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During the beginning, Julia/open


Gothic
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(cont from the main thread)

Alaric smiled, he had heard previously that her husband was not welcome, and in fact, the man was blessed by the Gods to still be alive. In Alaric's opinion, many of the people who he believed were also fortunate to remain alive for their previous dealings. He nodded when he was asked about Seia arriving with him.

"She is well, as are my children," He said, then gestured to Alaricus who happily was speaking to one of his friends, and seemed to be distracted by something. Alaric chuckled, then turned back to Julia. She had a long history of blessings and utter misfortune. "What about you? Is your son here?" He asked, the rumours had circled of the soldierly youth who had been returned to the senatore position from slavery. He had yet to meet him and hoped he would have come with his mother to the Imperial banquet. After all, a friendly encounter here could benefit his career.

Alaric never asked about the finances concerning the property. He considered it to be rude, and would frequently 'lose' the coin purse on his way out to ensure the family had plenty to live on. Poverty was unlikely with both Seia's family money, his own, and his income from his source of employment. Alaric remembered his friends, and did his best to take care of them, as he could. Over the years he had lost far too many. His change of employment meant that he was not at the Palatium much anymore. He preferred it this way, although a part of him missed having a sword in his hand. Seia also had a greater preference for him staying safe, as usual, Seia usually got her way.

"Have you been seeing a lot more of your young charges of late?" He asked. The children were all grown now. Some even had children of their own. He knew of them, years ago had saved Tiberius and was unsure if he even remembered him.

Julia Valeria

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"She is well, as are my children, What about you? Is your son here?"

Julia was glad to hear that Seia and his family were doing well. She followed his gesture and noticed his son Alarius talking to a couple of his friends. It truly was wonderful to see the younger generation stepping into their adult years- sometimes moment of awkwardness but overall it seemed that they were having perhaps an easier time than her generation had…Hopefully it would stay that way. At the mention of her son she shrugged her shoulders. “I believe he is coming, but we agreed it was probably best if I came alone in case something held him up. This would be a good opportunity for him to socialize, but my son has taken to his work and no amount of my telling him otherwise will make him change.” Her son certainly took after her in that regard- she had always been one who needed to keep busy but an event like this, in her son’s case, was a perfect place to not only work but also mix and gain support & companionship.

Alaric then went onto ask if she had seen a lot more of her young charges of late. Her young charges? There were times she still thought of them as youngsters, but they were far from it. Flavia, the first of the imperial children she watched over, was married with children of her own. Her gaze travelled up to Claudia who was still engaged in conversation with Antonia. The more Julia saw her the more she saw her mother Lucilla- Claudia would have made her mother very proud. Then there was Tiberius- he was slowly coming into his own as a young man. His issue was he was ‘figuring’ out his place in the hierarchy of the Palace. ”I have to remind myself constantly that they aren’t so young anymore- seeing your son, my son and my young charges reminds me how much time has passed. Especially with Claudia- I have cared for her since she was a baby and it has been amazing watching her grow & change. She is so much like her mother.”

Alaric Aetius Stilicho
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There was a pause as he listened to her respond. He had to lean forward in order to hear her speak, the crowd of people were slowly gathering and the noise level was beginning to increase. His hearing was not as sharp as it used to be many years ago. Alaric nodded, the opportunity for him and he hoped her son would take the time needed to attend. He had seen him from afar yet in all these years. Alaric still had not met him. "Ah, I understand. Work is a harsh Mistress of us all," He answered, the Romans in this area of thought still puzzled him. They were an incredibly industrious people yet they were also prone to excess, decadence, and clearly enjoyed the finer things in life.

Alaric did not know the former Augusta well. Only in passing when he was conducting his duties. If the princess Claudia was living up to the memory of her deceased mother, it was a good thing. "Yes, it does not seem long ago that they were all babes in their mother's arms," He answered, smiled as he reminisced about times long past. Times when the children were able to be children. Soon they would be making their own mark on the world, and hopefully leave it a better place than they found it.

"Do you ever wish you could go back in time?" He asked reflectively. Sipped his wine, over the years he had gotten used to the drink and could tolerate it in small doses. The pair of them had experienced hardship. Alaric was set to die in the arena. Julia was betrayed by a family member, and found herself enslaved. A position a noblewoman should never have experienced. Their fates could have ended vastly different.

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Ah, I understand. Work is a harsh Mistress of us all,"

Wasn’t that the truth. “That she is-regardless of who you are in this life.” Julia knew all too well what it meant to work hard. While she has always been someone who needed to keep busy, there were many different ‘levels’ of busy depending on your social status. As a noblewoman, she would have grown up to become a wife/mother and a firm supporter of whatever her husband did, however she experienced a much different life. Her position was one that no women of her social status would ever dream of experiencing. During her years as a slave she had worked from sunup to sundown and often late into the evening- it was not uncommon for her to be up through the night. Although she had been restored from that life, her need to keep busy had not lessened- she just found more socially acceptable ways to keep busy.

"Do you ever wish you could go back in time?"

Upon hearing his next question it was one that she sort of shrugged her shoulders at. When she had been sold, if someone had asked her at that point if she wished to go back in time she would have absolutely said yes because it was not the life she had expected but things have a way of either working out or at least changing to a spot of security and peace. Now she wasn’t so sure if she would have gone back in time- she knew where her life had arrived and she had a pretty good idea of where it would continue into the future so she was more than content with what life had finally allowed her to have. “That is one of those questions that depends on the circumstances and the timing- you can certainly appreciate that.” Julia knew he had a very similar experience and both of them had managed to wade through the craziness of their lives. “There was definitely a time shortly after I was sold where I would have gladly gone back in time if I knew I could avoid the whole situation, and of course I wish my family was still intact, but if it hadn’t been for what happened to me I wouldn’t be the person I am today….” As her gaze once again drifted up to where Claudia was standing, Julia took a sip of her wine. “Would you?”

Alaric Aetius Stilicho

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Alaric occasionally would dream of what might have been. He dreamed of gaining victory over Rome, succeeding where others had failed and ending the pain for many. Yet his younger children would never have been born. What about his deceased wives? Or his spirited Seia? Would he have ordered or hurt them? He was a different person back then. Wild, reckless, and utterly bold. A hatred of Rome deep in his heart. Now? He had served in the Roman army. He considered Romans to be his brothers. His children and grand-children thought of themselves as Romans.

His past self would have absolutely loathed him. Alaric had been willing to take on Rome -- or die trying. It was knowing that Barbara, his eldest daughter, had been taken alive that had stayed his hand. What would they have done to her all those years ago? Slavery? Death? Only the Gods knew. Before the deal had been made he was going to be trained to fight as a gladiator, a spectacle in the arena for the adoring crowd. His life forever changed when the deal was struck. He was to become a Roman.

Alaric frowned at the question asked in return. His gaze followed Julia's towards her charge, and could not resist a smile. "No, I would not have my children with me. They never would have been born," He paused, smiled and thought some more. "That Alaric has died a long time ago. The pain of the early enslavement, the fear and happiness at being reunited with his daughter, the early unsuitable marriage that hurt him dearly, the loss of his first stillborn son, and ultimately the happiness he had experienced with his wives (the Aetii-Stilichii) who had also adopted him. His children were now from that family.

"It all feels worth it. Despite it all." Alaric admitted after a moment.

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(Livia Lucretina)

The journey was tiring, Lucretina despised leaving Rome for just about anything but for this she would make the exception. Leaving behind her villa and risking the trip to Napals was a little nerve racking, so much so she might have frayed a few hairs. Regardless she had made it, accompanied by her eldest son Aventus. Lucretina as usual was dressed to her best, a soft shade of pink fabric draped over her shoulder, a light flowing fabric that almost seemed ethereal in nature. Her golden curls were tied back with a golden colored band. Curls elegantly placed so it looked both messy and neat at the same time, a feat rather difficult to pull off. She wore a serpentine arm band on her upper arm and a necklace made with carved ivory beads and gold to pull together her outfit for the day. As per usual she was dressed to impress, to shine, and to make Venus herself sigh with envy. If she didn't spend so much time on her appearance what would be the point of coming at all?

Walking through groups of familiar faced Lucretina smiled and gave small polite conversations until someone no longer interested her. Aventus with his dark locks trailed behind her trying to appear as though he belonged here but it seemed the boy was reeling in a never ending lesson his mother had set up. Indeed she was, he was her eldest and without their father he was expected to start positioning himself in society. Learning the subtle art of socializing with others, gaining favors, and more importantly stepping up as a man. Something the still small boy seemed to struggle with. Even now his white tunic looked so big on him over his small petite frame, one he had inherited from his mother. Despite his desire to be a a grand war general he seemed better suited for playing a hand in political affairs as his father had, if only he would use half the smarts he had gotten rather than assume a sword solved every problem.

"Aventus, weather you want to be here or not try to seem at least presentable. Straighten up and stop slouching, you look like a slave." She scolded the boy through a charming smile, something his mother seemed to have mastered. Shifting a little he tried to stiffen up his back more like her and held his head a little higher. For the son of Aventus Decimus Quintillius the boy could be very uncertain of himself. It didn't help that everyone knew his mother and had to pull her aside for a conversation or compliment on how lovely she looked. Not everyone liked her of course but they still had to be polite since no one could throw a compliment and insult rolled up in one and intended to cut the ego like a knife to belly. He sighed and rolled his eyes again as another woman approached her, holding another pleasant conversation behind fangs.

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Life had been cruel to both of them- different situations but still cruel. Time had restored her and brought Alaric to what seemed like a peaceful place. She noticed the frown when he returned the question he had originally asked but noted that he then went on to make his answer. "No, I would not have my children with me. They never would have been born," That was true in her situation as well but again for different reasons. She would have still had children it just wouldn’t be the son she had now and probably not the step children she had either. “It all feels worth it despite it all”

She understood completely and gave a nod of her head. Julia finished the goblet of wine she had in her hand and placed it on the tray of a slave who came by. She would take another in a bit but was never one to indulge so it was better to spread it out. Her gaze passed over the crowd again. She did see a few that she knew and made a note to say hello to them by the end of the evening. Julia turned her focus back to Alaric but didn’t know what to say.

Alaric Aetius Stilicho

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Alaric glanced in the direction of what he assumed to be a Senator's wife or some other polished lady. Her son would likely be expected to meet with men who could later help their careers. Unfortunately, it was not the best conversation to get involved in between the pair of them. Julia did not answer him. He had heard many mothers bark or hiss demands from their children in order to attempt to be better versions of themselves. Alaricus and Seia were off speaking together to some of their family friends in the distance. It could not hurt for him to try to make an attempt to get to know the boy.

He glanced towards Julia and silently hoped that she would join him. If not, he was perfectly content to speak to her alone. "Salve Domina," He spoke, his Latin was fluent yet every so often his accent could be heard. It marked him as a foreigner or possibly a provincial. Even as an Equite, and many years serving Rome there were those who still considered him to be an outsider.

"Your son looks as though he is going to be quite the soldier," Alaric said, winked down at the boy, and hoped it would be taken positively. It was now he remembered why he kept the conversations and social graces to his spouse. What in the name of the Gods was he supposed to talk about now? Her fine clothes? A servant walked past and carried a tray of goblets filled with wine. He hated wine, yet, it served as the perfect cover for him at the moment. He lifted a goblet and sipped. It was of the highest quality.

Yet he hated it and tried to keep a straight face as he waited.

Livia Lucretina Julia Valeria

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The conversation between Julia and Alaric seemed to have stalled, but that didn’t bother her. She was very comfortable with breaks in conversation. As the event went on the noise in the room ramped up with each passing minute. She heard bits and pieces of various conversations, but she was not deliberately eavesdropping. A woman a short distance away from them, admonishing her son, caught Alaric’s attention and took a few steps closer to her and caught the woman’s attention with a simple greeting and then a comment on his son and how he looked like he was going to be quite the soldier. Julia didn’t know whether to join them or move on to another conversation- she didn’t want the woman to assume that she was Alaric’s wife but if that came up she would clarify. Julia joined the pair with a smile. “Salve”

Livia Lucretina Alaric Aetius Stilicho

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