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Found 5 results

  1. Early April 74CE It was maybe a day or so after he'd been bought by his new master, one Octavius Flavius Alexander, cousin to the Titus Flavius Alexander he'd been lent to back in January for three days (three days of startling adventure, compared to anything Rufus had ever experienced before). He had been informed that his new master was a busy man, and had not been set to anything specific since his purchase, so had found himself helping round the house where an extra pair of hands was required, trying to get to know his fellow slaves, and to find a place in this new household. He was aware that his new master knew his abilities; they'd been written up and displayed for all to see, on a board around Rufus' neck - something that happened to every slave ever sold, as far as he could tell. But he hadn't been set to anything specific since his arrival. Whether that was because his new master was too busy, or merely wanted him to get to know how the household ran, or for some other reason entirely, Rufus had no idea. But now he had been summoned to the tablinum, the master's study, and he could not help wiping his hands on his clean new tunic. What if there had been some sort of mistake? Was he to be returned to the slave-dealer? Had he somehow displeased his new owner - which was entirely possible, of course, as he was still learning his way around the house and who everybody was (despite being a town house, it was far bigger than his old master's villa - but then, Octavius Flavius Alexander was a member of the senatorial class where Rufus' old master had been an equestrian). Was he, gods forbid, about to be told he should answer to a different name, even - it did happen, after all. "You sent for me, Domine?" he said, stopping just inside the tablinum, his hands folded neatly in front of him and his eyes down submissively. The mosaic of the floor was impressive, as was everything else in the house. His mouth was dry - why was it always easier to think that you'd done something wrong, when it might simply be that the master wanted to know how his new purchase was settling in? Because Roman masters didn't particularly care to know about their slaves' comfort - they bought slaves to make their own lives comfortable, why would they care about their slaves' comfort?! @Gothic
  2. Rufus' life had turned upside down without a moment's warning - his master's death, the funeral, the being sold to a slave-dealer (or his representative, or something of that sort), the (long, tiring, footsore) journey to Rome... He made no protest (it would be useless, anyway, and he knew this was just something that went with his condition as a slave) but was grateful to find that he had a little freedom at the slave-dealer's once he arrived in Rome. Apparently, the merchant used his own stock to see to his stock. Slaves like Rufus, who were used to it, knew what was expected of them, were employed in bringing food and water to those in the cages. Rufus, despite his own circumstances, couldn't help feeling sorry for them. Brought here from who knew where - there were dark-skinned Africans (possibly Nubians) and pale-skinned Celts. It was quite the babble of languages when they spoke, although they were quiet, on the whole. He couldn't help sighing as he reached the last cage with his water bucket. His feet hurt - he'd been able to rest, a little, but hadn't had that long before one of the guards or overseers or somebody (not the big boss, though) had grabbed him to take water around. He held the bucket steady, making sure that the dipper was within reach of the pretty young chalk-footed woman in the cage. He smiled at her, wondering how much Latin she could speak, if any. @Sara
  3. Early June 74; Emporium Magnum... Being a slave, Rufus reflected, wasn't necessarily the worst fate in the world. He corrected himself: Being the slave of a rich Roman who had other slaves wasn't the worst fate in the world. Being the trusted slave of a rich Senator was definitely not the worst thing to be (He could think of many many better things to be, of course, but he could think of worse fates.) Being the trusted slave of a rich senator had led Rufus to where he was now: in the Emporium Magnum, running an errand for his new master, hoping he'd remember the way home once he was done, and wouldn't get ripped off so badly he'd not get let out again. There seemed to be some sort of argument going on nearby. He usually steered clear of things like that, but this one didn't sound like the usual row and he found himself drifting closer, curious. Rome was full of people, far more of them than he'd ever seen in one place before - he had no idea how much bigger than Paestum the city was, but it was some order of magnitude larger! Whatever was going on was more than an argument; there was a burly guy picking a fight or something with someone about half his size - a kid smaller than Rufus, even. The kid didn't look like he'd done anything worse than simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time - there was nobody yelling that he was a thief or purse snatcher. If anything, the sentiment of the watching crowd seemed to be on the kid's size, though nobody was stepping in to help. It was when the brute swung back, looking as if he aiming a punch at the kid, that Rufus stepped in. "Leave him alone and pick on someone your own size!" Bloody stupid, he thought, as the man's fist connected with the side of his head, leaving him blinking. He wasn't quite sure he dared return the favour - a slave thumping a free man was bound to get in trouble, after all! @Sarah
  4. May 74 Rufus, being his new master's body slave and not his secretary (although things might still change, of course) had been sent away when his master's visitor arrived, with the admonition to remember to stay within call, but not so close the master would think he was deliberately eavesdropping. Eavesdropping was not something Rufus had ever felt particularly comfortable doing, and he was even less comfortable with the thought he might appear to be doing so, especially as he was still on trial to see whether he would be suitable in this position long-term or not. He was not about to risk anything, and had found himself a spot out of the way across the garden from the tablinum where his master was meeting his guest, where he could see his master and hear him call if he was wanted, but where he couldn't overhear any of the conversation. It was a nice shady spot of the garden under a vine trellis and Rufus settled down. He had been allowed to borrow a wax tablet and stylus (both cheap and plain, unlike the one the master used) in order to practise his writing - he could write, he was extremely fortunate in that, but it had been a while since he had and he did not want to find himself in a position where he was taking dictation or trying to write something up neatly and found himself wondering what way round the letter S went. And there were few enough other things he could do that would occupy him for more than a few minutes at most. He leaned back, enjoying the sun for a moment before he did anything. It was rare to have any time alone, especially now, and he appreciated every second he could get away from his master (although his master wasn't a bad master, quite the opposite. Everyone needed some sort of alone time sometimes, even slaves). It couldn't have been very long that he sat there before a shadow fell across his face and he blinked up, thinking at first that he had been summoned. The person looking down at him was the boy who'd accompanied master's guest, though, and he didn't look as though he'd come to call Rufus in to attend the master. "Hello," he said. Alone time or not, he didn't mind being interrupted by someone new, especially a fellow slave. "Care to join me?" He patted the bench beside him. @Chevi
  5. March 74CE Rufus had not expected to be sold - not so soon, anyway; every slave could expect to be sold at some point, after all. It was part of the condition of being a slave. He had just not expected it so soon, nor had he really expected it to be in Rome, several days' journey from home. He really shouldn't be thinking of Paestum as 'home' any more, except that it had been all his life. Home now would be... wherever his new master (mistress?) lived. Rufus could only hope that he (or she, or they) would be decent enough to their slaves. Somewhere to sleep at night, regular mealtimes, enough food... It would be useless to dream of much more than that, of course. At least he had the comfort of being a slave from within Italy, whose mother tongue was Latin and who therefore did not have to suffer the added indignity of being put up for sale with his feet chalked as the imported slaves did - even if he did resemble them in colouring more than he resembled the olive-skinned, dark-haired Romans. Well, that couldn't be helped, of course. He brushed straw from his hair and straightened as the master approached, leaning on his stick due to the limp he had. This could be it; he could be in a new home with a new master by sunset. He stood neatly, with his hands folded in front of him, his head up but his eyes down - no free man liked a slave who looked them in the face, after all, and Rufus wanted as much favour with the master as he could, in order to have the best chance he could of going to a good owner. And of course, the master would know who the good owners were likely to be (at least, from the point of view of his earnings. Maybe not so much from the point of view of the slaves sold to them.) He drew a breath, readying himself for what was to happen, but did not speak. After all, slaves did not initiate conversations with the free if they knew what was good for them. @Sarah @Gothic @Gil
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