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  1. Saturnalia, 76 AD It was Saturnalia and that meant many nights of having fun. The first night Marcus had spent in his own home, or rather, his mother’s husband’s home. Marcus had never been adopted and didn’t really consider Tusca his father at all. But he was there, for the dinner and to have fun with the slaves. Or they had fun with him. Apparently he deserved a lot of pranks, but he supposed he should have seen it coming, with how he often treated them. This was their only chance at getting back at him. But this was only the first night. Days went on, more nights came and one evening he thought that maybe he should take Tiberius out for a drink or two. Or ten. He deserved a bit of fun! So off Marcus went to the palace, only to find out that his friend wasn’t there. The praetorians had not seen him and his body slave wasn’t there either. Claudia couldn’t be lured out and besides, her bodyguard was missing as well. There were a lot of people missing from the palace, Marcus learned. What worried him most was Tiberius though. It was one thing to go out with Marcus, at least they’d be two then. But alone? Tiberius, with his history, alone in Rome on Saturnalia? So out he went again, to look for Tiberius. Where the fuck could he have gone? He didn’t even know what he was wearing. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but he was determined to find his friend before something went wrong. He couldn’t have gone far, surely, without a litter or anyone guarding him. Marcus went in the direction of the Forum Romanum first. Something interesting was bound to happen at the Forum and maybe he’d find Tiberius there. On the way, he stopped many people to ask if they'd seen his friend. Maybe one of them would actually have a useful response?
  2. Saturnalia, December 76AD "Theo!" The sun had set, the western sky still glowed with pinks and purples, but already torches were lit along the main streets and outside the domii and insulae. The sounds of celebrations could be heard from various quarters as the citizens of Rome enjoyed the One Night of the Year when the rules were tossed aside and freedoms of all kinds prevailed. Spurius always tried to run his stock of slaves down as low as possible as this night approached, but for those who remained he had thrown a lavish banquet, complete with wine and entertainers, and then thrown the doors of his warehouse for the night, locking only the inner store rooms. It said something of his confidence perhaps, or the way that he treated them, but virtually all would be back by morning and any that weren't were usually sleeping off a hangover somewhere, and trickled back eventually. Once he'd served the banquet he'd left them to it, wandering off into the night with a jug of good wine in his hand. His own personal slaves were also out doing as they pleased, and once the warehouse was seen to he always felt somewhat at a loss on these nights. Perhaps it reflected the rest of his life; there was a certain emptiness. Most of his peers were wed with families of their own, or involved in politics, or other dealings, or had some vice to service. He had none of these things. He told himself that he was happy that way, though the vision of his once intended would occasionally float in the mind's eye. Her father had rejected him on his return, not wanting a cripple for his daughter. Never mind that he was set to establish a successful business, which he had. He was a cripple, and probably that was how most saw him. It was easier not to risk more rejection, if not the most fulfilling. He told himself he had plenty and was content. Sometimes the greatest lies are the ones we tell ourselves. What he had surprised himself to find was a certain camaraderie with another ex-legionnaire. He didn't know where the man lived, but he knew where Theo worked, and on impulse he headed that way, and found himself standing at the entrance of the ludus, calling out hopefully. "Theo! Theodorus!" @Chevi
  3. Saturnalia, 76 AD - set the night before Another Time Then note: don't read this thread if blood/violence/people inflicting pain in others triggers you Saturnalia was a great time for someone like Marcus Barbatius. He enjoyed it, because there were people everywhere, crowds… and they got drunk, the people of Rome. Acted out. Passed out in strange places. Forgot where they were or where they were going. And then he was there to be a good inhabitant of the city, making it seem as if he would help them. Right until they were alone with him. That’s when he opened the small leather bag he brought with him, that’s when he revealed a blade and that’s when they got hurt. That’s when he made them bleed. Tonight he’d left the slaves at home, behind locked doors, as always, while he hung the key in its string around his neck and then he went out to have his kind of fun. He’d found a drunken young man, who didn’t seem like he was anyone important, just an ordinary plebian or maybe even a freedman. He’d gotten lost form his friends and now he just wanted to go home. Marcus put an arm around him, led him through Rome, right until he looked into an empty courtyard far away from where the parties were in Rome. No one seemed to be there. The youth said he didn’t live here. This was the wrong place. But he had his back to Marcus and that’s when he made his move. Of course it was the wrong place. He’d pulled the youth close to him from behind. There was a table in a corner of the courtyard and Marcus behind the youth over that. The youth seemed to think Marcus wanted to fuck him and actually backed up against Marcus, but soon found out that was not the case at all. Oh he did pull up the man’s tunic, but only to reveal his back, where he dragged the knife over the spine, at first without pressure, and then it happened. The youth whined and winced when Marcus cut him, but he held on. The blood was streaming down over his backside, so beautiful, so red, so warm. Marcus wanted to touch it. But then the youth squirmed and scrambled and managed to get away. Not far though! Marcus followed, tried to knock him over. The youth began screaming! That was no good! Marcus caught him and clasped a hand over his mouth and the other he held against his cheek, “If you scream again, you’ll lose your tongue…” He hissed close to the man’s face. And then he froze, Marcus did. He heard movement behind him. Fuck! Little did he know the young woman appearing at the scene was not going to stop him. @Insignia
  4. Saturnalia, 76 AD Cynane was waiting just outside the palace and hoped that Tiranês would show up soon, as they had decided. It was, after all, Saturnalia! The one holiday the Romans got right, at least. The one holiday where slaves got to feel like free people and could do (almost) anything they pleased. As long as they’d show up for work the next day. Well there was always the next day. Sometimes she’d thought it was a way to mock the slaves, tell them to go and have fun, but remember, you are still slaves. There’s always tomorrow! But tomorrow was not now. She was unsure of where they were going, but her blood-brother said he had a good idea and she’d happily see what he had in store. And keep him safe on the way. She had tried to dress up, but she still didn’t want to look like someone she wasn’t. So she still wore breeches and a thigh-long tunica, easy to move around in. She’d dropped the leather armor for tonight, but she still wore her braids. Maybe a bit fancier than on a daily basis, since it was Saturnalia. She recalled Tiranês speaking of many smaller braids in the hair, she didn’t know if it was a style the women among his people kept, but she’d tried to recreate it. Casually she leaned against the wall, ignoring the stares of anyone passing by, like she always did. If they glared at her and she did look back, they’d wish they didn’t. She didn’t want their attention. All she wanted was the company of someone she liked, and she didn’t like many people in Rome. And luckily, soon enough it was Tiranês who joined her and she greeted him with a smile, “Finally! Shall we go? And... where are we going?” @Sharpie @Chevi ( @Sara )
  5. For the fifth time that day Titus had to shoo away Betua's anxious form that kept hovering about the entrance to the kitchen. Yes, it was her territory as much it was his possession, but there was a tradition to uphold. If she found the results of said tradition inedible she was free to go and serve something up on the sly. If Titus had to be honest, though, he thought he and this three helpers were faring quite well and did not warrant such levels of worry. Valeriana had helped pluck a chicken with unfettered, gleeful abandon, tearing out the feathers in small but forceful fistfuls before gathering an amount she deemed sufficient and running off giggling, possibly to disturb her indisposed mother. Publius was surprisingly adapt at peeling fruit and vegetables; in another life he might have made a fine tailor, or perhaps a medic. Still, the boy was just the right amount of both careful and daring with a blade in his hands. And Titus? Well, he had finished plucking the chicken, quartered it - clumsily, yes, but he was no butcher -, taken out the nasty bits and tossed the good ones into a big clay pot where onions, lentils, carrots and chestnuts awaited company. Copious amounts of garum and red wine and a handful of assorted herbs and spices, selected with no concern for how well they would go together but merely for their fragrance, had followed suit and the pot, properly lidded, had been placed in the oven to work its magic and hopefully turn all that food into a passable stew. At the same time, his eldest hadn't been idle either, and had prepared quite the artfully decorated platter of assorted cheeses and cured meats before moving on to dessert: apples boiled in a mix of red wine and honey with chopped walnuts and more honey on top, and some stuffed dates and preserved plums on the side in case someone didn't fancy apples. Titus felt a surge of parental pride well up inside him: if his attempt at preparing a meal for the slaves failed, Sulpicia would save his honour by making sure they would still have something decent to eat. The clay pot was smelling like it might be done cooking, and after a moment's deliberation with his son on how they would take it out of the oven without incurring serious burns, Titus spotted two thick and seemingly well-used squares of leather hanging from a hook just by. They served their intended purpose and soon enough the pot was set on a table and uncovered, belching out a great curtain of steam. It smelled like food, which was a start. As he portioned the stew into two big bowls Titus dipped his ran his fingertip along part of the edge of the pot and brought it to his mouth to taste. All right, so maybe he had been too careless with the garum and the gravy was a bit saltier and thicker than intended, but he had had worse. All in all, it was a valiant effort; he was pleased. Now all that was left was to serve it to the critics. He picked up one of the bowls, Sulpicia the other and Publius the charcuterie platter and the three of them made off into the triclinium, where bread, wine and olives had already been freely made available to the servants. Titus had the feeling it wasn't only just Betua's expectant look that was trained on him, and that made him a little uncomfortable - nobody liked to be judged, after all. But a natural inclination for resting bitch face and years of making intentional use of it meant his expression remained mostly neutral, even as they placed the food on the table and began ladling the stew into individual bowls for the slaves' convenience. "Dinner is served, my fine ladies and gentlemen. I hope you'll enjoy it." @Chevi @Ejder @Sara @Sharpie _____________ I suggest no set posting order since there's a few of us. Also, feel free to NPC Betua and any other slaves!
  6. After Theo and Justinia’s last encounter, she wondered if he would ever come back. Days and months had gone by and she hadn’t seen him. Part of her was worried that something happened to him—the other part of her was nervous that he wasn’t coming back because she was too much trouble. Men came and went (literally), and without any sign of Theo, she wondered if he skipped town. She wouldn’t blame him; the situation they got into was scary. It wasn’t like him to not be in contact with her over a long period of time. Maybe he moved on, and she would’ve understood. Justinia wasn’t the new prostitute at the Venus anymore, and she had time to observe. It wasn’t a terrible place, but her once-cheerful optimism was long gone. She wasn’t as naive. Men did many things to her, some of which were unspeakable, and it made her grow up even more. Things were easier when she finally came to terms with her situation that she wasn’t going to get out of it anytime soon. But as Saturnalia started, she was able to leave the Venus. She just wanted answers. Justinia wanted to see if Theo was still at the Ludus. Maybe he hadn’t left, maybe he was working on the things he said he would. But high hopes were a thing of the past for the woman. Still, she wanted to know. Justinia finally got to the Ludus and she entered. It seemed as if it was pretty Barron, with a lot of people celebrating Saturnalia with their families, friends, or at a popina. Exploring a little more lead here to see someone still working despite nobody being there. She knew who the Greek man was. “Hello Theo,” she said, confirming that he hadn’t skipped town or died. A genuine smile popped up on her face. @Chevi
  7. 18th of December, 74 AD It was about time. It was the second night of Saturnalia, the 18th of December, and it was for this night that Tertius had planned the feast for the slaves of the household - and also freeing his son from slavery, of course. Tomorrow Teutus would no longer be a slave. And it was perfect to use Saturnalia for this ceremony and celebration, because this was when tables were turned for slaves anyway. During this week of Saturnalia, gambling was permitted and it was also common for the masters to provide a table service for their slaves. Someone had to cook it though and it hadn't been Tertius. But no one would be required to serve him tonight. He would pour his own wine and break his own bread. The triclinium of the house was not big enough for all his slaves, so tables had also been set up in the the peristyle - luckily the weather had been good enough for it. Tertius had invited a few friends and then of course all of his slaves would attend the feast. He hoped that Longinus and Rufus would come, as it would be good to have some fellow Senators present too. They had not sent word, but that didn't mean they would not show up. Antonia had been dressed up nicely for the occassion and everyone had been told to wear their finest clothes. He even had Jocasta make a new set of clothes for Teutus, for formal occassions. A chamber had been made ready for Teutus to move into, starting on this night if he wanted to. His own chamber with his own bed, his own table and chair and his own clothes. It would be a new life, but Tertius trusted his son could manage it. Tomorrow, he would be Teutus Quinctilius Varus instead of just Teutus. Finally. Now he was waiting in the hall just inside the front doors, hoping to see his slaves in their finest clothes. It was however also Saturnalia and that was the time of year where masters would often switch places with the slaves. He usually did a little thing with Hector at Saturnalia, but this year he considered to do it with Charis instead. What would it be like, if she was his mistress? That could be a very interesting... game. But he had not decided yet and before everything else, the ceremony of freeing Teutus would happen. So far, Tertius stood alone in the hall, but soon someone would join him here. A table had been set up earlier, with drinks for everyone, before all the slaves and Antonia went to get dressed for the feast. While he waited, he sipped a cup of wine casually. @Sara @Joaquin @Sharpie
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