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  1. 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.
  2. January, 75 AD A visit to the thermae was the highlight of Safinia's day, one of the small, simple pleasures in life afforded to poor people. After hours of standing on her feet and smelling like horse, food and smoke all at once, intermingled in a travesty of perfume that was the White faction's very own fragrance, nothing was more appealing than washing off the sweat and dirt. The baths of Mercury with their moderate fee and relative proximity to her abode were the natural choice, and as the sun began to dip below the horizon, so did she too disappear through the women's entrance and into the thermae building. Getting ready was an easy, quick affair. Her plain clothes were easy to take off and her belongings uninteresting to capsariae on the lookout; all the coin she'd had on her had been spent in admittance to the complex. Whilst nearly all the woman bathers preferred to bask in the hot air of the tepidarium, Safinia pointedly ignored it and went directly to the hot bath, wooden sandals clacking on the heated stone floor. Amidst the thick all-encompassing steam that filled the room it was difficult to tell if she had company besides the workers. A wrinkled slave stood by in case a customer wanted a massage and cast a hopeful glance at Safinia, who rejected the offer with a shake of her head. Instead she grabbed a strigil hanging from a hook on the wall and helped herself to the low-quality olive oil from a pot, applying it liberally to her sweaty body with slow, languorous movements. The naked skin glistened under the oil despite the poor lighting made worse by steam, and once she was appropriately coated in oil like the pieces of chicken she prepared nearly every day, Safinia slid the strigil up and down repeatedly until only a very thin layer of oil remained, taking special care with the uneven skin on her back. She put the strigil back on its hook, discarded her sandals and went to test the waters, sticking her foot carefully into the pool. It was hot, as expected, but not unbearably so; not all places in her body had the same sensitivity to heat, but if her feet managed it, then so should the rest without sustaining injury. She lowered herself into the pool, sighing softly in pleasure until she was in a kneeling position and the water covered her shoulders. She reached up into her hair with both hands and quickly untied her updo, letting a mass of dark curls fall freely over her shoulders. Today Safinia wouldn't be washing it properly - she had done it only a few days before, and there was enough oil residue in the pool water that it would be enough to moisturise it. Still, she closed her eyes tightly and went fully underwater for several seconds, resurfacing only when the familiar sensation of her lungs demanding more oxygen became too much. Just as she came up again and opened her mouth to inhale deeply, a great splash came from her right and filled her mouth with water instead of much needed air. Spluttering and coughing, Safinia swivelled round to glare daggers at the careless patron, though much of the threatening look was lost to the steam veil. "You should be more careful," she reprimanded in a harsh tone. @open!
  3. Lauren

    Water

    Water. Gods, water. A sharp shard of morning sun slipped through the uneven slats of her bedroom window and, with agonising exactness, managed to pierce her closed eyes and draw her from sleep. Her body, as a courtesy, offered her several seconds before it made her painfully aware of the presence of a firm and well entrenched hangover. The sort that would not be remedied easily by fresh air and exercise. The sort that would linger and nauseate you for the rest of the day. Her tongue was dry and her throat ached. Gods, water. Bracing herself, Aelia – with expert slowness, no stranger to the sensation – swung her legs off the mattress. 4, 3, 2, 1…she gingerly lifted her head up, wincing as the pain in her head made her senses swim and her stomach lurch. Gods, would she ever learn? Looking around, through half open eyes, still heavy with uneasy sleep, she scanned the state of her room. Another person may have sat upright, aghast, thinking they had been burgled for there were clothes thrown everywhere, a stool overturned, several cheap drinking cups lying in a cheap, chipped pile. This, however, was the general state of her room and, if one ever was forced to describe it, it would be best summed up by the phrase “there appears to have been a struggle…” Memories of the night before flickered back to her in disjointed pieces. There had been no specific reason – that she could recall, anyway – for a house-party. They had had a good performance that evening, nothing spectacular – a standard, run of the mill farce by Terence for the usual crowd of quasi-interested theatre goers. Grumio and Dromon had expectantly come into possession of a sum of ready coin (which they did not explain how) and – in a bout of thoroughly untraditional generosity – offered to stand the troupe several rounds of drinks at The Mermaid, an artsy drinking establishment for the liberal minded on the Caelian. Asking the Proculus Players for a drink was not a question. The question was when and where. So off there they had all headed and, with standard practice, one drink before an early night became…hmmm…well, from memory, at least 6 or 7. Cleander’s current boyfriend had turned up: he was the main singer in a band of stringed instrument and flute players – very popular with the youth of the working class districts and even with a following amongst the edgy, arty, rebellious equite and senatorial band of teenagers. Naturally, it was then straight from The Mermaid to an underground concert his band were playing in a disused grain warehouse on the waterfront. After Gods know how many more, and as the first streaks of dawn were slipping through the clouds, they slipped drunkenly but with inherent skill past patrols of vigiles, dodged the influx of last minute early morning traffic and slipped back to their flat in an insula on the Esquiline. Then…well…not quite sure but here she was, with throbbing head and a sense of self-loathing. She staggered to her feet, unsteady like a new-born foal. The spinning in her head fuelled the churning in the pit of her stomach. That bloody sunbeam was somehow still lancing her eye. Shuffling across the room, treading over the detritus of her chattels, she pushed the creaking shutters asides, flakes of chipped paint falling off in the process. Bad idea. The full force of the day hit her senses like a runaway horse. She grabbed the lintel as she hunched over and gave several spasmodic retches, dumping the contents of her stomach outside the window and down three storeys to land in the street below which was already alive with pedestrians, being as it was nearly noon. Shouts of abuse carried up from the affronted folk below but she snapped the shutters closed and stagger back into the half-gloom of the room. Water. Yes, she needed a drink. Not the other sort of drink. No, at least not yet, anyway. The thought of wine turned her now empty stomach. Still unsteady, she pushed through the curtain that separated her room from the main living area of the flat. Their flat in the insula was not bad, as flats go. A previous tenant had obviously had some means and had convinced the landlord to allow him to knock through and make two smaller flats into a single, larger one. The array of couches and chairs in the centre of the living area were in a ubiquitous state of disarray. Someone she didn’t know was sprawled comatose across one. Dromon lay snoring on another, no sign of his partner Grumio anywhere. Aelia shuffled across to the area which passed for a kitchenette. Not a proper one, of course, the landlord would not allow anything more than a basic stove in his building to decrease the chance of fires. Mostly they just used the counter as a place to leave packets of take-out food they had swiped on the hoof. The woman they hired to clean twice a week kindly removed the dirty wrappings on each visit. There was, however, an amphora they usually kept filled with water for general thirst quenching. Grabbing a ladle, Aelia scooped inside but found nothing. She gave a huff of frustration. Through his partition curtain she could hear Cleander’s snores. Looking around she could see no one else up. “Fine,” she huffed, “I suppose I shall have to do it myself!” Grabbing a bucket, she set off on the walk down three flights of stairs and through the bustling noontime crowds to reach the nearest common fountain – a drab and quasi-dirty affair, a thin spout sticking awkwardly out of a poorly carved lion’s jaws, trickling water out to piddle into a chipped, shell-shaped trough. She set the bucket under the spout. At this rate it would take an age to fill the damn thing. Hand on hip, she stood there, exasperated. She screwed her eyes shut against the light that was stinging her eyes. “Oh hurry the fuck up,” she muttered.
  4. 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
  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. February 75CE The drunken cheers of the crowd continues, with the steady drumming of applause, as the actors retreated from the stage. Theatre slaves were already rushing forwards, goaded on by sweating freedmen, with shouted orders flying round to have the stage cleared of backdrops and props. Others stood ready to wash the stage down. The crowd, a riotous Friday night one, had taken great pleasure at hurling bits of food and general rubbish at the villain. The immediate backstage area was packed with stacks of ropes, miscellaneous props and painted scene backdrops. Several baskets of gaudily painted masks were mounted precariously on bales of well-worn costumes. A slave hurried forward with a tray, bringing classes of wine to the thirsty performers, who fell on him like vultures. The play itself was a new piece. One of the cheap pieces that two-sestercii hacks churned out in prodigious quantities to slake the thirst of the lower orders for bawdy farce. The playwrite was one of several the Proculus Players worked with. His membership of the Guild of Writers was probably tenuous and he was certainly unlikely to be winning laurels to have his work set alongside Terence, Plautus and Sophocles. Yet his work was the sort of rot-gut, mass appeal nonsense that the plebs lapped up as it had a little bit of everything. She had noticed that it wasn’t just the plebs who were coming to see it either. The equites and senators might think themselves to be grand and superior – and they probably were when they had to be all solemn and well behaved around their wives and families – but the menfolk were just as bad as their lower order neighbours: they wanted to see flesh on show, hear cheap jokes and enjoy a traditional sing-song. The plot was utter bilge. It was highly unlikely that the writer had been in any way sober when he had written it. If he had been, then he should have been, because what he had created was enough to shame someone with even a modicum of talent. The piece rejoiced under the unnecessarily elaborate title of Ptolemy’s Ptroubles. Set in Aegypt, as the name suggests, and in the fantastical days before its conquest by Rome, it centred on the taboo and frankly ridiculous habits of the decadent dynasty and mysterious, ancient land. Good, honest, hardworking Romans liked to laugh at the ridiculous mannerisms of be-nighted foreigners. The Aegyptians of old posed a perfect basket of things to mock. There was much made in the play about worshipping cats and dogs, always guaranteed to get a laugh. What produced more bawdy titillation was the close-to-the-line-indecency of the Ptolemaic habit of incestuous intermarriage. Couple this with your standard identity swapping, mistake-laden farce standard tropes and you had a recipe for a bed-hopping round of tortured jokes. They became more amusing the more the audience drank. The theatre manager had ensured that there was enough wine on hand to ensure almost none of the audience were not at least partially tipsy. Aelia had played Berenice, married to an uncle-who-was-also-a-grandfather-but-never-explained-how called Ptolemy (as were all the male characters for “humour’s” sake), played by Scylus. The actor had brought the house down with his brilliant portrayal of a miserly old dotard, avaricious of money, looking to cheat Roman merchants (boo hiss boo), jealous of his young wife whilst busily trying to seduce his sister-who-was-also-his-aunt-but-never-explained-how called Cleopatra, played by Maxima. Scylus’ make-up was spot on, with long grey wig and a tie-on beard. He played the part pretending to be almost stone deaf which the audience loved thanks to the mistakes that engendered. Grumio and Dromon played eunuch priests of Cat-God and Dog-Goddess, fleeces stuffed under their magical robes to make them look grossly overweight. Their asides focused on a series of over the top duels between the powers of their respective animal god to beat the other. Romans, who hated the concept of effeminate eunuchs, had a good cheer and pelted the stage with rubbish as the pair engaged in magical incantations designed to restore their manhood and seduce Berenice and Cleopatra respectively. Then, enter stage left in Act Two, the swaggering figure of “The Legate”, played by Cleander. Playing the part of a visiting Roman legate, always attired in full military fancy dress (complete with oversized sword), he represented the very epitome of brash, Roman masculinity. Scylus’ Ptolemy and the clowns’ priests were busy telling the audience how they would cheat this boorish fool of his money whilst, unbeknownst to them, The Legate was busy giving Berenice and Cleopatra what for. The play ended in Act 5 (by which point most of the audience was stone drunk) with The Legate returning to Rome, taking off with him the temple treasure and leaving the Aepytian women about to bear Roman sons, who the cuckolded respective Aegyptian men would be forced to look after. After a big sing-song of a popular tavern tune about Anthony and Cleopatra the show was done. It was certainly not the Theatre of Pompey or Marcellus and a highbrow audience but the pay wasn’t bad. The play’s fast paced jokes and over the top bawdy rumpus required a large degree of stamina and almost acrobatic flexibility. Tired, Aelia downed the first cup of wine quickly and reached for another. Her “dress” could barely be called that. Two thinnish strips hung over her shoulders and protected her modesty (barely), which gathered around her waist and fell into a short skirt in an all-in-one ensemble. Long laced sandals ran up her calve. Scylus wandered by, throwing his wig and beard aside. “Another night of fine art,” he scoffed. The clowns staggered past. Grumio walked and few paces further than Dromon. Then both ran at each other and, thanks to their bulky fat-suit padding, bounced off each other and landed in sprawled heaps on piles of curtains and drapes, laughing. “Oh, poor me,” Dromon chirped, putting on an impression of Scylus’ voice “I’m a real actor, don’t you know!” Grumio picked up on it and carried on, in the same voice “I just didn’t like it because it was too close to home and, you know, I can’t get it up anymore.” The bystanders laughed. Scylus looked daggers at them and wandered off, grumbling. Maxima flounced past, looking wistful. “There were some right propa’ people of quality in the stands though, did you see that?” she said with her Aventine, fish-wife drawl. Suddenly the larger than life figure of Gaius Julius Proculus entered the bustle. Clad in a toga unnecessarily, he was this evening sporting a huge auburn curled wig that clashed in a ghastly fashion with his bushy grey eyebrows and the make-up he had plastered his face with like an old trollop. The rings on his fingers clinked as he gave elaborate and effusive greetings. “Darlings, sensational! They loved it! Such good work! All of you, angels, all of you!” His foppishness was natural. His exuberance was intrinsic. You had to listen to him and then dial whatever he said down by about ten times. If he was happy it was only because of the high turnout and, thanks to his contract, this meant a handsome sum for him for their work that evening. He clapped his hands, chivvying them along. “Come, come; quick, quick, you know the drill,” he said as he flapped at them to move into the theatre’s atrium. At the end of opening night it was traditional for the cast to be invited to an after-party. They were often quite wild affairs. Other actors would be there as well as the better elements of the audience. Local worthies who didn’t mind being seen at such thing. Many high class men liked to come along for rough and tumble fun. The criminal classes always liked these too. In short, they were a fine melting pot of the high and the low all doing a good job of wanting to be bad. Dutifully, they followed Proculus through towards the door between backstage and the atrium. Always one to make an entrance, Proculus thrust it open and, in a loud force, declaimed: “ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Cast!”. Sighing, Aelia decided that she might as well get drunk if only to make the time pass quicker.
  7. 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?
  8. Any day could be her last and it could very well have been the last day walking in the markets, smelling baked goods being sold and seeing all the things Rome had to offer. She didn’t have the time to enjoy the world around her, as captivating as it might have been. She had a job to do and had to do it well. Her coin purse clinked as she walked, safely tucked where no one could reach it, and a basket hung against her bent arm, not yet full. Her eyes followed all the items and things laid out at stalls. One shopkeeper was busy talking to another man, both engrossed in a conversation deeper than Aculia’s insecurity. Colourful, well-made dresses and jewellery were laid out for all to see. Aculia’s hands gently caressed one of the dresses. She’d never truly dressed in anything pretty before, having lived on a farm and been a huntress, and then later a homeless woman in putrid rags. Clothing had been about practicality, not beauty. While the man was distracted, Aculia contemplating shoving the dress into her basket and briskly walking away. But it was much too large, instead her eyes settled on a shimmering necklace, which she quickly picked up and shoved somewhere that no one would see it. She had money but it was for another purpose. She turned her body to continue, expression blank, and immediately, her eyes linked with someone else’s. She stood there stunned. Slowly, she took the necklace out of its hiding space and put it back. She opened her mouth and then closed it. Shit, she thought. “I put it back,” she said calmly. This would reflect poorly on her master and in turn, make him angry with her. “Just don’t tell him about it.” By him, she meant her master. She feared him more than anything else. Note: What Aculia is wearing
  9. 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…
  10. 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!
  11. 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.
  12. DEC73 Laugher poured out into the streets surrounding the Domus Venus, the inhabitance of the brothel having a merry time as they all celebrated the festivities of Saturnalia. The doors were open, welcoming all those that ventured into from the streets. Common and noble alike. Fees were waved and her boys and girls held the right to refuse service if they wished. After all it was the time of year when all social norms were abandoned, and the Venus' lot had a little bit of say so thanks to the approval of their lovely Madam. Titinia, herself, lounged on a sofa near a firepit for warmth. Tangled up in the blanket she had draped over herself. Eyes watching her boys and girls as they made merry. The Lord of Misrule running around playfully terrorizing some of the newer members of the 'household'. Her laughter mingling with the others as she sipped at her wine, before placing the goblet down to pour more for herself. She noticed figures hovering at the entrance and instantly her hand raised up, beckoning for those curious to come. "Come, fine patrons." She called out, her tone melodic. Her smile charming and welcoming, "Come!" She said louder. "Enjoy the fruits Domus Venus has to offer."
  13. Princeps Senatus: Titus Caecilius Faustinus (NPC) Senate Meeting. July 74CE. The Princeps Senatus was already in place, the eldest member of the body of men who would open and close every Senate meeting. His position did not hold imperium yet it held considerable respect and authority within the Senate. Titus, did not have a single scandal to his name and carried great amounts of dignitas. The two new Consuls; Marcus Aemilius Scaurus Alexander and Marcus Valerius Maximus (NPC) were both going to be introduced to the community. Both of them were connected to Caesar through blood or marriage. One could only guess if Caesar or his heirs would be making an appearance today. The Rectangular building had the elder or men who had been in positions of note closest to the bottom, while the younger men or those who had not yet served in the upper tiers had to stand at the back to wait their turn. The Senators of the divine body began to gather, take their seats while the wise, old Princeps Senatus... a man who had seen many different and chaotic events in Rome waited. The role had been returned, a gift from Caesar to the Senate and to the people of Rome. He waited for the men to take their seats for the meeting. What would be discussed this fine day? OOC: Okay everyone, this is a test run for the Senate threads and organising how we are going to use them in the future. Please read the thread about the two political factions. This is the perfect time to make a Senator character to join in on the fun. The first round of posts will be the arrivals of the different Senators, then we will get into discussion and finally the thread will be wrapped. The Newsreader will report the findings of the Senate, so be sure to look out for that. All Senators are expected to attend.
  14. Sara

    What News?

    Mid November, 74CE Longinus leaned absently against the building on the corner by the Podium Praeconis. He needed to get out of the house, its atmosphere was stifling and Cassia still refused to leave her room, despite his attempts to lure her out with treats and the promise of her favourite activities. His own grief was more complex than his daughters - she was a child, and all she knew was that her mother who had been there - dotingly - since her birth was never coming back. Longinus, who had spent the majority of his marriage apart from Antonia simply felt...restless, like he'd lost his peace. He grieved her, he did, and felt her absence around the domus but their strained marriage had resulted in a conflict of feelings which he was attempting to suppress as hard as he could. And what did he usually do when he was irritable or uneasy? He stretched his legs. He'd walked aimlessly around the city, trailed faithfully by his body slave but he'd sent the man away now and had drawn to the Podium. He felt so out of touch with the city - with its politics, which he took little interest in and general happenings. He raised a hand to rub the beard which he knew he should shave off - but felt little inclination to, and yawned. Gods this city. He glanced around and noted the thronging crowd, which made him shudder and the shadows cast by the dominating landscape of temples and buildings that stretched farther than the eye could see. It was not an environment in which he felt at home and wished he had a drink in his hand. Gods he was so bored. It was serendipitous then, as somebody spoke up and he turned his face to glance at the new companion. "Hm?" He frowned, urging them to repeat whatever he missed. TAG: Open!
  15. 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.
  16. The smell of fried onions and cooking meat beckoned to Clio irresistibly. She had walked past the thermopolium a number of times over the past few weeks and nearly succumbed to its delicious aromas, but it was only now that she had the agency (and bravery) to actually become a customer. She was a faithful slave on a secret mission: to sample the wares of the Wolf-man. If they passed the taste test, she was to bring some back - discreetly - for her domina to try. If they didn't, she got a free meal out of it anyway. From inside the shop the owner's voice boomed, and Clio trembled in anticipation. The shopkeeper's reputation preceded him, and it was not the first time Clio heard him ranting or complaining at one of his helpers, probably a slave who knew better than to argue back or really do anything but nod. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and approached the stall. It's for Domina, she told herself in a bid for courage. Clio had not dared to bring up the subject, but could this particular craving of her mistress's be caused by new life in her womb? Pregnant women were known for wanting all sorts of extraordinary foodstuffs, after all. On the other hand, it might just be due to wanting to try some tasty commoner food. Clio would reserve judgment until a later date, when things became clearer, before reporting this to her master. "Hello," she greeted timidly, elbowing her way between two patrons, each busy with gorging himself on bread and meat. The smell was enough to make anyone's mouth water. @Gothic
  17. Early July 74AD - Gardens of Sallust Charis ran her fingers across the leaves of a blooming rosebush, inspecting them. She must have looked like she fitted right in amongst the slaves that tended to the bountiful, beautiful gardens of Sallust as she knelt there, examining the detail of the plants. She had yet to be allowed to work back in the peristylium at the domus, but it was surely imminent now as the bruises had faded to only the faintest shadow on the arch of her cheekbone. She had come here to get some perspective, and hopefully a little...help. Whilst she was pleased with her work, and had done better than she thought she might, she was still no professional. Most of the plants they grew at home were for practical use rather than beauty, and she was acutely aware that the challenges she faced (and thus far, weathered) in the peristylium were out of her skillset. She'd managed thus far, but as the weather grew hotter and the flowers started to wither she was worried she'd falter. Standing up and brushing down the debris from the front of her tunica she glanced around for one of the slaves that worked here. Frustratingly - there was nobody to find, and she supposed the midday sun had driven them away. With an impatient sigh she slowly moved off on one of the paths towards a shaded area and a bench perched beneath a tree a little way off. Despite her months of living here she'd not yet grown used to the unbearable heat and humidity of the city and frustrated as she was that she couldn't find anybody to question mercilessly about the behaviours of roses and other flowers, she did need the respite of the shade. She breathed deeply and folded her head in her hands as she sat down. This was her first visit to these gardens and even exhausted as she was, she couldn't help but appreciate their beauty. As she straightened up, she cast her eyes over the scene in front of her. A little girl was playing with her friend - she couldn't be much older than Antonia Varia - whilst a woman, perhaps her plebeian mother, or a slave, watched with an idle smile. She watched their game unfold in front of the majestic spread of plants and trees with a relaxed smile, and so distracted by the domesticity, she didn't notice somebody walking to join her. TAG: Open!
  18. october 74ad There probably wasn't many in Rome who had lived through Clemens that didn't recognize her, this much Flavia knew as she walked among the masses. The great market was bustling as always, and every once in a while she would catch glimpse of someone staring at her. Use to the stares bothered her, she never knew if they had been out of pity, respect or blame. Now with a happy marriage and four children later, she found she cared not for any of it. She didn't need any of it. Rome, which once was such a familiar and welcoming place to her - or as she called it in her youth: home, now felt foreign and smothering. She missed her villa the moment they were far enough away from it to not really desire to turn back. She missed the simple life with her husband and children. She even missed the gruff. often drunk but jovial father-in-law that had came with her marriage. She mostly missed the twins, her youngest girls still too small for her to trust to travel. However, she needed to come. To check up on things, to visit the family. To remind herself that her universe was much bigger than that pocket she lived in outside of the city. And today, she needed to shop. For threads and yarn to weave, for fabric to make clothing for her husband. Perhaps that was a practice slowly going out of date, but she still enjoyed the look of pride in her husband's eyes when she presented him something she had created for him. "Come, sweetheart." She said softly to her eldest daughter, gripping the girl's hand securely as they walked away from their litter and began the trek into the marketplace. Her eyes darting around the nearest stalls to see if something would catch her eyes. @open
  19. 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?"
  20. 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!
  21. 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....
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 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.)
  25. 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.
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