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  1. 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
  2. It was a very early morning in the baths. The sun had barely risen, but Helenus was up already, taking care of himself before he needed to take care of so many others. He left the sleeping quarters of the slaves and walked through the dark corridors, not yet lit for the new day… up towards the actual thermae, where he thought he might take a swim before anyone else woke. The baths were often nice and quiet this early and he liked that. Of course some Romans would be up early and he didn’t expect it would be quiet for very long, but right now… it was. The nearest bath was the women’s section and it was entirely empty right now. He never ventured far into this area when the baths were open and people were flocking everywhere. Then Helenus would only walk to the end of the corridor from the slave quarters to peek into the area with all the shelves for clothing. Right now, that was empty too and on bare feet he walked in. There was so much space here, when the baths were empty. He made a sound just for fun, to hear the echo and smiled by the sound of it. When he reached the big swimming pool, the natatio, he stopped for a moment, looking at the still water in it. Then he slipped out of his simple tunica and into the water. It was a bit cold at this hour, the ovens were not at their full heat right now, but it was fine, this was how it usually was for Helenus. The slaves who worked here didn’t get into the water when everyone else were. They’d have to do it before. Helenus dived under the water for a moment and then swam a few times back and forth. Then he let his body float a bit, while he lay on his back, staring up into the decorated ceiling of the room. This was so nice. What a pity he’d have to stop soon. He stopped floating then and dived under the water again. Only to be startled when he came up to the surface and brushed water away from his eyelids. He wasn't alone anymore. And he was not in the men's section of the thermae... he blinked the water away, staring at the woman up there. @Gothic
  3. May, 74 AD Helenus stood still, with his back straight and his hands clasped together behind him. He wore just the sleeveless and pale thin tunica today, and before him stood one of his superiors. He stood together with other thermae slaves, they were just getting ready for the day and all of the slaves were given their bits of information and tasks. Helenus would of course be in charge of people’s belongings and clothing. “There is also a noble coming to the bath soon. Their messenger requested it was the same slave that tended to them the whole time. That’ll be you, Helenus, since you’re in the apydoterium already. They forgot to mention a name, but I’m sure they’ll inform you once they are here.” His overseer informed him and Helenus nodded. “I’m sure they will. Until then, I will serve as usual.” Helenus said and the overseer nodded – gave him that wave of his hand meaning Helenus was dismissed and could go to the apydoterium, where the first visitors to the bath were soon entering. Tending to the same person all the time they were here was something special and more interesting than just being where Helenus sat now. It meant he'd help the patron bathe, massage and oil if needed, shave if needed and anything else the patron required, really. He sat down on a marble bench, all the way in, so that he could dangle his legs. He brushed a strand of the long, dark hair of his shoulder, so that all of it was on his back. Maybe he should have worn the loincloth. On the other hand, if the noble wanted him in the bath, it was faster to pull the tunica over his head and get in. Soon the first visitors arrived and they were certainly not dressed as nobles. They were ordinary workers, here for their morning bath before getting on with the day. Helenus took their clothing and carried it to one of the niches in the wall. He spent a few moments looking through a purse, just picking up one single coin for his own use, before he went to the secret stash he had behind a lose rock in the wall. He placed the rock back where it belonged, after he’d left the coin there, and then it was back to the apydoterium to wait for more people. Hopefully ‘his’ noble would soon show up and until then, he'd make himself useful to the other visitors here.
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