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Cynane

The Bodyguards

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The whole strange ritual of Lupercalia was over – at least for the noble lady Cynane was serving. And she wasn’t just any noble lady, she was the princess. She was however also a young woman who was very much ready to be married soon, so she had to be present for an event like this. And Cynane was always near her, making sure her mistress wasn’t actually harmed and just enjoyed herself instead. By now though, they had retreated, as there was a private party for high-ranking nobles and of course Claudia was going to attend. And so Cynane was too.

 As always at such events, she had retreated to rest against a wall, not interrupting the party with her presence, she was just there, watching her mistress from afar. They had arrived early though, and she watched as more and more people entered – some carrying marks from the bloody strips of goatskin. Proof that they too had attended the ritual and the fun afterwards. If you could call that fun – it was strange fun. On the other hand, not stranger than so many other ancient rituals, both here and in Britannia.

 A slave offered Cynane a drink and she gladly took it and looked up as another group was entering the party. A tall and beautiful noble lady had appeared, with a guard in tow too it seemed. The guard was soon left to fend for himself, not following her around and Cynane tilted her head, watching him. He seemed so out of place here, for some reason. He was definitely no ordinary guard, she decided, but she didn’t know him yet and Cynane was always careful with strangers – especially when they were men. If he looked her way though, she’d raise her cup to him and have a sip, acknowledging his presence.

@Sarah

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In some ways the ritual that had preceeded had felt less strange than many Roman customs, though Aeneas deplored the waste of good meat. But the giving of a god's blessings by those chosen was a concept that was familiar enough, even if the manner was strange. But as a young woman of marriagable age, it had behooved Corinthia to attend, and she had taken her bodyguard. It had been one of his first real outings in Roman society, and it had been somewhat eye-opening. Viewing them on the same footing instead of from behind bars or from the floor of the arena. Yes he seemed largely invisible to those dressed as citizens, but invisible was better than actively disdained.

Corinthia, dressed and made-up in the expensive elegance he thought of as her mask, stepped out amongst her peers, and it was clear from a glance around that those who served as he did - as bodyguards and ensurers of safety - were not required to follow. Only house slaves, serving food and drink, mingled amongst the highborn attendees. Others, many of obviously foreign birth like himself, stayed discretely out of the way about the edges.

Was there a vanity in the fact that the tunic Corinthia had given him to wear had no sleeves? It showed off the blue tattoos on his upper arms, and those along his collarbones were visible past the square neckline, though it was obvious that more were hidden. Leather bracers on his forearms hid the scar on his right and went with the leather jerkin over the tunic, part of the look, along with the belt and sandals with greaves. Whatever. He was more interested in watching those around him, curious about this type of event, and as he glanced about Aeneas became aware that he too was being watched.

She was tall, like him, and pale skinned. Pale eyed too, in this land of dark eyes and mediterranean complexions. Blonde hair was braided back, and the slight raise of the cup in her hand suggested a willingness at least to speak. Aeneas cocked his own head slightly in acknowledgement, and wandered slowly over, coming to stand with his back against the wall nearby, but not too close. "Salve." He said evenly.

@Atrice

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The male guard and possible slave who just entered stood out, with the no-sleeve tunica he wore and it showed off his tattoos. Cynane thought it looked very familiar to her and it made her miss home a little bit. He was dressed more or less like her, besides the tunica, which probably made her stand out – because she wore her usual garb with the long-sleeved light-blue tunica stopping a bit above the knee, breeches, sandals and the leather armor. Maybe her braids had been done a little more nicely than usual on this night, and there were even a few decorative blue flowers thrown in there, but everything else was normal… at least to Cynane.

 When the male guard looked her way, she raised her cup and noticed how he looked her over too with something best described as curiosity. He then approached her and stood with the wall behind her and greeted her.

 “Greetings.” Cynane replied to him, “You look like you could use a drink too.” She then added and looked around to see if any slaves carrying drinks were nearby. Not that she planned on getting drunk tonight, or getting anyone else drunk, but a drink or two wouldn’t harm anyone.

@Sarah

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Aeneas would have preferred some breeches, but none had been supplied. He was still learning Corinthia's mercurial moods, judging the right time to ask for things. Though perhaps she simply liked showing off his long if somewhat hairy legs; he understood that to Romans slaves could be as much ornamentation as practical.

He could only assume from her outfit that the tall woman was also serving as a bodyguard, presumably for one of the female attendees, which made a certain sense. Where he came from women didn't go raiding or onto the battlefields, but there wasn't one who wouldn't pick up a sword or an axe if another clan raided their village.

She greeted him civilly enough, though they were both cautious. He inclined his head slightly as she suggested he might want a drink, though he was aware he was on duty, keeping one eye on Corinthia as she circulated. "Little one." He allowed. His Latin was far from fluent yet, and his accent was still very much present, sounds of the north of Britannia.  He fielded a mug of beer from one of the slaves carrying drinks and took a mouthful.

"Aeneas." He said after a moment, jerking a thumb at himself. It was the name he'd been given.

@Atrice

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He nodded slightly when she suggested a drink for the slave, and then he said he’d have a little one. Cynane nodded, “Yes… we’re both on duty, are we not?” She said and not long after, a slave came with another tray of drinks and the other guard and possible slave took a cup too. He quickly drank a mouthful but Cynane didn’t mention anything and sipped hers. Then he introduced himself as Aeneas.

“Good to meet you, Aeneas. I’m Cynane.” She replied, “So who is the lady you’re guarding? Does she give you trouble?” Not that she knew if she would, but Cynane felt almost blessed with her mistress, Claudia, who never gave her any trouble, despite being a princess. But you never knew what others would do and it was a way to start a conversation.

@Sarah

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"Indeed." He agreed with a slight nod, blue gaze scanning the room quickly for any threat to his charge. But all seemed well. And there were a number of bodyguards watching. He returned his attention to his companion when she introduced herself, and nodded politely in acknowledgement.

Her next question was perhaps to be expected, though the addendum was much less so. He nodded in the direction of the young lady with the tanned skin, perfect coiffure and make-up. "Claudia Corinthia." He supplied, then gave a faint, amused smile. "No, no trouble." He lied. "She is imperial family." Though presumably due to the death of her father, didn't live at the palace.

"And yours?" He asked the blonde warrior. Who was she she here to protect? Was it someone who might be of interest politically to Corinthia? His own mistress was, he knew trying to cement the standing expected for one of her bloodline. And if her fortunes rose, so did his.

@Atrice

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All seemed well indeed and Cynane sipped her drink, while Aeneas explained whom his lady was. She had noticed how beautiful the young woman was, quite tall too, but there was also something… distant or reserved about her. He gave up her name and she thought she might have heard it before. Aeneas said she gave him no trouble and that she was of the imperial family.

“Is that so?” She said with a peaked curiosity, before he of course asked whom her mistress was. She couldn’t help but smile.

“My mistress and Domina is as imperial as they come. Claudia Caesaris.” She nodded towards the fair-skinned and dark-haired young lady, who was chatting with some friends and also having a drink. Claudia looked stunning tonight, as always, and Cynane was pleased the event seemed to go well with no troubles or threats present right now.

“Luckily she does not give me any trouble at all. I think she may be the kindest Roman I’ve met so far.” And since she’d been here over a decade, that said quite a lot. But Cynane was very fond of her young mistress. She was of royal blood and not only charming, but also kind. And a good student. How could she not admire her?

@Sarah

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