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  1. March 77AD Ovinia rose a hand to shield her gaze from the sun as she glanced around the courtyard of warehouses. People bustled in and out of all of them, slaves with tablets around their throats and arms laden with goods, overseers with easy grins to her and her slave (at least until they saw her male slave keeping dutiful watch) and richer looking merchants all in a hurry. The smells of rich spices combined with that particular smell off of the Tiber in Spring made her cover her mouth with the edge of her palla. She didn't know whether she was early or Teutus was late, but she'd sent word two days before that she was on the look out for a gift for her mother and wanted to know if his business had anything suitable. She'd liked Teutus during that slightly peculiar conversation almost a year ago now, foisted on them by their respective fathers. Praetors and schemers both. Fortunately Gaius Ovinius Camillus Major was an astute politician (no surprises) and had deftly manoeuvred away from any suggestion of a match between the pair of them. A freedman would never do, after all and soon enough she had been distracted with another Gaius entirely...until that had ended about as successfully as her match with Teutus had done. Still, despite all of that, he seemed a decent man with a good head on his shoulders and taking Tiberius and Lucius' advice to heart that it was good to get to know other classes of people within the city, she'd reached out to him to make the appointment. "Domina." Her slavegirl gestured as the lean figure of Teutus appeared and she dropped her rich blue palla, a warm smile on her face. "Salve Teutus. It's good to see you again, I hope my request hasn't inconvenienced you?" TAG: @Sharpie
  2. April, 77 AD It had been a good, long while since that dinner with Wulfric, Teutus, Charis and Tertius of course. A good, long time. Since then, he’d met Varinia again. And it wasn’t like he never heard from Teutus or that they never met, but Varinia had taken upon her the task of bringing messages to Tertius’ household and she was always welcome. It was less and less awkward with her there, even after Charis had been freed and made his wife. Of course he would always wonder, what if he did catch up with her again, properly… but it wouldn’t be right to Charis, he would not treat her like that. Even if he was sometimes unsure whether she actually treated him with respect or if it was all still just pretense. She did visit Teutus and got herself a dinner invitation, with Peregrinus, before she’d said it to Tertius. But he’d never know her mind. He’d never know. But what he would know, at least now, was how his son’s business was coming along. He heard a bit about it now and again, both from Varinia and then when Teutus sometimes did decide to see his father, although he never spent much time in the domus anymore. But now was the time. Tertius had decided he wanted to see the warehouse for himself and see what Teutus was importing and what he would sell. And he decided to do it unannounced, to surprise Teutus with the visit. Hopefully it would be a good surprise. He’d made sure to bring an amphora of his best wine to greet his son with. And then off he was, with a litter of course, all the way to the warehouse near the river. He could smell it before he saw it but decided to not be annoyed by it. At last the litter came to a stop and Tertius stepped out, before the thing was lowered to the ground. The slaves and the guards would wait outside and meanwhile Tertius approached the crude looking beast of a guard by the door to the warehouse. He looked somewhat familiar? But Tertius couldn’t place him in this setting. “Greetings… I am here to see Teutus.” He said with a friendly smile to the guard, who looked him over while gathering his hands on his back, standing more straight as he did, “Of course you are.” The guard said, but didn’t move and seemed to take a few moments finding the next words, “Does he know you’re coming?” He then asked and Tertius arched a brow, “He does not. I meant for this to be a surprise.” Tertius said, still trying to sound friendly, “Do you even know who I am?” He continued and the guard inhaled a breath and nodded, “You’re his father. Tertius. Well, see if you can find him.” The guard finally said and stepped aside. Tertius wasn’t sure he liked the way the man spoke to him or even looked at him. But Tertius walked past him inside to find his son. @Sharpie
  3. (The day after Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) The Porticus Liviae was one of those places where, eventually, you'd see every Senator and rich equite in Rome, and their wives twice, which meant that there were a lot of very high-class shops and stalls (so it was somewhere Teutus was interested in for perfectly good business reasons). It was also one of those places that had cheaper more functional shops and stalls selling more everyday items at more everyday prices, because of its location on the lower slopes of the Esquiline. There was no need to drag Jannus further afield to the Emporium Magnum or anywhere else, not with the Porticus Liviae (and the senators' wives!) right on their doorstep, so to speak. His mother was busy weaving, and didn't need Jannus or him underfoot, and he didn't have a shipment due until the next week, so this was the perfect opportunity to take Jannus shopping. He'd made a promise and was going to keep it, after all. Even a promise to buy something small was a promise worth keeping, in Teutus' opinion. And as they were going shopping anyway, he'd made a list of other things they might look for, for the home. (And if he saw anything his mother might like, he wasn't above spending a bit of money on her; she deserved all the good things, after all.) "First things first, though," he said to Jannus, diverting to a familiar shop in the arcade. He'd been here numerous times on errands for his father when he was still Tertius' secretary and had a friendship of sorts with the proprietor. "I promised to get you a wax tablet and stylus for your own, didn't I?" @Insignia
  4. They had settled into some routine over the last few months, which was something Teutus had been a little concerned about - things had gone smoother than he had feared they might as everyone adjusted to everyone else. Mostly, they were adjusting to him, he thought, because he was the master. It was an anomalous position in the household, of course, but far less anomalous than his position in his father's house had been, even before he'd been freed. Olipor was giving Amandus lessons, with Teutus' blessing, and Varinia was teaching her maid Proserpina something, which left Teutus and Jannus. "Can you read?" Something he had not asked when he'd bought Jannus, nor in the months since. @Insignia
  5. 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!
  6. July 76 Teutus' business was going well and he needed to expand because there were certain things he just couldn't do on his own. He had made arrangements with Alexius for his services regarding the security side of it but he needed a clerk for himself (or would do soon), a body slave and a general runner/messenger. The latter two were more urgent than the former; Teutus was more than capable of keeping his own books and records, at least for now. He also needed someone who could act as an agent, but he would rather not look in the slave markets for someone to fill that role - though if he found someone who could, he wouldn't turn it down. He had to steel himself to enter the slave market; he had himself been a slave and although he was never in any danger of being sold, it had left him with a sour taste in his mouth when it came to actually buying slaves, though it was something he would have to get used to. "Good morning," he said as a guard or auctioneer or someone otherwise connected with the trade came up to him. "I don't suppose the boss is around?" @Sarah
  7. Well, their earlier conversation had gone less than swimmingly, thanks to Charis' presence - not that Teutus blamed her. If he'd known she was there, he wouldn't have turned up there himself, at least not until she'd left to return home. He sighed to himself; he really needed to get a slave so that he didn't have to do all the wandering around Rome himself. Even if he had a slave, though, he'd most likely have to make this trip himself, this was not the sort of conversation or discussion he felt he could trust to a slave, not this early on in proceedings. Anyway, they lived in the same insula, and he wasn't damn lazy enough that he couldn't climb a few stairs from his apartment (several rooms on the first floor, and far too big for just him - but his father had insisted!) to Alexius', two floor above. So it was just a few minutes later that he found himself knocking on Alexius' door, hoping that he wasn't disturbing anything untoward this time. @Atrice
  8. Immediately after Just One Night "Charis! Charis, please wait - please!" But she didn't, she kept moving. The crowds were slow and sluggish, the aftermath of the night before had made them so and they moved at a languid pace in a crowd that she found nightmarish given her pressing need to get out of here and certainly not be caught up to by Teutus Quinctilius Varus. It was all so fucked, that was her only real thought. The night with Alexius had been her one moment of glimpsed normality since the afternoon she'd eaten cakes and drank wine in the gardens with Cynane, well over a year and a bit ago now. That was all she had since she'd been forced to Rome; two snatched moments, one ruined by Helios, the other by Teutus. The thought made her feel sick it was so intolerable. A cart was passing causing a blockage of people at one end of the street as they couldn't pass it. She came to a stop and glanced around, looking for another escape because despite her desire to hurry home, Teutus was taller and had a longer stride and would be up on her in no time. She saw an opening a few feet ahead. It was an alley that led to nowhere it seemed, but it was out of the crowds, and hopefully out of Teutus' eye line. She exhaled a breath and leant against the wall, swallowing raspy breaths heavily. TAG: @Sharpie
  9. 31st August 75 after Teutus hadn't been able to face staying to see any more after Tertius had picked Charis' baby up and given him a name, and a legitimacy that Teutus would never have. He had wandered Rome for a while before finding himself outside a popina on the Via Lata. He had enough money on him for a drink or several. He wasn't about to drink himself senseless, but he definitely didn't want to stay sober. He could face up to his future later on, but right now he was hurting too badly. "I'll take a jug, thanks," he said to the proprietor, and sighed,shifting up a bit so as to make room for someone else to order as well. @Atrice
  10. It was just about eight months since the birth of Tertius' son and Teutus was no nearer to being able to get out of this house permanently than he had been this time last year. He was closer to setting up his business, though, so perhaps he was nearer getting out than he felt. It didn't help his state of mind that he'd had to consciously avoid Charis, because where she was, her son was too. Today, though, was a nice bright warm day and Teutus had gone to sit in the garden with his tabula and his thoughts, and found himself just enjoying the sun, thinking very little of any consequence. By the time he realised he was no longer alone, and realised who the intruder was, it was too late to be elsewhere without it looking as if he was deliberately evading her, as he had done his best to since the day Tertius had taken Peregrinus up as a freeborn child. @Sara
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. Late March, 75 AD "... we will see each other in two weeks, like usual…" That’s what Charis had said, last time they met. Back when Charis had revealed she was pregnant and she was going to take some herbs that could remove the child. She weas certain she’d be fine, even though Cynane had been quite worried about her friend. And after two weeks of waiting impatiently, Cynane had gone to look for Charis at their usual spot in the gardens. She had also gone to that spot near the house where Charis lived, to wait for her there. But there was no Charis. A week later, she did the same. And a week later. Many weeks passed and there was no sign of her friend and Cynane naturally feared the worst. She asked around at the markets, where she knew Charis usually came, but no one had seen her. She was just… gone. It wasn’t right! Fucking Roman! If only he had not touched Charis, she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant and she would not have taken those herbs… and removed the child and... it went wrong, didn’t it? Charis didn’t survive. Pretty and sweet and fun and caring Charis was gone. Charis, maybe the only person in Rome she dared to reveal herself to. Because of her stupid prick of an owner! A month had passed since she last saw her friend in late February. She had been out, looking for Charis again. And now she ended up here, near the domus where Charis lived. She stood for a long time, watching the house from the nearby spot where they sometimes met and sometimes said their goodbyes. She stared at the house and wished her gaze could set it on fire. She was of course sad that Charis died, but Cynane had learned to change emotions of sadness into those of anger and hatred – it was easier to be angry than sad. And it was really a miracle that the house did not burn down while Cynane looked at it from a distance. She wanted to scream. She wanted to tell Charis’ owner a thing or two about how she felt. No, wait, she’d rather show him. That would be more interesting! Finally she walked up to the house and around to find the slave entrance to the place. And there she knocked on the door. A woman, who must be Rhoda, according to Charis’ description of the woman, opened up and gave Cynane a strange look… “Yes? Who are you?” “I’m a friend of Charis’. I want to see her.” If she was dead, she could not see her of course. But at least then she would know the truth instead of just assuming. She needed to hear someone say it; Charis is dead. That would make it easier, right? Rhoda got a puzzled, but also somewhat sad look on her face and she glanced over her shoulder, then back at Cynane, “You can’t see her. No one can.” She explained and Cynane sighed deeply. “So it is true then. She’s… dead.” Cynane said, the words came easily although they were heavy. She fought the urge to cry in front of a stranger. She would not cry, not here, not in front of this woman… not in public… “She lives.” Rhoda then said, almost in a whisper, and Cynane looked up again, “But you better leave. She’s not coming to see you or anyone anytime soon. It’s best you don’t hope for it.” The older woman added, but that didn’t help. “I see. But I will hope. She would do the same for me. Tell her that I’ll be waiting.” Cynane replied to the woman. “I can’t tell her, I’m not allowed to see her either. Now go!” Rhoda insisted and closed the door. Cynane glared at that door. So Charis was alive - but not allowed out. Was she locked up somewhere? Chained to a wall? Cynane had tried that as a gladiatrix… it wasn’t amusing. At least she lived, though. Cynane finally left with heavy steps and came out in front of the house again, angry and upset, to walk back to the gardens where she could be alone. Meanwhile she let it all build up inside of her again – all the anger. Fucking Romans! She was walking so determinedly, that she didn’t care about what happened and unintentionally (or was it?) her shoulder bumped hard into that of a younger and well-dressed man on his way towards the front entrance to the house. @Sharpie
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