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Cynane

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Claudia Caesaris was a sweet and beautiful young woman, who had been through a lot. Cynane had learned that at least, after she’d been here almost two years, working as a guard for the young princess. And while Claudia had probably never had a day of hard work in her life, Cynane still cared about her, for reasons she could not quite grasp. The girl was a princess, after all, and her life could not have been much more different from the life Cynane had. Her childhood was happy, her youth had a lot of fighting in it and then the battle where her party lost and she was taken captive and became a gladiatrix in Rome a year after… but at least she was no longer on the sands, no, she was here in the palace and her life had definitely improved, even if she was still a slave. And even if she still had her opinions about the Romans and their way of life.

 Today she had little to do, it seemed. Claudia was staying in the palace and she was having some visitors over today. She knew the family, as they sometimes did visit the imperial family and did attend social events here. They were safe, Cynane judged. Once the guests had arrived, Cynane was instructed to stay nearby and alert, as always, but they didn’t want to be interrupted, so she settled down in a nearby more open area of the palace, watching everyone who’d come and go in the direction of her young Domina. There had been another with the visitors though, who apparently also had to give them some privacy after being introduced, so Cynane was soon joined by their servant, or whatever she was.

 She was dressed somewhat strangely – not as a guard, like Cynane, but she wasn’t dressed entirely feminine either, like most other women. She didn’t have long hair like most women either – even like Cynane – but it wasn’t entirely short either. She was pretty though, she decided, especially quite liking the red hair. She didn’t look very Roman to Cynane. Meanwhile Cynane was in the usual garb for her job, although not the fancy garb she wore for social events and when going out... but she wore her long, blonde hair in three braids collected into one long braid, starting from the top of her head, and she had her light blue tunica and the brown breeches and good sandals on her feet. She also wore her leather vest and had a belt and a blade by her side; she would never go without it. She probably appeared quite fierce compared to most other women in Rome, who were not gladiators.

 Cynane decided to speak to the woman, who seemed to not be entirely sure of where to go in the great palace, “Salve.” Cynane greeted the redhead, “I’m Cynane, Claudia Caesaris’ guard, in case they didn’t tell you. You are with my Domina’s guests today?” She spoke her Latin very well, but it was impossible to hide the accent of Britannia, because Latin was not her mother tongue. 

@Chevi

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A woman wearing breeches... an armed woman wearing breeches was the last thing Aia expected to see in the imperial palace.

And yet, here she was. Aia had been dismissed while the noblewomen talked, and for lack of a better idea (Decimus must have been on duty somewhere) she looked for a place to sit and wait. It didn't take long for her to spot the blonde woman, dressed unlike any of the other women at the palace. Aia herself was wearing a simple, clean tunic and stola, and ribbons wrapped around her slowly growing hair. While she didn't have the military cut of her frontier days anymore, her hair, unbound, still mostly resembled a magpie nest on fire. She approached the woman carefully. She did not look like she belonged here, but she certainly behaved like it, greeting Aia in Latin with an unmistakable hint of British. 

“Salve. I’m Cynane, Claudia Caesaris’ guard, in case they didn’t tell you. You are with my Domina’s guests today?”

A guard. A woman who was a guard. Aia knew she was staring, and yet she had a hard time trying to stop.

"Aius..." she cleared her throat "I mean, Aia. I'm with Flavia Juliana's household. You are... from Britannia?"

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Cynane knew she was a different sight to see here in Rome. She hadn’t been so much in the arena, but here in the imperial palace, some were still surprised to see her. She knew there had been a former gladiatrix turned guard before, but that was with another consul and in another time and it was a long time ago. Some of the other slaves working here had told her. For now though, she was the only one and some nobles considered it quite interesting to look at her. Those who’d paid for her body while she was a gladiatrix still liked to glare too, but she ignored those. She was above that and above being given to strangers now. She had her princess to guard, after all.

 The redhead who had appeared approached her now, and Cynane greeted her and introduced herself. She was unsure whether the redhead was a slave or a servant or what she was, but she definitely belonged here as little as Cynane did. The stranger introduced herself first as Aius, then Aia and wondered if Cynane was from Britannia. Of course she noticed how the other woman was watching her, but ignored it for now. She was used to it.

 “That’s where I was born and grew up... much further North than here.” She was about to say something about how that had been until those fucking Romans took her lands, but she managed to stop herself. It was probably better to talk about Aius or Aia – and why did she say Aius first anyway? “What about you, Aia? I’ve only seen Roman ladies use wigs to gain that color of hair – they must be envious of yours. So where were you born?”

@Chevi

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“That’s where I was born and grew up... much further North than here.”

A woman from Britannia, working as a guard in the heart of Rome. Ten years agom such thing would have been unheard of. Even now, Aia doubted most people of Rome were aware that women could exist in such a position. She wondered if Decimus knew her. She wondered how he felt, given his history with Britannia. Then again she could have asked the same about this woman...

“What about you, Aia? I’ve only seen Roman ladies use wigs to gain that color of hair – they must be envious of yours. So where were you born?”

Aia touched the ribbons on her head. Her hair color was definitely not as common in Rome as it had been in Gaul.

"I'm from Gaul. But I... spent time in Britannia." she admitted, taking a seat across from Cynane, and she switched to one of the more common dialects she had learned in Britannia "They let you work here as a guard, even though you are a woman?..."

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One would think that for a slave who’d been in Rome for that long, Cynane had learned to guard her tongue better by now. And she had, in a way… she knew when to shut up, before she’d say too much. You couldn’t know whether someone else not from Rome liked or disliked the Romans. So sometimes it was better to stay quiet and change the subject, than to continue. She explained that she was indeed from Britannia and decided to continue wondering where Aia, whose name was apparently also Aius, was from. And couldn’t help but comment on her hair.

 Aia revealed she was from Gaul but had also been in Britannia. The other then sat down, and continued talking in a tongue more native to Cynane’s original one. So it was like that, was it? They could speak freely? That was rare… and a relief!

 Cynane lifted her chin a little, “They do. Fighting is what I do best. And it’s not like I have a choice, do I? It’s this or the arena. And I prefer being here. Wouldn’t you?” She added, halfway assuming Aia was also a slave, although you never knew. She might have travelled around with a previous owner. It was interesting though, that she was so surprised that Cynane was here as a guard. She’d never heard about such a thing before?

@Chevi

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Women, at least the women of Rome, did not fight. Ever. The military was a man's world, and women had no place anywhere near it, especially not with a weapon in hand. Britannia... that had been another world. Aia had seen their women fight along with the men. But how did one of them end up in the heart of Rome, working for the imperials nonetheless?

“They do. Fighting is what I do best. And it’s not like I have a choice, do I? It’s this or the arena. And I prefer being here. Wouldn’t you?”

The arena.

"You were a gladiatrix?" Aia noted, her eyes widening a little in surprise. So, she was a warrior, a Briton... and most likely a slave. Arena or guard duty. Aia nodded slowly at the question. "Yes... I'd prefer it too." she admitted. The amphitheater was the central building project of recent years, and with it, gladiator game were beginning to rival the popularity of the circus. Fewer team rivalries, and way more deaths on the sand. Aia had never been yet, but she heard a lot about it. "They picked you because you were a warrior" she mused. Unspoken question: Why did they trust her? Why did she trust them?... "How long have you been here?"

@Atrice

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Not all women in Britannia were warriors, obviously. And it had also been expected of Cynane that she at some point, probably not long after the battle where she was captured, would settle down with a man and have children and work. It just never got to that, because Rome. And here she was, in the imperial palace in Rome, speaking to another foreign woman with an odd style and beautiful hair. Who seemed surprised Cynane was here as a guard. 

She nodded when Aia asked if she’d been a gladiatrix, “That’s where they considered me to be most useful.” She replied, unable to hide the distaste for the Romans after they took her as a slave and decided what she’d be ‘useful’ for. Aia agreed she’d prefer this to the arena too, and then she stated the obvious, that she’d been picked because she was a warrior. Next she wondered for how long Cynane had been here. She sure was curious, this Aia. Very curious.

 “I have been in this palace almost two years. I have been in Rome for 11 years. And you, how long have they kept you for?” She still didn’t know whether Aia was a slave or what, but she more or less assumed that was the case. Why would any Gaul or Brit work willingly for the Romans, unless they were in the army, for unknown reasons fighting their own people?

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Cynane seemed to consider Aia, and her comments, with a sort of strange look on her face. It was clear that she did not like the Romans, which made sense, if she had been a freeborn warrior who got captured in battle. Aia knew enough of the Britons to know it was probably a worse fate than dying in the fight. She had sympathy for the other woman, and also a growing sense of admiration. She knew she probably seemed strange to her, but she couldn't exactly explain her interest without pointing out that she happened to be a soldier from the other side of the same frontier...

“I have been in this palace almost two years. I have been in Rome for 11 years. And you, how long have they kept you for?”

"Oh, um..." Aia's usual eloquence faltered, and she cleared her throat "I work for Flavia Juliana as her children's tutor. I only arrived to Rome recently... before that, I worked in Britannia. As an interpreter." They were still conversing in Cynane's language, which made it clear that Aia had experience with speaking it.

@Atrice

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She didn’t trust Romans – and in general, trust was hard to give to people these days, especially after she’d lived here this long. As a gladiator, she had friends, of course, but it was hard to trust anyone, because both Cynane and the others put themselves before anyone else. And honestly, what point was there in trusting someone she might have to kill or who might die tomorrow in the arena? Then she’d come to the palace and the praetorians had a hard time accepting a female guard here, but they would just have to live with it. Cynane wasn’t going anywhere if she could help it and she’d been here a few years now.

 So if she gave Aia strange looks, that was why. The other woman of course couldn’t know this. Cynane figured she should not talk too much about herself though and honestly she would know why Aia was here and why she was so curious. Oh she knew now she worked for Flavia Juliana, but besides that, what was her story?

 Aia first trailed off, but then she mentioned again how she worked for Flavia Juliana and she had just arrived to Rome. Before that she was in Britannia as an interpreter. That still didn’t answer her question though… was she born a slave? No, she had to be a captive of sorts, since she still spoke her own language and Cynane’s so easily. There was something that didn’t quite match up for some reason…

 “I see. That does sound like you’ve been with them most of your life. War captive, like me?”

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“I see. That does sound like you’ve been with them most of your life. War captive, like me?”

Cynane got the wrong idea, and there was no graceful way of correcting it. Aia had no idea how she would react to finding out how she really got here, which was too bad, because she found the woman fascinating, and it would have been a pity to cut their conversation short. Aia had no hatred for the Britons on principle, although she had definitely done her fair share of fighting them back at the frontier.

Eventually, she shook her head.

"No, I was born in the province. My father was a merchant, so we followed the legions to Britannia... he was killed when I was still young, so I... made use of the languages I knew, and volunteered to be an interpreter."

She stopped there, before she could have told her that she lived her life as a boy back then. The wrong people in Rome finding out about that could have caused a lot of trouble for her, and for her new household...

@Atrice

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She did not see there was any other idea about Aia she could have – Aia seemed kind enough so far, although a little curious, but she still assumed the other woman was a slave. After a pause, Aia shook her head. Cynane assumed that was answering the war captive question, and it kind of was, but more than that. She just said she was born in the province, spoke about her father following the legions but then he died… and she became an interpreter.

 Cynane had to consider all of it. It sounded like her father was a free man, the way she said it. So she was no slave, or what? What was she doing here then? Why wasn’t she going home?  

“So you’re here out of your own free will?” She then asked, her voice sounding maybe a little hard. She couldn’t help it. Cynane was not here out of her own, free will and she never had been. She hadn’t chosen this; she was forced to be here. And Aia came here willingly. That had to mean she somehow liked Romans in general and wanted to be here. With these people, who conquered land that wasn’t theirs, started wars and captured people like Cynane to use and abuse the way they thought was best. She lifted her chin a little by the thought; her mind, at least, was still free.

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“So you’re here out of your own free will?”

There was an edge to the question, and Aia could understand why. For all their barbaric ways, the Britons were a people who loved their freedom, and were willing to die at the hands of the legions for it. Cynane was here as a slave, with a choice between the arena and the guard duty, so for her, Aia's decision to come to Rome had to feel almost like an insult. Aia's shoulders hunched a little. She did not regret any of her decisions, but she still felt a pang of guilt. 

"Yes. Sort of. I was also offered options and the other options... were not that great." she admitted. As a woman of Rome, her options had never been that great to begin with; being eployed, rather than punished or carted off to a husband was still the best of all of them. "I made a mistake and this is my way of getting away with it." she paused, looking at Cynane again. She had been in Rome longer than her, but she must have been captured in Britannia at or just before the time Aius got there. "Were you captured in battle?"

@Atrice

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She did not know if it was a good idea to keep talking with Aia. Her presence and reason for being here - as in Rome - was upsetting Cynane a little and she had liked her job here so far. She didn't want to lose her temper or just say something wrong. She was sure Aia was a very sweet and kind woman, in fact so far she seemed to be, but she could not quite wrap her mind around why someone from the North would come here willingly. Work for the Romans, willingly. Cynane was here, she followed orders, she did not speak unless spoken to and she'd survived so far. But if she spoke her mind, she knew she'd be cut down the next moment. At least, that's what she imagined. She didn't trust them to keep her alive if she spoke up against them.

Aia admitted she was here of her own free will, although she had also been offered other options and they were not great. Kind of like Cynane then? Her other option was the arena. Either way, she was a slave. Aia said something about making a mistake and getting away with it by being here and Cynane wondered what she did. She decided to keep the information until an opportune moment. Of course then her conversation partner was more curious.

"Yes, I was." Cynane replied, "We thought we had them. But we didn't. And now I hear my land is entirely conquered by them. There is no home for me, because of Rome." She just couldn't help it. She inhaled a breath, trying to calm herself. It was rare she got this upset, but it happened. Still she didn't move much and it wasn't anything but her facial expression and her tone that gave away how she felt.

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Being the warrior she seemed to be, Aia guessed that Cynane must have been taken in battle. She did not seem like a woman who would go down without a fight, one way or another. 

"Yes, I was. We thought we had them. But we didn't. And now I hear my land is entirely conquered by them. There is no home for me, because of Rome."

There was sorrow to her voice, even though she was doing her best to restrain it. It must have been hard, seeing one's land conquered. The Romans tended to improve the places they added to the empire, so technically, she still had a home, it was just a province now - but Aia did not work in sensitive negotiations for ten years to not know when to keep her mouth shut to survive, so she did not point that out. Instead, they sat in silence for a while, deep in thought. Aia realized it was the first time she actually talked to a Briton that was not a fresh captive, and not on the other side of a negotiation. She was a person, with a history not all that different from her own.

"I'm sorry." she said finally, for lack of a better thing to say. It was not an apology, but sympathy. "I don't really have a home either."

She had a household she worked in, but that was far yet from feeling like a home. And ever since she had started traveling with her father all those years ago, Aia had never settled enough to call a place home either.

"You know, I was captured by your people once." she added after a pause "Back when Eppitacos was chief. I'm not gonna say I wasn't scared shitless, but they treated me fairly..." she paused again, realizing her slip into soldier's language, and cleared her throat "... pardon me."

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They fought her people and they captured her and her land, so there was no way she’d think that a Roman province was the same as the Britannia she had been taken away from. She knew the Britons weren’t conquered entirely at all, when Cynane was captured – but it happened eventually and she had been here. Not there, supporting her own. And now it was all a part of the Roman empire.

 Silence fell between Cynane and Aia for a while, before the other woman said she was sorry – about Britannia? And then she said she didn’t have a home either. Cynane supposed she was right, if she had always travelled with her father and when he died, she stayed with the Romans as an interpreter.

 “It’s not easy.” Cynane said, and then Aia spoke of how she was captured by her people… and then she went into some more crude language, but Cynane was used it from the gladiators, so she didn’t think much about it, until Aia excused herself. And at least Aia was still here, so she could not have been treated that badly or been that difficult - else she might not have lived, they would have made an example out of her.

 “It’s fine. Which tribe captured you? I am of the Brigantes.” She was related to the queen, Ysulda, whom she heard eventually captured Eppitacos. But by then, Cynane had already been in Rome a few years. She had not been part of all that and now it was over. She was barely even fighting anymore, she was just here, to protect the princess. And of course she didn’t hate her current Domina, but she also didn’t love being a slave. After all those years, she still disliked it.

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Memories brought back the language she used to speak among soldiers, and Aia felt a little ashamed. Then again, she was in the presence of a warrior, and she doubted that Cynane would be bothered by a crude word or two. She probably heard worse in the arena.

“It’s fine. Which tribe captured you? I am of the Brigantes.”

"Like the queen?" Aia ventured. There was a fearless female leader, after Eppitacos. She mostly knew stories about her, never having come face to face with her in negotiations or on the battlefield, but she at least knew the tribe's name. It took her a moment to find her way back to the question. "I... am not sure. I didn't spend much time with them... I ran away at the first opportunity I got." she admitted. Running was not usually very heroic, but neither was dying as a captive. And she had been lucky that the Roman soldiers found her before she was captured again. 

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When Aia mentioned she’d been captured in Britannia, of course Cynane wondered which tribe captured her and she explained where she came from. Aia seemed to know about the queen Ysulda and Cynane nodded, “She was my cousin. Or is. Is she still alive?” She knew that Eppitacos had been taken to Rome, but she didn’t know what happened to her cousin. And Aia sounded like she might know more about what went on regarding the war and Britannia, than Cynane did. 

Aia then explained she wasn’t sure which tribe captured her and said she had run away from them when she could. They couldn’t have treated her so well then, but of course, if she was with the Romans back then, of course the British tribes wouldn’t have been fond of Aia. She would not have been treated well and they might have wanted to make an example out of her. Running away at least kept her alive – and that’s what everyone wanted, wasn’t it? To survive.

 “That’s understandable.” Although staying and fighting was better for a warrior, she could see why Aia did what she did… still though, it made her wonder… “You’re no warrior then, are you?”

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“She was my cousin. Or is. Is she still alive?” 

"As far as I know." Aia nodded. The queen of the Brigantes was granted honorary citizenship, while the empire annexed her lands and her people under her claim to the throne. At least that was the last thing Aia knew of her. She made a mental note to ask Decimus next time if he knew more. It was strange, meeting this enslaved cousin of a legendary queen in the middle of Rome. Aia wondered if she knew.

The conversation turned to her own adventures with the Britons, and how she had run away from captivity. 

“That’s understandable. You’re no warrior then, are you?”

Aia bit her lips. No, she was no warrior, not in the sense that Cynane was. She had served in the Roman army, unknown to all that she was a woman, but she had never been as great with her weapons as she was with other skills. She could handle a sword or a dagger, though. She had seen battles and raids. All the things that she could not disclose to someone without risking the story catching on at court.

"No. I'm definitely not a warrior."

@Atrice

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Since she became a slave, no one had really cared about her past or her relations in Britannia. A slave was a slave, it was a pity for the slave, but she better just accept it. After so many years, that was still hard, but she had learned not to speak out of turn. Aia though, she knew things and she could come and go and she had been in Britannia. She said she thought Cynane’s cousin, the queen of the Brigantes, was still alive.

 Returning to Aia’s time with the British tribes, she had apparently been caught, but escaped again. Cynane decide she could understand why she would escape and wondered whether Aia was a warrior. She definitely did not act or look like a warrior – to Cynane, she appeared to be slightly skinny, but that was compared to a former gladiatrix and now bodyguard, who still made sure to stay fit for fight, quite literally. She was the bodyguard to a princess, after all! Aia confessed she was definitely not a warrior.

 Cynane nodded, “I thought you weren’t. I guess in Rome, that is a good thing. Few Romans appreciate a free woman capable of fighting. I’m glad they at least did not take that from me.” She said and looked up as another slave passed by where they were sitting. Cynane had an idea and  looked up at the other female slave and easily switched to Latin. She spoke in a friendly tone to the other slave, “Gratia, will you bring us something to drink? Aia here is with our Domina’s guests.” As a guard, it was not her job to fetch things. It was her job to stay close to the princess.

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It smarted a little, saying that she was no warrior, after having served in Britannia. But Aia was smart enough to know when to talk, and when to keep a secret. Cynane did not question her statement.

“I thought you weren’t. I guess in Rome, that is a good thing. Few Romans appreciate a free woman capable of fighting. I’m glad they at least did not take that from me.”

"The Romans like their women shy and boring" she smirked, remembering the conversation she had with Decimus "That is not great for my marriage prospects..."

The tension between them seemed to ebb away, and Cynane told a slave to bring some drinks. Aia found that she was happy the other woman did not chase her away. She was an interesting person, and Aia liked meeting interesting people.

"So, what is your mistress like? And what does she think about you guarding her?"

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Cynane nodded when Aia mentioned how the Romans seemed to like their women shy and boring; this much was true, although when Aia mentioned marriage, Cynane smiled, “They like their wives shy and boring. So maybe you wouldn’t want to be one. Do you… want to get married here?” Cynane had thought about marriage when she was a young woman, when she still lived in Britannia, but after she had become a slave, it wasn’t really something she thought about. She hadn’t had a real crush on a man here in Rome; hadn’t met anyone she could see any point in having an actual relationship with. And she was a slave, so there was that. Besides, it was too late, she was no young woman anymore and might not even have children. Again, it wasn’t something she considered often – it didn’t make sense to do so.

 Aia broke into her line of thought by wondering how Cynane’s mistress was like, “She’s not the worst; she’s quite young, after all, and she has been through her own hard times.” Cynane explained, “I think she likes having a female guard. She has nothing to fear from me.” She explained. A male guard watching over such a young and beautiful lady, who was just growing into a woman, well he might think differently. And while Cynane also thought her mistress was beautiful, there was no way she’d touch the young woman. It would be weird; Claudia was almost young enough to be her daughter or at least little sister, after all.

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 “They like their wives shy and boring. So maybe you wouldn’t want to be one. Do you… want to get married here?” 

Aia chuckled at the question. Indeed, the Romans liked their wives shy and boring, but they still went to the brothels for exotic women, and to the arena to see warriors like Cynane fight. It was a strange, dual idea of whan women could and should be. If Decimus was to be believed, most men had simple tastes, and saw no contradiction. Was it natural? Probably. Was it fair? Absolutely not. Probably not even to the women of nobility.

"Not unless I have to." she admitted. Or if she found someone she wanted to marry. Which, even in a city this size, was not a likely event.

“She’s not the worst; she’s quite young, after all, and she has been through her own hard times. I think she likes having a female guard. She has nothing to fear from me.” 

"I can see why that would be good" Aia nodded. One was supposed to trust her own bodyguards, but the stakes were very high when said guards were men, watching over a young lady. Not everyone was Decimus, after all. "So, were you... married, back home?"

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She smiled when the other woman chuckled, at least here was something they could agree upon – that the Romans liked their wives shy, but of course, their lovers and mistresses and whatever else they were called, had to be the exact opposite. And a man could sleep around without being seen as worse, but women ought to stay true. Of course they didn’t always, but officially, they had to appear as good wives at least. She wondered if Aia considered marriage, since she mentioned it just before, but then she said she didn’t want it unless she had to. Cynane nodded, that made sense. Why would you marry in Rome except if you were forced to do so? From Cynane’s view, that’s how marriage seemed to work here. It was the same in Britannia, most of the time. Or it had been.

 Cynane had then told a little about her own mistress and then Aia asked if Cynane had been married. She shook her head and didn’t reply at first, as the slave from earlier showed up with the drinks.

 “Thank you.” Cynane said with a smile to her fellow slave and poured the watered and sweetened wine into some cups, then handed one to Aia, “No… I didn’t get that far. I had lived 18 summers, when we fought the Romans and our party lost. If I had stayed, I would probably have a husband now and many kids. And there would no longer be weapons in my hands. But the gods didn’t send me down that path.” Was she sad about it? She wasn’t really sure, actually. There wasn’t anyone here she wanted to marry and she didn’t see the point by now. Cynane was fine without a husband.

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The slave returned with drinks, and Aia took a cup of the sweet scented wine. Sharing a drink with Cynane made it feel like they were talking, woman to woman, in their little island of privacy, rather than as two people serving the nobility of Rome. Or two people twom the two opposite sides of the border.

Aia wondered if Cynane had a family back in Britannia.

“No… I didn’t get that far. I had lived 18 summers, when we fought the Romans and our party lost. If I had stayed, I would probably have a husband now and many kids. And there would no longer be weapons in my hands. But the gods didn’t send me down that path.”

"Me neither." Aia sighed. She didn't miss marrying a man and making babies, or at least it had never really presented itself as an option on her life so far. Life as a soldier had been hard, but it was also... well, quite the life. "What about the other guards? Is it strange to serve along Roman men?"

@Atrice

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It was nice to have a drink and Aia seemed to think the same. They were probably having drinks, the noble ladies, too, so why should Cynane and Aia not also share? Cynane also explained why she was not married and never had been. She mused a little over what life might have been, but the gods had sent her this way. Not that she had fully accepted yet, that she was a slave, but she knew she couldn't change much. Gone were the days where she considered escaping - and at least her current life was better than the life of a gladiator.

Aia then wondered how it was like to serve along Roman men and Cynane gave her a little smile.

"It is strange, I suppose. But more for them. A woman, who is even a slave, is carrying weapons and has the rank of guard - sometimes walking with the praetorians." She couldn't help but find it amusing, "It is sometimes hard for them to accept. But I'm here and they can't tell me to leave." And she kind of liked that. She had status, here, and if they harassed her, all she had to do was tell her mistress, who could pass it on to Caesar that Claudia's guard was mistreated. And no one wanted Caesar to know they had not behaved properly, "I should not enjoy it as much as I do, I suppose. But Rome is the men's world. And here we are."  

@Chevi

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