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Teutus

Blood is thicker than water

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Whether other slaves in other households had it easier, Teutus had no idea. All he knew was that he belonged to a household with a very exacting master, who had extremely high standards for just about everything, and who did not forgive mistakes or slip-ups very easily. He was not entirely sure what had been going on, but one of the house-slaves was in tears while another was maintaining a very pointed silence, slamming things around in high dudgeon. If there was a cat, it would have been kicked.

Teutus escaped the slaves' quarters to obey a summons to his master who probably wanted to head out of the house to... wherever. Teutus was rarely told where his master was going before they got there, and in this case, at least his master was out of the house, having upset practically every person in it apart from Antonia Varia, who was the only one who could say anything back without getting in more trouble.

He had his sandals and his secretarial satchel, just in case it was business.

"Domine," he said, presenting himself in the master's study, hoping that it would indeed be business outside the house, so the household could take time to calm down from the collective funk the master had caused.

 

@Atrice

 

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It had been one of those days. It was winter, it wasn’t very warm, not even in Rome… and the weather had been grey and wet for at least a week now, if not longer. Everyone were slightly annoyed all the time, everyone missed the sun and even the slaves couldn’t discretely hide their displeasure. Not even near their Dominus, who wasn’t very pleased either. Especially considering his body slave Hector had had a cold since the weather turned wet, so Tertius didn’t even have him.

 … and then this morning came and the kitchen slave, who was supposed to make sure there was food for the morning, she was pregnant (had been in a while now) and she had not been feeling well this morning, so she hadn’t done her duties. The child wasn't his, he had never slept with her - it was well know that Tertius preferred his male slaves over the females in his bed. How she got herself pregnant then, he didn't know, but he at least wasn't so cruel he'd sell a pregnant slave. Still though, she was here to work and today the fire wasn’t even lit so that Tertius could get himself a hot drink! And Antonia refused to leave the warm covers in her bed for the same reason. In the end, things got heated and now it would be better than anything else to just leave the domus and visit a thermae. Get into a hot bath and just… relax.

 Since Hector was sick, Tertius couldn’t bring him. Teutus would have to come; he needed to be introduced to the luxurious baths a senator would use anyway… someday soon, Tertius would free him, after all. His bodyslave Hector knew those baths, of course, since Tertius would often have him follow, but today it would be Teutus. Tertius had already asked another slave to make sure a lectica was ready for him, and he was putting on a cloak when his slave-son appeared in the tablinum, “You’ll want to leave that.” He said, talking about the satchel of course, “And put on a cloak, it’s wet outside. We’re going to the thermae.“

@Sharpie

Edited by Atrice

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"The thermae? Yes, Domine," Teutus said, and hurried to replace the satchel with oil-bottle and strigil, as well as finding a cloak for himself. He didn't mind the baths, it was at least warm there, and would be out of the wet, too. Getting out of the house with everyone upset fornext to no reason - Teutus was slightly irritated to find he felt grateful for that. Hector was unwell, so that meant that he'd end up serving in his place, which could be a little awkward if he let it be.

He wasn't going to let it be awkward. Anyway, if it got too awkward, on either side (well, realistically, if it got too awkward for Tertius!) there were plenty of slaves at the baths who could step in. Either way, the bathers generally brought their own oil, so it wasn't as though Teutus was deliberately making it awkward or suggesting anything.

He returned to the atrium, a plain but serviceable cloak over his plain but serviceable slave's tunic.

"Domine."

@Atrice

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Tertius didn’t think it would be awkward to bring Teutus with him to the thermae. Of course when he took Hector there, that very often involved more than just bathing, but Teutus was his son and Tertius had never and would never use him like that. It wouldn’t be right. Teutus was a good slave though, did as he was told and carried out his duties well and honestly, as his son… didn’t Teutus deserve a trip to the more luxurious thermae? As a slave, he probably used the cheaper public bathing facilities. This would be good for him.

 Teutus left the tablinum to leave his satchel elsewhere, and returned with items more needed for the baths. Tertius wasn’t shy, so having Teutus take care of him like that in all his natural state, that wouldn’t be weird. At least he didn’t think so.

 “I think we’re ready then. I hope the lectica is ready.” And hopefully one with curtains, since it was raining and sitting in a lectica with the rain and wind coming right into it, that wouldn’t do much good. He gestured for Teutus to follow him and outside the main entrance to the domus, a lectica was indeed prepared and thank the gods, with curtains! Teutus would of course trot along outside in the rain – there was not enough space for two in this one.

 “It’s not so far.” Tertius reassured Teutus as he climbed into the lectica.

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Maybe one day Teutus would be able to take a lectica himself in the rain, rather than having to trot alongside one, getting wet. He pulled the rough cloak tighter about himself as the bearers lifted the litter to their shoulders.

And of course, they did go off at a trot - Teutus was just a slave who had to keep up or fall behind as he would, and would presumably merit some sort of punishment if he fell behind. The bearers neither knew nor cared that he was their passenger's son - and even if they did know, it wasn't like he was a free son. There were probably hundreds of slaves who'd been fathered by their masters, Teutus was nothing special.

Naturally 'it's not far' was a totally different measurement for the one being carried in comfort than it was to the bare-legged slave trotting alongside in the rain. Rome permitted no wheeled vehicles within the city limits during daylight hours, but that still left human and animal traffic to crowd the streets. Teutus was glad when they finally reached the thermae and hastened to assist his father from the confines of the carrying chair and pay the bearers before following him into the apodyterium.

It was distinctly warmer inside than out and he hastily stripped down to his loincloth, putting his clothing into one of the niches lining the walls before turning to help his master with his own garments.

 

@Atrice

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Indeed Teutus might one day sit in a lectica too, but he was still a slave and Tertius was not one to treat most of his slaves differently than… well… slaves. Hector was special, of course, because he was Tertius’ body slave and took care of all his needs, but Teutus wasn’t like that (gods forbid!), since he and Tertius had a quite different relation to each other. So Teutus would trot along outside the lectica like almost anyone else.

 The young man did look quite soakedwhen they reached the thermae, and he was quick to help Tertius, take care of those carrying the lectica and then they stepped inside the thermae to get undressed. It was already warmer inside and Tertius inhaled the warm air and looked forwards to moving onto the warm and hot rooms and maybe he’d even take a swim in the natatio.

 He looked at Teutus as he’d quickly undressed to his loincloth – the young man was quite a lot more skinny than Tertius and could use with some proper exercise to gain a more muscular body. If he was going to become Tertius’ heir, he thought it would only be right… it might also make him resemble Tertius some more. Meanwhile Teutus helped Tertius get undressed.

 “You can get into the baths too, if you’d like.” Tertius told him, “I think it’s what we all need when the weather’s like this. As long as you carry out your duties, you’re of course free to enjoy yourself here too.” He informed his son, hoping the youth would appreciate such a gesture from Tertius.

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"Thank you, Domine," Teutus murmured, stripping his loincloth off and stowing it with his tunic before turning to help Tertius disrobe, stowing his clothing neatly in the same niche.

Naked, Tertius looked like any other bather - perhaps a little thinner, but his was a wiry sort of leanness, though it still owed something to his position as a slave. When he was freed (whenever that might be!) he was sure that a better diet would help, though he was unlikely to get fat. He would just have to stay active - something that was easy enough to do in Rome, for those who wished to.

"Do you want me to massage you, Domine, or shall I get one of the thermae slaves to do so?" he asked as he followed his master into the tepidarium. If he were here as a personal attendant in a loincloth, his duties would be obvious. Allowed to attend as a bather and his duties were less obvious, although naturally they still meant seeing that Tertius was properly tended to, whether that meant doing it himself or getting one of the bath-house slaves to do so.

 

@Atrice

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Teutus seemed pleased that he would be able to relax and enjoy the baths too and then he stripped entirely, before helping Tertius. Now this was his son, so it wasn’t like Tertius wanted to have any improper thoughts about the young man. But he could definitely see himself in Teutus, although the youth was not quite as solidly built as himself. Tertius has never been fat, he'd always been quite agile and muscular, but he was never slim like his son was. Teutus was more to the slender side, but his mother had been too, so it probably came from her. At least the youth was handsome; he would have no problem charming a future wife.

 Once Tertius was undressed too, they moved on towards the tepidarium. On the way, Teutus wondered if Tertius would like a massage or wanted a thermae slave to do it. Tertius stopped and looked at him for a moment.

 “I’d prefer one of the thermae slaves to do so. You’re no… ordinary slave, Teutus… after all.” He added. No, having Teutus massage him would just be odd… “I think I’ll wait with a massage though, until after I’ve been in the warm bath. Perhaps…” He stopped himself a moment, considering if he should really do this. Teutus was technically still also a slave, even here, he was here to replace Hector in most (but certainly not all!) duties. On the other hand, he would like to let Teutus have a taste of the life of a free Roman… “… perhaps you’d like a massage too?” He finally asked, arching a brow, wondering what Teutus would respond to that.

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Another slight reminder of the fact the Teutus was a slave and yet not just any slave. Any slave could enjoy the baths, provided they could pay the entrance fee (which was only an as, after all, and unlikely to be a sum anyone would regret paying). There were probably some slaves who would rather not reveal scars or brands that labelled them as what they were, but then, there was no law that they could not enjoy the pleasures of the baths. At least he didn't have to worry about any of that.

He followed Tertius to the tepidarium. Even his father would look askance at his presumption if he attempted to walk beside him. He corrected his thought: His father would probably be the only attendee to look askance at him; nobody else cared -nobody else even knew he was a slave.

"Yes, Domine," he said, and paused for half a step, his eyebrow flickering up momentarily as the offer registered. "I should like that very much, Domine, if I may."

Was he here, then, as his master's slave, or as his fathers son? Why did things have to be so complicated?

 

@Atrice

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It was a complicated relationship that they had and it had been like that for years. Tertius wanted to free the young man, but something always came up and he wanted to be sure that Teutus was entirely ready to take on the duties of a free Roman who was the heir to a family name and fortune and would help restore that name further! The past of their family wasn’t unknown in Rome, after all. It was Tertius’ forefather’s fault that Rome had yet to conquer Germania and it was unlikely it would happen, or so they said. That was quite a burden to have on your name!

 But they were not here to consider they past, they were here to consider warmth and even a massage was part of the plan, it seemed. Teutus followed a few step behind Tertius into the tepidarium, where Tertius would approach a marble bench to sit on for a little while, before they moved further into the baths. And he had dared ask if his son would like a massage too!

 Teutus seemed surprised, but then agreed to the idea of a massage.

 “I wouldn’t suggest it if I wouldn’t let you anyway. So of course you may.” Tertius kept his promises, or at least, that’s how he saw it. Teutus might view that differently, but Tertius was also intent on keeping the promise of freedom, it just had to be at the right moment.

 He gestured to the bench beside him, “There’s more space to sit on here. It’s nice, isn’t it? Just what you need on a day like this.” He said and inhaled a breath, enjoying the warmth and watching the other visitors to the baths and the slaves that worked here, moving back and forth… and then he looked at his son again, he really didn’t know much about what he did, when he wasn’t together with Tertius… “Have you ever come here on your own?”

@Sharpie

Edited by Atrice
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"Thank you, Domine." Teurtus was nothing if not polite. Rude slaves tended to receive corrections in the formal of physical chastisement; Teutus may be his father's son, but it wasn't as though he were a free son, so naturally he was going to be cautious. Why antagonise the man who had the power to free him, or to sell him, after all? And he hadn't been freed yet - who knew when that might happen. Who knew if it would happen, even, despite his father's promises.

And to be fair, Tertius wasn't a master who would dangle some prize, however small, in front of his slaves, and then snatch it away at the last simply to dash the slave's hopes. Some would, but his father didn't, which was one mercy, however small.

He sat, once Tertius had seated himself (always defer to the citizen, even if he was your father!) and caught the eye of one of the thermae slaves, indicating that the man should begin tending to Tertius first. Another slave came over to work on Teutus, who was grateful for the opportunity for a massage; his shoulders were definitely tense.

"It's very welcome, on a day like today," he said, and nodded. "Once or twice, though only when I have time."

When he wasn't expected home to do something; it wasn't as though a slave (even a privileged once like Teutus) had time to themselves to spend an afternoon at the baths. It certainly wasn't something he could do every day without being accused of slacking off and being lazy, and Tertius would be one of the first to notice if his son somehow had an afternoon to himself. Teutus often thought that he was the hardest-worked slave in the household, simply so that the master couldn't be accused of favouritism where he was concerned.

 

@Atrice

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Maybe it was a little bit strange, being here with Teutus instead of Hector, but it had to happen at some point. Teutus might be a slave, but he was the most prized slave in Tertius’ entire household, because he also just happened to be Tertius’ son. It was lucky that Tertius had been able to bring him, when he left the old house, where his brother and sister still lived. But he was glad that he managed to marry a woman, who could give him a house where he could be Pater Familias… and that he was at least allowed to take Teutus with him. Think if Teutus had stayed with Secundus… what his brother might have done to the boy, if Tertius wasn’t around. Tertius didn’t trust his brother. It was good that Teutus was here.

Once they both sat down, Teutus made sure that some of the thermae slaves came over to give them their massage and Tertius leaned into the strong hands working on his tense shoulders and neck. Meanwhile Teutus explained how this was indeed very welcome and then said he had come here only a few times, when he had the time.

“I’ll make sure you have more time for such pleasures. You should have.” Tertius then said. He couldn’t have it known in Rome that his son, even if he was a slave, had no time to bathe properly and stay clean! Not that he had ever seen Teutus very dirty, not after he grew up, but still… if Teutus was to be freed, he was also to be known as an honorable Roman at that time. And since he was here, now, he might be seen by others and they’d know who he was. Tertius promised himself to give Teutus more time to go to the thermae… and who knew what else?

“Tell me what you like to do, when you’re not working.” Tertius then said, although he had his eyes closed a bit because the massage felt so nice.

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When he wasn't working? He had very little time to do anything when he wasn't working, other than sleep - and to say that would sound as though he was a lazy little shit who should probably be whipped. At least Tertius' eyes were closed, so he wouldn't have seen the flabbergasted expression that crossed Teutus' face momentarily.

"I don't have much time to myself, Domine," he said, trying to think what he did like doing. "I have been to the baths. I like to sit in the garden sometimes."

And chat with the gardener, one of the few slaves not vaguely threatened by Teutus' neither-fish-nor-fowl position in the household, though he was careful not to distract the man from his own chores.

"I would like to read sometimes, but..." He shrugged, and stilled under the skilled hands of the slave massaging his shoulders.

But. Teutus was a slave, and did not dare to trespass into the tablinum or the library and touch the precious scrolls stored there - Virgil and Ovid and Livy were all as much out of his reach as the moon was, even if the master was his father.

He played dice with some of the other slaves, on occasion, when they had a few minutes to spare.

"I've been to the Games, and the Circus, but not often. I think I prefer the races to the gladiators," he added, trying to think what he had done that would prove an acceptable answer for a slave to give, one that wouldn't somehow get him in trouble.

 

@Atrice

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Tertius had casually wondered what Teutus did, when he was not working and after a few moments, his son replied. He said he didn’t have much time – which made sense, Teutus was a slave, after all. But then he mentioned the baths and that he also enjoyed the garden. Tertius nodded, he liked the garden too. Then Teutus wanted to read, but he trailed off. So he would like to read more but simply didn’t have the time, perhaps? It was good for the son of a senator to be well-educated, so Tertius also decided to make more time for that.

Silence fell a little as the massage continued and Tertius sighed, this was almost too nice and he thought he might doze off unless the slave went much further down with that massage and it would be something else entirely that Tertius would want. Teutus interrupted his thoughts though, said he’d been to the Games and the Circus and he liked races more than gladiators. Tertius had always preferred the gladiators for some reason.

“It’s nice to know what you enjoy, Teutus.” Tertius said, “We must go and see the races sometime together. If you'd like to, of course.” Also because he’d like to see how Teutus reacted to it – how he would behave in such a place. Hopefully not like a commoner! No, Teutus was better than that, wasn’t he?

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"I would like that, Domine, very much," he said, though he wouldn't hold his breath for it to happen. Tertius thought that he was a trustworthy man who kept his promises, and so he might be... it just wasn't always the case that he kept those promises in a timely manner. He might well do so for those whose support he needed, or who outranked him in the complex social hierarchy of Rome.

He was aware (because it was a slave's business to be aware of his master's tastes and proclivities) that Tertius preferred the arena to the circus. For his father (master!) to offer to take him to the races was interesting. Perhaps Teutus did have some sort of value in the older man's eyes, beyond merely the monetary one if he were ever sold - and at least he had the consolation that if Tertius were ever going to free him, he wouldn't be able to sell him!

He sighed a little under the masseur's hands as the other slave eased a knot out of his shoulders.

He wondered whether Antonia would like the races too, or if she'd find them upsetting like the gladiatorial games - 'shipwrecks' were not unknown as the chariots negotiated the tight turns at each end of the track. He liked to be able to take Antonia places, although that was one of his duties, of course, and the places suitable for a young daughter of a Senator were limited.

"Do you think Antonia would like the races, Domine, or... she might like the theatre more, at her age."

Of course, the Senator took his daughter to places that he didn't take his son, but it would be nice to go somewhere as a family group, even if Teutus did have to wait on his father and sister.

 

@Atrice

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Teutus was indeed worth more than just coin in his eyes – else he’d not consider taking his son to the thermae and let him have a massage too. And he’d not suggest that the young man came to the races with him either. Teutus was going to be freed in a somewhat near future and that meant changes would have to happen. So far he’d proved himself worthy of the freedom and the meaning of said freedom – becoming Tertius’ official male heir… Tertius could only hope the youth would not make a fool of himself before he was to be freed.

“Then that is decided.” Tertius promised and silence fell between them while the slaves worked on their bodies with skilled hands. It felt very nice, but he wouldn’t leave Teutus here on his own, for the youth already seemed a little surprised with what was going on here and between father and son especially. If Tertius left, what would Teutus then do in the meantime? No, Tertius would stay here with his son.

He turned to lie on his back to be massaged on the front side of his body and then Teutus broke the silence, wondering what he could take Antonia to see.

“A Greek theatre, maybe. One of the nicer ones. I don’t quite think she’s ready for races or games just yet. What goes on at the seats… is not always suitable for a young lady. I hope you understand that.” Tertius added. What went on in the arena was less important in this matter; in the end, gladiators were just slaves and if they died, that was that. But people could end up rather drunk in the seats, especially the commoners… and he’d not like Antonia exposed to such behavior just yet.

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"Of course, Domine," Teutus said neutrally. He would not dream of taking his sister anywhere that was unsuitable for a child of her tender years - moreover, a daughter of a Senator. He was not sure how much she would understand, but she was surprisingly bright for her age. Even so, a Greek tragedy was probably going to be too intellectual for her - she would likely understand the basic story of one of Plautus' comedies much easier, and the ruder jokes would go over her head.

He rolled over so that the attending slave could work on his chest.

He was not altogether sure that he liked his father's recent infatuation with the gladiatorial games. Not that there was anything he could do to stop it, of course, but there was something slightly disturbing in his dismissal of the violence because the fighters 'were just slaves'. Teutus himself was 'just a slave' in the eyes of every free citizen in Rome apart from his father, and he couldn't work out how the Senator could reconcile the fact that his son was a slave with his son being better than, or different to, the gladiators.

He closed his eyes, wondering whether he would be treated any differently had there been a legitimate son, a full brother to Antonia.

Of course he would. There wouldn't be even a hint of a promise of his freedom, and the slave market would be a very real threat for him. If there was one thing that Tertius Quinctilius Varus was not, it was sentimental.

"Have you found a gladiator you wish to purchase yet, Domine?" he asked instead, hoping the change of subject was not too sudden. It was a fine line, this balancing act between being Tertius' son and his slave.

 

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Teutus was of course understanding, regarding where he could take his sister. Not races or games just yet, Tertius thought to himself. Because of what went on in the seats; not in the arena. He had once brought his previous gladiator Celadus home, for him to train in Tertius’ yard for Antonia to watch, but Celadus ended up being extremely rude and actually went too far – causing Tertius to finally decide to sell the slave after all and never lay eyes upon him again. He had yet to purchase another gladiator after that incident. Luckily, Antonia had left before things went to Hades that day, but she had met a gladiator, at least.

 His infatuation with them was mainly caused by boredom. He was still a back-bencher in the senate. He was still a praetor and acting judge in Rome. He still had no wife and no steady lovers or companions. There was nothing really interesting going on in his life, so he had spent more and more time watching gladiator games and decided it might be nice to have his own gladiator. Even though the last purchase wasn’t so good, perhaps it would be better next time.

 Silence fell between father and son again though and Tertius almost felt he could fall asleep under these skilled hands, working on his legs and thighs now, which felt very good by the way… when Teutus suddenly spoke again, wondering if he’d found a gladiator to purchase.

 “I have not.” Tertius replied, still with his eyes closed, “It’s hard to find the perfect… specimen.” He added. Teutus no doubt also knew about the whole ordeal with Celadus; how he kept pushing back at Tertius, how he disobeyed him and refused to pay proper respect to his owner. How he lied or kept the truth from Tertius… no, he couldn’t own a slave like that again. Tertius would have to be careful next time.

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Teutus remembered the previous venture into owning a gladiator - the man in question had been disobedient and stiff-necked, refusing to bend to the master's will. It had been his own fault that he'd been sold again, probably to a worse place than he'd come from. Teutus was of the opinion (not that anyone would care to ask him for it right now, considering his own present circumstances) that if you were fortunate enough to be bought by a private citizen and given a chance, you ought to damn well take that chance and be grateful for it. Teutus himself lived according to that rule; he only had the chance to become his father's heir because his father hadn't had a legitimate son - Teutus could not take his freedom for granted and was not about to antagonise his father and lose that chance.

That the gladiator in question hadn't had the brains to figure out his luck and do what it took to keep his master happy... Well, Teutus could only hope that the next one could work out whether he'd landed on his feet, and wouldn't do anything to upset the apple cart and get sold back to the ludus.

"Do you have a particular type of gladiator in mind, Domine, or will you just see who takes your fancy?" he asked, not entirely sure whether it was a good idea to let his curiosity run away with him like this, but willing to risk it as long as his master would indulge him.

Whoever his father brought home, Teutus would vet him personally before allowing Antonia anywhere near him, if Tertius allowed him to. He wasn't about to let her witness the sort of disrespect that had caused Tertius to sell his first gladiator, after all.

 

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Tertius would be very pleased if he knew Teutus’ view on how slaves should think, were they purchased by a citizen… and maybe it was actually his own ideas shining through; perhaps they had been imprinted on the youth. After all, Tertius hadn’t understood either why Celadus hadn’t felt the least bit grateful. If only he had acted properly, he would have had a good life. Tertius might have given him gifts and coin and Celadus might have been allowed to attend parties with him and so on. And of course Celadus might even have slept in Tertius’ comfortable bed. But instead the gladiator chose to be defiant. Foolish man.

 Teutus wondered if Tertius had any particular type of gladiator in mind to buy next time and Tertius smiled, “I suppose I’ll just see who takes my fancy. He must be good, of course… I don’t need a gladiator who’ll die in his next fight. That would be a waste of coin.” He said, nicely pretending that the slaves massaging them weren’t there at all. Which was how it was supposed to be. They were just doing their jobs and were supposed to do just that, as told. And it was nice to just speak with his son like this. He expected he could trust Teutus; that he was loyal. If he wasn't, why free him?

 “I also imagine it has to be someone more… easy to talk to. I don’t want to have to break him entirely.” Tertius knew all about how to ‘break’ a slave who wasn’t yet obedient. Celadus had been a special case of course, for he could have broken him, but Celadus was also a gladiator and he wanted the man to win. And a starved, weak and beaten gladiator wasn’t of much use. It really wasn’t all that easy, when it came to deciding.

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It always puzzled Teutus how his father could see him as a slave at one moment and be completely blind to what that actually meant for Teutus, at the same time! If - when he was finally freed, whenever that might happen! - if Teutus had a slave that he felt the need to sell, he'd at least try to get him (or her!) to a household and place where that slave would do better. He didn't intend that he'd ever forget what it was like to be a slave, although that didn't mean he'd go easy and be a pushover for his own household staff. When he finally had a household of his own. If he ever did.

He tried not to shiver as his father casually mentioned not wanting to break the next one - he could do it, all too easily, had done it, too. The masseur's hands paused momentarily before continuing, but Teutus wasn't about to comment on it.

"Do you intend to interview the next candidate then, Domine?" he asked, turning his head to observe the older man. There couldn't be many other ways to judge a gladiator's suitability than by talking to him, after all - observing him training would only say so much and that would be more about his skills than anything.

 

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Tertius certainly never meant to be a pushover for his household staff. And he made sure they knew he weren’t. Alright so perhaps he did go a bit more easy on Teutus than the rest of them, but well, he hadn’t fathered the rest of them. He had no plans on freeing the rest of them. Teutus was something else and he was sure his slave-son knew it. For some reason they were discussing Tertius’ next purchase of a gladiator now though, and he spoke casually about that whole ordeal.

He didn’t notice how Teutus shivered when he spoke of breaking the gladiator and the youth soon after wondered if he’d interview the next candidate.

“Maybe. That might be a good idea. And maybe you could help me? I think you know what I prefer by now and you’re also smart. I think you’d ask the right questions.” Tertius said with a smile and looked at his son. He could feel the massage was soon coming to an end and then they’d move on, maybe to go for a swim? That might be good, he thought to himself. Discussing things like this with Teutus was nice, but this was also just another trip to the baths.

@Sharpie

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"Certainly, if you wish me to, Domine," Teutus replied, in answer to the query whether he would help interview any potential gladiators. Of course he was smart; his master wouldn't let him be anything else, not if he wanted to be made legitimate - Tertius' pride wouldn't let him have a stupid son, after all.

He sat up as the masseur stepped back, once the massage was done and swung round to sit on the bench, waiting for his father.

"I hope to prove worthy of your confidence, Domine," he said, readying himself to accompany the older man to the next room in the sequence. He'd been to the baths before, but it wasn't a frequent treat.

He wondered idly if his father would bed whatever gladiator he bought, or if Hector would remain his sole outlet for his physical needs. Not that it was any of his business - not that he really wanted to know what his father got up to in that way. Why he hadn't remarried, Teutus couldn't say, though he was glad for his own sake that his father hadn't. If there was a son, a legitimate son, born his father and his father's wife, Teutus could kiss any hope of freedom behind for good.

 

@Atrice

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Well of course he expected that Teutus was smart – but he also knew it was a fact, that his son was smart. He was alert and he stayed on top of things. He knew what went on in the household, he knew what Tertius liked and didn’t like and he would be very useful in an interview with a gladiator that Tertius might want to buy. In some near future. Not right now.

“Good, that is settled then.” Tertius said, and soon they were done with the massage and both sat up, Tertius perhaps a bit slower than Teutus. It felt nice though, the massage, but now would be a good time for a swim in the natation – the swimming pool of the baths here. Teutus said he wanted to prove himself worthy of Tertius’ confidence and Tertius looked at him with a smile.

“I hope so too. You have not let me down so far.” He said and slid off the bench, motioned for his slave-son to follow him, “And I am certain you won’t do it in the future. You have served me well and I’m sure you will continue to do so.” Tertius added. Teutus knew to not let his father down. He knew by now what could happen to those that did, at least those that were slaves, who let him down. And as he said before – Teutus was smart.

@Sharpie

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"Of course, Domine," he said, - as though it were ever in question.

It wasn't as though Teutus really had much choice; if he didn't continue to serve his father well, he knew the promise of freedom would be rescinded because Tertius would perceive Teutus as letting him down. He would far rather be able to serve his father as his son than his slave, after all.

He followed his father through to the next room of the baths. It sounded as though the conversation were over, at least for now, especially if Tertius merely wanted to relax, and have a swim, or chat with any of his acquaintances who might be here too.

"Would you like me to get you a snack or anything?" he asked, seeing the various snack sellers around, and wishing that his father were a little easier to read, and didn't require his slaves to be mind-readers quite so much.

 

@Atrice

 

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