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  1. February 77AD the day after Whoever Brings The Night His head was hurting, especially on the left side and towards the jaw in particular. When he moved up his hand to his head and his face, he could feel more than one area that had swelled and there was even a crack in the skin above his one eyebrow. He’d been bleeding. The blood was dry now, feeling coarse and unnatural and he almost wanted to rip the wound open to make it bleed again. Just to feel it, his own blood. Maybe that’s what he would feel now. Unless he could get out, somehow. Marcus had no idea what time of the day it was or for how long he’d slept after he passed out in the cell. Now someone came up to the small cell he was in, a guard, holding a wooden cup of water in front of the cell and what looked like old and dry bread. He was teasing Marcus, pretending he wouldn’t give it to him. Said he didn’t deserve to eat that well. Then the guard let Marcus touch the bread, as if he’d actually give it to him. And then he pulled it back and tossed it into a corner far away from the cell. And the water, he poured that onto the ground in front of the cell. And laughed, before he spat at the stain of water and left. Marcus leaned against the back of the cell. He should not have done it, he should not have let his anger get the best of him and he should not have gone out to kill one or more of all those people in the room that night. But he had wanted to remove them, so they could not put him in danger. Instead he’d been caught for the deeds he'd done. And while a part of him enjoyed that they wanted to see him dead, and a part of him had enjoyed seeing people he’d hurt before, people whose blood he’d seen… while he had enjoyed that, he had not enjoyed the blows to his head, mostly given by Alexius. And he did not enjoy sitting in this cell. All he had here was his mind. Maybe he should put it to use. He would need to speak up for himself. Marcus assumed he’d have a trial. Anything else would be unjust. He would plea for a trial. It had to happen. So that he could speak for himself and maybe prove that they could not prove that he was behind the murders and the attacks. Yes, that’s what he’d do. He would think. And so he did. No other guard came with food for him. And he was so far into his own thoughts that he barely noticed it when someone did approach the cell again. There wasn’t much light here anyway. Why should he bother with opening his eyes?
  2. March, 77 AD Fuck. Why could he not just have fallen in love with some plebian girl or even a freedwoman, just as he was a freedman? But no, it had to be a Patrician woman. And even a Patrician woman, whose brother had been Consul not long ago and whom herself had been a Vestal Virgin until not so long ago. First she’d stopped being a Vestal. And the virgin thing, well Alexius had everything to do with that ending for her too. And what a night it had been. Just one night! But he wanted more and that meeting in the library was almost more than he could stand. Alexius found himself working more. Spending more hours by the warehouse, so that hopefully once he did go home, he’d be tired enough to just sleep. Instead of spending less hours, so that he could go out and find someone to share his bed with. Not that he hadn’t also done that. But it just wasn’t the same anymore. He kept wishing it was her. Gods, he’d put her on a pedestal, had he not? And now all he wanted was her. So he’d stopped trying to make other people distract him, because it didn’t work. Was it fair that he was sharing pleasure with a woman and then closing his eyes, seeing Calpurnia’s face instead of the one he was with? No, it wasn’t fair to anyone. So he had to stop. Yet he could not have the woman he wanted the most. And it wasn't like his longing for pleasure died out. But he didn't want anyone but her, not really. It was all more fucked up than anything he’d ever tried before. Lexus had also noticed the change. He’d commented on how quiet the flat had become. Not that he thought it was bad. But he said he worried for Alexius. Who just rolled his eyes and would down some more wine, because what else could he do? He didn’t want his son to worry. Another night on the town it is. He couldn’t work late every night. Alexius found one of his favorite taverns and downed some wine. Then some more. He ended up being very drunk. At some point late at night, he’d begin walking home. Now he did feel tired. He sat down on some steps in front of a temple to rest. And apparently, he fell asleep there. Right until the sun rose on the sky and people began roaming at the Forum again. Right until someone would see him there and decide to try and wake him up. (( OPEN TO ANYONE ))
  3. 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?
  4. Saturnalia, 76AD Vibia stifled a yawn behind her fingers and tried to blink the sleep out of her eyes. Saturnalia might be fun for the slaves and the plebs but it was the Venus' busiest time of year, and perhaps its most unpleasant. The most generous of (rich) masters often doled out gifts to their most valuable, trusted slaves which sometimes involved a night with a beauty from the Venus. They had poorer manners than her usual class of clientele and seemed to want to savour every minute that they paid for. It was exhausting, and so it took her almost the full day to be ready (and willing) to work after sleeping, visiting the baths and tidying her rooms from the detritus her clients left. Now though, the sun had dipped well past the horizon and evening was drawing in. She could hear the tell-tale sounds of Rome's best and brightest being...entertained in the rooms down the corridor but Vibia herself was led resplendent on one of the couches in the main room, fingers softly trilling her cithara. A few of her colleagues; men and women alike milled around, entertaining the guests of the clients being seen too and likewise trying to prop themselves awake. A woman's work was never done, and particularly not a whore's on Saturnalia. The familiar jangle of the bells that overhung the front door sounded and Vibia lazily dragged her eyes up to see a new client walk in. Interesting. TAG: Open!
  5. April, 77 AD Another day in the life had begun and began to speed up as the morning progressed. Get up, wash, get dressed, begin cutting vegetables and setting the slaves to work too. Her mother was not well today and would not leave bed. Her father helped a little, but mostly he also tried telling the slaves what to do. Melissa did most of the work and she told herself she was happy to do it. If she didn’t do it, then who would? Just the slaves? No, that would not do. The hours before noon easily passed and then came the warmer part of the day. It was no longer winter and with spring came warm days. Sure, some days were warmer than others, but this was one of the very warm ones. They decided to close the thermopolia for a few hours after noon, because most people would spend that time going to the thermae or relaxing instead. Such was the life, at least in the area where she lived. Melissa thought it a good day to visit the thermae, it had been a few days since last time. So with a towel of her own in a simple bag, she set off towards the nearest thermae. Luckily, there were a few of such in the Esquiline. After taking her time in the bathing areas, she finally got dressed again and went to the surrounding gardens of the thermae to sit down by a fountain. Melissa felt she was not busy and the warmth made her feel a bit lazy. She leaned over to touch the water in the fountain and thought she might taste it, when someone came walking by, startling her so she almost fell into the water. Luckily, she caught herself and looked around to see who was in such a rush. OPEN
  6. Late March, 77AD It had been a while, since he’d been back here last time. He had actually come back a few weeks after Charis had come to see him at the market. And he’d had time to think the whole thing over a few times. He still didn’t quite grasp how such a sweet and kind girl could turn into the opposite over such a short span of time. She’d been so nice and friendly when he met her at his father’s domus. She even said she took his advice for Peregrinus and sleeping habits. But then she came to him at his job at the marketplace and told him to leave Rome and not come back. Few had treated him nicely here in Rome. Most seemed to misunderstand him or simply just not understand him at all. There was nothing for him here. Or, not much. He had tried to not give up too easily. He had told Charis the truth about why he was here, just like he told his father. Why would they not believe him? But he said to his father after that dinner party, that he’d be back and so he kept his promise, at least to begin with. He was stubborn. His mother had sometimes said that he inherited that from his father. He never saw that before… but now that he knew that Wulfstan was not his father, he understood. He had come back to his actual father’s house quite a few times, knocking on the door and walking inside. This was his father’s house. He was not just yet another visitor here, so why should he wait outside? Yet every time he was met by a slave and eventually asked to leave, because the Dominus was not at home. That had happened quite a few times over the next few months. Antonia was apparently never at home either, so he'd never met his half-sister. And if Charis was there with Peregrinus, she stayed out of the way. Eventually he stopped coming. Charis was right. He clearly wasn’t wanted. Not by anyone but his half-brother Teutus it seemed. At least they got along. Time went by… and now springtime was coming and he had always planned he’d return to Germania when next spring came. That time was now. He had finished with the warehouse at the marketplace and had told the landlord of the insula he lived in, that he was leaving very soon. And now, he showed up in front of his father’s house one last time. To tell that he was leaving. He didn’t expect them to be sad that he had to leave. He wasn’t sure what he expected. But it felt right to tell them. So there he was, outside the house, pulling himself together to knock on that door. Why didn’t he just do it? It felt so… final, somehow, to do it. Rome had not always treated him nicely, but still, it wasn't easy to just say goodbye, was it? Once he left, he wasn't sure he'd ever come back, after all. He might not see any of the people he met here, again. Wulfric sighed and leaned against a wall opposite the front door to his father’s domus. (( OPEN THREAD FOR ANYONE ))
  7. February 77 AD The night following Falling Apart and Crime scene investigations It was far from the first time he’d killed someone. And it had felt so good when it happened, the feeling of the knife penetrating the flesh, the way the man had doubled over, forcing the knife deeper, all the way to the handle. The way the blood had run over Marcus’ fingers. The way the other man died, the way Marcus touched the wound and the warm blood. Until he realized he needed to flee. The man wore white robes; the man was a Senator of Rome. It was not good. But Marcus was sure it could not be traced back to him… Or was he? Somehow, what happened tonight made him think to everything else that had happened, since he attacked that girl at Saturnalia. She’d been so afraid. Her blood had been so red and warm. He’d almost wanted to fuck her after he cut her, but then he didn’t, because he thought he killed her. But he didn’t. She lived and she was with a guy named Alexius, who also knew the Egyptian who came to his shop, who knew a mute boy. A mute boy that Marcus thought he'd met sometime. He couldn’t be sure it was the same, but maybe. It seemed like a puzzle, almost impossible to solve, but he knew he had the right pieces. He just had to finish it. If all of this really was connected… it was very bad for him. He knew how they treated murderers. They’d often end up in the arena against some beast of a gladiator and Marcus wouldn’t win such a fight. And he had no death-wish. All he wanted was to do what he’d always done. The next morning he woke up in his bed. He hadn’t changed, he’d been thinking about the murder until he fell asleep. Then he yelled for Manus to come and help clean him, and his female slave could get him a fresh set of clothes. There was blood on his tunica from yesterday. He told Manus to burn it. Once he’d cleaned up and wore clean clothes, he went down to open the shop as usual. Pretending like nothing happened last night. But then people began coming into the shop to be shaved or have a haircut. And there was gossip. About the important Senator that was murdered in the street last night. And the Vigiles were looking for the murderer. Many people were looking for said murderer. Marcus worried more and more. So much that he felt distracted. He closed the shop early, locked the chest with blades and once darkness fell, he put his cloak back on. And went out into the night. Towards the Esquiline Hill. He had to solve the puzzle. And he had to attempt removing the people he thought might know too much. He could start with Alexius. Or Artemon, whom he had already shaved once. Artemon might be easiest. Not that he had not killed bigger men before, but why take a risk when you could be safe? He hid in a dark doorway near the insula, watching the area. Marcus didn’t know if he’d kill them tonight, a murder two nights in a row might not be the best idea. But he needed to see them and needed to think about what he'd do. Then he might at least threaten them. Hurt them. Silence them. Something. And so he waited.
  8. Early January, 77 AD Alexius had gone out for another night on the town. He’d been very thoughtful lately, especially after Ovinia had been attacked. There was so much he did and so much he could do… and so many things he couldn't do and didn't do. He wasn't getting any younger and still, he was just yet another freedman in Rome, sometimes struggling to find his place here. He had plenty of friends and probably even more lovers to spend time with, and he had Lexus too, but there was still something missing. Something he could often drown with wine and forget in the arms of someone else, and yet his mind wandered. Back to the time when he was married. He’d tried to count the years, he’d done it a few times to be sure and it would seem that it was about 13 years since he divorced Ariella Alexia. He’d not had a very long and steady relationship since. A few had lasted more than just one night, but those could be counted on one hand alone. At the end this evening, he decided it wouldn’t do him any good to sit alone with these thoughts, so out he went. It didn’t take him long to find a popina. And before he knew it, an attractive woman was sitting in his lap, picking up wine to serve to Alexius’ lips. They were both having a good time. She was lovely. That’s right until a man entered the popina. Not that that was out of the ordinary. But after looking around, he was heading straight towards Alexius and his companion. He looked a bit familiar? Alexius thought the man was coming for him. But then he slapped his companion. Smack, it said, and everyone at the popina stared at them. Alexius as startled as everyone else. “What the fuck are you doing Artia?!” He growled and Alexius gave them both a surprised look, but the man just looked at him, actually offering Alexius a smile. He was familiar! He’d slept with that guy too, once upon! Artia slipped off his lap, “Marcus, I can explain…” She said. Marcus was his name! And Marcus looked at Alexius again, unsure of what to say to him, “What?” Alexius asked, “I didn’t know she was yours! Or… did you want to join?” He attempted with a small smile, but Artia now gave Marcus a look. “You know him too? Seriously, Marcus?” She snapped at her husband and then looked at Alexius, “Everyone just wants you, don’t they?” And then she slipped off his lap, whispering on the way, “Another time maybe…” Then she took her husband’s hand and dragged him away from the popina. They had some talking to do, clearly. Especially if they both slept around. With the same people, apparently! Leaving Alexius alone again, looking maybe more than a bit surprised. “Well, that was dramatic!” Alexius then said with a chuckle, suddenly thinking that maybe it wasn’t that bad to not have a wife. But everyone at the popina was looking at him and he realized that perhaps this put him in a different light than usual. A bit embarrassing, actually. Well, fuck them all then. But not here. With a sigh, he downed the rest of the cup of the wine and stood to leave. Half-drunk already and the night had just begun.
  9. April, 77AD It was sometimes amazing how time would just fly by. And yet, everything was the same. It was like the wind and you never knew where it would take you. For now though, Manius had returned to where it all began, more or less. His father had worked at the slave markets. Manius had done the same, when he was old enough. Right until he was stupid enough to gamble and become way too indebted, so that his wife and son were murdered. He put himself on a pedestal on the slave market instead. Became what he used to command. Eventually, freed again. Life took him from one place to the next and suddenly, he was here again. Nothing had changed really. Life was much the same as always, he thought. And Manius did tend to think too much. For now, he was done with the day’s work with Spurius’ lot of slaves, so he made his way across the market, planning to go home to the simple one-room insula he lived in now. He couldn’t stay in Spurius’ warehouse and be a burden there, that was not fair. There wasn’t much life in his eyes these days. He worked hard, did what he was supposed do when he worked. But there was little left to enjoy besides that. Spring was coming though. He remembered lovely days in the gardens of Sullust with Salacia. But she too was gone. The only joy he had left in his life, gone too. Manius sighed and looked to the sky. It had been dark all day, the weather felt heavy and now, of course, before he got very far from his working place, it began raining. The rain quickly went from a drizzle to a pour. He sighed again. This was his lot in life. Everyone else ran for shelter from the rain. Manius didn’t care. Instead he let the rain soak his hair as he continued walking. It almost felt liberating. Almost. OPEN
  10. Late September, 76 AD It was late September and fall was definitely coming upon Rome now. The weather wasn’t too cold yet, but it was not summer either. Pinaria pulled her palla closer around her and looked over her shoulder after her servant, Gaia Lucia. The woman was actually a freedwoman, but she and Pinaria had not yet parted ways and she wasn’t sure she wanted to. At the same time, she was not sure if it was actually love between her and Lucia, but they cared for each other. Deeply. And Gaia Lucia came with her everywhere. Soon it would be dark and they needed to head home from the temple. Lucia suggested a shortcut through an alley between a few streets, said she knew it. Lucia said it wasn’t entirely safe though, so they should hurry. Pinaria nodded and followed the former slave. But Lucia hurried a little too much and suddenly she was too far away. It had become darker as they walked and suddenly, Pinaria did not feel safe at all. She tried to call for Lucia, who had disappeared around a corner. Pinaria stopped for a moment to call for her servant again. That’s when she heard it, in the silence behind her. Footsteps coming in her direction. She looked over her shoulder to see a hooded figure some way behind her, “Hello? I don’t mean to bother you… I’ll be on my way…” She said and moved on, but the person kept following her. Suddenly he was right behind her and held a blade to her throat. Pinaria froze and squeezed her eyes shut. She thought about her son. This was not happening, was it? It was... “Please, don’t hurt me… I have a son…” She said, and yet she felt the man pull her closer, “What do you want? I don’t have any money. I gave them all to the temple. You can have my necklace…” She suggested to the stranger behind her, “I don’t care about such things…” He whispered back to her and she felt the blade cut into her throat and stinging pain of it. He’d cut the side of her throat. It wasn't deep, but enough to make her bleed. She felt his other hand move up. He touched the wound and got her blood on his fingers. “Wha… what do… you want?” She stuttered, afraid, but she heard nothing but his breathing as he touched the wound again and smeared the blood between his thumb and his other fingers. Suddenly she heard her name and she dared to look up. It was Gaia Lucia! Lucia came back for her! The man behind her saw it too. He let go of her, but not before he also cut her arm through her palla as he pulled back. Then he quickly ran away in the other direction. Pinaria ran towards her servant and fell into her embrace. She felt her heart pounding in her chest. Together the two women made the rest of the way out into the more open street again. Now, however, it was entirely dark. And there was still a bit of a way to get home. "I'll run for help!" Gaia Lucia promised Pinaria and tired as she was from the sudden incident, she didn't argue before it was too late. Suddenly she was alone again! What if that maniac came back? What in the name of Hades did he want? With a sigh she dared to take her eyes off the street for a moment, as she leaned against a nearby wall and moved the palla away from her arm to inspect the bleeding wound.
  11. January, 77 AD Lucius knew the area well. This was where the infamous Gardens of Sullust were to be found and the hospitia he stayed in, was here too. He planned on settling down on the Quirinal Hill with his wife and the kids and a good amount of slaves too of course. They had a good home in Hispania and they were going to have that here too. A large enough domus for two busy parents and three growing children. Armenia would soon be ready to marry off and he hoped that he could find a future betrothed for her here in Rome. He was betrothed to his own first wife, when she was just 12 years old, after all. But he didn’t meet her until a few years later. And was it here, in the gardens, that they met? He could barely remember and he hadn’t been married to her for very long either. Then Leontia entered his life and she was a good wife to him. In the beginning it was hard, because she had not known she was to marry a brothel master like Lucius, but she learned to tolerate it and today, there was no issue with it. She even helped him and she had given him three living children. He couldn’t have wished for more in a wife. Yet she was far away and he was right here. There were plenty of other women in Rome though, and men, and Lucius was here to see if the city and its people would be useful to him once more. He'd grown, while he was gone. And not just in age, but also in coin. He'd bought a few honey cakes and brought them with him to the gardens. There weren’t a lot of flowers in the gardens at this time of the year, but it was always interesting to walk through them. There was a shrine here dedicated to Venus and he sat down on an old fallen stone pillar near it, not because he really had anything to say to the goddess, but more because he was curious who else might show up here. As he sat there, he unfolded the cloth he'd carried the honey cakes in. Just as he picked up the first piece to eat it, he heard footsteps on the path towards the shrine and looked up to see who was coming this way. He was intent on always keeping his eyes open and staying alert. You never knew whom you might meet and when they'd be useful to you, after all.
  12. February, 77AD Marcus Barbatius was not a happy man at the moment. Last time he went to the Elysium, they gave him a petty and afraid girl, and he cut her and then after a few weeks, he’d come back for her again. Her or another. But during those weeks, Titus had suddenly left the Elysium and had not sent word to Marcus, so he didn’t know what was going on. There was a new owner to the only brothel Marcus cared to visit, and he was difficult. Apparently now he had to pay to cut the girls again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted that. He had of course paid before also, before he met Titus, but now he’d gotten so used to their little arrangement, that it displeased him. And that was not the only thing that displeased him. That stupid guy from Egypt who came to his shop a few weeks ago, had spilled gossip about a mute young guy, who claimed he was friends with a barber and he’d even mentioned another guy named Alexius. Marcus had heard the name before, or rather, read it. On the walls of Rome. It wasn’t hard to find out where the man lived and what he looked like. He had quite the size and was easily recognizable. Plus the guy, Artemon, had also told Marcus where they lived, more or less. It was easy to find out about that. And then one day, not long after, Marcus was walking through Rome, he saw the girl he cut at Saturnalia. So she lived! But not only did he see her. She was together with the man called Alexius. But, that also meant she’d most likely told someone about Marcus. And maybe this Alexius knew. And since Alexius had a party with the mute kid, who was friends with a barber, it was all very likely that it had to do with Marcus. He wasn't stupid, he could put two and two together. They, however, were stupid. For thinking he'd not find out. To Marcus, it felt like Rome was falling apart. It felt wrong. Maybe he should leave Rome, like he left his hometown. Start over somewhere else. That’s what he was considering, as he sat at a random popina in Rome, eating a stew with a cup of wine on the side. The more he thought about the whole ordeal, the angrier he felt inside. And the best way to calm down again, was to give into the anger and take it out on someone else instead. He finished eating and stood to enter the fresh night. But as he was leaving the popina, someone else was walking in. Marcus glared at them and then almost violently pushed them out of the way, in order to disappear into the early Roman evening. OPEN FOR ANYONE (it is likely that the thread will take a violent turn)
  13. July, 76 AD He was not a slave, on his way to the slave market to be sold to another household. That’s not how it happened, when you were a freedman in Rome. No, when you were a freedman and the man who originally freed you had died, you were entirely free. And since he sold his old home, the one he inherited from his father… and his wife was still missing… and he now lost his job, he had nowhere to go. All he had was the sack with his things in it and the money he’d been given when he left the family and the domus. It had been interesting to work for the Tusca family, although also challenging. He could see why the young lady had needed a bodyguard – she was beautiful and easily tempted and he would never trust her half-brother, whose words were as smooth as butter and his eyes full of mischief. But the family had no need for him anymore and so he ventured into the streets of Rome again, considering what to do. Maybe he should find himself an insula to live in? He didn’t have a lot, so it would be a simple room in the top floor or something. It would have been easier, had he been a slave. Then he would have known where to go. The slave market or a new owner. But now he needed so much more; he needed a new job and a place to stay. He sat down on a step, thinking through his options. What could he do? Maybe return to the market as he thought about and ask for his old job back? That was the best option. He didn’t want to look for an insula before he had a job. So he stood, but as soon as he’d taken a step, the knot in his sack (which was really just a large piece of linen tied together as a sack) fell apart and everything spilled onto the ground. He cursed and sighed deeply, before beginning to pick them up quietly, because this was his lot in life. Things falling apart. As they always did.
  14. July 76, the Circus Neronianus* It was still summer in Rome, still hot, and yet with the advent of a new Caesar, there was a new air of excitement and anticipation even in the heat that pervaded Rome. It was cooler outside the boundary of the city - not a lot cooler, but enough. Racing was something that everyone had an opinion on and interest in, no matter the season or who wore the purple. Most races took place in the Circus Maximus, that vast stretch of racetrack in whose shadow the Whites' stable lay, but there were other venues in Rome for racing to take place, and one of those was the new Circus outside the boundaries of the city, across the Tiber. It was a venue for less prestigious races, and therefore the perfect place to introduce a new charioteer to the business of actually being a charioteer. Marcus had made sure that Azarion had had the opportunity to drive around this smaller track so that its shorter length and tight turns would be more familiar during his first race. And now the chariots were lined up at the end of the Circus; behind the carceres, the starting gate. When the signal was given, the gate would allow all the chariots to move forward at the same time, aiming them deliberately to the right-hand side of the spina that ran down the centre of the circus. Marcus would watch this first race of Azarion's future career from near the starting gate, where he could see right down the circus on both sides of the spina, although not the curve at the far end. He had Varica stationed on the spina itself to cover that - being able to hear of any occurrences there would help with the final assessment of the day. Seven laps would tell whether Marcus was right, or wrong, in his assessment of the boy. @Chevi ( @Járnviðr and @Atrice if you want to include Menelaus and Caeso as either spectators or participants) *Two things: the Circus Neronianus was begun by Caligula (and finished by Claudius in our own timeline, there's no need to think it couldn't have been finished by AeRo's own Claudius); I have referred to it by the name it has in our world because I don't know what it would otherwise be known as. The thread is set in the Transtiberim even though this circus is technically not in that area simply because it is on the other side of the river and only just outside Rome itself. See the map here
  15. September, 76 AD She could barely believe it when it happened – but suddenly she saw Eucleia’s tail disappear out the front door to the domus and the dog was gone. Her father and her brother were not at home. It was just Sosia and the slaves. What should she do? She had to find her dog! She could not imagine not having Eucleia, she’d had the dog for four years already and she loved her. And how on Earth did she get out? Who left the door slightly open? With a heavy sigh, Sosia opened the front door on her own and looked out into the late afternoon, “Eucleia?!” She yelled, but the dog did not come. She looked over her shoulder and then she wrapped her palla around her and went out. And closed the door behind her. She still stood just on the front door step to the street. She hadn’t said anything to anyone. It was kind of embarrassing, that her dog had run away and no one but her cared so much about Eucleia. They would not go looking for her. Where could she have gone to? She stopped an old lady walking by, asking if she’d seen the dog and she thought she’d seen a blonde dog running around a nearby corner in a certain direction. Sosia thanked the lady and began walking, occasionally calling out for the dog that did not show up. She kept asking people if they’d seen Eucleia and a lot of people had noticed the beautiful and well-groomed dog running around. Finally she spotted the fur walking down a narrow alley behind some houses. Sosia followed Eucleia. This time the dog turned its head when she called. It was indeed her dog! She finally managed to put a leash around the dog’s neck and then turned around. But where did she come from? She didn't recognize any buildings. Now she could really use Davus to help her figure it out. Or even Tiberius. But none of them were here and the sun was setting. She was lost. In Rome.
  16. June 30th, 76 AD Alexius life had not been going according to the plan lately. Not that he ever really had a plan, but lately, things had just taken a wrong turn. Not that it was all entirely bad, not that he was bored or didn’t have any lovers or anything like that, but he’d been feeling strange. He couldn't really explain it. All he could hope was that tonight might help. It was now about half a year ago, that he went to talk to Thessala, or rather, let it all out in a good spar with her, that he found out about the event. Thessala had heard rumors that the gang who ran the Domus Venus were considering to put up a day and night of entertainment. A private night, an exclusive night and it wouldn’t just be the kind of entertainment that the Venus was famous for. No, it would be all sorts of things. Including gladiatorial games. It was going to be a big event! That was the first time he heard about it, back when Thessala told him what she'd heard. Then a month or so, he was invited to talk to them. It came out of the blue and he didn’t know what they wanted, it wasn’t like he wanted to be a bouncer at the Venus! Brothels were not really his thing, not at all, in fact. He always felt so bad for the women and men and boys and girls working there, forced to sleep with anyone instead of being able to choose, like he did. But the Venus didn’t want him to become a bouncer or a guard, no… they wanted to see him fight in an arena. And wondered if he’d fight a woman. Because they had managed to get a deal with a ludus about one of their most fierce and famous gladiatrices. With that, they gained his interest and then they also offered plenty of coin for his efforts. Alexius always felt like he was in need of coin. Good wine wasn’t entirely cheap, after all. And to always have food and wine in the home to offer guests, well, that was not cheap either. So he agreed to the deal. He’d fight as a gladiator again. Purely for entertainment, there would be no Caesar there to say one should live and one should die. They could draw blood, of course, and one would win and another would lose, but killing was not on the menu for the evening. You couldn't continue entertaining people if you were dead, after all... It was now a year since the most recent earthquake and apparently that was the perfect occasion to celebrate. He hadn’t really fought in an arena since he was freed, but everyone knew he’d never forgotten about it and he had even at times considered returning, for real, and not just for one night only. That’s what this was though. Now, he could barely wait. He'd worked hard and exercised to return to his former strength - and here he was. Dressed and armored as he’d been in the past, as a Murmillo… walking through the tunnel underneath the seats, the tunnel that led to the private arena. The tunnel that led to the roar of the crowd and a proper fight against a proper opponent. He couldn't help but smile. @Chevi @Sara @Sharpie @Liv
  17. He had followed the young woman a while now. She had long, dark hair and very fair skin. She couldn’t be more than twenty years old. Some said age mattered, but not to him. Marcus actually preferred his victims to be young and fresh, untainted, and that’s what he had deemed this one to be. She turned around a corner into a quieter street and that’s when Marcus chose to approach her. He hurried up, caught up with her fast before she could run. Then he stood right behind her, “Greetings…” He said and she stumbled because he naturally startled her. He smiled while she fell onto her knees and he was right behind her, enjoying her surprise and her fear. She'd scraped her knees. He could smell the blood and his fangs came out. “What do you want from me?” She asked, while he grasped her by the hair and pulled her to her feet and closer to his own body. So warm! He could smell her fear! “I’ll scream!” She threatened him then and Marcus shook his head. Some victims just didn't get it. “No you won’t. All I want… is your blood.” And then he pulled her close and placed his arm over her throat so she could barely breathe and definitely not scream. She struggled, but she was skinnier than he, smaller than he... although he kind of liked her struggle. He dragged her with him into the nearest dark alley, where he pinned her to the wall with her front first, moved the hair away from her throat and bit into it from behind. She kept squirming, he had to hold on tight. But only for a little while longer. The blood was lovely and warm, it was everything he needed. Then she stopped and Marcus let go, let the corpse of the young woman drop to the ground like a puppet. Blood dripped down from his chin and he leaned against the wall, feeling satisfied and good. That’s when someone else turned down the same alley. Where there now lay a corpse and where Marcus stood. He froze, hoping the stranger had not seen him.
  18. Mid May 75 AD - in the street, near the Domus Venus It was just another evening in the Domus Venus and Helios was waiting for his next patron to show up. He had been up all night last night, busy with patrons and clients and for some reason, he couldn’t sleep very well today. Which meant that tonight he was more tired than usual and now he sat in the main room of the brothel, dressed in a simple sleeveless tunica that he’d tossed over his head and with shining cuffs around each arm. His hair was put up in a high ponytail tonight, mostly pulled away from his face save for a few tresses for the sake of looks. He hoped the next patron wouldn’t demand too much and at the same time, he hoped they’d stay all night. And give him both their body and a lot of stories about their lives. He had already had one tonight and he wasn’t feeling up to that much. Maybe he was getting too old for this shit. He really needed to do more with his life. Dareios made him realize this, a few years back and he had not stopped thinking about it since. Freedom was a thing in his near future, he hoped. He watched with a cup of wine in his hand, as another client walked through the door and spoke with the matron. He wanted a girl. And girls were lined up and the man selected one and off they were. Helios hadn’t been lined up with others like that in years; he wasn’t that young anymore and he could offer more than just a body. He was more a courtier than an actual prostitute these days, but most people didn’t know the difference. On top of that, he collected secrets and sold them either to his mistress or to other people willing to pay for them. Secrets could be very valuable. Knowledge was valuable... and Helios was lucky enough to have a good memory. Helios emptied his wine and let the matron know that he would be on the streets for a bit, hoping to find work and a useful and interesting client or something like it, out there instead. Near the Domus Venus he leaned against a wall, watching everyone who walked by and hoped to catch someone’s eye or see someone interesting to follow. ((the thread is open, but please let me know first before you join)) ((the date is not set in stone, can be changed to June or April))
  19. August, 75 AD It was dark out. Late and dark. Marcus had been out for a special event, a nobleman had desired a shaving and it had to be Marcus and it had to be at this hour. Why, no one knew. But Marcus was not one to say no to such a job, not when it paid so well and ensured the man would use his services another time too. Now was the time however to return to his home and his slaves. Marcus had a bag over his shoulder, with all the important shaving equipment. He’d brought no slaves with him, the nobleman had his own, after all. He cast a glance at the Elysium as he passed it. He had a friend there and a whore he thought he might return to sometime. Not because he liked her or anything, but because she’d bled in such a lovely way and it had felt so good to finish in her afterwards. But not tonight. Tonight he might have Aculia, with the pretty new scar on her face, proving that she was never to fail him again. Marcus decided to use a shortcut down a darker alley nearby. He heard someone walking behind him then and the footsteps were coming closer. Oh really? Marcus smirked to himself, reaching for the small blade in his purse and it was about time, because moments later, there was a hand on his shoulder. Though before the stranger could beat him up or try and steal his bag, which was what he assumed they would do, Marcus had swung around and pinned them up against the nearest wall. He might not be huge and overly muscular, but he was fast and agile and he wasn't weak either. He held the blade to their throat, “And what exactly was your plan? You picked the wrong victim…”
  20. Early June, 75 AD Of course she knew she needed to find a new husband - or at least try. That was a woman’s role and lot in Rome. Grow up, get married, get kids… if you lose your husband, get another or your family will dislike you. She didn’t want to be disliked. And she did want to find a man who would marry her, for how else was Gaius to have a proper father to raise him? Her brother did well, of course, but he had a wife and kids of his own too and Gaius was just a nephew and not his own child. She needed a man of her own. But she also needed Lucia. She hoped her future husband would accept her. Pinaria could not imagine marrying and never embrace Lucia again, like she had done it the past year. She wanted it all. And somehow, she’d have it. That’s why she had gone to the temple today – to pray and make a sacrifice, so that a good man of honor and bravery would somehow be hers. After all, as long as she was married, she was a good wife and mother. She did not spend time alone with other men and certainly, if she did, they never touched. Not that she didn’t know Gaius had not been as good as her at that; and he didn’t even hide it, but she didn’t blame him. She didn’t love him, but they were friendly with each other. And they were wife and husband and a wife did not sleep around. She had to make sure her kids were also his kids. But now that he was gone, surely there was no problem with bedding someone else and especially not when the other person was a woman, who could not make her with child. It was alright, in her opinion. She hoped the gods would agree. Quietly she left the temple and found a marble bench nearby to sit on and ponder, while looking up at the beautiful structure in front of her. She knew the gods had their own strange ways and that humans were probably nothing else than toys to them. She had lost so many people in her lifetime. People she cared about or should have cared about. She never even knew her mother! She hoped that she would not lose Lucia and that the next person she came to care about, would not disappear on her either. She barely noticed that someone else joined her on the bench, until she moved to stand and her palla was stuck underneath the other person. It was somehow ripped off her and she stood with just her chiton on and a very surprised look on her face, "Excuse me!" She said, clearly upset, while reaching for her palla to get it back and put it on. This was very inappropriate!
  21. 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
  22. It was a late afternoon and she had snuck out. Septima felt a little excited as she walked down the street, alone – there was no chaperone and her sister wasn’t here. No slave, nothing. She was on her own! Of course it wasn’t the first time, but she grew more brave and bold and she just wanted to go out and try and live life a little bit. That’s all she wanted. She wore a light green chiton today, with a simple (but beautiful!) dark green palla over her shoulders. Her long hair had long, wavy curls and was pulled a bit back from her face. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. It was a beautiful day. She didn’t really have a plan for where to go. Maybe she’d go and see a race, on her own? Or a gladiator match. She’d love to see that, without any escorts, so she could truly try and experience it. Or maybe she would just go and watch them train. She’d heard they could be quite handsome, some of them, big and muscular brutes and she was kind of interesting in looking at that. But maybe if she came close to the ludii, that’s where she would go. Maybe a trip to the market at first, buy something to eat for herself and then find a nice place to eat it. There were many places where you could buy a quick meal when you were out and about. Septima finally arrived at the large marketplace. She stood for a moment, just taking it in. It was then she saw a girl from far away, but thougth she looked familiar – an old friend of hers that she had not seen in years. Septima smiled and decided to approach her, but the girl then walked away with her escort and Septima followed her. They disappeared in the crowd though and Septima stopped, not sure it was a good idea to follow. Maybe it wasn’t her anyway. It was then someone walked by her and bumped into her and then hurried away. She arched a brow, not sure what that was about and headed back to the market to find some food. She reached for her purse and… it was gone! “Oh no…” She looked towards where the person bumping into her went, but they were long gone now, she imagined. This was not good... and she was hungry!
  23. March, 75 AD 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))
  24. 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?
  25. 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...
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