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  1. Early October, 74 AD takes place after Out of the Blue A slave turned up at the party Lexus was serving at, and asked to see him. Lexus had not been at home all day – earlier in the day, he had gone to see Oriana Laecania about that job in her garden and apparently also met his father. That was… strange, which was an understatement. So unexpected and yet it seemed as if Oriana knew. Had she guessed it already the night they met? He didn’t know and he had not yet had enough time to think about what it meant. For after the day, he had this job in the evening and he had to go and do his job, as he had promised. And now a slave came to him, so he had to go and see what it was about. Lexus had to leave the tray he was carrying to another servant and came to the door. The slave outside seemed to be catching his breath, as if he’d been running fast. He recognized the slave as one belonging to his mother’s friend, Auletia. What was wrong? “It’s your mother… she’s… not well. You have to come.” The slave said and Lexus forgot about the coin he’d earn for once and hurried to put on his cloak and follow the slave to their home. They came into the simple insula they lived in, where his mother was placed on the bed. Lights had been lit and her friend sat on the bed beside her. His mother, Ginevera, didn’t look so well, to be honest. She was pale and there were bruises on her cheek and her throat. And more was hiding underneath the blanket she had been covered with. “What happened?” Lexus said, shocked and very worried to see his mother in what seemed to be a rather weak state. “She was on her way home just before the sun set. She’d been washing clothes by the Tiber. She was attacked, Lexus. Someone tried to rob her and she said she fought back, which explains the bruises and what happened after. They didn’t like that. She had passed out when someone found her and brought her home…” Auletia said and Lexus sat down beside his mother and took her hand. His mother’s friend continued, “It happened only a few hours ago. Your mother said where you were working tonight, so we sent my slave to find you.” Lexus squeezed his mother’s hand. She wasn’t even that old, “Mother… I’m here now. I’m not leaving your side again.” He said. His mother coughed, held her stomach and her body tensed for a moment. Then she squeezed his hand back. He wanted to tell her he found his father, but how could he, right now? It wasn’t the right time for that. “I know. You’re a good boy, Lexus. I am not well. I don’t know if I’ll live.” His mother said. She didn’t lie to him, at least. Lexus felt the tears pressing against his eyes, but forced himself to be strong, for her. “I’m sure you’ll be fine. But now you need to rest. Some say a good nights sleep cure most things.” Lexus just said and when her eyes closed as she fell asleep, he went outside to catch his breath. Of course she’d survive, wouldn’t she? It wasn’t that bad, was it? He couldn’t imagine a life without his mother. While there was more to his life now, she had so far been the only constant in his life. Sure he had met his father now, but only today and he didn’t yet know what to think or feel about that. Or if his father really wanted Lexus in his life, now. He could not lose his mother now. He loved her. The medicus came outside, while he stood there and he wiped the tears from his cheeks. His mother’s friend stayed too, along with her slave, to tend to Lexus and to his mother. He kept his word; he didn’t leave her again.
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