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  1. Late September 76CE "Jason?" Tiberius called lightly, as he carefully tied the scroll he'd been reading and set it aside. His body slave was usually around somewhere, discrete and out of view, but near enough to be summoned when needed. It was what one wanted in the best of slaves. He'd been a gift from Tiberius's Uncle Jullus some three years ago now, and proven entirely satisfactory. The only times he wasn't around was when he occasionally asked to go off on his own, or Tiberius dismissed him as he did when he knew he'd be busy most of the day, such as during a Senate session. As long as he was back by the time he needed him, there was no reason to make him wait. And he always was. He wasn't Roman born, Tiberius knew that; he had an accent, to go with his looks. But he knew little enough about him otherwise. That hadn't really struck him until his conversation with Cynane. @Sharpie
  2. Early December, 76AD It felt like it had been forever since that party in November. She had tried her best to be a good daughter to her father and her family in general. She went to the social events they wanted her to go to, she socialized, she’d even met with her cousin Horatia, which had been interesting. After that she’d been a bit more careful, because Horatia now knew a secret of hers. She hoped her cousin wouldn’t tell, but why would she? What would Horatia gain from ruining Sosia’s future, by telling her family that Sosia was in love with Tiberius? Nothing, she thought. And so she hoped it was still a secret to anyone, what happened that night at the party. Now that was another reason to try her very best to be a good daughter and honor her family. Yet she could not forget the way Tiberius kissed her, the way he held her and the words he said to her. He thought her pretty and sweet… and he liked her. And he kissed her. And said he’d never forget her and they’d see each other again. Already before they kissed, he’d promised her that he would show her the gardens of Sullust and she hoped he would keep the promise. He said he would not forget. He said he wanted to see her again. But when? Then suddenly there was a messenger from the palace. For her. Tiberius had a date set and she was invited to join him for a walk in the gardens. She could barely wait. But what to wear? Gods! Oh she prayed to them too, asked them to help her, asked them to make sure she’d stay on the right path today. But she also prayed that Tiberius still liked her. Despite that her father had set up more than one meeting with possible suitors, wealthy and older men, who were probably nice, but… they were not Tiberius. But the day came. A day in the gardens in the winter. She dressed in a light blue gown and wore a light yellow palla with it. A few pearls, and she had her body slave Helia bring her a few evergreens to decorate her hair with. She wore the green leaves almost like a crown on her hair. Her body slave told her she was very pretty and she believed it. Then she went to meet Tiberius outside the gardens. Helia came with her, and a guard too, but they promised to keep their distance. She wished they didn’t have to come, but her father said anything else would be improper. Now she stood there, waiting. Hoping. Sighing. Until she was distracted by a rare flower, growing just near the gates to the gardens and she crouched down to pick it, maybe to decorate her hair with. @Sarah
  3. February 77AD Vibia glanced around, long white blonde hair falling over her shoulder and to her hips as she studied the world beyond that subtle door in the Gardens of Sallust. An Imperial invitation was absolutely not one she was going to turn down, and bless Marcus Junius Silanus for thinking of her. He'd made it plain she was for the Prince, but he wanted somebody for himself and so she walked, arm in arm with a beautiful dark-eyed, dark-haired beauty through into the villa. They looked like fire and ice, perfect opposites. Where her body was artfully curved and her features were pale and delicate with doe blue eyes and blonde hair, Liana was olive skinned and willowy with striking features. A perfect pair for the wealthy, she thought. Slaves, neatly dressed and unobtrusive, milled about before shepherding the two ladies into the villa and the corridors beyond. Vibia held up her hand to halt the men and slipped off the thick cloak she was wearing. Liana did the same. They were both dressed in exquisite Assyrian silk that, depending on how many times you folded it could be utterly transparent or fully opaque. She left it somewhere in the middle for her chiton, revealing the outline of her shape and the curve of her thighs and chest, sheathed in shimmering silk. It would be far, far too immodest for a proper Roman matron but neither woman was that. Liana's was silver. They were both bedecked in ornate jewellery as well, so as they rounded a corner into a receiving room - lamps dimmed and male voices floating to meet them, she grinned. Their dress and preening had most definitely been the correct call. Inclining her head just a touch, she pulled her eyes up and surveyed the men. She recognised Silanus from the other one's amusing party, although for that she'd been hired for other skills - which she also thought she might be requested for tonight - hence why one of the slaves carried her cithara. Her eyes drew to the darker haired man and the smile on her lips became feline and suggestive. "Sirs. Thank your the invitation. I hope Liana and I didn't keep you waiting?" TAG: @Atrice @Sarah
  4. January 77AD It was a cool day in the middle of winter, but the midday sun lent a little warmth to the air and the faint touch of frost that morning had long since burnt off. The manicured lawns and carefully tended plants of the Gardens of Sullust brought pleasure in all weathers, though they were more popular when the year warmed. But Tiberius was here for a reason. He'd asked Marcus Junius Silanus to join him, though he hadn't told his friend why. He wanted it to be a surprise. He thought it was a pretty good one, and hoped that Marcus would be pleased. It was a step, a big step but not the final one, and it would mean new things for both of them. @Atrice
  5. October, 76AD Ovinia Camilla was faithful in the way that all well-bred patrician women were faithful. She worshipped the lares with her family, she attended the festivals that honoured the Gods and Goddesses throughout the calendar year, and she made sure to make offerings and sacrifices at momentous occasions. Yet she was also fickle - she moaned when she had to interrupt her leisure time with worship, she paid lip service at festivals and she often forgot the minor deities. Bona Dea, however, was different. Ever since her youth when she'd heard of the Clodius scandal the Goddess had intrigued her. She had never been invited to the December rites, if they were still practiced, but she made her own devotions frequently. The touch of scandal that Bona Dea offered only made her more enticing...besides, she had a good practical reason for frequent visits; prayers to protect her chastity, and offerings for healing of her mothers ills were hardly prayers her father was going to refuse. The fact that men were barred from its walls, likewise, gave her comfort. She needed a few hours reprieve from moping over the men in her life. Today the offering had been a white dove that had been sacrificed, and after muttering through a few cursory prayers, ending of course with 'I give that you might give', she nimbly jumped to her feet and made to exit the temple. Pulling down her palla which sheathed her hair within the sacred space, she blinked into the autumn sunshine. The days were growing colder, but there were a few more weeks until she'd be forced to wrap up warm by her parents, and stay inside until the winter chill passed. Lingering on the steps, she let out a sigh - watching as the cold air clouded her breath in front of her. She didn't want to go home yet; she had slaves to chastise and lists to organise in lieu of her mother who had taken to her bed again. She glanced around, looking for a distraction, determined to get a few more hours of fun out of the day... TAG: Open!
  6. September 76 AD It was still pleasant out, though a little brisker than the height of summer, but warm enough that the gardens could still be enjoyed in the evening, the spaces set aside for the party warmed by strategically placed braziers and lit by taller torches. They gave a flickering light, sometimes gentle and sometimes casting odd shadows, but adding a playful and at the same time primal air to the event. Invitees had never-the-less been encouraged to bring a warm cloak, toga or palla, just in case. But it was meant to be a relaxed evening, not a stuffy, formal event. In his ponderings over the illnesses of Caesar's past, Tiberius had developed a hypothesis that one potential cause could be stress, and so this evening was meant to be something of a stress relief, a fun and fanciful time with friends, particularly for Titus. He'd invited their siblings and cousins, along with their peers. None of the older generation, whom he'd been accustomed to thinking of as the 'adults', because suddenly he and his were adults. There would be other, formal events for all generations in the near future, he was certain. Food had been organised, not a multi-course, reclined cena but rather platters of tasty, nibbly delicacies, carried by slaves or placed on strategic stone tables. Other slaves carried pitchers of wine, ranging from the vinyards along the Tiber through to Greek vintages, and elegant glass cups were available to drink from. Tiberius had asked Marcus Junius Silanus to organise entertainment, and already a flautist was playing a merry tune by one brazier, whilst nearby a juggler tossed coloured leather balls in increasingly complex patterns whilst balancing another on their nose. The layout of the gardens meant that there were several spaces, corners for conversation or the central area for lively conviviality. Here and there Praetorian Guards were unobtrusive in the shadows, keeping an eye on their Imperial charges, whilst more screened entrants at the gates. Once inside, the gardens seemed almost magical. (OOC: Open to: Characters under 30, of Imperial or Patrician class, as guests Slaves of guests Hired entertainers.)
  7. September 76CE It made a convenient excuse to leave the palace and Palatine Hill. An Imperial could spend almost all of their time there if they so desired, but Tiberius did not. He wanted to see Rome - and the Empire - talk to people, and keep an eye and an ear on the happenings beyond the Hill. It was part of what made good governance of course, but it was also his interest. It was also a good place to catch up with friends, in a less formal setting. Leaning back against the beautifully glazed tiles and relaxing into the hot water, Tiberius glanced across at his long time friend and often younger partner in crime to himself and Titus as they were growing up. Now, all of a sudden, they were grown, or close to. Not boys but men, with their own responsibilities. Quintus' abdication had made that all the more apparent. But Tiberius hadn't asked Marcus to meet him to dwell in seriousness. "How have you been, Marcus?" He asked out of genuine interest. "What's new?" Marcus had this bright and garrulous nature about him that was immensely cheering and made him very easy to be around. It was something that Tiberius appreciated. @Atrice
  8. The Curia was slowly emptying of people after the most recent session of the Senate, and Aulus found that he was one of the last to leave, having been waylaid by some ancient senator who must have been twice his age if he was a day, who only wanted to talk his ear off about taxes, the grain dole, the cost of games these days and other inconsequential things. He turned to head from the august chamber, pausing before he emerged into the sunlight and the presence of his lictors (Horatia had a point about them, even if Aulus wouldn't admit it - they did rather get in the way when you wanted to be a private citizen... on the other hand, part of the thing about being Consul was that you weren't a private citizen for the entire time you were in office. It was rather the point, after all!) There was someone else taking a momentary breather in the shade of the Curia's colonnade, a young man who must be just starting out on his political career. At first Aulus thought it was his son, but Titus was still a few years short of joining the Senate. "Claudius Sabucius," he said, once he caught a better look at the other. "Good afternoon - I trust you didn't find today's session too tiresome?" @Sarah
  9. September, 76AD It was only practice, not a true competition, and whilst practice battles drew a few spectators - often owners of the gladiators - it was usually only a few loiterers or those who enjoyed watching half-naked men sweat who would attend. Tiberius was neither, but he was only half watching; the young Imperial was deep in thought, otherwise relaxing beneath a canopy. The Ludus was simply a place to be. Sometimes it helped to get out of the palace when he wanted to think. Oddly enough he was less likely to be disturbed here. And he was thinking, very seriously. Titus was Caesar now, suddenly, at a young age, and Tiberius - who admitedly was no older and his relative level of wisdom was debateable - saw it as his duty to support Titus in guiding and guarding the Empire. He also wanted to guide and guard Titus so that he was able to do so, not least because he was his brother, but also because if anything affected Titus, it could potentially lead to a period of instability in the Empire, which it could ill afford. The Empire seemed to burn through Caesar's at an uncomfortable rate, and the pool of potential heirs was reducing. This was one of the many things that preyed on Tiberius's mind as he half watched a bout end. One of the combatants had been injured by a blow from his opponent's weapon, and lay on the sand, shifting in pain. Whilst gladiators were generally looked down on as the slaves most were, they still had value. Sure enough, within a few moments the medicus of the Ludus appeared, working quickly to stabilise his patient. Tiberius couldn't see much, but it was only minutes before the man was moved by two attendants, under the direction of the medicus. Hmm. The beginnings of an idea began to form. Tiberius turned to one of his attendants and asked the man to find out the name of the medicus, and ask that when - and only when - he had treated his patient to his satisfaction, he come and speak with the young Imperial. The medici who usually attended the Imperials had no answers. But sometimes those who sat outside the arena saw more of the combat. @Chevi
  10. September 76AD "Ave Caesar." Tiberius called, presuming to enter his step-brother's rooms, where he assumed the other was working. "Titus." He added, more familiarly, as he came into view. "I'm taking cena on the balcony; come join me." He urged gently, hoping that his brother would take the excuse for a break from work to relax a little and have something to eat. Tiberius saw it as his duty to assist Titus in his new and sudden role in any way he could, from taking on whatever duties Caesar wished, to reminding him when he needed to take a break. He was also more than happy to serve as adviser, sounding board for ideas, and to filter and run interference with the endless string of Senatores who wanted the Caesar's attention. But all the formality of their sudden duties aside, he also enjoyed just talking with his brother, forgetting for a moment that they suddenly had the weight of the Empire on their shoulders. @Kali
  11. September, 76 AD Sosia was busy in Rome, trying to find a way to please her father and her brother. Although it had never really been an issue before, suddenly it was a huge issue that they found a husband for her, before she reached the age of 20. Apparently it was best to get married at a young age, so that you could have plenty of children while you yourself were also strong and healthy. Sosia didn’t mind children, they were sweet, but it was hard to imagine herself as a mother. She had already visited the Aedes Vesta recently, to make a sacrifice, and now the turn had come to ask Minerva for help and guidance too. Minerva covered a great many subjects, so it was easy to find a reason to visit her temple. And wasn’t it beautiful? She thought so when she stepped out of her litter, into the bright sun of this September day and looked up at the temple. It still wasn’t really cold, but you could sometimes feel a cool breeze, different from the summer heat in Rome. She pulled her palla around her and waited for her slave to hand her the sacrifices she’d make. Once again she had managed to find beautiful flowers for the goddess and in a cloth was a carefully wrapped small almond pie. Quietly she climbed the stairs alone, holding the palla in place with one hand and the offerings in her other. She had no free hands. And it all went well. Finally she could step into the faint light of the temple, although she could see nothing as she approached the entrance. Outside it was bright and light and to her it seemed to be pitch black inside, which it of course wasn’t. She walked in. Or, almost. Because on the way in, she walked straight into someone leaving the temple. They were almost the same height, so it was only good fortune that they didn’t butt heads. Sosia however stumbled and to balance herself she let go of the palla, which fell off and down the steps behind her. Despite that, it was natural for her to be the one exclaiming an apology, “Oh, oops, I’m so sorry! I hope you’re alright!” She said, looking up at the young man, who was still a stranger to her. @Sarah
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