Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Early April 74CE

It was maybe a day or so after he'd been bought by his new master, one Octavius Flavius Alexander, cousin to the Titus Flavius Alexander he'd been lent to back in January for three days (three days of startling adventure, compared to anything Rufus had ever experienced before).

He had been informed that his new master was a busy man, and had not been set to anything specific since his purchase, so had found himself helping round the house where an extra pair of hands was required, trying to get to know his fellow slaves, and to find a place in this new household. He was aware that his new master knew his abilities; they'd been written up and displayed for all to see, on a board around Rufus' neck - something that happened to every slave ever sold, as far as he could tell. But he hadn't been set to anything specific since his arrival. Whether that was because his new master was too busy, or merely wanted him to get to know how the household ran, or for some other reason entirely, Rufus had no idea.

But now he had been summoned to the tablinum, the master's study, and he could not help wiping his hands on his clean new tunic. What if there had been some sort of mistake? Was he to be returned to the slave-dealer? Had he somehow displeased his new owner - which was entirely possible, of course, as he was still learning his way around the house and who everybody was (despite being a town house, it was far bigger than his old master's villa - but then, Octavius Flavius Alexander was a member of the senatorial class where Rufus' old master had been an equestrian). Was he, gods forbid, about to be told he should answer to a different name, even - it did happen, after all.

"You sent for me, Domine?" he said, stopping just inside the tablinum, his hands folded neatly in front of him and his eyes down submissively. The mosaic of the floor was impressive, as was everything else in the house. His mouth was dry - why was it always easier to think that you'd done something wrong, when it might simply be that the master wanted to know how his new purchase was settling in?

Because Roman masters didn't particularly care to know about their slaves' comfort - they bought slaves to make their own lives comfortable, why would they care about their slaves' comfort?!

 

@Gothic

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Octavius was kept busy the following couple of days. The pair (Titus and himself) had gone to the private screening of the slaves and Rufus soon found himself purchased. He had not seen the latest addition to the household and instead focused his time on political concerns. Slowly he cracked his knuckles and held them over the heat of the brazier in order to warm it. Ever since they had been broken, they cracked and would ache. Especially during the sharp changes of the weather. He stood with his back towards the entrance to his study, a place that had one time been his father's and his eldest brother's. Now, it belonged to him. 

When he heard Rufus' words he removed his hand and turned to face him. He had asked about the latest addition to the household. Was he worth the price? Was he a kind person? Did he work diligently or was there any sign of laziness? He answers he had received had all been positive about the latest addition to the household. Octavius steadily observed the submissive pose and manner that Rufus greeted him with. 

Now, would he be suited to teaching children? Or would he be better suited to being his body slave? 

A slave with close access to him or his family would certainly overhear the dealings of the family. Often they were important matters of state and he had no desire for wagging tongue for a slave. Octavius also trusted Titus yet... the pair of them were a bit too close for his liking, and he wanted to know what the situation was like there. He had no desire for any tension between himself and his cousin. 

"I did, how have you been settling into the household?" Octavius asked, his tone polite and interested. 

@Sharpie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rufus glanced up just enough to see that the master had his back to him, holding his hands over a brazier to warm them, before lowering his eyes again.

A brazier, in April? That was odd - although it was only early April, admittedly.

"I have been getting to know the household, Domine - the other slaves, I mean, and finding my way around," he said. He had been given various tasks to do over the past few day, and done them as best he could. He'd not received any complaints or chastisement, so that was good, at least. Unless this was the moment he received correction for something, and was about to be sold back to the dealer, or to someone else.

Thinking such thoughts was never helpful - but it wasn't as though Rufus had any experience at joining a new household, ever. And it wasn't as though he could ask, either, of course. A slave did not dictate the direction of a conversation with his master, especially when neither master nor slave really knew one another.

Yet, what he had said maybe hadn't answered the question. He was second-guessing himself, badly. Another sign of nerves, he thought.

"I believe I have been settling in well, Domine, but... it isn't for me to say whether that is the case, or not."

Rufus had joined the household, it was for someone in the household to say whether he was fitting in, and working out, or not. Wasn't it?

 

@Gothic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Octavius nodded, everything was completely expected and was in agreement. There would be time needed to settle completely into a new household. Slaves every so often would worry that a new slave could usurp their favoured position with their Dominus. A good connection meant everything and a bad one meant that there would be considerable risk. 

"My body slave, Corvus, is unwell and will likely be retiring soon. You will be taking his place. Either you will be his replacement or your role will change given your skills." He began, then continued. Octavius needed discretion, honesty and most importantly, loyalty when it came to his slaves. The family had many slaves within their household and one thing that had stuck in his mind was how he knew Titus. Titus' public reaction baffled him and gave him cause to question. Octavius trusted Titus yet if there was something deeper between them. He needed to know. 

"Now, I want to know more about your reaction to Titus at the Emporium Magnum," He said, from what he heard there was the connection to an equite and that was the reason why Rufus was currently for sale. However, now in private, he wanted to know everything and needed to know that Rufus would be dedicated to his job. 

Octavius watched Rufus' reactions and waited to see how things would proceed. 

@Sharpie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whether Corvus would be freed, or found a less strenuous position within the household, or sold, Rufus might end up with his position... He hoped that whatever happened to Corvus, it wouldn't appear to him (or to anyone else in the household) that Rufus had deliberately sought to take his position when he hadn't.

There was nothing Rufus could say to that pronouncement other than, "Yes, Domine."

The question caught Rufus off-guard and he looked up, momentarily catching his new master's eye in his surprise before dropping his gaze again - he still didn't know what behaviour would be acceptable and preferred to be cautious in his actions and behaviour. It would be easier to be told to look up when speaking to the master than to begin by doing so and be thought impudent.

"He stayed with my master - my old master - in Campania, back in January, Domine," he said. "My master lent me to him because his own servant was ill, and I served him as his body-slave for three days. He told me before he left that he had tried to buy me but that my master wouldn't sell." His shoulders rose and fell in a brief shrug. "I can only imagine that it must have been a surprise for him to find me for sale when I hadn't been only three months before."

He lifted his head, keeping his eyes down. "My mistress didn't like me, Domine. I was the son of one of her maids, some people said by the master."

She'd sold Bretta, when their mother was no longer around to protest the sale, but Rufus had always been his master's slave, rather than the mistress'.

"Titus Flavius Alexander was a friend - I don't know how close - of my master's, and hadn't heard about his death, which was very quick. That's all, Domine."

If he wanted any more information about that brief interaction in the slave market, his new master would simply have to ask Titus Flavius; Rufus had no knowledge other than those facts.

He wasn't sure whether to volunteer that he'd warmed the man's bed for those three cold nights, either, but such a thing was commonplace enough to be unremarkable.

 

@Gothic

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Octavius listened with a relaxed facial expression and did not rush Rufus when he answered him. He did not wish to add anything nor hint that could potentially alter Rufus' response to him. It all sounded above board, it was not uncommon for a mother to protective over her children -- and push away those who could potentially threaten them. No matter how remote. He did not judge his cousin for a friendship with a slave, he himself had them and had not spoken of them. Often they would end up becoming freed as time went on. Even though Rufus had not admitted to it, Titus' reaction was enough to give him what he needed to know. 

Sometime he would speak to Titus about what happened. 

"I understand," He answered, paused and thought for a moment. "Your duties are to ensure my time is kept in order, to attend to my person and to pass any messages along to the others slaves. I do not expect you to know everything right away. I expect honesty, discretion, and dedication to work." Octavius began, these things were not beyond the norm and he had found that it improved morale for people to know what to expect. 

And what behaviour would not be tolerated. Not that he needed to say.

"You will rise with me, I tend to waken early and prepare for the day with some reading. You will spend time with the children. Especially the eldest, Octavius Minor when you are not with him." Octavius explained, since this was still a trial and it Rufus' position in the household could always be improved. 

@Sharpie

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I understand... Well, that could be either good or bad. Or neither. It wasn't as though Rufus had expected to be bought by the man's cousin, after all - he hadn't even expected to be sold.

And something clicked, suddenly. He knew Titus Flavius Alexander was a cousin of Caesar's. If everything he had heard over the last couple of days was true and his new master was a cousin of Flavius Alexander... did that mean the his new master was likewise a cousin of Caesar Augustus? Or was the relationship between his new master and the Emperor even closer than that?

Rufus had barely even dealt with an ordinary Senator before last January, and now he was owned by the Imperial Family? Oh gods!!

There was a brief pause before the master continued talking, outlining Rufus' new duties and chores.

So, barely a handful of days after entering the house, he was to take one of the most privileged positions a slave could have, in the foremost family in the Empire. He had no illusions about it, though - if he didn't work out, or somehow messed up, he would be scrubbing floors again by the end of the week, he was certain. Or back in the slave market, stripped and bearing a bad testimonial for all and sundry to read.

"May I enquire what my duties with your children are to be, Domine?" he asked neutrally, once the master had stopped talking. Would he be taking the role of chaperone during their playtime, or pedagogus to walk them to school and carry their writing tablets, or what?

It could either be a comfortable set of duties, or a very uncomfortable chore indeed - who knew what the children were like and how they treated the slaves? And would he still be sleeping with the rest of the slaves, or would his new role require him to sleep outside his master's door, or somewhere else close to hand?

 

@Gothic

 

 

Edited by Sharpie
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Octavius did not explain who he was. In time, he would mention the increased connection to Caesar himself and the role he played within the Empire. Although soon it would be known through seeing what Octavius did and there was a strong possibility that Rufus will be in the company of Caesar himself. 

Thus far, Rufus had been respectful and quiet, and those were good signs from a possible body slave. What would be the biggest cause for concern would be how honest he was when it came to dealing with his Master. 

"You will be assisting Octavius Minor with his writing, ensuring that he listens to his other tutors, and otherwise supervising him to ensure he is behaving himself appropriately," He answered, Octavius Minor was mostly well-behaved. Yet he was young and boisterous, a child and still needed the guidance of adults in his life to assist him. "I am sure you and him will get along," He said. Thus far, Octavius Minor had not shown signs of malice towards others, and he was fortunate in that. 

"When you are with me you will ensure that you are within shouting distance. Around meal times you will have time to rest as I will be attended to by other household slaves," He answered, there were times when slaves needed physical rest in order to be most productive, and furthermore, Octavius would need his own rare moments of solitude. 

@Sharpie

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Yes, Domine," Rufus replied, hoping that Octavius Minor might be the sort of boy who would not make the slaves' lives hell by doing things he should not be doing but which the slaves could not prevent him from doing simply by virtue of the fact that he was free and the slaves were not. Or at least, that the master would not automatically assume his son was right and the slaves were wrong without looking into things. It could be a disaster, or it could be the precise opposite of a disaster - it remained to be seen which would be the case in this instance.

He would be within calling distance at all times, except for meals and perhaps certain other times, though Rufus was sure that he would be within calling distance even when the master did not require him to be directly present.

"Yes, Domine," he said again. "May I ask where you would have me sleep, then?"

Would 'within shouting distance' include at night, with the household asleep? Rufus knew many body-slaves slept by their masters' cubiculum doors, just in case. A straw pallet would be easy enough to lay down at night and remove during the day, of course.

 

@Gothic

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Octavius while used to having slaves around him constantly. There were plenty of times when he wished for quiet and time to think. Away from people, even those who were closest to him and who understood this about him. 

"You will have a bed to sleep on in my sleeping quarters that will be put away during the day." He answered. Many Roman couples, especially the wealthy, did not share the same bed and instead would have separate sleeping quarters. However, he was often in his wife's rooms and she was regularly in his. It would mean that Rufus would be in regular contact with Valeria, his wife and Domina of the household.  It would mean that unless they were sent away. Slaves would see and hear even the most intimate encounters of the family that they served. Rufus was an experienced slave and likely knew all of this. 

"There will be times when you will be in the company of Valeria, my wife," He said. Rufus may have already seen her around the household already. 

Octavius rubbed his hand to soothe the joints. He would never be known as a cripple and the public face of a Roman man was vital to maintain. Even among his slaves and in his own home. 

"You do not need to know what I eat in the morning. The cook knows and will send a platter for to deliver to me. Do you have any other questions about how we will proceed?"

@Sharpie

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Yes, Domine." A bed - an actual bed - would be a step up from the straw-stuffed pallet on the floor that he'd been used to. Put away where would not be something to bother the master with; he could ask Corvus that (he would have to search him out quick, though, if he were given any time at all to do so!), though it would probably slide neatly under the master's own bed out of the way.

"Yes, Domine," he said again. He had seen the mistress around the house, although she had taken little notice of him other than to enquire what his name was. If he was to sleep in his master's room, he would probably witness some... rather private moments. Slaves were little more than animated items of furniture; few Romans bothered to send the slaves away if they wanted to get intimate with one another - some preferred to set the slaves to trimming lamps or moving or holding them instead, even.

A movement caught his eye as his new master rubbed at his hand again - not in the way that a gleeful person rubbed their hands together, but as if something about it was troubling him.

He had one immediate question of his own, naturally, but that was of rather less importance than his master's comfort, and would be answered soon enough anyway.

His own hands twitched as though he wanted to do something, perhaps soothe the hurt, before he could restrain himself.

"Your hand is... injured, Domine?" he said instead, speaking quietly. There was no need to draw attention to themselves, after all; no Roman liked to be thought weak.  An old injury might perhaps explain why he was warming it over the brazier, too. "Is there something I could do to help?"

 

@Gothic

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"No!" He snapped, previously friendly and relaxed face became a mask of anger. Octavius breathed inwards and controlled himself again. Apologising to a slave (particularly a new one) was not the norm. What truly had angered him was how obvious and indiscreet he had been in his company. A Roman man, a perfect example of virtus or manly virtue was not hampered in any way. If Rufus was to remain as his body slave, he would know and who would to assist him.

It was most painful during the colder months, like most scars or injuries that while they healed.

Always they left a mark. 

"It is an old wound from my first tour of Britannia. Every so often it aches and causes considerable amounts of pain." He admitted at last, while his family knew of the injury he never revealed to them the amount of pain he was in. Valeria knew, there was no hiding anything from her anyway.  It was his left hand and fortunately he could still symbolically carry a sword, along with use it if necessary. Nor did Octavius wish to go into any further detail about what happened on that devilish island. Some things were best left where they belonged, in the past.

"The heat from the brazier helps soothe some of the pain."

@Sharpie

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rufus stilled himself, barely breathing, his head lowered, as the brief explosion of anger came. Touchy subject, best avoided, was all he allowed himself to think as he braced for the physical chastisement many masters would offer - a slap, even the back of the hand across the face - and was surprised when it didn't come.

What was more surprising was the exhale, a letting out of the anger and tension, without anything more - and then an explanation, which made Rufus lift his eyes to the master's face, though he kept his chin low, submissive, subordinate, apologetic.

An old wound received while on military duty in a rebellious province was hardly something to be ashamed of, yet the Romans seemed to consider anything that wasn't the pinnacle of perfect health to somehow be shameful.

"I understand, Domine. I beg your forgiveness," he said, while at the same time trying to think of ways he could perhaps, subtly, offer help without drawing attention to it - a warm compress, perhaps, if heat helped. He knew how to make those, after all - but even suggesting such a thing right now would get him slapped. And sent back to floor-scrubbing immediately afterwards. Assurances that he would not tell anyone would be met with astonishment that such a thing even needed to be said  - of course he would not, the master did not permit such things to be spoken of - and anger, ire even, that such a thought had even crossed Rufus' mind to need the negation.

He would perhaps be astonished at just how much slaves knew about their owners that those owners did not allow their slaves to discuss.

 

@Gothic

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Octavius rarely, if ever, lost his temper with anyone. He did not like being hot tempered like some sort of eastern despot and was not happy with the way he had behaved. The response back was appropriate and reached out to give Rufus' shoulder a gentle squeeze of encouragement and gratitude. He did not know of the thoughts of assistance that Rufus had about possible methods of tending to the old scar. He removed it. Too much affection for a slave encouraged bad behaviour and spoiling them. Much like a child, kindness and consideration was needed yet firm discipline was also needed. 

A change of subject was in order. Perhaps when the pair of them had built up a rapport it would be easier for them both to speak more freely with each other. His earliest body slave was much older, more like a father figure towards him and ensured that he was safe during his younger years. A lot of the slaves who were close ended up becoming freed although not every single slave earned that honour. 

He was torn for a moment. 

It was Rufus' concern to ensure his Dominus was in good health. It was part of being a good body slave. 

"You will ensure that there is a coal brazier lit in this study, and this room only, either in the earliest hours of the morning. It eases throughout the day. " He said, there was no point heating the whole home during the daytime when it was so hot. 

@Sharpie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Anything Rufus could offer to ease the pain would most certainly be done without drawing any attention to it - but it could certainly wait until he knew this master better, and how he would be likely to react. Rufus certainly wouldn't talk about it, not if it would bring an explosion of temper down on his head.

But apparently the master's temper died away as quickly as it was riled; while he did not apologise for it (Rufus would have expired of shock if he had; no free Roman apologised to a slave even for something that was the citizen's fault. That wasn't how the world worked!), he did offer a brief squeeze of Rufus' shoulder, in acceptance of Rufus' own apology for the suggestion.

A brazier to be lit in here first thing in the morning? That would be simple enough, at least, and he added that to the mental list of standing orders he was compiling.

"Yes, Domine."

Sleep in his master's room, and tuck his own bed away during the day. Serve the master the breakfast the cook would send. Light the brazier in here every morning. Be where he could hear his master call him.  Tutor Octavius Minor in his writing and (probably) his reading, when so ordered.

It was not a long list, at least, and would probably be added to as his master got used to him. He would not ask if there was anything else he was expected to do; to ask 'Is there anything else, Domine?' sounded too presumptuous, too much as though the slave were hinting at wishing to be dismissed - and his position here was too precarious to risk it in such a stupid way. So he merely shut his mouth and waited for his master to speak again.

 

@Gothic                              

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Octavius somewhat regretted his outburst. It was not like him to lose his temper over anything and he did not like that loss of control. It reminded him of the despotic tyrants to the east who ruled without reason. Although from his interactions with those men, he knew many to be far from the stereotype pushed through Roman propaganda. Still. 

"You will work with Arterius, the nomenclator of the household so you won't need to worry about remembering people's names." He answered, a brief look of amusement in his eyes. There were many prominent individuals in Rome, and it could be difficult to keep track of them all. Especially when so many people shared the same or similar names. Even his own family and extended family were considerably large. Arterius would no doubt speak to Rufus discreetly on some occasion. Either way, Rufus would be receiving quite a large education when it came to fitting into the household. 

In truth, training slaves was not his expertise and he would need to organise one of the slaves to help Rufus. 

"Arterius and Atticus will both assist you in settling in." He said, looked down at his desk and walked to sit behind it to deal with his papers. Atticus, his secretary waited by the door and waited for the Dominus to decide what he waited. "Atticus will take you to Arterius." Octavius said in way of a dismissal. 

Atticus waited for Rufus. 

"New arrival? Come on, let's get you set up." Atticus added cheerily. 

@Sharpie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank Jupiter for small mercies! Rufus had never belonged to a house with a slave whose specific task was to remember the master's visitors' names and announce them when they called - but Gaius Tullius Messala had not had a large circle of visitors and most of them were well-known enough in the locality that all his slaves knew who they were. Rome was huge, and if this master were connected to the Emperor, Rufus was sure he'd have enough citizens call on him in a week to match Paestum's population in terms of numbers. Maybe more than match it.

Arterius the nomenclator, and Attius the secretary. And Corvus, the master's current body-slave. Rufus had met them, in passing - enough to be aware of them, at least. He made a mental note to do his best to be agreeable to them and try not to antagonise them in any way. There was nothing so uncomfortable as to have to work with someone who disliked you, who had the master's trust while you were trying to earn his favour and find your place in the household.

He took the master's dismissal for what it was and murmured, "Yes, Domine," before turning for the door, grateful to see the secretary waiting for him.

Perhaps he could settle in and find a place in this house. It would not be for lack of trying, anyway.

 

@Gothic

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Attius eyed up the new arrival. His role in the household was specific, and possible that another would eventually come into the home. His arms were casually folded across his chest as he eyed Rufus up as he approached him. Younger, red-haired, and seemed polite in the company of the Dominus. One of his hands gestured for Rufus to approach and smiled softly. "Right, come on then," He said softly, looked in at Octavius who was occupied with his work and made sure to stay nearby. He had overheard the outburst and a good part of the conversation that had taken place. 

"I take it he has told you some of it," He asked, moved to the room and opened a door that led to a small closet. There were a straw beds stacked up neatly and to the side there were blankets. "At night, take one of those and rest. You're not new to this. When you are free you are to eat, visit the medicus when you can, wear clean clothing and keep yourself clean. They don't like a sloppy household here." Atticus continued, paused to regard Rufus and there was always the chance of friction.

The reward of being freed was always on the cards if they served well, and among some households there was fierce competition between the slaves. Attius like many others hoped to be freed someday. He would then become a client of Octavius' or his family. Something normal in Ancient Rome. While he wanted to take Rufus' under his wing he also wanted to find out about him, too. 

"Now, eat and drink when you can. Usually there will be something here you can have, soon enough, you will learn the Dominus' habits and will use the toilets in between," He said. "So, tell me about yourself?" Atticus asked quietly. 

@Sharpie

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Some, yes," Rufus replied, equally quietly, making a note of where things were.

He shrugged at the question. "There's not much to tell, sir. I was born verna in my old master's house, my mother was British. When she died, the mistress sold my sister - that was when I was fifteen and Bretta was seventeen, near enough. And then the master died, and the mistress sold me too. I was a house slave, I've only done this for a few days at a time."

He didn't want to replace someone who would end up taking a demotion in the household heirarchy; though it was entirely possible that the master's old body slave had been incompetent. The master didn't seem to be a man who put up with having incompetent slaves, though.

But the master of the house did what he wanted, everyone else obeyed what he said, no matter their own feelings on the subject.

 

@Gothic

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Attius appreciated being called sir, it made sense. In the hierarchy of slaves there was usually a great deal of competition. Either way, he wanted to listen to Rufus' past and find out as much as he could. Not necessarily for wicked intent. He nodded his head, everything sounded pretty normal to him and like Rufus, he had been born into a life of servitude. "Ah, well, they are pretty good here," He murmured, gestured with his thumb out to Octavius as the Dominus was writing quietly and looked to see if he needed anything. No requests. 

He turned his attention back to Rufus, "Now, Corvus is sick. Old age is catching up with him, so, do your job well and keep your nose out of trouble. You will do alright," He said, walked and looked over his shoulder to expect Rufus to walk with him over to the bread, wine, and pieces of fruit. "Eat up. Fortunately he isn't busy at the moment," Attius lifted a piece of bread, tore it and placed a piece into his mouth. In the company of the Dominus his manner would be more proper, restricted but now relaxed in front of the newcomer. 

"I take it you know not to mention his hands now. Don't worry, he will be okay, can be a cranky bastard in the morning." 

@Sharpie

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Old age... Well, that explained that little puzzle, at least. He followed Attius. Meals eaten as and when... not the best method, but certainly better than only eating once or twice a day - he could certainly do a lot worse, as a slave.

He helped himself to a fig. "Yes. Is there... Is there anything else I can do, apart from the brazier? Anything I can put out, that would help?" If there was something the master needed, that Rufus could just set out for him, without either of them needing to say anything... It was obviously a touchy subject, Rufus had no intention of saying anything about it to anyone, ever.

"How does he prefer his body slave to be, in the morning, sir?" Present, and not saying anything, to have laid everything out and left the room - there were so many different ways masters liked their slaves to act and to be. Rufus had no intention of doing anything to rouse that temper again, if he could help, but was under no illusion that he could be the perfect slave for him right from the beginning.

The other thing he wanted to know, badly, was how he would be punished when he messed up, as he inevitably would while he was learning this new master's foibles and how he liked things done.

 

@Gothic

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Octavius sat working. Oblivious to the conversation that took place between the two slaves. 

Atticus nodded, it was a good sign that Rufus wanted to look after his Dominus' interests and even when he did not wish to acknowledge it. "A basin of warm water and a towel. He likes to bathe so he may go to the baths, this is moreso for the cooler winter months," He answered, made his suggestions and pondered more about the matter. While he did so, he lifted a piece of bread from the plate and ate it in thought of what would happen. Atticus chewed, tilted his head from side to side in a thinking manner and finished chewing before he spoke. 

"Present, but silent. If he is spending time with the Domina you are to be present but give them their quiet time together. He likes something sweet in the morning," He said, nudged Rufus with his elbow and grinned. "Puts him in a better mood the right of the day. Gets nightmares sometimes but a lot of soldierly types tend to. Well, from what I have heard." He said, and swayed his hand with polite dismissal. 

Atticus thought more about what he should tell the newbie. 

"Firm but fair, they do not punish for sadistic pleasure but will punish bad behaviour. You should be alright." Atticus said, although he was safe and happy in his position. 

@Sharpie

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Rufus listened, filing the information away. It would be simple enough to manage to fulfil those requirements, and he was grateful that there did not seem to be any eccentricity required of the slaves in this household - he had heard of some odd things required by some masters' superstitions. Present but silent - that sounded very familiar to one who had been brought up to know that he was nothing more than a tool with a voice, and whose voice was not often required by the master. Present while the master and mistress were together hinted that he would end up being present while they were getting intimate, which would be in no way unusual in their world, whether Rufus wished to witness it or not. Such was the life of a slave, after all.

Warm water and a towel would be easy enough, as would the something sweet.

"Should I wake him from a nightmare, or let him sleep through it?" he asked, suspecting that he ought to let him sleep through it - if he was sensitive to his slaves knowing about his hands, wouldn't he be just as sensitive to a slave's knowing he had nightmares?

"And what about honest mistakes - what are the consequences there?" he added. It would not be at all unusual to receive some sort of physical chastisement for an honest mistake - he wouldn't have been surprised had he been slapped earlier for asking about the master's injury despite not knowing it was a touchy subject.

 

@Gothic

Edited by Sharpie
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Atticus listened and waited to see what the answer would be. He paused and thought more about the different requirements, it got a bit tricky now and he was unsure. Romans were touchy about anything that could leave them vulnerable or challenge their masculinity. He lifted his hand and scratched the back of his neck in idle thought. "Nah, I wouldn't if I were you. He'll be okay, just give him space and be around if he wants anything." Atticus answered with a shrug, still unsure but thought any answer was better than none and hopefully it was the correct one. 

The next question caused him to pause and think for a moment. In the past, he had seen people punished but never without any serious reason for it to occur. 

"It depends on what it is," Atticus answered honestly. "If it comes to the safety of his the family then the consequences are more severe. It depends on the individual, though." He said, shrugged his shoulders and chuckled. "Honest mistakes are one thing. Treachery is another. The family have no remorse about dealing with a disobedient slave." Atticus continued, this was fairly normal for many elite families and it would only resort to more treachery. 

@Sharpie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good master would surely find that his slaves were more loyal than those of a bad master, and Rufus had had no indication that his new master was not good. And Rufus had learned more than Octavius might be aware of; Rufus now knew that his master had a quick temper but didn't automatically lash out despite it. He had answered Rufus' questions fairly, and thoughtfully, and listened to Rufus' answers when asked something requiring a longer response. That he was touchy about his injury, even to a slave, indicated that he considered his slaves to be people, at least on some level - Rufus was aware of some free people who wouldn't care if a slave knew something like that about them but would be just as touchy if a citizen knew that thing.

Rufus nodded thoughtfully as Atticus spoke, absorbing the information.

"Is it a good household to be in, sir?" he asked. "Is there anything I should know about the other slaves, or... anything?" It seemed to be a good household, but you could never tell - better to find out now and be prepared if there was some feud or other among the slaves. The master would probably not care and would be unlikely to know if there was such a thing. Citizens didn't concern themselves with their slaves' lives, after all, and Rufus hadn't been part of it long enough to know if there was anything, or anyone, he needed to be particularly wary about.

 

@Gothic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...