Jump to content

Whispers of some quiet conversation


Sharpie
 Share

Recommended Posts

May 74

 

Rufus, being his new master's body slave and not his secretary (although things might still change, of course) had been sent away when his master's visitor arrived, with the admonition to remember to stay within call, but not so close the master would think he was deliberately eavesdropping.

Eavesdropping was not something Rufus had ever felt particularly comfortable doing, and he was even less comfortable with the thought he might appear to be doing so, especially as he was still on trial to see whether he would be suitable in this position long-term or not. He was not about to risk anything, and had found himself a spot out of the way across the garden from the tablinum where his master was meeting his guest, where he could see his master and hear him call if he was wanted, but where he couldn't overhear any of the conversation.

It was a nice shady spot of the garden under a vine trellis and Rufus settled down. He had been allowed to borrow a wax tablet and stylus (both cheap and plain, unlike the one the master used) in order to practise his writing - he could write, he was extremely fortunate in that, but it had been a while since he had and he did not want to find himself in a position where he was taking dictation or trying to write something up neatly and found himself wondering what way round the letter S went. And there were few enough other things he could do that would occupy him for more than a few minutes at most.

He leaned back, enjoying the sun for a moment before he did anything. It was rare to have any time alone, especially now, and he appreciated every second he could get away from his master (although his master wasn't a bad master, quite the opposite. Everyone needed some sort of alone time sometimes, even slaves).

It couldn't have been very long that he sat there before a shadow fell across his face and he blinked up, thinking at first that he had been summoned. The person looking down at him was the boy who'd accompanied master's guest, though, and he didn't look as though he'd come to call Rufus in to attend the master.

"Hello," he said. Alone time or not, he didn't mind being interrupted by someone new, especially a fellow slave. "Care to join me?" He patted the bench beside him.

 

@Chevi

Edited by Sharpie
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Azarion was not entirely sure why his master brought him along for the visit. Maybe it had to do with horses, he mused, maybe they were negotiating about one? There were not many things he could be an expert on, but horses definitely were one of them. Otherwise, it could just have been one of Alucio's strange whims, cleaning up the mute stable boy and taking him along because why not. Either way, Azarion felt out of place, and tried to carry himself with the quiet dignity of a body slave, while also trying not to squirm in the new, itchy tunic. 

The moment they arrived, Alucio told him to wait in the garden. Oh well. He could do that. He was not sure why he had to come all this way and then not even have anything to do, but he was a slave, and his only job was to shut up and obey. He had really perfected the first part already.

He noticed the red-haired slave in the shade, but didn't approach right away. Other slaves, depending on their position in the household, could be just as rude as their masters. This one looked calm enough, but it was not like Azarion could just walk up and start a conversation.

The writing, though. That intrigued him. Not many slaves could write, unless it was part of their job. Azarion couldn't, which really made communication hard. Watching the redhead scribble, he slowly moved closer, lost in his own thoughts, until he was finally noticed.

"Hello. Care to join me?"

Friendly. Azarion was not sure what to do with that. Other slaves had been friendly to him before, and even free people sometimes, but it was hard to let go of suspicions that fast. He nodded in greeting, and then, after some hesitation, he took a seat in the shade, next to the redhead.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the youngster didn't seem very talkative. He might just be shy, of course, but he perched on the bench beside Rufus without protest, or withdrawing to... wherever he'd come from.

Although, he'd come in with Master's guest, and had probably been sent away to keep himself out of mischief until such time as Master's guest left again. It was a sign of wealth, having a slave accompany you when you went to visit someone, after all.

"I'm Rufus," he said, and shrugged. "I suppose it's obvious why." He ran a hand through his hair. It could have been worse, he supposed. Being named 'Redhead' was definitely better than being 'Felix' - Lucky.

"I guess you saw me writing," he added. "I don't suppose you write, at all?"

Making conversation was far more companionable than just sitting in silence, especially as the boy had actually joined him. He was rather pointed of feature, Rufus thought - he had a very pointed, determined chin, and Rufus could bet that he had sharp elbows, too. There was definitely a look of curiosity in his thin face - curiosity, and suspicion, and it wouldn't be hard to pinpoint the roots of the latter. Life as a slave was not generally full of fun, even for kids.

 

@Chevi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The red-haired man did not seem to mind Azarion's company. The Sarmatian boy must have been a strange sight, even in a clean tunic and freshly cut hair - the tattoo, the fugitive brand on his arm, and the various scars showing on his skin told stories by themselves, although not everyone knew, or cared, how to read them. 

"I'm Rufus. I suppose it's obvious why." 

Azarion nodded. The red hair. Rufus was for red-haired people. Not many of them were native Romans, but they seemed to be popular as slaves brought in from the northern provinces. It reminded Azarion of the German tribes across the river. 

"I guess you saw me writing. I don't suppose you write, at all?"

The damned writing again.

Azarion sighed and shook his head. By now, he was probably beginning to seem strange to the talkative redhead, so he added a few hand gestures, tapping his lips to let him know he could not speak either. If he could he might have introduced himself, but as things stood, still no one managed to get his name. Not even his master, who generally called him "Boy," or "You little shit," depending on the occasion. 

@Sharpie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a look of frustration that crossed the boy's face. At least, Rufus thought it was frustration, but it was gone before he really had time to note it. He tapped his lips, which made Rufus look at him again.

"Either you mean I should shut up, or you mean you can't talk," Rufus said, holding up one finger for the first, then two fingers for the second. "I wouldn't blame you for saying - telling me - it's the first one, even if it's the second."

It was surprising how talkative Rufus found himself being; he hadn't really spoken much to the other slaves, and of course he couldn't , with the master. It wasn't as though he was particularly a talkative person, normally, and certainly he wouldn't spread secrets or anything of that sort.

"If you want me to shut up, poke me, and we'll just enjoy the outdoors without saying anything at all," Rufus added, without rancour. "If you don't, I bet I could talk enough for the both of us."

He could probably tell more about the boy than the kid realised - he'd noted the brand on his arm (he'd been lucky; most runaways were branded on the face when they were caught!) and the straw in his hair. The one, and the collar around his neck, proclaimed him a slave. The second said that he most likely worked with horses (or nobody in the house cared to check their fellow slave over after he woke up). He looked too wild to have been born a slave, as Rufus had been, but he didn't have the look of someone from the British tribes - on the other hand, there were those green eyes, which were just as unusual as Rufus' red hair.

"If you don't write... do you draw, at all?" he asked.

 

@Chevi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rufus noted the hand gestures, and took the whole thing in stride.

"Either you mean I should shut up, or you mean you can't talk. I wouldn't blame you for saying - telling me - it's the first one, even if it's the second."

Azarion held up one finger with a sly smirk, then held up a second one. The redhead sure was chatty, but at least he did not act superior or awkward around him. That was a relief, compared to most other slaves.

"If you want me to shut up, poke me, and we'll just enjoy the outdoors without saying anything at all. If you don't, I bet I could talk enough for the both of us."

Azarion shot him a sideways glance. He bet he could. Sometimes Latin was still hard to follow, but he was slowly getting used to it. He didn't poke Rufus, not yet. He was more interesting than sitting around in silence. He has been doing enough of that already lately.

"If you don't write... do you draw, at all?" 

Azarion blinked, freezing for a moment. No one... had ever asked him that before? The realization was so simple yet so shocking that it made him laugh out a little. He nodded, still chuckling. Yes, he could draw. 

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You're not British, are you?" Rufus said, hazarding a guess - he'd already dismissed that idea, but it still remained a possibility, even a slim one. "If you don't understand Greek - well, a sort-of Greek - Latin will have to do. I can't even talk in British, though you probably think I should be able to. I mean, I'm guessing you're not verna, like me, anyway."

The FVG brand spoke against the kid's being verna, a home-born slave, anyway. Rufus supposed that he wasn't even verna himself any more - he'd been bought into the household, not born into it.

He took the stylus and reversed it, before beginning to smooth the wax over with the blunt scraper end. "The best way to do this, really, is melt or renew the wax, but I'm only borrowing this one, and it's a cheap thing anyway," he said. "Writing's just drawing shapes and putting them together to make words, but you can draw what you like."

He held tablet and stylus out to the other slave.

 

@Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You're not British, are you?"

Azarion snorted and shook his head. Definitely not British. He'd met a Briton woman at the marketplace, and while they got along just fine, they were definitely different in many ways. It made sense that Rufus' mind jumped to that first, though. Most fresh slaves coming into Rome were from recently pacified provinces.

"If you don't understand Greek - well, a sort-of Greek - Latin will have to do. I can't even talk in British, though you probably think I should be able to. I mean, I'm guessing you're not verna, like me, anyway."

Azarion shook his head about Greek, and then again about being verna. No, he was definitely not house bred. He shuddered at the thought a little. At least he was male, and therefore not prone to being a breeding mare for some Roman master. The last thing he wanted was to see his own children in slavery. His Samratian pride bristled at the idea, even after years of slavery.

Rufus handed over the tablet and the stylus. Azarion held them a little awkwardly, like someone who never held them enough to handle either with ease.

"The best way to do this, really, is melt or renew the wax, but I'm only borrowing this one, and it's a cheap thing anyway. Writing's just drawing shapes and putting them together to make words, but you can draw what you like."

Azarion arched an eyebrow. Drawing shapes, indeed. If only it was that easy. He knew the basic idea behind writing, but it was too vague to put it into practice. He stared at the wax for a moment. What could he possibly draw? His hands shifted idly, before he finally put the point of the stylus to the wax, and began to make a shape. It was awkward, scratching the surface, and the drawing came out barely passable, but it had four legs, a head, and a mane. It look like a child's toy, in the vague shape of a horse.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Not British. My mother was British," Rufus said, conversationally. No Greek, either. The Empire was big enough (and his sense of geography more than vague enough) that he didn't feel like trying to name all the possible places the boy could have come from - even ruling out Aegyptus and Africa, it still left a vast swathe.

He gently corrected the boy's grip on the stylus, but otherwise left him to it.

He gave the boy a moment to try drawing something before leaning over to see what it was. It could be a dog, but no dog had a tail like that, and anyway, the muzzle was blunter. And that must be meant for a mane. "A horse? And writing really is just drawing shapes, in a sequence - and Latin's an easy enough language to learn, once you know all the letters and what they sound like."

If the kid liked horses, and hadn't been born a slave, he'd probably been born somewhere where horses were a common sight, or something. He didn't have the look of a Greek (and spoke no Greek anyway!), nor of an African or Egyptian. Which ruled out precisely four provinces, leaving Rufus none the wiser, and unable to guess. Probably not German, either, to be fair - he had the wrong build and colouring for that, too. They were all solid, blond-haired barbarians. The boy might be of barbarian stock, but he was too slender and wiry to be from the north.

"Do you want me to show you how to write the word horse?" he asked, unwilling to try guessing - get it wrong and he'd probably end up stabbed in the eye with the stylus for insulting the boy. However unwittingly he'd done so.

 

@Chevi

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Not British. My mother was British,"

Well, that made sense. Rufus had the exotic coloring to show for it. So, born into slavery from a Briton woman? It was hard to decide what a life like that would look like. 

Azarion busied himself with scraping a shape into the wax. Rufus adjusted his hand on the stylus, but mostly he left him work it out on his own. It was kind of silly, but a horse really was the first thing that came to his mind. It could have been his home, or his current position in the household, or even a deity... it could have been a lot of things. For now, he simply enjoyed the fact that he was drawing something, a simple act no one thought of before.

"A horse? And writing really is just drawing shapes, in a sequence - and Latin's an easy enough language to learn, once you know all the letters and what they sound like."

Letters were sounds? Was that how it worked? Azarion tilted his head, looking up at Rufus. Latin was not very hard to learn, at least not the kind he needed to know to survive.

"Do you want me to show you how to write the word horse?" 

Azarion snorted a little. They have names. 'Horse' was like saying 'Human' about a person. Azarion paused, thinking about the offer, then handed the tablet and the stylus back, and shifted, crossing his leg over the other. On the back of his calf, there was the elaborate tattoo of a deer, arching its back in a jump. He tapped his fingers on the deer, and then on the tablet.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The boy snorted at the suggestion Rufus teach him the word for horse, and shifted his position after passing the wax tablet and stylus back He tapped his leg and Rufus saw a tattoo there, a pretty sort of thing, very unRoman though, a deer jumping. It looked (from what Rufus could see, thanks to the curve of the boy's slender limb) to have been done almost from the life, by an expert who knew what the spirit of a deer was.

"Deer, then," he said, and reached for the kid's hand, carefully, so as not to startle him. He pressed the stylus into his hand before taking his wrist, loosely to allow the boy to break free if he chose to. "Well, I mean - I know how to write it, but you don't. So if I hold your hand and write it, you'll see how it's done."

He propped the tablet on the boy's leg - it was a double tablet, two leaves bound together with a leather thong, and slowly formed the letters C-E-R-V-V-S

"There, cervus. That's a male deer. The female just gets the female ending, cerva."

Equally carefully, he scribed below C-E-R-V-A

 

@Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If there was going to be one word he could write, it was going to be something personal. Making Rufus guess his name, or even where he was from, seemed to be a lost cause. It would be a long time, maybe years, before someone got that far with Azarion. Maybe it was for the best. But that didn't mean he could not make up another name for himself.

"Deer, then. Well, I mean - I know how to write it, but you don't. So if I hold your hand and write it, you'll see how it's done."

They propped the tablet up, and Rufus held his hand. It was strange. Everything about Rufus was strange, but Azarion not sure if that was due to the redhead being a weird person, or him just not being used to a normal person. He followed the shapes intently, even though they did not look like anything. Rufus uttered the sounds with them.

"There, cervus. That's a male deer. The female just gets the female ending, cerva."

Similar shapes, different ending. Cerva. Azarion followed the shape of the A. Azarion. It was a start. He drew the A again, for good measure.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He seemed an intelligent enough kid, Rufus thought. He wrote another A in a space, and stopped. Rufus wasn't sure if he wanted to write something beginning with that letter, which seemed the most obvious thing, but there was no way that Rufus could possibly guess what that word might be, especially if it was the kid's name (and what else would it be, if he couldn't write?)

"I can teach you the alphabet - it's like... like a list of all the different letters," he said, wondering how he'd managed to slide into this lesson. At least the other slave was more appreciative than some of the free children Rufus had heard at their lessons. Writing meant that you could do things others couldn't, and that you were less likely to get cheated - and it might mean that this kid would be able to actually communicate with other people, properly. Right now, he couldn't even tell Rufus his name, or where he was from.

Which was a damn horrible thing, especially for a kid of his age. He was only a bit younger than Rufus himself, after all.

"You've got the first letter there. Once you know the letters, you just choose the ones that spell the word you want, and that's all that writing is," he said, and took his hand again to show him, trying to keep it neat so they didn't run out of room too fast.

A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T V X Z

 

@Chevi

Edited by Sharpie
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I can teach you the alphabet - it's like... like a list of all the different letters," 

Letters. Azarion was familiar with signs made to indicate things, usually carved into wood or stone or bone. It wasn't that different from carving signs into wax. For them to indicate sounds, though... how many sounds could a person make? Was there a separate sign for all of them? How did anyone ever learn to write?

"You've got the first letter there. Once you know the letters, you just choose the ones that spell the word you want, and that's all that writing is," 

He made it sound easy. Not in a patronizing way, but rather in the way someone would talk about writing if they had spent all their life knowing how to do it. Rufus was already busy at work, and as Azarion watched, he made a series of signs on the tablet.

A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T V X Z

That's all of them?

Azarion furrowed his brow, trying to make sense of the signs, and the idea. One could write down everything they wanted to write, with only those letters? And who decided what order they were going to be in? Was there any sense to it?... He recognized some of the letters from writing 'deer' earlier. He turned his arm as well, looking at the three letters branded into it. FVG. He traced them, and then looked at the alphabet list.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rufus ignored what the brand stood for, what it meant, and focussed only on the letters of it, possibly the only letters the boy was familiar with - he lived with them every day, after all.

"That's these letters," he said, indicating the F, V and G with a thumbnail - the youngster still held his stylus. He said the names of the letters out loud as he pointed at them. "Not every word has every letter in it, and some words - lots of words - use the same letter more than once."

He wished he knew what the kid's name was so that he could give him a word to learn to write that actually meant something to him.

He looked at the horse picture again, and reached for the boy's hand, etching the word EQVVS into the wax. "That's equus - a horse, any horse at all. And see how we only use some of the letters, and one more than once?"

 

@Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of Azarion's experience with letters was either bad, or merely... useless. The brand still hurt sometimes, and he knew what it was supposed to signify, but the actual word eluded him. He had seen other slaves with the same brand, often on their face or forehead. They tried to run away, but were too useful or expensive to kill them or sell them.

"That's these letters. Not every word has every letter in it, and some words - lots of words - use the same letter more than once."

Rufus was intent on the writing lesson. He indicated the letters, but Azarion was not sure about the sounds yet. It was a lot to take in at once. Rufus wrote another word, next to the picture of the horse.

"That's equus - a horse, any horse at all. And see how we only use some of the letters, and one more than once?"

Equus. Latin for horse. Azarion knew that word well. He traced the letters. He wondered if the same letters could be used to write words in other languages. Were the signs only for Latin? How does one even ask that without talking?

Azarion tapped his lips again, then his chest, then the signs on the tablet, wrinkling his brow. Now what?

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rufus could kick himself. If he understood the kid's signs right, he wanted to know how to write his name. Of course he did. And Rufus had no clue what his name even was... and hadn't done very basic step of telling him what sounds the letters made so that he could figure it out for himself.

"I'm sorry," he said, obscurely. "Let's try again - each letter, each one of these shapes, has a sound to it - all its own - and so when you put those sounds together when reading a word, you know what the whole word sounds like. CERVA, here..." He sounded each letter out, "C, E, R, V, A, cerva, see? If I go through the whole alphabet - this list of letters - and tell you what the sounds are for each letter, you might be able to pick out the ones for your name?"

The name Rufus would be easy enough, but the kid didn't want to know how to write Rufus' name, but his own.

@Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rufus was either really patient, or really bored. Either way, he did not seem like he was going anywhere anytime soon, and as long as Azarion could glean some knowledge about letters and writing, he was going to make good use of it. The sounds and signs were still confusing, though.

"I'm sorry. Let's try again - each letter, each one of these shapes, has a sound to it - all its own - and so when you put those sounds together when reading a word, you know what the whole word sounds like."

Azarion furrowed his brow and tried to make sense of the concept.

"CERVA, here... C, E, R, V, A, cerva, see? If I go through the whole alphabet - this list of letters - and tell you what the sounds are for each letter, you might be able to pick out the ones for your name?"

His name. Maybe finally, after years as a slave, someone could actually figure out his name? Azarion blinked, suddenly not even sure he wanted to give it away. But what if he could learn to write it? Would that really mean anything, for a stable boy? Or would everyone just keep calling him 'boy' anyway?

Hesitantly, he tapped the stylus to the A he had traced. Azarion. He looked up expectantly, waiting for Rufus to sound the other letters out. He closed his eyes, so that he could better listen to the sounds; he had not pronounced his own name in years. He had to wait for a long time to hear the next sound that seemed right. Z. He opened his eyes, tapping Rufus' hand. The process would have to be repeated multiple times, before it was a complete name...

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rufus sounded the letters out, one by one, and blinked when his hand was tapped as he said the last letter, or rather, its sound. He looked over at the boy beside him, who had his eyes closed.

Az...

Could it be... "Is that the beginning of your name?" he asked, writing A-Z out - the kid had written out the letter A earlier, so it was a fair guess that might be the first letter of the name, anyway.

"If I say these again, if you look at which letter has the sound I'm saying - you're clever, you'll learn them in no time, I'm sure. Some of them have two sounds, though, I'll show you..."

He wrote out the vowels again, this time above the horse drawing where there was a bit of smooth wax, then drew a short flat line over each one.  Ā Ē Ī Ō Ū  "This just makes them have long sounds," he said. "Ah, Ay, Ee, Oh, Oo. But only when they have the line over the top of them."

He ran through the sounds of the letters again, waiting for the indication for the next letter - the next sound, anyway - of the kid's name.

 

@Chevi

Edited by Sharpie
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Is that the beginning of your name?" 

Azarion looked at the A and the Z next to each other. Was it? A name was a sound, something that people uttered to refer to someone. Seeing it, in the form of signs... it looked alien.

"If I say these again, if you look at which letter has the sound I'm saying - you're clever, you'll learn them in no time, I'm sure. Some of them have two sounds, though, I'll show you..."

Rufus said he was clever. Azarion liked to think so, or rather, that he was too smart for his own good, and definitely too clever for a slave. But now there were suddenly even more sounds, and Rufus was making new lines on the tablet.

"This just makes them have long sounds. Ah, Ay, Ee, Oh, Oo. But only when they have the line over the top of them."

He could make those sounds, even without his tongue, but it always sounded off, and he did not like to sound like a fool when he tried. He listened, though, and decided his name did not need a line to sound right. Instead, he took the stylus, and put another A.

A Z A

He waited for Rufus to sound the signs again, this time following with his eyes, trying to mark which one was which. He picked our the R, and then looked at the double sounds again. I. Ee. O. Oh.

A Z A R I O 

One more sound. One he could not make anymore, not without a tongue. Azarion made a frustrated huff, staring at the letters. Fucking Latin. Which one was it again? Rufus would have to sound them one more time.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"It's a name - your name," Rufus said. "There are really only two options for how a name ends, Nnnn or Ssss." He guessed it was N, because the kid hadn't even attempted the sound, which Rufus could understand. The kid hadn't even opened his mouth to try talking, but he could hear. And he hadn't been born a slave, which meant the chances were high that he'd been captured somewhere. And if he wasn't even attempting to talk, because he couldn't... Whoever had captured him had probably forcibly silenced him, and if he couldn't write, and couldn't talk, then he couldn't tell anyone anything concrete about who he was or where he was from.

If it was Romans who'd done it... they could be every bit as barbaric as anyone else, of course, even with their civilised ways of bath-houses and temples and everything else.

"If it's not one of those, I'll go through the list again," he added.

 

@Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"It's a name - your name. There are really only two options for how a name ends, Nnnn or Ssss. If it's not one of those, I'll go through the list again,"

The redhead was clever, especially for a slave. Maybe that's why they kept him, because he could figure things out, and also write. Azarion had not been sure about the uses of reading and writing, but he was beginning to get the idea that it might be useful for some things. For example, letting someone know his actual fucking name. Now he just had to convince his master to use it instead of 'hey, boy'.

How did he guess the ending, though? He arched an eyebrow at Rufus, then, after some hesitation, he held up one finger. The first guess was correct.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first one. Rufus added an N to the end of the name, and looked at it. A-Z-A-R-I-O-N

"Azarion - is that how you say it?" he said, and passed the tablet over. "You write it - it's your name. Once you know how to write it, once you know the alphabet, you can write almost anything. Anything that's in here," he touched a finger to the boy's temple, "is yours for keeps and nobody can take it away from you, ever. Even if you're just a slave. And Latin's a really simple language, if you know how a word sounds and you know all the sounds of all the letters, you'll be able to work out how to write a word - to write anything."

He glanced up to the garden entrance to the tablinum, the master's study, but nobody was looking their way and nobody had called for them yet.

@Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Azarion - is that how you say it?"

For the first time since he'd left his home, someone said Azarion's name. It sounded strange. No one had uttered it for years, not even Azarion himself. There was a strange accent to it, having been pronounced by someone who spoke Latin, but it was close enough. Azarion nodded slowly, taking in the strange weight of the moment.

"You write it - it's your name. Once you know how to write it, once you know the alphabet, you can write almost anything. Anything that's in here is yours for keeps and nobody can take it away from you, ever. Even if you're just a slave. And Latin's a really simple language, if you know how a word sounds and you know all the sounds of all the letters, you'll be able to work out how to write a word - to write anything."

Anything that's in here is yours to keep.

Yeah, except for my tongue. Or my eyes, if I get too cheeky.

It sounded good, but honestly, wasn't as useful as an educated slave made it out to be. Still, Azarion leaned over the tablet, copying the letters one more time. He was fairly certain he could remember them. He'd commit his name to memory, and work on the rest.

He looked up, and saw Rufus glancing across the garden. Tilting his head, he nodded towards the tablinum, where both their masters were still immersed in conversation. He tapped the tablet, the writing, and the motioned at the other room. Was Rufus an assistant to his master, or something?

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Am I...? Oh. No, I'm not my master's secretary." Rufus shrugged. "Tell you the truth, I'm not quite sure what I am, exactly. I'm new in this house, you see. I'm doing some of the things a body slave does, but he also wants me to tutor his son, sometimes. I learned this," he lifted the tablet a fraction, "at my old master's, I suppose he thought I'd be useful as a secretary or something. I've only been here about a month, I'm still figuring things out - I was verna before I came here."

In other words, he'd never had a new master and never had to figure things out like this.

"What about you? Is he your first master, or have you had others before him?" Rufus asked, indicating the study and turning the conversation back to the kid again, trying to ask questions that could be answered with signs and that didn't require speech. Which wasn't as easy as it might seem.

 

@Chevi

  • Like 1
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...