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  1. 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
  2. SEPTEMBER, 71 CE Located near Roman Petuaria[1], Britannia The weather had begun to adapt to the seasonal climate, but on days like today, with their tunics soaked in sweat, it was as if it were still mid-July. Immin was a new addition to the family, by way of his recent marriage to Turi’s[2] elder sister, Erea[3]. He was a strapping veteran of the conflicts with the Romans that had plagued the Parisi tribe over a decade past and Turi quickly grew enamoured of his new brother-in-law’s history fighting against the Romans–a people he had grown to revile since they slaughtered his father on that fateful day, near Petuar in the winter of 62 CE. Their friendship, as well as Turi’s interest in swordsmanship, would result in Immin taking the enthusiastic youth under his wing, versing him in the ways of warfare. On this day they began after dawn, but by noon, that day’s regimen had been fairly exhaustive and presented a lull in the exercise, which had given way to a discussion concerning the boy’s late father. “I remember, on the day he departed for Petuar… he was large enough to wrap all five of us in his arms as we bid him farewell,” Turi recollected fondly on the last impression his father ever imparted on his childhood memory. “Then again, maybe we were just small enough. A matter of perspective, I suppose,” Turi pondered aloud, as his sight dropped to the ground and he reflected inwardly on the rhetoric statement of his own design. “Eyes up!” Immin ordered upon a successful break of his opponent’s tepid guard. “Stay focused,” he further instructed, recognizing his pupil’s wavering attention. Despite the stern vocalisation of his in-law, it would be the firm welt of Immin’s wooden sword upon his collarbone that would register with Turi’s cognisance. Ach! That’s going to hurt tomorrow. He shrieked in pain and annoyance, “Oi! What was that?” Withdrawing a couple of paces from his current position and rolling his shoulders in an effort to dispel the discomfort, he sneered at his so-called tutor. Ignoring his student’s outburst, Immin began to address the issue at hand. “Men don't fight for what they’ve lost; men fight for all the things they can still have. Take care you don’t abscond with your pleasant memories and childhood dreams. A man needs to face the realities of life in order to overcome them. Too many unprepared boys who believed themselves grown, have only to be found wanting,” he ended his protracted lecture on a pregnant pause, leaving his words to ruminate in his young ward’s mind. Turi gawped at Immin in momentary stunned silence upon his surprising, almost regretful disclosure. The adolescent Briton had never been particularly good at reading social cues or interpreting body language. He attempted to deflect the serious turn of their conversation on a humorous note, “Has my sister married a Briton warrior or a Greek tragedian?” “War shapes many things, my dear boy. Whether it be the men who fight them or the minds who suffer them. One need not be Greek nor Roman to recognise a particular poetry, certainly tragedy, in all our lives… now, raise your shield,” Immin concluded their discussion that abrupt note, ending the brief standstill and swinging his training sword overhead. Turi took a step forward, heaving his circular shield above to accept the strike. The weight of the blow would cause his arm to quake and strain under the pressure. Without letting up on the assault, Immin followed up his overhead swing with a piercing lunge in to his pupil’s midsection. His thrust landed square, connecting with Turi’s chest and compelling him into a kneeling position, as air rapidly expelled from his lungs. Immin rested the flat side of his weapon under the boy’s chin, using the leverage to force eye contact. Raising an inquisitive eyebrow, the senior Briton queried, “Yield?” Turi groaned at the prospect of having lost yet another bout to the more experienced combatant, since he’d thought he had substantially improved of late. When Immin removed the point of his sword from the neck of his student, Turi saw an opportunity and seized upon it. When the elder man reached out his hand, presumably to assist the boy to his feet, Turi swung wildly at Immin’s ankles and swept him to floor. The younger man quickly ascended to a standing overlook, resting one of his feet on the trunk of his tutor. Mimicking his assailant only moments ago, Turi rested the flat of his sword on his opponent’s chin and repeated Immin’s inquiry in a sarcastic tone, “Yield?” Their swordplay was interrupted by the sound of footsteps upon the stone path that encircled the house. “Uh, er- Erea!” Turi stammered in his sudden alarm. He struggled to find the words to explain their predicament, since Erea had long voiced her disapproval at the prospect of Turi wielding weapons. Since they lost their father so many years ago, with Rome’s might had proving indomitable. “Um… welcome home, dearest Sister. Back so soon? How was your day?” He attempted to diffuse the situation with a quick succession of questions, once again detracting from the more serious matter at hand. @Sara Reader Advisory: [1] Roman Petuaria, known as Petuar to the local Britons, is located in the modern-day East Riding of Yorkshire. [2] Ambrosius' Briton name was Turi [3] Charis' Briton name was Erea
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Helios was on his way home from visiting one of his patrons – one of those who preferred and paid for Helios to come to him rather than the Senator visiting the Domus Venus. And Helios was fine with that, he enjoyed the fine beds such people had, all the luxury of their homes and their slaves serving him, because the patron would often demand it. And while he appeared to just be there for the man’s pleasure, of course Helios was constantly watchful of what went on around him, who came and who left in such homes and what did the patron talk about after sex? He was well spent though, as he walked home, late in the afternoon. Now he thought he might need a good rest in his own bed and maybe a trip to one of the baths, spending a single coin on getting a proper bathing session, and then he would get on with the job. He hadn’t been sent with any of the guards, not even lovely Calvunus or grumpy Marcus, so no one knew at what time he ought to be back. Helios supposed he could spend a little bit of time on his own. So on his way home to the brothel, he took a longer route that would lead him towards one of the public baths. Helios had just turned around a corner, he wasn't far from the baths now... but then he found himself fronting a familiar face. Charis, wasn’t it? The young Briton slave, whose secret he sold to her master not so long ago… oh he had kind of hoped not to meet her again, ever. Fuck! And there was no way she had not seen him. He could try and pretend though, although his look of surprise might give him away. He hurried his steps to walk past her, as if he didn’t really know who she was. Hopefully she didn’t know that he spoke to her master and hopefully her master hadn’t punished her too badly after the secret was out. Hopefully she wouldn’t even remember him. Hopefully… @Sara
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. By the gods Cynane hoped this was the right time! Two weeks ago, she had met a very lovely young woman from Britannia and they had actually gotten along rather well. So well that they wanted to see each other again. And they agreed to meet near her domus, two weeks later. Cynane had been a very good slave to her imperial mistress those weeks, she had not asked for any trips out on her own, but now she did it and it paid off. She was allowed. But at what hour was it she met Charis last time? She believed it was afternoon, because she remembered Claudia having business during the morning hours and she had been resting later in the day, and that’s when Cynane went to the market. She could not ask for an entire day off, but she wanted to see Charis so badly. She didn’t know why, other than that she’d felt bad for the young woman and wanted to be her friend. And maybe that’s all the reason she needed? Anyway, she was here now. Right where they’d left each other, but she had seen where Charis went afterwards so she continued up the hill to the domus. It didn’t look like the biggest place, but it wasn’t small either. She leaned against a wall opposite the domus where Charis lived and worked as a slave and she hoped Charis would actually appear. If she remembered their deal about meeting here and if she actually got the chance to leave. She hoped so. @Sara
  9. Late March, 74 AD It had been a few days since he bought that little slave from Britannia. He didn’t have a great experience with German slaves and he didn’t like those from Africa either, so Britannia seemed to be a good choice. And she was new, so he had the chance to make her the slave he wanted her to be. No one else had broken her yet, no one else had harmed her (or so he thought at least), so this was his chance to be a good slave owner, if only she’d behave. And he hoped she would. He had brought her home that first day and made sure she was tended to – cleaned up, dressed, showed around by some other slave. The day after, Tertius had to attend some meetings and do some actual work, so he didn’t have time to look after her. He was sure though, that the other house slaves would do that just fine. Now she had slept here two nights and no one had complained about her, so it must be true that she was a quiet and obedient slave. Tertius had time to meet her properly today though, so he sat down in his tablinum and did some paperwork and had another slave go and fetch the new girl. He named her Charis. It was a Greek name for the good graces – goddesses of beauty, charm and kindness. He thought it would fit her well, as that it would also fit a slave quite well. At last there was a knock and Tertius looked up from his desk, “Enter.” He said, hoping she knew enough Latin to at least understand that. From what he’d learned, she knew a little, but not a lot yet. He’d have to make sure she learned somehow – maybe Teutus could help her? First things first though, Tertius wanted to make sure she understood who was her Dominus and what he expected from her. @Sara
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