and then back to Attis. "How far to Athens?" They'd need to get horses, and then find somewhere to stay. In typical Longinus fashion, he hadn't even considered renting a house, musing that he'd strike lucky once he was here. But if this was all that Greece had to offer, then perhaps he was mistaken. TAG: @Sharpie
  9. Formiae, late June 75 AD After close to three days on horseback, Titus would have been lying if he said he didn't fancy a nice long walk to stretch his legs, and maybe even a massage. Attis had kept pace surprisingly well and without much complaining, or perhaps he had complained but Titus was riding too far ahead to hear it. His shoddy hearing helped with that, too - blessings in disguise, such were the gods' mysterious ways. The villa in Formiae was very nicely kept, and not a thing seemed to be out of its proper place - testament that the master did not live there full time, as its current state would have been impossible to maintain had that been the case. The slaves, on the other hand, seemed displeased that yet more visitors had come to disturb their existence with even more needs to be attended to. Ignoring the doorkeeper's repeated excuses that his dominus was unavailable, Titus gave the man a look that could have made a legionary wet himself and brushed him aside to walk past, not bothering to wait for his friend's body slave to explain the situation to the doorkeeper. Attis could stay behind and elucidate the other slave or he could follow and help find his master quicker. "Longinus!" he called out as he made his way to the atrium, ignoring the scandalised glances some slaves shot him. Good thing most villas had a very similar layout. "I'm here to return Attis to you, I can't stand him anymore!" And find out what in Jupiter's name has got into you. @Sharpie @Sara
  10. Britannia, late 67AD Nostalgia hit him with full force as Titus entered the military camp on a chilly (for one, not rainy) morning. It was early, but the camp was alive with the hustle and bustle of hundreds of men going about their tasks... Except for a group of four off to his left, where two huddled close to the ground and two others stood and watched. As he got closer to them, the familiar sound of dice rolling inside a cup could be heard, followed by sudden silence and a mix of boastful laughter and groaning. Fasces in tow, Titus approached one of the spectating legionaries and barked a question at him. "Soldier! Where is your legate?" The man flinched and whipped round so quickly he nearly broke his neck, showing a face full of pimples. He had the presence of spirit to step away from his comrades and salute Titus. "I-I d-don't know, sir!" the young soldier managed to stammer out. Titus was unimpressed. "Then why don't you do something about it?" The legionary stared at him with an asinine look. Titus hoped Balbus Papulus was at least a good fighter, since he had neither beauty nor brains. He rolled his eyes, feeling his patience dwindle. "Go find out, then come back here and take me to him, you idiot!" The order spurred the young man into action at last, and he sprang off in search of his general. In the mean time, Titus busied himself with shooting the gambling soldiers dirty looks until the sting of disapproval - or the threat of the fasces - was strong enough to make them put the dice away and start polishing their boots with exaggerated gestures. Balbus Papulus came back surprisingly soon and lead Titus through the camp to one of the bigger tents. The young man did his best to announce that "Qua-quaestor Titus Sulpicius Rufus is he-here to s-s-see--", but Titus dismissed him with a sigh and a wave before he could finish and strode into the tent. A quick look around the tent and its occupants let him know he needn't be too formal, but proper greetings were de rigueur in case someone was lingering just outside, trying to listen in. "Salvete, legate, Aulus Calpurnius," he greeted each man with a nod, predictably ignoring the slaves in a corner. Now that that was out of the way, Titus relaxed his posture a little, but still did not smile. "Did you know you have men gambling for money this early in the morning? At least teach them to be discreet about it." @Sara @Sharpie @Chevi
  11. April, 75AD - early evening after Bagging Bunnies Longinus drummed his fingers against the desk, completely unbothered by the mounds of paperwork that cluttered it. Vitus had tried to appease his mood by only delegating easier, more interesting, tasks for his attention today but he still found he had absolutely no motivation. He had half a mind to take a walk, and just perhaps his feet would land him outside the door of one Sestia Vaticana, but he knew it was not worth it. Her sons would be home by this time, and he'd just end up more frustrated for lack of an honest conversation, let alone anything more, by the time he left. So instead, he sat and waited, surely Attis and Metella couldn't be home much later than this? It was as if on cue that one of the Dacian's he'd employed timidly ducked their head into the tablinum and informed him that both were home. Inclining his head he only asserted; "I want to see them both, in here. Now." And the little Dacian squirrelled away to procure his body slave and the nurse. He sighed and ran his hand over his jaw. The day had started with so much promise and yet by mid-morning his mood had completely soured, thanks entirely to the foolishness of his own body slave. He trusted Attis more than most of his friends, he certainly trusted the younger man with his life. He indulged the odd witticism or eye roll here, a barbed comment there, and only asked that he be broadly respectful - or at least not cross that very clear line between being amusing and overtly disrespectful. And yet he'd done it, quite clearly, that morning. Longinus felt himself bristle; he'd given Attis more than anybody; his own room, relative freedom to do what he pleased with his time when Longinus didn't require him, decent money and the opportunity to have a woman and it seemed to count for absolutely nothing. If Attis couldn't find the line between humour and disrespect, then Longinus would have to show him that line. As he heard footsteps he sprang to his feet and moved round so he was leaning against the edge of the table in front of it. As he saw Metella he smiled, genuinely, and arched a brow; "Good day?" He made no move to acknowledge Attis at all. He wanted to see if the man would realise, and own up to his mistakes before Longinus was forced to point them out. TAG: @Sharpie @Chevi
  12. Britannia, 66AD Attis had finished his errands and returned to his master's tent. He wasn't sure what state of mind he was going to find his master in, so entered cautiously and quietly, wanting only to set the place to rights while disturbing his master as little as possible. Unfortunately, that was not to be. The ground just inside the entrance to the tent was uneven, with a rough clump of grass just ready to catch the unwary. By the time he registered it was there, it was too late and he had fallen full-length, sprawling on the cold ground and probably covering himself with mud as well as ignominy. He ended lying on his belly almost at his master's feet, cursing his uncharacteristic clumsiness even as he raised his eyes tentatively to meet his master's gaze. "I beg your pardon, domine, I just felt the need to demonstrate that I worship the very ground you walk on," he said, the quip rising to his lips almost without thought, even as he sought to get to his knees and thence back to his feet. He hoped that his master was the only one to witness his clumsiness. @Sara
  13. (Jan 75 AD) Attis was not entirely sure how he had got the afternoon to himself, and nor did he care - what mattered was that he had got the afternoon to himself. What mattered more was that he'd also been given two sestertii to spend and told to go and have fun. He had wandered around for a bit and found himself in a popina off the Via Lata, which served posca (totally crap but marginally better than lora) and food (greasy but not bad, on the whole). The only free seats were at a large table to one side and he'd debated eating his food at the counter before deciding that he spent far too much of his life on his feet. If someone else wanted to sit down too, well, the table was big enough. There was someone there already, a redhead of a similar age to Attis himself. "Mind if I join you?" "Help yourself, it's a big enough table, and there's nowhere else that's free." Attis didn't need telling twice and sat down. "Rome the eternal city - keeping everyone eternally on their feet," he said with a grin. "It's nice to sit down for once." @Liv @Joaquin @Chevi
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