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The smell of fried onions and cooking meat beckoned to Clio irresistibly. She had walked past the thermopolium a number of times over the past few weeks and nearly succumbed to its delicious aromas, but it was only now that she had the agency (and bravery) to actually become a customer. She was a faithful slave on a secret mission: to sample the wares of the Wolf-man. If they passed the taste test, she was to bring some back - discreetly - for her domina to try. If they didn't, she got a free meal out of it anyway.

From inside the shop the owner's voice boomed, and Clio trembled in anticipation. The shopkeeper's reputation preceded him, and it was not the first time Clio heard him ranting or complaining at one of his helpers, probably a slave who knew better than to argue back or really do anything but nod. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and approached the stall. It's for Domina, she told herself in a bid for courage. Clio had not dared to bring up the subject, but could this particular craving of her mistress's be caused by new life in her womb? Pregnant women were known for wanting all sorts of extraordinary foodstuffs, after all. On the other hand, it might just be due to wanting to try some tasty commoner food. Clio would reserve judgment until a later date, when things became clearer, before reporting this to her master.

"Hello," she greeted timidly, elbowing her way between two patrons, each busy with gorging himself on bread and meat. The smell was enough to make anyone's mouth water.


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"Come on, Gallus. You dumb fucking gaul... I'd send you to the mines if I had the sense!" Caius complained at Gallus. Silently Gallus said nothing. Once Caius was done with his anger it was soon gone once more. Gallus hurried to mix the spices into the flour, a secret recipe that Caius had mixed up and hurried his pace. It was busy, rarely there were moments when they would be enough quiet. Caius nearly didn't hear her. A pretty one between both of his regular patrons. He glanced towards his two daughters as they served the guests, Soraya was also serving and spending time with the guests, and it was up to him to serve the pretty and quiet one. He smiled at her, his eyes wrinkled as he did so and then pointed to his ear to encourage her to speak up. It was not always easy to hear, and he had a few issues with hearing. 

"Hello, you're going to have to speak up, love." He said, leaned in close and once one of the patrons noticed she was there. They leaned to one side so she could step closer to speak and give her some space. Caius leaned across the bench with deep bowls where some of the hot food waited for a hungry patron. There were all sorts of clients who came here. Slaves, freedmen, plebs, proles, lower ranked soldiers, and he hoped someday he would gain the attention of the nobility. Although his food was for the working man. The true Romans. 

"Now, what will I get ya?" Caius asked, wondered what she wanted and rested his hands on the surface of the bench. 


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