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Cynane couldn’t help it – if she’d decided she liked someone and wanted to befriend them, they could count on her being loyal to them and wish them only the best. And Cynane might be serving the royal family and work as a bodyguard, but was that really more impressive, considering their circumstances… they were both slaves and none of them got to choose where they ended up or what they did. It had been chosen for them. Cynane just did what she could do, to stay alive and make her life as easy as possible. Charis did the same.

Right now though, she was busy watching Helios and Charis. She felt she wanted Charis to relax a bit and chat to someone not from her house – not her dominus and not that other slave, Teutus, that she had mentioned before. She deserved a little ‘time off’ everything. Cynane would make sure Charis didn’t do something stupid – or at least she’d try. The other two talked, and Charis laughed with Helios and explained what she did. And she didn’t want to be in the kitchens. Cynane knew all that and took another good swig of the jar and picked up a honey-cake, while they talked. This was good enough for her. house slave in the domus of a miscellaneous senator. She laughed at Helios' compliment as well. Impressive was not a word she'd ever use to describe herself. 

Meanwhile Helios was listening with interest – he was not drunk, he was just looking for a good time. He noted how Charis kept saying her friend was an important bodyguard (how important, he wondered) and how Charis herself belonged to a Senator (but he wanted a name). He couldn’t help always being on the lookout for gossip. He leaned back where he sat, resting his hands behind him, looking up at the pretty and young slave, “You didn’t guess it already? I’m from the Domus Venus.” He said and noticed how Cynane arched a brow. Helios kind of just assumed anyone in Rome knew what the Venus was for a place, so he didn’t elaborate on that part. It was useful for something else though, “I meet many Senators where I work… maybe I’ve met yours? If you’d dare to share his name with me, I can tell you if I know any of his secrets.”

@Sara

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"The Domus Venus?" Charis repeated with a frown. It was not somewhere she had heard of before, and glanced quickly to Cynane as if she was missing out on some critical information. Noting her arched brow, she returned her gaze to Helios with a sly grin. "Do I ask what it is? Or I do not want to know...?" She suspected - given the evident good looks of this man and his natural predisposition to being undressed that it was a brothel, and colour filled her cheeks again. For a woman that had been married for years, and even fallen with child, she was remarkably...unlearned about pleasures of the flesh. At least for Romans. Their wants and desires, from what she'd been able to glean so far, were far out of the realms of what she'd been brought up with. 

If it was a brothel, then the idea that her domine should visit Helios there, made her laugh loudly. She couldn't imagine the stony faced, impossible man she had come to vaguely know, anywhere near a house of pleasure. Then again, maybe it shouldn't be out of the realms of possibility given what she heard when she silently swept past his room late at night, on her way to secretly pray in the garden (something she was not going to stop!)

Not skipping a beat, she grinned - "T...Tertius Qui..." She frowned, trying to pronounce his name - the wine and her lack of Latin not helping matters, "Tertius Quinc...Quinctilius Varus." She grinned, satisfied that she'd managed to spit it out finally. She felt more relaxed than she had done in weeks, months perhaps. Wine and good company, plenty of laughs and the prospect of learning something about her impossible Dominus had cheered her up immeasurably. "I don't think he would visit...I don't think he like pleasure like that...with women at least." She laughed, "But you heard about him?" She took another sip of wine, feeling it flush her cheeks and warm her throat. She wasn't feeling light headed, but was well on her way. A gentle smile lit up her face. "He is tricky one...tell me his secrets."

 

TAG: @Atrice

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Cynane was not all that surprised to hear, that Helios here worked at the Domus Venus. Not that she had ever been there herself – she had no reason to – but everyone in Rome knew that place. Maybe Charis didn’t though, she hadn’t been here for long. Cynane noticed how Charis looked at her then, before wondering what that was, “It’s a brothel.” Cynane explained shortly to her friend, who seemed to already have it figured out and she was blushing again. They didn’t have brothels in Britannia – not yet, anyway, but now the Romans had it all, they would surely come. Places were women (and men) sold their bodies for coin. Helios was such a man, but he was also a slave, which meant it wasn’t his choice. It was what he had to do. He didn’t seem shy about it though.

“Your friend is right. The Domus Venus is a brothel.” Helios simply said, certainly not embarrassed or shy at all. For some reason, Charis laughed at the thought and then she tried saying the name of her owner again. Helios was very patient, Cynane thought to herself and he seemed thoughtful when Charis said the name and shared that her owner didn’t seem to like pleasure with women. Cynane thought he might, but maybe not just any women.

“I think I recognize the name… I met a slave not so long ago, Teutus, who was a slave in his household? And I recall Teutus was also his son? That does sound like a very tricky situation too.” Helios said with a grin, “Why do you think he’s tricky? You’re not related too, are you?” Helios asked curiously and leaned a bit closer to Charis, “I have not met the man himself though. But he has a daughter? So he must have had a woman at some point. And he’s a foolish man if he would not even prefer a beautiful woman like you.” Cynane listened to him talk and couldn't help but smile and silently agree. Charis was very beautiful. But she on the other hand was on Charis' side - she hoped Charis was right and her owner was not interested in her like that. For Charis' sake.

@Sara

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The man didn't seem the least bit embarrassed about his place of employment, which was an anathema to her. To be shamed like that, especially as a man...she couldn't imagine it. Then again, values were different here she had learnt, far different to Britannia. As Helios said he had met Teutus, Charis' eyebrows rose in surprise. "You met Teutus?" She smiled a little. She liked the young man, he was kind to her and had been since her arrival. Although where he had met this man intrigued her, and not knowing the Venus was a place for the upper echelons of society, assumed he must have visited. Charis blushed a little more. 

"I don't know..." She said, shaking her head, "But no...not related. I think he like to think he in control." She smirked and broke off a small piece of her honey cake, still just picking at it rather than eating it in one go. 

She laughed at the compliment, shaking her head. She had told Cynane about the night in the garden but even that...didn't seem sexual. It just seemed like he enjoyed the power, not the thought of her on her knees. "No, he no like me like that." Her Latin got poorer, the more wine she drank and her head had that pleasant fuzziness that it used to when she stole sips of her parents mead back at home. This wine was stronger than the cheap lora Tertius allowed his slaves, and she was feeling its effects now. Unfortunately for Charis, it loosened her lips. "But I have him here." She held up her little finger and lightly poked Helios with it, with a good natured grin. She was being too forthright, but the relaxation and wine prevented her from realising it. "Wrap around my little finger...I convince him to let me work where want to work...I go out without his say so," She grinned to Cynane, "And drink with friends." She took another sip. "He has no idea, he a fool. But he think he clever...but I tell him he can look at me if he let me work out of kitchen and he fool so..." She shrugged, "He buy it." She felt pleased with herself, regaling them with how quickly she had accustomed herself to her new role, manipulated it to her will. Charis was as resourceful as ever. She had no idea she was the fool. 

 

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Helios’ face brightened up in a more charming smile, Cynane thought, when they seemed to both know Charis’ fellow slave Teutus. Helios nodded, “I did. I visited a temple not so long ago, and Teutus and his sister and little domina appeared too.” He explained in a friendly tone and Cynane listened to them talk. Charis said she thought her master liked to think he was in control and she was clearly flattered by Helios’ compliment. Cynane wondered why he did all that; he didn’t expect Charis to pay for his services, did he? Meanwhile Charis went on about how she believed she was in control of her master, had him wrapped around her finger and she believed she could do as she pleased.

Cynane would have to talk with Charis about all these ideas, but when they were on their own… not in front of Helios here, whom they barely knew. She put a hand on Charis’ shoulder and leaned closer, speaking to her in their own language, “We barely know this slave. Careful what you tell him.” She said and took the jar of wine from Charis’ hands – both to stop her from drinking and of course because Cynane would like a bit too. Helios looked at them both when Cynane had spoken the foreign language, but she just sent him a smile and a wink, as if she told Charis some kind of secret.

“It sounds like you have your master Tertius where you want him.” Helios said to Charis, “And you’re sure he has no idea? You must be a very clever woman. Clever and lovely… he should be happy to have a slave like you.” Helios added with a small smile, but he was growing a bit cautious towards Cynane. He only recognized a few of the words she spoke – he knew the word for slave and then something with being careful. Of him? She was acting like an annoying big sister while Charis was telling him news of her master that could be useful… to Helios.

@Sara

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Charis snapped her slightly fuzzy gaze to Cynane as she spoke to her in their own language. Eyeing her with concern, she glanced fleetingly back to Helios. "Him?" She dragged her attention to the young British woman, quizzically. "What's he going to do? He's never met my master and he's not likely to...unless he decides he wants a different man for the evening..." But with Hector firmly in his masters bed, that seemed unlikely. She laughed good naturedly though, not perceiving Cynane's words as chastisement, instead she saw them as unnecessary worrying. But it felt nice that somebody cared about her enough to worry. She already treasured the young Briton's friendship and didn't want to offend her so smiled kindly and squeezed her friends hand. "I'll be careful."

Turning her attention back to Helios, and baring in mind Cynane's warning she only lightly shrugged. "No...no idea. But...I have what I want so won't push it." That's not necessarily true. She now had her preferred work, but there were of course other things she wanted; more freedom to go out, more peculium, maybe to spend time with Antonia. Still, heeding Cynane's words she realised she had probably said enough. 

At his flattery, she glanced back to Cynane, speaking in their language with a little grin - as if depriving Helios from the conversation, shutting him out; "He likes a compliment, this one...do you think it works on his clients?" 

 

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It annoyed Helios that the women were talking a language he didn’t know. But he suspected the tall blonde to be alert about him. How could she know he wouldn’t be genuine? But he might not, so she was right. He knew about Tertius from Teutus and that young girl… was it Antonia? And now he knew Tertius’ slave, Charis, who thought she had her master wrapped around her finger. Wouldn’t Tertius find such information quite interesting? Helios could sell him the information, earn a little more for his own stash to buying his freedom… and Charis would never have to know that Helios told about her. Maybe he felt a bit bad, she was very pretty and did seem very sweet, but every man and woman for himself, right?

“You never know. I trust very few men here in Rome. I don’t know why, but I wouldn’t trust this one.” There was just something about him, Cynane thought, and Charis then promised she would be careful. Then Charis returned her attention to handsome Helios, who still sat there on his cloak, making himself look all sorts of tempting while charming Charis the best he could. Charis told him she had gotten what she wanted from her master and now she would not push it. And then she spoke to Cynane again.

“I’m quite sure it does. He does have a spark in his eye, doesn’t he?” Cynane said with a smile, “Just because I wouldn’t trust him doesn’t mean I can’t admire his… physique.” She added, giving Helios a smile and took a drink of the wine, before she handed it to Charis again.

“What are you two ladies whispering about? Dare I ask where you’re from… it sounds like you’re speaking a language of Britannia.” Helios asked, wanting to get into the conversation again.

@Sara

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Charis grinned at Cynane, oblivious to Helios for the moment. She can imagine he did very well for himself at the Venus but it seemed to her a crying shame that he should be so employed. "I know...I don't think I've ever seen a man like him before..." She cast an appreciative eye over him before she looked away, a pang of guilt gnawing in the pit of her stomach. It wasn't that she'd forgotten she was married, simply that right now, in her new life, it didn't seem important. Immin was important, but as others had said over and over, her old life was immaterial now. And that included her marriage. 

As Helios interjected, Charis glanced back his way, sipping deeply from the wine - head drifting further into that pleasant fuzziness. "Nothing unkind, no worry." She grinned and nodded. "We are Britons...Cynane is Brigantes and I Parisii...next door tribes, we used to hate each other." Before the Romans came and they had bigger people to hate. Reneging on her previous decision, forgetful after the wine, she tossed the spare cake at him. "You born in Rome?"

 

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Cynane smiled at her friend, when she said she didn’t think she’d seen a man like Helios before, “You better take a good look at him then.” She said with a little laugh, before Helios became curious about what they talked about. He might feel left out. Well he was the one who approached them and wanted to be part of their conversation, but they were here first. Cynane wasn’t planning on doing anything other than talking to him and she doubted Charis would. If he felt left out, it was his own fault.

Charis replied to him, promised him they weren’t speaking unkindly and shared where they were from. Helios nodded, he thought it sounded like the Briton language. It did have some familiarity to him now, but he was dragged away from it at a very young age and he hadn’t really spoken it in Rome. He couldn’t speak it now and he could not understand it well either.

“Oh thanks.” Helios said, when she suddenly gave him the spare cake, “No, I was not born here. I’m from Britannia too. But I was very young… I barely remember it now.” He had the dreams, or rather nightmares, that he suspected were actually memories of his childhood and how he lost his family, but he didn’t know how much truth there was to it. And he didn’t like thinking about it. The dreams were too vivid sometimes.

“I’m glad you’re not speaking unkindly about me.” He then said with a smile, changing the subject. Helios glanced up at the sky shortly to see the sun and realized he ought to get going, “Oh… the sun… I should get going. But it has been lovely meeting you two.” He stood from his cloak and picked up the tunica to toss that over his head right in front of Charis.

@Sara

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Charis' eyes widened in surprise when he said he'd been born in Britannia, and immediately she asked - with a quick sideways glance to Cynane; "Where in Britannia?" So far on her travels in Rome she'd met Cynane - Brigantes, and Rufus whose mother hailed from the southern tribes but nobody from her home. It was not surprising. The Parisii were encircled by the Brigantes, and dwarfed by them. Maybe she wasn't in a land of strangers after all. 

As he changed the subject and made to stand, looking at the sun, Charis averted her eyes. No wonder he had been snapped up by a brothel, with a physique like that! Colour rose in her cheeks and she couldn't help but have another quick glance, before she shifted on the bench - folding her legs so she sat facing Cynane. She didn't need any more distraction from her friend - especially not in the form of golden-haired adonis'!

"It has been pleasure, Helios." She smiled a bit with a final glance, relieved to see he'd clothed himself. "We may see you again here sometime." Although most likely not before. Charis' had managed to escape being sold to a brothel, and she certainly wasn't going to step foot in one voluntarily! As the blonde man wished his goodbye, Charis turned on her perch to grin an Cynane, taking another morsel of her cake that she'd managed to eek out. "Wine, cake, friends and that...it's been a good afternoon." She grinned. 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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Helios shrugged his shoulders when Charis seemed surprised to hear he was Briton too, and she instantly asked where he was from in Britannia... but Helios just looked at her, “I can’t remember. I was very young. A small child.” He said and didn’t feel the need to elaborate further. Sometimes he’d even wondered why the Romans had come then, but they had wanted Britannia for a long time and there had been fights since before he was born. And here he was, far from where he was born and he didn’t remember much. Maybe he forgot because it was too much for a small child to bear. He didn’t know anymore.

And now he should get going home. He stood to get dressed and knew the ladies were watching him; how could they not, as he got dressed properly right in front of them. Charis would certainly remember him and he hoped that Cynane didn’t dislike him too much. She had invited him to stay, but didn’t say much. Charis then bid him goodbye, “Well I hope so. It would indeed be a pleasure to see you again.” He said with a wink to her, “Enjoy your day. And thank you for the cake.” Helios bid them both goodbye and was then on his way away.

“You’re welcome.” Cynane said after him and looked at Charis again, “Yes, it has been nice. He seemed very fond of you especially… maybe I’ve grown old?” Cynane said thoughtfully and rattled the wine jar, “You want the rest? It’s a pity this can’t last…” She said with a small sigh, looking at the garden around them. It was a pity happiness was so fleeting.

@Sara

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Charis reached out a hand to lightly slap her friends arm. "Don't be ridiculous, you're not old...you're...well, lovely." She certainly thought the other woman, with her striking eyes, statuesque figure and intricate hair was beautiful. "He's a man, he's probably just intimidated because he knows you could beat him in a fight...you don't want a man like than anyway." She waved a hand, relaxed as she spoke in her own language, lounging on the bench with cakes and wine. 

Shaking her head she grinned lazily, "No...you have it. My head is all..." She shut one eye, trying to concentrate, "Blurry. Gods I haven't felt like this in years...not since my elder brother took me to see his friends and the shite they were drinking..." She laughed at the memory, "My head throbbed for a week I swear!" 

Still, Cynane was right. She had been out far longer than it should have taken her to run an errand to the market - even if she was on the hunt for some particularly rare cutting for her garden. She doubted anybody would miss her - her Dominus was at his work, and the other slaves largely paid her little heed but even in her winedrunk state she knew better than to risk it. Besides, it was a good walk back to her domus and she was sure with her legs feeling as wobbly as they did now, it would take her double the time to get back. With a sad little smile she moved to grip her friends hand firmly. "We should get back but...I cannot tell you how happy its made me, this afternoon." She had no idea of what it had cost her either. 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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She smiled when Charis called her lovely and certainly not old, “Thank you.” She grinned and then Charis went on about why Helios did not seem so interested in her. And she was absolutely right though; some men would like to sleep with her to prove they could indeed conquer a woman like Cynane, but most would rather ridicule her and ignore her, because she was too intimidating. And what did she want with such men anyway? Absolutely nothing… “You’re right… and I could beat up many men, if I got the chance. Pity they’d kill me if I tried.” She was sure they would and she did not have a death-wish. Else she’d not still be alive.

Charis didn’t want the rest of the wine and said her head was blurry and she hadn’t felt this drunk in years. Cynane ran a hand over Charis’ hair, “I hope it won’t do that this time. Else your owner might be upset and we don’t want that.” She said with a smile to her friend and pulled her hand back. She emptied the last of the wine and would bring the jar back to where she got it from, they might use it another time.

But the fun had to end now and they both got up and held each other’s hands as they left the calm and peaceful garden, “We’ll do it another time again.” Cynane promised, doing her best to help her young friend. Charis was smaller than her and it seemed she had indeed become more drunk than what Cynane felt she was. She walked with Charis back to where they met earlier this day, before giving her friend a big hug and then they parted ways. Cynane walked back to the market to hand the jar back and she hoped Charis would have a chance to relax a bit before working more. It certainly seemed as if she needed it.

FINISHED

@Sara

 

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