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  1. June 77 It had been a long time coming. Too long, perhaps, but it was better to correct an oversight than to ignore it in favour of the status quo. Rather than a more formal dinner party with entertainment, it was a small private gathering of Aulus, his wife, his eldest son and daughter and one or two close friends and family members who took their places in the summer triclinium which overlooked the garden. The smaller number could recline on the dining couches which were arranged in the usual fashion around the table in the centre, allowing for quiet conversation over good food. There was a single space left once everyone had taken their places, which might look (in a more slapdash sort of house) as though the host had miscounted or couldn't be bothered to try to get the right number of people to come. "I beg you will indulge me for a moment before we begin our meal," he said to his gathered guests. "We have one further guest, though I think it may come as a bit of a surprise to him." He turned to one of the waiting slaves. "Tell Felix to come here." "Yes, Domine." The slave turned and departed on his errand. It was only a moment or two before Felix appeared, as quick and attentive as ever. Aulus indicated the spare place. "Felix, I would like you to join us, if you will." @Chevi @Sara @Sarah
  2. May 77AD Attis had felt somewhat peckish and tried to resist giving in to the urge to find something to eat. He'd even managed to resist... for all of maybe half an hour, before giving up and going in search of sustenance. He'd come away with three honey cakes, one of which he'd deposited in Metella's hands (along with a kiss on her cheek) before wandering along to Longinus' tablinum. The relationship between the two was mostly repaired since the trip to Greece - repaired enough for Attis to slide back into old habits, though not quite so much that he'd walk straight in and deposit one of his acquisitions under his master's nose. "Domine? Are you busy?" His tone implied that he rather hoped Longinus wasn't - or that, if he was, he wouldn't mind being interrupted. @Sara
  3. 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)
  4. November, 76AD Longinus strained against the lead looped around Ragum's neck. The dog was only eight months old and already up to his thigh, he had no idea how big it was supposed to be but as he loitered at the Portico, he regretted bringing his birthday gift. Titus had really outdone himself with this one, and despite the fact that Celsus had said women liked pets, he wasn't convinced Sergia would like this one. He glanced over his shoulder to the brawny Dacian and gave him a look. He should have brought Attis, he would have talked him out of this. Negotiations had been going on for months now but he hadn't had a chance to see the lady alone. She'd attended the dinner with her Uncles but he couldn't quite get the measure of the young woman and if he was going to press ahead with a marriage, he needed to know it would work and wouldn't end in disaster as it had done with Antonia, and with Sestia. The thought of both women made a lump form in his throat which he swallowed down. He shook off the thought as Celsus cleared his throat, gesturing with a jerked head to a woman and small entourage approaching from the left - naturally, for her honours sake, she couldn't come completely alone. Ragum let out a bark of glee and Longinus was glad he prioritised his fitness and health so he could actually manage to pull the dog back. He grinned at Sergia and inclined his head. "Salve Sergia Auletia," Ragum barked again and Longinus chuckled, "Ragum also says hello." TAG: @locutus-sum
  5. Two days after his brother had burst into his tablinum with news that he had made a decision and wanted to pursue a career in the vigiles, with the aim of attaining the rank of prefect, Gaius had almost reconciled himself to what needed to happen. Almos, but not quite, which was why he was in the Piscina Publica, his faithful Cassander in tow, going to call on his own former legate. He needed an older man's opinion on this (even that of the irreverent Longinus would be more helpful than continually going over the same line of thought in his own head - maybe Longinus could see something he hadn't seen?) Anyway, it had been long enough since he'd seen his former commander. This was more of an excuse than anything - and he had sent his brother round to have a talk with him, Longinus might well want to know what, if anything, had come of that talk. He let Cassander knock on the door and go through the formalities - "My master has come to call on your master, if he is in?" - and then they were admitted to the house. The decoration in the atrium was as eclectic as he had remembered Longinus' house to be, and there was a dog barking somewhere in the back quarters. It sounded like quite a large dog. @Sara
  6. June, 76AD Longinus hurried back - ducking and weaving through the crowds as he made his way back to the domus. The afternoon was hot - too hot - and he couldn't wait to decant the toga that he had haphazardly thrown over his shoulder. He hated senate meetings, for the most part, and today's had only intensified that. Why his colleagues needed to drone on for literally hours about grain allotments was absolutely beyond him, but he made a mental note to develop a fever before the next one, if the same Senators intended to orate. He'd been surprised that Gaius had sent word that he wanted him to talk some sense into his brother. He was quite sure that if you asked any of his closest friends, they absolutely would not use the word 'sensible' to describe peace-time Longinus. Military Longinus - who had his men's lives in his hands - maybe, but not Longinus in Rome. Still - at the very least, after this afternoon Gaius owed him, and favours from friends was always a benefit. Besides, maybe this fellow Lucius was good company? He liked the man's brother, and had his own wayward streak after all, so maybe they'd get on? Then again, maybe that was a naive hope. What was also probably not going to help matters was that he was late. Never one to keep to time, he'd dawdled after the meeting, catching up with friends and such before he'd made his way into the sunshine of the bright June day to to find his secretary, Vitus, glowering. Even now as they hurried home, Vitus bore a look of thunder; "I'm not that late, stop it." Vitus merely shrugged and muttered; "It's still impolite." loud enough for Longinus to hear. As they drew to his domus, finally, he hurried through into the atrium and didn't even pause to think about it - unwilling the folds of his striped toga with a haste as he queried; "Is he here yet? Or late too?" TAG: @Chevi
  7. Attis had been woken by others' disturbed sleep and nightmares more than once in his life, but it had been a long time since he had been woken by his own nightmare. Tonight's dream was vivid, though. “Hold him down,” the Centurion was saying from somewhere out of sight above him and the two soldiers holding him tightened their grasp as another came to hold his head still. Attis' eyes were fixed on the sword that was being brought closer and closer to him, its tip glowing red-hot... He woke with a gasp, sitting up, one hand going to his forehead even as he glanced over, hoping that he had not disturbed his master. The scar was still there, of course, but cool to the touch, painless now but still visible to everyone who looked his way – as it had been intended to be. Attis was lucky he hadn't simply been killed for his stubbornness, but the soldiers (whoever they were) had toyed with him as a cat did its prey – and that had been Attis' saving grace because they had no sooner completed branding him than another group of soldiers came riding up, giving Attis time to get away. The room around him was pitch-black, it was still the middle of the night, and he threw back his blanket, finding that he was desperate for some air and to wet his throat, both of which could be found out in the garden, where he could slake his thirst at the fountain, hopefully without disturbing anyone. As he straightened up from the fountain, a sound behind him made him turn. Obviously, he hadn't been as quiet as he had hoped. “Domine! Did I wake you? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to.” @Sara
  8. Mid-January, 76AD Saturnalia had come and gone with the fresh winter winds that whipped about the city. Although it didn't get nearly as cold as Britannia here, Longinus' body was unused to the cold after a summer spent outdoors, basking in the heat of Italia and Greece. The hypocaust was at full steam (literally) for the occasion and the paterfamilias Longinus had spent the early afternoon chivvying slaves to make his domus look presentable. It was an odd place; half-decorated in his late wife's style, a quarter under the influence of his mother with her love for garish frescos and vivid mosaics, and the rest was left up to his tastes. Tastes which bordered on the downright odd. A British battle axe on the wall in one room, some pottery he'd found en route back via Gaul in another. It was an eclectic place that had none of the polish of other Senators and Patricians his rank, but it indubitably suited him. The slaves had done their work admirably though and it was at least tidy. After he'd waved his mother goodbye (thank the Gods) to spend the late afternoon and evening with his cousin Lepidus, Cassia his daughter going with her, Longinus was left alone with the slaves. He didn't know why he felt nervous, he'd come to his decision without much fanfare after a disappointing few months looking into the impossibility of adoption, and unsuccessfully musing over other eligible women. Maybe he was nervous because of the family? They didn't have the best reputation around, and his mother had curtly reminded him as she departed that Tertius - who'd seemed at least affable, and nice enough - had recently had a bastard born son by a slave, a son whom he'd recognised. Longinus had resisted the urge to tug at the neckline of his tunic at the remark, given he'd been in the same situation some months ago with Sestia, although that was a secret he'd take to his grave. He'd invited both Tertius and his eldest brother here today though, and perhaps that was why he felt oddly ill at ease. He found Tertius pleasant enough but his brothers reputation preceded him. Unfortunately for Longinus, his plan required the paterfamilias and that meant Secundus himself. He hoped Tertius could temper him a little though, hence the dual invitations. Poor Longinus wasn't to know of the discord between the brothers. A slave disturbed his thoughts and announced one of the brothers was here. "Yes, but which one?" He asked with a frown and the slave girl merely sighed and shrugged, "I don't know domine, he's tall, dark haired..." Longinus had to suppress a chuckle, "Yes dear Merula, that's very helpful." He shooed her away with a wave of his hand and jumped to his feet from where he'd been sat in the garden. Bounding through the house with his customary energy, he drew to the atrium and slapped on a wide grin he didn't quite feel. "Welcome!" TAG: @Járnviðr @Atrice
  9. (Letter dated late November 74 AD) Titus Sulpicius Rufus to his dearest friend Longinus, greetings . As promised, brother, here is the list you desire. Most Almost all of the work is Valeria’s, but I took the liberty of summarising it lest you end up with two full scrolls for each lady. Calpurnia Praetextata Sister to our good friend Aulus of the same name and by all accounts a very beautiful woman, although I have never seen her up close. I don’t think it gets any more prestigious than marrying a former Vestal, although fertility is naturally an unknown quantity in her case. Claudia Caesaris Second only to a Vestal is the imperial household. Again, I am not closely acquainted with this lady, but she is young and said to be very good-looking. I can ask my sister-in-law Cornelia for more information if it pleases you. Oriana Laecania It saddens me to inform once more I have no first-hand account of the beauty of this lady, but according to Valeria she throws some very nice parties. My dear wife tells me she is Equite but looking to move up and comes across as rather smart. Young widow, no children, plenty of money of her own so she won’t go after yours. Caecina Tusca I know it has been your lifelong dream to settle in that mucky shithole we know as Britannia, and to accompany you in your misery who better than the proconsul’s daughter? Think about it, you could have dinner with your father-in-law every night! Too bad it’s not a hereditary magistracy… right? Quinctilia Varia Widow, on the older side, but not too old to have a third child. Comes from a good family, too. Do you like redheads, Longinus? Sergia Auletia If the mother doesn’t cut it, maybe the daughter will - but don't go thinking about threesomes now! Valeria says she hasn’t been married before. Licinia Aureliana My sister-in-law’s niece, daughter of her sister. I haven’t actually seen her in years but she’s said to be very pretty. If you do not find anything to your liking on this list, Longinus, then I will once and for all be convinced that the Britons sacrificed the real you, cock and balls and all, and summoned your castrated lemur to take your place. I shall make sure the appropriate rites are observed and pray for your soul once a year or so. Farewell, my dearest friend and brother. @Sara
  10. Mid July, 75AD, Port of Piraeus Longinus disembarked the boat with a grumble. The crossing hadn't been bad but it had been irritatingly long. He hadn't been to Greece since he was a boy, and the ten day journey - down the coast of Italia and then through the mare nostrum into Greece had been mind-numbing. For a man that had too much energy at the best of times, being contained to a small boat was torturous. At least he didn't suffer from the sea sickness as Titus did. Small mercies. Now they were in Greece, it...was not what he had imagined. Where were all the grand buildings and beauty that the writers wrote about? All he saw was a fleet of ships, warehouses and the pungent smell of fishing vessels that turned his stomach. He glanced at Attis, displeasure in his eyes. "This is a shithole. If it wasn't another ten days to get back, I'd suggest we get back on the boat." His mood had barely lifted in the few weeks he had been back from Formiae in Rome, and whilst he was no longer cocooned in the depression he had been, that depression had been replaced by bouts of anger and snappiness. Poor Attis. This trip to Greece had supposed to be with his wife, before their child was born. Instead, it was with his faithful body slave. He liked Attis, a tremendous amount, but it wasn't comparable. His mother had nonetheless urged him to still go, suggesting that the fresh air and change of scenery would lift his spirits (and keep him out of her, and Cassia's hair). He looked around at the slaves unloading baggage and then back to Attis. "How far to Athens?" They'd need to get horses, and then find somewhere to stay. In typical Longinus fashion, he hadn't even considered renting a house, musing that he'd strike lucky once he was here. But if this was all that Greece had to offer, then perhaps he was mistaken. TAG: @Sharpie
  11. 6th of October, 75 AD Given the tragedy brought on by the earthquake only a few months earlier, Titus didn't quite feel right celebrating his birthday with huge festivities or partying from dusk to dawn - besides, this was no milestone year, just the passage of time signalling that he had officially grown older. The previous day - the actual day of - had been spent with family, featuring a relaxed and pleasurable evening with far too much food including Betua's mouthwateringly good placenta cake, and only a tiny hiccough when Valeriana loudly and vehemently expressed how unfair it was that she received no gifts, skilfully ignoring the fact that it wasn't her birthday for that to happen. Tonight's celebration was simple as well, though less child-friendly. Going out for drinks with friends was also very agreeable, even more so when they had a decent-sized chamber and an own dedicated servant all to themselves. Drinking alone was no fun, though, even when it was Falernian and Caecuban, and Titus busied himself with deciphering the multitude of humorous scrawls on the walls and snacking on bread and olives before the others arrived - his stomach would thank him later. @Echo @Sara @Sharpie Feel free to ignore posting order!
  12. Late August, 75AD Longinus was mulling. He didn't like these sort of parties at the best of times, but certainly not since his return from Greece where the news of his failed engagement was less fresh than before, but still simmered beneath the surface. He saw the pitying looks from friends, the preying glances from unmarried girls and the scornful look of the married matrons that milled through the party. So he'd retreated, as he often did in these instances, outside. It allowed him the fresh air he needed on these hot summer evenings, and a chance to stretch his legs. It also gave him space from the other party goers. Bliss. The sound of music and chatter and laughter filtered from the triclinium through into the garden and he sat on the bench, kicking stones with his sandalled feet. He'd made the effort tonight at least, given he knew Titus and or Aulus would comment if he didn't. Fairly clean shaven (with his perennial stubble not budging...), and cut hair at least. He'd dressed in one of his more formal blue tunic and pallium, but despite dressing the part, he didn't feel ay real mood to party. He continued to kick rocks as the laughter intensified and a couple came into the garden to join him, taking a seat on another bench with giggles - utterly unaware, or uncaring, that he was sat only a few feet away. Another figure drew out into the garden and he glanced up, hoping it was one of his friends and not another stranger. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, but he tried to effect a polite smile on his face. TAG: @Echo
  13. Formiae, late June 75 AD After close to three days on horseback, Titus would have been lying if he said he didn't fancy a nice long walk to stretch his legs, and maybe even a massage. Attis had kept pace surprisingly well and without much complaining, or perhaps he had complained but Titus was riding too far ahead to hear it. His shoddy hearing helped with that, too - blessings in disguise, such were the gods' mysterious ways. The villa in Formiae was very nicely kept, and not a thing seemed to be out of its proper place - testament that the master did not live there full time, as its current state would have been impossible to maintain had that been the case. The slaves, on the other hand, seemed displeased that yet more visitors had come to disturb their existence with even more needs to be attended to. Ignoring the doorkeeper's repeated excuses that his dominus was unavailable, Titus gave the man a look that could have made a legionary wet himself and brushed him aside to walk past, not bothering to wait for his friend's body slave to explain the situation to the doorkeeper. Attis could stay behind and elucidate the other slave or he could follow and help find his master quicker. "Longinus!" he called out as he made his way to the atrium, ignoring the scandalised glances some slaves shot him. Good thing most villas had a very similar layout. "I'm here to return Attis to you, I can't stand him anymore!" And find out what in Jupiter's name has got into you. @Sharpie @Sara
  14. Britannia, late 67AD Nostalgia hit him with full force as Titus entered the military camp on a chilly (for one, not rainy) morning. It was early, but the camp was alive with the hustle and bustle of hundreds of men going about their tasks... Except for a group of four off to his left, where two huddled close to the ground and two others stood and watched. As he got closer to them, the familiar sound of dice rolling inside a cup could be heard, followed by sudden silence and a mix of boastful laughter and groaning. Fasces in tow, Titus approached one of the spectating legionaries and barked a question at him. "Soldier! Where is your legate?" The man flinched and whipped round so quickly he nearly broke his neck, showing a face full of pimples. He had the presence of spirit to step away from his comrades and salute Titus. "I-I d-don't know, sir!" the young soldier managed to stammer out. Titus was unimpressed. "Then why don't you do something about it?" The legionary stared at him with an asinine look. Titus hoped Balbus Papulus was at least a good fighter, since he had neither beauty nor brains. He rolled his eyes, feeling his patience dwindle. "Go find out, then come back here and take me to him, you idiot!" The order spurred the young man into action at last, and he sprang off in search of his general. In the mean time, Titus busied himself with shooting the gambling soldiers dirty looks until the sting of disapproval - or the threat of the fasces - was strong enough to make them put the dice away and start polishing their boots with exaggerated gestures. Balbus Papulus came back surprisingly soon and lead Titus through the camp to one of the bigger tents. The young man did his best to announce that "Qua-quaestor Titus Sulpicius Rufus is he-here to s-s-see--", but Titus dismissed him with a sigh and a wave before he could finish and strode into the tent. A quick look around the tent and its occupants let him know he needn't be too formal, but proper greetings were de rigueur in case someone was lingering just outside, trying to listen in. "Salvete, legate, Aulus Calpurnius," he greeted each man with a nod, predictably ignoring the slaves in a corner. Now that that was out of the way, Titus relaxed his posture a little, but still did not smile. "Did you know you have men gambling for money this early in the morning? At least teach them to be discreet about it." @Sara @Sharpie @Chevi
  15. Early May, 75 AD Ah, time for a bath. Silvanus was with him, of course, but he might get left behind to watch the clothes… Marcus didn’t want anything stolen from his things and he knew the bath slaves could be quite good at picking stuff up. It was nice to be in the city, but it wasn’t like he never came here. He didn’t mind the travel between the villa and Rome, because he loved being in Rome, despite all the filth and dirt in the streets. At least the houses where he came were nice and he really did enjoy the baths. Silvanus carefully helped him undress and was instructed to never take his eyes off Marcus clothes, when Marcus finally wrapped a piece of cloth around his waist and entered the actual thermae. He moved straight into the tepidarium, the hot sweating room, where he found himself a seat by a wall on a marble bench. The hot and humid air was thick in the room and he could see other men sitting here and there, but he couldn’t make out who they were. Then a tall and darkhaired figure appeared from the mist and sat down near Marcus, on the same bench as he. He paid him little mind at first, but thought he looked familiar out of the corner of his eye. And when he turned his head, who was it… none other than Lucius Cassius Longinus? The man who brought him to Rome, although he barely remembered much from it, since he was nothing but a small child. Of course he had seen the man since then, but they didn’t spend a lot of time together. He’d know him anywhere though and now he’d seen him, it would be rude to not speak to him. “Greetings, Senator.” Marcus said politely, as he’d learned, while brushing some of his blonde locks away from his forehead. He could be quite different with his friends but as far as he knew, Longinus was a respected Senator and if he wanted to get his own hopes up about reaching so far, he should remember his manners… even in the thermae, “What a coincidence to find you here.” @Sara ((does the dating of the thread work for you?))
  16. 10th June, 75AD TW: miscarriage Longinus sat in silence on the beach, down the cliffside path from his villa just outside of Formiae. It was deserted, even at this time of year by virtue of the setting sun which cast long shadows over the sand and reflected off the water. The villa itself was no more populated with a skeleton staff of people he had forgot he even employed; a girl to cook in the kitchen and a few odd-job slaves that crept around him with thinly veiled annoyance in their eyes that their dominus was suddenly intruding on the peace and serenity of having run of a patrician's villa without oversight. He'd left everybody else behind in Rome; Vitus his secretary had been left with instructions not to disturb him for anything (save the health of his mother or daughter). Attis was still at Titus', despite the fact the morning he had found out he had been due to go over and collect him. He couldn't face his body slave's smirks or even worse his concern or gods forbid his pity. His mother and daughter were left with run of the domus, and all of his other attendants were left behind. He needed to be alone. It had happened so quickly Longinus only now had time to breathe. On the morning of the 23rd of May he had received a flustered, tear-stricken slave girl into his house who breathlessly informed him that her domina, his betrothed was on a ship bound for Carthage - escorted by her fathers men. Abandoning his trip to collect Attis, he instead had, without a moment's thought, taken a horse to Ostia, only to find out the ship had sailed at first light and was long gone by now. The rest of the day had been spent trying to barter passage on a ship to follow it, and it was only the insistence of his mother - finally - late that night, that made him relent. He would wait, he thought, to find out exactly what had happened. He would wait to be summoned by her father, and then make his amends in the proper, dignified fashion. The letter he received on the 30th of May, the day before his wedding - when all the preparations were set, when nobody had been informed that anything was awry - was almost unbelievable. The graffiti that had gone up around the city - that he'd seen and largely ignored - had been sighted by those close to the Proconsul of Africa. He had sent his men, as quickly as good winds would allow, to collect his daughter and her sons - sweep them back into his aggressive, controlling arms. Yet that was not the worst of it. She didn't describe what happened, or how it happened, but the child was gone. Miscarried, lost forever. Gone. With no ties to him now, and her fathers rage, she - the woman he had been due to marry tomorrow had signed the letter; The last few weeks, months had given me more pleasure or happiness than I ever thought to experience. But it is not enough. I see the folly in thinking I could have so much, for ignoring my father, for ignoring my duties as a mother and as a widow. I was wrong. Please do not come here, please do not write back Lucius. This is over - even if it is not the way we ever envisaged it to end. My children - those still with me - must come first, and I can no longer tarnish their reputations via my actions. I am sorry. Goodbye. Sestia. Throughout his life he had experienced loss - as many do. His father, his mentor and friend, his men in war and in peacetime, his wife and now his betrothed and his child - who the Gods never even allowed to draw a breath. Yet the sting of this loss was so acute he could not cope. Not this time. He had packed that night and instructed Vitus to send messages to his friends on his behalf, saying merely that the wedding was cancelled and the engagement broken off. Should anybody pry, the reason was that the dowry could not be agreed. It was something simple - clean and neat that expunged them both of the dirtiness that had befallen them. He had left for Formiae the next morning after a brief, cold farewell to his mother and a challenging goodbye to his daughter. He did not know when he'd return. What was left for him in Rome now to bring him back? A daughter that barely knew him? A mother that was content to live her life as she'd always done in his absences? Friends, of course, but they would move on. It wasn't as if he had a great desire for politics or glory. No. He'd be better off in Formaie he thought. So there he sat, on the waters edge. The wine he had drowned himself in that evening gave him pleasant, muddled sort of thoughts. It took the edge off of the wound that stung like a British axe to his chest. He cried. He didn't know the last time, certainly couldn't remember the last time he had cried but there he sat, sobbing into his hands. In the space of two weeks he had gone from a man of ambition; a decorated thrice-serving legate seeking a praetorship with a beautiful woman whom he loved (he begrudgingly admitted) about to be his wife, with a child on the way, to a man sat sobbing in the sand, alone. He wondered if the Gods were laughing or sobbing with him.
  17. Nones of May 75AD Longinus sat drumming his fingers against the rim of his wine cup, occasionally glancing at the door. What he enjoyed most, of course, about the Poppina Via Lata was the two-building scheme. The night would start here, in the building reserved for Rome's upper echelons before descending into the depravity with the plebs and the slaves next door. He took a sip and resumed his drumming, waiting for both Titus and Aulus, nerves eating into the pit of his stomach. Judging by the surprised reaction in their letters neither of them were none the wiser as to the true (at least initial) motivation behind the wedding which was a relief. He'd carefully considered what he'd say and it largely centred on; not being sixteen anymore so knowing what he wanted; that he likes and admires Sestia; he's not getting much younger and needs a son, and well...it is him. Longinus was certainly never a man that could be considered entirely conventional. He did hope to brush the whole 'permission from her father' under the rug as much as possible, but his friends were astute men and would likely ask. He just hoped he'd come up with something convincing on the spot to explain it, because so far his mind was coming up decidedly empty. His attention was caught by a shadow blocking his path and he glanced up from his thoughts to the face of his friend. A wide, beaming smile crossed his face as he embraced the man. TAG: @Sharpie @Liv
  18. April, 75AD - early evening after Bagging Bunnies Longinus drummed his fingers against the desk, completely unbothered by the mounds of paperwork that cluttered it. Vitus had tried to appease his mood by only delegating easier, more interesting, tasks for his attention today but he still found he had absolutely no motivation. He had half a mind to take a walk, and just perhaps his feet would land him outside the door of one Sestia Vaticana, but he knew it was not worth it. Her sons would be home by this time, and he'd just end up more frustrated for lack of an honest conversation, let alone anything more, by the time he left. So instead, he sat and waited, surely Attis and Metella couldn't be home much later than this? It was as if on cue that one of the Dacian's he'd employed timidly ducked their head into the tablinum and informed him that both were home. Inclining his head he only asserted; "I want to see them both, in here. Now." And the little Dacian squirrelled away to procure his body slave and the nurse. He sighed and ran his hand over his jaw. The day had started with so much promise and yet by mid-morning his mood had completely soured, thanks entirely to the foolishness of his own body slave. He trusted Attis more than most of his friends, he certainly trusted the younger man with his life. He indulged the odd witticism or eye roll here, a barbed comment there, and only asked that he be broadly respectful - or at least not cross that very clear line between being amusing and overtly disrespectful. And yet he'd done it, quite clearly, that morning. Longinus felt himself bristle; he'd given Attis more than anybody; his own room, relative freedom to do what he pleased with his time when Longinus didn't require him, decent money and the opportunity to have a woman and it seemed to count for absolutely nothing. If Attis couldn't find the line between humour and disrespect, then Longinus would have to show him that line. As he heard footsteps he sprang to his feet and moved round so he was leaning against the edge of the table in front of it. As he saw Metella he smiled, genuinely, and arched a brow; "Good day?" He made no move to acknowledge Attis at all. He wanted to see if the man would realise, and own up to his mistakes before Longinus was forced to point them out. TAG: @Sharpie @Chevi
  19. The graffiti that went up in late May 75AD, a week and a half before the wedding of Lucius Cassius Longinus and Sestia Vaticana was poorly drawn but effective. It depicted the pair in question in what can only be described as explicitly lewd acts. Scrawled underneath the images was the phrase; 'Lucius Cassius Longinus and Sestia Vaticana fucked here. A wedding? Or a cover-up?'. It littered corners near the tavern in which they had met in the Subura, on the side of poppina's on the Esquiline and undoubtedly in other places yet undiscovered throughout the city. Feel free to post any reactions in this thread!
  20. Given it was by far not the usual way these sorts of things were done; there was no formal betrothal ceremony, no exchange of contracts, not even an inkling that such a thing was happening - really - Longinus felt it imperative that word got out on his own terms. But not to everybody. After a fairly frantic exchange with his mother, the man set down to put ink to papyri and drafted a series of letters. The first were for his cousins (the only other remaining Cassii-Longini) Lepidus and Cassia. Then came one to his old friend, and former mentee Silanus all the way in Greece - lightly alluding to the fact that he might well be visiting in person (there had to be some benefit to sailing all the way to Carthage, and a roundabout stop on the way back to see Lucius was a silver lining). The final few were for his friends. Amongst those he composed two to his two closest friends. They were very similar (he was not a man to dally with correspondence any longer than necessary, and thus copied out most of the first letter into the second), albeit there were amusing differences in tone - far more jocular with Titus, and far more reserved with Aulus. They were delivered to May the 4th, two days after the engagement by his Secretary who muttered and swore as he trekked over the city in the May sun. To Titus Sulpicius Rufus from his friend, Lucius Cassius Longinus. Greetings! I thought I'd drop you a note to a) enquire about how Attis is getting on, b) to inform you I'm getting married and c) ask if you are free for a drink next week? I suspect your eagle eye will have picked out the second point as the most interesting (although I do wish to hear about Attis and whether he still has all his fingers), and I'm pleased to say that Sestia Vaticana and I are to marry on the 1st of June given it's auspicious date. I believe you know the lady in question - she only had positive things to say about you - which I have corrected, don't worry. It'll be a small affair in the city, but obviously I would be delighted if Valeria and yourself save the date and make yourselves available. I've also sent a very similar note to our good friend Aulus, and in said note have asked if he is free on the nones for a drink or two. As always, I expect you have no plans of any consequence, or no plans you cannot cancel to ensure you can come for a drink with a soon-to-be married man. We could slum it in the Poppina Via Lata? Your friend, Longinus. TAG: @Liv To Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus from his friend, Lucius Cassius Longinus. Greetings! I'm writing for a dual purpose today, to a) ask if you are free for a drink next week? b) to inform you I'm getting married. I suspect your eagle eye will have picked out the second point as the most interesting, and I'm pleased to say that Sestia Vaticana and I are to marry on the 1st of June given it's auspicious date. She mentioned yourself and Horatia met her at the Games not so long ago - I trust you approve? It'll be a small affair in the city, but obviously I would be delighted if Horatia and yourself save the date and make yourselves available. I've also sent a very similar note to our good friend Titus, and in said note have asked if he is free on the nones for a drink or two. We could slum it in the Poppina Via Lata? Your friend, Longinus. TAG: @Sharpie
  21. Britannia, 66AD Attis had finished his errands and returned to his master's tent. He wasn't sure what state of mind he was going to find his master in, so entered cautiously and quietly, wanting only to set the place to rights while disturbing his master as little as possible. Unfortunately, that was not to be. The ground just inside the entrance to the tent was uneven, with a rough clump of grass just ready to catch the unwary. By the time he registered it was there, it was too late and he had fallen full-length, sprawling on the cold ground and probably covering himself with mud as well as ignominy. He ended lying on his belly almost at his master's feet, cursing his uncharacteristic clumsiness even as he raised his eyes tentatively to meet his master's gaze. "I beg your pardon, domine, I just felt the need to demonstrate that I worship the very ground you walk on," he said, the quip rising to his lips almost without thought, even as he sought to get to his knees and thence back to his feet. He hoped that his master was the only one to witness his clumsiness. @Sara
  22. November 74AD The house had been readied for the evening, all breakable items moved out of the way to less public areas of the house than the atrium, triclinium and garden, soft drapes hung, and musicians ensconced in a corner where their playing could be heard. Scantily-clad slaves (both male and female) were stationed in various places throughout the public parts of the house to direct guests or serve them in whatever way they wished - offering further food or drink or more personal attention. They were the prettiest Aulus could find, and their clothing, such as it was, left little to the imagination. Aulus himself was stationed in the atrium to greet his guests. He was wearing a synthesis, a light garment more suitable for an evening occasion like this than the heavy toga or even the less formal pallium. He had stationed a slave nearby with a tray of wine-cups to offer the guests as they arrived. (Please note: Any other people who know/could know Aulus are invited, and any characters who could be hired/lent for such an event are also welcome to join in - just reply to this thread and I'll add your character to the tags list! Once the party is under way, feel free to make your own threads in this board.)
  23. Second week of October, 74 AD It had been weeks since that day Claudia Caesaris decided to go for a ride outside of Rome and they had been attacked by a roaming gang of bandits. And survived, because Cynane was bold enough to throw her knife right into their leader's throat. It had felt good. Then later that day, it felt less good, because she discovered she had not only of course received some bruises and scratches, but a blade had crossed her side in the heat of the fight and she had only noticed after she took care of her mistress. As a former gladiatrix she had long since learned to ignore such, to her, small injuries when there were more important things to focus on. The wound had healed though and Claudia had also recovered well enough to finally mingle with others again. She was so brave, Cynane thought. So brave and strong in her own way and so hard-working! Other women of Claudia's rank might have wanted to isolate themselves, but she didn't do that. She kept on going. Cynane had been extra watchful over her since the attack though, and tonight she was once more escorting her princess to a social event, a party. As usual, Cynane would find a pillar to stand by, where she could see the entire main room and her princess, without interfering with her conversations and her friends. She stood there, silent and resilient, ever alert and watchful. Clad as usual in her brown leather armor, the light blue tunica, breeches, well-strapped sandals and a weapon by her side. Since this was a party, her hair was made up nicely with braids and twists, as she liked it. Volusa had more than once showed her Roman hairstyles, but she never felt they suited her well. Not that looks mattered if you were attacked. Speaking of attacks, there was a different one coming her way. An attack of memories of the past. At first her gaze wandered past him as she scanned the room one more time, but then her eyes returned to him and they widened. She inhaled sharply and felt her heart pound hard in her chest. What in the name of *Aeron was he doing here? She had not often thought of him, but she had also not forgotten him, even if she had truly hoped to never see him again. It was her captor from Britannia! This was the man responsible for her enslavement and for her still being here, today, as a slave. She had not been freed as he talked about. And she never had a chance to escape that would lead to her living afterwards. Eppitacos already knew Cynane could hold a grudge for a long time. In this case, it was no different. She knew it was him. Though it had been more than ten years, age had been as kind to him as to her. When he walked closer to her, although he didn't seem to notice her yet, she found herself breathing through her nostrils in an attempt to stay silent. But she wanted to yell at him. And beat him up. Maybe the other way around. She inhaled another breath and closed her eyes. At least she had better self-control now than then. @Sara *Aeron - goddess of war and slaughter in Celtic mythology
  24. Britannia, September, 62 AD She had survived her 17th summer and was entering her 18th winter. Cinnia knew she was born late in the year, after the feast of Samhain, but before Solstice. She was not 18 yet. And now she didn’t know if she would live to see her 18th summer next year. The battle hadn’t gone well. Or, she heard that it had, just not for her party. The Romans had indeed been defeated, she could see that when they dragged her through the camp towards the tent where they kept captives. But apparently not entirely defeated, or else she’d not be sitting here. It was sad. Humiliating and sad and no fun. Her hands were tied behind her back. Quite hard too, her wrists might be bleeding, she thought. She still wore her armor, consisting of a good leather vest underneath the fine chainmail she’d been given before this battle. She wore breeches, her good boots and of course a tunica underneath it all. Her hair had been made up on her head, with three braids gathered into one thick, but it wasn’t as good looking now. She hadn’t had a chance to wash herself, so there were still dried sprays and cakes of blood and dirt upon her face and everywhere else, really. But she couldn’t even scratch her cheek, with her hands tied. She was also hungry, by the way. Everything was wrong and there wasn't a damn thing she could do about it. There were other slaves here too, but they looked just as weary as she felt. No one spoke. There weren’t a great lot of captives from the battle, she could count maybe ten, but that was ten more than none. She was the only woman captured. What would they do to the captives? Make an example out of them? Kill them for sports? She heard the Romans did that. They would make slaves kill slaves and they called it fun. A soldier stepped into the tent and looked around. Then his eyes fell on her and he smiled and came over to her. He said something she didn’t understand, so she just blinked and glared at him. That caused him to take her by the arm and haul her up. He looked at her up close and smirked again, “Come…” He said, that part she understood. And then something more. Something with her being wanted, she thought. She knew a little Latin, but not a lot. Gods what would they do to her? She tried to fight it, when he began dragging her out of the tent, she dropped to her knees and made herself heavy. Then he slapped her hard across the face and she was dizzy afterwards, too dizzy to think for a few moments. But it was all he needed. Fuck. Then he took her by the arm again, harder than before, and pushed her out of the tent. Then he lead her towards a much larger one. Here she was brought inside and he said something fast, then he left. Cinnia looked around and blinked, it had been darker in the other tent, but in here, it was light and warm. But what was she here for? @Sara
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