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  1. Tertia Charis . ex-slave and present concubina to tertius quinctilius varus . . finished . . back in time/AUs . How to Train Your Dragon - September 71AD - Charis (Erea) & Ambrosius (Turi) Charis spends quality time with her brother in Britannia. Trading Words - Winter 71AD - Charis (Erea) & Aia (Aius) Charis trades blows with the interprex of the occupying legion. Brothers and Sisters, Sons and Daughters - December 72AD - Charis (Erea), Ambrosius (Turi) & Nymphias (Ardra) In Britannia, Charis spends time with her family. Run- Charis & Cynane - AU Charis and Cynane flee Rome . seventy-four AD . Little Bird Caged - Late March 74AD - Charis & Rufus Now enslaved, Charis meets Rufus in the market. The Meat Market - Late March 74AD - (NPC Charis), Tertius & Spurius Charis is sold to Tertius Quinctilius Varus. An Introduction - Late March 74AD - Charis & Teutus Charis is shown the ropes by fellow-slave Teutus. Great Expectations - Late March 74AD - Charis, Tertius & Teutus Charis is formally introduced to her dominus. Lost and Found - Late April 74AD - Charis & Cynane Lost in Rome, Charis stumbles across a fellow Briton. Respite - Late April 74AD - Charis & Gaius Charis tells her story to an old Equite. In Dreams - Early May 74AD - Charis & Tertius In the garden, passion and tension flares between Charis and her dominus. Years Apart - Early May 74AD - Charis & Airs Charis chances across the interprex again. Carpe Diem - Early May 74AD - Charis, Cynane & Helios In the gardens, a drunk Charis is too loose with her words about her dominus. Garden Games - Mid May 74AD - Charis, Teutus & Antonia Spending time with fellow-slave Teutus and his half sister, their domina, Antonia. The Bridge is Crossed - Mid May 74AD - Charis & Tertius [M - S] Having found out about her gossip, Tertius punishes Charis and forces her into his bed. Under the Morning Sun - Mid May 74AD - Charis & Teutus The next morning, Charis reflects with Teutus. What goes around... - Early June 74AD - Charis, Alexius & Helios Charis confronts gossip Helios, and is saved by Alexius. Daggers After Dark - Mid June 74AD - Charis & Thessala Charis is attacked and injured, only to be saved by a Gladiatrix. The Show Must Go On - Mid June 74AD - Charis & Tertius Charis reveals her injuries to Tertius, who takes pity on her. Life is a Lemon - Late June 74AD - Charis & Cynane Charis and Cynane catch-up. Work and Play - Early July 74AD - Charis & Helenus Charis chances across a thermae slave. Special Treatment - Mid July July 74AD - Charis & Tertius Charis and Tertius reconnect and take their relationship further. New Beginnings? - Mid July 74AD - Charis, Teutus, Tertius & Hector Charis is informed of her new position, officially becoming Tertius' bed slave. Summer Showers - Late July 74AD - Charis & Rufus Charis runs into Rufus and spends the afternoon with him. Reginus Georgus - Late July 74AD - Charis & Hector Bitter and jealous, Hector needles Charis. Lost in the Moment - Early September 74AD - Charis & Alexius Charis reconnects with Alexius, who faces the sting of a slap. A Visit - Mid September 74AD - Charis & Alexius Charis apologises to Alexius. I'm not your errand boy - Early December 74AD - Charis & Teutus Charis and Teutus make up after their vicious argument. A Trojan and a Goddess - Early December 74AD - Charis & Aeneas Charis stumbles across a face from her past. A Proposal - Mid December 74AD - Charis, Tertius, Titus & Longinus Charis serves at a meal of her dominus' and finds out about her sister. About Time - Late December 74AD - Charis, Tertius, Teutus & Hector Charis witnesses Teutus' freedom ceremony. Festivities - Late December 74AD - Charis & Tertius Charis and Tertius celebrate Saturnalia. . seventy-five AD . Unhappy News - Late February 75AD - Charis Charis finds out she's pregnant. Agony Aunt - Late February 75AD - Charis & Cynane Alone and scared, Charis seeks advice from her friend. A Favour- Late February 75AD - Charis & Teutus Charis borrows money from Teutus for an abortion. Revelations - Late February 75AD - Charis & Tertius Tertius finds out Charis is pregnant after she botches her abortion. He imprisons her in her room and they argue. Broken Conversations - Early May 75AD - Charis & Tertius Charis, broken, submits to Tertius and they talk. Time for Miracles- Late May 75AD - Charis & Alexius Alexius tries to fix Charis. Awakening - Mid June 75AD - Charis Charis feels conflicted over her struggles. Blue Sky - Late June 75AD - Charis & Tertius Charis and Tertius reconnect as they discuss their child. Evening Shade - Late June 75AD - Charis & Gaius Charis meets a soldier in the Gardens of Sullust. The Equality of Man - Late June 75AD - Charis, Tertius, Teutus & Hector As an earthquake strikes rome, the domus is cast into chaos. No Boundaries - Early July 75AD - Charis & Cynane Charis finally reunites with her best friend after five months apart. Exotic Finds - Early July 75AD - Charis & Aia Charis meets Aia by chance. A New Beginning - Late August 75AD - Charis, Tertius & Cynane Charis gives birth to her child. God Help the Outcasts - Late June 75AD - Charis & Aglaea Charis commiserates with another Varus slave and learns a secret. Transformation - Late August 75AD - Charis, Tertius & Teutus Charis' child is recognised as freeborn. Just One Night - Mid December 75AD - Charis & Alexius Charis lets loose for one night. Wait!- Mid December 75AD - Charis & Teutus Immediately after her night with Alexius, Charis reconnects with Teutus after he discovers them. . seventy-six AD . Everything I Wanted- Mid January 76AD - Charis, Tertius & Wulfric Charis meets a new Varus family member as he comes to greet Tertius. Any way the wind blows- Mid January 76AD - Charis & Wulfric, Teutus and Tertius A dinner for the family goes wrong. I have something to say- Mid February 76AD - Charis & Tertius Charis brings up her suspicions of Wulfric to her domine. Following Up- Mid March 76AD - Charis & Wulfric Charis spies on Wulfric. What Comes Next - Late March 76AD - Charis & Tertius Charis updates Tertius on Wulfric It's All Fun and Games - Mid June 76AD - Charis & Tertius Charis attends a gladiator match with her dominus. I Just Called to Say - Late August 76AD - Charis & Varinia Charis meets a very important woman from the household past. Take a Chance on Me - Late August 76AD - Charis & Tertius Tertius proposes to Charis. How have we ended up here? - Late December 76AD - Charis & Teutus Now freed, Charis updates Teutus. . seventy-seven AD . Unexpected Arrival - Mid April 77AD - Charis, Tertius & Hilda Charis intervenes in a family (?) argument. Something New- Early January 77AD - Charis & Cynane Cynane hears Charis' news and it does not go well. (60) . current . Sacrifice and Stalemates - Early January 77AD - Charis & Tertius Charis and Tertius bless their marriage. Deos Fortioribus Adesse - Early January 77AD - Charis, Teutus & Varinia Charis goes to dinner with some of her awkwardly extended family. No Idea - Early April 77AD - Charis & Aia A familiar face from her past crops up again. (3)
  2. A scroll stating the terms for the Concubinatus between Tertia Charis and Tertius Quinctilius Varus. The scroll exists in 4 copies – one kept in the domus, one given to Tertia Charis to keep, one kept in Tertius’ office he uses as a praetor and one delivered to an archive holding such documents in Rome, since authorities are also notified of the union. Terms for Tertia Charis she must uphold upon entering Concubinatus between her and Tertius Quinctilius Varus 18th of December, 76 AD · Tertia Charis must stay in Rome and in the house of Tertius Quinctilius Varus · If Tertius Quinctilius Varus leaves Rome, she is permitted to follow if he tells her to do so · Tertia Charis must act as Tertius Quinctilius Varus’ wife in all matters · Tertia Charis must remain faithful as a wife to Tertius Quinctilius Varus · Tertia Charis must be addressed as Domina by household slaves · An allowance is given to Tertia Charis , for her to spend as she pleases. Given monthly · Tertia Charis is not allowed to leave the house or Rome with Peregrinus Quinctilius Varus without his father’s permission · Any sons gained from the Concubinatus also follow the term stated above · Any sons or daughters from the union are not considered legitimate heirs to Tertius Quinctilius Varus unless he chooses to adopt them · Should Tertia Charis fail to live up to the terms of this document, Tertius Quinctilius Varus has the authority to do the following: The authority to send Tertia Charisa away The authority to keep her allowance The authority to keep their children with him the authority to remove the title of freedwoman from Tertia Charis · Should Tertius Quinctilius die or fall ill, Teutus Quinctilius Varus is to be the guardian of Peregrinus Quinctilius Varus until he comes of age · Only Tertius Quinctilius Varus is allowed to change the terms of this document Signed by Tertius Quinctilius Varus and Tertia Charis
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Mid-February, 76AD Charis glanced across to her son, sleeping soundly in the crib next to her. He'd be down for at least an hour, or she hoped so given the night she'd had with him. The afternoon sun was low in the sky as she glanced out of her little room into the gardens. She missed it, working out there. As much as she loved her son and tending to him, her fingers still itched for something practical and useful to do. She'd been that way since she was a girl, always planning her next scheme or enterprise or pitching in when somebody needed a hand. Now she was left to care for her son as her primary duty, she often found herself at a bit of a loose end. Take now, for instance. Peregrinus would be sleeping for a while and she had nothing else to do. His clothes were folded neatly, his toys were organised and stacked away. So she simply sat on the little stool next to his crib and watched him. She glanced again at the garden. This time of day, she trusted she could count on one visitor who she needed to see. Running into her dominus in the gardens was far less formal than a conversation in his tablinum - and in any case the place held too many sour memories for her to ever be comfortable visiting it. She glanced back down at Peregrinus briefly before deciding he was content to snooze in peace. Pushing herself up, she padded silently through the bustling house into the winter sun. It wasn't as cold as Britannia in the winters, far from it, but she still felt a chill and wound her arms around herself. Maybe this was a sign she was finally getting used to being in this city. It'd be two years in a couple of weeks time, after all, since the day Tertius had sprung her from her cage. She studied the winter foliage and flowers, pursing her lips at the poor job the general household slaves had done in her absence from the garden, at least to her trained eye. She was distracted a moment later, however, when the target of her venture out here came into view. She flourished a soft smile and then dropped her eyes and inclined her head, speaking quietly in greeting. "Dominus. I trust you had a good morning?" TAG: @Atrice
  6. Immediately after Just One Night "Charis! Charis, please wait - please!" But she didn't, she kept moving. The crowds were slow and sluggish, the aftermath of the night before had made them so and they moved at a languid pace in a crowd that she found nightmarish given her pressing need to get out of here and certainly not be caught up to by Teutus Quinctilius Varus. It was all so fucked, that was her only real thought. The night with Alexius had been her one moment of glimpsed normality since the afternoon she'd eaten cakes and drank wine in the gardens with Cynane, well over a year and a bit ago now. That was all she had since she'd been forced to Rome; two snatched moments, one ruined by Helios, the other by Teutus. The thought made her feel sick it was so intolerable. A cart was passing causing a blockage of people at one end of the street as they couldn't pass it. She came to a stop and glanced around, looking for another escape because despite her desire to hurry home, Teutus was taller and had a longer stride and would be up on her in no time. She saw an opening a few feet ahead. It was an alley that led to nowhere it seemed, but it was out of the crowds, and hopefully out of Teutus' eye line. She exhaled a breath and leant against the wall, swallowing raspy breaths heavily. TAG: @Sharpie
  7. Peregrinus was against her chest, tied to her with a piece of fabric wound over him and around her back, finishing with a knot at her waist. The six month old boy seemed unperturbed by it, and it had the benefit of keeping her hands free - something she sorely needed. In one hand she carried a rough woven sack filled with blankets and cloth for Peregrinus, and in another bag slung over her shoulder she carried a spare tunica for herself, what little food she'd been able to swipe and a wineskin filled with water. She was shrouded in a cloak, but besides that and the bags she carried and her son, that was all she had in the world. She bit back bile at the thought. It was late, or was it early? Somewhere after midnight, either way, but the streets of Rome were full of laughter and merriment of some festival that Charis had never learned the name of. She looked a little out of place; child strapped to her body and lugging her bags, but the city was full of unusual sights and most people paid her little heed. She drew to the appointed spot, at the gate leading out to the via Flaminia. What are you doing. Cynane wasn't here, she should be here by now, shouldn't she? Charis was sure she was already late and her courage was failing her. She shouldn't have done this, she shouldn't even be thinking about it - she was positive that even the thought of escape warranted crucifixion. She felt the bile rise in her throat again and fought the urge to be ill. Hold your nerve. This hadn't been planned for long, only a matter of weeks ago she had been contented enough in her life - Peregrinus was growing, strong and healthy and things with Tertius were a little less awkward and then she had met with Cynane and it had all unravelled. The thought of trying to do this, be here, forever without her friend - who was so determined to leave and forge her way back to Britannia...Charis could have cried - and she was not a cryer by nature! The image of her son, growing up free and happy and healthy in the wilds and forests and fields of her homeland, away from his fathers pervasive, insidious influence, with her - and not just her as a slave, her as a free woman and his mother...it was too much for her to refuse. She had agreed, and now here she stood. But the nagging doubt did not escape her and the longer she waited in silence, alone, the more she wanted to turn on her heel and make haste back to the domus. Where are you Cynane. TAG: @Atrice
  8. January, 76 AD Wulfric had been in Rome for months now – 4, to be exact. It had been late in the summer when he had arrived and now it was the winter half of the year. It wasn’t very cold though, he thought. Not compared to the lands he came from. He had not seen a snowflake and he had not seen a single pond or lake with ice on it. So he didn’t consider it very cold at all, although of course colder than when he arrived. He had for a while now known where his father lived. And he’d met his father’s brother a little while back... he had not been too impressed, but that was almost a given, with how Aglaea had described him. By now, Wulfric felt he had done all he could to gather information about his Roman family before he met them. And now was the day. He had paid a scribe to write a letter to his father, saying that he would come to visit. That he was a prince of the Chatti and that he came with an important message for Tertius… though of course he had not revealed that he was Tertius’ son. Now the planned day had arrived. Wulfric wore the new set of clothes he bought a few months back, an attempt to look at least a little bit civilized to the Romans and his father especially. It was just a tunica, dark green, a pair of short breeches – he was no Roman and wore no toga. He had however a forest green and grey cloak, that his mother had made for him, but he had swung the fabric over the shoulders now, as it was not so cold indoors. He had not gotten rid of the beard, although it had been trimmed. His hair was not cut short and precise, which was the way the Romans seemed to like it. Wulfric was proud of his heritage and was not afraid to show he was a foreigner - but he did want to look nice for today. After having knocked on the door, he was allowed inside by a slave, into the atrium. He already thought that it looked nicer than his uncle’s home here in Rome. It was tidier and cleaner. In fact the floor was almost shining. Quietly he now stood there, with his hands gathered on his back, waiting to meet his father, finally. The house was silent to begin with, but suddenly the silence was disturbed by the wail of a small child, maybe even a baby, which surprised him! He had momentarily forgotten that Aglaea mentioned months ago, that his father only recently had another son by a slave. Wulfric around towards the sound and saw a short and pretty woman, a slave judging by her clothes, coming towards the atrium carrying a small child that was squirming a bit in her arms. When she noticed him, he smiled at her and at the child – Wulfric had no wife or children of his own yet, but his oldest sister, Hilda, had two children already and he liked them. It was then he recalled this might be the newborn brother Aglaea told him about. Suddenly, the child was even more interesting and he wanted to say something to her, but suddenly the words were caught on the tip of his otherwise often diplomatic tongue. Instead he was just caught there, watching her, smiling at her. @Sara
  9. It was just about eight months since the birth of Tertius' son and Teutus was no nearer to being able to get out of this house permanently than he had been this time last year. He was closer to setting up his business, though, so perhaps he was nearer getting out than he felt. It didn't help his state of mind that he'd had to consciously avoid Charis, because where she was, her son was too. Today, though, was a nice bright warm day and Teutus had gone to sit in the garden with his tabula and his thoughts, and found himself just enjoying the sun, thinking very little of any consequence. By the time he realised he was no longer alone, and realised who the intruder was, it was too late to be elsewhere without it looking as if he was deliberately evading her, as he had done his best to since the day Tertius had taken Peregrinus up as a freeborn child. @Sara
  10. 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
  11. 31st of August, 75AD It had been 9 days since Charis gave birth to his son. Of course he knew it was a son. Tertius was quite anxious to see the boy, but in this household he was the Pater Familias and he was the one who would decide anything that would happen to the child. So he would do things properly, as you did, as tradition ordered. Which meant he would not see his slave-born son until 9 days after the birth. If the child still lived and appeared healthy, the slave would present the child to the head of the household and Tertius would either pick up the child – setting it free – or not, leaving it to be brought up as a slave. And he would name the child. Now it was the 9th morning after the birth and today he would finally see his son. Hector had done everything in his power to distract Tertius the night before and he had done everything to attempt to make his master relax, but Tertius had still turned in the bed at night and he’d woken when he ought to sleep. Charis knew nothing of his plans. He had only told Teutus and he trusted that Teutus would not tell anyone. He nudged Hector when he’d been awake long enough and the slave got up and fetched a basin of fresh water for Tertius. He also fetched a fresh tunica and anything else he knew Tertius would want and Hector did not utter a word. His body slave was probably displeased with the whole situation. He knew that Charis was on Tertius’ mind a lot. He’d been worried since she went into labor and had been happy to hear that both mother and son were alive and well after. The way he lost his wife after Antonia was born… he didn’t want to lose Charis the same way. And she wasn’t even his wife, but… he couldn’t help but wishing he would not lose her. Despite everything, she had to live and be here. After he got dressed, he sent Hector out to set up a nice breakfast in the triclinium, for himself and for Charis – and then he found a seat in the atrium of the house, because that’s where he had imagined this ceremony would take place. In his hand he held a special amulet for the child. Honestly it didn’t have to be a big deal, when the child was born by a slave and not a wife, and he had not planned it to be. He had sent word to Livia Justinia, Secundus' wife, that a child had been born, but he had not formally invited them. He doubted they would come anyway. It could be a big ceremony, with guests and many family members present, but in this case, with a slave-born child, it would just be the whole household present and Charis presenting the child and Tertius doing what he planned to do. And then it was done. After he’d been sitting there a little while, watching the slaves just do their jobs, he decided it was time and waved the nearest slave over… “Announce that Charis’ child can be presented to me now.” He told the slave, who hurried on to tell Charis and then anyone else at home at the moment, who would witness the ceremony of the newborn child. It didn’t take long for Antonia to appear by his side, as the first and he gave her a smile and a hug, as she seemed very excited. He had of course informed her that Charis’ child was his, despite Charis not being his wife. He had explained to Antonia that he had been very fond of Charis, so fond of her that at least for a time, he had treated her almost like a wife (but not quite, of course). He didn’t know if Antonia had met her new brother. But he knew he looked forwards to it, no matter what. Slowly many of the house slaves appeared in or near the atrium. Would Teutus show up? He didn't know. All he could do now was wait for Charis and his newest son to appear. @Sara
  12. 20th of August, 75AD It had started an hour ago. A dull ache in her back that woke her up from her sleep and wouldn't settle. It wasn't excruciating, but it ached. By the time the hour was up, the ache had morphed into an odd sort of...pressure that couldn't quite be explained or articulated, every ten or perhaps twenty minutes that gripped her belly - deep inside. She knew enough to know that this might be the beginning. She was not due for two, or three more weeks but the midwives had warned her that with her size an early labour was not to be unexpected. She felt the waves of fear crash over her as she sat cross legged on her bed, trying to breathe through the gripping sensation as the other two girls in the room snored in their slumber, oblivious. She felt breathless, and not just from the discomfort, but from the panic that consumed her. She felt flushed, hot and trapped. It couldn't be now could it? She wasn't ready, she hadn't sent word to Cynane or her sister, she hadn't put plans in place if...if things did not go well. She choked and Jocasta stopped her snoring, but mercifully didn't wake. She couldn't stay here. As the waves of the pressure settled again, she carefully and quietly pushed herself up from her cot and padded gently from the room into the chill of the early morning. It must have been still well before dawn - the sky was an inky black, but there was a bright moon and she found herself following the familiar route into the garden. One arm cupped her bump and the other reached out to the columns to settle herself, not out of pain - that had stopped for now - but from the fear overtaking her. She finally made it outside on unsteady feet with flushed cheeks and moved to sit on the bench. She glanced about the place, deserted in the dead of night and tried to ignore the memories of all that had happened out here; praying to her Gods (where were they now?), that first taste of a relationship with Tertius, playing with Antonia, arguing with Teutus...everything that had happened to her here had started from the garden. Maybe that was why she was drawn here now? She must have been sat there for a little while as the pressure, the gripping pain started again and she winced, reaching out one hand so her fingers clasped the stone of the bench and she let out breathless little mewls of discomfort. As she breathed through it (dreading that this was only the beginning, and the pain would get so much worse), she didn't realise somebody else was approaching. TAG: @Atrice
  13. Late June, 75 AD Charis had been allowed to do more and more, since their last proper conversation in the beginning of May. Now it was late in June and Charis was very visibly pregnant. It was impossible to not notice her, when he walked around the domus, although most of the time, they still didn’t interact with each other. She hadn’t done anything out of order though, since he let her out of the room and she was being a very good slave. She did as she was told and nothing else. So she was allowed longer trips to the market and the baths, just about as much freedom as the other slaves. She wasn’t spoiled like before. But she was also at the same level as the others. He couldn’t help but sometimes watch her. Perhaps he still had a fondness for her, despite it all. And add to that the fact, that she carried his child! The first child he would have since Antonia was born. His third child. Teutus had been a mistake, back then, but today he was grateful for his son and still pleased with the fact that Teutus was now free and held his name. Any child Teutus would have, would carry on the family name. But there would be another child and Charis had been so certain it was a boy. Despite the fact that he now had Teutus written into the will as his heir, you never knew what could happen. A second son wouldn’t be bad. He would have to talk to Charis again. Discuss her well-being and the child. Especially the child. What were her hopes – what did she think would happen? She had behaved so far and the idea of taking the child from her had faded along with his anger. He almost wanted to forgive her for her disobedience and her lies. And then he might actually accept the child and free it right away and name it his child. And let Charis be his son’s mother. But it all depended on how this conversation would go. Tertius had the triclinium made ready for this talk. A bit of wine, a bit of water and he’d asked Rhoda what Charis preferred to eat these days; he recalled from his time with his wife, that she had certain cravings when she was pregnant. This would be the first time he would spoil Charis after she tried to kill herself and the child; and after her punishment. But all that was in the past now. Now he sat on one couch and another was ready for her. He sent a slave to fetch Charis. Tertius was willing to move on… if she was. @Sara
  14. July, 75 AD For how long had she been coming here now? Last time she saw Charis in person was in February, before she attempted to get rid of the child. It had been months now since she last saw her friend and she supposed most people would have given up by now. But not Cynane. She did not give up on her friend, not when she had promised she would be there when Charis needed her. And so here she was, again, standing opposite the home of Tertius Quinctilius Varus, where Charis lived. She hadn’t tried to approach anyone from the house, not since she met Teutus, who had been entirely unhelpful. Such a friend he was! She still hadn’t seen Charis though and she came here every week, on the same day they used to meet and around the same hour. Nothing had changed when it came to that. But there had been no sign of her friend and she didn’t wait as long as she once had. Maybe it was pointless. Maybe she should give up and return to the palace and come back next week… But then, just as she was about to turn away once more, a petite figure left the domus and it was a figure that was easily recognizable – even with the bump she had, she was quite a few months pregnant now, wasn’t she? Cynane felt slightly bad for having almost scolded Charis for wanting to get rid of the child. It wasn’t a child of love, after all. And her friend almost died because she didn’t want it – but now she was having it anyway. She almost felt shy, as she decided to approach her friend. She walked closer, hoping Charis would see her, unless she had forgotten everything. She didn’t seem to notice Cynane, so she approached her and touched her shoulder gently, suddenly feeling almost on the verge of tears and overwhelmed by meeting Charis once more… “Erea…” @Sara
  15. 30th of June - The Earthquake It was an early morning… actually, it was barely morning. Everyone in the entire household were asleep, not even the kitchen slaves or those taking care of the heating system were awake yet. Silence roamed the corridors and the chambers and Tertius was also asleep in his room together with Hector, always by his side now – at least when they were in here. In the last week, there had been light tremors to the ground. It had been shaking a few times, or perhaps more rattling, it wasn’t anything big and not something he hadn’t experienced before. To most people in Rome, these things weren’t entirely uncommon. Tertius had of course made sure to sacrifice to the right gods and to his ancestors too, asked them for help, just in case something should happen. And nothing had happened and all seemed to be fine. Until now… He woke up with a start, as the bed was shaking much. In fact, everything was shaking! It had been a warm night and he hadn’t cared to put on any clothes after sharing some pleasure with Hector, but now… “Hector!” He literally shook his body slave’s arm, “Earthquake!” He exclaimed while he heard vases or jars of wine fall off tables and shatter and there was dust in the air from the walls or the roof. Tertius jumped out of the bed. His tunica still lay on the floor and he quickly pulled it over his head while thinking that this was more than just a light tremor! No one in the house would sleep through this, surely! Tertius ran out of the room, “EVERYONE out into the peristyle!” He yelled. If one of the doorways gave in or the roof, people could die! Hopefully Hector was right behind him, also waking people up, while Tertius ran to Antonia’s room to get her up. And where in the name of Hades was Charis… oh, the child! Gods! Why were they angry? @Sharpie @Sara @Joaquin
  16. Late May, 75 AD Alexius could barely remember, when he last saw Charis – but it was quite a long time ago. Not that he had thought much about it, it wasn’t as if they ever planned to meet. They just happened to run into each other, after that first time they met, when he saved her from that wretch called Helios. Luckily for Helios, Alexius had not seen him since. And he had seen Charis. She was a very lovely young woman and still not assimilated into Rome, something he actually appreciated. Alexius knew now that he was more Roman than what he wanted to be, so Charis was a breath of fresh air to his too Roman self. And an attractive one too. Not that he’d forgotten what happened the one time he kissed her, nor the fact that she wanted them to be friends, despite how much he had wanted a few benefits with the friendship. But on the other hand, he did enjoy spending time with her. Not that they were close friends, but he liked her. And now he had not seen her in a long while, in fact all winter. He had been busy with Oriana and his job and his son, who lost his mother and now only had Alexius. And when spring came, so did the desires once more… for more than the strange affair going on at home. Now it was almost not even springtime anymore; summer was approaching quickly and Alexius had an afternoon off to enjoy the pleasures of Rome. He’d gone to the market and while other people went there to look at the stalls, even if they were unable to buy anything because they had little money… Alexius went there to look at people, even if he was unable to flirt with everyone because he was supposed to have enough at home. But did he? With Oriana always on the lookout for a future husband, that most definitely would not be a freedman and former gladiator? With a son from his time as a slave… he doubted it, still. Not that they talked about it anymore; the subject was too sore and none of them wanted to give up on the other, it seemed. Even if it was doomed. So now, with a doomed affair at home, he sat down to watch people, with a cup of wine in his hand from the nearest taverna. He had found a stone bench by a building, so that he could lean back. And as he sat there, watching one lovely person after another walk by, there was suddenly a very familiar figure among them! Alexius smiled, downed the wine and approached her with the empty cup in his hand. “Charis! It is you, isn’t it? It’s been too long.” He said with a cheerful smile, which turned into one of surprise when she turned to face him and he’d see her pregnant state. Now that, he had not expected! He could easily imagine who the father of the child was, but this wasn't new. They had a lot of catching up to do, didn't they? “Far too long, it seems!” @Sara
  17. Early May 75AD Charis smiled softly, one hand holding the basket of browning leaves she had painstakingly plucked from the rosebushes, the other hand on her bump. She was now almost five months pregnant and was taking to pregnancy as a duck to water. The gentle curve of her stomach suited her petite frame; the neat bump lightly showing now beneath her tunica. She had first felt the baby move the week before last but now the little flutters were stronger and the sensation so unfamiliar it stopped her in her tracks. She smiled to herself as she felt the movement beneath her fingers and gently stroked the fabric of her plain tunica. Whilst her body might have recovered from what she had done to it in late February and the month of solitude Tertius had ordered her to, her mind had certainly not. Gone was the pragmatic yet passionate woman who schemed and devised plans to ensure her survival and freedom. In her place, observers would find a quiet young woman, meek and placid who went through the daily tolls of life as a slave without complaint. She had been thoroughly broken and the pieces of her mind had yet to be put back together. To her, she needed to behave, to serve her dominus and his family as best as she could; she had betrayed him, and herself and it was only the real Charis - buried deep down and hidden - that saw that this behaviour should not be unexpected. No woman who saw her husband killed, her family enslaved; was carted over land and seas in shackles, lost a child, been raped and now grew another in her belly, could keep up the pretence of happiness and normality forever. The trauma had been bound to catch up to her eventually, and when it had, the breaking down had been spectacular. It had been almost six weeks since Tertius had let her out of her little room but she had barely crossed paths with him in that time. She was no longer his favourite (much to the delight of both Hector and Jocasta), she was a spurned woman, damaged goods and most of the other slaves equally gave her a wide berth. Rhoda had been concerned at the dramatic change in her personality, but no amount of coaxing could return the woman she had known for a year. That Charis was so buried it would take a giant to unearth her. She didn't hear footsteps behind her as she smiled to herself, one hand splayed against her bump. TAG: @Atrice
  18. 18th of December, 74 AD It was about time. It was the second night of Saturnalia, the 18th of December, and it was for this night that Tertius had planned the feast for the slaves of the household - and also freeing his son from slavery, of course. Tomorrow Teutus would no longer be a slave. And it was perfect to use Saturnalia for this ceremony and celebration, because this was when tables were turned for slaves anyway. During this week of Saturnalia, gambling was permitted and it was also common for the masters to provide a table service for their slaves. Someone had to cook it though and it hadn't been Tertius. But no one would be required to serve him tonight. He would pour his own wine and break his own bread. The triclinium of the house was not big enough for all his slaves, so tables had also been set up in the the peristyle - luckily the weather had been good enough for it. Tertius had invited a few friends and then of course all of his slaves would attend the feast. He hoped that Longinus and Rufus would come, as it would be good to have some fellow Senators present too. They had not sent word, but that didn't mean they would not show up. Antonia had been dressed up nicely for the occassion and everyone had been told to wear their finest clothes. He even had Jocasta make a new set of clothes for Teutus, for formal occassions. A chamber had been made ready for Teutus to move into, starting on this night if he wanted to. His own chamber with his own bed, his own table and chair and his own clothes. It would be a new life, but Tertius trusted his son could manage it. Tomorrow, he would be Teutus Quinctilius Varus instead of just Teutus. Finally. Now he was waiting in the hall just inside the front doors, hoping to see his slaves in their finest clothes. It was however also Saturnalia and that was the time of year where masters would often switch places with the slaves. He usually did a little thing with Hector at Saturnalia, but this year he considered to do it with Charis instead. What would it be like, if she was his mistress? That could be a very interesting... game. But he had not decided yet and before everything else, the ceremony of freeing Teutus would happen. So far, Tertius stood alone in the hall, but soon someone would join him here. A table had been set up earlier, with drinks for everyone, before all the slaves and Antonia went to get dressed for the feast. While he waited, he sipped a cup of wine casually. @Sara @Joaquin @Sharpie
  19. The knock on the slaves' side door could hardly have been better timed; Teutus was about to leave the house on an errand. He was the slave with the most liberty to come and go and not all of his 'errands' were official and ordered by the master of the house. This one was, however, and Teutus had to bite back some uncomplimentary language as the ragamuffin on the doorstep thrust an equally nondescript plain wax tabula at him. "For Charis the slave of Tertius Quinctilius Varus," the child said, looking up at Teutus hopefully. Teutus bit back another round of uncomplimentary language. "From Rufus the slave of Octavius Flavius Alexander," the child intoned, its (Teutus had no idea of the kid's gender under the dirt and oversized boy's tunic) eyes round at pronouncing the name of one of the Emperor's close relatives. Teutus sighed, fished out an as and took the battered tabula. "She'll get it," he told the kid who exchanged tablet for coin and ran off to spend his (her?) earnings on a penny bun or something. Teutus could not delay his own errand so it was some time later, once he had returned home, that he cornered Charis. They had barely spoken since their argument, and Teutus had no real desire to speak with her now. "If the master finds you're seeing a man outside the household, he's going to be furious," Teutus said, launching into it without wasting time on preliminaries. The sooner Charis learned what was and was not permitted, the better. It would be even better if she could actually follow those rules, but Teutus wasn't about to hold his breath. @Sara
  20. To Charis, from your friend Rufus, greetings! I trust this finds you well. I have some good news to report: I have found your sister Ardra. She is known as Nymphias and is a slave in the household of Titus Sulpius Rufus, a senator. I have no news yet of your mother or brother, but your sister wishes you well and hopes that you will both be able to meet very soon. I will keep looking for your mother and brother and hope that I will be able to send you news of them soon. The above missive was sent scratched into the wax of a cheap plain wooden wax writing tablet, in script on one leaf and capitals on the other. @Sara
  21. It had been a few weeks since Tertius discovered Charis’ nasty bruise on her face – and had decided to keep her out of sight for most of the household, but at the same time he would find another way to make her useful. So he’d been teaching her more about letters and reading and writing. She was doing quite well, she was a fast learner! He was almost surprised that a barbarian like Charis would get it so fast, that she could actually be taught, but it happened and she was already slowly helping him sort some of his scrolls and documents. So far only those that had to do with the household and mainly lists of things for the house and kitchen (she would find that most useful to learn, he thought), but still… she was being useful. He’d noticed the last few days that the bruise was fading quite a lot, revealing her beautiful skin underneath again. Luckily her headache hadn’t grown worse and she hadn’t fainted or felt more ill, so at least she didn’t have a concussion. But he still allowed her to sleep long enough, to eat well and get exercise and go to the baths on her own – in the daytime, where she hopefully wouldn’t run into any nasty bandits again. It was about time that she was allowed to work less in the kitchen and more in the garden again. But he was enjoying her usefulness in the office and he was enjoying spending time with her. She was actually not stupid at all and her own Latin was actually improving with the lessons, or so he thought. Charis had been nothing but a perfect and good slave these last few weeks. She deserved the work she liked the most and maybe she even deserved a reward. Tertius was becoming fond of her, so maybe he even thought about spoiling her a bit. He’d seen Hector’s eyes when Tertius told his body slave about the reward… and he knew Hector hated that Tertius spent time with any other slave than Hector. But Hector was not the master of this household. Tertius was. And he’d do as he pleased with his slaves. This afternoon, he waited for Charis to appear as usual – she would not be aware that anything would be different today. Tertius could barely wait with telling her and could only hope that she would be pleased and happy to hear that he’d spoil her so. It wasn’t like he did that for all of his slaves, after all. @Sara
  22. It had been a good long while since she’d last laid her eyes upon Charis. Actually not since that day they went to the park, drinking and talking to Helios of the Domus Venus. She worried about her friend, wondering of course why she hadn’t seen her. She’d gone more than once to the play they had departed before, close to her house but not too close, hoping that Charis would show up. But she didn’t. Hopefully she was alright; hopefully nothing had happened to her. Maybe it was her hard-to-read Dominus who had locked her up for unknown reasons. Or she had behaved in the wrong way and displeased him and he’d killed her. All kinds of thoughts had gone through her mind and she had even considered going to knock on the door to ask for Charis – she just wanted to see her safe. She knew her friend probably wasn’t as fragile as one might think, but on the other hand, she was no warrior like Cynane and she was so delicately beautiful. Again she had a few hours where Claudia wanted to rest and other of the guards had taken over, and Cynane once more discovered that her feet led her to Charis’ home. She rounded the corner and found a place in shadow nearby, where she could watch the house. She probably wouldn’t come. Cynane crossed her arms, feeling a little bit irritated and angry at Charis’ dominus. Although to be fair, he probably didn’t even know about Cynane. She didn’t know if Charis had dared to mention to him that she had friends outside the house. Just as she was about to leave, a person came out from the little alley leading to the servant entrance to the house. And it could only be Charis! Cynane smiled at first, happy to see her, but the it faded, because she was still worried. When Charis came her way, she waved at her, “Charis! Thank the gods, it really is you!” She said in their own tongue, when the other was closer to her, “I was so worried!” @Sara
  23. It had been a few weeks since that day when Helios came to see him… and he learned that his newest and definitely prettiest slave had been talking badly about him, when she left the house to apparently go and get herself drunk with a friend. Tertius had naturally been upset and one thing led to another and her punishment was to sleep with Tertius, as his way of proving his control over her and her body and her life. She had nothing to say. She was his. And if she was going to behave like that while she was his, she had to learn that he was still in charge, no matter what. He bought her, fair and square, on the market in Rome. He wasn’t responsible for what happened to her before that, but she was his now. Sleeping with her actually hadn’t been all that bad. She was very pretty, almost delicate, and her skin had been so warm and soft and smooth because she was so much younger than he. And her lips, her kiss… and just the feeling of her. It was definitely something to remember. She had left the bed before he woke and after that day, things went back to normal. Not once had Hector complained about sleeping elsewhere but in Tertius’ bed, instead it was almost as if he seemed to work harder to please his master – maybe to try and prove that he did belong in Tertius’ bed, instead of Charis. Although it had been nice with her there. It had been so long since he slept with a woman and even longer since he spent the entire night next to one. Since that day, he’d watched her work in the garden. They barely spoke - it felt kind of weird after their intimacy - but she seemed to have learned her place. She didn’t speak out of turn, she acted respectfully and did what she to do. He’d of course allowed her to go the baths and after a few weeks, she’d even been allowed to the market again. She behaved, now, he believed. Charis was now the slave he wanted her to be, sweet to look at and behaving properly. The last few days he’d noticed a difference though. She wasn’t working as much in the gardens as she ought to. As she usually did. And he hadn’t been having guests or throwing parties, so there was no reason for her to spend so much time in the kitchens. He’d heard that she’d said there wasn’t a need for her in the garden right now, but once he also heard the kitchen slave Rhoda mutter under her breath about how she didn’t need the extra help in the kitchen. That it didn’t feel like help at all. Then Tertius was walking through the garden and noticed a few wilting flowers and arched a brow. Charis was needed here. He’d have to talk to her about this odd behavior, because it was almost misbehaving, again. He couldn’t have that. “Hector, fetch Charis for me.” Tertius told his always attentive slave. Then he plucked one of the drooping flowers and brought it with him to the tablinum. And there he sat on the front edge of the desk, waiting for her with the wilted flower in his hand. @Sara
  24. Later that same day, after Secrets and Garden Games Hector had an unhappy look on his face. Not because that other slave Helios had visited his master today, because clearly Tertius hadn’t even touched the other handsome slave… and it wasn’t because of the news either. It was probably no secret that Hector didn’t like how his master looked at Charis, since that could threaten his own position in the household. No, he was unhappy because his master was unhappy. Tertius had shared a little with Hector about what Helios told him; something about Charis wanting to control Tertius and she obviously couldn’t. It didn’t make Hector more fond of her, only less. Tertius had had a cup of wine to calm his nerves, but it didn’t help. Not even a massage from Hector helped. He would have to speak to Charis and make her understand just how inferior she was in this household and that if she thought she could control Tertius, she was wrong. She was very wrong! He could make her life miserable if he wanted to, but he had kindly allowed her to work in the gardens and he could tear that away from her. He could tear away anything that pleased her. He could tear her apart. “Hector, tell Charis to come. Alone.” Tertius finally said firmly to his body slave and Hector nodded silently and went to fetch Charis. Tertius still sat in his office, the tablinum, he hadn’t moved much since Helios was here. But now he stood and paced a bit around, feeling restless. Gods how stupid was that girl? She’d looked so fine and pretty at the slave market that day, and she had seemed to be a fast learner, but it was all a mask and she thought she could control her master. He inhaled a breath, tried to calm himself, but the more he thought about what he learned today, the more upset he became. Finally there was a gentle knock before Charis would enter the tablinum. Tertius sat down on the edge of the front side of the table. @Sara
  25. Rufus' life had turned upside down without a moment's warning - his master's death, the funeral, the being sold to a slave-dealer (or his representative, or something of that sort), the (long, tiring, footsore) journey to Rome... He made no protest (it would be useless, anyway, and he knew this was just something that went with his condition as a slave) but was grateful to find that he had a little freedom at the slave-dealer's once he arrived in Rome. Apparently, the merchant used his own stock to see to his stock. Slaves like Rufus, who were used to it, knew what was expected of them, were employed in bringing food and water to those in the cages. Rufus, despite his own circumstances, couldn't help feeling sorry for them. Brought here from who knew where - there were dark-skinned Africans (possibly Nubians) and pale-skinned Celts. It was quite the babble of languages when they spoke, although they were quiet, on the whole. He couldn't help sighing as he reached the last cage with his water bucket. His feet hurt - he'd been able to rest, a little, but hadn't had that long before one of the guards or overseers or somebody (not the big boss, though) had grabbed him to take water around. He held the bucket steady, making sure that the dipper was within reach of the pretty young chalk-footed woman in the cage. He smiled at her, wondering how much Latin she could speak, if any. @Sara
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