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  1. April, 77 AD With his sister in Rome, the city felt like it had changed. And now he could not just travel back to Germania, because he had to look out for Hilda and here in Rome, it was always the men who should look out for their female relations. Sure Hilda could look out for herself, but should she get into trouble, it would be Wulfric they’d want to talk to about it. So he had to stay with her. Even if he was really worried about his home now, after her refusing to stay with the tribe she’d married into. He understood why she left, but because of his upbringing and training with his grandfather, he also understood how bad it was, what she did. What it could cause. A strife between tribes. But for now, he was staying in Rome. Had informed the warehouse he’d still work for them, but he would also have to find a better home for him and Hilda. He was on his way home from work now, with all this on his mind and a bread with some kind of thick sauce poured into it, when a guy walking in his direction suddenly very much on purpose walked right into his shoulder. Knocking the food out of his hand. Wulfric stopped and yelled something at the man, and the man turned and stared at him. “You got a problem?” The guy said and Wulfric inhaled a breath, keeping his head high, “I lost my dinner. What is your problem?” He replied and the guy chuckled, “Oh the poor barbarian lost his dinner! Oh I am so sorry.” The guy was clearly being sarcastic, “Go home to where you came from, scum!” The man then continued and spat on the ground in front of Wulfric. Wulfric was shocked. He didn’t even know the guy! Why was he talking to him like that? “It is not your business. You go home.” Wulfric said and the guy let out a laugh and took a step closer, “Rome is my home. I was born here. You clearly weren’t. You can’t even speak properly.” Oh this was not what he needed today, but if he backed down and backed away, he would be seen as weak… and he was not. And he didn’t like being called a barbarian or a scum or being told he couldn’t speak properly… “I can! This is my home, n…” He didn’t get to say more, before the guy shoved him with both hands on his chest. So he was looking for a fight. Damn. He really didn't want to. But... Wulfric aimed his fist towards the other man’s jaw. @Chevi
  2. April, 77 AD Night washes the sky in its black glow. As the boring people, the ones who make sure to head straight home after, he doesn't know, politely playing a game of latrunculi while pish-poshing about the place, close their doors for the night, Paullus is just waking up from a nap. There weren't any races scheduled for today, but he's been busting his ass doing training for the two-horse chariot the whole day. Procella, ever the enterprising stallion, was especially unpredictable today, meaning the kind grey gelding running alongside him was unable to keep pace. The whole contraption almost flipped once, but he's okay, really. All it takes is to throw his body weight to one side, and it's settled. In any case, Manager said it was fine for Paullus to go out for the night provided he not make too big a fool of himself ('and use your own money, and don't come crying if you get into debt, and blah blah blah.' Paullus had stopped paying attention and started bouncing his leg impatiently until he was allowed to leave). Out in the night, the cheers of young men going out to get shitfaced invigorate him. He smiles, a bold expression that shows off far too many sharp teeth, and whoops before dramatically kissing his coin purse before fixing it to his belt and leaving the stables to buy some drinks, play some games. Have some fun. Technically, his ideal evening would be braiding his favorite horse's mane, but Procella can't stand still for that long in anticipation of getting led out, and Paullus is sure today's antics have even worn the stallion out. But him? He's an eternal flame, and the rest of the world better be ready to see it. An eager hand reaches for his coin purse until he slaps it away. Stupid pickpockets. He'd done the long path and earned these coins himself, they'll be for him and him to spend only. Where to today? The night vendors are just getting into full swing. An evening's worth of fried cakes with honey? Not a bad option. No, he'll be too sluggish in the morning. If he's going to be tired when getting up tomorrow, he may as well go all in. No use doing things by half measures. He thinks he sees a bar; a dingy one. Those ones are bound to have the best drinks to knock back. And they have the best people; that's where he met the guy he now buys his tinctures from, all down-low because the last thing he wants is for Manager to hold an intervention. At that point, he'd prefer to be tarred and feathered. Tonight'll be great, just like always. He can't possibly ruin it all. Which is when his thoughts get the better of him and he bumps into a woman with dark hair, then keeps walking. @Chevi
  3. October, 74 AD He had promised to come and spar with Thessala. And while there were some promises he sometimes had problems with keeping – like promising to be true to a wife, once – there were others he could definitely keep. Now of course he wasn’t married to Oriana, but he still knew she’d be very hurt if he betrayed her trust. They had a proper talk about it recently and at least now she was prepared though, wasn’t she? Although of course he’d do what he could to not hurt her. He wanted to make her happy, for as long as he could. But he also needed to do what made him feel good. And fighting always made him feel good. At least fighting wasn’t being unfaithful, right? He’d enjoyed fighting ever since he learned it and now it had been a long while since he’d had a fight with another gladiator. Alright, so this one was female and so what? It wouldn’t be a first, for him. And she’d proved that she could fight very well, he’d seen her in the arena. It was rare that gladiatrixes actually got to kill one another, they were just there to entertain, but that didn’t mean they didn’t put in a lot of effort in their fights. Thessala certainly did. He hadn't dressed up today so much, as he knew he'd probably work up a sweat. Hopefully at least! He wore his short breeches and a dark brown tunica and some of his armor too, although not the full set, as it was too heavy and warm for this. He didn't own any gladiator armor anymore, after all, and that was usually made for fights like these. As he entered the ludus, it was kind of a strange feeling, but he shook it off. He couldn’t use such feelings for anything right now. He’d sent word to the lanista that he’d come and spar with Thessala for a fee. After he’d had a chat with the doctore – and given him a little bribe, so that he could take Thessala out for a drink after – Alexius went looking for Thessala. She was training with another gladiatrix and he smiled, leaning against the wall for a moment, watching her. That woman, she really was impressive, and not just her looks and her moves, but her entire expression. When the training match was finished and Thessala would turn his way, he waved at her with a playful grin, “Thessala! I hope you’re not too tired yet.” @Chevi
  4. Was it strange, that he now almost enjoyed going to see gladiator games in the arena? Alexius used to be the one standing there. The crowd had cheered for him once, he had won so many times that they named him a champion. He had a reputation for killing and surviving, for putting on a good show and entertaining the crowd. And sometimes in the nights, he could be found entertaining men or women at the local taverns, when he went out to have a little fun of his own. Either they were brawls or a good lay. Or both. But everything had changed since then and Alexius had too. He was a freedman and although he sometimes had considered returning the life of a gladiator, he hadn’t done it yet and now he had an actual job and a lovely mistress to care about. Was he falling in love? He wasn’t sure. But he knew he cared for her for more than just sex. He enjoyed spending time with her. And he grew jealous by the thought of her marrying someone else… even though he assumed it would happen anyway. It wasn’t exactly the easiest relationship he had ever been in, but he admired her and how could he not? Alexius enjoyed more or less any woman who’d enjoy him, even the sweet and innocent damsels in distress... but he had always had a certain liking for strong and independent women. His first love, Achillia, had been such a woman. He hadn't seen her in years, but how could he forget such a gorgeous gladiatrix who could fend for herself? Nowadays, there were still gladriatices. And he'd seen them and there was one especially who’d caught his gaze. Her name was Thessala and he’d not seen anyone like her in years! Man could she swing a blade and smirk afterwards with blood sprayed over her face in the most stunning way… he was curious about what she was like as a person and had decided he would meet her. Just because... well, he could! Alexius still had contacts in the world of gladiators and ludii, so one day after a fight in the arena, he was allowed back into the old and dark corridors underneath the arena. He only had to pay a few coins to be allowed, and it was more for show than anything else. Thessala would have been shown to a room of her own, probably unaware of whom she would meet. Gladiators and their female counterparts were often sold to wealthy romans for fun – he’d been through all of that too, once. But that wasn’t why he would meet her. He simply wanted to meet a gladiatrix who knew what she was doing. The guard led him to the right door and unlocked it for him and Alexius was allowed in. There was a faint light in the room and he glanced around, wondering which corner she was hiding in. And by the gods, he hoped they'd paid attention to what he said and had not put her in chains. He never liked that. He doubted she did. @Chevi
  5. Rana was new… well she knew that. There weren’t a lot of gladiatrixes here and their sleeping quarters were apart from the gladiators. But the training grounds were the same and she’d heard that some of the best gladiatrixes actually earned a lot of respect among the male ones too. Rana had never seen a gladiator fight in her life. She came from Germania and she had travelled Europe, mostly bound to her slave trader one way or the other. And then she arrived in Rome, which was truly as glorious as she had expected. But since she was a slave, she didn’t get to see the temples or the beautiful villas a lot. She just saw this ludus, so far. And she wasn’t even ready for the arena yet. She had to be trained, had to learn the proper techniques and had to build up some muscle. The first few days had been spent on the latter. She had been lifting what appeared to be logs from trees, although she could not lift the heavy ones yet. And she had been watching the more experienced female fighters in their training. It seemed rough, but Rana felt it was nothing she couldn’t handle. She wanted to do well, after all. She wanted to earn fame and glory, as she’d heard you could. If that’s all she was here for, then by gods that’s what she would do. Today the doctore had informed her she would start learning some of the basic techniques from one of the experienced gladiatrixes. In fact she would be learning from the champion – if there was a champion among the women, that’s the one Rana would learn from. She had to learn from the best, the doctore thought. And so Rana had woken and now she sat by one of the long tables, taking her breakfast porridge. So far she ate alone. She didn’t know anyone here. But she looked at the other females and tried to guess which one was the best. She thought it was the slender dark-haired one, the one with the captivating blue eyes. Rana had seen her train with the others and she certainly did seem to know what she was doing. Now Rana followed the woman with her gaze, as she appeared in the gladiator’s eating area and she almost forgot to eat her own porridge. @Chevi
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