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Found 9 results

  1. January, 75 AD That autumnal conversation with Helenus had been on Clio's mind for a few months, running in the background like that big hairy spider you knew lives in a corner of the house but still spooks you every time you actually see it. It had been surprisingly insightful in more than one subject. For all the airs she put on, it had struck Clio at the time how she really had nothing more to offer than her exotic looks and occasionally witty remarks - but, she justified to herself, none of her past and current owners had purchased her for what was between her ears and they had similarly had no expectations of her attaining the intellectual levels of a philosopher or mathematician. Still, she was nothing if not determined, and she no longer wanted to be seen as a pretty face and only that. Servitude was no excuse not to educate oneself, Clio reasoned, and so she had put a portion of her savings inside a small leather pouch and headed off to the Emporium Magnum, where she assumed she should be able to find reading material appropriate for both her literacy level and purse. It was, naturally, easier said (or thought) than done. As she stood in one of the many pathways inside the market, shoulders jostling when she and other patrons unwillingly walked past one another, Clio began to wonder if the whole thing was such a good idea as it had seemed. She reached the quieter quarter of booksellers and stood and watched from a corner, biting her lip in indecision. What would her domina say if she found out? Clio didn't need books, they added nothing to her value as body slave to Annia Comna. What if it gave domina the idea that it was some secret beau that had put the thought into Clio's head? And if she did buy something, it should be something harmless, nothing that could evoke thoughts of rebellion or escape (even if none existed in Clio's mind!). She shuffled her feet, her lost gaze flicking from one tent to the other without really taking in anything. A scroll might be the better option, yes... Small and easy to conceal, and not too expensive if it was taken from her... Or maybe saving her coin for Mersis' hair ornaments was the right thing to do, as she'd been doing all along. That orange pin had looked so lovely against her black hair that domina hadn't even been angry, but appreciative. Frustrated, Clio let out a loud groan, not giving any consideration as to whom might hear it . Was the path to education really so thorny?! @Chevi
  2. January, 75 AD Oriana was so lovely. He could not get enough of her when they were together, but when they were not, he was not sure what to think or feel. He knew she sometimes saw actual suitors and he knew that despite what she told him, she probably did want to rise in ranks here in Rome. She enjoyed her luxuries and she was clever and independent. And she didn't want her man sleeping around, like he had a tendency to, at least before he met her. Alexius tried to stay true. He tried hard. Did he fail or not? Well that was something he did not talk about. Something else had occurred in her home too though; in the fall, the arrival of his son Lexus, whom he had never met before, but now knew in person. Lexus was a handsome young man, but a lot more clumsy than Alexius and a lot more... inexperienced. Alexius did not think he was that inexperienced even at his son's age! Lexus' mother's death had been hard on the boy though, so he wouldn't push the boy either. Today, Lexus was busy in the garden and Oriana had again left the house without caring to ask her bodyguard to come! Probably to see a suitor again, he had an idea that's why she did not tell him. She knew he'd be jealous too. It was all a mess, the affair with his employer, and he often considered just quitting the job and leaving her to maybe ask sweet Gaia if she'd have him work for her. But then Oriana was so lovely in the nights. There were so many things he could do, and then there's what he did... and since his employer was gone and his son was busy working, Alexius thought he might just find himself a drink somewhere. It was still broad daylight when he entered his old favorite tavern, not so far from the ludii and of course run by the most amazing freedwoman and former gladiatrix, Bellona. He entered the place and was about to get himself a cup of wine, when he spotted another familiar and quite pretty lady in there, sitting all alone. Well she was not that familiar, but also not unfamiliar. He'd seen her at one of the ludii where he'd gone to see the gladiators train. And at one of the ludii, he had not failed to notice this particular pretty woman, also watching the gladiators train, but from the inside of the ludus. She was probably a slave, but that mattered little to him. He had seen her before, she was quite attractive and all alone - and he decided she was familiar enough to approach her. First though, he bought a jar of wine and seeing that she already had a cup, he only needed one for himself. Hopefully she would not deny good company and wine, since she was on her own. Then Alexius approached her with a friendly smile on his face, "Greetings, lovely lady... I hope you won't mind if I sit down here and share this with you?" He nodded to the jar of wine in his hand, "I think I've seen you at one of the ludii, haven't I?" @Liv
  3. October, 74 AD. Clio fidgeted in her seat, casting nervous looks about her surroundings. In the early afternoon, the popina was far from at its busiest, but even from the relative safety of her corner table and stool, she didn't feel very comfortable being at this place alone. In front of her was a crude ceramic cup half-full with posca; at least while unaccompanied, she preferred to stay as sober as possible. Had the other slave received and understood her message? What if he could not - or did not want to - come, and Clio sat there all by herself for hours like a fool? It had been hard enough to negotiate these few hours of relative freedom, and it had involved lying to her domina - something the black-haired slave usually tried to avoid and for good reason. She had risked a lot to be here, and even now, alone with only her thoughts for company, Clio still wasn't quite sure why she had done it. It would have been so easy to cast everything aside as a fortuitous meeting and small talk, but no, she had to go and follow up on her parting words. Inhaling sharply through her nose, Clio tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and grabbed her cup to take another sip. Just as her glace swept through the entrance door, a familiar figure came through it, and she very nearly spilled her drink on the table. Why was her heart beating so fast all of a sudden?! @Atrice
  4. Her heart pounded painfully in her chest, beating so rapidly it felt like it was about to escape its bone prison. Her mouth was dry as the desert, and no matter how many times she swallowed, it did not help. Every muscle in Clio's body was tense, and as she looked around nervously she silently cursed herself for the thousandth time. How could she have been so careless?! All it had taken was a wrong turn in an alley somewhere many paces back, a couple of winding streets with nearly identical buildings and here she was, completely lost in the heart of the Subura. As soon as she had realised her mistake, Clio had attempted to retrace her steps back to one of the main thoroughfares, but the labyrinthine layout of the narrow streets made it impossible for one unfamiliar with the neighbourhood like her. She drew her palla closer to her, pulling it as close to her ears as possible. She wanted to hide under it, have it protect her like a thick veil from the dubious glances passers-by sent her way, but to no avail. Clio might as well have been walking about naked for all the attention the palla was drawing: its quality and dark red colour were nothing like what the female residents of the Subura would own. It marked her as an outsider who had some access to wealth, and also made her an easy target for petty thieves. Another pair of footsteps suddenly sounded from right behind her and Clio turned around hastily, eyes wide like a deer's and chest heaving with rapid breaths. This was it, this was the moment she was going to get stabbed and robbed. @Beauty
  5. (Jan 75 AD) Attis was not entirely sure how he had got the afternoon to himself, and nor did he care - what mattered was that he had got the afternoon to himself. What mattered more was that he'd also been given two sestertii to spend and told to go and have fun. He had wandered around for a bit and found himself in a popina off the Via Lata, which served posca (totally crap but marginally better than lora) and food (greasy but not bad, on the whole). The only free seats were at a large table to one side and he'd debated eating his food at the counter before deciding that he spent far too much of his life on his feet. If someone else wanted to sit down too, well, the table was big enough. There was someone there already, a redhead of a similar age to Attis himself. "Mind if I join you?" "Help yourself, it's a big enough table, and there's nowhere else that's free." Attis didn't need telling twice and sat down. "Rome the eternal city - keeping everyone eternally on their feet," he said with a grin. "It's nice to sit down for once." @Liv @Joaquin @Chevi
  6. The shrine of Cybele by the Circus Maximus offered a much more intimate experience than the main temple on the Palatine. At this time of day, it was practically empty, and even slaves like Clio were welcome to go in and pay their respects to the Magna Mater, as the Romans called the mother goddess. As usual, inside the shrine stood an empty throne, flanked by figures of lions and the goddess's consort, Attis. Clio joined her hands in prayer before the throne and murmured a short hymn in her native Greek. "Metera moi panton te theon..." She was done after a few minutes, and exchanged a nod with the attending gallus as she exited the shrine. However small the shrine may be, the priest kept it proper for the goddess with dignity and devotion; he took surely pride in his sacred duties. Outside, the feeble winter sun managed to produce an unexpected glare, causing Clio to almost bump into another person; thankfully, she took a step to the side quickly enough to avoid collision. "Apologies," she offered in a contrite tone, examining the would-be victim with a quick once-over. It was a young woman, fair of hair and skin and dressed unassumingly - a foreigner, possibly a slave -, but what caught Clio off guard was the look of distress on her face. "Are you all right? I didn't hurt you, did I?" Clio was quite sure she hadn't, but maybe their arms had brushed after all... but something as trifling as that should not cause this kind of reaction. They were in Rome, the largest city to ever exist and home to a million souls - of course people were going to bump into each other! @Beauty
  7. It was just another day at work for Helenus. He’d woken up in the simple dormitory he shared with a bunch of other male slaves of the thermae. They had gone to break their fast with a bit of bread and olive oil and watered wine, and then they had gotten ready for the day. Helenus hadn’t spoken much yet today, he often didn’t feel like talking much in the morning. But in the corridor towards the men’s bathing area, he met one of the girls that was his best contact in the women’s bathing area. “Greetings. Hopefully it will be a good day.” Helenus said to her and she stopped and they moved to the side of the corridor to not be in the way. “Hopefully it will. Is there something in particular you hope will happen today?” She said. It was all a code though, their conversation. It sounded simple enough and like casual chatting, but of course they were discussing the plans for the day. And what they might gain. “Just that the sun will shine upon us. Remember to let me know if it does.” Helenus said and she nodded. Of course she would, that was her job. They were both slaves, but she’d been told to listen to Helenus, for he had done this in a few years already and he knew what he did. He was a good bath slave and a good thief, even though he appeared to be just a sweet and submissive slave. But underneath the surface, the girl was convinced he wasn’t. She couldn’t know he was only a good thief because he had to be. He didn’t want to taste the whip, he didn’t want to die and he didn’t want to gain a worse job than this. They parted ways to go to each their section of the great thermae. He had only taken care of one patron though, when the girl appeared in the doorway to the men’s section, “Helenus. You’re needed.” She said, and he knew what that meant. Helenus quietly followed her to the women’s section, where she pointed out a wealthy lady who was just finishing getting undressed. He wondered if her slave would follow her or what. @Liv
  8. OCTOBER, 74 CE Pausing in the arcade of the Ludus’ domus, reserved for the household of Titus Justinius Canicus Phiscerus, Ambrosius surveyed the scene of the surrounding courtyard. The leaves upon the trees that littered the gardens had begun to exhibit tinges of saffron and brown, indicating the passing of summer and the onset of autumn. Being unaware of the exact day of his birth, his family equated the beginning of the season with such a time. It would mark his eighteenth year, but he held no doubts that he would spend this anniversary in the absence of his family, for the first time in his life. Previously, he had often shared this occasion with his youngest sister, who had been born during the same season. The Briton had been returning to his quarters from a discussion with the ludus’ manager, where he had been briefed on the possibility that he would shortly undergo his first gladiatorial contest. Despite only having a few short months to prepare, his instructor had informed the Imperial client of Ambrosius’ perceived suitability for the tournament – though he was hardly the only one. It seemed as though they were scraping the bottom of the barrel to provide a respectable levy of gladiators for the event and hedging their bets in the process, hoping to achieve a grand victory. Some might consider it ‘desperate measures’. Resolving to cast such thought aside and return to his room, he turned on his heels and strode towards the central hallway that divided the wings of the structure in to east and west, whilst providing him with a route from the south towards the gladiator’s quarters at the northern end of the premises. He travelled in that direction for roughly fifty meters before coming to a halt as a familiar figure exited from an adjoining room. Catching their gaze, he would recognise the individual as a woman that often accompanied Titus’ wife during periods of training, watching from afar. Her frequent presence gave the Briton youth a curious pause for thought, realising he knew nothing of the woman, despite her frequent presence becoming second nature. “Me, uh- I sorry... mea domina[1],” Ambrosius quickly apologised in broken Latin, despite being uncertain of any wrongdoing. His very existence had been considered an offence at various times during his captivity. Neglecting her darker complexion in ignorance of geography, he presumed her to be of Roman birth and somehow of relation to the master of the house, thus the term of respect. @Liv Reader Advisory: [1] Latin phrase meaning "my lady".
  9. The smell of fried onions and cooking meat beckoned to Clio irresistibly. She had walked past the thermopolium a number of times over the past few weeks and nearly succumbed to its delicious aromas, but it was only now that she had the agency (and bravery) to actually become a customer. She was a faithful slave on a secret mission: to sample the wares of the Wolf-man. If they passed the taste test, she was to bring some back - discreetly - for her domina to try. If they didn't, she got a free meal out of it anyway. From inside the shop the owner's voice boomed, and Clio trembled in anticipation. The shopkeeper's reputation preceded him, and it was not the first time Clio heard him ranting or complaining at one of his helpers, probably a slave who knew better than to argue back or really do anything but nod. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and approached the stall. It's for Domina, she told herself in a bid for courage. Clio had not dared to bring up the subject, but could this particular craving of her mistress's be caused by new life in her womb? Pregnant women were known for wanting all sorts of extraordinary foodstuffs, after all. On the other hand, it might just be due to wanting to try some tasty commoner food. Clio would reserve judgment until a later date, when things became clearer, before reporting this to her master. "Hello," she greeted timidly, elbowing her way between two patrons, each busy with gorging himself on bread and meat. The smell was enough to make anyone's mouth water. @Gothic
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