Jump to content

A Ride in the Dark (Calpurnia)


Chris
 Share

Recommended Posts

April 74 - After the events of "Consider Yourself an Investment"

After the bidding had ended, Eppitacos was taken from the side room where he had been told to wait and returned to his cells to be cleaned and dressed. He was sure there was a buyer, but who it was and what they wanted with him he didn't have a clue. Few words were spoken, and he didn't ask - he would find out in due time. After the preparations - a good hour or more - he was taken through the maze of hallways and small adjoined homes that create the imperial palace and out one of the many heavily-guarded side entrances. With guards around him, he was stopped just in front of a small litter. The carrying slaves stood around it, and four guards - not imperial - were around them. One of them spoke to him.

"Your Domina awaits you. Step in," he said. Eppitacos was surprised he was being told to step into the lectica with his new domina, but he took it to mean there was some small amount of trust. He nodded, stepped forward and pushed aside the heavy curtain and took the seat open to his right. After he sat, he looked forward but could only see the silhouette of his new owner.

He decided to speak up and simply said, "Domina," and then waited for her reply...

@AzraelGrim

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reclining with her elbow resting on the raised seat and pillows of the litter's comfortable interior, Calpurnia had decided to call her evening to an end after the auction had completed and she had shared a short conversation with the Pontifex Maximus. She wasn't much for socializing in terms of food or drink, but she could certainly understand the reason for his choice to gather some of Rome's most important individuals into a single room for an auction unlike any other. Of course, as a Vestal Virgin, Calpurnia was expected to keep a certain distance to maintain an air of chaste dignity. As such, the woman had not approached the slave openly and instead, had observed with a discerning eye as the various Senators and elites of Rome had inspected the former gladiator, completely oblivious to the man's true value. Never a word was spoken as the Briton was led away and the bidding started, which was when an idea had entered the woman's mind, one that could have only come from divine inspiration. 

Although, in truth, it was rather hard to conceal the look of amusement when the Vestal had suddenly chimed in and outbid the others with an amount that caused many to nearly choke on their wine. Not that Calpurnia was prone to flashing large amounts of money around on a whim, though her family were more than able to afford such luxuries. However, the money in question had no connection to her father's house, but was a combination of earnings from properties that she had purchased and the savings that had been acquired with the generous stipend that each Virgin received for her service to the people of Rome. While it was true that the Vestal had always held a special place in society, that alone would not be enough to ensure her family's prosperity after her retirement. No, in Rome, everything was about appearances. Not only was her contribution to Caesar a favor to be repaid on some later date, but it was a display of benevolence and patriotism that would stir awe of those in the room, many who would no doubt be quick to speak of such deeds tomorrow. 

While she had displayed nothing less than humility on the surface, she was not naive to Caesar's intentions. Eppitacos was a man that had served him well and could still have a great deal of use, but due to his recent injury would have most certainly have met with a terrible fate in the arena. However, to release or keep him would have been perceived as weakness on Caesar's part, especially with the current sentiments towards Britannia in the Empire. Under the protection of a Vestal Virgin and the daughter of an influential family though, the former gladiator would be allowed to live out the rest of his life in peace and comfort, much like a retired racing horse. The former warrior was not without his uses, however, but that was another matter for a later date. 

Her cerulean eyes settled on the man as he entered the litter and took a seat across from her, offering a small smile in greeting. "Eppitacos of Briton, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Calpurnia Praetextata, daughter of Senator Tiberius Calpurnius Praetextatus and a Vestal Virgin." She introduced formally with all the grace and the charm one might have expected from someone in her position. Her voiced remained a calm and soothing tone that was meant to reassure the man that he had nothing to fear from her and that she would not mistreat him in any way. If anything, it removed any possibility that she was merely some noble born woman looking to take a gladiator as a lover. No, Calpurnia had far more scholarly pursuits in mind, but those could wait until after the introductions and for Eppitacos to grasp some understanding of his new situation. 

"I am told that you have served Caesar faithfully these many years, I hope that you will extend me the same courtesy as your new Domina. Do you have any questions?" Calpurnia offered kindly, threading her fingers together in her lap as those azure eyes continued to watch him in fascination, not hesitating to look him square in the eye. The movement of the curtain was just enough for the thin strands of light to catch the shimmer of golden hair which had been braided back in the traditional manner. Sadly, the flowing nature of the Vestal's traditional garb did little to reveal much about her silhouette, but it was clear that she understood that some confusion and inquiries were to be expected. Having no choice in the decision to be sold away and likely knowing nothing of the strange woman that had purchased him, Calpurnia saw no harm in extending some common courtesy to voice his concerns, since it was the least that she could offer the former warrior. True, it would not change his fate in the end, but it might bring him comfort, if only vaguely. 

@Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

His eyes found hers as her gaze settled on him once he entered into the litter. She was formal and straightforward, it seemed. One of the first things Eppitacos had learned when he came to Rome and began to learn the Roman language and culture was that - typically - the length of a person's introduction gave some indication of their level of social importance. The daughter of a senator, but more importantly a Vestal Virgin. The exact religious importance of the Vestals was lost on Eppitacos, as a non-Roman, but he understood then she was a person of particular religious importance.

Suddenly  a gentle breeze blow into the litter and wrapped around his neck, seeming to whisper into his ears, and almost like a new breath of life, Eppitacos felt his curiosity piqued in a way it had not for some years. All manner of thoughts flooded into his mind - was this the plan of the gods all along? He found himself wondering. 

She continued, speaking to his good service, and asked if he had any questions. He paused, taking some time to look her over as the light allowed, and then spoke. "I do," he said at first, trying to think of questions more immediately important than whether or not the gods spoke to the woman sitting his opposite. "What is your use for me?" He asked at last. A vestal virgin had no use for a bull, and likewise no need for a warrior or guardian. Why then would she be interested in him?

@AzraelGrim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...