Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Quintus Flavius Theodorus

Time off, well deserved

Recommended Posts

Nones of May, 74CE

If there was one thing Theodorus absolutely loved about Rome, it was the baths. Sure, Greeks liked cleanliness and exercise too, but by the gods, Romans had taken the whole bathing thing, and elevated it to an art form! The buildings themselves were a marvel to behold. If he had come from some barbarian land, Theo would have honestly believed they were palaces. And the best thing? They were open to everyone. The public ones, anyway.

It had been another long day at the Ludus. One particular gladiator did not handle his injuries too well; it was one thing to stitch and bandage, and quite another to try to wrestle the patient while ding it. Theo had some help doing it, but at the end of the day, his muscles were sore and he was ready to take some time for himself. Assured that none of his patients were dying, he set out for one of the thermae to treat himself.

Walking into the building, Theo glanced around with a smile. He liked to visit different baths, so he was not very familiar with this particular one yet. He could figure out his way around, but there was no rush - he was here so that he did not have to do everything on his own, after all...

@Atrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It didn’t matter much which month it was, when you were a thermae slave and spent most of your life inside the walls of the huge bathhouse. Some might consider it a palace, for other people, it was just a place where they worked and spent the majority of their lives. Helenus grew up in Rome and he’d always been used to beautiful buildings – but when you were a slave, there was not so much time to enjoy the beauty of it. He could of course admire the beauty of the people who came there, when he felt like it and if he wasn’t feeling bad.

Today he was feeling alright actually, although living and working in the always moist environment there was inside a bathhouse wasn’t good for the health. Romans who came here from time to time, they would benefit from the warm and moist air, but slaves who lived here… it wasn’t always good. Helenus hoped he’d one day be removed from here and work elsewhere, so he wouldn’t catch a cold so often.

He wore his loincloth today and had just finished placing the belongings of one guest in their niche, when he returned to the area where the guests would undress and later dress again. He came back just as a slender man with brown eyes entered the area. To Helenus he seemed almost a little lost, as if he didn’t know the place just yet.

Helenus approached him politely and not from behind, so that he wouldn’t startle the man and the man had time to turn away if he wished to do so. Helenus looked up at him, but without meeting his eyes, “Greetings, Dominus. May I assist you?”

@Chevi

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the bath slaves walked in his direction. Many of them worked in the baths, especially the bigger ones, and the good ones knew exactly how to make one's visit comfortable and enjoyable. Theo himself did not expect much of them other than some help and some guidance; some men liked to take advantage of some of their services if they could get away with it. As for the medicus, all he was hoping for was a hot bath and a thorough massage.

"Hello there" she flashed a friendly smile at the young man that walked up to him. "Yes, please. I need to get out of these clothes, and my shoulders are bothering me. Long day at work. Your help is appreciated."

He could do most of the undressing alone, if he had to - but why bother, when he didn't? Theo walked over to the area for undressing, followed by the slave, and set his bag down. He only carried it out of habit; it wasn't his full medicus baggage, just some trinkets that he might find useful occasionally.

"What's your name?"

@Atrice

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The guest to the bath that had just entered, greeted Helenus with a friendly and warm smile and did want assistance. Helenus was there to help; that’s what he was here for, after all. The guest said he wanted assistance getting undressed and then complained about his shoulders and a long day at work. Well lucky him. Helenus only ever had long days at work, and no one gave him a massage by the end of the day. Not that he asked for one; he was usually tired enough to just go to sleep in the simple room he shared with a few others nearby.

“Of course, Dominus.” Helenus replied to him and followed the man towards some marble benches and watched him set down his bag. What was that for, he silently wondered. He would have to remember to look through the bag, just in case. You never knew what a man like this would carry around.

Helenus moved about too then, helped the man undress and then he wanted Helenus’ name, “I’m Helenus, Dominus.” He simply said, “I’ll put away your things once you’re undressed and if you want me to give you a massage, I can. I recommend you do a warm bath first though, it helps the massage.” Helenus explained while undressing the stranger and neatly folding the clothes in a stack on the bench.

@Chevi

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“I’m Helenus, Dominus. I’ll put away your things once you’re undressed and if you want me to give you a massage, I can. I recommend you do a warm bath first though, it helps the massage.”

"Right on, lad" Theo agreed with a good-natured smile as Helenus undressed him. It was much easier to get out of his tunica when someone else was helping. Theo had never been rich enough to keep his own household slaves, so someone else helping him in such a simple task was a treat he was not yet used to. He was aware that a slave did that out of a sense of duty, and not caring, but for today at least, he could put those worries aside. "Come find me in a bit."

Once undressed, he left Helenus to store his things, and headed for the hot water bath. The steam was already seeping into his skin, relaxing his muscles. Theo sunk into the hot water with a content sigh, closing his eyes and enjoying the simple luxury of hot water. Helenus probably knew how long it was polite to leave someone to soak, so he simply waited for the young man to show. Until then, the medicus was happy to just float and relax.

@Atrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The guest gave Helenus a smile and seemed pleased with the idea of Helenus giving him the massage. Of course though, he recommended a bath first – it would soften the muscles and make the massage feel better. And it would make it easier. Plus it gave Helenus time to look at the man’s bag. First though, he helped the stranger undress, pulling the tunica over his head and folding it neatly, then Helenus crouched to remove the man’s slippers or sandals and soon he was entirely naked before Helenus. It was all done in silence.

Once undressed, the man asked Helenus to come find him and Helenus nodded, “Of course, Dominus.” And then they parted ways, for now. Helenus picked up the bundle of clothes and the bag and found a shelf to place it all in. First the clothes and then he opened the bag. It didn’t seem all that interesting, sadly. It seemed to be medical equipment and then there was a purse. He opened it, but only found a few coins. It would appear that the man wasn’t very wealthy and Helenus would feel bad about robbing him. Medical equipment was important for a healer and the few coins weren’t of much worth anyway. He closed the bag and placed it with the clothes.

Then he went to find the guest, who sat soaking in a bath with closed eyes, “Dominus. I am ready to massage you when you are.” He said quietly, not wishing to startle the man, simply letting him know he was here. Helenus knew how to do his job well, after all – he’d been here many years.

@Chevi

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Theo could feel his muscles relaxing as he soaked in the hot water. There was nothing better than a bath after a day of work. He could hear people idly chatting around him, but the words flowed by without meaning. He had gotten good at filtering out other people's conversation while he was in the legions. Time also flowed by unmeasured, until a familiar voice spoke above him.

“Dominus. I am ready to massage you when you are.”

"Splendid" Theo grinned, hauling himself out of the pool a little sluggishly. Hot water relaxed his muscles, but now he was keenly feeling just how tired he was. "Lead the way, Helenus."

@Atrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The guest didn’t seem too startled when Helenus spoke quietly near him, ignoring all the other bathers in the same room. The man thought the massage sounded like a fine idea and left the water. Helenus had a cloth ready for the man to wrap around his waist if he wished to use it. Not all did, some were just fine walking around here naked.

Helenus led the way to an area with some stone and marble tables that had been set up there; they had been polished blank on top and there was a thin mat there, so that you could lie comfortably for your massage. Helenus rolled a cloth up in a bundle and placed at one end, so that the guest could rest his head there.

“Please lie down, Dominus. It does not seem you brought your own oil for the massage, but we have some. Do you prefer scented or no?” He asked politely, “Also, I need to know if you want me to massage your entire body or if some parts are more important than others? Any special treatments you desire?” He then asked. The special treatments guests would most often ask for was for some kind of release at the end, either by Helenus' mouth or body. He didn't know if this particular guest would want that, but he had to ask. Those in charge of the thermae wanted all guests to feel satisfied with their visit, after all. Quietly he glanced towards a small table with flasks and small containers with massage oil in them, while waiting to hear what he was going to fetch. This day was so far not out of the ordinary.

@Chevi

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Helenus handed a cloth to Theo. He was fine walking around naked, as most visitors of the baths were; there was nothing new or unnatural about the human body to him. Quite the opposite, it was humans' natural state, and while clothing was useful in many ways, Theo enjoyed his time spent in the bath without it. He followed the young man to the massage table, the cloth wrapped over his shoulder, and lay down as instructed.

“Please lie down, Dominus. It does not seem you brought your own oil for the massage, but we have some. Do you prefer scented or no?”

"Pick a nice clean scent for me, please?" Theo hummed, already feeling more relaxed. He did not care for smelling like a prostitute, but he was also quite done with smelling blood and sand and sweat all day. "Something that smells better than blood."

“Also, I need to know if you want me to massage your entire body or if some parts are more important than others? Any special treatments you desire?” 

The last part of the question sailed right by Theo, who was very much focused on getting his sore muscles in order. He sighed, closing his eyes. "My shoulders and back are killing me. I'm not used to that kind of exercise... If you could put me extra effort into those, I'd be eternally grateful."

@Atrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The guest didn’t care for wrapping the cloth around his waist, and why should he? Some people wanted the privacy – some wanted to hide something. But not this one. Helenus thought he was a fine looking man, but there were many of those and there were also disgusting and fat old men who definitely wanted special treatments during the massage. This one he thought he wouldn’t mind, but he’d see what the man wanted.

 His guest wanted a clean scent, better than blood and Helenus arched a brow. Better than blood. What in the name of Hades did this man do for a living? He had equipment for a healer in his bag, and now he wanted a better scent than blood. Had he dealt with someone badly hurt today?

 “Of course, Dominus. I’ll find something good for you.” He said, “It’s not free though.” He added, but thought that an orange peel scented oil would be good for him. Helenus picked up the scented oil before the man could protest and began warming it up in his hands. Next the man answered the question about the special treatments – he just wanted extra effort for the shoulders and back. Helenus was told that he was good at the massage, because he had good arms and he might not be tall, but he had a strong body, so some strength could be put into the massage.

 “Which kind of exercise, if I may ask, Dominus?” Helenus delicately asked; he was just curious though. He knew he shouldn't be though and thought he should be more sensible towards the stranger, "If you don't want me to talk, I'll be quiet, Dominus."

@Chevi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Of course, Dominus. I’ll find something good for you. It’s not free though.” 

"That's alright. I have decided to treat myself." Theo noted, closing his eyes with a content sigh. He could smell the fresh scent of citrus as Helenus made a choice for him. Good lad. Theo had learned to live with the bare minimum for so long in the legions that he somehow simply forgot that he lived in the heart of civilization now. Not that he was rich - unfairly, not nearly as rich as he should have been -, but he had some coin for simple pleasures, and life was dreadfully short anyway.

 “Which kind of exercise, if I may ask, Dominus? If you don't want me to talk, I'll be quiet, Dominus."

"The kind where I have to restrain a gladiator to stop him from tearing his stitches" Theo sighed, wincing as his muscles resisted the massage at first "Not that I have not wrestled larger men before, but really, at least they should allow me to help without fighting... Talk away, lad, if you want."

@Atrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was good that the free Roman didn’t mind that the oil had a price on it – and Helenus almost considered asking for more than what it was worth. He’d done that often before and usually the wealthy senators and merchants didn’t even think about it. This man here didn’t seem that wealthy though, but it might be worth a try after all? He’d think about it while giving the massage, he then decided.

“Treating yourself is always a good choice, Dominus. I imagine you need it.” He said with a smile and had then wondered what kind of exercise the man had done, that caused him to need extra care for his shoulders and back. The man then spoke of gladiators and stitches and said Helenus was free to talk if he wanted to. He looked over the length of the man on the massage bench and then slowly started to work on the massage, first warming up the muscles with long strokes with a bit of pressure to them.

“You treat gladiators then.” Helenus said, “How are they like? I don’t think I’ve ever actually met one.” He hadn’t even ever seen a gladiatorial game; he was a slave and he couldn’t afford going. And he’d never had the chance. It must be bloody, he thought. And the gladiators were slaves too and were there to murder each other for the pleasure of the free. It couldn’t be very nice to watch. Helenus didn’t think he’d like it.

@Chevi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It occurred to Theo's bath-fogged mind that he might have specified his occupation sooner - before he sounded like he was injuring people as a job. Either way, the lad eventually puzzled it out, and Theo closed his eyes again with a content sigh as Helenus began to massage his shoulders. He had good, strong hands for it. Theo wished he could have a slave of his own just for this.

“You treat gladiators then. How are they like? I don’t think I’ve ever actually met one.”

"Bothersome" Theo huffed "Admirable, in many ways, but they give me quite a bit of work... Did you know that they draw out the fights for the entertainment? It's all cuts and bruises everywhere, until one of them gets a killing blow in..." he sighed "Honestly, I have not really found the entertainment value in the games yet. Then again, I mostly watch them from behind the scenes..."

@Atrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He smiled when the guest let out a content sigh – it meant he was doing the right thing and the man was relaxing under his care. That was good. Helenus liked to do his job well, after all and he did like pleasing people. That’s how he got good things in life, after all. He continued the little chat, wondering what a gladiator was like and the free Roman spoke of how gladiators were both bothersome and admirable. Then he shared a little knowledge about the fights and how he didn’t find the games entertaining.

 “I don’t think I’ve ever watched a game, at all. But I can’t imagine I’d find it entertaining.” He replied, he didn’t want to put the man in a bad light, but would he be upset if Helenus shared his thoughts? The man did just say he didn’t find much entertainment value in the games either.

 “It’s a kind of a pity that good men must die like that. They must be glad to have someone like you, helping them after the fights.” He added with a smile, “I find that helping people makes you feel good too. How does the massage feel, Dominus? Would you like massage on your front side too?”

@Chevi

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“I don’t think I’ve ever watched a game, at all. But I can’t imagine I’d find it entertaining.”

"One can live without it" Theo agreed. It felt like he was biting the hand that fed him, but really, there were so many other things one could spend time and money on. Not everyone had to be enthusiastic about the new arena.

“It’s a kind of a pity that good men must die like that. They must be glad to have someone like you, helping them after the fights. I find that helping people makes you feel good too. How does the massage feel, Dominus? Would you like massage on your front side too?”

"Yes, whenever they are not trying to take the pain out on me" Theo noted with a smirk. It was good to help people, even if they were covered in needlessly inflicted wounds, but sometimes patients could be very... impatient. "The massage is divine, Helenus. Maybe you should be a healer as well." he noted as he turned onto his back.

@Atrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apparently his patron, who put the harmed gladiators back together again, wasn’t all that fond of the games either. He said you could live without it. Helenus nodded, he imagined you could. Odd though to find a Roman who didn’t like the games! Well, you learned something new when you least expected it and met nice people too. Helenus kept on rambling about gladiators and how they must like this particular medic.

He said they were glad when they didn’t try to take out the pain on him. Helenus gave a small chuckle and he’d asked how his patron liked the massage. The man decided he did want it on his front side too and called the massage… divine! He’d heard it before, but more often together with an entirely different kind of massage.

“A healer, Dominus? I don’t think I have the skills. I couldn't do what you do. I only know this.” He said, “I know what a capsarius needs to know. But thank you. You’re very kind.” He said and put some more oil on his hands and began massaging the man’s chest and shoulders from the front side this time.  

@Chevi

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Theo felt his muscles relaxing and his blood warming as Helenus worked on him. It was a natural response of the body to the massage, and as simple as it seemed, it was just what he needed after a long day of work. Medicus or not, Theo was not skilled in this kind of treatment, but he had read some medical theories, mostly from Greek authors, who claimed it had many healing qualities.

“A healer, Dominus? I don’t think I have the skills. I couldn't do what you do. I only know this.  I know what a capsarius needs to know. But thank you. You’re very kind.”

"According to some healers from Greece, a massage can have many healing properties, when done well." he noted, closing his eyes "In the sanctuary of Asklepios where my father worked, the God would sometimes order massages for certain illnesses. Or simply for general well-being." he sighed "Greek healers take their profession in a lot broader sense than Romans, you see..."

@Atrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The patron seemed very relaxed under his hands and it was nice to see. It wasn’t all that different from most guests here at the thermae, although this particular patron had not desired more services just yet. And maybe he wouldn’t. Usually if they wanted a slave to take care of them like this, they wanted more. But it was fine and it was actually nice to just talk to him. Although when the patron suggested Helenus should be a healer, he couldn’t see himself do that.

Then the man said a massage could have healing properties and mentioned a sanctuary Helenus had never heard about. He’d spoken of Greece… was this man from Greece and not Roman at all? That was interesting.

“Are you like a Greek or a Roman healer then, Dominus? I never heard about massage having healing properties, just that it is good for tired and tense muscles.” He said and smiled, “You seem to be relaxing though, careful you don’t fall asleep Dominus. I don’t know if I can carry you.” He added as a joke to the kind patron here, hoping the man would get it. Although maybe Helenus could actually carry him, now he thought about it. He might be slightly short, but he was strong and this man here was tall, but slim. It would look amusing though, he thought with a smile to himself.

@Chevi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Are you like a Greek or a Roman healer then, Dominus? I never heard about massage having healing properties, just that it is good for tired and tense muscles.”

"Oh, I am thoroughly, hopelessly Greek" Theo smirked with his eyes closed. Even 25 years in the legions could not turn him fully Roman, although he had come to appreciate a lot about Romans and their culture in general. And he recognized a lot of his own in the things they tended to pretend they'd invented. Like personal hygiene and massages with healing properties. Maybe there was money to be made there somewhere, if Helenus was right. 

“You seem to be relaxing though, careful you don’t fall asleep Dominus. I don’t know if I can carry you.”

"Oh, I'm sure you could" Theo noted, still smirking. "But I promise not to make your job any harder. So tell me, Helenus, were you born in the city?"

@Atrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The patron seemed very happy to talk to Helenus and it was nice. Sometimes they wanted him to be quiet and sometimes they would force him to be quiet, but this one didn’t mind talking and even seemed to encourage it. He also kept on with the conversation, instead of answering in simple words like yes or no. He said he was a Greek healer, all the way through, and Helenus wondered how much of a difference there was. It could be interesting to learn more about it, he supposed, but he’d never learn if he stayed here.

“It sounds very interesting.” He simply said though, and then he’d joked about how the other was relaxing and shouldn’t fall asleep, because then Helenus would have to carry him. The other got the joke, said that Helenus could carry him, but he didn’t want to make his job harder than it was. And then he asked into Helenus’ life.

“You are almost too kind, Dominus.” He said, “Yes, I was born in Rome. I’ve been here all my life.” He couldn’t even recall leaving the city, not beyond the walls of Rome. He had always been here, this was his whole life. There was a huge world out there, there were places like Greece, but all Helenus knew was this corrupt city of Rome. He always imagined he’d die here too someday, just like his father had done. Well not like his father, hopefully, but he’d stay here until he went to the afterlife. That was his lot in life.

@Chevi

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Theo was generally curious about people. He knew that he was not obligated to talk to the slave for the sake of politeness; he even knew that he could have asked for more things if he wanted to, as most patrons probably did with a good-looking man like Helenus. But for now, he actually wanted to chat. It was relaxing to the mind, just as the massage was relaxing to the body.

“You are almost too kind, Dominus. Yes, I was born in Rome. I’ve been here all my life.”

"Well, then you certainly know more about this city than I do" Theo noted. Even if he was a slave, Helenus grew up in the city, and probably knew many things that Theo was just beginning to learn. "They tell me you never really get to know Rome..."

@Atrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Helenus liked this kind patron here, so he did what he could to not rush the massage, but he knew he’d almost gone through all the muscles he knew he had to tend to. It was nice talking though, and he had to mention how his patron was almost too kind. And he hadn’t even demanded Helenus’ body after all this work, that was almost a treat too. Although he didn’t think he’d mind – not that he really had a choice - since the man was so nice now, he might also be in other situations. But they were just talking and that was fine too.

The man said Helenus knew the city better than he did and that you never got to know Rome.

“I suppose you don’t. I’ve worked a few different places in the city, but I’ve been here many years now. So I mostly stay close to here, now. It’s just easiest.” Helenus explained, “I guess I should go exploring more. But you never what’s out there. And I’d rather stay safe.” He added, looking at the man who worked with gladiators… which was not always safe… “I think in the end, that’s what we all want. To be safe, somehow.”

@Chevi

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Theo sometimes imagined growing up in Rome. The city was full of life and full of marvels, but it could also be a dangerous place if one did not belong to the families that had money to stay safe. He had been lucky to have good parents and enough wealth to study, but someone less fortunate could have easily fallen through the cracks of the great city of Rome.

“I think in the end, that’s what we all want. To be safe, somehow.”

"I can appreciate that sentiment." Theo agreed, still enjoying the massage "I count myself lucky to have a job that pays, and allows me to use my learning. And I get to meet interesting people, even outside of the games." he opened one eye to peer up at Helenus "And the baths are a marvel. Worth coming to the city alone. Although I guess that's me speaking as a patron, not as someone who works here..."

@Atrice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He was almost finished now. He couldn’t do much more than what he’d done… it was nice then, that the patron enjoyed the conversation too. He said how he was lucky to have a job that paid him well and allowed him to meet interesting people. Helenus couldn’t help but smile, when the man looked up at him. Then the patron went on about how amazing the baths were, but then added that he didn’t know what it was like working here…

Helenus ran his hands up over the patrons shoulders, giving them a small squeeze, “I’m done with your massage now.” He said, while still considering if and how he should respond. He was not supposed to speak ill of the baths, but most Romans only saw the beauty of the places. They didn’t see the slave quarters, they didn’t live and work in a building with constant moist air and slippery floors… and they didn’t consider that the water wasn’t changed as often as they thought. The slaves would sometimes get sick. Helenus was lucky he hadn’t fallen that sick yet, although he felt what the moist air did to his breathing sometimes.

“You’re quite fortunate, that you get to come here as a patron, Dominus.” Helenus finally said, attempting to sound cheerful, while he had a hand ready if he should help the man up to sit again, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

@Chevi

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Theo was, in general, and emphatic person. He knew that what was a luxury to him was a job for the slave, however kind, that he might not have chosen if he had a choice at all. Most Romans managed to disregard this problem, or simply accepted that slaves lived their lives the way they did. But after having a nice conversation with another human being, it was hard to pretend that they solely existed for one's pleasure.

"Thank you, Helenus."

“You’re quite fortunate, that you get to come here as a patron, Dominus. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Well, that was a very diplomatic response. The boy was clever. Theo sighed, enjoying the relaxed feeling in all his muscles for a few seconds longer before he sat up.

"No, thank you. I think I will go and soak a little bit more. I will leave you some coins in my cubicle when I leave. Thank you for the excellent massage."

There was no reason not to be kind to someone just because they were a slave. Theo smiled as he hopped off the table, and headed back to the warm water. His shoulder was already feeling better.

@Atrice

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...