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Lingering at the door


Chevi
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Another day in the arena, another full afternoon for the medicus. Business as usual. It wasn't one of the big feast days or special celebrations, but the gladiators were still in high demand. On days like this, gory deaths were less frequent, but injuries were common. Having been a medicus in the Ludus for a couple of months now, Theo had learned that his patients tended to come in with non-lethal injuries... or not at all. Still, every once in a while, a gladiator garnered enough favors from the audience and the sponsors of the games to live, even if he lost his fight. Today was one of those days. Fan favorite, a large Macedonian murmillo named Amyntas, got to keep his life after his defeat... provided that Theodorus could keep him alive at all.

It had been a long afternoon of hard work, but it seemed like that the medicus was winning his own game against the Fates. Initially the injured gladiator had to be held down, but he soon passed out from blood loss and pain, which frankly, was great, because Theo could finish his work in peace. Wounds closed and bandaged, nothing remained but waiting and seeing. The long day also depleted the medicus' supplies of herbs and bandages, so Theo, after scrubbing most of the blood off, and changing into a clean tunic, picked up his bag and left the Ludus, hoping to buy some supplies and maybe dinner for himself. Maybe some wine as well. Aesculapius knew he deserved it. 

@Gil

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Another day at the games and another satisfying day of seeing men bashing and stabbing and poking at one another. Blood and sand. Sun and sweat. Life was good, for those in the spectator seats. Perhaps not so good for the ones actually engaged in the deadly combat below, in the arena, who must literally “do or die.” Still, life was rough and totally uncertain for anyone, in any situation, and as Calvunus had watched and cheered on his favorites (i.e. the ones he was backing with cold hard coin) he neither thought nor cared about the sad plight of the contestants who spilled blood in order to appease the appetite for entertainment of those watching.

 

The thug’s cheering and cheerfulness had slowed and soured, though, as one of the fighters he’d placed quite a lot of (too much really) money on had gone down, hard. Calvunus was among those who’d yelled for his dispatching, at the hands of the gladiator who’d somehow managed to best the damned fellow. But others in the crowd were more vocal, more adamant, and Amyntas was allowed to live, if his wounds could be repaired that is. The games went on and eventually Calvunus turned away, his mood not so upbeat as it usually was. He was broke, again, and there was no point in staying.

 

He turned to his companion, a younger man, hardly more than a youth, who was seated oddly with his back to the spectacle below them. He even had his hands over his ears, and his eyes closed as well. It was quite obvious he was no fan of the blood sport. In fact, he seemed to be doing literally everything he could to avoid any sensory uptake of what was going on around him. Calvunus grinned and slapped Phaedo on the near shoulder. ”Alright my darling. Come on. Time to head back. You can open your eyes now. Or do I need to carry you out like a softhearted and weak stomached woman?”

 

Phaedo slowly opened his eyes, but was careful to not look around. He cautiously unclapped his ears and heard only the steady rumbling of a crowd of people, with none of the savage calls for maiming and death that would have indicated another bout was in full spate. He looked unhappy. ”I’m sorry. It was…it was…horrible, to see.” He tried to put the imagery from his thoughts but his mind’s eye perversely and stubbornly persisted in putting the image of a man skewered with a trident front and center.

 

Calvunus, who seemed to have a soft spot himself for the slave, said with a sympathetic smile, ”Perhaps the domina will send another next time. I’ll have a word with her. That bastard can’t be all that picky about who he porks in between matches.” This was the reason for the prostitute to have been brought to the arena in the first place. There was a rich, regular patron of the Domus Venus who apparently had a slight fetish for seeking satisfaction whilst aroused by the sight of the action in the arena. He’d made a request. The Mistress of the brothel had filled it, sending along Phaedo, chosen at random, simply because he was rather comely. Calvunus had seized the chance to play escort and then had insisted they tarry long after Phaedo had done what was required of him, in a not so very private spot beneath the stands that circled around the pit. The bouncer might have felt sorry for Phaedo. But that wasn’t going to stop him from prolonging the afternoon and indulging in his own worst vice – gambling.

 

Now, though, it seemed he’d had enough, and the two rose, Calvunus going so far as to offer a steadying hand to Phaedo’s arm. They exited the seating area and left the arena altogether, when Calvunus tugged on the slave’s arm and pulled him in the opposite direction from their path homewards. ”Hang on. I want to see if that bloody bastard pegged out.” It was clear from his tone that he was more in the camp of hoping the valiant fighter had succumbed to his wounds. It was a ‘serve him right if he does die, for having lost me my money’ kind of attitude that showed as a kind of belligerence on the bouncer’s still handsome features.

 

Leading Phaedo still by the arm, Calvunus navigated the lanes that brought them to the Ludus where Amyntas trained, which was restricted place, and not accessible to just anyone. Just as the two arrived, a middle aged man exited the gates and Calvunus hailed him.

 

”Salve, friend! We call to inquire after the health of Amyntas. Any news to tell?”

 

Phaedo, revived somewhat by the walk and the distance now between himself and the gore filled place of spectacle, looked upon the man and noted immediately the several blood stains on his garments. His green eyes widened, but he said nothing, yet.

 

 

 

 

 

@Chevi

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”Salve, friend! We call to inquire after the health of Amyntas. Any news to tell?”

Theo jumped at the voice, turning around to see a man and a pale-looking youth standing nearby. They did not look familiar, and he doubted they belonged to the Ludus, since they did not come in to ask. The medicus sighed, adjusting the bag on his shoulder. Amyntas' fate was in the hand of the gods, but even slaves and gladiators sometimes had people who actually cared about them beyond the arena. Friends, maybe?

"He is alive, for now" he responded cautiously "I'm doing the best I can, gods willing. I'm on my way to get some more supplies. Do you own him?"

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Calvunus laughed heartily. ”By the gods, I wish. But no. I’ve only thrown my good money away on him today. I thought perhaps the gods might bring me some justice and take his rotten soul in recompense – not that that would do me any good.” It was all said in good humor, without any real malice. Although if the gladiator did die, Calvunus would in fact take some small satisfaction therefrom.

 

He looked with interest on Theodorus and said, ”You must be the medico then? Come! Let me buy you a drink, and you can tell me which of your charges I should bet on next time. I dare say the man who holds their health has as good a chance at picking a winner as the man who cleans out their latrine.” He was all hale and well met in his demeanor, while Phaedo hung back a bit, yet looked at Theodorus with his own brand of curiosity. Those big green eyes missed little, and the gears were whirring in his head.

 

Despite his innate modesty and well trained good manners, he hazarded a question of his own.

 

”Dominus, can you say, what wounds the man has suffered?”

 

It was quite an odd anomaly that, though he could barely stand to look upon violence and gore, Phaedo held a keen interest in the science of healing of even such gruesome injuries.

 

@Chevi

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 ”By the gods, I wish. But no. I’ve only thrown my good money away on him today. I thought perhaps the gods might bring me some justice and take his rotten soul in recompense – not that that would do me any good.”

Theodorus, out of habit, made the sign against evil with his hand. It was bad form to test the Fates like that in his profession; he was trying to keep the gladiator alive, at least as long as it promised a good recovery. It seemed like the imposing man was not the owner, at least. Theo would have hated to have to explain his work to someone who had high stakes in the murmillo's life.

”You must be the medico then? Come! Let me buy you a drink, and you can tell me which of your charges I should bet on next time. I dare say the man who holds their health has as good a chance at picking a winner as the man who cleans out their latrine.” 

"Quintus Flavius Theodorus" the medicus introduced himself. It was clear, despite the Roman name, that Latin was not his native tongue. The idea of a drink was great, after a hard day of work. He fell in step, but kept his shoulders tense. "I am afraid I don't know much about the games themselves, though. I just make sure the fighters don't expire unless it is in a spectacular fashion."

The young man followed along, but hung back. He seemed like a slave, maybe a personal servant to the tall man. He was pretty, but also had keen eyes that grabbed the medicus' attention.

”Dominus, can you say, what wounds the man has suffered?”

"I assume you have seen most of them if you were watching from the arena" Theo noted cautiously, a little bit surprised by the young man's question. Did he have a personal interest in the betting too, or was he just asking out of curiosity?... "Stabs and cuts, which lost him a lot of blood, but the nasty thing is, a blow to the head. I had to pick pieces of his skull out of the wound. A clean break, though, so he has a chance to recover, Asklepiós willing..."

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"Quintus Flavius Theodorus. I am afraid I don't know much about the games themselves, though. I just make sure the fighters don't expire unless it is in a spectacular fashion."

”Marcus Calvunus,” he replied, smiling. He’d lost a load of money on the fighter, but really bore him no ill will, and he was quite prepared to be in his usual good mood. He received Theodorus’ explanation - that he just sewed the men back together, without having any particular interest in the fighting itself or the outcomes - with a grin and a maybe-to-familiar- clap of his scarred hand to the man’s shoulder. ”Why, you could make a fortune Theodorus, with your insider knowledge. Surely you must hear and see things that would help a man make a few more coins.” It even occurred to him that Theodorus could help to throw a fight, with the right medication administered, before a match. But that would probably be sacrilegious or something, as well as put the man at risk for crucifixion. Calvunus thought better of making such a suggestion, for now anyway.

@Chevi

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Behind them Phaedo’s eye dropped for a moment, as he walked a step or two behind the others. He was too ashamed to admit he hadn’t been able to watch the matches. But he listened with interest, as the medicus listed the injuries which he’d been called upon to attempt to patch up. His eyes came back up when the man mentioned the head injury. ”I saw a child kicked in the head by a horse once. That sounds similar. He perished quite quickly though.”

 

His voice was neither sad nor aghast, just very matter of fact. He had a kind heart. But his first master had emphasized the importance of not letting emotion get in the way of good doctoring.

@Chevi

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”Why, you could make a fortune Theodorus, with your insider knowledge. Surely you must hear and see things that would help a man make a few more coins.” 

The man was certainly interested in the games, especially the financial aspect, that much was clear. Theo knew that many frequented the arena to make some coin as much as just to watch the fights and the carnage. He knew that medical knowledge might give an edge to someone making an educated bet, but he also knew that his profession was not the knowledge of the gods... and he suspected what would happen if he gave the wrong man the wrong tip. 

"Someone would have to tell me what those things are good for" he admitted with a shrug. Someone with knowledge of the games.

The young man behind them spoke up. Theo knew he was a slave, but he listened curiously anyway.

”I saw a child kicked in the head by a horse once. That sounds similar. He perished quite quickly though.”

"It would be smiliar to a blunk weapon, yes. And children's skulls are more delicate" he noted with a nod, looking the young man over "Are you interested in medicine?"

@Gil

 

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Calvunus was more than prepared to fill Theodorus' ear with schemes for determining which gladiator might have the upper hand in the matches. But he was also more than willing to wait to do so, over beer, or wine, as the slave spoke up and Theodorus answered him. He knew a little about the prostitute's background, for Calvunus, unlike Falco, was the friendly sort who was curious to know about those who worked in the brothel. He interjected, "The boy's sharp as a tack," nodding at Phaedo. "He's literate, and numerate. Not quite sure why he's being rented out by the hour." His words were coarse, but not unkind.

@Chevi

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The distress of the arena was now completely forgotten, as Theodorus replied and put his question to Phaedo. The slave nodded in the affirmative and meant to speak, but Calvunus interrupted first, alluding to Phaedo's current mode of employment. But even that sad fact couldn't dampen the excitement Phaedo felt rising in his breast. When the bouncer was done, Phaedo said immediately - for such was his enthusiasm - "I was training to be a physician, sir. When I was very young. I...I didn't get very far, of course. But my first master, he was a medicus. I...I thought it was very...interesting." And slightly ghastly too, at times, such as seeing the broken skull of a dying child cradled in his master's hands. But at least it was an opportunity to learn. Compared to being a prostitute, it was heavenly.

@Chevi

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Theo was grateful that the conversation about betting got interrupted before he had made any commitments. He needed to gather his thoughts on the issue before the man could talk him into anything. And he badly needed some food and a drink. He headed down the street to a popina he knew, while they continued their new conversation with the boy.

"The boy's sharp as a tack. He's literate, and numerate. Not quite sure why he's being rented out by the hour." 

Oh. A prostitute slave then. He looked shy, but not much ashamed about it.

 "I was training to be a physician, sir. When I was very young. I...I didn't get very far, of course. But my first master, he was a medicus. I...I thought it was very...interesting." 

"Sounds like a waste of a keen mind" Theo noted with a good-natured smile, responding to Calvunus' words. Of course the boy was also not hard to look at, but prostitute slaves never fared very well on the long run, and he was clearly smart enough to be more. "Are you renting him, or you work for his master?" he asked Calvunus as they walked over to the place smelling of cooked food and wine.

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Calvunus chuckled. "Me? No. I brought him here to tend to some old fat fart who has a kink - likes to get his rocks off while he has the smell of blood in his nostrils or some such fucking nonsense." He shrugged casually. "Maybe he was a soldier once, back before he was as big around as a barrel."

Calvunus jerked a thumb back towards Phaedo. "I'm only playing nursemaid. Got to make sure no-one messes with the merchandise, unless they pay to." And it was no joke - the rivalry between the gangs that filled the Aventine extended to trying to do mischief to one anothers' properties, and that included human property as well.

"He's worth a bit, because he's so pretty, and very good manners." Calvunus snorted. Clearly he didn't place a high value on courtesy himself.

They had reached the open air entrance to the wine and food bar and Calvunus' thoughts immediately turned to filling his belly. Unfortunately, he was, in fact, broke. At least, his personal funds were tapped out. There was however the fee that had been paid over by the customer with the fetish. Technically it belonged to his boss and should have been remitted untouched into her grasping hand. On the other hand, there was likely to be a game of dice he could shoulder his way into, and surely, he could use the domina's money to recoup not only the price of a meal but also make a little profit beyond?

"Come. Let's sit. I see a few stools over there." He pointed. "This is on me. A token of my appreciation for our future partnership." He clapped Theodorus on the back with a big smile on his still handsome face. He was making a great assumption. But perhaps the medicus would feel it would be foolish to look a gift horse - or meal - in the mouth.

@Chevi

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Pheado had smiled shyly at what might have been taken as something of a compliment. Of course, Theodorus couldn't know if the slave had any intelligence or skill, or not. But Phaedo said nothing, for he was a slave and his place was to be available when wanted and nothing more. He walked behind the two older men, and wondered what it must be like to be one of the physicians that tended to the slaves of the ludii. Bloody and hectic, at times, he was sure. But interesting, nonetheless. More interesting than being shafted up the arse by a never ending string of strangers, in any case, and far more enjoyable. There were worse things a slave could be put to, surely, than prostitution. But as far as Phaedo was concerned, he felt no gratitude that his fate had not been worse, when he'd been sold. He felt little rancor either. It was what it was, and there was nothing he could do to change the fact that he was at the whim and mercy of the gods and free men.

He listened to Calvunus as they walked on, and he was quiet, as the thug suggested he and the medicus sit and eat. Phaedo knew the dangerous game the bouncer was playing, preparing to spend the domina's money, and his eyes widened a bit, at the cheek of the man. But of course, it wasn't his place to suggest Calvunus use more caution - and his brain! Phaedo just hoped that he'd be allowed to stay with them, and not be made to stand outside and wait, for he hoped the medicus might speak more about what he did, in so far as tending the fighters.

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Theo meant it when he said that the boy looked smart. Also pretty, which explained why they ran him as a prostitute, but more than that, he had the eyes of someone who had not been completely broken by slavery yet. Theo wondered if Calvunus was stuck with him professionally, or if he was enjoying a day off.

"Me? No. I brought him here to tend to some old fat fart who has a kink - likes to get his rocks off while he has the smell of blood in his nostrils or some such fucking nonsense. Maybe he was a soldier once, back before he was as big around as a barrel. I'm only playing nursemaid. Got to make sure no-one messes with the merchandise, unless they pay to. He's worth a bit, because he's so pretty, and very good manners." 

Professional, then. Whoever owned the boy must have been making good money off him. Theo shuddered at the idea of the old fat man getting his kink on at the arena, though. Such a Roman thing to do. Theo spent most of his life around the sight of blood, and how anyone could see that as arousing was honestly beyond his comprehension. Then again, he grew up in a different place...

They made it to the popina, and while it was not the most elegant place to dine in, the smell of various foods made Theo's mouth water. He had been hungry before, but now that he was around food, he found that he was positively starving after the day of hard work. He allowed himself to be steered by Calvunus.

"Come. Let's sit. I see a few stools over there. This is on me. A token of my appreciation for our future partnership."

"Thank you." Partnership indeed. Still, Theo was not going to turn down free food. He followed the man inside and took a seat, looking up to see if the boy was following them. Slaves often waited for their masters outside, but for all intents and purposes, the boy had been working, and he deserved a meal as well. "So... you bet on gladiators often, then?" he asked Calvunus. Why was not a polite question to ask, gambling was a pastime many people engaged in "Do you have favorites?"

@Gil

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Calvunus was a thug, there was no disputing that. But, like any profession, the men who populated the gangs of the Aventine came in all varieties. Was it a good trait, or a ghoulish one, that he could happily slit a man groin to gullet and yet still smile over a cup of cheap wine and a dice game a half hour later? Well, in any case, he certainly had no intention of making Phaedo stand out side, just because he was a slave. Calvunus was the "nice guy" bouncer at the Venus, and always had a grin and a joke for all the others who worked there, as well as the customers. Besides, if he left Phaedo to his own devices, the slave might get into trouble or be bothered by someone, and then what would have been the point of Calvunus coming with him to play chaperone? So as he waited for Theodorus to step inside, he clapped Phaedo on the back and with a nod indicated that the whore should join them.

The three wound up sitting on a bench at a table. Because it was a seedy joint, no-one seemed to be bothered by the slave mingling with the two citizens. In response to the question asked, Calvunus grinned and nodded. "Oh yes! Love it. A man can make himself a packet of money, if he knows what he's doing." He did not say directly that he was one of the ones that did know, what to do, or that he had ever made a "packet of money." He let the assumption linger that he was, and he had - when in fact he was really a pretty lousy gambler. Sometimes he did well. But then, like many of his ilk, flush with the heady rush of success, and convinced fortuna was on his side, he'd lose it all right back again. Still, being an eternal optimist, he always looked on the cup as being half full, and truly believed fate held a great fortune in store for him. Of course, he needed to do his part too, and it seemed like cultivating the friendship of a medicus who tended to the brutes upon whom he'd lay his coins - or not - was definitely a step in the right direction.

Almost as soon as they sat down, a reasonably attractive serving woman showed up at his elbow and asked "What can I fetch for you, gentlemen?" She used the word with only a slightly sarcastic tone and a playful look in her eye, as Calvunus smiled at her.

"A taste of you wouldn't go amiss, darling.."he teased, reaching to give her bum a pinch.

@Chevi

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Phaedo was quite happy to be allowed to enter with the two men, and would have been content to stand off to the side while they ate. But it was very like Calvunus to include him in the little "party" and so he was happier still when the bouncer literally put a big paw on his shoulder and steered him to the table and bade him to sit. He wound up sandwiched between the two and he hoped Theodorus would not take offense at that. He remained quiet for a moment as the woman approached them and asked what they'd eat. He wouldn't ask for anything for himself. But perhaps Calvunus would order something that he'd be willing to share.

As the bouncer began to flirt with the woman - typical - Phaedo screwed up the courage to turn to Theodorus and ask "Domine, may I ask you, where did you learn the skills of a medicus? And how did you wind up working at a Ludus?"

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 "Oh yes! Love it. A man can make himself a packet of money, if he knows what he's doing."

As Calvunus talked on about his passion for the games (or rather, Theo assumed, the money he could make from a well placed bet), the three of them entered the tavern. Not even the kid was left outside, even if he had to sit between the two of them in the crowded space inside. The air was full of smells both good and sour, and eventually a woman found her way to the table, asking what she could bring. Calvunus shamelessly began to flirt with her, which made Theo chuckle. He was starting to get an idea of what kind of a man he was dealing with. 

"Some chicken for me, love, when you get the chance."

"Domine, may I ask you, where did you learn the skills of a medicus? And how did you wind up working at a Ludus?"

The boy seemed more excited to talk about the medical profession than about sizing up the woman. Theo chuckled, letting Calvunus flirt on as he answered the question.

"You could say I was born into it... My father served in the temple of Asklepios, and my mother was a maia... a midwife, back home in Corinth." he explained "I joined the legions to practice more... to learn more. I served in the East, and then in Germania. And when I got my diploma, I..." he paused, not wanting to go into detail about how he'd lost his veteran's payment "... I came to Rome to work and learn. And the Ludus was hiring a medicus, so, here I am."

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As Calvunus' attention was momentarily diverted by the woman, Phaedo listened with courtesy to the medicus, and he smiled. "My first master was a Greek. He was from Thebes. That's why he loved the theater so much." His voice lowered a little, and he gave a little grin. "He always said the Greek playwrights were a thousand times more clever than the Romans. Although he did quite fancy Plautus." Phaedo smirked a little conspiratorially. Then he looked at Theodorus with a bit less shyness. "Did you find serving in the military...helpful? I would imagine the wounds must be very similar to those you see here at the games." He shuddered a bit, and closed his eyes for a moment, as he remembered...all that blood!

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As the woman finally left them, Calvunus bestowing one more pat to her bum, he turned a grinning face to Phaedo and Theodorus. "Don't go throwing up all over the place, lad. If you need to hurl, go do it outside!" he commanded, catching sight of that blanched countenance. To Theodorus he said, "If you ever fancy a trip to the Venus, drop by and ask for me. First one'll be on the house." He chuckled. "No matter how you like it. I know how you Greeks are." He laughed, thinking himself funny. But his offer was made out of generosity - it was easy enough to give away what wasn't his to give - and it was also self-serving. If he really could buddy up with the man, he was convinced this would really boost his gambling wins. And now wouldn't that piss Marcus off? Which would just be the icing on the cake!

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With Calvunus' attention momentarily occupied, Theo had some time to talk to Phaedo. The lad was eager to ask more about being a medicus, and his face lit up when Theo shared some of his story.

"My first master was a Greek. He was from Thebes. That's why he loved the theater so much. He always said the Greek playwrights were a thousand times more clever than the Romans. Although he did quite fancy Plautus."

"Sounds like a very wise man" Theo nodded with a grin. He wondered what happened. If the boy had a master like that, how did he end up being a prostitute? It was a question for another time. He did not want to tear up old wounds while Calvunus was sitting right next to them.

"Did you find serving in the military...helpful? I would imagine the wounds must be very similar to those you see here at the games." 

"A lot of them are similar, yes." he nodded, noting that Phaedo went pale at the mention of gore. "The difference is, in the arena I don't get to treat anyone until the spectacle is over." Which was definitely a change of pace from trying to keep the injured alive right on the battlefield.

"Don't go throwing up all over the place, lad. If you need to hurl, go do it outside!" 

Calvunus finally turned his attenton back to them just in time to see Phaedo turn pale. Theo glanced at the boy with some sympathy. He doubted he would actually vomit, but it was strange that his interest in medicine did not extend to watching the games.

"If you ever fancy a trip to the Venus, drop by and ask for me. First one'll be on the house. No matter how you like it. I know how you Greeks are."

Theo chuckled at that. In his own coarse way, it was a generious offer from Calvunus, especially since he probably did not even run the brothel. He really seemed like a friendly guy, even if he was trying to be extra friendly to get some gambling tips out of the medicus. The comment about the Greeks baffled Theodorus a little, not sure what the man was referring to exactly.

"I am not... quite aware of the difference here in Rome yet." he ventured "But thank you for the offer."

@Gil

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Phaedo had gone quiet. It was true - recalling the sight of what had happened, in the arena, a short while ago, it made him quite queasy. It was different from an accident, like the child who'd been kicked by a horse. That was bad luck. The gladiator matches, that was...planned brutality. He couldn't understand how anyone would want to see such gore, to find it...entertaining...or arousing! He imagined attending to soldiers would be almost as bad. But at least the sole impetus for rending flesh and opening up a man's insides was not so the crowds would cheer with enthusiasm. At least nominally, war served a more...pragmatic...purpose.

@Chevi

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Calvunus frowned a bit, looking truly perplexed. "Don't you just stick your cock in between the thighs? I always wondered how a man could find any real satisfaction in that. As a way to get started, yeah...But in the end, don't you ever just want to...shove it in?" He gestured with two fingers and those of his other hand rolled into a cylindrical position.

He was nothing if not blunt (and unrefined and crass and ill mannered).

@Chevi

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The boy had gone pale again. Theo could tell that the arena was not really his favorite thing, which made sense, if he had been educated by a Greek medicus before. Greeks in general did not see much value in the blood bath alone. The spectacle, maybe. For Theo, it was mostly a job.

While Phaedo struggled with his disgust, Calvunus took over the conversation, quickly steering it in another direction that the medicus could not wholly follow.

 "Don't you just stick your cock in between the thighs? I always wondered how a man could find any real satisfaction in that. As a way to get started, yeah...But in the end, don't you ever just want to...shove it in?"

Theo blinked, a little surprised at the words as well as the genuine interest in the guard's demeanor. He was not making fun on him at all, just... making conversation.

"Well, it depends on the person, I'd say" he ventured with a chuckle "I'm rather boring in that regard, I'm afraid. Then again, I spent most of my time in the legions, not in Achaea."

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"Ah, good. A little civilizing influence then - bet your comrades taught you how to fuck properly!" Calvunus said with a laugh. In his mind, of course, the Romans, being far superior to the Greeks, were the ones to bring "civilization" to the world, and not vice versa. Also, the idea that either soldiering or fucking had anything to do with being "civilized" did not seem in the least bit ironic to him. His thought processes were simple, and far from logical, and in absolutely no way intellectual or appropriate. For Calvunus, life was all about the simple things, like...violence, sex and getting drunk. That's was about the extent of his existence. Oh and trying to somehow get rich.

The woman was bringing the food to their table, and before she had even set it down, Calvunus was reaching for it with one hand while grabbing himself with the other, leering at her. "If it doesn't taste like pig shit, I'll give you a little something extra for the effort." He was the type of man who thought that any woman would count herself lucky to get a taste of him.

@Chevi

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Making an attempt to tear his thoughts away from what he'd witnessed a short while ago, before he'd had the sense to close his eyes, Phaedo asked Theodorus, "What parts of the Empire did you see, domine? Were you able to do anything besides march and camp and care for the others?"

He was not filled with wanderlust himself. But he had always enjoyed hearing others speak about their travels throughout the known world.

@Chevi

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