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Barbara Stilicha

Meet your new stepmother- January 67AD (Alaric, Seia)

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“Go to sleep my little one” Marcus was not having any of it. Luckily Barbara didn’t have anything she needed to get done, so she found herself walking the corridors of the domus with her son bundled in her arms. Her husband was working and the slaves were going about their chores. One of their slaves approached from the end of the corridor but was hesitant to speak in case the young child was sleeping. Barbara gave her shake of her head. “It’s okay- he is wide awake at the moment. What is it you need to tell me?” He went on to tell her that there was a message from her father- he was requesting her presence at the family Domus. “Thank you. I shall take Marcus Minor with me. When my husband comes home, if I’m not back yet let him know where I am.” He nodded and went back to what he had been doing previously. “Looks like you get to go see Grandpa.” After making sure they were both appropriate, she left the Domus and made for her father’s home.

 

Barbara arrived at the home of her father and the door was opened by one of their household slaves. She removed her warm wrap. ”Is my father here? He requested that I come.” He shook his head. “No Domina, he has not arrived yet, but word was sent that he was asking for you and your brother to gather in the main room.” Barbara nodded her head and followed him into the main room with her son still in her arms- he wasn’t asleep, but at least he was quiet. Her brother Alaricus was already waiting. She gave him a hug and sat down next to him. “Do you have any idea what this is about?” Alaricus shook his head no.

 

(timeline check- Marcus Minor is about a year at this point, so she was married/son was born prior to Alaric’s marriage. I was trying to find exactly when they started showing interest in each other and it seemed to be just after the civil war? So this thread is just making it 'official')

@Gothic @Renna @Indy (Indy- if you want to bring Marcus into the thread up to you)

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Seia was in Alaric's room - her room, soon, and nervously checking her hair and makeup in the hand mirror. She didn't want to look too glamorous, or intimidating; she was so happy to think of this second marriage, but she couldn't forget how badly it had gone when she'd first met Titus' family. Time had cured that, eventually, but it had required Titus' death to do so, and imagining that she might face the same with Barbara, and Alaricus, made her cringe. Barbara was only a little younger than herself, as Nefertiti and Irisi had been, but if she should be upset by this, it would hurt worse. Seia was....invested, in Barbara, that was the only way to explain it. She knew what Alaric had done for her, she knew how deeply her love loved his daughter. She wanted it to go well. This was why her hair was left down, simply styled, her makeup was plain, her jewelry was dainty. She didn't want to come swanning in and -- 

"Oh, I hope this goes well." She couldn't help fussing out loud. Imperia was sitting on the bed, impatiently swinging her legs. SHE'd been delighted to hear about all of this, which wasn't a surprise because she'd followed Alaric around like an awestruck duckling even before a marriage was on the table. "Mater pretty!" 

Imperia hopped down and ran over to throw herself at her mother's legs, grinning up at Seia with Titus's hazel eyes and making the woman laugh and her heart seize all at the same time. "Thank you. So are you." Seia lifted her daughter in her arms, holding her to her breast and giving the girl a kiss. "And very sneaky, too, you knew that would make me laugh." 

Imperia just grinned and shook her head 'no', feigning innocence very unconvincingly. 

"You are an imp," Seia told her. "I'm not sure I have a daughter, maybe the gods gave me a monkey instead? Are you a monkey?" 

"Nooooooo" Imperia wiggled out of Seia's embrace like lightning, scaling down her Mater in a way very much like a monkey despite her protest, and Seia rolled her eyes. "Uh-huh. Not convinced." 

She caught the girl, straightening her hair and clothing with practiced swiftness, and crouched down to look at her face. "Remember, they might not be sure that they like the idea of having a little sister, so we need to be patient, okay? They might not want to play with you right off." 

Imperia stared at her, as if not believing that anybody would ever not want to play with her, but instead of answering she was distracted by Alaric's entry and hurtled at him, slamming into his leg as she had her mother's and wrapping her arms around it to try to take a ride on his foot, giggling the whole time. "Pater!" 

Seia gave her daughter a quick glance, surprised and a little stung that the title came so easily from the girl's mouth when she already -had- a Pater, but of course...what could Imperia remember of him? Her mother's stories, that was all, the touches to her cheek from the necklace that was "Pater", had been all these years. Alaric was solid, and the child was still only just out of babyhood, it shouldn't be surprising that the solid, living man would be the one Imperia saw as Pater. All the same, it hurt a little. But Seia brushed it off with a quick shake of her head, telling Alaric quietly, "She's excited." 

@Gothic @Jenn

 

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The day had finally arrived. While he knew that Barbara and Alaricus were both knew Seia already, and from what he saw, they both liked her and enjoyed her company. However, how would they react to knowing that she would become his wife? Both of them had lost their mothers over the years. Alaric stood quietly and listened to the conversation as it took place between Imperia and her mother, Seia. The woman who was to be his wife. He watched the banter between them for some time, smiled and felt happy. It was always a blessing to have children in the home, and slowly but surely he was becoming closer to Imperia. Already Alaric thought of her as a daughter.  Idly Alaric leaned by the door frame of the room, his arms casually folded and waited for them to finish. 

Briefly, he felt guilty about not giving Barbara the childhood he initially wished. How many strangers spent time with her? 

Alaric entered the room and smiled, the child wrapped her arms around his leg and giggled as she clung on for dear life. Alaric's pace was slowed with the additional weight. He smiled down at her, one of the rare smiles he reserved for close friends and family. "Hmm... I'm not sure why I have slowed down all of a sudden," He mused, rubbed his hand on his chin and smiled. Being called Pater was natural, normal even, briefly he did not think about how it would hurt Seia. He bent down and took Imperia into his arms and held her. Like a small child she began to touch his cheeks and he playfully pretended to nibble on her fingertips. 

"I can tell," He said, walked towards Seia and put his arm around her waist. Alaric drew her closer, placed a loving kiss first on her forehead and then on her lips. Alaric was excited, and a tad nervous. 

"And you? I hope you're - "

Outside the room there was a crash. Alaricus had been distracted by his wooden sword and accidentally knocked over a chair. His son's light-hearted excuses could be heard in the distance, along with asking Barbara to cover for him.  Alaric sighed, shook his head and gave Seia a squeeze. "Come, let's go and ensure that Alaricus doesn't break something,"

@Renna @Jenn

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Imperia's giggles relaxed her mother, along with the sweet kiss, and then the distant crash made her laugh out loud. "I love that boy," she told Alaric. "He makes me smile." 

She moved into the circle of his arm, accepting the squeeze, then strode out to the main room, letting Alaric follow behind with Imperia still in his arms. Seia didn't say anything to Alaric's other children at first, just giving them a shy smile, but she went over to the unfortunate chair and set it upright without comment. Only then did she greet the others. "Salve, Barbara, Alaricus. It seems we're just in time to keep the domus from being torn to pieces." 

But the comment wasn't scolding - even if Seia had tried to be stern, it wouldn't have been very convincing given the size of her grin. 

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While waiting for her father Barbara sat herself down on one of the chaise lounges with her son Marcus in her arms. Little did she know but her father was already in the domus, he was just in his chambers. Tucking her feet up underneath her she began to rock Marcus without even realizing it. Her brother began to get impatient waiting for their father to appear and stood some distance away swinging his wooden sword. Her brother was constantly waving that thing around- he would mostly likely end up following their father into military service. Barbara was watching her brother out of the corner of her eye when his sword connected with a chair that toppled to the ground with a bang. She felt her son’s reaction to the sound before she heard the cry that came from the little tiny boy in her arms. Barbara shifted her son’s weight from her arms to up to her shoulder. “It’s alright Marcus, it was just a loud noise-just your uncle being silly”. She patted him gently on the back to soothe him back down.

 

As soon as the chair toppled her brother dropped the sword sheepishly down to his side. He came to her side. “Barbara will you cover for me? You won’t tell Pater on me will you?” She looked at her brother with a strange look. What exactly was she supposed to say to their father if he got word. As his elder sister, there was nothing she wouldn’t do for her younger brother whom she had basically raised from babyhood, however it was clear knowledge in the Domus that Alaricus often swung his toy sword around and was forever knocking things over. Before she could answer him, in walked Seia with her father and Imperia behind him.

 

Barbara looked in the direction of her father, Seia and Imperia and was about to greet all three, when Seia crossed the room. She gave Barbara and Alaricus a quick smile but without saying anything else she the chair upright then turned her attention to the two of them. "Salve, Barbara, Alaricus. It seems we're just in time to keep the domus from being torn to pieces." Barbara gave her brother a look that said put that sword away and be on your best behaviour. She did note however that Seia was grinning so they were likely escaping trouble at this point. Barbara stood up from the chaise and took a place next to her brother. “Salve Seia- it is wonderful to see you. You too Imperia.”

@Gothic @Renna

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Alaricus pouted at the look Barbara gave him, knowing that it meant she wasn't going to lay the blame for the chair on some stray breeze or mischievious spirit if asked. She'd been his mother figure for his earliest years, which didn't make her the best co-conspiritor; now she had a husband and a baby to look after of her own. But any resentment immediately fled from his thoughts as their father entered, carrying the girl Imperia, who was only a year younger than him, and accompanied by Seia, who had become a regular feature in their family's life. The young boy immediately sprang to what he obviously thought was attention, and held the wooden sword behind his back, as though that might fool the adults.

That didn't stop him from blushing scarlet as Seia righted the chair he'd knocked over. He hadn't meant to, it had just, well, been in the way. He would have sworn it hadn't been that close before. She didn't look cross though, in fact both of them were smiling, so his embarrassed expression lasted only a moment. "Salve Seia, Salve Imperia." He grinned at the little girl.

@Gothic@Renna@Jenn

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Alaric smiled, his children loved her, too. The Gods had been kind to him. When his arm had been offered he led Seia into the room where his children were waiting for them. He smiled at Barbara and Marcus then gave Alaricus a look to remind him to behave, although he could not help but feel the dimple twitch at his son's antics and he was reminded of himself. Alaric sat beside Seia, he reached over to take her hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze of encouragement. Barbara had seen him many other women and Alaricus, he never knew his birth-mother from her dying during childbirth and Seia was regularly around him. Imperia was on Seia's lap. It all felt so natural for all of them. 

He took a deep breath and began, "As the three of you know," He began, then smiled and addressed Marcus, "you too," and continued, "Seia and I have been spending a lot of time together. We have found that we get along and enjoy each other's company. It is our intention to marry and for her to live here with us." Alaric said, it was happening regardless of how the children felt about the relationship and at the same time he hoped that they would all be excited about their news.

They would need to have an official ceremony. 

And he hoped the Gods would smile down on their union. 

@Renna @Jenn @Sarah

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When her father entered the room with Seia on his arm, Barbara had stood and taken her place next to her brother. She shifted the weight of her one year old son in her arms so he was sitting nestled on her left hip while her brother snapped to what he thought was attention. Even after the look she had given him to put the sword away, she noted with a slight amusement that he still held it but at least he tucked it away behind him. After her father sat with Seia next to him, and Imperia on her lap, Barbara took a seat as well. Once the family was comfortable her father took a deep breath and began talking. “As the three of you know” She assumed he was referring to her, Alaricus and Imperia you too” Barbara couldn’t help but smile as he then appeared to address her son as he was the only other person in the room beside Seia. “Seia and I have been spending a lot of time together. We have found that we get along and enjoy each other's company. It is our intention to marry and for her to live here with us."

Barbara had certainly noticed how close her father and Seia had become. “Pater, this is wonderful news. Seia, Imperia welcome to the family.” To her it was wonderful news, and she could only hope her brother felt the same way. For Barbara it was not a new experience to get a ‘new’ stepmother as her father had been married a few times, however Barbara felt a close kinship with Seia. Seia had been the person she turned to when she first suspected she was pregnant with her son. Most women turned to their mothers but that wasn’t something she had been able to do so Seia, as someone who was a mother herself, became the role model for Barbara even though they were so close in age.

@Gothic @Renna @Sarah

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Seia blushed like a child. She couldn't help it. "Thank you." 

She squeezed Alaric's fingers, tightly, treasuring that she could take his hand this way, whenever she liked. "I love your father very much," the woman told Barbara frankly, then looked to Alaricus, so similar to his father. "And both of you. I'm always so happy in your company, in this house, and I know how precious you both are to him. I'm honored that he trusts me to help care for you. I..." She couldn't speak for a moment, then finished simply. "I'm just so happy. Thank you for welcoming me." 

It was so different than how Titus' family had 'welcomed' her, and filled her completely. Imperia wiggled on her lap, and announced, "We can play all the time now!" Seia's daughter broke free of her arms and rushed to Alaricus, tugging at his arm. "We can play swords. You can show me." 

This made her mother laugh. "Outside," she chided. "We don't want to break everything in the domus." 

 

@Gothic @Jenn @Sarah

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She watched as Seia took her father’s hand and gave it a squeeze. Barbara was thrilled to see her father happy- not that he had been miserable exactly, but life had been full of ups and downs. He deserved to be happy. Seia went on to say that she loved their father very much as well as her and Alaricus. It was a little weird to hear her say that they were precious to him, and that she was honoured he trusted her to look after them. Barbara, being only a few years younger than Seia didn’t exactly need a ‘mother’ anymore, but at the same time it was wonderful to have a ‘friend’ who was experiencing similar things to her- mostly motherhood.

 

Barbara shifted her son’s weight in her arm as Imperia wiggled off her mother’s lap announced that they could play all the time now. It was going to be so much fun to have a sister, even if that sister was closer in age to her brother than her. Imperia ran to Alaricus saying they could play swords. Great that was the last thing they needed- more swords being bandied about. Her and Seia must have thought the same thing as Seia immediately piped in with directions to keep the activity outside so as not to break everything in the domus. “Imperia, remind me to see if some of my old toys are still around here. It is wonderful to have a little sister to pass them on to.”

@Gothic @Renna @Sarah

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