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Oh, sweet Minerva!


Gothic
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March 74CE

Gaius left the business for the day in the care of his eldest daughter. Instead today was one where he would wander, enjoy the sights of Rome, and hopefully find someone he could meet with. His clothing was relatively modest yet his jewelry showed the wealth he had attained. Commerce and trade, two things that benefited him greatly. It allowed him time to grow and change. The years had softened his determination and blind push for his children to succeed. Instead, he wanted to learn about people and discover more about the various people he saw in the city. There were times when he would talk.

He had nothing in his hands. The loyal slave assigned to him held the rolled up pieces of parchment, the ink, his water flask, and a few other bits and pieces. He hurried after his Dominus and wondered what God the old man prayed to in order to have so much movement for a man his age. "D-dominus, are you sure we should be traveling here?"

"Ah, good Pavo!" He exclaimed cheerfully, "they are Romans, like us. Are they not?" 

Pavo murmured something under his breath and Gaius pointedly ignored him. It was a good day today. There was no need for any anger nor of strife. 

Gaius accidentally bumped into someone. 

"Beg pardon, my mistake," He said with a good natured smile. "Say, would you be interested in talking to an old man?" 

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Teutus had run his errands and had a bit of time to himself - he was definitely atypical in that regard, compared to the usual sorts of slaves to be found in Rome and throughout the Empire. He was not a free man, yet had a certain amount of freedom (which he didn't dare abuse lest he lose what little freedom he had).

This part of the city was crowded and Teutus nimbly dodged around people as he made his way purposefully to... He had no real destination in mind, but a slave who looked as though he had an errand to run was generally not so likely to be frowned at and pushed around by the free people - and Teutus blended in here, where two out of three people was simply dressed in a tunic, even the citizens forgoing their togas and pallia because they got in the way of real work.

He stepped aside for someone, at the same time someone else stepped into the same bit of empty pavement.

"I beg your pardon, sir," he said. A slave who wasn't polite was likely to receive a cuff around the head, after all. And from the looks of him, the man Teutus had run into was a citizen rather than a fellow slave. He shrugged at the question - it seemed it might be an interesting sort of diversion, at any rate.

"I wouldn't object to it, sir," he said. Though, perhaps, the gentleman might object in talking to a slave.

 

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Gaius noted the tone and guessed from his behaviour that he was dealing with a slave. It did not bother him. In fact, it was merely an opportunity to speak to someone outside the norm and if he happened to hear some juicy gossip. Well, that was hardly his fault! 

His eyes lit up when Teutus agreed to speak with him. 

"Oh, that is excellent," He said, clasped his hands together in acceptance, and leaned against the walking stick to support his weight in order to give his body a temporary rest from work. Gaius turned in mock frustration to look back towards Pavo. "At least someone is happy to speak with me." Gaius snapped at Pavo who had the grace to look embarrassed. It was part of the banter between Dominus and slave. Pavo would complain and Gaius would respond in jest at whatever it was. There was always a chance that it could be shocking for a newcomer to seeing their interaction with each other. 

"Tell me, who are you? Do you have a moment to speak?" He asked, his tone still friendly and retained the one associated when dealing with slaves. The last thing he wanted was for Teutus to get in trouble or to lose coin by not conducting himself properly. 

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There was something childlike about the other's near-glee in Teutus' affirmative response. Not childish, but child-like, an innocence and joy in it, that reminded Teutus of Antonia Varia, although his half-sister and this dark-skinned (African?) citizen could not be more different in every single other respect from their age to their gender to even the colour of their skin.

"My name is Teutus, sir - I'm the slave of Tertius Quinctilius Varus." And giving the name of his owner would ensure that the citizen would know where to complain if Teutus' behaviour were less than exemplary. "I'm not expected back for a while, so yes. And - oh, do you want to sit down somewhere, sir?" he added, noticing the tightening grip on the stick the man was leaning on.

The banter between the citizen and the slave attending him could not be more different from how Teutus and his own master interacted - and they were related, something Teutus was almost certain Tertius regretted every time they spoke.

 

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Gaius listened and certainly recognised the name. Tertius Quinctilius Varus was a Senator of Rome, and had wealth. He was not adverse to hearing about a bit of behind the scenes gossip and would not pry. He smiled, nodded and reached out to place his hand on Teutus' shoulder in a silent gratitude for the offer to sit. He was more than humble enough to accept the offer. "Good, good. I do not wish to get you in trouble with your Dominus," He said, then turned and playfully snapped at Pavo. "See? He doesn't mind when I have to sit, young Pavo!" 

Pavo smiled softly and rolled his eyes heavenward behind his Dominus' back. However, there was clearly a friendship between the Dominus and slave. Pavo gestured to an area he knew his Dominus would like. Quiet but not isolated where it increased the likelihood of being robbed, a place for them to sit and also a small area for Pavo to sit to take notes. He knew what his Dominus would preferred. "There is a place over here, Dominus," He said, and obediently followed when Gaius walked over then sat down. He groaned as the weight was taken off his knees and ankles as he did so, and gestured for Pavo to sit. Pavo knew the routine. He got the parchment and ink out, waited for it all to begin and took a seat. 

"Come! Don't be shy, Teutus. He won't bite. I assure you. Pavo only goes for the jugular if someone tries to rob me." He grinned cheekily, his eyes wrinkled as he did so and that was a particularly interesting day. 

@Sharpie

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He liked the joking, but it was unfamiliar enough that he was not quite sure how to respond. He did not sit down himself until the man's own slave did, a sign that it would be acceptable for Teutus to sit. This citizen was the complete opposite of Tertius in practically every way - the only slave in Tertius' house who was allowed to take his ease with the master present was Hector.

"What did you want to talk about, sir?" he asked, thinking that there were a great many subjects where he would have no clue at all, and several more where he only had a hazy idea one way or the other - he had been trying his best to learn all the things that the freeborn citizens of his age knew, but invariably there were gaps in his knowledge - he hadn't had actual tutoring, for one thing, and had had to fit what schooling he had around his chores and duties, something the freeborn didn't have to think about. Well, the senatorial freeborn, anyway; Teutus could readily admit that the plebeian kids might struggle more to fit schooling and work into the same day.

 

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It seemed the question had been left open for him to decide how things would go.

To be fair, it was not often that a slave was asked what their opinion would be and to be placed in this sort of position. Gaius did not wish to make Teutus feel uncomfortable. He was interested to discover how Teutus found himself in slavery. Whether he was born into it or sold. However, many slaves experienced shame associated with it. Instead an easier and potentially happier topic was chosen. Hopefully, it would give Teutus a great deal to work with. Pavo sat with his ink and quill ready to take any notes in case his Dominus' mind had begun to slip.

Again, Pavo did not seem offended nor ruffled in any way about going for the jugular. 

"What do you enjoy doing? Um, ah!" Gaius said, raised his hand in delight when he found more ideas. "What are your hobbies?" He asked, grinned and waited. Many slaves had varying degrees of free time in the urban environments. Some of them had large amounts of time when they were able to have an additional job in order to pay for hobbies, or go to the races, or go to the various establishments to eat. Some even had slaves or families of their own. There was so much variety! 

@Sharpie

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"Hobbies, sir?" As if any of Tertius Quinctilius Varus' slaves would be allowed hobbies.

Teutus was very much aware that he was one of the most privileged slaves in the house, and he did appreciate the time to get out and about during his errand running. "I like going to the libraries, sir, though I can't borrow anything. But I can read things while I'm there, and the staff don't seem to mind too much. And the baths, of course." He shrugged. "And just exploring Rome - it's such a big fascinating city, there always seems to be something new to find."

The dark-skinned man had really not said very much at all to Teutus, yet he already seemed a much easier master to read than Teutus' father did. And the slave with him seemed well-fed and well-clothed, content with his lot.

The Fates were queer old biddies, the way they picked and chose who ended up where, in Teutus' opinion. He wouldn't have minded a master like this. But then, there were parts of his real actual life that he did like - such as looking after Antonia, and taking her out to places (with Tertius' permission, of course).

 

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Gaius at first thought that he had worded the question wrong.

Then Teutus answered and he nodded, clearly interested in what was being said and he could easily imagine Teutus traveling around to see the various sights in Rome. Possibly even seeing a glance of the lives of the influential and wealthy. The desire to know more was always there, in everyone and that fascination was something that intrigued him. 

"Ah, you are an adventurer!" Gaius exclaimed brightly. Sure, he did not travel beyond the city walls, but still. "What kind of works do you read? Any favourites or anything you would like to see?" He asked, itching with desire to know more, and perhaps to shamelessly promote the work he was writing. He hoped it would be read by both those in positions of power and those without it. Especially if generations of people in the past would read and be able to get a glimpse of lives that were long lost to time.

Pavo jotted down a few notes and quickly kept pace. 

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"An adventurer, sir? I don't know if I'd go that far." He shrugged. Perhaps he was, but it was surely a far cry from exploring the greatest city in the world to exploring... anywhere else. He didn't think he would take too kindly to roughing it in the wilds of Germania or Britannia - and as a slave, it would be roughing it. He didn't think Tertius would willingly up sticks and head back to any of those wild places, and if he did, the chances he'd take Teutus with him were slim indeed.

"I read... Oh, almost anything, if the staff don't mind. I like history, though, and Vergil, though he can lay it on a bit thick sometimes. But then, he was writing to please Augustus, wasn't he?"

Or perhaps he wasn't; Teutus knew that his knowledge of such things was atrociously spotty sometimes, especially in comparison to the freeborn youths of his age.

"They do serve to teach what kind of men we must be, though - what kind of men built the city we live in," Teutus added, and had the grace to look embarrassed. He might be born and bred Roman, but he was not free - and the other did not have the countenance of one born and bred in Italy (or at least, his parents may not have come here of their free will, whether he was born in Italia or not).

 

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Gaius was always fond of artistic exaggeration. He smiled in response to the question, and listened to the answer. Exploration in his eyes was still exploration. It did not matter whether or not it was in the wild north of Germania or in the dry desserts or a foreign city. He glanced over to Pavo who nodded in response as he quickly wrote all of the responses to be used later on. 

He didn't interrupt Teutus. Patiently he waited to see what he would say and to know his thoughts. His silence and consideration hopefully permitted people to open up to him in ways they perhaps wouldn't normally. The younger man sounded truly idealistic when it came to a nation that did not necessarily see him in the best light. A slave. He smiled softly and nodded. Part of not having favour and being relatively wealthy meant that he was free to write what he needed to for his own pleasure. Yet the time would come where he would not be able to write as freely as he desired. "Indeed he was," Gaius answered, the lines around his eyes creased as he smiled. 

"What do you think of the city of Rome? Is there any place you are frightened to go or would alternatively, would love to go?" Gaius asked. His rank in society permitted him to go many places -- yet the poorer areas unfortunately had the risk of pickpockets or other ruffians who would happily see him as an easy target to rob. 

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