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  1. February 77AD Vibia glanced around, long white blonde hair falling over her shoulder and to her hips as she studied the world beyond that subtle door in the Gardens of Sallust. An Imperial invitation was absolutely not one she was going to turn down, and bless Marcus Junius Silanus for thinking of her. He'd made it plain she was for the Prince, but he wanted somebody for himself and so she walked, arm in arm with a beautiful dark-eyed, dark-haired beauty through into the villa. They looked like fire and ice, perfect opposites. Where her body was artfully curved and her features were pale and delicate with doe blue eyes and blonde hair, Liana was olive skinned and willowy with striking features. A perfect pair for the wealthy, she thought. Slaves, neatly dressed and unobtrusive, milled about before shepherding the two ladies into the villa and the corridors beyond. Vibia held up her hand to halt the men and slipped off the thick cloak she was wearing. Liana did the same. They were both dressed in exquisite Assyrian silk that, depending on how many times you folded it could be utterly transparent or fully opaque. She left it somewhere in the middle for her chiton, revealing the outline of her shape and the curve of her thighs and chest, sheathed in shimmering silk. It would be far, far too immodest for a proper Roman matron but neither woman was that. Liana's was silver. They were both bedecked in ornate jewellery as well, so as they rounded a corner into a receiving room - lamps dimmed and male voices floating to meet them, she grinned. Their dress and preening had most definitely been the correct call. Inclining her head just a touch, she pulled her eyes up and surveyed the men. She recognised Silanus from the other one's amusing party, although for that she'd been hired for other skills - which she also thought she might be requested for tonight - hence why one of the slaves carried her cithara. Her eyes drew to the darker haired man and the smile on her lips became feline and suggestive. "Sirs. Thank your the invitation. I hope Liana and I didn't keep you waiting?" TAG: @Atrice @Sarah
  2. Saturnalia, 76 AD It was Saturnalia and that meant many nights of having fun. The first night Marcus had spent in his own home, or rather, his mother’s husband’s home. Marcus had never been adopted and didn’t really consider Tusca his father at all. But he was there, for the dinner and to have fun with the slaves. Or they had fun with him. Apparently he deserved a lot of pranks, but he supposed he should have seen it coming, with how he often treated them. This was their only chance at getting back at him. But this was only the first night. Days went on, more nights came and one evening he thought that maybe he should take Tiberius out for a drink or two. Or ten. He deserved a bit of fun! So off Marcus went to the palace, only to find out that his friend wasn’t there. The praetorians had not seen him and his body slave wasn’t there either. Claudia couldn’t be lured out and besides, her bodyguard was missing as well. There were a lot of people missing from the palace, Marcus learned. What worried him most was Tiberius though. It was one thing to go out with Marcus, at least they’d be two then. But alone? Tiberius, with his history, alone in Rome on Saturnalia? So out he went again, to look for Tiberius. Where the fuck could he have gone? He didn’t even know what he was wearing. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but he was determined to find his friend before something went wrong. He couldn’t have gone far, surely, without a litter or anyone guarding him. Marcus went in the direction of the Forum Romanum first. Something interesting was bound to happen at the Forum and maybe he’d find Tiberius there. On the way, he stopped many people to ask if they'd seen his friend. Maybe one of them would actually have a useful response?
  3. January 77AD It was a cool day in the middle of winter, but the midday sun lent a little warmth to the air and the faint touch of frost that morning had long since burnt off. The manicured lawns and carefully tended plants of the Gardens of Sullust brought pleasure in all weathers, though they were more popular when the year warmed. But Tiberius was here for a reason. He'd asked Marcus Junius Silanus to join him, though he hadn't told his friend why. He wanted it to be a surprise. He thought it was a pretty good one, and hoped that Marcus would be pleased. It was a step, a big step but not the final one, and it would mean new things for both of them. @Atrice
  4. February 77 Tiberius was studying or reading or something - Jason had had no idea that scrolls could be so endlessly fascinating! - which had led to Jason's being able to take a few moments for himself, so long as he stayed within call of his master's rooms. That was easily done; his master was in one of the rooms off a private courtyard which gave Jason the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor space while still being within an easy call. He had found a patch of grass in the sun where he could lay down and stare up at the blue sky above, trying to pretend he was looking at a portion of the vast skies over the steppe at home. It wasn't quite working, though, he couldn't hear horses from his position, and the grass wasn't tall enough for the wild prairie grass. Nor was the wind the constant fresh breeze of his home. It was all he could get, though, and if the force of Jason's wishes could move the steppe to where he lay, Tiberius would have looked up to find himself surrounded by eternal horizon where the blue sky and the green grass met. @Atrice
  5. September 76 AD It was still pleasant out, though a little brisker than the height of summer, but warm enough that the gardens could still be enjoyed in the evening, the spaces set aside for the party warmed by strategically placed braziers and lit by taller torches. They gave a flickering light, sometimes gentle and sometimes casting odd shadows, but adding a playful and at the same time primal air to the event. Invitees had never-the-less been encouraged to bring a warm cloak, toga or palla, just in case. But it was meant to be a relaxed evening, not a stuffy, formal event. In his ponderings over the illnesses of Caesar's past, Tiberius had developed a hypothesis that one potential cause could be stress, and so this evening was meant to be something of a stress relief, a fun and fanciful time with friends, particularly for Titus. He'd invited their siblings and cousins, along with their peers. None of the older generation, whom he'd been accustomed to thinking of as the 'adults', because suddenly he and his were adults. There would be other, formal events for all generations in the near future, he was certain. Food had been organised, not a multi-course, reclined cena but rather platters of tasty, nibbly delicacies, carried by slaves or placed on strategic stone tables. Other slaves carried pitchers of wine, ranging from the vinyards along the Tiber through to Greek vintages, and elegant glass cups were available to drink from. Tiberius had asked Marcus Junius Silanus to organise entertainment, and already a flautist was playing a merry tune by one brazier, whilst nearby a juggler tossed coloured leather balls in increasingly complex patterns whilst balancing another on their nose. The layout of the gardens meant that there were several spaces, corners for conversation or the central area for lively conviviality. Here and there Praetorian Guards were unobtrusive in the shadows, keeping an eye on their Imperial charges, whilst more screened entrants at the gates. Once inside, the gardens seemed almost magical. (OOC: Open to: Characters under 30, of Imperial or Patrician class, as guests Slaves of guests Hired entertainers.)
  6. September 76CE It made a convenient excuse to leave the palace and Palatine Hill. An Imperial could spend almost all of their time there if they so desired, but Tiberius did not. He wanted to see Rome - and the Empire - talk to people, and keep an eye and an ear on the happenings beyond the Hill. It was part of what made good governance of course, but it was also his interest. It was also a good place to catch up with friends, in a less formal setting. Leaning back against the beautifully glazed tiles and relaxing into the hot water, Tiberius glanced across at his long time friend and often younger partner in crime to himself and Titus as they were growing up. Now, all of a sudden, they were grown, or close to. Not boys but men, with their own responsibilities. Quintus' abdication had made that all the more apparent. But Tiberius hadn't asked Marcus to meet him to dwell in seriousness. "How have you been, Marcus?" He asked out of genuine interest. "What's new?" Marcus had this bright and garrulous nature about him that was immensely cheering and made him very easy to be around. It was something that Tiberius appreciated. @Atrice
  7. 11 June (Matralia) 76AD Forum Boarium, just outside the Temple to Mater Matuta Matralia was a blessing for Ovinia; a festival that wasn't spoilt by a) her mother (twice married and ergo, not for her) and b) her brothers (male - therefore not allowed to attend). It had always been a day of friendship and fun and today was to be no different. Decamping to the house of Nasennia Porca, their groups erstwhile ringleader, the ladies had spent the morning lounging in the sprawling bath complex of Nasennia's domus before their various attendants and body slaves had preened and plucked and fashioned them into a small tribe of glamorous young ladies. Well, mostly glamorous; Floria, suffering from morning sickness with her second child on the way had ruined her gown almost as soon as she had put it on and had retreated back to the baths with the promise of catching the rest of them up later. Most of the women had given her pitying, knowing looks upon leaving whereas Ovinia only rolled her eyes; typical Floria, making it all about herself. That was the way of their group nowadays; all of roughly the same age, but with vastly different life circumstances. Nasennia was recently wed and smugly showed off her old husband's latest gift. Floria had been with her man for years now, hence baby number two. Lucia and Aufidia had tied the knot to their respective senators in the last year or so and the former had a little girl, which just left Ovinia and Caprenia as the singles of the group. It was...embarrassing. Especially when she was lumped in a category with the quiet, dull Caprenia. Were they really one and the same? She tried not to let the thought dwell but it periodically came to her throughout the day. When she knelt to offer her prayers (after waiting in line for what seemed like years) she only half-heartedly wished for good fortune to her nephew. Viria would kill her if she found out, but...it was hard to summon energy to give thanks and good blessings to people so fortunate when she didn't have it herself. She bit the inside of her cheek to stop the annoyance from running her mood as she stood, dusting down her tunica. It was one of her best; dark green to complement her colouring and with a matching palla that was firmly atop her head given she was in the temple. She couldn't see the rest of her group - they had been separated in the queue and she moved to the front - closest to the street to await the chase of the slave; some dowdy young girl who looked terrified. It inflamed her temper more - could she not even act excited? The temple was heaving, and Ovinia scanned her eyes over the women for anybody of interest. She saw faces she recognised, including the Consul's wife - Ho...something, but besides her there was little to occupy the eye. The chime sounded and her attention was pulled back to the scene in front of her as the ladies started their quick procession to drive the slave girl from the temple. She summoned a smile at the giggling and cackles of laughter from the women of the audience and when she emerged into the bright light of the afternoon her face was flushed from the exertion and her palla was askew. Dropping it down to her shoulders she made her way back to the groups designated meeting spot should they get separated in the crush of the chase. The Forum Boarium was an odd part of the city - and not one she particularly enjoyed being in, but her bodyslave was dutifully waiting for her and so as she stood, waiting for the rest of the girls of her group, she glanced around to try and find a distraction to occupy her time. TAG: Open!
  8. July, 76 AD Marcus rolled his eyes at yet another posh son of a Senator, with his nose up in the sky, talking about that and hither as if he had any say in anything, with his old man still alive. Marcus was free as a bird, at least. His brother, his Pater Familias, was nowhere near Rome. He wasn't even sure where he was. His mother’s husband of course, he did what he could to keep Marcus afloat and out of trouble, but honestly… the man was not here and Marcus could do as he pleased. Which was not listen to nonsense about future escapades in faraway countries. The guy didn’t even know if he’d get there yet! He slipped away from the group of young men chatting and found his own bodyslave lingering near one of the entrances to the peristyle. This was a party or ‘social gathering’ for young men of high quality, to meet and interact and maybe form friendships and alliances to last until they one day would become important men. So boring! Marcus didn't need parties like these. He didn't know why the old man at home thought he did. There weren't even any girls present! “Silvanus… I’m bored. Why don’t you fetch me a jar of wine?” He told his slave and Silvanus arched a brow, “It is not our home, Domine. I can’t just…” He tried to argue, but Marcus rolled his eyes for who-knows-which-time this evening, “You can, because I told you so. And if they say you can’t, tell them that I sent you and if they don’t do as I tell them, I’ll tell our host what awful slaves he has. And what they did to me through you.” Marcus said and Silvanus could not see how he could argue himself out of that. So off he went towards the kitchens to find the wine. Meanwhile Marcus slipped over to a slave standing around with a plate of finger foods. The sticky, but delicious honeyed dates! Marcus picked a few off the tray and ate them, they were the ones with black pepper inside, his favorites! Expensive too! When he was done, he licked his fingers, one by one, until Silvanus showed up with the desired jar of wine, “Great, you got it! Thanks!” Marcus carried it off towards a corner of the atrium, where he could sit down and drink it on his own. Or so he thought. @Chevi
  9. Late August, 75 AD Boring, boring, boring… the lessons with Aia had ended for the day and Marcus didn’t have any plans for the day. He could of course get into a litter and go visit one of his friends, or he could practice his fighting skills, but it was high summer and it was too hot to do anything. He lay on his bed, on his stomach, with Silvanus massaging his back. It felt nice, but he couldn’t do this all day. Maybe a trip to the thermae? That might be nice, to cool down. Or maybe a dip in the Tiber, far from where people lived, so the river wouldn’t be disgusting. Or… maybe Caecina had an idea on what to do! She often did, he thought. Or else they’d just get some alone-time and kiss. He could spend a day doing that too. It had been a few months now, since their little escapade to the Poppina Via Lata and the Gardens of Sullust, where they promised they wanted each other, but also kept it a secret so far. And a secret their relationship remained all summer. Marcus would sneak kisses from her whenever he had the chance, fighting to control himself to not push for more than what she wanted. She was just so… beautiful and alluring, wasn’t she? He pushed Silvanus away and had the slave hand him a light blue tunica to wear. Marcus walked though their home in Rome to Caecina’s chamber. The curtain at the door frame was drawn, so he stopped outside and ran a hand through his hair, which most likely fell perfectly as it always did. “Caecina… are you in there? Can I come in?” He asked out loud and waited as patiently as he could. @Echo
  10. JULY 74 CE Lucius was seething. Where others might turn to wine or other distractions in times of stress or frustration, Lucius had no such desires. Typically a calm and collected man outwardly, he was a man who battled his temper inwardly. More than a few times in his life had he wrestled with an utterly overwhelming surge of rage. This time was set to boil over anything that had come before. The trial was lost. He could not fathom it. He could not understand, or even bring himself to think of the minute details that brought his case crashing down. Was it particular wording he had used? Flawed logic in one of his arguments? He knew he should have paid more attention to lessons in law and legal recourse. As always, he had returned to the home of his mother-in-law, Flavia Juliana. The place he had spent all of his fortune to leave behind (not that he particularly disliked it). He was leaning over a table, his hands gripping firmly onto the sides and all of his weight pressing down on it. He was consciously telling himself to breathe slowly, to feel the air come in and attempt to exhale the poison building up inside of him. He needed a calm voice to speak with his brother. @Atrice
  11. Early June, 75 AD It had been a few weeks since that day, when Marcus had a hangover and he and Caecina decided to go for a ride in the countryside near the villa there. And they ended up by that stream and a game of truth or dare turned into something else. They had not had a chance to be entirely alone since then and maybe it was for the best. At first they’d sent each other stolen glances, after the kiss, but one day turned into the next and soon they fell into the ordinary routine. Maybe it didn't mean anything after all; maybe it was just a foolish spur of the moment thing and she had already forgotten it. Marcus didn't know, he hadn't asked. But maybe today? And now they had a few days to stay in Rome with Juliana, although she was occupied with social visits much of the time. And Marcus? He had plans. He and Caecina had talked about visiting the Poppina Via Lata together and he would still show it to her. He had asked if she wanted to go to the market with him one afternoon and she agreed. They were of course followed by each their own body slave, Marcus with Silvanus and Caecina had her Astraea with her. There was also a guard somewhere, alert and on the lookout, but Marcus paid him little attention while they both settled in each their own litter to be taken away from the domus in the city. Marcus told himself it wasn't so bad taking her here; it wasn't even evening and things usually got a little bit wilder in the evenings Once they reached the Poppina, as he had instructed the slaves that carried the litters to take them to, he stepped out first and held a hand for Caecina to help her out. He had a kind of mischievous smile on his face as he looked at her when she stood, “So… maybe I lied a little. As you can see, this is not the marketplace. Remember the day we talked about the Poppina Via Lata?” As if she would forget; he kissed her that very same day! But here they were and they were not alone. The litters would be taken away for now and they were left with their body slaves and the guard. @Echo
  12. 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?))
  13. Atrice

    The Morning After

    Mid-May, 75 AD There were plenty of villas in the countryside near Rome and this was just one of them. And it was the one he just happened to live in – because really, where else should he live, when his brother made sure they had no family home anymore? Not that life was bad here. There had been a social event – a party – at one of the other villas last night and Marcus had persuaded Caecina to come, explaining how important it was with the connections they’d make, although really he just didn’t want to go to the party alone. And she probably knew that. They’d lived together on and off since Flavia Juliana married Caecina’s father, after all. Now it was the day after the party and Marcus had slept in and was woken, when one of the slaves came to clean up a little of the mess Marcus made last night, when he came home. The fine toga was dropped on the floor along with his sandals. He sighed and covered his face with his hands, he had a headache. Of course he did. He drank wine last night. And not just a little. He barely remembered the ride home in the carriage, but he remembered Caecina had been there too. He hadn't left her at the party. Or maybe it was her who didn't leave him behind, when she left? It was all a bit of a blur. “Something to drink. Not wine.” Marcus waved at the slave without looking at them and they hurried to find what he wanted, leaving him alone for a bit too. He sat up in the bed and pushed the covers away. He’d passed out in his tunica and held up a bit of the sleeve… yes, he needed a clean one! When the slave returned, he asked for a clean tunica and that was fetched for him too. Soon he was somewhat dressed – just the tunica and a belt – and the slave got him some slippers too. With a cup of water in his hand, he wandered to the peristyle and found another sofa to lie down in. It was a warm morning and it was nice and quiet in the villa so far. He closed his eyes, just a little bit… and then when he heard some footsteps approaching, he assumed it was another slave and didn’t even care to open his eyes when he made his next request, “Get me something to eat.” @Echo
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