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  1. January, 76 AD Wulfric had been in Rome for months now – 4, to be exact. It had been late in the summer when he had arrived and now it was the winter half of the year. It wasn’t very cold though, he thought. Not compared to the lands he came from. He had not seen a snowflake and he had not seen a single pond or lake with ice on it. So he didn’t consider it very cold at all, although of course colder than when he arrived. He had for a while now known where his father lived. And he’d met his father’s brother a little while back... he had not been too impressed, but that was almost a given, with how Aglaea had described him. By now, Wulfric felt he had done all he could to gather information about his Roman family before he met them. And now was the day. He had paid a scribe to write a letter to his father, saying that he would come to visit. That he was a prince of the Chatti and that he came with an important message for Tertius… though of course he had not revealed that he was Tertius’ son. Now the planned day had arrived. Wulfric wore the new set of clothes he bought a few months back, an attempt to look at least a little bit civilized to the Romans and his father especially. It was just a tunica, dark green, a pair of short breeches – he was no Roman and wore no toga. He had however a forest green and grey cloak, that his mother had made for him, but he had swung the fabric over the shoulders now, as it was not so cold indoors. He had not gotten rid of the beard, although it had been trimmed. His hair was not cut short and precise, which was the way the Romans seemed to like it. Wulfric was proud of his heritage and was not afraid to show he was a foreigner - but he did want to look nice for today. After having knocked on the door, he was allowed inside by a slave, into the atrium. He already thought that it looked nicer than his uncle’s home here in Rome. It was tidier and cleaner. In fact the floor was almost shining. Quietly he now stood there, with his hands gathered on his back, waiting to meet his father, finally. The house was silent to begin with, but suddenly the silence was disturbed by the wail of a small child, maybe even a baby, which surprised him! He had momentarily forgotten that Aglaea mentioned months ago, that his father only recently had another son by a slave. Wulfric around towards the sound and saw a short and pretty woman, a slave judging by her clothes, coming towards the atrium carrying a small child that was squirming a bit in her arms. When she noticed him, he smiled at her and at the child – Wulfric had no wife or children of his own yet, but his oldest sister, Hilda, had two children already and he liked them. It was then he recalled this might be the newborn brother Aglaea told him about. Suddenly, the child was even more interesting and he wanted to say something to her, but suddenly the words were caught on the tip of his otherwise often diplomatic tongue. Instead he was just caught there, watching her, smiling at her. @Sara
  2. Mid-January, 76AD Saturnalia had come and gone with the fresh winter winds that whipped about the city. Although it didn't get nearly as cold as Britannia here, Longinus' body was unused to the cold after a summer spent outdoors, basking in the heat of Italia and Greece. The hypocaust was at full steam (literally) for the occasion and the paterfamilias Longinus had spent the early afternoon chivvying slaves to make his domus look presentable. It was an odd place; half-decorated in his late wife's style, a quarter under the influence of his mother with her love for garish frescos and vivid mosaics, and the rest was left up to his tastes. Tastes which bordered on the downright odd. A British battle axe on the wall in one room, some pottery he'd found en route back via Gaul in another. It was an eclectic place that had none of the polish of other Senators and Patricians his rank, but it indubitably suited him. The slaves had done their work admirably though and it was at least tidy. After he'd waved his mother goodbye (thank the Gods) to spend the late afternoon and evening with his cousin Lepidus, Cassia his daughter going with her, Longinus was left alone with the slaves. He didn't know why he felt nervous, he'd come to his decision without much fanfare after a disappointing few months looking into the impossibility of adoption, and unsuccessfully musing over other eligible women. Maybe he was nervous because of the family? They didn't have the best reputation around, and his mother had curtly reminded him as she departed that Tertius - who'd seemed at least affable, and nice enough - had recently had a bastard born son by a slave, a son whom he'd recognised. Longinus had resisted the urge to tug at the neckline of his tunic at the remark, given he'd been in the same situation some months ago with Sestia, although that was a secret he'd take to his grave. He'd invited both Tertius and his eldest brother here today though, and perhaps that was why he felt oddly ill at ease. He found Tertius pleasant enough but his brothers reputation preceded him. Unfortunately for Longinus, his plan required the paterfamilias and that meant Secundus himself. He hoped Tertius could temper him a little though, hence the dual invitations. Poor Longinus wasn't to know of the discord between the brothers. A slave disturbed his thoughts and announced one of the brothers was here. "Yes, but which one?" He asked with a frown and the slave girl merely sighed and shrugged, "I don't know domine, he's tall, dark haired..." Longinus had to suppress a chuckle, "Yes dear Merula, that's very helpful." He shooed her away with a wave of his hand and jumped to his feet from where he'd been sat in the garden. Bounding through the house with his customary energy, he drew to the atrium and slapped on a wide grin he didn't quite feel. "Welcome!" TAG: @Járnviðr @Atrice
  3. 31st of August, 75AD It had been 9 days since Charis gave birth to his son. Of course he knew it was a son. Tertius was quite anxious to see the boy, but in this household he was the Pater Familias and he was the one who would decide anything that would happen to the child. So he would do things properly, as you did, as tradition ordered. Which meant he would not see his slave-born son until 9 days after the birth. If the child still lived and appeared healthy, the slave would present the child to the head of the household and Tertius would either pick up the child – setting it free – or not, leaving it to be brought up as a slave. And he would name the child. Now it was the 9th morning after the birth and today he would finally see his son. Hector had done everything in his power to distract Tertius the night before and he had done everything to attempt to make his master relax, but Tertius had still turned in the bed at night and he’d woken when he ought to sleep. Charis knew nothing of his plans. He had only told Teutus and he trusted that Teutus would not tell anyone. He nudged Hector when he’d been awake long enough and the slave got up and fetched a basin of fresh water for Tertius. He also fetched a fresh tunica and anything else he knew Tertius would want and Hector did not utter a word. His body slave was probably displeased with the whole situation. He knew that Charis was on Tertius’ mind a lot. He’d been worried since she went into labor and had been happy to hear that both mother and son were alive and well after. The way he lost his wife after Antonia was born… he didn’t want to lose Charis the same way. And she wasn’t even his wife, but… he couldn’t help but wishing he would not lose her. Despite everything, she had to live and be here. After he got dressed, he sent Hector out to set up a nice breakfast in the triclinium, for himself and for Charis – and then he found a seat in the atrium of the house, because that’s where he had imagined this ceremony would take place. In his hand he held a special amulet for the child. Honestly it didn’t have to be a big deal, when the child was born by a slave and not a wife, and he had not planned it to be. He had sent word to Livia Justinia, Secundus' wife, that a child had been born, but he had not formally invited them. He doubted they would come anyway. It could be a big ceremony, with guests and many family members present, but in this case, with a slave-born child, it would just be the whole household present and Charis presenting the child and Tertius doing what he planned to do. And then it was done. After he’d been sitting there a little while, watching the slaves just do their jobs, he decided it was time and waved the nearest slave over… “Announce that Charis’ child can be presented to me now.” He told the slave, who hurried on to tell Charis and then anyone else at home at the moment, who would witness the ceremony of the newborn child. It didn’t take long for Antonia to appear by his side, as the first and he gave her a smile and a hug, as she seemed very excited. He had of course informed her that Charis’ child was his, despite Charis not being his wife. He had explained to Antonia that he had been very fond of Charis, so fond of her that at least for a time, he had treated her almost like a wife (but not quite, of course). He didn’t know if Antonia had met her new brother. But he knew he looked forwards to it, no matter what. Slowly many of the house slaves appeared in or near the atrium. Would Teutus show up? He didn't know. All he could do now was wait for Charis and his newest son to appear. @Sara
  4. Late July, 75 AD It had been a good while since that evening at the Gardens of Sullust, where he had been caught off guard by a thunderstorm and had to seek shelter in one of the pavilions there. And on the same night, a lovely young lady, Caecina Tusca, daughter to the proconsul of Britannia, had done exactly the same. That is how he met her and he was plenty entertained by her wit, her charm and their conversation – and her own attractiveness of course. So much that he almost found it a pity that he was already in his mid-40’s. Of course other Senators might be happy to consider such a young woman a future wife of theirs, but Tertius didn’t like the idea… at least not of her as his wife. If he should have a wife, he would like for her to be more mature and not someone who was younger than his own son. That would be strange. There was someone however, who should be looking for a wife, and that was his son and his heir, Teutus. He was a freedman and he could not hold office or follow the course of honor, but any children he had, they could reach proper ranks once more. And Teutus did carry the Varus name name, so any children he had, would do the same. Teutus was the one who would carry on the family name. It was all on his shoulders, especially since Secundus had no children. He hoped Caecina would like Teutus and that he would like her as well, and that her father would deem it a proper match despite Teutus’ rank. An invitation had been sent to Caecina Tusca at the Palatine, not far from the palace, as she had explained to him. It was the end of July now, almost a month after that fateful morning of the earthquake and Tertius’ domus was more or less restored now. He had considered leaving Rome and inspecting the villa in the countryside, but decided against it, because he wanted to bring Charis and with how far her pregnancy was now… he didn’t know if it would be safe for her. So in Rome they remained. Maybe they would travel after the child was born. Right now though, there were other important matters. The triclinium had been made ready, Rhoda was busy cooking in the kitchens and Teutus had also been informed that he should attend dinner with Tertius tonight, because they were having a visitor. Tertius had of course told Teutus how he met the young lady and that he had merely invited her to thank her for her kindness on the night of the thunderstorm. She sent for a litter for him too, after all. Now he was resting in a chair by the atrium, waiting for the guest to arrive and hoping that Teutus would be able to entertain her too. @Sharpie @Echo
  5. 23rd of August, 75 AD He barely had any sleep last night, after Jocasta came to tell him that he had a new son. Tertius had gone to sleep in the chamber that had been set up for him, the day after Charis suddenly went into labor. He had to sleep somewhere, although it definitely was not the same as his own bed. Hector had done everything he could to make Tertius feel comfortable and he also tried during this particular night, but for some reason, Tertius was just not really in the mood for sex. Finally Hector fell asleep and Tertius turned many times, thinking about freedom, adoption, ceremonies and sons. He’d have to speak to Teutus about the matter. No doubt his oldest son was worried about his rank in the family now that Tertius would be a father, a real father, to his newborn son. No doubt Teutus was also aware that the child had been born now, so perhaps he could guess why Tertius sent for him. Tertius would have to make sure Teutus understood it all, what had happened and what was going to happen. He'd have to make sure Teutus understood his own rank and Tertius' plans - because he honestly wasn't sure if Teutus did understand at all, why it was taking so long and why it wasn't as easy with him as Tertius had hoped. He’d also tell his plans for the new son so far. No one else knew about the plans, not even Charis. And no one else would know until the ceremony, no one but Teutus anyway. He could not just discuss it right away though, he was a Praetor and Senator and had to do some honest work first. But after the morning turned into afternoon and the warm part of the day began, Tertius headed home and sent a slave to find Teutus, so they could meet in the tablinum. Here he sat now, on the edge of the table, just like last night, when Jocasta came to dryly announce the birth of his new son. Hopefully Teutus' mood would be at least a little better. @Sharpie
  6. Personal Assistant and Secretary Wanted! Let it be known, that Praetor and Senator Tertius Quinctilius Varus of Rome is searching for someone who can take over a vacant job as personal assistant and secretary as soon as possible. Unless the assistant is a slave, there will be an available private room for them to stay in, early in 76 AD. The assistant will also be offered meals in the house and free time as well as payment. Age: 18-25 years of age Gender: Male (preferred) Social Rank: Freedman, Plebian or even Slave to be purchased Skills: Speak, write and read fluid Latin. Other languages are welcome too. Knowledge of math. Knowledge of the law in Rome is useful too, but not required, as it can be learned. Personal skills: Must be diplomatic, friendly, loyal and honest to their new employer. Start date: As soon as possible Pay: Depends on skills and social rank The assistant will be entering a household currently inhabited by the Praetor himself, his 11 year old daughter and newborn son, one freedman as well as a good number of slaves. The new assistant can be an already made character fit for and interested in the job - or an entirely newly made character. Please contact Atrice via PM or Discord #7964
  7. Safinia let the slaves fuss over her as well as her mother. It was only for a dinner with the family. No need to fuss over her. Or she had believed. Well the good thing for tonight was that she was wearing a new dress that was light green with simple in its designs with white sleeves to match it. Safinia did like the material and it was much better than the utter chaos and tragedy that was pink. A good color to be certain. But it was just simply not her color. She was willing to try and apologize to her father for her behavior. While she did believe in her behavior,she also believed in making peace for it was too drastic. It was something she had to do. As she made her way to wear the dining was, she spoke to herself practicing to what she was to say to her father. It was a simple one but it would be for the peace. She wasn’t about to change her ways unless she thought it would save her life. But maybe this way her father won’t parade her in a square like a livestock looking for a farmer. No it was the other way around. But regardless. She had to. Plus her mother would constantly lecture her. As the young lady made her way into the dining area,she saw her father was waiting for her with....Praetor Tertius. This was indeed a shock. But not surprising as seeing as he was not the only of the senate to visit. Her father put down his goblet and walked over to her. “Ahh there you come come.” He ushered his daughter over and introduced her. Safinia was only a little bit confused as she looked to her father who cleared his throat. She bowed her head,speaking of the honor. Her father then excused himself out of the room leaving only the slaves in prescence. “It is a honor to receive you in our home..” She spoke. “But if I may pry to ask,why now? No disrespect to you good sir but you’re not one of the senate to visit my father. Again,no insult meant” @Atrice
  8. 20th of August, 75AD It had started an hour ago. A dull ache in her back that woke her up from her sleep and wouldn't settle. It wasn't excruciating, but it ached. By the time the hour was up, the ache had morphed into an odd sort of...pressure that couldn't quite be explained or articulated, every ten or perhaps twenty minutes that gripped her belly - deep inside. She knew enough to know that this might be the beginning. She was not due for two, or three more weeks but the midwives had warned her that with her size an early labour was not to be unexpected. She felt the waves of fear crash over her as she sat cross legged on her bed, trying to breathe through the gripping sensation as the other two girls in the room snored in their slumber, oblivious. She felt breathless, and not just from the discomfort, but from the panic that consumed her. She felt flushed, hot and trapped. It couldn't be now could it? She wasn't ready, she hadn't sent word to Cynane or her sister, she hadn't put plans in place if...if things did not go well. She choked and Jocasta stopped her snoring, but mercifully didn't wake. She couldn't stay here. As the waves of the pressure settled again, she carefully and quietly pushed herself up from her cot and padded gently from the room into the chill of the early morning. It must have been still well before dawn - the sky was an inky black, but there was a bright moon and she found herself following the familiar route into the garden. One arm cupped her bump and the other reached out to the columns to settle herself, not out of pain - that had stopped for now - but from the fear overtaking her. She finally made it outside on unsteady feet with flushed cheeks and moved to sit on the bench. She glanced about the place, deserted in the dead of night and tried to ignore the memories of all that had happened out here; praying to her Gods (where were they now?), that first taste of a relationship with Tertius, playing with Antonia, arguing with Teutus...everything that had happened to her here had started from the garden. Maybe that was why she was drawn here now? She must have been sat there for a little while as the pressure, the gripping pain started again and she winced, reaching out one hand so her fingers clasped the stone of the bench and she let out breathless little mewls of discomfort. As she breathed through it (dreading that this was only the beginning, and the pain would get so much worse), she didn't realise somebody else was approaching. TAG: @Atrice
  9. July 75 AD, one week after the earthquake The earthquake was a week behind him now and slaves and workers were busy repairing most of Rome – including Tertius’ house, of course. The ceiling had to be improved, he wouldn’t forget how bloody Charis’ arms had been the morning the earthquake happened… and all because plaster from the ceiling in her room had fallen down. And her fellow slaves had not helped the pregnant and pretty young Charis. And that was just one thing that had to be repaired. There were several others too. But that was his own home. Now however, he’d been sitting in the tablinium, deep in thought. He had not heard anything from his siblings after the earthquake. He hoped his sister and her grown children were alright, as well as Livia of course. And Secundus, he supposed, but he didn’t bother considering him much. Tertius had tried his best to be friendly with his brother, when he returned from Germania, but Secundus kept blaming him for returning to Rome and not searching for his captured brother. And he hadn’t liked how Tertius had run things while he’d been away. Things had just spiraled the wrong way and Tertius was only happy to marry and move away from his childhood home. Since then, the brothers didn’t see each other a lot. Tertius still received visits from his sister and the children of course, but not from Secundus. Still, he was worried about his family and decided to go and take a look at the house of the Pater Familias of the Varus family. Hopefully Secundus was in the countryside, as he often was. He didn’t bother to bring any slaves with him. The travel through Rome wasn’t long to reach the old house. It was kind of strange to knock here, but he did and a slave let him in. He just wanted to see how much damage had been done here and if Secundus even cared to repair it. The house where they grew up. He probably didn’t care. Quietly Tertius moved through the house and into the peristyle to take a closer look. @Járnviðr
  10. Early February, 75 AD It had her taken several weeks to form the idea and find the courage to present it to her husband, who was invariably and very demosntratively displeased that Livia would entertain such thoughts. It had taken a few more weeks to warm him up to the perceived benefits of a social visit: did Secundus not want to know what his brother was up to, if only to protect his own interests? Did he not want to know what that slave son was like, again for his own sake? At last he relented, but made Livia swear she would be back before nightfall, and sent her with one of his trusted slaves as a not-at-all-undercover spy; although Aglaea would be going too, Secundus knew the body slave was far too loyal to Livia to be persuaded into reporting to him. She knew it had been in poor form, but Livia had not dared to send a message beforehand to let Tertius know she would be dropping by - he could have refused by claiming to be too busy, and she did not want her little outing - one of increasingly fewer - to be compromised by a polite denial. So it was that they reached the Esquiline unheralded. A slave rushed off to announce their arrival and as the party of three waited for her brother-in-law to come and greet them, Livia took in her surroundings. The domus was big and airy, and gave off an impression of lively bustle even though everything was impeccably maintained. It felt like the opposite of her own house, which she found gloomy and austere despite being just as pristine in furnishings - any ruined or destroyed objects were quickly replaced with new, whole ones. Livia looked to her body slave for encouragement, who provided it with a small nod. This was out of line and she knew it, but she hoped Tertius would forgive her and let her into his house. Her desire to meet with him and his new heir - Teutus, she recalled - was genuine, and she wanted to be optimistic that they would see it. @Atrice @Sharpie @Echo
  11. Late June, 75 AD Charis had been allowed to do more and more, since their last proper conversation in the beginning of May. Now it was late in June and Charis was very visibly pregnant. It was impossible to not notice her, when he walked around the domus, although most of the time, they still didn’t interact with each other. She hadn’t done anything out of order though, since he let her out of the room and she was being a very good slave. She did as she was told and nothing else. So she was allowed longer trips to the market and the baths, just about as much freedom as the other slaves. She wasn’t spoiled like before. But she was also at the same level as the others. He couldn’t help but sometimes watch her. Perhaps he still had a fondness for her, despite it all. And add to that the fact, that she carried his child! The first child he would have since Antonia was born. His third child. Teutus had been a mistake, back then, but today he was grateful for his son and still pleased with the fact that Teutus was now free and held his name. Any child Teutus would have, would carry on the family name. But there would be another child and Charis had been so certain it was a boy. Despite the fact that he now had Teutus written into the will as his heir, you never knew what could happen. A second son wouldn’t be bad. He would have to talk to Charis again. Discuss her well-being and the child. Especially the child. What were her hopes – what did she think would happen? She had behaved so far and the idea of taking the child from her had faded along with his anger. He almost wanted to forgive her for her disobedience and her lies. And then he might actually accept the child and free it right away and name it his child. And let Charis be his son’s mother. But it all depended on how this conversation would go. Tertius had the triclinium made ready for this talk. A bit of wine, a bit of water and he’d asked Rhoda what Charis preferred to eat these days; he recalled from his time with his wife, that she had certain cravings when she was pregnant. This would be the first time he would spoil Charis after she tried to kill herself and the child; and after her punishment. But all that was in the past now. Now he sat on one couch and another was ready for her. He sent a slave to fetch Charis. Tertius was willing to move on… if she was. @Sara
  12. 30th of June - The Earthquake It was an early morning… actually, it was barely morning. Everyone in the entire household were asleep, not even the kitchen slaves or those taking care of the heating system were awake yet. Silence roamed the corridors and the chambers and Tertius was also asleep in his room together with Hector, always by his side now – at least when they were in here. In the last week, there had been light tremors to the ground. It had been shaking a few times, or perhaps more rattling, it wasn’t anything big and not something he hadn’t experienced before. To most people in Rome, these things weren’t entirely uncommon. Tertius had of course made sure to sacrifice to the right gods and to his ancestors too, asked them for help, just in case something should happen. And nothing had happened and all seemed to be fine. Until now… He woke up with a start, as the bed was shaking much. In fact, everything was shaking! It had been a warm night and he hadn’t cared to put on any clothes after sharing some pleasure with Hector, but now… “Hector!” He literally shook his body slave’s arm, “Earthquake!” He exclaimed while he heard vases or jars of wine fall off tables and shatter and there was dust in the air from the walls or the roof. Tertius jumped out of the bed. His tunica still lay on the floor and he quickly pulled it over his head while thinking that this was more than just a light tremor! No one in the house would sleep through this, surely! Tertius ran out of the room, “EVERYONE out into the peristyle!” He yelled. If one of the doorways gave in or the roof, people could die! Hopefully Hector was right behind him, also waking people up, while Tertius ran to Antonia’s room to get her up. And where in the name of Hades was Charis… oh, the child! Gods! Why were they angry? @Sharpie @Sara @Joaquin
  13. Letter dated one day before the earthquake that might postpone plans, delivered by a blonde male slave named Himeros. To Titus Sulpicius Rufus from Tertius Quinctilius Varus Greetings, I hope this letter finds you and your family well and that we may meet soon again. Perhaps either with our families or in another context. I enjoyed the visit from you and your friend Lucius Cassius Longinus regarding my niece. I still have not forgotten our interesting conversations. I am however writing with a request on behalf of one of my slaves. I am certain you remember Charis, who served you the tisane while you were here. You and your friend discussed one of your slaves, that is also from Britannia and we have discovered, that your slave Nymphias is in fact Charis’ sister. Charis has shown very good behavior lately and finally seems to have adapted to her new life here. Therefore, I have decided to reward her with seeing her sister once more. The two appear not to have seen each other since Britannia. I would like to invite Nymphias to come here, perhaps together with you, if you can find the time. We could become further acquainted and our slaves could spend some time together in my domus. I hope you will give my idea some thought and look forwards to reading your reply regarding this very interesting matter and progress. Sincerely, Praetor Tertius Quinctilius Varus @Liv
  14. Early May 75AD Charis smiled softly, one hand holding the basket of browning leaves she had painstakingly plucked from the rosebushes, the other hand on her bump. She was now almost five months pregnant and was taking to pregnancy as a duck to water. The gentle curve of her stomach suited her petite frame; the neat bump lightly showing now beneath her tunica. She had first felt the baby move the week before last but now the little flutters were stronger and the sensation so unfamiliar it stopped her in her tracks. She smiled to herself as she felt the movement beneath her fingers and gently stroked the fabric of her plain tunica. Whilst her body might have recovered from what she had done to it in late February and the month of solitude Tertius had ordered her to, her mind had certainly not. Gone was the pragmatic yet passionate woman who schemed and devised plans to ensure her survival and freedom. In her place, observers would find a quiet young woman, meek and placid who went through the daily tolls of life as a slave without complaint. She had been thoroughly broken and the pieces of her mind had yet to be put back together. To her, she needed to behave, to serve her dominus and his family as best as she could; she had betrayed him, and herself and it was only the real Charis - buried deep down and hidden - that saw that this behaviour should not be unexpected. No woman who saw her husband killed, her family enslaved; was carted over land and seas in shackles, lost a child, been raped and now grew another in her belly, could keep up the pretence of happiness and normality forever. The trauma had been bound to catch up to her eventually, and when it had, the breaking down had been spectacular. It had been almost six weeks since Tertius had let her out of her little room but she had barely crossed paths with him in that time. She was no longer his favourite (much to the delight of both Hector and Jocasta), she was a spurned woman, damaged goods and most of the other slaves equally gave her a wide berth. Rhoda had been concerned at the dramatic change in her personality, but no amount of coaxing could return the woman she had known for a year. That Charis was so buried it would take a giant to unearth her. She didn't hear footsteps behind her as she smiled to herself, one hand splayed against her bump. TAG: @Atrice
  15. Late February 75AD TW: Miscarriage references Charis didn't know who had found her, just after midday. She also didn't realise the sight that had greeted them; sheets soaked with blood, a pale slip of a thing shaking in bed, unable to be roused from sleep, at deaths door. She also didn't know how long it had been until Tertius was told and a medicus was called. Likewise, she was not privy to the conversation between said medicus and her dominus where he informed him - based on her symptoms, Charis had taken an abortifacient and was suffering the after effects of whatever other poison had been mixed into the tisane. She had, however, been informed that the tisane hadn't worked. From what the medicus could see - despite the bleeding and the stomach cramps, despite the sleep that had taken her over a full day to wake from, she was likely still pregnant. She had been forced, in her sleep, to swallow charcoal shavings which had made her wake and retch up the poison; and the concerned face of Rhoda was the first thing she saw - hovering over her - as she did so. Now here she was, two days after she had seen Teutus and taken the money and the tisane, alone and in her bed. It was early evening - she could tell from the movements of feet and the bustle of slaves around her house. She lay pale as a ghost in her bed, her hair freshly washed by Rhoda and the sheets and pallet changed but unmistakably unwell and upset. The oil lamps were running low and darkness filled the room - casting long shadows amongst her and Hector's belongings. Few had come to see her; Rhoda had, and Jocasta had peeked in with a sly smile on her face, evidently delighted by this turn in her fortunes. She didn't know what to expect of the next few days; would she be sold? Killed? Or would Tertius be relieved, not wishing to endure fatherhood for the third time? It seemed the Fates were determined to answer her silent musing as another shadow joined the collection and Tertius loomed into view through the cracked door. She swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry, and attempted to sit up a little. She felt weak and wrung out, and lying there - pale as snow in the bed she looked younger than her years. She didn't say anything as he stepped into the room and curled her fingers into the sheet, balling it into her fists. Finding the silence unbearable she croaked, "Domine." in greeting and then fell silent again. How much he knew - beyond that she was pregnant and had tried to rid herself of it - she didn't know. Did he know Teutus had given her the money to buy the tisane? Or that she had been planning this for days? How close to death she had been? She didn't know and just stayed silent, her heart drumming against her chest. TAG: @Atrice
  16. Mid December, 74AD Longinus enjoyed the walk up the Esquiline Hill, perversely finding the ache in his legs satisfying. But he lingered now, outside the domus for Titus to join him before he was admitted. A request for a meeting had been sent a little over a week ago and he was bringing his closest friend for moral support (and because he suspected the opportunity to speak to a Praetor was decently tempting for Titus). He'd had absolutely no luck in engaging Tertius' elder brother, Secundus about the matter of his niece (his letters going unanswered and the offer of wine and a meeting refused). In frustration, he'd complained to his mother where he'd been promptly been informed that the oldest Varus was rumoured to be of unsound mind and that should Longinus wish to make any inroads, it would be better to speak to Tertius. And thus he'd found himself standing outside the domus, enjoying the last few dregs of warmth from the December sun. Seeing Titus approach he grinned and offered a dramatic roll of the eyes, "What a good first impression we're to make - late." He snorted and inclined his head to the slave who promptly swung open the door to admit them. Their presence was announced and Longinus couldn't help but glance around as he waited for the older man to join them. The domus was suspiciously quiet, or quieter than Titus' whose home was filled with the chatter of children and hurried feet of slaves running after them. He'd understood the Senator was widowed, much like himself, and had a young daughter of similar age to Cassia (his mother really was the font of all knowledge) and supposed the two men had more in common (at least superficially) than he'd anticipated. As Tertius approached, he cracked a broad grin in greeting; "Salve Senator Varus," He moved to clasp the other mans arm. "Thank you again for agreeing to meet me." TAG: @Atrice @Liv (& @Sharpie if you want Attis or Teutus to join!) Charis is also in the domus and may/will join the thread if/when invited over by Tertius. She's currently working in the garden, dressed up in the fancy chiton Tertius had picked out for her and looking eerily identical to her sister Nymphias...just more petite and brunette.
  17. 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
  18. The evening of About Time, Saturnalia 74AD Charis sipped at her cup of wine and padded gently into Tertius' cubiculum, the man himself following behind her. Over the course of the evening she'd had the offered wine and food and her merriment at feeling free, even for the shortest period of time possible, had put a smile across her face. Atop her head sat a braided wreath of flowers which she'd hidden away and then promptly brought out for her favourite friends in the house mid-way through dinner (one for Rhoda and Parnes, one for little Antonia and one for Teutus), and she'd offered one to Tertius for her own amusement. That he wanted her tonight was no surprise, she'd dressed up for the occasion of Teutus' manumission and the festival, but she hadn't failed to notice Hector's horror that he would not be spending this apparently coveted night of festivities with his master. Still, she had other things on her mind than Hector; Teutus' freedom and her sister paramount amongst them. Still, with the wine in her blood and the happiness of the evening on her, she entered his room with a smile for possibly...the first time since he'd started summoning her. Or, at least it was the first genuine smile. Turning to him she raised her fingers to the coronet of flowers and brushed over it. She didn't particularly want to extract it yet but the routine of these sorts of nights was familiar and mundane now. Gone was the immediacy of their earlier interactions and instead, much like an old married couple, they undressed themselves and proceeded with the act without the heady lust of their earlier encounters. Lifting off the wreath and setting it down on a side table with her wine, she eyed him (for tonight she could actually look at him without fear of reproach) and asked in a light voice, "Tonight was lovely, Tertius." She smiled and set about unpinning the plaits and twists in her hair, unbraiding them one by one as she took a seat near the only window. The wine had flushed her cheeks and warmed her skin and she could do with the winter breeze. Arching a brow at him as she continued to unbraid her hair she asked; "Did you enjoy tonight?" She wanted to ask exactly what this equal footing on Saturnalia entailed but decided to hold off, preferring to test the boundaries first. TAG: @Atrice
  19. It was of course important to stay in shape. Tertius knew all about this, especially with a young and handsome body slave and lover like Hector… he was certainly in shape still and Tertius had to keep up with him. On top of that, he just didn’t want to sit down and eat and drink until he could barely move. No, he wanted to keep on looking good and staying fit. Today he decided he’d exercise at the Thermae Aventini – well first some exercise in the surrounding grounds around the magnificent building with the thermae and afterwards, he’d of course go to have a bath and maybe a massage. First things first though – the important part and then the relaxing part. He’d left his proper clothes on a bench in the gardens outside the thermae and there he’d let his body slave stay with the clothes, so they wouldn’t be stolen. He wore his tunica and the short breeches as he went for a run around the thermae. After the second round, he was feeling rather warm and stopped by a fountain to splash some water in his face. When he looked up, he saw another man doing the exact same thing on the other side of the fountain and he couldn’t help but smile. The other seemed familiar, one of his fellow Senators, but there were so many and it was impossible to keep up with them all. He believed this one was called Calvus and decided it would never hurt to make another friend in the Senate… “Greetings… it is a good day for staying in shape, is it not?” @Mord
  20. It had been a few weeks since Tertius discovered Charis’ nasty bruise on her face – and had decided to keep her out of sight for most of the household, but at the same time he would find another way to make her useful. So he’d been teaching her more about letters and reading and writing. She was doing quite well, she was a fast learner! He was almost surprised that a barbarian like Charis would get it so fast, that she could actually be taught, but it happened and she was already slowly helping him sort some of his scrolls and documents. So far only those that had to do with the household and mainly lists of things for the house and kitchen (she would find that most useful to learn, he thought), but still… she was being useful. He’d noticed the last few days that the bruise was fading quite a lot, revealing her beautiful skin underneath again. Luckily her headache hadn’t grown worse and she hadn’t fainted or felt more ill, so at least she didn’t have a concussion. But he still allowed her to sleep long enough, to eat well and get exercise and go to the baths on her own – in the daytime, where she hopefully wouldn’t run into any nasty bandits again. It was about time that she was allowed to work less in the kitchen and more in the garden again. But he was enjoying her usefulness in the office and he was enjoying spending time with her. She was actually not stupid at all and her own Latin was actually improving with the lessons, or so he thought. Charis had been nothing but a perfect and good slave these last few weeks. She deserved the work she liked the most and maybe she even deserved a reward. Tertius was becoming fond of her, so maybe he even thought about spoiling her a bit. He’d seen Hector’s eyes when Tertius told his body slave about the reward… and he knew Hector hated that Tertius spent time with any other slave than Hector. But Hector was not the master of this household. Tertius was. And he’d do as he pleased with his slaves. This afternoon, he waited for Charis to appear as usual – she would not be aware that anything would be different today. Tertius could barely wait with telling her and could only hope that she would be pleased and happy to hear that he’d spoil her so. It wasn’t like he did that for all of his slaves, after all. @Sara
  21. It had been a few weeks since that day when Helios came to see him… and he learned that his newest and definitely prettiest slave had been talking badly about him, when she left the house to apparently go and get herself drunk with a friend. Tertius had naturally been upset and one thing led to another and her punishment was to sleep with Tertius, as his way of proving his control over her and her body and her life. She had nothing to say. She was his. And if she was going to behave like that while she was his, she had to learn that he was still in charge, no matter what. He bought her, fair and square, on the market in Rome. He wasn’t responsible for what happened to her before that, but she was his now. Sleeping with her actually hadn’t been all that bad. She was very pretty, almost delicate, and her skin had been so warm and soft and smooth because she was so much younger than he. And her lips, her kiss… and just the feeling of her. It was definitely something to remember. She had left the bed before he woke and after that day, things went back to normal. Not once had Hector complained about sleeping elsewhere but in Tertius’ bed, instead it was almost as if he seemed to work harder to please his master – maybe to try and prove that he did belong in Tertius’ bed, instead of Charis. Although it had been nice with her there. It had been so long since he slept with a woman and even longer since he spent the entire night next to one. Since that day, he’d watched her work in the garden. They barely spoke - it felt kind of weird after their intimacy - but she seemed to have learned her place. She didn’t speak out of turn, she acted respectfully and did what she to do. He’d of course allowed her to go the baths and after a few weeks, she’d even been allowed to the market again. She behaved, now, he believed. Charis was now the slave he wanted her to be, sweet to look at and behaving properly. The last few days he’d noticed a difference though. She wasn’t working as much in the gardens as she ought to. As she usually did. And he hadn’t been having guests or throwing parties, so there was no reason for her to spend so much time in the kitchens. He’d heard that she’d said there wasn’t a need for her in the garden right now, but once he also heard the kitchen slave Rhoda mutter under her breath about how she didn’t need the extra help in the kitchen. That it didn’t feel like help at all. Then Tertius was walking through the garden and noticed a few wilting flowers and arched a brow. Charis was needed here. He’d have to talk to her about this odd behavior, because it was almost misbehaving, again. He couldn’t have that. “Hector, fetch Charis for me.” Tertius told his always attentive slave. Then he plucked one of the drooping flowers and brought it with him to the tablinum. And there he sat on the front edge of the desk, waiting for her with the wilted flower in his hand. @Sara
  22. Whether other slaves in other households had it easier, Teutus had no idea. All he knew was that he belonged to a household with a very exacting master, who had extremely high standards for just about everything, and who did not forgive mistakes or slip-ups very easily. He was not entirely sure what had been going on, but one of the house-slaves was in tears while another was maintaining a very pointed silence, slamming things around in high dudgeon. If there was a cat, it would have been kicked. Teutus escaped the slaves' quarters to obey a summons to his master who probably wanted to head out of the house to... wherever. Teutus was rarely told where his master was going before they got there, and in this case, at least his master was out of the house, having upset practically every person in it apart from Antonia Varia, who was the only one who could say anything back without getting in more trouble. He had his sandals and his secretarial satchel, just in case it was business. "Domine," he said, presenting himself in the master's study, hoping that it would indeed be business outside the house, so the household could take time to calm down from the collective funk the master had caused. @Atrice
  23. April, 74 AD Another night, another party for the wealthy and nobles of Rome. Not that it happened every night, of course, but it wasn’t all that uncommon and while Tertius didn’t attend every party anymore, he did like to go out and meet other people than his slaves and the little family at home. He had left Antonia in Teutus’ care, knowing that his son would take good care of the noble lady that was his sister – and he seemed able to control her too, which was good. That made Tertius feel perfectly fine leaving home for a night like this. He wore a green tunica and his favorite dark blue toga with golden edges – it suited his own colors well and he believed it made his eyes appear more blue too. Who knew who might attend this party and whom he might encounter… and what the night would turn into. Maybe it would be quiet, maybe everyone would get drunk, maybe people were out for a bit of fun, you never knew. Tertius showed up at the address of one of his fellow senators, with his body slave Hector and his gladiator and bodyguard Favian following him. Favian was told to stay near the door and Hector would of course serve his master the best he could at such a party. It didn’t take long until Tertius had a cup of wine in his hand and Hector had carefully picked some grapes for his master, so that Tertius could have them when he pleased. The triclinium seemed all filled up though; there were no couches left there, so Tertius moved on and found another area near the atrium. There were music players in the corridor just next to the atrium, and a male and female dancer was entertaining whomever watching, with their sensual sways and moves. Tertius stood near a pillar to enjoy the sight and was soon joined by another senator. He knew him by name of course, but they had never spoken much before, except for at the senate of course and the occasional greeting when they randomly met. Tertius was probably mostly known as a back-bencher, who tried his best to stay neutral when it came to politics – although he would of course always support the winning side. He did like where his head sat on the neck, after all. It seemed right to speak to this fellow senator tonight though, “Greetings, Senator. It’s a fine spectacle they set up here tonight, isn’t it?” Tertius said, looking at the handsome male with the dark hair next to him, “Metellus, isn’t it?” @Brian
  24. Later that same day, after Secrets and Garden Games Hector had an unhappy look on his face. Not because that other slave Helios had visited his master today, because clearly Tertius hadn’t even touched the other handsome slave… and it wasn’t because of the news either. It was probably no secret that Hector didn’t like how his master looked at Charis, since that could threaten his own position in the household. No, he was unhappy because his master was unhappy. Tertius had shared a little with Hector about what Helios told him; something about Charis wanting to control Tertius and she obviously couldn’t. It didn’t make Hector more fond of her, only less. Tertius had had a cup of wine to calm his nerves, but it didn’t help. Not even a massage from Hector helped. He would have to speak to Charis and make her understand just how inferior she was in this household and that if she thought she could control Tertius, she was wrong. She was very wrong! He could make her life miserable if he wanted to, but he had kindly allowed her to work in the gardens and he could tear that away from her. He could tear away anything that pleased her. He could tear her apart. “Hector, tell Charis to come. Alone.” Tertius finally said firmly to his body slave and Hector nodded silently and went to fetch Charis. Tertius still sat in his office, the tablinum, he hadn’t moved much since Helios was here. But now he stood and paced a bit around, feeling restless. Gods how stupid was that girl? She’d looked so fine and pretty at the slave market that day, and she had seemed to be a fast learner, but it was all a mask and she thought she could control her master. He inhaled a breath, tried to calm himself, but the more he thought about what he learned today, the more upset he became. Finally there was a gentle knock before Charis would enter the tablinum. Tertius sat down on the edge of the front side of the table. @Sara
  25. Takes place a few days after Carpe Diem It was a day like any other, or so it seemed. Tertius had been at the Basilica Julia, functioning as praetor, doing his duty for the empire… and now after a long day, he had finally come home. Before he could relax though, he had to sit down at his tablinum and look over some numbers for the household. Hector came in and Tertius was pleased to see him, but he actually just had a message… Tertius had a visitor and Hector was clearly not too happy with the visitor. It turned out to be a quite handsome young man, with long blonde hair and pretty lashes and the most charming smile. Oh he could see why Hector would not like him. “Greetings… you are here to see me? What is your name and business here?” Tertius wondered from his chair behind the desk, looking up at the blonde male beauty. “I’m Helios from the Domus Venus. Yet I am not here in my function as a slave there. I have news for you, Tertius Quinctilius Varus, about one of your slaves. News it would be wrong of me to keep secret from you.” The blonde slave said, “May I sit, Dominus?” Tertius looked him over, arching a brow at the odd words about news and secrets… concerning one of his slaves. “You may sit. So what are these news?” Tertius wondered, and Helios sat down comfortably in the more humble chair on the other side of the table. “See, I can’t tell you yet. Nothing is free in Rome, Dominus. I came here because I felt I had to. But the secret is mine to keep, until you have paid me.” Helios said and Tertius sat up straighter in his chair. Did this slave just dare to attempt blackmailing him? Yet it wasn’t his slave and harming another’s slave could turn even more pricey. He could of course just send Helios away, but then the idea of not knowing the secret would gnaw at him… it already did. “You have quite a bit of nerve, Helios. Coming here, telling me of secrets first and then payment before telling.” Tertius said, clearly not pleased with the situation. Helios however remained calm in his chair and then he dared to smile, even. “I know. It’s what I do, Dominus. Well part of it. I could do other things for you as well, but that would also come with a price. Yet I am not here for that… unless you want it, of course.” He added with a smirk, pushing a strand of long, blonde hair over his shoulder. Oh gods, Tertius thought he was very handsome! He almost reminded Tertius of his former body slave Anteros, who also had long, blonde hair and was way too tempting and daring for his own good. “I am pleased with what I already have. Now tell me your price… for the secret.” Tertius said and Helios told him. It wasn’t cheap, that’s for sure! Tertius sighed and promised payment, but Helios would see the money first. Tertius called for Hector to fetch his private purse and once retrieved and prostitute paid – Tertius leaned back as Helios counted the coins. He seemed pleased enough with the amount.
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