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Happening upon Augusta (Annthea)

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COLLIS PALATINUS » Hortulum » Happening upon Augusta.
Happening upon Augusta.
Post by darius on Feb 6, 2009, 12:19pm

What little time Darius spent in the gardens was split into two categories. The first was exercise. He would hone his body out in the gardens often, not because the atmosphere was pretty. He wasn't concerned with that. But because there was a lot of open space, there were few people to disturb him, and he'd be told that exercise works better outdoors. Although he would scoff at being considered an aesthete, he did often tend to spend this time near the crimson rose bushes.

But this time in the garden fell into the second category for Darius: Shortcut. He was just passing through to get from one part of the palace to another. He was in no particular hurry when he noted a figure unusual to these gardens, and he approached.

"Grandmother?" He hadn't been told she was to visit. He smiled, attempting to conceal his surprise as he bowed. "Good afternoon. It is wonderful to see you." He let no boyish enthusiasm color his words; He kept things formal. "You look quite well. How is life in the North?"Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by augusta on Feb 6, 2009, 5:39pm

Despite all the things that needed to be attended to at the villa since her return to the city Augusta had barely spent more than a few hours at home, talking with Lucilla took up much of her time, for that was the reason she was here. The sooner her daughter was free of Claudius the better things would go. The only question now was who was trying to kill him… well besides them.

“You’ve grown so much since I was last here for your mother’s wedding.” The boy was only a teenager not much older than his youngest uncle in all truth but he looked so much older. She hadn’t seen him in what seemed like ages, that was the other reason Augusta wished to return to the city she missed her grandchildren too much. She wasn’t a sentimental woman but she wanted to be nearer to them. For there was only so much one could do while their husband was away on campaign.

“Cold,” She smirked. The sooner Flavius decided if they were going to return to Rome for good the happier she would be. With the exception of the last years she’d spent a great majorty of her time in Iberia and Rome herself nice warmclimates not the freezing Gaulish winters. Besides the fact it ruined her gardens every time it snowed. “wet, miserable, muddy… did I say cold?”
Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by darius on Feb 6, 2009, 6:18pm

"And Rome has been colder for your absence, Avia." Darius said, only now moving to embrace his grandmother; offering a light kiss upon her cheek. "But today is nice and warm." He glanced about, "A fine day to stroll through the gardens." He paused, looking off in the direction he'd been heading. He'd been on his way to have lunch, but it could wait.

He offered his arm to his grandmother.

"Would you care for company as you inspect our Imperial gardens?" He knew Augusta fancied flora. Her own gardens at the Domus Alexandralis were sensational when she was there to supervise, but they'd grown mediocre in her absence.

"I am pleased you've come. You know, Mater has been discussing sending me to Gaul to add my sword to the legions there."Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by augusta on Feb 6, 2009, 6:35pm

“You’re too much like your Avus.” She smiled returning his hug. “Pretty words… I was just waiting for your Mater the Emperor called her to his bed for something.” The sooner her daughter was free of that man the happier Augusta would be, “but you may join me if you wish.”

“Your Avus will be most pleased it’s been ages since he’s seen your mater or the lot of you. He won’t admit it but he has missed you.” Augusta knew her husband adored not only their children but their grandchildren just as much as she did. Soon the gods willing they would be back in Rome. “She had best send you soon however there are rumors about your Avus might retire and return to Rome, just don’t tell anyone that. He’ll be furious with me if the whole of Rome heard. We might never return from that godforksan place.
Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by darius on Feb 6, 2009, 6:45pm

He smiled at being compared to his grandfather. There was no greater honor that he could fathom. Avus Alexander was the very portrait of an ideal Roman. His chest swelled at the compliment.

"I would hope to be sent out as soon as possible. I have been pestering Mater about it since she brought it up. She'll have to send me soon just to shut me up." He chuckled. "But I hope I get to serve with him before he retires... There will always be some campaign in which to fight, but... There will never be another General of his ilk." A smile, "But don't worry. I won't spread the secret just to stop him retiring. He has more than earned the right, if he sees fit."Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by augusta on Feb 6, 2009, 6:56pm

“I’ll speak with your Mater about it and see if you may come back with me, I’m only here for a few weeks your uncle is supposed to arrive in Germania soon so we’re suppose to go meet him.” She hardly could wait to see her son even if it meant leaving her daughter again. “I trust you remember the stories about your Avus, Darius you know he’ll treat you no diffently than your uncles or your Mater when they were little.”

Flavius was famous for his Spartan training not only of their children but the men under him. When their children were babies it had broken her heart to see them go though what he’d done to them, the only one she’d gotten back was Lucilla and even as a teenager when she should have been interested in boys she did nothing more than sneak out and try to train… “If you’re anything like your Mater it shouldn’t be long before he’ll allow you to stay in the villa with us however. I’m sure I can speak with him and get him to bend the rules a bit.”

From the moment they’d married Augusta had had her husband wrapped around her little finger, it was nothing for her to sweet talk him, with a few pretty words and promises and a few kisses she could get him to do anything. “Your Mater was still trying to train with the boys after she was told to stay in the house with me.” Augusta well knew her daughter shouldn’t have been a daughter, Lucilla would have been her father all over again. It wasn’t that her brothers weren’t good enough they just didn’t… they weren’t Flavius.
Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by darius on Feb 7, 2009, 11:24am

"Avia, you are too kind. But there is no need to bend the rules for me. I will welcome the challenges. Things here are so comfortable; at this grand palace. The greatest challenge is to get anyone to challenge me at anything. They all cower. It's good that they do, but I haven't earned it, yet, if that makes sense. They fear my position; my relationship to Mater. They do not fear who I am, so the fear is not based in respect. And that, to me, is worthless." He paused, smiling.

"But I'm rambling. What are the living conditions like in Gaul? Do you have a proper house there? I'm sure you must." He couldn't imagine his Avia living in tents amongst the soldiers.Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by augusta on Feb 7, 2009, 11:07pm

“You’re your Mater’s son of course you ramble.” She teased. “Just like your great-uncle.”

“If you could call it a house. They’ve been forced to build so differently in the north than they do here it Rome,” Truly the house was beautiful but Augusta much preferred the villa here in Rome, even when they’d lived in Carthage it had been better. At least it wasn’t freezing for what seemed like eight months a year. “It’s certainly better than what the legions have with those wooden barracks. I don’t care how much I adore your Avus if we were stuck in one of those things if he wanted to see me or your uncles he’d come to Rome.”

“Aside from the cold it’s not all that horrible. Well the cold and the barbarians attacking every five minutes but that hasn’t been all that bad in the last few years. They’re finally learning to listen to your Avus and stay away from proper Roman ‘settlements’.”
Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by darius on Feb 8, 2009, 9:12am

"Ah good. An iron fist is an inexorable educator. Even a savage learns through fear." He sighed, "Though I hope they haven't become too amiable, lest I have no one to fight when I arrive." He was looking so forward to his first taste of real action. Not a slave, a peer or another soldier with a fake sword; A proper rival who wouldn't be too scared of his position to attack in earnest without holding back. He wanted to feel battle in his bones and on his skin. He wanted to prove to Rome that he was more than just talk.

"It is good that your Gallic estate is not too remedial. It would not suit you to live in a decrepit barrack, Avia. I've no doubt you've the fortitude to endure such conditions, but it would still seem somehow sacrilegious to know you were in such a low dwelling place. This palace is a far more appropriate environment for my dear Avia Augusta." He smiled dashingly.Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by augusta on Feb 8, 2009, 11:03am

“They’ll never learn to listen that well my dear. The stupid brutes when an old one dies his son, or in a few cases daughter, thinks they can override proper Romans and get rid of us.” She shook her head. They would never learn to listen.

“Your Avus refused to let me come until he had what he calls a ‘proper house’.” That had been the one time Augusta had been thankful of her husband’s overprotectivness while she was pregnant. The general who had been in charge of Gaul before Flavius hadn’t taken his family with him, like most of them in truth, he’d come back every few months to visit his wife and their children. Flavius knew however that was one thing she would not stand for. She’d only waited a few months before the house was built and returned to her rightful place at his side. “As vain as it sounds I’d much rather stay here my dear.” Augusta shook her head at his words, he’d only seen Flavius a few times but the two of them seemed so similar.
Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by darius on Feb 8, 2009, 11:39am

"That is not vanity, Avia, that is pragmatism! You have earned luxury. I do not feel deserving of pampering, now. I have done nothing for Rome, but be born. That is not enough to deserve all this... opulence, all this ease. I know there are those who would happily accept a palace as their birthright, but those people are unfit to govern. You and Avius Alexander? I do not think any man or god would deny your just right to retire to Rome to live on pillows and wine. Grandfather has done more in one lifetime than-... Ah, but there I go again." He shook his head at himself and looked down.

"I have been thinking, Avia, that I may seek the counsel of the Sibyl before I go North..."Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by augusta on Feb 8, 2009, 12:33pm

“Your Avus will never do that. Even if he does retire from the army he’ll become a Senator or something.”

“You’d have best do it soon, the way your Avus has been acting lately we’ll be back in Rome soon after I return home, or even before.” Darius didn’t know of his mother’s plot to rid herself of her husband, or Augusta’s involvement in it. No one in Rome knew any of it. “You’ll have no choice but to go off with one of your Uncles in Carthage or Egypt.”
Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by darius on Feb 8, 2009, 3:51pm

"I won't take that long pondering," He said, thoughtfully. "I'll go before the week is out." He decided then and there.

"With all respect to my uncles and their service, I wish to serve under Avus Alexander while time permits such an honor to fall to me. There will be plenty of time for Egypt and Carthage, I imagine." And other climes that would always call for Roman discipline. Besides, the safety he sought from political strategics might not be as certain with his uncles as with his Avus. They were more remote to his life, and more caught up with their own allies who may not be his.

"What is my Uncle Quintus like, Avia? Mater tells me he is returned to Rome, and I expect I'll come across him in the near future..." Darius wanted to know what he should expect. Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by augusta on Feb 8, 2009, 8:49pm

“You’d be better off in Egypt or Carthage they’re a great deal like Rome nothing freezes; you don’t spend eight months of the year within five feet of a fire or bundled up in furs.” Augusta laughed. While she was certain her grandson would do just fine in Gaul she had no wish to see him at the front lines, not while she was in the North at least. “I can’t imagian your Mater is quite happy with the thought of you being so far away.”

“Very much like your Mater and Avus; except he’s more ambitious than his father. He butted heads with your Mater from the moment she learned to speak they’re too much alike for their own good.” Augusta adored all her children but Quintus was always destined for trouble he wanted so much power, power he didn’t seem like he needed.
Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by darius on Feb 8, 2009, 9:55pm

"I see." Then his suspicions about his Uncle were apt ones. Good to know. And better still he go to Gaul.

"You really think mother will miss me while I'm gone?" That was strange to think. Not that it was outside the realm of possibility; Only she was so stoic. She had so much control of her emotions that he found it difficult to fathom her being any the worse for his absence. He knew she was fond and proud of him, but her fondness and pride were somewhat dispassionate. Being her son, it was near impossible to read the woman when it pertained to him. Even so, it could be very easy to read her where it pertained to other people.

"I shall miss her." He confessed. In truth, his highest goal was to make her proud and to do, in her name, what Fate had not allowed her to do for herself.Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by augusta on Feb 10, 2009, 11:03pm

“I don’t think she will, I know she will Darius. As many times as your grandfather has told me your mother is nothing more than a feminine version of your Uncle Quitnus; I don’t believe it. She cares for you a great deal, she’s more than he is, she’s more than ice and ambition.” As harsh as it sounded Augusta knew exactly what her son was like. She had every inclination to think he wanted to be emperor. “She’s your mother she’s going to miss you.”

“Look at it this way you’re not going to the other end of the empire like your uncles.”
Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by darius on Feb 10, 2009, 11:19pm

Darius was comforted by this. As hard and strong as he wanted to be perceived, he was still a teenage boy and a large part of who he was derived from a desire to please and impress his mother. He wouldn't say that with words, but every now and then it was apparent from his actions.

"Uncle Quintus is not like Mater?" Given her description of him, Darius hazarded a forthright question. "Do you believe Quintus represents a danger to me, Avia?"Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by augusta on Feb 11, 2009, 6:05pm

“He’s more ambitious than your mother. Deep down the both of them are alike but to the world they’re not. Your mother… she’s,” For once she seemed to be at a loss for words about her children. “She’s not quite as singly driven as he is.”

“Of course not my darling.” Augusta looked toward her grandson quickly. “He wouldn’t dare harm a hair on your head, or order someone to do it. No matter Quintus’ feelings towards you, or your mother, or your stepfather he knows your grandfather and I would have his head in a second if he touched any of you.”
Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by darius on Feb 11, 2009, 7:08pm

"Ah." Well, that was a strangely comforting response. Although it didn't assuage his concern that Quintus might want to kill him, it seemed he would at least be held accountable if he did. That was something.

"Well, I'm glad for that." He said with a nod, and reached up to pluck a fig from the tree beside him. "So many prominent figures in our family, and so many are complete strangers to me... It's strange to know tales of your relations, without properly knowing the relations themselves. I suppose it's worse for peasants. They don't even get the tales." There was no sympathy in the notion, it was simply something that came to his head at the moment. He popped the fig in his mouth.Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by augusta on Feb 11, 2009, 8:03pm

“You know your grandfather would have his head if he came near you, if anyone came near you.” Despite the way Flavius acted he adored all their children, and their grandchildren. “He wouldn’t dare in the first place anyway.”

“Nearly all your uncles were on their own army posts before your mother was of age, I suppose your grandfather and I were asking for it when we had all those babies. The family would never be that close what with all of them running off to their own ends of the empire.” Somehow she could never see any of her children having the big family she and Flavius did. None of them seemed that inclined to children.
Re: Happening upon Augusta.
Post by darius on Feb 11, 2009, 10:26pm

"It does stand to reason." Darius nodded, thoughtfully.

"Well, at any rate, I have a history tutorial with my Greek paedagogue in a few minutes, and I really ought to be going. But it was wonderful running into you, Avia." He stepped over to offer her a kiss on the cheek, and a brief hug.

"Whether or not I travel North with you, I trust I will see you again before you go? Mater is to arrange a going away party for me, and I will be inconsolable if you cannot attend."

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