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First Responsibilities [Cynane]


Echo
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April, 72 CE

 

Gaius shifted his weight uncomfortably, readjusting his hand on the hilt of his gladius. Tonight was his first assignment as a praetorian and while his training had left him very prepared for any sort of surprise, it was a different sort of tension than what he had felt on the battlefield in Britannia. This room was filled with powerful men and women in colorful garbs, grasping glasses of wine and laughing and conversing animatedly. Gaius almost felt he would prefer the sight of a hundred blue-faced Britons grasping swords and running toward him screaming their war calls. At least he could understand the threat there. Here, the threat could come from anywhere, and it was making the man fidgety and anxious. The familiar weight of his sword on his left and his pugio on his right helped him to feel better, though, and he kept a firm grasp on the gladius as his brown eyes scanned the room, training himself to look for suspicious activity or sudden movement, especially to members of the imperial family. 

 

The man's anxiety also prevented him from keeping his feet still, so he resorted to pacing slowly around the room to keep a fresh set of eyes on the population. As he walked, he noticed a strange sight: a woman not clothed in a chiton, but rather in breeches. He furrowed his brow in curiosity. Without realizing it, he began walking toward the woman, curious to see what she was doing there and half-wondering whether she was some rogue Briton here to murder the members of Rome's imperial class. 

 

@Atrice

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Cynane had not been with Claudia Caesaris long, when she was informed there was going to be a social event – a party of sorts – for the upper class and that many nobles were invited here. Some she'd seen before, some she'd known better than she'd like, but she said nothing. She was going to be present to watch over her mistress along with other guards and praetorians. It felt a bit strange to her, that she was assigned to a job like that, along with the praetorian guards! She knew what they were – they were the special unit of guard for the imperial family. And Cynane? She was almost fresh from the ludus and still hadn’t quite gotten used to this bodyguard business. Yet here she stood, clean and well-equipped and with orders to never take her eyes off her young mistress. 

It was hard to keep that promise though and at least she wasn’t constantly watched. Claudia mingled with the crowd and Cynane judged it would be best to stay in one place rather than follow the young lady around. That would just seem weird and she didn’t want to appear annoying. So instead she stayed put in a place where she felt she had a good view over the entire hall where the party was going on. She stood still and quiet and alert, ready to move if she needed to be.

 Her eyes scanned the crowd silently and landed on a man approaching her. Judging by his garb, he wasn’t one of the nobles, but rather one of the praetorians. And he appeared to have his eyes on her. What did he want? She hadn’t done anything wrong had she? She resisted the urge to roll her eyes, she could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t here to sweet-talk her (thank the gods for that, she thought). But then what did he want?

@Echo

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Gaius reached the woman and found himself unsure of what to say. He had approached so seriously - now what? He cleared his throat and attempted a casual, "Ave. My name is Gaius." He cursed himself at his own ability to come up with anything more creative. It seemed women in breeches choked him up as much as did women in chitons. But, really, he wasn't interested in finessing this strange woman, but rather investigating her. 

 

His eyes made a brief glance over her. Her clothes were well-made, unlike some of the Britons he had encountered, and clearly of Roman origin. She was also equipped with a weapon, which was the main source of his anxiety; he was sure she knew how to use it. He had come across his fair share of wild Briton women during his several-year campaign there. He had defended himself against a fair number, too, and he was well aware of their prowess. But, then, why was this one here? 

 

@Atrice

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Cynane didn’t really feel awkward around men – she was more often annoyed by them though, especially Roman men. She felt that in Britannia, the men respected the women more. You’d never see a woman fight in the Roman army, for example. Yet where she grew up, it was more or less as expected that a woman would pick up weapons, just like men. At least in her family. In Rome, it wasn’t like that. And this man was not much different from the rest, she thought, because he did not seem to approve of her garb or equipment. He’d probably prefer a woman in a dress, so she couldn’t run or fight so well. So she could not resist him. This might just be the only good thing about having been a gladiatrix and now a guard. She hadn't been forced to become a submissive house slave. 

Cynane certainly had plenty of prejudices against Roman men! He introduced himself to her and then just continued to look at her. Was that it? That’s all he wanted? She doubted that very much!

 “Salve, Gaius. I’m Cynane.” She replied, daring to look up at him. She might be a slave, but she was also the bodyguard of a princess and she had just as much right to be here as he had… it was weird though, that he just stood there and she arched a brow, “Can I help you with anything, Gaius?”

@Echo

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Gaius cast around for something to say next, blinking a few times before he settled on just asking her outright. "I was wondering who you were. I've never seen you around the palace before." And, he thought privately, he would have noticed. It was not only that she was dressed the way she was, but it was also that she was comfortable that way. He thought he had posed his question tactfully enough, as tactfully as could be expected from a man more experienced with action than words. He shifted his weight, feeling the ache of nervousness particularly near the scar on his chest, the wound that had nearly taken his life the first time. 

 

@Atrice

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What a strange man, she thought to herself. Had he never seen a female warrior before? And then he blinked a few times, after she wondered if she could do anything for him. Then he would know who she was, because he’d never seen her before. So he had been here a while, or at least it sounded like that, since he said he’d not seen her yet. That had to mean he was experienced. But she could say the same thing about him… and he also seemed equipped for a guard, so he must be one of the praetorians.

 “I haven’t been here for long. I am Claudia Caesaris’ personal guard.” Cynane replied to him and then she couldn’t help herself, “Do you really think they would let anyone in here, who should not be here? I have as much a right to be here as you. I am here to keep her safe.” She said, realizing she might have said more than she ought to, but that was too late now. She looked up then, searching for her little mistress and spied her mingling along with another young noblewoman. It seemed calm enough and nothing to worry about. Gaius here on the other hand… she wasn’t so sure about him. He was polite and all that, but she thought she sensed a bit of hostility from him. Maybe that’s why she got so defensive just before? Or maybe that’s just what she’d learned she should be, no matter what.

@Echo

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Gaius lifted his eyebrows at the woman's sarcastic tone, shifting his weight to the other foot. He sized her up again. Her muscles were apparent to him now and the clothing and weaponry made sense. Claudia Caesaris' personal guard, hm? A privileged position, to be certain. Gaius would be lying to say he wasn't hoping for a similar appointment one day. But why a woman? She must have delineated herself in an impressive manner. Still, he hardly appreciated her tone. 

 

"Well, then. My apologies," he said, his voice tinged with a bit of sarcasm himself. "And how did you come to be in such a position, might I ask?" 

 

@Atrice

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She noticed how he lifted his brows, but honestly, what was the point of his questions? She was here, she was equipped as a bodyguard, so why should she not be accepted as one? It’s not like she chose to be here, after all, she was told to and thus it had to be respected by everyone. Oh so the Romans may not be used to female warriors, but Gaius here would just have to, along with everyone else here. Cynane was not going anywhere if she could help it.

 He apologized, but it did not seem sincere. And then he continued his questioning, wondering how she came to be in this position. By Morrigan why was he still here?

 “I was picked and deemed useful and told that this was my new task. It’s not my choice, but it’s better than where I was before. So here I am.” Cynane replied and dared to look at him; he wasn’t even that tall, compared to most men, while she was certainly taller than most women here, so what was his excuse? “How did you come to be in your position then?”

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