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MEET MY CRAZY FAMILY, DECIMUS/OPEN


Gothic
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A day after our previous thread.

It may have been a tad overbearing. Yet, he remembered what it was like to feel that he had no friends in Rome. Admittedly, Decimus was not going to be killed in the Harena in a gladiatorial combat as a prisoner of war. Still, it did not hurt to be polite. Food had been prepared for the occasion. Naturally, Alaricus was asking a million questions about their guest, and wanted to know everything about him. There was always a chance that the rest of the family would come by, and in a way, Alaric was counting on it. 

The hour soon approached and his guest would be arriving soon. Food and drink had been prepared, all that was needed now was for Decimus to arrive. 

Alaricus was roaring to himself and swinging the wooden sword around. Fortunately, none of the lamps were lit. Naturally, he accidently hit one. "Alaricus! Behave, take your wooden sword and play outside," Alaric said. His son nodded, grinned cheekily and hurried out. Alaric watched him and wondered where he got his energy from, and how much like him his eldest son was like him during his youth. He smiled, happy at the memory and at the present. He noticed someone standing in his peripheral vision. He saw Frontus. 

"Dominus, there is a man called Decimus Rutilius Atellus here to see you. I told him to wait in the Atrium for you," Frontus said, waited for a nod from Alaric and went outside again to tend to the horses, and to play with wooden swords with Alaricus. 

Alaric walked into the atrium and extended his hand to Decimus. "Welcome, welcome, I hope it was no trouble finding the place?"

Decimus Rutilius Atellus

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At first, it had been somewhat of a challenge to navigate the seemingly endless, winding, paths of the city. Of course, he had not expected it to be an easy trip which was partially the reason that he had left much earlier than one might think was necessary to walk to another quarter of the city. He had passed through alleyways laden with the foot traffic of beast and men, though they seemed to act the same in their mannerisms when brushing by him. Rome was something of a battlefield itself! The perfect way to describe the entire city seemed to operate on a level of organized chaos the likes of which he'd never seen before, save for the earlier campaigns perhaps. Even still, he'd be lying if he said that he hated it. Decimus thrived in the utter chaos that the condensed streets and throngs of people worked to create. At every turn he found himself stopping for a few moments to look at some strange oddity from one of the many provinces that he'd heard of only in scrolls and by word of mouth. 

More than once he'd stopped to ask a vendor where such and such landmark was, that he might find his direction with yet another piece of the daunting puzzle. It was in this way that he'd come to own a set of wooden dice. They'd been worth it at the very least, the vendor had finally put him on the right track. It had helped, too, that he'd remembered what color door Stilicho had specified. Once he'd penetrated deep enough into the neighborhood that he'd been told to venture to, the name of his friend seemed to be very well known, indeed. Before too long he'd sighted the man, known as Frontus, and approached with great joy. At least now he'd have good company! 

He'd come in one of the finer tunicas that he'd come to own after a short time in Gesoriacum before he'd begun his journey south. It was warm enough to keep himself comfortable in the colder days of the Mediterranean winters, but not overwhelmingly so. A fine pattern of deep brown stitching gave shape to the otherwise unmarked cloth which held a deep green hue. It reminded him of the forests of the north, holding their colors even through the bitterest of winters. Those trees had made up the ceiling of his world for many a night, it only seemed right that he remember them in some small way.
He couldn't dwell on them for too long, however, as he was soon greeted by the friendly grip of his host. 

"Salve, friend! I enjoyed the walk, no trouble at all. I hope I am not too late?" 

The smell of the meal was heavenly, and there was little he would enjoy more than simply finding his place and tucking in, but he would be more than happy to introduce himself to the man's family before anything like that should commence.

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"Not at all! Come, eat with us. The rest of the family will likely be along soon," He greeted, a handshake offered. Should Decimus take his hand, he would find the grip to be strong and he led Decimus into the home. His home had been decorated by Seia, in Alaric's opinion, it was utterly beautiful and a comfortable home. The Triclinium. While the chaise  of the wealthy were there to seat on. Alaric had never gotten used to it, it felt unnatural to have his stomach twisted and he preferred to sit upright. Therefore a table was also there with a chairs surrounding it to sit on, the chaises were available for Seia, his children or guests who preferred to recline like that. 

"Come, make yourself at home and relax!" He invited, took a seat on one of the chairs and gestured for Decimus to sit with him. In the distance, the tapping of a wooden sword against the furniture could be heard and Crispina telling the young Dominus to behave. Alaricus, Alaric's son and a mini-version of his father walked into the room with a bright grin. Then looked at Decimus in confusion, "Ave," he said and came to stand by his father. 

"Decimus, I'd like to introduce you to Alaricus, he is my son and hopes to be a soldier someday," He introduced him, and without looking he reached out and reached for the wooden sword as Alaricus began to play with it again to prevent it from accidentally hitting his head. Alaric glanced up at his son in a silent, parental warning for him to stop. His son needed to learn decorum, there would be plenty of time for him to play in the legions and smiled. "Alaricus, Decimus is a praetorian guard and will be working with Marcus," He said, children needed things explained to them. 

He wondered when the rest of the clan would soon join them. 

@Sains @Renna @Jenn @Indy

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Barbara had received word from her father of a dinner invitation. Alaric had invited one of the younger Praetorian guards who would be working alongside her husband Marcus, and he was requesting that she and Marcus join them for dinner. After clearing it with her husband, to make sure he was going to be free as she would go either way, she had sent a note back stating they would be there. The evening of the dinner arrived, and Barbara was looking forward to an evening of adult conversation, although the children had technically been invited as well. She was dressed in a dark green stola with her hair braided up into a knot of curls. She had told her son to make sure he was dressed in his best tunic and had done the same with Aelia, but also made sure there was more relaxing clothing brought if they got ‘bored’ and she needed to take them from the room- which she wouldn’t hesitate to do if they got out of control.

 

Barbara, Marcus and their children arrived at the Domus and were informed that their guest had already arrived. “Thank you.” She knelt to her daughter- it was always better to look the young girl in the eyes when something needed to be explained. “Be on your best behaviour for Mater.” She wasn’t too worried about her son- he was ‘old’ enough to know what was expected of him. Aelia nodded her head and took her mother’s hand. Barbara moved from the Atrium into the Triclinum and saw her father along with her brother Alaricus and their guest. “Salve”

@Gothic@Renna@Sains@Indy

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Decimus would indeed grasp his friend's hand, all too glad to enjoy the comfort of a firm handshake after braving the maze. The home was lovely, clearly furnished by a talented eye and a good bit of coin. It was in these moments that Decimus often found himself imagining what his own home would be like, whenever he finally got around to spending the lump sum he'd been saving up, that was. To see what Alaric had built for himself in this city gave him hope for the future, and with a grateful smile, he took his seat near his friend. 

Decimus followed the sounds of the tapping as best he could as well, soon laying eyes upon the boy that was responsible with a smile and a nod to acknowledge his greeting. 

"Salve, young legatus!"

The resemblance between the lad and his father was unmistakable and although he was but a boy, it was clear that he might soon grow to be a militant young man before too long. Gods knew that the Empire would find a use for him. Listening to Alaric's introduction of the boy, he nodded once more as his thoughts had been confirmed.

"Well, he'll be a regular terror on the battlefield before too long, I'm sure."

The introduction that Alaric now gave to his son concerning Decimus only served to swell the young guardsman's head. How impressive his new title sounded, even to him! Praetorian Guardsman... He still found it shocking, how far he'd come. The sentiment would wait, however, and Decimus gave a short bow of his head as the young woman entered the room and greeted him.

"Salve, Miss. A pleasure to make your acquaintance."

 

@Gothic @Jenn

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Seia hadn’t exactly wanted to entertain a guest, but it had nothing to do with the guest himself and everything to do with the rough start Alaric’s baby was having in life. The pregnancy was new, her belly only just rounding out, but the fatigue and illness so far had been far worse than it ever had with Imperia. Seia was proud that her husband was so welcoming to those new to Rome, so generous with his friendship and help, and it annoyed her that she would, most likely, be stuck in their room trying to gather the energy to greet Alaric’s new friend until well after everyone else had arrived. She liked using herself to show off for him - look at me, look at the kind of woman he deserves to have - and a late hostess did not serve this purpose well. 

Imperia was being sweet, though, patting rosewater onto her mother’s face with a tenderness that went straight to Seia’s heart. She was such a good girl. “Thank you, dear.” 

Seia pushed herself off the stool with a few breath and a little shake of her head. “I’m all right now, thanks to you. Let’s go meet your father’s new friend, yes?”

She took Imperia’s hand in her own, giving it a squeeze as they went together to the Triclinium. Seia was dismayed to see that her fear really had become real-Barbara had even beat her there, and she’d needed to travel!- but she put on her brightest smile anyway and entered with a joke. “This has to be a girl, Alaric, soldiers are supposed to be on time and this baby is always making me late.” 

She bent to peck her husband’s cheek, then turned her smile to Decimus. “You must be Decimus. Welcome, dominos, we’re so glad you were able to come.” 

He hadn’t been given wine yet, and Seia was quick to pour some. “I’m Seia, this is my daughter Imperia...” 

Imperia moved like a ghost, stepping half behind her mother, shy in strange company, but she too offered a smile, “And I hope my tardiness will be forgotten after enough of some truly excellent wine. Welcome.”

She wanted to go see her grandchildren, spoiling them with her attention, but the rule was that guests came first so she only allowed herself to flash Barbara a swift, rueful little smile. 

 

 

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Alaric smiled, it was good to have them all together and gave Decimus a supportive look. It was bound to get chaotic. He gestured for Barbara and Aelia to come to sit with them in order to join them. Alaricus looked at his sister and waved before being distracted by Decimus' friendly greeting. Alaricus puffed out his chest, a wide and happy grin on his face. Clearly the boy hoped that one day he would be in the army, and Alaric was torn between being proud of him and dreading his son's idealism about military life being tarnished. 

"Damn right I will be," He said, still looked at his wooden sword and sat beside his father, after giving his sister and nephew a hug and a kiss on the cheek. 

Alaric turned and smiled as his beautiful and heavily pregnant wife entered the room. He chuckled and shook his head in amusement. He had been shopping with Seia and Imperia enough times to know that it was true. Money wise, Seia could have received vendors coming to her home although there was a charm to the market. He turned his head and placed a kiss on Seia's soft cheek. Alaricus was already standing as he walked to find another chair for his step-mother. There were the reclining sofas typically used by the aristocracy yet all the focus at the moment was on the spartan chairs in the corner of the room. 

"Decimus is going to be working with Marcus," He explained, it would mean that he would spend a lot of time with the family and being a stranger in Rome was never good. "Therefore it is likely we will be seeing more of him," Alaric added, sipped his drink and watched while Seia poured wine. Crispina, the older slave stood behind with Tertia and brought the family food and wine. 

"Domina, please sit. I will do this," Crispina said. 

@Renna @Sains @Echo @Jenn @Indy

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It was always exciting to have a new guest visit the home. Tertia found the flurry of the household staff's activity to be stimulating and engaging and she loved the opportunity to help her domina get ready for the visit. After that work was finished, she hurried along to help ensure the rest of the preparations were on track. The food smelled amazing as usual. The family Tertia served always hired the best cooks in Rome. Soon enough, the guest had arrived and Tertia followed Crispina, an older slave, to the triclinium, bearing a platter of delicious-looking food. 

Overhearing the conversation, she deduced that the visitor was in the military. She stood behind Crispina as she poured wine and dutifully kept her head bowed, ready to offer food to anyone who wished for it. 

@Renna @Sains @Jenn @Indy @Gothic

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Seeing the gesture from her father they entered the room with her holding a firm but gentle grip on Aelia’s hand. Aelia save Alaricus’ wave towards them and gave a way back.  So far so good…Barbara was prepared to send her children from the room if they got bored but at the same time it was good to expose them to social situations. “Salve Miss. A pleasure to make your acquaintance.” She watched with amusement as her brother puffed out his chest and very firmly said ‘Damn right I will be’. Barbara had long ago suspected that her brother would follow their father into the military lifestyle. “Thank you for the invitation father. Decimus, it is a pleasure to meet you. I am Barbara, my husband Marcus as well as my daughter Aelia and my son Marcus Minor.” Having spent many years functioning as the Domina of the household it felt very natural for her to be welcoming him but at the same time she wondered where Seia was. She hoped she was doing alright.

The answer to that question was quickly answered as her step-mother, who was heavily pregnant at this point entered the room with Imperia following cautiously behind her. Her brother immediately set about getting a chair for Seia while she made excuses for being late- said the baby must have been a girl as soldiers were supposed to be on time…and she was late for everything. Barbara couldn’t help but give a little chuckle. Seia immediately set about making sure their guest had a glass of wine. Crispina one of their household slaves stepped in and offered to do the serving so Seia good sit. Barbara had both her children sit down and then sat down next to Aelia when the other adults did. “Decimus is going to be working with Marcus, Therefore it is likely we will be seeing more of him,"

@Gothic @Sains @Renna @Indy @Echo

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Bustling with importance, Alaricus actually put down his wooden sword and got a chair for his step-mother who, he'd had it explained, was pregnant with his youngest sibling. His father was forever trying to impress upon him the importance of good behaviour and he wanted to make a good impression on Decimus; the man was a Praetorian Guard, and had called him Legatus!

They were a big family, and due to grow, and Alaricus grinned at his step sister as she half-hid behind her mother shyly. "Imperia, come sit by me." He said quietly, once Seia was comfortably seated and the household slaves had taken over the pouring of the wine. His stepmother was the kind to welcome everyone and ensure they were comfortable - she'd certainly made their home comfortable - but he was learning that part of a man's role was to look after the women in his life, especially when they were carrying.

Alaricus cast about and surreptitiously retrieved his wooden sword whilst the adults were talking, before returning to his own seat next to his father and listening with interest. Decimus was going to be working with Marcus, Barbara's husband, and anything military immediately had Alaricus's full attention.

@Renna @Sains @Echo @Jenn @Indy @Gothic

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Decimus laughed and nodded at the boy, sounding so sure of himself with that wooden blade held tight. He certainly had some fire in him, and it was no wonder where he'd gotten it from. Soldier's blood ran deep, and although he was only clad in cloth, Decimus could nearly see the lorica being draped over his frame. He wondered where the boy might finally end up when he joined up; perhaps somewhere where combat was light. He knew how much it had pained his father when he'd been assigned to Britannia, and he could imagine Alaric's own thoughts about his son possibly being thrown right into the thick of it on the frontier. Hopefully, there wouldn't be much to worry about. As things stood, peace was in the air, and conflict in the Empire was at a healthy minimum. If all luck held, the boy would be in for a peaceful ascension through the ranks. 

He was also sure to give a friendly nod to Marcus who stuck close to Barbara as any man of honor might. He looked seasoned and strong, certainly a man worthy of the guard and a fine potential ally on the hill. 

"Wonderful to meet you all, I expect we'll be seeing much more of each other."

Though the faces appeared rapidly, both adult and child, Decimus kept his head and looked quite calm sitting there next to his friend. It was a wonder to him that the man's family could be so large! Perhaps it was a greater wonder that the room hadn't devolved into pure chaos with all the young faces milling about. His own family was comparatively small and the only experience that seemed to come close to this was when the local vineyard owners would all come together for a mid-summer meal every year.  

And another one on the way! He inclined his head politely once Alaric's wife had entered, laden with child and with yet another skirting around the hem of her dress. She moved as if she may be afraid, but he knew that must only mean she was a shy one. 

"Salve, Domina! Juno keep you, you are clearly favored by her."

He nearly stood to get his own wine as he saw her begin to pour, not wanting to cause her any bother especially in her more delicate state, though he quickly sat down again once a slave had taken over the duty. Thank the gods for them, he could only imagine how quickly the duties of a house would overwhelm an unaided mother, let alone a pregnant one. He took a cup from a slave as she passed, taking a sip to wet his throat. It was good! Damned good. He'd have to make a note to ask Alaric where he'd bought it, for he couldn't quite place the region.

 

 

@Sarah @Renna @Echo @Gothic @Indy @Jenn

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"Ah, thank you, Alaricus, Crispina." Seia lowered herself, giving them both a smile. "You take such good care of me." It was true for both of them. Seia was ostensibly the mistress of the house, but Crispina was the motherly figure that the wise listened to when she began to boss. Seia herself was not always wise, more of a bulldog that dug into the ground and held on when she was sure it was the right thing to do, but in matters of health and hearth? She deferred to the slave. 

Imperia was quick to accept her stepbrother's offer to sit with him, hurrying to the open place and sitting down with another bashful look to their guest before tucking herself closer to Alaricus, with his confidence. It was safer here, he liked conversing with strangers and could do most of the talking if she didn't know what to say. 

The lady of the house watched to see that her daughter was safely settled down, then smiled to Decimus. "Thank you, dominus." Seia's hand moved to rest on her belly, as it did so often these days. She still wasn't sure what to make of the gods, but if there was a Juno, it seemed that she did in fact favor one Seia Imperia. Which was only right, after all, considering the hell she'd endured for the sake of her first husband. "Tell me, how long have you been in Rome now? Are you learning your way all right? The city is so huge compared to the colonies...my mother and I lived in Greece, when I was a girl, I still remember the first time I saw the city coming back. It made me dizzy." 

@Sains @Gothic @Echo @Indy @Jenn

Edited by Renna
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He glanced towards Tertia and gave her a reassuring smile that she was doing a good job.

"Anytime, Barbara.. you all know that you are all welcome here, anytime." He said, like a fussy parent as everyone took their places at the table. 

Alaric smiled at Alaricus' invite for Imperia to come and sit by him, it was welcoming for her to do so and he was pleased they got along. His hand went out to rest gently on Seia's arm briefly, a warm and affectionate gesture of the love between the pair of them. Soon a child would follow, and their family would grow yet again. Another addition to the soon growing family and smiled as Decimus stood up again for his wife. Instantly he approved of the respectful gesture and began to eat, no doubt Seia would near enough interrogate him. The family had always loved stories and hearing about other people's lives. Decimus seemed to be unofficially adopted into the clan. 

Alaric ate and then offered the children some of the dried fruits out of a wooden bowl then waited for them to take some. 

Behind them, Crispina gestured to Tertia to assist in lifting up the new platters of food that would be brought out. Later the family slaves would eat the remnants and that was the way it had been for some time. The platters had meats, roasted doormice, and a variety of other foods for the celebrations. 

@Renna @Sains @Echo @Indy @Jenn

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