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  1. 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
  2. Davus had dropped his master's toga and several tunics at the fullonica, and while he was supposed to head back, he'd managed to avoid getting told that directly, which was enough justification in his mind to be able to head down the hill to the Forum, for a short while at least. If accosted, he could always come up with a reason for being there; the cook always needed something from the market and there were plenty of reasons for a house slave being out of the house. He stopped at a hot food stall for a snack, only to realise that the previous customer had left their change behind. "Excuse me!" He called, trying to be heard above the noises of the crowds.
  3. 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. “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 her. 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.
  4. 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 bright sunlight, “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. She was lost. In Rome.
  5. September 76 AD It was still pleasant out, though a little brisker than the height of summer, but warm enough that the gardens could still be enjoyed in the evening, the spaces set aside for the party warmed by strategically placed braziers and lit by taller torches. They gave a flickering light, sometimes gentle and sometimes casting odd shadows, but adding a playful and at the same time primal air to the event. Invitees had never-the-less been encouraged to bring a warm cloak, toga or palla, just in case. But it was meant to be a relaxed evening, not a stuffy, formal event. In his ponderings over the illnesses of Caesar's past, Tiberius had developed a hypothesis that one potential cause could be stress, and so this evening was meant to be something of a stress relief, a fun and fanciful time with friends, particularly for Titus. He'd invited their siblings and cousins, along with their peers. None of the older generation, whom he'd been accustomed to thinking of as the 'adults', because suddenly he and his were adults. There would be other, formal events for all generations in the near future, he was certain. Food had been organised, not a multi-course, reclined cena but rather platters of tasty, nibbly delicacies, carried by slaves or placed on strategic stone tables. Other slaves carried pitchers of wine, ranging from the vinyards along the Tiber through to Greek vintages, and elegant glass cups were available to drink from. Tiberius had asked Marcus Junius Silanus to organise entertainment, and already a flautist was playing a merry tune by one brazier, whilst nearby a juggler tossed coloured leather balls in increasingly complex patterns whilst balancing another on their nose. The layout of the gardens meant that there were several spaces, corners for conversation or the central area for lively conviviality. Here and there Praetorian Guards were unobtrusive in the shadows, keeping an eye on their Imperial charges, whilst more screened entrants at the gates. Once inside, the gardens seemed almost magical. (OOC: Open to: Characters under 30, of Imperial or Patrician class, as guests Slaves of guests Hired entertainers.)
  6. August 76 Teutus had found and secured the use of a warehouse near the river's edge, located between the Aventine and where the river swept around Regio XIII, after passing Tiber Island, the Probus Bridge and the remains of the bridge defended in antiquity by Horatius. It was a good-sized warehouse, easily acessible from the river, with its own wharf, and easily secured (though Teutus would ensure that he had a couple of trustworthy guards on the site at all times - he was not going to have a guard or two there only when there was something valuable on the premises, and give that fact away). There were other warehouses nearby and he neither knew nor cared what was stored in any of them, save only that their presence would help disguise his own goods should anyone come looking with less than honest intentions. He was on the site today to ensure that the latest shipment was stored properly, dressed as befit his station as the owner of the business in tunic and pallium and with a commanding presence (if he didn't particularly feel commanding he could at least look it, and followed his father's example as far as appearances went). Some of his goods would be sold directly, some via auction (he knew a good auctioneer who would get decent prices and not charge exhorbitantly for his services). All in all, trade was good, and he could present his father with a good report of his dealings. He turned as his clerk murmured, "Domine, there's someone to see you..." There was indeed. "How can I help you?" Tag: Open!
  7. July, 76AD A Taberna1 on the Via Ardeatina, halfway between Ardea and Rome Well - at least it wasn't a caupona, but the taberna they'd been forced to spend the night at wasn't exactly a palace either. Gaius and Lucius - her two eldest full brothers - seemed to think it was perfectly adequate, but then again they'd both only recently returned from the legions so any half-decent shack would probably look decent compared to the garrison in Thracia for Gaius, and Gaul for Lucius where they'd spent long, torturous years as tribunes. The small group - Gaius, Lucius, Ovinia and the three slaves they had between them had been visiting their paternal Aunt at her country estate for a week, forced to do so by their father who chose of course not to go himself, citing his work when in reality his three eldest children knew he couldn't stand the woman. She understood why; Ovinia Antonilla was cold and miserly who lived in a damp villa with sour looking slaves and the three siblings had spent a week being lambasted for their lack of a marriage (her), and lack of progress up the cursus (Gaius and Lucius). When it had come time to leave, Ovinia kissed her Aunt's cheeks and sent a silent prayer of gratitude to the Gods for allowing her to escape and promising a sacrifice on her return when they made it back. That prayer, however, had obviously incensed rather than amused the Gods (or maybe it did both) because 10 miles outside of Ardrea, with another fifteen to go, the wheel on the carpentum snapped clean in half. The men had debated for a good long while; they could send one of the slaves back to the house to fetch another carriage but their Aunt was unlikely to stand for it and would insist they came back until it could get repaired. None of them willing to accept another second of her hospitality, the three patrician's and their retinue had instead chosen to walk to the nearest taberna and check-in for a night until they could find a carpenter. So here they were, as the sun was setting and the cool air of the night settled (mercifully) about them. Ovinia didn't like it much here, but at least she wasn't at her Aunt's. Anything but that. They'd booked two rooms; one for the men and another for her where two of the slaves would stand watch outside all night. Whilst not as rough as a caupona and open largely only to equite and senatorial travellers, the taberna was nonetheless a risky place for a young, unmarried patrician girl so she begrudgingly accepted her door-men. Or she would, when it was time to retire. For now though she was content to explore the grounds of the place as her brothers ate and drank in the adjoining bar. She had no stomach for anymore rich meats or cheeses which seemed to her to be the only thing on the menu and so had slipped outside for some air, citing women's problems as a reason for her to go alone. Her brothers didn't argue - she'd only be a short distance away, and they knew from experience Ovinia could scream bloody loud if she wanted. The night was cool and her slaves were back inside and so she was enjoying the peace, sat on one of the little benches that overlooked a poorly-tended pond, when she heard footsteps behind her. TAG: Open! 1 Wikipedia tells me that a taberna wasn't just an eatery, but also was a pseudo-inn for genteel travellers.
  8. Aulus had visited the Temple of Juno where he had offered a sacrifice in thanksgiving for his wife and their marriage, and then gone on to the Temple of Jupiter to offer a sacrifice for the continued health and well-being of the Emperor, and to ask for favour in his quest for consulship - and for wisdom if he was elected (he would go and make similar sacrifices at the Temple of Minerva if he was fortunate enough to be elected). Although he had Quintus Augustus' approbation, so that was something. He wasn't about to take it for granted, though - anything could happen between now and then, of course. And of course he'd asked for the priest to take the omens for him, to find out if the gods were in favour or not of his ascending to the Consulship. He was ambitious, to be sure, but his was an ambition tempered with pragmatism, knowing that he wanted nothing further, nothing higher in Rome than that. A friend of Caesar's, not a rival - never a rival. He had supported Quintus Flavius Alexander through the grim dark days of civil war and would continue to support him, and his heirs. The omens, as far he could ascertain, were favourable, and he left the smoky darkness of the temple feeling more settled and certain. He paused on the temple steps to throw his toga back (he had covered his head with a fold of it as was usual when conducting a ritual) and rearrange its folds into something more becoming a senator and less like a priest, and took a deep breath of the clean fresh air.
  9. The palace at night was peaceful, and the prince was one to sleep past dawn. Not raising until Apollo's rays peaked through the gossamer drapes that fluttered in the gentle breeze. That night, however, Titus was awake. Fretting in his bed as he felt some sort of unnerving feeling settled into the pit of his stomach. Almost as if he knew the gods were angry for some reason. His body slave tried to get him to cast the thought away. That is just his mind playing tricks on him. Still, it needled at him. Until he finally began to doze off thanks to mere exhaustion. That was when the earth began to quake, rattling the buildings of the city, including the palace. Titus bolted up right as the room around him shook, he could see his men slowly coming to, shouts around the palace could be heard. "We need to get to the gardens." He told them as he stood, grabbing his tunic and sandals. Pulling them on as he moved quickly out of his room. Slaves were running around trying to save what they could from being destroyed as they too headed towards where they would be safe at. Another tremor hit, this time stronger , forcing him to make haste before he stopped and realizing he didn't recognize any of the slaves as his younger brother's. "Get to the gardens, I need to go find Drusus!" He said, pushing his servants and his tutor towards the way to safety before making his way towards the rooms he knew housed his brother. --- 30 6 75 | sorry fort he anticlimactic starting post lol | open to those living in the palace. | no posting order, short posts are
  10. 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.
  11. December 19th, 75AD The fact that gambling was banned during the year unless on the festival days proscribed in law baffled Lucius. He supposed he understood it - if he really dredged his mind - from a practical perspective in that it caused no end of temper tantrums amongst the sore losers and those caught cheating, enough drama to entice further violence, but surely the Senate or the Emperor didn't need to legislate to prevent against such inane fighting? Ridiculous, and another facet of life in the city that was too rigorously controlled. The ability to gamble during Saturnalia - as far as he could see it - was one of the festivals only benefits and as he sat at one of the outdoor seats, throwing his dice in the Game of Twelve1 he was currently enjoying, he managed a rare, rueful smile. He'd not really celebrated the previous two nights, aside from ordering his half-sister and son to prepare some meagre meal for the slaves on the first night. He'd shuttered himself away in his room for the rest of the evening and let them have their fun, whilst he stewed in his own melancholy. When all was said and done, he was rather proud he'd only yelled at them to be quiet once or twice throughout the evening. As he cast his final throw and manoeuvred his piece in the dim light, his smile grew and his opponent - some portly equite man (judging by the gaudy clothes) through down the money Lucius was owed in a huff, before storming off into the dark of the evening, overturning his chair in the process. Lucius only smirked and gestured for a slave girl to right the fallen article with a flick of his wrist. Nobody knew him here, which is why he liked it. The Forum was packed with the festivities and he blended in as just another upper-class man on an evening jaunt. He was dressed finely, as befit his station, but in the shadowy corner of the Forum - with only the flicker of oil lamps and torches, he felt fairly discrete. It's why he'd risked a turn on the table (and won, he hastened to add in his thoughts). Picking up his cup of wine, he reclined in his seat, in no hurry to find another opponent for a third match. Instead he let his green eyes wander over the forms of the people congregating in the square. Gods most of them were vile; plastered drunk, sweaty and stumbling even in the dead of December. He swallowed the sneer he wanted to affect as he took another sip of wine. TAG: Open! 1The 'Game of Twelve' or Ludus duodecim scriptorum
  12. MAY 76AD Coin purse tucked carefully away along with a cloth tote, Rutiliana had snuck out of the palace, escaping her hawk of a governess for the day. She lacked all the finery she was use to wearing, choosing something that would blend her in with the rest of the folk that would surely be roaming the streets. Her feet took her along paths that had become familiar from all of the other times she had done this, heading towards the emporium. A busy place where she could spend coin on silly things that she surely could have ordered from the kitchens or have brought to her, but there was just something about being among the people and doing as they did. Merging into the crowd, she moved from stall to stall, quickly leaving the stalls that held no interest to her but lingered at others. She had found a pretty length of peacock blue silk, sheer and fine, that she thought would be pretty as a head veil for Claudia at one. A set of thin gold bangles for her stepmother. Cleverly carved and painted soldiers to add to Drusus' collection. But finally the lure of the food stalls overcame her and she allowed her nose to lead her to those destinations, stopping only one to pick out a peach for after whatever fried and savory delights she would buy. Meat pies; pork, onion and garlic heavy in scent made her stomach growl in anticipation. Deep fried sweet breads with fig and honey paste stuffed in the middle. Her nose and eyes were a little big for her stomach, but alas her arms was loaded with food as she made her way over to a sitting area not far from the stalls. She realized her folly only then as she laid the food out. She had ordered too much, as much as she normally would have if she had had someone with her that day. And bringing it home would only soil the silk in her bag and get her into more trouble than she would be already. Glancing around, her eyes landed on someone sitting near her within earshot and an idea came to her head. Reaching over she tapped them on the shoulder lightly, "Would you care to share with me? I'm afraid I ordered to much!" She said before they even turned around, her expression expectant of the person to agree to her whim.
  13. The illness had slowly plucked away at her life, her beauty, and eventually stole her away from the world she lived. She had made plans to protect her children but it was nothing compared to being there with them. She had needed to survive in order to protect her family from harm. Her absence, led to many dark occurrences, and she recognised the faces that came into the home that had been hers. She watched her few, precious, remaining children survive to grow to have their own children and yet, she was lost. Her wandering did not bring her peace, she could not move into the next life nor could she speak to the others spirits that resided at the Palatium. Each of them seemed to be caught up in their own personal hell. Lucilla had watched others take the revenge she craved so desperately to right the wrongs that had been made. Most people didn't see her.... occasionally people would get goosebumps when she walked past or would speak about how there was a chill in that spot. The lamps would be snuffed out when she walked past. The ill, the drunk or children were the most likely to see her and there were some who had the ability to see her. One young woman screamed and fled.... It was lonely, so incredibly lonely and she longed for company....
  14. 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.
  15. 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))
  16. 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…”
  17. June, 75AD Horatia smoothed down her stola and glanced at herself in the mirror. She was not nervous, per se, she was mostly quite an unflappable woman, but this was the first time she was hosting some of these women, and certainly the first time she'd done so without Valeria Flacca's exuberant personality to outweigh her more reserved, composed demeanour. She just hoped it would be a success; the family could use some of that. Whilst her husband might busy himself with political schemes and dealing with the troublesome Praetorian's in his own way, she knew better than most that men were made and fell at the whispers and words of women. To be seen to be hosting something for the great and the good of the City's women was valuable, especially given the diverse names on the list for today. Nobody could call Horatia Justina a snob given the equite girls that had made the cut. The house was vacant; Aulus and Felix had left the women to it and taken her son to the baths, and Calpurnia was with her maternal grandfather on the Caelian. It meant that the domus; usually filled with life was oddly quiet today and that only made her perfectionism spiral. She strode from her rooms silently and set about adjusting everything to within an inch of its life. No food was out of place on the richly decorated table in the triclinium, the copies of the Odyssey (picked for its ease for novices or those not interested in literature) for those that had forgotten their own (there would always be one!) lay on a table to the side. Couches were furnished with rich throws and slaves stood diligently by waiting to serve the guests. She had not forgotten herself, either, although in true Horatia fashion had opted for traditional reservation in her clothes. The shade of amber of her stola complimented her bright auburn hair and contrasted with her eyes. Her hair was neatly, and properly, swept up into twists and turns but it wasn't overzealous or overtly fashionable. She wore little jewellery save for her betrothal ring, a simple gold bangle (a gift from her husband) and a fine pendant with a ruby in. She didn't wish to seem as if she was promoting the families wealth, after all. As she finished adjusting everything to within an inch of its life to make it perfect, one of the slaves silently announced the first guest and Horatia put on her best, beaming smile and moved to the atrium to greet them. TAG: Open! Open to all Senatorial or Equite women who want to join a book-club with Horatia!
  18. About a week prior to the end of June, Julia had been at her residence outside of Rome. At first the tremors were light, but her son had ordered her back to their Domus in Rome. She felt that it would have been safer to remain outside of the city, but her son did not trust the home she resided in. Julia, after making sure that the slaves of the household would take care of themselves if the tremors got worse, returned to Rome. In the early morning hours of June 30, Julia was startled awake by a strong jolt. “What was that?” It took another shake or two before she registered what it was. The light tremors had become an earthquake. Julia woke the young slave girl that was resting in the corner of her room. “Go wake the other slaves.” She threw a shawl around her shoulders and followed the young girl out of the room, running the other direction. “Wake up- there is an earthquake” It did not take long for the entire household to be woken up. A survey of the damage the following morning involved some cracking in the foundation, a few broken pots that got knocked over and a few injuries from people stumbling around in the dark. She had received word from the slaves at the farm outside Rome that most things seemed to be intact although they had to round up all the animals as they scattered when the quakes began. All in all, her 'circle' of people were lucky that injuries were minor and damage didn't seem to be severe. The next day Julia, along with her son went to the market- he needed to discuss some of the repairs that were needed and she wanted to replace some of the pots that had been broken in the tremors. “I shouldn’t be too long Sextus. I will head your direction when I am finished.” He nodded and the two of them split up. Her son sent of their male slaves with her as an escort although she didn’t really need it.
  19. 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
  20. Jenn

    A 'day' out

    Summer in Rome meant heat, but they were heading into early Autumn which for Tacita meant relief. There were so many tasks that needed done daily regardless of the weather. Sweltering heat made tasks less enjoyable. This day was a slightly cooler day and she was using the opportunity to check out the market as she had part of the day free. Normally she would come to the market with someone to help translate, but Corva and Linus were both busy today. Corva warned her to only use their ‘regular’ merchants. By regular it meant that they knew her deficits & they knew who her master was- there was less chance that they would take advantage of her. Tacita arrived at the market, took a quick look around and then headed towards one of the stalls. At the first stall she picked out a few items to make herself a little ‘lunch’. The vendor told her the price and she used her fingers to ‘negotiate’, although not much was required. Tacita placed the items in her drawstring bag then headed off to a bench under a tree-glad for some shade. She settled herself down on the bench and pulled out the bread and fruit.
  21. mid july 75 | naples The summer's heat was smothering in the city, which was still cleaning up from the earthquake, prompting Cornelia about mid July to plan to progress down the coast to Naples on a hired ship, desperate for a reprieve. To get away for a month or two before life would start up once more for them in the heart of the empire. So invitations were sent to her brother and Quintus' siblings, a long with some others randomly sent out to random people. She didn't care whose hands they landed in. An offer to follow their household south, to breezier and sandier pastures. Then they had made the trek to the port city of Ostia and then made their way southwards via ship. Now, a few days after they arrived to their villa, Cornelia left her children's room leaving them with their ever watchful nanny. The villa was largely empty at the moment, slaves only exiting the kitchens to head out to the beach that stretched out from their property to the sea. The evening tide kissing the shore. Cushions and blankets and low laying tables had been set up and about the large area. Torches were being lit and should it be needed a large bonfire was prepared to be lit the darker it got. The things she noticed as she stood at the columns that looked out over the area that was being prepared. She wasn't dressed at all the way she would be in the city, instead dressed down. Her loose curls hanging to her waist with only a gold broach fashioned as a hair accessory pulling some of it back to keep it from falling into her face. Even the dress she wore was simple. White bellowy silk that both danced in the breeze and clung to her figure as she stood there, sheer enough for anyone to see what Venus had graced her with in the right light. A goddess overlooking her play ground. A smile playing at her lips as she looked over the view and out into the horizon, the sun was setting casting its amber haze on the world. She heard someone approach her from the side and she turned and smiled, "Shall we go down then?"
  22. 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!
  23. 30.6.75 | open It was early morn, one of the few hours of the day that the Venus was closed to customers. Allowing its inhabitants to rest and clean up after their long evening of debauchery. Titinia was hoping to catch a few hours of sleep before the sun was high in the sky, alerting everyone it was time to rise and ready the brothel for the evening to come. For her to spend a few hours being a mother to her young children. But that didn't seem to be fated for her that night. Her life was never simple; being a mother of five, a gang leader's wife and a brothel madam. She had children to raise, a husband to keep after and clients to please. Because heaven forbid they go to the stink hole that called themselves a brothel down the way. So instead of sleeping, she was in her office. Looking over the books one last time to make sure all was in order before finally being ready to go to bed, it was too late for her to venture home. Falco was sleeping and her husband had too many enemies for her go alone. That's when the tremors started. The world shaking beneath their very feet and she watched as her candle began to vibrate towards the end of the desk. She snatched it up before it reached it and she stood from her desk, keeping calm as she made her way into the hallways. She wasn't the only one alerted, groggy whores and sleepy house slaves a like were stumbling from their pallets. "Get down stairs. Into the open area, go on with all of you!" She's barked at them as she joined the crowd of moving bodies. There were some screams to be heard as plaster fell from the ceiling behind her, naked or barely clothed figures screaming in terror as they moved to get downstairs. Where the fuck where her bouncers? And Gods, please tell her that none of her clients were there, spending nights with their favorites. That would be a disaster she wasn't ready to face. Ever.
  24. It wasn't a rare thing to spot the Augusta roaming the streets of the great marketplace, all in a desperate need to get away from home. It was not home itself that she longed to be free of nor the people within it, however, but deep down there was still a little girl who spent most of her life in the confines of a villa. Living in exile for crimes she had not committed, but still her existence was deemed too dangerous to be allowed by someone else who rose to power by the bloodletting that occurred when her father and mother were killed. Yet anyone looking at the woman as she moved from one merchant stall to another, she wouldn't come across as someone who lived in luxury. As a Queen. Her face was bare of makeup and she wore no jewelry. Her hair was in a simple style, held back and away from her face by a leather strap at the nape of her neck. Wild curls threatening to undo the bindings. Fingers stained with ink, as always. Her clothing was simple linen, and while marked her as a proper Roman matron, she had nothing on her to mark her as the Augusta. Accompanied only by her ladies, but none the less protected from anyone that might do her harm. Cauaria, tall and broad - a former shield maiden before sold by her family and sent to Rome, was ever watchful of those who interacted with the Augusta and her ladies. The first of which now found a fabric stall and had begun to negotiate for bolts of fine linen and silks. Many projects to be done. The linens would be clothing for the poor and while the silks would be turned into tunics for her husband and sons. "Come, ladies. There are many places left to go" She said softly after she was done there, stepping out into the busy road once again. Weaving her way in and out of the mass of people. There was chattering and life. And while the smells off the busier part of the city was left much to want, Drusilla loved it, she loved the sounds of the people talking and clattering about. It was easy to get lost into, and yet she knew her way by heart, for she had made her way across the line of merchants many times before. Yet, suddenly her path was blocked and she glanced up from rummaging through her back. "Pardon if you would, I need to get to get the inks." She said softly, hoping she would be heard by the other person who had apparently planted themselves in her path and was, and she knew it was ridiculous to think it but, seemingly refusing to move from it and let her through.
  25. Mid February 75AD Zia glowered at those she met on her walk. The meeting with Diegis had not gone well. Well, the first part - a hurried greeting and then a heady, lust filled few minutes up against the wall of the room assigned to him were excellent but the conversation that followed had riled her beyond her usual irritability. Whilst she saw her husband far more than she saw her son, it did not stop the meetings descending into petty squabbles. She'd seen the way he glanced at the girls as they walked to his room and the way he talked with such animation about his new role. She had snapped, exclaiming that he seemed to be enjoying his life of slavery and his stuttered denial had ended with her throwing a half-cup of sour wine over his face and leaving the building in a storm of fury. She'd send a message by some stupid, gullible slave, with an apology at some point. But not yet. Now she needed to stew in her anger. The walk back to his domus, her newfound home was long and her feet were already aching. Even her anger wasn't enough to carry her through and with a mumble of discontent, she stopped to rest against a building. Swatting some of her loose - dishevelled hair from her face (those few minutes of passion had suitably destroyed her respectability) and pulling at the itchy, plain tunica she huffed. Even in winter, Rome was unbearably hot to her and the irritation she felt at that moment wasn't helping. She heard footsteps to her left and before she had a chance to caution the person, their sandalled foot stomped down on her toes. She let out a yowl of pain, and without stopping she snapped, standing to her full height; "Watch where you are going you cretin." She glared. It was something she had said, in such a tone, hundreds of times when she had her own slaves, when few men and fewer women outranked her but now she was the lowest of the low, and after blinking she realised that such a tone, such a statement was entirely inappropriate. Swallowing her anger and her biting comments she dipped her head, "Apologies." She said with a sigh, "It hurt." TAG: @Open!
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