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A pretty coin for a pretty slave?


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June 74AD, Emporium Magnum

Whilst a lot of the more select sales occurred either in the buyer's residence or out of the large warehouse he owned that doubled as a human stables, it always paid to maintain a presence in the market itself, especially when the slave auctions were happening. People were here looking for slaves, and so the slave traders were out. Spurius was naturally amongst them, notable for his height and the tall staff he carried, much like an oversized shepherd's crook, complete with hook. It wasn't meant for sheep, though it was rare that he actually had to use it.

With the war in Britannia over the supply of barbarians what could be sold wholesale for the gladiatorial games had dwindled to it's usual trickle, though Spurius had made the most of it while it lasted. Those he could wrangle and shift quickly in bulk, but today he had a more refined selection. Only one of them was a chalk-foot, and she was a strikingly beautiful black-skinned woman all the way from Aegyptus, and probably beyond. He doubted that she'd be here long. She didn't have much in the way of skills but she'd be snapped up for her looks alone. The placard hung around a young girl's neck declared that she was versed in make-up and hair, not as experienced as she would become but cheaper for it, very affordable to an upwardly mobile Plebian or Equite lady. A youth with experience handling animals, an older man who could read, write and do arithmetic - suitable as a clerk or tutor and thus worth a pretty denarius - and a woman who'd served as a general house slave and could cook and sew. Her back wasn't what it had been, though a few days on light duties had seen a marked improvement.

See and be seen, that was what was important. One never knew when a customer might come looking for just what he had to offer. And if he didn't have it on show, there might be something suitable back at the warehouse. And he had his sources if the customer was after something very specific. He aimed to please, it lined his pockets.


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One of Theo's less favored duties involved visiting the slave markets. It was technically not his job to purchase any new slaves for the Ludus, but as the medicus it was useful for him to see what was being offered and sold. The Ludus staff that had freedom of movement took turns walking the auctions, just to see what was rare, what was popular, what was expensive, and, most importantly, what the other ludii were buying. Theo, as a medicus, had the added bonus of being able to form an opinion on the health of the slaves, and their potential in the arena.

Theo did not like this part much. He had knowledge of healing, but he did not have the knack for spectacle, so no one trusted him with buying the new gladiators anyway. Strength and stamina, after all, were not everything. Theo also had a soft spot for the suffering of people, and had a history of spending money on questionable decisions (one of them, named Astrius, was currently sleeping off a hangover back at the Ludus). The last thing he needed was more slaves, bought with money he did not have, out of pity. The medicus walked around the market at a comfortable pace, keeping his eyes open, but not enjoying the walk as much as other times. He noted the tall man with the staff, and a group of slaves close by, and he took a few steps towards them, to take a closer look.


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