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Comrades in Arms (Decimus)


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March, 74 CE

 

A deep yawn was fighting its way up through Gaius's windpipe. The man had been on duty for several hours now and was only a few more from his time off. Usually comfortable in his armor, he acutely felt it cutting into his skin at various points and his feet ached from standing still so long. He couldn't go very far from his post, but he could stretch his legs a little, at least. Taking a few steps, and making sure no one was around to observe him, he began pacing in a small circle, converging on the place of his posting each cycle. His hands free, he popped the knuckles on each of his hands, then stretched his arms to get the blood pumping. 

 

Soon enough, he grew tired of this repetitive motion and returned to the wall where he had begun. If only something would happen to cure the man of his unending boredom, or at least distract him until he could change out of his armor and go for a drink at the pub. 

 

@Sains

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Decimus was on a sort of break. It was not officially a break of course, but a rare species of inactivity in which he found himself lacking anything to do. Claudia was resting... Or something. He didn't quite know what she was up to at that particular moment, but he'd been told by one of her slaves that there would be no need of him for a couple of hours. With this information in mind, he felt content to wander the halls. It couldn't hurt... He was patrolling! Technically...

After passing a few of the well-made busts of people he'd only heard stories of, he thought he saw one of his comrades. Pacing lazily around his post, as one might well do when people rarely walked by on a long guard shift, he looked quite bored. Approaching, he soon recognized the man as Gaius, a man from the castra. All the better that he might strike up a conversation with the man. Stopping short, he planted himself against a column.

"Salve, Gaius. Little to do?"

 

@Echo

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Gaius finished his pacing as a voice piped up nearby. He glanced toward the source and recognized Decimus, another praetorian. A short smile showed briefly on the man's face as he gave a brief, rueful laugh. "Salve, Decimus. Nothing at all to do, as it happens." He walked a bit closer to the other man and crossed his arms. "I swear this job can get monotonous as anything. Sometimes I missed being nearly killed by Britons." He chuckled at his own joke. "And you? It seems you're a disembodied shadow. The princess must be missing you." It was a relief to have someone to talk to after the mindless hours spent here, and Gaius liked this other man. He had also been in Britannia, so he had a sort of default camaraderie with him. 

 

@Sains

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Decimus laughed as he heard of Gaius's longing for Britannia. It seemed funny that the only thing he wished for inside one of the grandest palaces in the whole of the empire was to return to sleeping on hard earth. With that said, Decimus would be a liar if he claimed he didn't miss it sometimes too. These paved roads and decorated halls grew to be tiresome, not to mention the throngs of people that moved around the capital. Indeed, this was a city that seemed to never sleep. 

"The Princess? I wouldn't know if she is missing me, that slave won't let me see her. Perhaps she's with a man! Might be good for her, cooped up in this big house all day." 

Of course, he knew that it wasn't the case. Only her uncle could arrange a marriage for her... Or so he thought. He wasn't one hundred percent on the details. 

"Good to have a break, I suppose."

 

@Echo

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Gaius grinned sheepishly as Decimus laughed at his longing. It was true, though. Gaius had been back in Rome for nearly two years now and was still not used to the relative quiet. Perhaps he needed to train more, exercise his battle skills more often. That would at least simulate some of the danger he had come to enjoy. And even the various sounds of the market held no charm for him, though he loved looking at the various items for sale. 

 

The topic moved on and Gaius raised his eyebrows as Decimus described being kept from the princess. "Perhaps," he said, shrugging his shoulders. It was far beyond him to tell Decimus how to do his job, and if he felt safe leaving the princess alone, that was alright. "Yes, I imagine. I am off in a few hours. This is my longest shift this week and I'm ready to be done with it." 

 

@Sains

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Within the halls of the palace, Decimus was usually content to leave the Princess to her privacy if she requested it. Dangers within such a well protected home were all but imaginary, especially in the current political climate. Rome was secure and with an Emperor that the citizenry seemed happy enough to agree with. The gains for even an attempt of an assassination at this point were negligible at best, at least in his opinion. Even still, angry citizens that attempted to reach the palace were all too often stopped at one of the various checkpoints around the area. Indeed, it seemed that this palace was in every way secure enough to leave her in the care of her slaves... Though he still didn't fully trust that damned Briton she kept around. 

"Well, that's good enough for you then! I'll be here for the rest of the day and into the night as usual. And what do you plan on doing once your break begins? Head to one of the finer taverns on the Aventine perhaps?"

 

@Echo

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Gaius gave a chuckle. "I expect I'll go get a drink, though I'll admit that the taverns closest to the palace make me uncomfortable. I'm more comfortable with a lower class sort of place, personally. And you? Where do you like to drink?"

Gaius had been to several taverns around the Aventine and the patronage was always a bit highbrow for him and the wine a bit too sweet. He had been to taverns with his father before he went into the service and he preferred the ones he had frequented then, closer to his parents' low middle-class area. 

 

@Sains

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Decimus smiled at the guardsman, understanding of his preference to be surrounded by his peers. It was natural for men like them to seek out the bars and taverns of the lower classes simply because men from the legions often partook in drink there. One might expect as well that they received some abuse from the soldiers there, not being frontline combatants, but honestly, he found the tone of those men to be much more respectful when in the presence of a Praetorian. This made sense too, for they were nothing but dedicated veterans who'd ended up with the honor of guarding the imperial family for one reason or another.

"Well, I don't mind drinking most anywhere, but there's a small place not far from the steps of the hill called Bibens Avem Popina. Good service, good drink too. Kind African lady works there with quite a unique head of hair too. Some kind of exotic style, I think."

As he spoke of its location, he made sure to point so Gaius may have a general idea of which cardinal direction to travel once he'd finished up. Perhaps he'd join him there some time, but he hardly knew when he'd have the opportunity.

 

@Echo

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Gaius had wondered if he would suffer any verbal abuse due to his new position, but as he had been on the front lines for some time, his reputation among the legion was good enough, and of course, people respected the title of Praetorian. Gaius nodded as the other man suggested a small tavern. He always appreciated the suggestions of other soldiers, as they always seemed to know the best spots. "I shall have to go try it, thank you, friend."He grinned at the other man's description of her hair. "Hard to miss, I expect, then?"

@Sains

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Decimus was happy to help, of course, as it was often the best way to become well-liked anywhere one went. He hardly wanted to appear cold to a potential friend in the palace. He thought for a moment on the question, wondering how easy it truly was to find. Of course, he'd stumbled upon it quite by chance and now it was quite a familiarity to him. Best to describe the spot, lest Gaius be wandering around the streets like a simpleton. 

"Not too far from the first steps, round-near that fat woman who sits on the corner, the one that says she's Gaia incarnate."

He offered a warm smile and a relaxed chuckle at the thought of the old hag. People would leave her coins and other little treats, but she'd always be an eyesore to him.

"Good Mulsum. If that's your sort of drink."

 

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