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  1. Things were still strange at home. He did his best to try and connect with young Lexus, his son, but he never had a son before and did not quite know how! Lexus had seemed surprised too at meeting his father, and then his son's mother was suddenly dead and everything was strange. Add to that Alexius' affair with the mistress of the house - an affair he certainly enjoyed and when he was with her, there was nothing he wanted more but to stay with her. Yet he was nothing but a freedman and former gladiator and she was much too used to luxuries to ever marry a man like him. It just wouldn't happen; he did not think it would. So sometimes he just had to escape the strangeness of Oriana's home and get out and have a drink or two, as usual. So Alexius did that. It was evening and at the tavern he had a good talk with a very handsome young man, but in the end, the youth left with a just as attractive lady and Alexius had halfway considered if they would need a third party to their fun... but then decided to let the young have their fun and experiences alone and thus he wandered out onto the street, half-drunk and with a mind on finding his way home. First though, maybe just one more tavern and one more drink? Alexius had no idea if it was late or early in the evening, when he approached the next tavern and opened his purse to check if he had more coins. He did. Good, more wine then! Just leaving the tavern though was a gang of men, four of them, and they were dragging someone between them. Clearly someone who did not want to come with them! Alexius was not very fond of injustice like that and seeing someone unwilling being manhandled like that, made him want to help. Alexius saw them enter the alley near the tavern and now he definitely thought that something was shady about this. He decided to follow - because there were three things he never turned down. Wine, good looking people and fights... and this might be the latter! And just as he guessed, in the alley the unwilling person was pressed up against the wall by the men and Alexius inhaled a breath. "Hey, what are you doing? Let them go!" Alexius called out to the men and two of them approached him, "... or what?" One of them asked with a laugh and Alexius walked closer. They were definitely bad eggs, these! "Just do as I said, let them go. I don't want to have to hurt you." Alexius said and they laughed again. One of them pulled a knife. Well, fuck. He didn't bring any knife. Not that he would ever back out of a fight, just because he had no knife. He survived years in the arena, so he could definitely survive this too. Alexius inhaled a breath, bracing himself. Later, he barely remembered who started, but there was a struggle with the two men - while two others held the fifth person by the wall - and Alexius earned himself a fresh wound cut into his arm and a bruise on his cheek, but for some reason, the men had not planned on fighting a bodyguard and former gladiator. They had not planned on sticking around for this long and they didn't want to get caught. The two by the wall decided to call it off, and the four bad guys ran for it. They left the person they dragged among them, in the alley behind them, over there by the wall. Alexius brushed his clothes, they were not too dirty despite that he'd landed on the ground with at least one of the men and he took a quick glance at his upper arm where the knife had met his flesh. It was bleeding. The sleeve on his tunica was soaked. Nothing new there... he decided to pay attention to it later. There were more important things here, because the last person still stood over there by the wall in the shade of it, "Hey, are you alright?" He then asked, slowly approaching them. ((who the person is, you decide... could be your male or female character or a third party and your character was just a bystander or comes in after the fight... that is up to you))
  2. February 75CE Rome was a city of huge opportunity for people who were willing to seize the day. Carpe diem. It applied to slaves, foreigners, princes and paupers. The streets were in reality lined with rubbish but, to the poetically minded, that could be pushed to one invisible side and in its place be pure gold. The right person, with the right skills and the right mindset, could achieve almost anything. His own father had been one of those people. A distinctly run of the mill equite, he had invested the profits of a lifetime’s career in milking taxes out of Syrians into bankrolling the extravagances of the slothful, indolent, turgid senatorial aristocracy. Their debaucheries needed deep pockets which, of course, they did not have. His father had happily lent loans here and there, well secured against land and had come out an incredibly rich man and, on his death, was one of the leading private bankers in Rome. Well done, pater. But just think how much he could have achieved if he had decided to go after power as well as wealth. Money was only useful for what it bought you. Possessing it in and of itself was worthless. And what was more valuable than power? Nothing, thought Titus, as he strode through the Forum Romanum. The tepid spring noon bathed the complex in a weak heat and dullish light. The heavy scent of rain earlier still emanated off the earth. His return to Rome had been unexpected. An overzealous official in the ministry had decided he was overdue a new appointment. Thank the Gods he had been able to exert some influence and escape languishing as Subpraefectus of the Misenum Fleet for the next few years. He could imagine nothing worse than bobbing on the water with a bunch of crusty old sea dogs, facing no action whatsoever besides a round of interminable society parties and escort duty to grain fleets. It was therefore with a lot of luck that he had been able to manipulate the Praefectus Augusti of Aegypt, where he had most recently been stationed, into proposing him for a vacant Tribunate in the Praetorian Guard. Whilst not perhaps the best promotion he could have hoped for, at least it was not the sort of living death that the Fleet would have been. The Guard were a sorry lot, really, although they thought very highly of themselves. The problem for them was that – honestly – no one really liked them. To the soldiery of the regular army, the Praetorians were seen as a bunch of overpaid, soft lackies who lived a sweet life of doing faff-all besides guard the Imperial latrine and sample the wines and whores of Rome. All fancy uniforms but about as much use as a glass hammer. To the citizens of Rome they were the over-paid bully-boys of the regime. Throwing their weight around and getting away with murder. There was a reason that Praetorians rarely ventured into the city alone. Finally, even to the Princeps, their supposed master, they were at best a necessary evil. Too often the Guard had proved fickle and, when not actively doing away with Imperials, had a nasty habit of often plotting to do it again. However, the fear they engendered in all three of those parties gave them a clout which kept the institution alive. The Praetorian Prefects held great sway over political, legal and military affairs. Their gravitas filtered down the chain and gave each member of the Guard a sense of superiority that could manifest itself in something as simple as a swagger in his step or a feeling of immunity from all wrongdoing they may choose to commit. His III Cohort had been discharged from their turn on the rota of attendance on the Palatine Palace. Titus was glad of it. It had been a tedious stretch. Little to do save for do regular rounds of the sentries and ensure there was no slipping in standards. The novelty of wearing his new uniform had long worn off by now. As soon as he had formally handed over custody of the Palace to the Tribune and men of the IV Cohort, he had rushed to change out of his formal kit and into an only slightly more comfortable toga. The bulk of his Cohort had been dismissed back to the Castra Praetoria but – unwilling to head back just yet – he had kept with him his First Centurion, a grizzled, bovine time-server named Marcus Valens and several of his pet goons as an escort. Well, the men appreciated a day out every now and again, it did well to bind them to him through friendship as well as fear. As no military uniform was allowed in the city by soldiers when not on duty, his escort had likewise to change into the civilian attire. In a sense this was almost just as menacing. Tall men with close cropped hair, bulging muscular arms covered in scars and military tattoos, all wearing better than your average cut of tunic. As they were escorting a Tribune of the Guard, they carried thick and gnarled vine branch staffs. Pugio daggers were carried concealed under the fold of their clothes. As he walked across the Forum, his “entourage” (shall we call them that?) ensured his path was cleared in a none-too-gentle fashion. Most people made sure they scampered sharpish as they approached, noticing the unmistakeable mark of the Guard and deciding that they didn’t want any trouble. Anyone too slow was shoved aside. One storekeeper who foolishly decided to remonstrate with one of his men who had cheekily swiped a pie off the platter he was bearing got a sharp crack on the leg with one of the vine clubs. He doubled over with a shout and his friends dragged him away. Titus carried on, paying no notice. He was headed towards one of his favourite drinking haunts: an open air taverna which stood opposite the Curia. A sea of tables was spread out over a corner of the paved forum and surrounded by a low fence. A circular bar stood in the middle and an ever busy crowd of slaves hurried back and forth bringing surprisingly good quality wine to the patrons. Situated here in the forum, it served a huge plethora of society – from senators fresh from the Curia, to businessmen, to tourists and simple gawpers. The prices were on the steepish side but – when you were a member of the Guard – that was not a problem. The taverna’s owner saw the small group coming and Titus smiled as he saw him hurriedly talking to his staff, visibly panicked. One slave dashed off and told the persons sitting at Titus’ favourite table that they had to leave, now. Another hurried to decant several jars full of his favourite Falernian, knowing what he liked to order. Tucking his thumbs into his belt, the portly owner hurried to greet Titus as he arrived, casting worried looks at his grizzled, rough looking companions. “Tribune Titus Cornasidius, it is a pleasure, a pleasure! You have had a good day, yes? You and your men must be thirsty, it is hard work protecting Caesar and the day is so hot!” “It is not hot at all, in fact I think it is decidedly cold for this time of year,” Titus replied, as the host led them towards his table. He way toying with the man. “Actually, yes, n-n-now you mention it I think it is the coldest Spring I can remember for a long time.” “No, I think it is actually the hottest for at least a decade.” “Yes, yes, of course, sorry, it is unseasonably warm.” Gods, the man was a fuckwit. “We are thirsty, how about you do your job, fellow, eh?” Titus took a seat, rolling his neck and letting it give a pleasurable crack. That bloody helmet was a bugger to wear. All ornament and no comfort. He ran a hand through his dark curls. Valens sat a discrete distance away and his 6 other men further back still. A servant girl brought over a tray with the wine and tried to escape but found a thick arm from one of the men wrapped round her waist and he dragged her onto his lap. Several nearby tables got up and moved elsewhere. Suit yourself, Titus thought, just gives me a better view of the world. Still, best not to let things get out of hand – at least not this early anyway. “Valens, make sure the boys don’t cause a fucking scene, would you? I don’t want to be hauled up before the Prefect.” Valens gave a toothless smile of acceptance. Titus certainly didn’t need to get dragged before the Prefect like a naughty schoolboy. Ordinarily there were two Prefects in the Guard – one of those many crafty scenes designed by the Deified Augustus to divide and rule. The Guardsmen also found it helped too as often the two Prefects were at each other’s throats so – in the same manner that a child might go to one parent when denied by another – they could often escape punishment by pleading to one of their bosses about the other. Alas, at present the Prefect was the son of Caesar. In Titus’ view, a pompous prig. He was never pleased to hear tales of the Guard winding up the citizens of Rome and vice versa. In short, he was a wet blanket who very often spoiled the Guard’s fun. If Titus was to be in this posting for now he intended to make the most of it. He filled his glass and took a long, satisfying sip. He had nowhere to be. He enjoyed sitting back and watching the bustle of the city. It is amazing what you could see if you just let yourself look.
  3. 13th of October, during the festival Fontinalia The Piscina Publica were public swimming grounds and luckily placed not very far from their home. And this was quite lucky on a day like today – it was, after all, Fontinalia and it was the day of celebration for Fons, the god of wells and springs. Septima Major was out with her sister, Minor, to celebrate the day. They’d spent the last few days on preparing a most beautiful garland out of flowers and grasses and leaves and now it was done and ready to be hung on a fountain near the Piscina Publica on this very day. Septima Major was excited – she loved festivals like these and could barely wait with going out. Maybe she spent a little too long getting ready. Septima Minor had been ready for a while, before Major finally decided she was done too. She wore a very pretty, bright green chiton with a yellow and red palla over it. Her hair had been done up on her head, with twirls and curls and a few yellow flowers and green leaves added to the style. It went very well with her pretty blue eyes. On her feet were simple slippers. They carried the garland together on their way to the fountain. She gave her sister a smile, after she’d waved to a few people she knew on the way – Septima knew many people and she liked to talk to people and make new friends, “Oh I hope someone else didn’t already decorate the fountain we decided on. It’s going to look so pretty, isn’t it?” Septima Major said with an excited tone, “I wonder if there’s going to be music too. And maybe someone set up a shop that sells food and drinks? We could stay a little while.” She suggested with a smile, “Oh, do you think anyone’ swimming in the pools today? That would be interesting.” @Chevi
  4. The animal fights had just been concluded, with plenty of dead animals and even a few of the gladiators fighting the animals. Marcus had come without slaves and of course he had been fascinated and now watched equally fascinated as it was all dragged out, leaving behind a trail of blood on the sands before it was covered with fresh sand. Then the editor of the games stood up and spoke of what gladiators were to come. It would seem there would both be male and female gladiators and even a few deserters given a chance of redemption. Redemption! Hopefully they would die. If someone needed redemption, they usually were not deserving of it. Marcus looked up when a seller passed by his step on the seats and got himself a cup of ale and a stick with spiced pork to eat. Then he looked down at the games again, watching the first fighters enter the arena and he looked forwards to seeing it all happen. He didn't have any favorites, he just wanted to see how they did it and he wanted to see them die. Hopefully with a lot of blood. He smiled by the thought, but the smile faded quickly when someone tried to reach a better spot on the row behind him and by accident pushed to his back... making him spill the ale and drop the meatstick! "Watch where you're going!" Marcus yelled after the person, taking note of their appearance (just in case he wanted to seek them out later) and then looked to see if the ale had been spilled on anyone, while he also picked up the stick and attempted to brush off any dirt from the meat.
  5. ( OOC: Writer's note: sorry if the title is horrible!) [ Venusiana's dress] Being a freewoman meant to being just that, being free. Not that she would go out and do such very lewd things. That was not in her nature plus it would bring dishonor to her two loves and she would not dare to do that. However, this lovely city had so much more to offer. The gladiator games was tempting. Though she did not know the first thing about being a patroness or watcher of the games. Although....could also be a good opportunity to spread more good will around the city with the house she did so very much care about. But alas, she would have to think on her plans about that. But she also remembered that the amphitheatrum always seemed to have something going on there. The roman plays were all well and good but the later as of recent seemed to not to be above par. But it was always good to see how these roman playwrights would try to beat out the Greeks. The greeks had philosophy within their language. Something of which did fascinate her. So she had heard those little whispers upon the wind about one of those performances only happening within the sunshine. ( Well , it was quite hard to perform by candlelight within these perfomances. In this place, you could very so seldom see.) She decided to take a venture to seeing it. She had her days without seeing her loves but knew they had guests to receive besides her. Besides, she could recite what happened within the play. Whether it be dramatic or...maybe not just that well. Cordelia and Quintus always did enjoy how she liked to spin a story. One more that she could spin. Plus she could use a little roman culture. Well, more of for so. She was dressed in a dress that Cordelia had given her recently. The fabric was nice in texture but also had a light green feel to it. One of the disadvantages of Sulpicia being a freedwoman is that she was still learning on what she could and could not wear as a free woman. Certain colors. Certain fabrics. Such and such. But there was no harm in her wearing a dress that had been given to her, was it? That she wasn't aware of. She would have to still learn. Maybe perhaps there was some freedwomen in town that she could befriend and gain knowledge. She was going along with it as she could. She didn't want to bring it up to Cordelia and/or Quintus as she didn't want them to down about her struggles. But she knew that THEY knew what she was capable of. She was a strong woman. She could be brave too. As she approached the amphiteatrum, she could see there was not a lot of others here but maybe that bode well. She could concentrate upon what was being presented to her. Unless it was beyond boredom, then she could focus on the whispers and gossip. With how these seating arrangements were, keen ears could pick up anything. As she took her seat, she fixed her shawl of her dress. She then made a surprised sound when she felt the skirt of her dress was stepped or pulled. "I'm so sorry, was my dress in your way?" She asked, turning to look and see who it was.
  6. Lexus had gone to the bathhouse, as instructed by his mother. He knew he ought to be a proper Roman citizen and go more often, but sometimes it bored him and looking at older, naked and not always trimmed men did not really spark his fancy. More the opposite. But he’d gone and now he was clean and smelled nice. His brown hair was still slightly tousled, although he did comb it with his fingers, but he felt he was almost shining… although he probably wasn’t. Now he had the rest of the day to just… do something. Maybe he should visit one of the temples that Phaedo showed him? No, it would be weird going alone. Lexus was not a very religious young man – it was interesting and all that, but he didn’t buy all of it. Some of the stories and some of the things you did for the gods seemed weird and so far-fetched, that he’d think… why should it matter to them, if they control our lives anyway? Will they even care? So no, maybe he should not go to a temple today. But then what? Somehow he’d found himself wandering into the vast area of the Forum Romanum. There were several fora here, built by different emperors who wanted to leave something to be remembered by. It was very shining and clean here, a beautiful area of Rome. There was the Basilica Julia, where the praetors sat and where tons of other things were decided and judged and handled. And over there was the Curia Julia, where the senate would sit and discuss important business of Rome. Lexus took a few moments to just look at all the famous buildings and all the people here; the men in the white togas, their slaves, other people coming here to admire the sights. He tilted his head, trying to get a proper view at a certain temple here and took a few steps backwards to see it properly. What he didn’t notice was the lectica carried by four slaves behind him. By accident, he tripped one of them as he walked backwards, not looking where he was going. The slave fell over and the whole party fell down… including the lectica, which probably carried some wealthy noble. Fuck! Lexus felt almost paralyzed, watching the scene and knowing he caused it and he did not dare to run away. What did you say when such a thing happened?
  7. Aulus was having a party for his friends, and he had given Felix the night off. There used to be a time, back when he was a simple household slave, when all his dreams would have been fulfilled by a night off outside the house, in the great city of Rome. But things had changed a lot since then, and even after their discussion with Aulus, Felix still did not feel like he had a place, or something to do, when he was not following his master's orders. He would have happily stayed at home, in the background, waiting to be useful, but Aulus was certain he would not need his services tonight. So, Felix was on his own on the streets of Rome, wandering aimlessly, searching for... he didn't even know what. This was definitely not the best part of the city. He had been to the villas and palaces in Aulus' service, but now, on his own, he would have been a suspicious sight in the rich neighborhoods, in his simple tunic and cloak. Not that Felix was afraid. He'd learned to defend himself a long time ago, on the road to the East. The Subura, and its surrounding neighborhoods, were interesting to say the least, even now, as the sun was going down. There was music, chatter, and quite a bit of traffic as people came and went from their work, or looked for entertainment. Felix kept to himself, observing everything with keen eyes as always. Maybe he'd find something interesting tonight. Or maybe not...
  8. When you reached a certain age and had a certain amount of experiences in your life, you began dwelling on the past. When Lexus was in his 20’s, he mostly thought about when he’d get laid next and if there was a chance to get drunk. And he thought about survival, of course. Survival in the arena and where he lived and survival to be free. He thought about being free and finding his sister and returning to Germania. Well, now he was in his late 30’s, he still had not found his sister – had not seen her in over 20 years – and he had returned to Germania, yet it didn’t feel like he expected. So here he was, in Rome. At least he had a proper job now, working as a guard for a wealthy family with a quite beautiful mistress. He even had a chamber there, it was his new home now! Still though, when he had some time off, he tended to get drunk and mostly to try and forget all the things he didn’t want to think about, when he was alone. Today he had a rare day off, and after visiting his favorite tavern, he went for a walk. He might just be a little drunk now, but that was fine. He needed the walk. Somehow, his feet took him back to the place where he once spent most of his life. The ludii; the gladiator schools. There was an arena here, where you could watch the gladiators train, and it was a quite popular thing to do. Lexus climbed up the steps to take a seat and watch them train. Did he still know anyone there? More than ten years had gone, since he was freed. More than ten years since he fought upon the sands right there. It would seem that the drink he had today didn’t make him forget; it made him remember, now. His gaze turned distant, he didn’t really see them training, he was just lost in memories. Didn’t notice that someone else joined him and sat down quite close to him…
  9. Thus it began! The Flamen Dialis along with the other luperci took the goats and the dog. Symbols of sexuality and fertility in Rome. The animals had been sacrificed, and their screams filled the air. The smell of blood loomed around them. The Flamen Dialis watched as the young men killed the sacrficed animals, they were gifts for the Gods, and it was their sacred duty. He was cowled, his head was covered and the mealcakes, treats that had been made by the Vestals virgins was also placed. After the slaying of the beasts, the head priest of Jupiter approached both of the young men and anointed their foreheads with blood from the sacrificial knife. Gaius did not laugh nor smile. Yet it was expected for both Titus and Tiberius, the luperci to laugh and smile at the gesture. The pair of them were marked as the luperci for this year. The blood would dry on their foreheads, and a sacrificial feast followed. Bloodied strips were taken from the skins of the beasts. The strips, called febua or throngs were placed into the hands of both of the young men. "Now go, go and grace the barren unmarried women with increased fertility," Gaius said, the luperci had changed over time. Either of the youths could run naked or semi-naked through the streets of Rome. Married women or women on the cusp of marriage would offer their hands or backs to ensure fertility would follow. Gaius is the NPC for the Flamen Dialis, the head priest of Jupiter. Notes: Tiberius or Titus to go first. Then they will be instructed to run through the Palatine and to strike the ladies. Once that begins, people are welcome to join in!
  10. Jan 74CE. Midday. Tending to the flames and guiding the younger Vestals, some still in training on how to best tend to it was vital for the future and survival of Rome. Pontia took both her duties and her position as the Virgo Maxima, the head Vestal virgin quite seriously and wanted to ensure that one of them were dishonoured. Or shamed. She brushed off the remaining flour from baking the mola salsa, the sacred bread that was used in nearly all of the Roman rituals with their Gods and one of the temple slaves approached her to inform her that someone was here to speak with her. Occasionally, she would be approached to speak about spiritual matters or to have a will securely locked away in the safe keeping with the Vestals as they had done since the days of the Republic. Her hands removed the last of the flour, and her hand placed on the shoulder of one of the younger Vestals and whispered in her ear to keep an eye on the flame. Always tend to it while she was on duty. If the flame went out. It was a sign of anger from the Gods -- and the Vestal in question would either be flogged or buried alive. She walked out and onto the steps of the temple, there were people in the background walking around and it was clearly part of the busier part of the city, and smiled at the visitor. She wore the "brides wear" the typical clothing of the Vestals, her hair styled in the "bride" fashion although she would never marry. Her duty to Rome and Vesta would always come first. Her face was free of any cosmetics, and the way she held herself could give the impression of her being taller than she actually was. "Salve, is there anything that I can help you with?" She greeted politely.
  11. July, 74 AD It was another day in Marcus Barbatius’ life, meaning another day of work. He had a few patrons coming in to see him today, they had already made it known they wanted his services on this day, but there were also a few open spots and especially before noon. Senators always came later in the day, when they were tired from their supposedly hard work and needed a proper shave and a scented lotion rubbed into their cheeks and oils onto their bodies. His condo was in the first floor of the building and just beneath his condo, was the workshop. He slept with the key to the chest around his neck and now a slave turned up to help him get dressed. A tunica and a simple toga, that he wouldn’t mind getting some hair onto along with some of the scented oils and lotions. The slave silently helped Marcus put on the sandals, helping with the straps that went around his leg and then he had some early breakfast served. A bit of cold, watered wine and bread. Apparently they were out of honey and didn’t have much olive oil, but his kitchen slave had managed to purchase some butter and that at least was something. The mornings were silent in his home. Slaves rarely spoke, out of fear they’d say something wrong to displease their master. Nobody wanted to displease him. Silently he went to the workshop in the street level, which had been cleaned with a broom and a brush and some wet cloth. There was an actual chair there and a few stools and a working table. Shelves of course, with beautiful bottles and jars with lotions and oils. There was a heavy scent in the room because of all that and Marcus opened the door and opened the shutters to the window to the shop to let it be known, that it was open for business. The slave he’d chosen to help him out today stood in the corner of the room, waiting to be asked to work and Marcus removed the key from his neck to open the chest. He picked one of the razors and decided to start the day with sharpening some of the tools while waiting for potential clients.
  12. Even slaves who were bodyguards needed time off sometimes – or, they didn’t need it, according to the people who enslaved them, but they were lucky to get time off. Cynane definitely needed it. Not that she disliked her mistress, no… Claudia was sweet and kind towards Cynane and it was still so much better than all the years Cynane spent as a gladiatrix. Although the male slaves and especially the praetorians, the royal guard, still gave her strange looks for being a woman in breeches carrying weapons… at least she felt respected where she was today. And when she was given a bit of coin for her work, she kept it for the few times she had a chance to leave the palace behind her. Today was such a day. Not that a day off meant this woman wearing a dress – no way! She wore her grey breeches and a long blue/grey tunica and a belt with her purse attached. She supposed it was a kind of dress, but it still stopped above the knees and she didn’t care. It felt right to her. Her hair was done as always, with braids and twirls collected on top and on the backside of her head, so that her long hair still flowed down her back, but it wasn’t in the way of her eyes or face. Cynane found her favorite place to eat. She hadn’t known this place as a gladiatrix, but another slave had recommended it and she quite liked it. The owner was a bountiful woman, who was a former gladiatrix too – and who chose to open this place once she was freed. They served good food and drink here and there was always something to look upon. She found a seat and a barmaid showed up to find out what Cynane wanted. A good serving of the stew of the day and some ale. Yes, they actually served ale in here – it wasn’t quite similar or quite as good as what Cynane grew up on with her own tribe in Britannia, but it was still good and barley grew well in the heat in this part of the world. Once her drink had been served in a large mug, she leaned back in her seat. She had chosen a bench and a table near a wall, so that she could lean against the wall behind her. Cynane took a good gulp of the drink and looked around – and then up as the barmaid appeared with a bowl of stew for Cynane. The stew never made it to her table though. Some annoying ass of a man decided to grab the barmaid from behind, hoping to pull her to his lap, and caught by surprise, the barmaid dropped the bowl of food, which landed on the ground and shattered. There was stew and shards on the floor and the male ass was surprised too and forgot to hold onto her. She stepped away quickly and Cynane couldn’t help it and stood, glaring at the man, “Who the fuck do you think you are? You leave her alone and buy me another round of stew!” Cynane demanded. It was a good thing she wasn’t allowed to leave the palace with a weapon on her body, but that didn’t mean she was helpless - and if you couldn't tell by her appearance, the way she held herself or the way she spoke, you had a problem. And by the gods she wouldn’t mind a proper fight for once! Sadly though, the man was plenty intimidated by a woman in breeches giving him orders, so he stood and quickly left the place – without buying another round of stew. Well fuck… Cynane inhaled a breath and looked around; everyone looked at her though… “What are you all looking at? Mind your own business!” She said and sat down and downed the rest of her mug in one gulp.
  13. Jenn

    Market Day

    July 74 CE Widowhood was hard to deal with, but Julia was doing the best she could. A little over six months had passed since Canus had passed. She was still residing on the small farm that her and Canus had shared and worked together for Alaric Stilicho, but there were a few slaves who did the direct work. With the arrival of early summer Julia had taken a few days away from the farm to come into town to visit her son and go to the Markets. Julia entered the Emporium Magnum and immediately was bombarded by the noise and the crowds of people milling about. She was mostly there to sell and purchase a few items but also to simply see who was around. After doing her business she was looking at a stall with a variety of wares.
  14. March 74CE Gaius left the business for the day in the care of his eldest daughter. Instead today was one where he would wander, enjoy the sights of Rome, and hopefully find someone he could meet with. His clothing was relatively modest yet his jewelry showed the wealth he had attained. Commerce and trade, two things that benefited him greatly. It allowed him time to grow and change. The years had softened his determination and blind push for his children to succeed. Instead, he wanted to learn about people and discover more about the various people he saw in the city. There were times when he would talk. He had nothing in his hands. The loyal slave assigned to him held the rolled up pieces of parchment, the ink, his water flask, and a few other bits and pieces. He hurried after his Dominus and wondered what God the old man prayed to in order to have so much movement for a man his age. "D-dominus, are you sure we should be traveling here?" "Ah, good Pavo!" He exclaimed cheerfully, "they are Romans, like us. Are they not?" Pavo murmured something under his breath and Gaius pointedly ignored him. It was a good day today. There was no need for any anger nor of strife. Gaius accidentally bumped into someone. "Beg pardon, my mistake," He said with a good natured smile. "Say, would you be interested in talking to an old man?"
  15. Early evening, early July, 74CE Vibia yawned, stretching out on a rich couch in the entranceway to the Domus Venus. She had been up most of the previous night with one of her regulars, a man with about as much wit as her left thumb, but he was good natured and tipped generously. Not to mention he was at least somewhat satisfying. She had no particular plans for the day and so was enjoying simply resting. The early summer heat had become intolerable in her room and at least the main rooms had some of the coolness thick walls and a lack of windows could offer, and so here she lounged. In the year she'd been in the brothel she had come to know most of her peers relatively well - but her status as a freedwoman often left her at odds with them. That wasn't to say she didn't socialise, but she supposed her (hypothetical, or presumed) ability to be able to just up sticks and walk out if she so chose, irritated the slaves that also services the nobility of Rome. If only they really knew what she was doing there. Smiling a little to herself, she let her eyes flutter shut. There were fewer clients when the heat was up - nobody wanted to couple when they already felt the sweat roll off their faces it seemed - and so she figured she had at least a few hours before she was to prepare for the evening. Wearing a loose fitting tunica, but with her hair immaculately pinned and a gold necklace around her throat, she looked the very picture of contentment. Unfortunately it wasn't to last. A sound in the room disturbed her and she snapped her eyes open, irritated. If the girls and men of the brothel wanted to talk, why couldn't they do it where they wouldn't disturb her? Fire in her eyes she gracefully moved to sit, her voice loud and authoritative. "Can't you see I'm trying to get some peace?" She blinked into the dim light of the evening in the direction of the noise. She had no authority, not really, not here, but the domina was nowhere to be seen and Gods she wanted some sleep. TAG: Open to anybody at Domus Venus!
  16. Gothic

    Roman zombies

    October 60CE. (This takes place during Lucilla's funeral) There was a long reason for the wasting illness that had plagued her. The funeral procession led through the streets of Rome. Surrounding the casket as it was drawn were the population in the clothes of mourning. Her family were around her, no doubt it would be her male relatives who would give her the funerary orations and share her achievements (and theirs with the populace). She wore a death mask that concealed her features from view. Inside, images of Darius' death, happy and troubled memories stirred as her body began to twitch. Which God or Goddess from down below had decided to bless (or curse Rome)? Finally, a dark memory took hold. One of anger..... betrayal.... Her hand lifted and knocked the shroud off. There were cries of shock from the crowd and followed by silence. Perhaps this was all a trick? An illusive one the family had pulled to lure out enemies into the open? Her hand was pale, tinged with grey and purple where the blood had begun to pool. The mask was pulled off and thrown, smashed on the floor as the litter was placed down on the ground, and she pulled herself up. Her funeral gown was beautiful, she wore ornate necklaces, rings and bracelets as she had done in real life. Her face, beautiful once in life had faded with her mouth semi-open and her eyes grey, clouded and hungrily. A shocked (and terrified) praetorian stepped forward to assist her only to be sharply yanked forward. Her arm grabbed him by his uniform and pulled him towards her with surprising strength. Her mouth dug into his neck as he screamed in complete terror and tore with her teeth. She gulped down what she could. Screams of panic filled Rome as people began to fight or flee. Soon the praetorian's eyes changed and together they began to attack others who approached....
  17. 1st May 74CE Thus far, the dead had never bothered him when it came to dealing with his business. His ancestral spirits must have been pleased with him for the work he had done. He was a good father to his girls, he treated his slaves well and did not deny them their holy days. His parents passed away, as did not of his siblings except for a brother who was off serving in the legion somewhere and Gaius was sure he would not even recognise him. He awoke in the darkness and stretched, cleansed his nude body with clean water and dressed with only a tunica. He yawned in the darkness and walked towards the Lares. The household figures who were represented by well-worn wooden figurines. Gaius prayed to them for protection, guidance and a chance to ensure his family would be protected during this time. He hoped none of the spirits within the walls of his home would be harmful or hostile towards them. Gaius' tunica was loose and without a belt, his feet were bare, and he placed nine beans in his mouth. One at a time. As he walked around the domus, he spat them out one by once with his thumb between his forefinger and middle finger in the mano fico and recited the ancient words meant to drive away the wicked spirits. “Haec ego mitto, his redimo meque meosque fabis." ((These I cast; with these beans, I redeem me and mine!)) He called out and wondered if the spirits really did follow the beans as they were thrown away. They must have for no wicked spirits remained in the family home. It was repeated nine times as he waked around the home and imagined foreign spirits now being forced to vacate the home. He then washed his hands in clean water then walked back and forth throughout the home. Lastly he lifted up a gong and struck it and allowed the noise to move through the home. Nine times he shouted. “Manes, exi paterni!" ((Ancestral spirits, depart!)) Sunlight began to creep up over the horizon. @Gil @AzraelGrim
  18. May 74CE Corinthia remembered the place she had nearly been assassinated at. The culprit had been seized, interrogated and finally had a brutal end to their lives. Yet the original source? She still did not know who it had been. There were many people who would have been only too happy to end her life if it suited them. Either to cause conflict for Caesar, revenge for her father, or a range of other petty issues. She did not hide. Her kohl-rimmed eyes scanned the crowd, her long neck upright and chin raised in defiance. Let them hate her... let them try again... the Gods protected her and allowed her to live for a purpose. However, she had not come alone this time. Her faithful body slave, Nadia, came with her silently and held her items in her hands. Aeneas, the British slave who had been trained as a gladiator also flanked her and followed her. Despite how much she raved, ranted at and occasionally hurled things at him. She felt safer with his tall, pale presence that followed her. Her chiton was stark white and only highlighted her olive skin, the jewelry she wore was gold, expensive and demonstrated that she was a woman of wealth. One of her 'friends' had told her that many people found their lovers at the Circus Maximus. While the idea of having a lover irritated her. She needed to marry, and to marry well. It had been some time since she had heard from Lucius Junius Silanus, and wondered if their travels to Greece was merely in jest. A part of her wished that it was true. She used a small hand fan made out of vibrantly coloured peacock feathers, long and expensive, and gazed at the crowd. Her hand had rings with semi-precious stones on them, as she casually fanned herself and was able to hide her disgusted look every so often. Finally, she found the right place to sit and finally she took her seat beside a small group of young men. Some her age, others younger, and mostly they were all from good families. Listening to their conversation she began to understand why so many people drank excessive amounts of wine.
  19. It was the nature of the Imperial family that they were always on their guard, whether it be for politics or personal safety; often both. And what's more they had to be so whilst appearing to be entirely at ease, a manner which became second nature to them. But it was pleasant to be able to relax as much as they were able, amongst their peers. Tiberius had eaten well and drunk a modest amount of wine. Just enough to feel relaxed, but he wasn't the sort to overindulge. The ebb and flow of conversations and people had left him momentarily on his own and he reclined at his ease, a cup of fine, deep green glass in his hand, on which had been painted stylised lillies and reeds, romantically remniscient of the borders of the Nile in Aegyptus. Likely the artist had never been to that far province however. He nursed the wine in it, taking advantage of the momentary lull to people-watch. It was a careless individual that did not take not of who spoke with whom. A slave passed by with a bowl of grapes and the young man helped himself to a handful with a nod. (OOC: Open to anyone who might like to join him.)
  20. March 74CE. "Come on, boy! People are waiting!" Caius yelled at Aulus. Caius would often yell at his slaves, occasionally give them a cuff around the ear if they misbehaved and would rant at them. Yet he was reasonably fair, valued hard work, and lived in similar conditions that they did. There was the smell of fried foods, minced meat, and the rush of feet as they moved. The food was reasonably cheap yet it meant they often had many customers every day. He watched and used a worn rag discreetly to wipe the sweat from his browline, his skin had a red tinge to it from being around the heat, and sighed to himself. In the distance, he smiled affectionately when he saw his two daughters, both working hard to ensure that all the customers were cared for and kept an eye on them. He was not above putting an unruly customer in the mince meat. And more than once he had to threaten a handsy customer with his cleaver. "You see what the problem is with society, Gallus?" He asked poor Gallus, the slave had heard this rant many times before and was immune to it. "People in Rome don't want to work these days. They come in, wanting things, mouths and hands open," He began and threw up his arms in agitation. "Not bothering to serve in the legions, not wanting to learn a trade, and back in my day... young men took more pride in their work rather than taking charity!" Caius continued, ignored the fact that there were more programs that granted increased work for citizens and freedmen. "Now, what can I get for ya?" He asked one of the customers that had entered.
  21. There were many spirits he hoped would be present. He hoped his parents would be proud of the achievements made by his family, and especially him. Octavius was not sure whether his parents would be tending to Quintus or if they had gone with him. Or whether they remained here. Either way, he wanted to conduct the ritual. His Parentes and Lares, ancestral spirits would guide and protect him throughout the ritual. The Genius, the household god of manly virtue and symbolised by a snake. He prayed and made offers of sacred bread to the figures. Thus far, the lemures or wicked spirits had been driven from their dwellings and the home. Octavius did not consider himself to be an overly superstitious man, he walked around the family home and made sure he went into every room. Every corner. No place within the home would go without. There were many times when he witnessed other people carrying out this sacred duty. Always there was an elder brother within the family home who had the authority to do the ritual. Whether it was Quintus or Jullus in the past, his father before the Gods had taken him, and now it was left to him to conduct the sacred right. It was a further reminder of the role he now played within the family, and within Rome, herself. Octavius wore a tunica without a belt nor rope to hold it in place. He threw the beans, recited the sacred lines, and held his hand in the mano fico position. The lines were repeated as he walked through the expansive and mostly silent home during the darkness of night. The hallways were lit and light shone from the braziers. “Haec ego mitto, his redimo meque meosque fabis." ((These I cast; with these beans, I redeem me and mine!)) He called out into the darkness, force behind his voice and he wondered how much this ritual would work. Like the state religion, it was important to do your duty to the Gods and ensure they were well treated. He reached out his hand and waited for the gong to be placed it in so he could continue the ritual. The household slaves and every member of the family present were aware already. Each of them would participate in the event. Octavius Minor and Valeriana both stood, wiped the sleep from their eyes and waited. Slowly but surely daylight had begun to form. There were no signs that the ritual had failed nor gone astray. https://www.ancient.eu/article/34/roman-household-spirits-manes-panes-and-lares/ @Sharpie @Dev Plus anyone else involved in the family is welcome to come.
  22. Stepping into the Iseum always felt like leaving behind the mortal world and entering a new realm. The imposing columns, the air thick with incense and smoke, the regal-looking statue of the mother goddess. White-clad priestesses in flowing garments chanted their worship, some in more or less fluent Greek, some in the language of old, while devout Romans and foreigners alike offered their prayers. Outside the temple grounds, busy city life carried on as usual, but the vivacious chatter of merchants, customers, bath-goers and passersby became a murmur in the background when one passed under the arch. Clio kneeled a respectful distance from the marble Isis and bowed her head in prayer. She didn't dare raise her voice above a whisper; it didn't feel right in such a holy place when she was but a simple slave. Her devotion to the goddess was long-standing, but a product of habit and local costume from her early years rather than a deliberate choice. Egyptian lore and deities had become a part of the Hellenistic way of life many, many generations ago, even before Alexander's time, and they were worshiped in equal circumstances. She prayed for good health for all in the household, and the continued success of her masters' business. That the Great Isis might give her mistress the son she so longed for. That Clio herself might continue to serve well and be treated well in return. That that rotten son of a merchant might suffer with leper and pus until all flee from him, and his limbs and his member turn putrid and fall off, and that maggots and flies might devour him alive. (Isis the Merciful may forgive the sins of men, but Clio does not, for she is only human, not a goddess.) Now that she was done with prayer, Clio had no excuse to linger and delay her return to the ludus. She stood up and began to make her way out of the temple, dropping a lonely as into a bowl a bald novice was holding as she walked past. It was all she could spare, but it was willingly given, so the goddess and her priestesses should be pleased. She had barely taken two steps outside the precincts of the temple when another person bumped into her, making them both stumble. "My apologies!" Clio said quickly, gaze immediately diverted towards the ground. Being a slave meant the blame was hers by default, even if in this particular situation it was not so. "Please forgive me, I was distracted and did not watch my step."
  23. 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.
  24. Mid-March, 74 AD - at the Temple of Apollo Sosianus Helios stood quietly before the grand temple dedicated to Apollo Sosianus – or Apollo Medicus. He had with him a bunch of flowers, although they weren’t the prettiest. It was still cold and winter in Rome and Helios could not acquire better flowers than these at the moment. He’d also brought with him a honeycake he’d bought at a nearby marketplace and this was the best he felt he could do. It was his fault Marcus Calvunus, the bouncer and guard of the Domus Venus, had been badly injured and Helios would do all he could to help him. So as any good Roman, even if he was not born here, he would go and sacrifice and pray to the right god. The Campus Martius was an interesting place to be at and here in the Circus Flaminius there was a lot to look upon. Many temples, placed side by side… and right next to this one, dedicated to a god of healing, was a temple dedicated to Bellona, goddess of war. How… convenient, Helios thought to himself, although he was not much of a fighter and he’d been of no use when Calvunus was attacked by that hound. He climbed the steps and moved into the faint light inside the temple. There was a statue of the Greek god here, and he stopped for a moment, looked up at it. He glanced to see if anyone were watching him, but he couldn’t see anyone here. There were probably priests and slaves working here, but they were hiding. And so he stepped up to the altar and placed his flowers and the honeycake on said table, which was lit with candles and there were many other offerings besides his own. Then he looked up at the statue again, “Hear my words, Apollo, god of medicine. I know it’s not much… but if these gifts are appropriate… then please see that my friend Calvunus gains full recovery of his leg again. Let it heal right, let him be well again. That is all I ask. Please.” It had only been a day since that fateful night and the medicus could not yet promise Helios all would be well. So this was the best thing he could do. He could have asked something for himself too, something more. Apollo was much more than a god of medicine, after all. But Helios hadn't thought that far. His thoughts were on his friend, and he had to feel better again. There was a marble bench by a wall in the temple, and Helios went to sit down to think a bit. It was rare he was this gloomy and thoughtful, but seeing Calvunus hurt like that touched something in him; something that was rarely touched, since as a whore, Helios was not supposed to feel anything for anyone he served. But he had friends and people he cared about. And when they were hurt, he was worried. This time more than usual.
  25. Appius was naturally a social person. Rather than preferring a quiet life, he enjoyed the company of others and the socialisation that came with it. Politics meant that he would need to make friends in order to ensure his family remained prominent -- allies, new and old were always vital. He walked through the Porticus Liviae and saw several of his peers present. His posture was upright with his chin lifted yet relaxed and at ease. A son of one of the most prominent families in Rome and the Paterfamilias, his wealth and connections kept many doors open for him. Men and women, each of them were present. He recognised someone as one of his social peers, lifted his hand in a slight wave and unfortunately Horatia was not with him. His wife preferred the quiet of her gardens to the social aspect of Rome. Appius was a flirt, he could not help it and did not stray from his wife. Most of the women knew what the flirtation dance was, and why it happened. Perhaps he should have brought his sister with him instead? There were a couple of younger women who walked towards him. From what he remembered, they were cousins of Horatia or so he thought. Without his secretary present, it was difficult to be able to tell who it was. "Salve ladies, are a surprisingly fine day? It is not?" He asked, glanced around to see if any of their relatives were around to hopefully gain some idea about who they were and where they should be placed. He waited to see how they would respond to him. They giggled towards themselves, answered politely and seemed to glance around. His clothing depicted him as being someone of wealth and note.
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