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  1. The Curia was slowly emptying of people after the most recent session of the Senate, and Aulus found that he was one of the last to leave, having been waylaid by some ancient senator who must have been twice his age if he was a day, who only wanted to talk his ear off about taxes, the grain dole, the cost of games these days and other inconsequential things. He turned to head from the august chamber, pausing before he emerged into the sunlight and the presence of his lictors (Horatia had a point about them, even if Aulus wouldn't admit it - they did rather get in the way when you wanted to be a private citizen... on the other hand, part of the thing about being Consul was that you weren't a private citizen for the entire time you were in office. It was rather the point, after all!) There was someone else taking a momentary breather in the shade of the Curia's colonnade, a young man who must be just starting out on his political career. At first Aulus thought it was his son, but Titus was still a few years short of joining the Senate. "Claudius Sabucius," he said, once he caught a better look at the other. "Good afternoon - I trust you didn't find today's session too tiresome?" @Sarah
  2. Aulus had the wit to dismiss his lictors before entering the house - Horatia had despaired when she'd learned he was not only entitled to twelve lictors as a Consul, but couldn't dispense with them. He had promised to try to make it easier for her by not having them in the house when they weren't needed, although the domus was certainly big enough for them - they had families of their own, anyway, and probably appreciated being able to see them from time to time. Aulus and the new slave, Tacita, were therefore alone as the ostiarius opened the door to admit them. He caught the eye of one of the house slaves in the atrium and bid him fetch his mistress, and Felix. He hoped Horatia wouldn't mind his gift, however odd she might think it. "This is your mistress, my wife, Horatia Justina," he said as his wife made her way towards them, Felix behind her. "And my body slave, Felix." He smiled at his wife, urging Tacita forward. "Horatia, I've brought you a gift. This is Tacita - she doesn't speak, but she does write, and is learning to read. I thought she might be useful." @Sara @Jenn @Chevi
  3. December 15th, 75AD The villa in Baiae was a balm for Horatia's soul after a busy few months (years, really) with her family. She'd spent many happy months here during Aulus' long absence, with her in-laws and children and by herself, and always revelled in its serenity. She'd never asked her father-in-law whether he'd purchased the property himself or inherited it but either way it must have been worth a small fortune given its proximity to a sheltered beach and the lush orchards that stretched to the distance. She knew Titus and Calpurnia enjoyed it as much as her; Titus she suspected because he could pester his grandfather into telling stories from his youth, and Calpurnia because she felt like a proper grown-up in the company company of her refined grandmother. For Horatia it was the peace that she enjoyed the most. She sat in a cluster of rooms designed, many moons ago, as the womens domain but they opened up into the rest of the house not unlike her father-in-laws tablinum. She'd spent the morning with her mother-in-law in the pursuit of womanly virtue. Calpurnia, to her embarrassment, had taken to bed. Her courses had started the month before and unused to the light-headedness and aches that accompanied it, had withdrawn to curl herself into her blankets in her room. Horatia tried to ignore the knot in her stomach that the start of her monthly bleed meant her daughter was well and truly becoming a woman, and weaving with Aurelia was a perfect distraction. It was not one of her favourite pastimes (although she vastly preferred it to the monotony of spinning the wool), but it was distracting and allowed her to concentrate on nothing but the interlacing and placement of the threads. She knew her family and their reputation would be under intense scrutiny on their return to Rome if Aulus' position as Consul was confirmed and she needed to keep her mind occupied so as not to dwell on it. Aurelia had excused herself a little over an hour ago for her own respite and a lie down. Horatia, however, ever the perfectionist had decided to occupy herself with unpicking the threads that lay at odd angles and re-doing them from scratch. She worked in silence, errant strands of copper hair falling into her eyes which she had to swat away. She was dressed informally in plain stola and her hair artlessly done up, the very picture of relaxation. She suspected her husband, son and father-in-law out on some boys errand and was not expecting company when the sound of footsteps echoed and she turned her face up, her features melting into a relaxed smile. "Do not mock me," She warned with a gentle grin - she was not known for her weaving prowess and exclaimed her disinterest in it on more than one occasion to her husband, "And do not think I'm suddenly going to take up weaving every day when I'm back in Rome." TAG: @Sharpie
  4. Aulus had visited the Temple of Juno where he had offered a sacrifice in thanksgiving for his wife and their marriage, and then gone on to the Temple of Jupiter to offer a sacrifice for the continued health and well-being of the Emperor, and to ask for favour in his quest for consulship - and for wisdom if he was elected (he would go and make similar sacrifices at the Temple of Minerva if he was fortunate enough to be elected). Although he had Quintus Augustus' approbation, so that was something. He wasn't about to take it for granted, though - anything could happen between now and then, of course. And of course he'd asked for the priest to take the omens for him, to find out if the gods were in favour or not of his ascending to the Consulship. He was ambitious, to be sure, but his was an ambition tempered with pragmatism, knowing that he wanted nothing further, nothing higher in Rome than that. A friend of Caesar's, not a rival - never a rival. He had supported Quintus Flavius Alexander through the grim dark days of civil war and would continue to support him, and his heirs. The omens, as far he could ascertain, were favourable, and he left the smoky darkness of the temple feeling more settled and certain. He paused on the temple steps to throw his toga back (he had covered his head with a fold of it as was usual when conducting a ritual) and rearrange its folds into something more becoming a senator and less like a priest, and took a deep breath of the clean fresh air.
  5. 31st October, 60AD Athens Horatia fiddled with the stem of the goblet of wine she held in her fingers. When she was a girl, dreaming of her wedding as all good young Roman women did, she hadn't exactly pictured this. A short, sharp ceremony in Athens with few of her friends and family, and none of her husbands, followed by an intimate party. It wasn't exactly the grand affair she had planned, but she had found it perfect in its own, unconventional way. At least she'd managed to procure a suitable outfit in the six or so months since her father had agreed to the match and haggled out the details. She wore the traditional white tunica recta, tied with the knot of Hercules. It had pained her that her mother hadn't tied it, as she ought to have, but she couldn't leave Livia and Lucius to attend and so had stayed in Rome - with her best wishes sent by letter. The red veil which has sheathed her face during the remarkably short ceremony was now pinned up into the six braids of her up-do, sheathed by a floral coronet. She looked the part, even if she didn't exactly feel very wifely; being in a foreign land and with Aulus' military colleagues surrounding them at the gathering. They'd process to the house that Aulus had rented for her and a few slaves shortly, the small party gathering through the streets as they would have in Rome - but with much less fanfare, and more derision from the Greek locals, no doubt. For now though, she was content to sip her wine and make polite small talk to the men and women that had been invited; friends of her family in the province, and his most likely. Occasionally she found her eyes wandering back to Aulus - her husband - and a light flush came to her cheeks. She tried to distract herself with inane conversations; and she was currently embroiled in one with a friend of Publius' about his families villa. According to him, Formaie was far nicer than Baiae. She nodded and prayed that somebody would come over to save her from the dullness soon. TAG: @Sharpie
  6. (Takes place in the evening of Ave Imperator! and Into the lion's den) Aulus returned to his home feeling far more light-hearted than when he had left it that morning. He had almost not needed to head to the Castra Praetoria, not with Caesar's reassurance ringing in his ears, but some part of him had needed to meet the man who had unnerved his wife and threatened his children and slaves. After that meeting, he had no compunction whatsoever about leaving him to Caesar to deal with. He was still none the wiser as to why he had turned on Aulus' family, but the threat had gone and it felt as if a sweet breeze had blown through the house. One of the house slaves offered him a cup of wine and, when questioned, the information that the mistress was in her own private study. Aulus dismissed the boy and turned to find Horatia. He paused quietly at the door of her room, not wishing to disturb her if she was in the middle of something that could not easily be set aside. He smiled, the fond expression coming easily to his face as he watched her before knocking, the private pattern used just between the two of them. @Sara (Title: The situation as it was before the war)
  7. The summons to a private interview with Quintus Caesar Augustus could not have come at a more opportune time, as far as Aulus was concerned. He had news that he needed to impart, and the sooner the better, for all concerned - if he could. He arrayed himself in his Senatorial finest, reflecting that the last time either man had seen the other, they had been in far more comfortable military gear. He idly wondered if Quintus Augustus would recognise his former tribune out of his breastplate and military cloak. The Domus Augustorum was designed to impress and overawe those who approached it. Doubtless the original house, inhabited by the Divine Augustus, had been somewhat less impressive - he had been famed for the simplicity of his habits and lifestyle, after all - but it had been extended and improved upon until very little, if anything at all, could be discerned of the original. Aulus refused to be overawed; he had a previous acquaintance with the primary inhabitant of the place, which many of the visitors to it did not, and Quintus Augustus would be the same man whether Aulus met him here or in the midst of a military encampment in Cappodocia. He gave his name to the slave at the door and was allowed inside, guided within the rabbit warren to the very heart of the palace, to be admitted to the presence of the Augustus himself, a private interview without the presence of all those who wished to present petitions for this favour or that. He went forward, enough to be seen by the man seated upon the curule chair at the far end of the room, and waited to be acknowledged. @Chris
  8. 6th of October, 75 AD Given the tragedy brought on by the earthquake only a few months earlier, Titus didn't quite feel right celebrating his birthday with huge festivities or partying from dusk to dawn - besides, this was no milestone year, just the passage of time signalling that he had officially grown older. The previous day - the actual day of - had been spent with family, featuring a relaxed and pleasurable evening with far too much food including Betua's mouthwateringly good placenta cake, and only a tiny hiccough when Valeriana loudly and vehemently expressed how unfair it was that she received no gifts, skilfully ignoring the fact that it wasn't her birthday for that to happen. Tonight's celebration was simple as well, though less child-friendly. Going out for drinks with friends was also very agreeable, even more so when they had a decent-sized chamber and an own dedicated servant all to themselves. Drinking alone was no fun, though, even when it was Falernian and Caecuban, and Titus busied himself with deciphering the multitude of humorous scrawls on the walls and snacking on bread and olives before the others arrived - his stomach would thank him later. @Echo @Sara @Sharpie Feel free to ignore posting order!
  9. November 59 AD; Greece The slave hadn't been very forthcoming when Aulus said that he was here to meet with his master, but had admitted him, at least. There seemed to be little reason to have admitted him because he was led past any areas of the house where either Marcus Horatius Justinus or his son Publius might reasonably be found, and taken to the garden. It was not the first time that Aulus had been admitted to the garden - he was a close enough friend of Publius' that he had been allowed access to a relatively private part of the house before. He was not alone; there was someone sitting on one of the marble benches and Aulus stopped, unwilling to intrude further. And yet, as he began to make his apologies, he came to a stop, captivated by what he saw. He had met Publius' sister before, but she had not really caught his eye, among everyone else, with her hair done up in what must be the very latest style in Rome, and weighed down with jewellery, the very height of elegance. This simply-dressed woman was far more elegant in her simple clothing and with her hair artlessly done up. "I beg your pardon, I had come to see Publius," he managed. "I am sorry to have disturbed you." He would offer to go, but remained frozen in place, utterly captivated. @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. February, 74AD The Praetorium in Augusta Vindelicorum, Raetia The Praetorium was abnormally quiet. Well, it was never quiet, it was obviously far more vast than their family domus in Rome and her father-in-law's expansive villa in Baiae and so the Governor's palace hummed with the sounds of slaves diligently working or visitors going about their business. But her quarters - sequestered in the private space of the building, at least, were silent today. Titus was at his lessons and Calpurnia was attending to some matter or another with her slave. Her daughter was no longer the sweet little girl she had once been, but her rapidly evolving interests in the arts and music were a balm for the creatively minded Horatia. Straining her ears she could vaguely make out the jarring notes of her flute. She hoped her daughter would find something a little more pleasing on the ears to learn soon. So she stood, quite alone in the rooms that made up her's and the children's quarters. It was too cold to sit in the gardens, she mused sullenly, winters in Raetia were harsher than Italia. She sighed and padded aimlessly until she ended up outside her husbands study. She would usually not disturb him in the day, but afternoon was well and truly on its way and his associates and men had left for the day. She considered, for a moment, going back to her own rooms to read or sew, or perhaps dedicate some time to planning whatever function Aulus was next required to host. The latter thought lit a smile on her face. She missed her husband when he was busy or absent, even if it was just for a few hours, and gently enquiring about an engagement she would be required to organise was a perfect excuse to linger in his study, was it not? She knocked on the doorframe and leant through, a light smile on her face. "Do you have some time to talk?" She queried gently. One never knew with Aulus; she suspected her husband would look as unmoving and unflappable as he ever did, even if there was some major crises occurring that she was not privy to. Stepping into the room and smoothing down her stola, she studied him, forgetting the purpose (and what a loose purpose it was) entirely. "You look tired, you work too much." She said with a wry smile. TAG: @Sharpie
  12. Letter dated roughly a week after the earthquake. Titus Sulpicius Rufus to his dearest friend Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus, greetings. Hope all is well with your domus and familia after the recent event. No casualties on our end of thing except for parts of the roof, a couple of trees and a bust I never liked. To take our minds off all that's happened and because it's the right season for it, my brother and sister-in-law are travelling down to Neapolis for a while and inviting friends and family to join them for their beach parties. There will be entertainment not unlike that party you hosted a few months back, as well as more family-friendly activities. As you may remember my brother Quintus was consul in 72, and given your current aspirations (which I fully support), I took the liberty of assuming you might be interested in fostering that connection. It goes without saying that this invitation extends to your lady wife and your lovely children. Mine are also coming, so they will not be left to their own devices. We will be heading down on the 13th (I expect the Via Appia will be fully up and running again by then), and our good friend Longinus is coming with. He has been rather morose as of late, so I will be counting on you to help raise his spirits. Farewell, my dear friend. @Sharpie
  13. Aulus had dismissed Felix and Callista and spent a little while considering the situation, turning options over in his head, before coming to a decision. Gods knew whether it would be the right one or not, but it was one for better or worse. He opened the tablet up again, memorised the list of names that it held, and calmly erased the list with the blunt end of the stylus before standing. He had been married for over a decade. He and Horatia had faced trials and troubles of all kinds, separately and together, and weathered them. Yet he could only recall once when Horatia had had that look on her face - the night he had taken Felix and slipped out into the madness ruling the streets of Rome, to try to get out of the city, leaving her with a young child who'd barely taken his first steps, and another growing inside her. They had not known that last then, but the knowledge or lack of it would have made no difference to what Aulus had needed to do. His wife would be in the garden - it was her safe space in the house when she needed peace, calmness and to be alone. He found her, sitting on the marble bench in the exedra overlooking the garden, sitting very still, her hands folded in her lap, and with a look on her face that tore at his heart. "Horatia." @Sara
  14. 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
  15. Given it was by far not the usual way these sorts of things were done; there was no formal betrothal ceremony, no exchange of contracts, not even an inkling that such a thing was happening - really - Longinus felt it imperative that word got out on his own terms. But not to everybody. After a fairly frantic exchange with his mother, the man set down to put ink to papyri and drafted a series of letters. The first were for his cousins (the only other remaining Cassii-Longini) Lepidus and Cassia. Then came one to his old friend, and former mentee Silanus all the way in Greece - lightly alluding to the fact that he might well be visiting in person (there had to be some benefit to sailing all the way to Carthage, and a roundabout stop on the way back to see Lucius was a silver lining). The final few were for his friends. Amongst those he composed two to his two closest friends. They were very similar (he was not a man to dally with correspondence any longer than necessary, and thus copied out most of the first letter into the second), albeit there were amusing differences in tone - far more jocular with Titus, and far more reserved with Aulus. They were delivered to May the 4th, two days after the engagement by his Secretary who muttered and swore as he trekked over the city in the May sun. To Titus Sulpicius Rufus from his friend, Lucius Cassius Longinus. Greetings! I thought I'd drop you a note to a) enquire about how Attis is getting on, b) to inform you I'm getting married and c) ask if you are free for a drink next week? I suspect your eagle eye will have picked out the second point as the most interesting (although I do wish to hear about Attis and whether he still has all his fingers), and I'm pleased to say that Sestia Vaticana and I are to marry on the 1st of June given it's auspicious date. I believe you know the lady in question - she only had positive things to say about you - which I have corrected, don't worry. It'll be a small affair in the city, but obviously I would be delighted if Valeria and yourself save the date and make yourselves available. I've also sent a very similar note to our good friend Aulus, and in said note have asked if he is free on the nones for a drink or two. As always, I expect you have no plans of any consequence, or no plans you cannot cancel to ensure you can come for a drink with a soon-to-be married man. We could slum it in the Poppina Via Lata? Your friend, Longinus. TAG: @Liv To Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus from his friend, Lucius Cassius Longinus. Greetings! I'm writing for a dual purpose today, to a) ask if you are free for a drink next week? b) to inform you I'm getting married. I suspect your eagle eye will have picked out the second point as the most interesting, and I'm pleased to say that Sestia Vaticana and I are to marry on the 1st of June given it's auspicious date. She mentioned yourself and Horatia met her at the Games not so long ago - I trust you approve? It'll be a small affair in the city, but obviously I would be delighted if Horatia and yourself save the date and make yourselves available. I've also sent a very similar note to our good friend Titus, and in said note have asked if he is free on the nones for a drink or two. We could slum it in the Poppina Via Lata? Your friend, Longinus. TAG: @Sharpie
  16. It had been a long journey but a welcome one, from Britannia's chill to the now unfamiliar sun of Italia. Ostia had never looked so welcoming, and Aulus was impatient for the ship to dock. He would take a horse for himself and Felix and head straight up the Via Ostiensis and change out of his uniform once he got to Rome - and how he hoped that his family would be there and not at Baiae! He hired two horses, one for himself and one for Felix (who had developed into quite a decent rider over the years). He would send Felix to the house to let them know, and to bring him a toga - he had a clean tunic with him, but it was forbidden to wear armour within the pomerium, the sacred limits of the city, and so he resgined himself to having to don the hot unwieldy garment that was the mark of the citizen. It felt like an eternity before he was back in Rome itself, the toga (one of his father's with the broad purple stripe of a senator) heavy around him, with the end over his left arm, and tangling around his legs in a dreamlike familiar way. He had no time for the sights of the city, and the Porta Ostiensis was the nearest gate to his home in the Piscina Publica; Felix had reported that the family were in Rome and anxiously waiting for his return. It seemed like that dream as he walked the familiar streets until he turned into the street where his father's house stood. He could not be denied entry for long; the door-porter knew him and it was mere moments before he was in the atrium where his parents and wife and children were gathered. He greeted his father first, as was only right, and then his mother and only then could he turn to his wife, who looked as he remembered her. Perhaps a little older, maybe more careworn, but still the girl he had met in Greece, in the garden of her father's house, dressed in a simple tunica. He had been enchanted then, and found that he still was, despite the stola she was wearing now as the mark of a Roman matron. "Horatia," he managed, past the sudden lump in his throat. @Sara
  17. February 75AD Aulus had been working on his proposal for a new set of baths; he needed to lay something before Caesar, after all, and a concrete plan and idea was much better than an abstract. Theories and hypotheses had their place but Quintus Augustus and Aulus Calpurnius had a common school of thought that actual concrete workable plans were much better than suggestions and ideas, and he had no wish to waste Caesar's precious time when he finally sought an audience with him to discuss this. Aulus did not have an Empire to run and therefore his time was less valuable than the Emperor's, and he wished to have as many details of this project pinned down as he could before Caesar began asked sharp direct questions about his ideas that he could not answer because he had not thought seriously about his idea. People who came to him with suggestions and merely answered his own questions with 'I don't know' and 'I hadn't thought about that' and 'I don't know' were the sort of people Aulus had always found supremely irritating and he had no wish to be one of them. So, while he had thought about it and asked the opinion of people close to him, he wanted to hear what others thought, who might see flaws that Felix and Horatia (and Longinus and Titus Sulpicius) had not. People who might care to actually make use of his thermae, once they were built and open to the public. He happened to look up from the rough proposal on his desk as someone crossed the atrium towards the front door. He recognised the shock of hair, even from the back - his son's lessons were obviously over for the day. "Cleisthenes - do you have a moment?" @Jacob
  18. September 74AD It had only been a few short months since the family had returned to Rome from Raetia. It had been an interesting few weeks, settling back into their own house (technically, it was Aulus' father's house, as he was still alive and thus the head of the family, but he didn't really bother them, allowing them to get on with things). It had been a busy day, but it was evening now and Aulus was sitting under the garden colonnade, with a wineglass to hand and a sprig of grapes, although cena was over. It was nice just to sit, watch the moonlight silvering the plants and enjoy the coolness and scents of the garden in the evening. He saw a familiar shape heading towards the atrium, and raised his voice. "Felix!" @Chevi
  19. November 74AD The house had been readied for the evening, all breakable items moved out of the way to less public areas of the house than the atrium, triclinium and garden, soft drapes hung, and musicians ensconced in a corner where their playing could be heard. Scantily-clad slaves (both male and female) were stationed in various places throughout the public parts of the house to direct guests or serve them in whatever way they wished - offering further food or drink or more personal attention. They were the prettiest Aulus could find, and their clothing, such as it was, left little to the imagination. Aulus himself was stationed in the atrium to greet his guests. He was wearing a synthesis, a light garment more suitable for an evening occasion like this than the heavy toga or even the less formal pallium. He had stationed a slave nearby with a tray of wine-cups to offer the guests as they arrived. (Please note: Any other people who know/could know Aulus are invited, and any characters who could be hired/lent for such an event are also welcome to join in - just reply to this thread and I'll add your character to the tags list! Once the party is under way, feel free to make your own threads in this board.)
  20. May 75AD Circus Maximus Aulus had changed seats after his conversation with Gaius Fabius Maximus had come to an end, and found himself sitting next to a woman he recognised as belonging to gens Cornelia - one of the Scipinones branch, he thought. More importantly, though, she was the wife of Quintus Sulpicius Rufus, whose brother had ended up joining him on his flight from Italy a decade earlier. "Good morning," he said to her, being polite. He had moved to sit by her; it would be unforgivably rude to ignore her, especially as she was related to friends of his. "I see you seem to have been lucky in your betting so far - pity about the Reds' shipwreck earlier." It had been rather a spectacular crash, with the Blues' driver pulling ahead and cutting in on him, forcing him into the spina which rand down the middle of the Circus, forming the centre of the oval race-track. He had bet on the Whites, who had come in second after the triumphant Blues, a team he did not think anyone had really expected to win that race, the driver being a new man and therefore an unknown quantity. @Anna
  21. June 74CE. (After In the hot seat.) Eventually, the trio at parted after the meeting at the Flavian Colossuem and Octavius had spent a little more time with Ario. Before they had parted. As promised, Octavius made himself available to seeing Aulus and catching up on all the news from the provinces. No doubt Aulus would wish to see his sister and ensure his family was settled in. An invitation for a midday meal was sent earlier in the week in order to ensure that it did not impede Octavius' busy schedule, and hopefully showed courtesy to Aulus' as well. Messengers passed back and forth in order to work out a date. Sometime, an arrangement would be made for the families of both of them to meet and spend time together. However, this meeting would be for the two men. To catch up for old time's sakes. The home still had signs of Octavius' father and the family members who had resided here for a long time. However, over time, the current generation had begun to leave their mark on the place. The hour of Aulus' arrival was gradually getting closer. Rufus waited nearby and had gradually become part of the household. Octavius continued to work, writing and preparing things for the next day. His scribes behind him were also working, occasionally they would check with their Dominus about whether the work was acceptable or not. "Turio greet my guest when he arrives and bring him to the Atrium," Octavius instructed and the slave obediently walked to fetch the guest. Food and wine had been prepared. He had planned a meeting in the garden rather than the office he regularly worked from when he was at home. Eventually, he would rest and have a break while meeting his old friend from the past, and to be able to fully catch up with what had taken place between them. Eventually, Octavius hoped for their families to be able to meet. @Sharpie
  22. Aulus had no idea what the time was when a slave came banging on the door of the servants' quarters, bearing news that te Praetorian Prefect, Clemens, had proclaimed himself Emperor (which Aulus was aware of) and that he was out for the blood of anyone connected with the Junii-Silani and Flavii-Alexandrii (which Aulus most certainly was not aware of). "I have to leave Rome," Aulus informed his anxious wife. "Leave...?" "I can't stay here, they know me, they know who I am, they know where to find me..." "But what about me - what about Titus?" She held the baby up in wordless appeal. "You'll be safer once I'm gone. But you should go too - we can't go together because I'll put you in too much danger. I have to go - tonight, when it's dark and we can be more anonymous." Horatia laid the baby back against her shoulder. "'We', Aulus?" "Two men, in tunics and cloaks - it's still cold, that won't look out of place. I can't take Linus, everyone knows he's my slave." They probably didn't, of course; nobody looked at slaves, but it would only take one person to see the slave's face and recognise him and the game would be up, and Aedile Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus would join his ancestors decade before he had anticipated doing so. He was only thankful that his father was still in the family villa at Baiae. "Go to my father at Baiae; I'll leave enough money for that journey. You might have to walk, it'll help you stay anonymous. Take Linus, or one of the others - a plebeian family getting away from the riots won't look too strange, several of them still have families with farms away from Rome. Hide Titus in the slaves' quarters till you go - hide yourself there, pretend the family left for the country." "And what about you? Who will you take?" "I'll take Felix. He's about as anonymous as they come, despite his size, and people will think twice about troubling us. I doubt anyone will actually connect him with this household, anyway." "Where will you go?" "Where do you think? I will plan to make my way to join Quintus wherever he is and maybe we can stop this madness that has seized Rome." It was a few hours later when Aulus, clad in a dark anonymous tunic, layered over two more, and with a cloak around him for both inconspicuousness and protection from the weather, clasped his wife and infant son in his arms, perhaps for the last time, and turned to leave his father's house from the anonymity of the slaves' side door, the taller shape of the house slave Felix following him. Aulus took a breath and grasped Felix' arm, drawing him level. "We can't be seen to be master and slave, not now. It's too dangerous. Call me... Davus. Call me anything you like, but do not let the word Domine pass your lips before we are out of here." He did not dare to think what might befall him if the slave decided that he could maybe get his freedom by betraying his master.
  23. (Letter dated in April 74) To my dearest sister Calpurnia, from your own brother Aulus, greetings. I am writing to you on the occasion of my recall to Rome by our lord and master Quintus Flavius Caesar Alexander Augustus - not, I hasten to assure you, because I have done anything wrong or committed any great crime during my tenure here in Raetia, but in order to further my career politically - it is hard, if not impossible, to become Consul while physically as far away from Rome as I am while I write this. Your nephew and niece are grown so much I doubt you will recognise them. Horatia has recovered from losing another child (she assures me she has, but I will not be pushing the pace of our return, out of concern for her health - although I long to see you and Pater once more). You should not look to see us in Rome before May, and I am sure we shall not be in the city for long before we have to retreat to the cooler weather to be found elsewhere, probably by the sea or around Herculaneum or Pompeii - we have grown almost acclimatised to the weather here, which tends to be colder and softer than that of Italia. I do not understand how you can bear the heat of a Roman summer; I am fortunate enough to have been able to move around somewhat even in the hottest of places I have been. We shall be back in Rome as soon as ever we may, and you may rest assured that I shall not delay in seeking you out, if a man may call upon a Vestal his blood-sister without being thought impious. I shall soon have a new will to lodge in Vesta's temple anyway, so it need not be thought improper - or perhaps I should speak with one of your fellow Vestals about that? I have written separately to our father but you may pass on my filial duty to him regardless if you so desire. Until our next meeting, farewell! @AzraelGrim
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