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The Bridge is Crossed [M-S]


Atrice
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Later that same day, after Secrets and Garden Games

Hector had an unhappy look on his face. Not because that other slave Helios had visited his master today, because clearly Tertius hadn’t even touched the other handsome slave… and it wasn’t because of the news either. It was probably no secret that Hector didn’t like how his master looked at Charis, since that could threaten his own position in the household. No, he was unhappy because his master was unhappy. Tertius had shared a little with Hector about what Helios told him; something about Charis wanting to control Tertius and she obviously couldn’t. It didn’t make Hector more fond of her, only less.

Tertius had had a cup of wine to calm his nerves, but it didn’t help. Not even a massage from Hector helped. He would have to speak to Charis and make her understand just how inferior she was in this household and that if she thought she could control Tertius, she was wrong. She was very wrong! He could make her life miserable if he wanted to, but he had kindly allowed her to work in the gardens and he could tear that away from her. He could tear away anything that pleased her. He could tear her apart.

“Hector, tell Charis to come. Alone.” Tertius finally said firmly to his body slave and Hector nodded silently and went to fetch Charis. Tertius still sat in his office, the tablinum, he hadn’t moved much since Helios was here. But now he stood and paced a bit around, feeling restless. Gods how stupid was that girl? She’d looked so fine and pretty at the slave market that day, and she had seemed to be a fast learner, but it was all a mask and she thought she could control her master. He inhaled a breath, tried to calm himself, but the more he thought about what he learned today, the more upset he became. Finally there was a gentle knock before Charis would enter the tablinum. Tertius sat down on the edge of the front side of the table.

@Sara

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Charis glanced at Rhoda as the other woman  peered over her shoulder. “This is right?” Rhoda reached down to feel the dough Charis has been shaping and with a stern glance back at the little Briton, nodded. “You’re getting better.” Charis didn’t fail to notice the little smile on her lips. Whilst the majority of her work was now in the garden, as darkness fell she had to stop and often withdrew to the kitchens to help if they needed a hand. At first Rhoda had  dismissed her, but now it seemed she at least found Charis’ company tolerable. 

“Who know, maybe I won’t burn thi-” The little Briton was stopped mid sentence by the arrival of Hector who lingered in the doorway, not willing to enter any further. Charis had had limited facetime with the young man and his look of indifference, bordering on irritation, confused her. As did his voice, which snapped: “Dominus wants to see you. Leave that.” Charis blinked at him confused. Tertius hadn’t really even acknowledged her since that evening in the garden. Still, she knew better than to keep him waiting and she quickly washed her hands in a basin next to the workbench and followed Hector, who was already halfway striding out of the room. She heard Rhoda’s quizzical muttering to the other slaves as she left. 

As Charis walked she didn’t try to engage Hector in conversation. Despite their similar ages, they had vastly different experiences in slavery thus far and almost nothing else in common. She was almost relieved when they drew to the tablinum and Hector knocked for her before stalking away. At least she wouldn’t have to suffer his miserable silence! Her fingers fiddled with the rose still in her hair after her afternoon with Teutus and Antonia, but she decided against taking it out, as she had no where to place it down. Gingerly, she slipped into the study, eyes down and hands neatly folded in front of her. She’d learnt the facade well- and had been watching the postures of the other slaves in the house for tips. “Domine, you asked to see me.” Unlike that first time, she didn’t dare risk a glance up and instead stood there in silence, utterly naive to the turn of events unfolding. 

 

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When Charis entered, she had her eyes cast down already and her hands were neatly folded. There was even a rose in her hair, making her look all sorts of pretty. But he knew that was just the façade, the surface. Underneath her humble appearance and behavior there was a badly behaved and wild slave. Oh how she greeted him with well-practiced words as she stood there… you couldn’t tell just by looking at her, what she was like. But he knew, now. He knew.

“I did.” Tertius said. He wasn’t smiling and he wasn’t looking angry right now either, but his eyes were hard and his words to the point, certain… “I hope you’re enjoying being here more now, than during the first time. In fact what I hear is that you have settled down and even went to the market a few days ago, on your own.” Tertius said, looking at her face, looking for any sort of reaction to his words, “Tell me how that went… did you meet anyone?”

And now he would catch her lying – he expected her to not tell him the truth. That she’d met a friend, that she went out drinking to a garden, that she met handsome Helios and for some reason told a complete stranger what she felt about her dominus… and after she had told her lie, it would take quite a lot for her to get her dominus to trust her again. Tertius could be nice, if you treated him with respect and you were loyal. But she wasn’t doing any of that. So why should he reward her for that?

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“Yes domine, I am enjoying more.” She said with a little smile she hoped he saw, “I am grateful for work you given me.” And she genuinely was. Enjoyment might be a strong word to describe her current emotion, but her work in the gardens and the slow building friendships she was forming with Teutus and the others made life here much more bearable. But his question about the market threw her. Had she taken too long? Had Antonia blabbed that she met Cynane? She didn’t, however, believe he knew the whole truth. If he did then she surely would be on her way back to the slave market?

”Yes I went market, second time.” The first had been when she saw and met Cynane initially. “I need seeds and cutting for garden and took long time to find right stalls but couldn’t find what needed so came back, home.” She risked a glance upwards and was confused to see him sat on the edge of his desk, as if ready to pounce. It reminded her of that first conversation, all those weeks ago. 

Still, she knew there was no point in hiding the truth. The fact he asked her if she met somebody suggested he knew something...better be a little bit honest, than not at all. “I saw Cynane, slave in imperial palace. She Briton, domine, and help me look for right stall.” There. A little lie, but hopefully it was enough. “I...sorry, domine, if I took too long?” She phrased it as a question, as if probing him to find out what exactly he wanted to know

 

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If there was any truth to what Helios had told him, she wasn’t grateful for the work she’d been given. She asked for that work and somehow convinced him to give it to her. It was apparently her plan to try and control her master, but that would end today. She now even smiled when she said she was grateful, but in truth, wasn’t she more pleased with herself perhaps? That she managed. He didn’t say anything yet, but instead listened to her lies. Or well, at least she admitted she went to the market and that she came back empty-handed.

Then she looked up at him, but he didn’t move, “I see. Tell me more.” Tertius said in her pause and she went on, confirming she’d met a slave called Cynane from the imperial palace. From the imperial palace? She’d made friends with a slave from such a high place? That surprised him a bit, but he would interrogate her about that another time. Right now, the matter of talking about him behind his back and thinking she could control him... right now, that's what he had to focus on. Charis, trying to act all kinds of innocent, apologized if she’d taken too long that day.

“I don’t know how long you took. But I know you’re not telling me the whole story, Charis.” He said and paused to let that sink in, because here it came… “I heard a different story... I heard that you and your friend went out to drink wine and eat cakes. When you were supposed to be working. And on top of that, you have even been spending time with a prostitute. Is this all true? I warn you, Charis… don’t tell one more lie to me. Don’t keep the truth from me for one moment longer.” He inhaled a breath, watching her intently, “Tell me if what I heard is true.”

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Charis froze and felt the pit of her stomach drop as if she was about to jump off a cliff. She had always been useless at hiding her emotions, and was fortunate that her face and eyes were turned down from so he couldn’t see her shock. Although she couldn’t help that her lips parted and then snapped shut, jaw tensing. Oh shit!

She didn’t know whether to continue to lie or tell the truth, and so just stood there in silence for quite a few moments, thinking. If he knew that she had been drinking (had somebody seen her?) then that was bad, but surely he didn’t know what she had said? She remembered Cynanes words of warning and cursed herself. 

By now it had been too long and the flush of colour on her cheeks was too obvious for her to continue the charade and lie. Reluctantly, she nodded her head. “Yes domine, it is true.” She moved to stand arrow straight (although her head and eyes were still dipped). She might be caught out but she is wouldn’t be cowed! As she straightened up she felt the residual pain from the whip welt that Rufus had so gingerly cleaned all those weeks ago. It had settled into a neat scar at least, but the faintest echo of pain made her hope Tertius didn’t own a whip. Still, she wouldn’t make her excuses - what could she say that would make it okay for him? So she just stayed quiet, breathing rapidly, only uttering “I’m sorry, domine.” 

At least he didn’t know everything, right?

 

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The young slave almost visibly froze in the spot, seeming startled with the fact that Tertius knew about all of that. So it was true, he thought to himself. And he hadn’t been meant to know she’d gone to drink with her friend or met with that prostitute, Helios. She would do such things instead of working and she would not tell her master. He watched her lips parting for a moment and she stared at the floor while she was blushing… before she finally nodded and admitted it was all true.

Tertius nodded with a sigh and saw hoe she seemed to straighten up, yet her breath was faster and she then apologized… she said she was sorry. As if he’d believe that now, when she had admitted that she’d skipped her duties and gone out drinking instead. If that part was true, why shouldn’t the rest of Helios’ tale be?

“Are you really?” Tertius then asked harshly, “Because I don’t think you are. From what I heard, you think you’re the one controlling me. You think you can get me to do anything… that you have me wrapped around your finger. And if that is how you think, I doubt you’re the least bit sorry for what you did. You’re my slave, but mock me and talk behind my back, in public, to strangers!” He was angry and couldn’t speak calmly anymore.

“You didn’t think I’d find out. But I did and the game you’re playing has ended. You're a slave and you're mine. I should punish you.” Tertius paused and inhaled a breath, “Or did you honestly think I’d reward you for being so disloyal to your master?” It wasn't even a real question, but he paused again to pick up his cup from the table to have a drink. It didn't help much though.

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Charis visibly flinched as he raised his voice. She was unused to men raising their voices at her and she gritted her jaw and felt her nails dig into the skin on the back of her hands, from where she'd clasped them. So he knew everything then. For the second time that day, she was glad he couldn't see her eyes and she shut them briefly, trying to think of an explanation or a way out. She listened to him without interrupting, eyes firmly shut, until he paused. She glanced up, feeling humiliated. His raised voice, those cold blue eyes...she looked back down again, staying silent as he continued again. 

The mention of punishment was not unexpected but it was jarring. She'd mercifully escaped any real punishment since arriving in Rome, and still didn't have a good sense of what she could expect should she be disloyal. When he finished and she heard up take a drink, she considered her words carefully. "I..." She hesitated. To lie and claim ignorance, or admit it? He seemed confident with the story he'd heard (who told him though?) but he had trusted her once before, why not now? 

With confidence she didn't feel, she shook her head and frowned deeply. "It not true, domine. I...I did go to garden with Cynane," She nodded and glanced up ever so slightly before deciding against it and resettling her gaze on the edge of the desk next to him. "That true and I am sorry and know you to punish me for that but I did not say those thing...I know you are in charge domine." She frowned, feigning ignorance and shock that she should ever think she was in control. She moved to fiddle with the bracelet on her wrist, a nervous habit that she didn't realise she was doing. "I know I am slave and I am yours." She repeated his own words back to him and took a deep breath. Hopefully he'd buy it. 

 

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She flinched when he raised his voice. Her reaction pleased him; proved that she did at least have some sort of respect for him. She knew that he was stronger and larger than her and could overpower her anytime, even with his voice, as he was doing right now. And she kept her eyes down, while he continued talking, finally mentioning punishment for her. She’d glanced up at him shortly, but his eyes were hard and she quickly looked back down. When he paused to take a drink, she parted her pretty lips to talk. And then she claimed that what he just said wasn’t true. She claimed that she had indeed gone to the garden with her friend, but she hadn’t said what Helios told she’d said.

But why would Helios lie to him? They were basically strangers and he didn’t assume Charis knew him well either. They had met and talked, that’s all… unless she’d hurt him somehow or perhaps denied him and he was upset about that, and wanted revenge. But he’d seemed genuine enough and Tertius could not imagine Charis doing anything to a man like Helios that would make him want to seek revenge over her. There was no reason for Helios to lie to him. And he’d even been paid for telling his secret. Now all Charis did was apologize for seeing her friend, but not for saying what she’d said and she said she knew he was in charge.

“My informant had no reason to lie to me. And you’ll learn to not lie to me either.” Tertius said, “You know I have the right to kill you, if I want to. But that won’t solve anything.” And on top of that, he’d have lost the money from purchasing her. Tertius didn’t kill his slaves and didn’t set them free (well apart from Teutus, once he’d made the arrangements). He preferred to teach them a lesson they’d remember. But how to make her understand… he watched her fiddle with the bracelet on her wrist. She’d had that since she came; since he bought her. It was a bit of her past she seemed to return to whenever she felt uncertain… it would have to go.

“Come over here, Charis.” Tertius motioned for her to come closer, “You’ll have to prove your loyalty and your dedication to me.” When she’d come closer, close enough for him to touch her, he reached for her arm with the bracelet on it and lifted it up between them, so that her wrist with the bracelet was in front of her eyes, “Remove this from your arm. Right now.” He said, looking down upon her, suddenly very aware of how close they were. They hadn’t been this close to each other since that night in the garden. That night when she tricked him into letting her work there. He’d shown his power over her that night, but she must have forgotten it again. How else to prove it to her?

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Who was his informant? The thought swam round her head. Surely it wasn't Cynane? The woman would have to implicate herself to betray her friend, and Charis couldn't stomach the thought that one of her very few friends her had actively done this to her. Helios then. The utter, utter prick. Her nostrils flared in irritation, nails impressing on the skin of her hands hard enough to leave deep grooves. She had sworn she had seen a flash of golden hair leaving the tablinum earlier that morning, but distracted by Antonia and Teutus she couldn't be sure. She was so distracted now that his mention of killing her didn't even really register and she just mumbled blandly "Yes, domine." She blinked, realising what he had just set as it settled on her but didn't have time to say anything further as he beckoned her closer. 

Learning from past mistakes, and desperately clawing at the pretence she was still dutiful and passive and Helios had been wrong, she tentatively stepped closer until she was standing in front of him. Her eyes were still averted but she was painfully aware of how he dwarfed her and not for the first tie that day, she cursed her stature. "Yes domine, I want to I..." but she was interrupted as he reached his hand and snapped up her arm. Blinking, her eyes now up and looking between the braided leather bracelet and Tertius she swallowed. Not this. 

She made no move to undo the thin leather straps that fastened it to her wrist and instead stared at his face. Either he understood the significance of it and this was her punishment, or he didn't and he was unknowingly causing her pain. More likely the former though, she thought. She spoke as she raised trembling fingers to the bracelet, her arm still held fast by her master. "It from my husband, domine...I won't wear it," She unclasped it and immediately balled up the leather in her hand, out of his reach. "But please may I keep? In box, in slave quarters?" Maybe mentioning that it was from her husband was a mistake, but she had to try, didn't she? Besides, she'd done as he'd asked, it was off of her arm. Her eyes were imploring as she looked at him, as if trying to convince him that this was punishment enough.

 

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Charis came over to him when he asked her to and she had begun talking, but she was interrupted – he hadn’t asked her to speak anyway, so it wasn’t an issue to interrupt her. He had noticed more than once how she touched and fiddled with that bracelet around her wrist. And she’d have to learn to let go of her past if she wanted to be here, now, and learn how to be a dutiful slave, who was rewarded rather than punished. He had given her a good chance, hadn’t he? He’d even allowed her to work where she wanted to, in the garden. And now she repaid him with disloyalty.

She blinked as he took her arm and she stared at first, making no move at first. So first he thought she’d disobey him, but then she realized that mistake and removed the bracelet and hid it in her hand. She said it was from her husband and promised to not wear it, but she wanted to keep it. Another trick of hers… she thought she could make the decisions around here. She couldn’t.

“You know what, I think I will have to keep it safe for you. Call it a token, until you have learned your place. You can have it back, when I decide so.” Tertius said and held out his hand for her to place the bracelet in, “Now, how to teach you where you belong…” He said, mostly thinking out loud. He honestly wasn’t very fond of the whip or a beating; it left such nasty scars and Charis was so pretty to look at. It would be a pity to ruin her beauty. And such beauty she had. She could look so sweet and so innocent, but she wasn’t. She had a husband once. And the bracelet and her mentioning her husband gave him an idea.

“So you just said you know you’re mine. You must obey me.” Tertius then said, watching her closely, to see her reaction and hoping she would nod and agree… “There’s no need to cling to a husband, who is no longer here. This is your present life, and you're mine now.” He inhaled a breath, looking down upon her. He already knew what to say next and he had a desire to do it right now, but he wanted her to carry out the action. She was the slave, she was the one who had to follow orders. Then he moved around his desk and sat down on the chair – realizing that it would be easiest for them both, if she carried out his next order when they were closer in height. Once he sat, he looked at her again, “Come over here. And kiss me, Charis.”

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She felt her eyes well up and quickly snapped them down. She would not let him see her upset! Internally she chided herself get it together Erea, it's just a bracelet! but it was the only thing she had left, besides memories. Reluctantly, and after hesitation, she unfurled her small hand and gently placed the leather braided bracelet in his own. She wanted to ask him to make sure he kept it safe, but decided against it. He was already in a foul mood, and he didn't need to hear her pleadings. 

She still wasn't sure if he believed her lies; his mood and the way he looked at her suggested he didn't, but his hesitation at actually doing anything besides strip her of her husbands gift suggested maybe there was doubt? Naively, she hoped there was. She listened silently, dropping her eyes all the way down to the floor so she didn't have to look at him or her husband's handiwork, now in his palm, instead bright blue eyes roamed over the intricate mosaic beneath her bare feet. Again, she repeated blandly to placate him; "I am yours, domine." 

But he inhaled a breath and she wished she hadn't said it. Something about him changed, something in the tone of this conversation - this interrogation - shifted. As he moved, she took an instinctive step back, relieved at the space between them. Her hands folded themselves again and her nails began to work themselves back into the hands, now she had no bracelet to spin this would have to suffice to calm herself down. At least she'd managed to blink away her tears. She heard him sit down, and the smallest flicker of hope that he'd dismiss her was extinguished almost as quickly as it had started. "Kiss me, Charis." She was almost struck dumb by the request - although she shouldn't have been. Any woman with sense - or at least, without the grief she'd experienced - should have seen this coming from a mile off. But to her, it was a surprise that caught her off guard. 

She could refuse, she supposed. Say no - or worse, run out of the room. But she dreaded to think what would happen if she did. He was a man, as she'd learnt, that enjoyed the power he wielded over others and given this new turn of events, she suspected that included the power to force her into his bed. But thought of submitting made her shudder. Maybe he was just testing her? Seeing how far she'd go to prove she was loyal? If she could stomach this, then maybe he'd believe that Helios was lying? It was a naive hope. 

She had been standing for quite a few moments, deliberating over her choices when she knew time had run out. Her hands clasped each other tighter so he couldn't see the tremble of her fingers. She didn't fear him, not in that moment, but the humiliation made her shake. Slowly, she moved quietly round to his side of the desk and before she could think, she leant in to kiss him lightly and chastely on the lips - as one might do to a bride on her wedding day. Pulling back, she took a decisive step back so there was some distance between them although she still stood next to him. She considered her next words carefully, and given what she knew about her dominus' relationship with the young man, and the lust he evidently felt for him, thought it was a safe bet; "I-if that is all, I can fetch Hector for you, domine." She offered. Surely that was all he wanted from her? The humiliation of stripping her possessions and showing her just how much control he could exert?

 

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She had repeated her words about belonging to him and how true that was… Tertius didn’t steal her away from her former life, so it wasn’t his fault she was a slave. But she was a slave and he purchased her and that made her his, until or if he would ever decide she shouldn’t be. Yet words weren’t enough in this case. He had to prove his superiority to her, had to prove how much power he held over her. And since he now had her precious bracelet hidden away in his palm, he could move onto the next step. Making her his, as much as a man could make a woman his.

And it would start with a kiss. He’d gone to sit down and Charis remained where she was, but soon enough he asked her to come and kiss him. There was a pause, afterwards. A quite long pause and he almost thought she wouldn’t do it. Gods if she was stupid now and disobeyed his orders… but then she seemed to come to her senses and she came over to him and only leaned closer and let her lips touch his. But only barely. Was that even a kiss? What in the name of Hades was that?

She took a step back when it was done and then suggested she’d fetch Hector for him, “No.” He said firmly. The kiss might have been chaste, but it was a kiss and he wanted more of her. Both to prove his power over her and because he did want her. Gods it was long since he’d last had a woman, it must have been months and Charis here, she was such a fine specimen. He leaned towards her so that he could grasp her hand and he pulled her close, pulled her all the way to his lap, “This evening, it will be you, pleasing me. And you will please me.” There was a silent ‘or else’ there, while he held her on his lap and his free hand reached up to touch her face and his fingers slid over her jawline and over her throat. Gods she was so soft and warm and so lovely to look upon, “I know you know how to please a man, Charis. You’re not pure and untouched. So… what will you do, to please me?”

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She still expected to be able to walk from the room. Even after his emphatic "No." She still clung onto that naivety that had landed her in this situation in the first place. But as he grasped her hand and yanked her onto his lap, she felt a wave of defeat wash over her. She squirmed to get away but he was still holding her arm tight. "Please don't..." She managed to mumble, as he was talking before she dropped her face, defeated, listening to the threat that lingered underneath his words. 

She flinched at his fingers running across her throat and jaw, almost tenderly. For a moment, it took her attempting to move and feeling his fingers on her forearm to remember where she was and what was happening. "I don't know how." She asserted, quickly, still trying to create some distance between them as she squirmed on his lap. "I...don't think I good..." She claimed.

Maybe that could get her out of this? If he thought she was useless in bed, he'd abandon her as a bedmate and then reclaim Hector for the evening? But then, she thought quickly, where would that leave her...? If he thought her incapable of giving pleasure, and a liar after what that cursed Helios had said, would he ship her back to the slave market or worse? He was difficult, he was cruel but she was fully aware that other masters were no doubt worse. She felt a flush of humiliation colour her cheeks as she considered her next move and resigned herself to what was to come. She wanted to cry but she swallowed back her tears. She would not give him the satisfaction. 

Gently, she shifted her meagre weight on his lap and raised one hand to his neck and then higher to his cheek, lightly stroking across his cheek bone. It felt too familiar but she grit her jaw and fought her desire to shrink away. She had to get through this. "I can...undress, if it please you." She swallowed and inhaled, relieved she was't looking at him. "Or can go on knees, domine." 

 

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At first Charis squirmed in his lap, but he held her tight and then she seemed to give up. She pleaded with him, but wasn’t she hers and hadn’t he purchased her… only to gain a disloyal and lying slave, who needed to learn her place? And her place was beneath him, which she would now find out in a way she hadn’t imagined. But she dropped her face then, listening to him and when he touched her, she flinched. He asked her to please him tonight – Hector would not be happy about this, but he too was a slave and at least he knew his place.

Charis claimed she didn’t know how to please him and didn’t think she’d be very good at it, “I know you know how. And I’m sure you’ll be good.” Tertius said to her, while she had gone quiet again. And the suddenly she shifted in his lap and touched his neck and his cheek, gently and almost sweetly. Then she wondered if she should undress or get down on her knees.

“It would please me very much to see your body. But…” He gently nudged her off his lap, “Come. This is not the right place for such things.” Tertius said and motioned for her to follow him. He would of course lead the way to his own bedchamber, and they passed Hector on the way. Tertius informed him he didn’t want to be disturbed for the rest of the night and then moved on before Hector could do anything but nod. He trusted his body slave to inform the rest of the household, so he could have Charis to himself.

Once they reached the bedchamber, Tertius turned around and held out his hand for her to take, “Come on in, Charis. Don’t be afraid. If you submit… it will not be so bad.” He then promised her. His body slave had certainly never complained about being Tertius’ lover, but then again, very few members of the household actually knew what Tertius was like in private and in his own bed.

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As he nudged her to stand, she stood but her legs felt weak and she leant on his desk for support. She supposed it was that strange mix of fear and relief that at least it was sex and not worse. She was strong, she could stand to be forced into bed, she could stomach it and rationalise it later as an act of survival, but a beating or whipping, or being frogmarched back to the slave market and sold was worse to her. That didn't, however, mean she wasn't afraid. She had heard horror stories of what masters did to those they took to their beds - mainly from those at the slave market itself, she'd seen what the overseer had done to poor sweet Rufus...but she tried to shake thoughts out of her head. Just play along, Erea...it will be over soon. 

As she followed him out of the room, she kept her eyes down although she could feel the tension in Hector's body as they passed him. Great! to only would she have to do this but she'd also now irritated the most senior slave in the household. Perhaps this was a worse punishment than she had originally anticipated if it proved to have longer standing ramifications with the masters body slave. 

But he surprised her; offering his hand, and promising her it wouldn't be so bad. She frowned, confused for a moment. It was still a punishment - it was humiliating, to be made to do this against her will - but he didn't seem to be taking any pleasure in her fear. Then again, she couldn't be sure - he was notoriously difficult to read. Swallowing the lump in her throat, and her pride, she reached out her small hand to take his and stepped into his room from where she had hesitated outside. She was, above all, a practical woman - and as much as she'd loathe herself for submitting to him, to this, it would serve her no good to refuse. "Yes, domine." She nodded and mumbled, keeping her eyes firmly down. 

"Can...Can I have some wine, domine? Before..." She trailed off. Maybe that would make it better...get drunk out of her skull and then she wouldn't have to remember it, and it might soften any anticipated discomfort. "Then I take this off." She moved her free hand to pull at her floor-length tunica. She at least wanted to try and gain some control in this interaction. He might make her do things she never wanted to, but she would try and get through it on her own terms. 

 

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Tertius didn’t really notice how she leant on his desk for a short moment, while they both stood. He just bid her to come with him, and then he led the way to his own bedchamber. So what if Hector was upset about this… Hector was a slave and Tertius praised him in plenty for his good skills and how he was such a well behaved slave. Here was another chance for Hector to prove that. He would serve his master, no matter what his master wanted, as he had always done. And Tertius would reward him in return. But tonight was not for rewards, but the opposite… and that’s why he had Charis follow him into his own chamber instead of Hector.

Once he was in the room and thought she seemed to hesitate for a moment, he stopped and held out his hand to her. Promised it wouldn’t be that bad. If she would submit, if she would give in and allow him to prove his point – that he could make her do anything he wanted her to do – then he wouldn’t be cruel to her. If she would understand her place. And it seemed to dawn on her now, that she had wronged her master and now there was no going back. Finally, after a few moments of considering (and just when Tertius was on the verge of becoming impatient), she took his hand and he pulled her into the room and close to his body.

She kept her eyes down and then asked for some wine. Tertius tilted his head in thought, “I suppose wine isn’t a bad idea.” He agreed, but only because he too could use a drink – more wanted more, after all, and he already had a few. And there was wine to be had in here. Naturally and conveniently, there was a jar of wine by a table on the other side of the bed. He felt like his body tingled though, just the thought of sleeping with her made him stir. Tertius didn’t know if he really wanted to wait that much longer… and who was she to tell him what to do anyway? Wasn't this to prove that she couldn't control him, but that it was the other way around?

Tertius brought her closer up against his body first though and he ran a hand down over her backside, feeling her tunica and her warm body underneath, “Remember you’re not here to make demands, Charis. You’ll remove this first. Then you’ll have a drink.”

@Sara

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She was relieved for an instant when he agreed they could pause and drink and she was about to drop his hand and move to get it, but she was brought closer against him almost instantly. She shuddered at his hands on her, although not through pleasure, and felt him stir against her hip as she was pulled closer. But she still didn't look up at him - both because she'd been told she wasn't too, all those weeks ago, and because she supposed it made it more real. She could pretend it wasn't him this way, doing this to her. 

Swallowing her pride, she nodded blandly "Yes domine."It will be over soon, Erea. Squirming away from him a little bit so she had some room, she pulled her hair - still decorated with the rose - over one shoulder and taking a breath to steel herself, pulled the tunica up and over her head. She held it in front of her for a few moments, feeling the colour rise on her cheeks to a deep blush. She felt so...exposed and weak, standing there. She had seen some of the slaves wore a strophium for their breasts but she wasn't particularly blessed in that department unlike some of the well endowed women she had seen in the baths, and so she forewent it. She did at least wear a loincloth but how long that would remain fastened remained to be seen. Reluctantly, she dropped the tunica from where it had shielded her and dropped her eyes back to the floor. Her body was not particularly noteworthy - thin for a woman, but with the requisite curve between her waist and hips, a fairly unimpressive chest and of course, the fading scar horizontal across her shoulder blades from the whip. 

She could feel the tremble in her fingers and moved to clasp her hands in front of herself, still relieved at the distance between them. She licked her lips, trying to calm herself down and didn't dare look in his direction - and despite what Teutus had said all those weeks ago - kept her eyes down right on the floor. "I hope I please domine." Was all she said, in a hoarse voice, before adding; "Can I please have wine?"

 

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She shuddered at his hands upon her and since she did not really respond in any other way, he could only assume she didn’t shudder because she liked it and it turned her on. That would have been nice, but that wasn’t why they were here. They weren’t here to cause her pleasure, although if she didn’t feel too put off by him, who knew if she’d have it anyway? They were here to prove a point and for Tertius to take some pleasure, although there was little to be had in her fear. He did enjoy that he could control her; that he was stronger and more powerful than she. But he didn’t take great joy in her anxiety, not like that. It was just something she’d have to live with, because she’d lied to her master and thought she could control him. She couldn’t and he hoped she’d understand that now.

When he told her to undress now and then she could have her drink, she nodded and carried out the order. He let go of her hand to let her step away, so that she could undress. He looked at her face and his eyes fell on the rose in her hair. It made her look very sweet. But where did she get it? Did she place it there, and why? Then his eyes returned to her face and how she blushed while she held the tunica in front of her body, as a shield. Tertius could have torn it from her, but he trusted that she’d remove it herself and finally she did.

Underneath it, she wore nothing but a loincloth and Tertius let his eyes wander over her delicate body. She was very slim and the gods hadn’t blessed her bosom either. She appeared almost fragile as she stood there, like a precious little figurine. If you dropped it, it might break. Tertius wanted to break her, but he wouldn’t ruin her. He wouldn’t tear her apart. He came closer to her, walked around her and noticed the scar on her back. So she’d been punished before, but it had not made her very submissive. Maybe Tertius proving his power over her would work better. When he was at her front side again, she spoke up and wanted the wine. Asked for it as a child would ask for another piece of cake.

“You can. It is over there, on the other side of the bed. Pour a cup, take a drink, and then remove the rest of your clothes.” Tertius instructed and waited for her to move. Only then did he begin removing his own pieces of clothing. He had thought of making her undress him, but feared it would take too long and the sight of her body made him desire her more. First he unwrapped himself from the toga, placing it on a small bench by the side of the room, near the window. Then off went the slippers, the tunica and the loincloth. Tertius wasn’t half as shy as her about his body and hid nothing from view. He allowed her the privacy while she took her drink and he took the opportunity to undress, but when he’d finished, he looked up to see if she had finished. Tertius then moved over to sit down on the bed, watching her, “When you’re done, come to me.”

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Charis nodded at his instruction, and quickly stepped away from him and moved quickly to the wine. She took a deep breath in through her nose to steady her nerves, and quickly poured herself a cup of wine, raising it to her lips and draining the cup in one long sip. She feared if she took a breath she would have bolted for the door. When she finally set  the cup down, she raised lightly shaking hands to pour herself another cup and sipped this time more leisurely. She heard him undress - the rustling of material as it dropped to the floor - but concentrated on the sweet wine. It didn't burn her throat like the cheap dregs the slaves were given, and already felt it warm her chest and throat as she finished her second cup. She wanted to take another, but his voice made he flinch and she raised her eyes to stare him down - sat on the bed, watching her. 

She blushed again - both at her own nakedness and his, and that she'd seemed so wanton in her drinking. Then she snapped herself out of it - if she couldn't be generous with drink now, well...when could she? Still, she knew she couldn't delay much longer and with a steadying breath set down the cup on the side. Nimble fingers worked to untie her loincloth and she let it drop to the floor. She pulled her hair back off her shoulders and felt her fingers brush the rose. She had completely forgotten it was in there, but she quickly plucked it out and set  it on the side by the wine. It had been a remnant of an afternoon of fun, and didn't belong here...now. 

Eyes flitting between the wine and the bed, still toying with asking if she could have a third cup, she shook herself and before she could talk herself out of it, gently padded over to the bed. Without asking for permission, she moved to kneel on the floor in front of him. This is where he wanted her, right? Submissive and out of control?  She cast a fleeting  glance over his body, although not his face, and was surprised with his form. She assumed a man that spent most of his days working wouldn't have time to care for his physical fitness. She thought it wasn't like in Britannia - where her family and friends toiled hours in the smith and training for warfare (at least before the invasion), but she was surprised her dominus had a physique suited to warfare rather than senatorial duties. 

Feeling awkward, she raised her fingers to fiddle with her hair and for the first time since she had entered the room, cast her eyes up to his face - studying him. The fear had largely evaporated - if he had wanted to hurt her, as she had seen some men do to women, surely he would have done so by now? "What do you want me to do, domine?" She asked. He had said, some time ago, that he wanted her to anticipate his needs - but she was damn sure she wasn't going to act on these needs until she had to. She'd take her knees - like any good whore would, but he'd have to say what he wanted. 

 

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How many drinks did she have while he undressed? Two, maybe three? She took her time, but o the other hand, not enough time on drinking that much. Was she even used to having that much wine, with her small frame? Tertius hoped she wouldn’t be too drunk, but just enough to feel a little bit more relaxed. When he spoke up after the silence between them, she flinched and looked at him. And she blushed, as if she’d never seen a naked man before, but she had a husband once, didn’t she? She had certainly seen a naked man. Tertius even recalled that she’d lost a child on the way to Rome, so she was not innocent.

She finally tore her eyes off of him again and then removed the loincloth, which dropped to the floor. She removed the rose from her hair and took a moment before she came over to him and knelt down on the floor in front of him. Tertius watched her sit there, her young and youthful body, kneeling and her eyes fleetingly looking him over again. Did she enjoy the sight of him, he wondered. Tertius did enjoy the sight of her. He supposed he didn’t really have a certain taste in women; his late wife had been quite different and they’d only gone to bed together to produce a child. Both of them knew they had to, despite having stronger desires for their own gender. And it hadn’t been unpleasant. Just like this wouldn’t be.

Charis touched her hair then and looked up at him, wondering what he wanted her to do. Tertius reached a hand down to her, to take hers, “I want you to come up here.” He said and helped her up by the hand, “You’re very appealing, Charis.” Tertius said and pulled her closer to him, before he let go of her hand to let both of his wander over her naked body. He felt her up, enjoyed how smooth and warm she was and how soft her breasts were. It all felt good and just touching her and looking at her seemed to arouse him and he smiled, Very appealing.” Tertius repeated to her, “Come, lie down with me. And touch me too.” He let go of her to lie down and waited for her to follow.

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She blinked as his hand came down for hers and she took it. He surprised her - she didn't anticipate him to be this...gentle? Moving to stand, she swallowed at his compliment and felt his hands on her again, but she averted her eyes to over his head. She shut them, imagining that it was Immin caressing her - that she was home, and in bed with her husband but Tertius' voice brought her back to where she really was and she glanced down at him, moving her hands to gingerly stroke his face and the nape of his neck, as she had done in his tablinum. "I-I glad you think so, domine." She breathed. Was she? Not really. If she as very appealling then he might want to do this again, and she was hoping that tonight - hard as it was - would be a one off.

At his instruction she nodded meekly and moved to lie on the bed. For a moment, she blinked, and felt herself sink into what felt like heaven. No wonder Hector wanted his master's body if he got  to sleep in this luxury! It made her lumpy pallet feel like a slab of stone. Gingerly - as if she'd never done it before - she reached one hand to his chest and the other hesitated, before reaching down to stroke his manhood in a slow rhythm. She wanted to pull her hand away but repeated her mantra; the quicker you are, the quicker this is over although, to his credit (not that she felt particularly generous), he hadn't been overtly harsh thus far.

Feeling awkward, in the silence of this intimacy and feeling the rush of the wine slowly fuzz her senses, she moved the hand from his chest higher to his jaw. He was a handsome man - it was a pity that she couldn't bring herself to feel anything but humiliation and anger at this interaction. She was a married, free woman; forced to pleasure a man against her will. The thought made her stop her movements for a moment before she realised that she was prolonging this interaction and without hesitation, leaned in to kiss him gently. The quicker you make him finish, the quicker you can go. 

 

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Tertius could be gentle when he felt like it and while he could also be more rough in bed, it all depended on his mood and his partner. And while Charis needed to learn a lesson, she was also so fine, so delicate, that he couldn’t bring himself to be rough with her. Maybe this was still a lesson to be learned, but he did also desire her and want her. The more he looked at her, the more he touched her, the more he wanted her. And to think that she was his to have. She let him pull her to her feet and didn’t do anything when he touched her. When he called hear appealing, she gently stroked his face and neck, said she was glad he thought so.

He’d then lie down on the bed and waited for her to be by his side. Tertius had an arm under his head and closed his eyes when she then touched him, stroking his manhood and he let out a long breath. See, she did know what to do, even if she seemed to be wary about it. It felt good though and his manhood grew beneath her fingers. She touched his jaw then and he opened his eyes when she leaned closer to kiss him. A gentle kiss, again. Tertius wrapped an arm around her, pulling her closer and returned her kiss, but much more heatedly than what she’d given him. It had been months since he last had a woman, but by the gods he wanted this one now!

He let go and took hold of her other hand to move it away from him, so she’d lie down on her back again. Tertius looked at her; she was so elegant and pretty and all his. He then covered her body with his and moved a hand down over her body and down between her legs, to touch her and feel if she was ready for him to enter. He didn’t want it to hurt, that was not the point, after all. This might be a kind of punishment, but he didn’t mean to hurt her body. He meant to make her remember her place and doubted she'd forget this anytime soon. When he was satisfied with touching her, he moved closer to her to at last enter her, letting out another sound by the feeling. Gods she felt good too! But he took a moment to look at her, before he’d begin moving.

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She was surprised, again, at the passion in his kiss and shut her eyes, letting herself return the kiss and be pushed onto her back. She could feel his arousal and the weight of his body on hers as he moved to lie over her made her squirm. She turned her head to the side, fixating her eyes on the pitcher of wine to her right; not looking at him, not letting herself. She couldn’t, however, help the flush that coloured her cheeks at the heat of the moment, nor could she help the instinctive way her back arched and she let out a little gasp of pleasure as his fingers moved between her thighs. She cursed herself, for finding any pleasure in this situation, even on an unconscious, natural level which she could not control. 

Still, that moment didn’t last long as before she could ask him to wait or do well...anything, he was on top of her again and entered her in one smooth motion. She felt her hips arch instinctively as he did and she screwed her eyes shut, letting out a deeply held breath. It was a little uncomfortable, given she was not especially aroused, but not painful at least and she thanked the Gods for that small mercy.

The quicker he finishes, the quicker you can go she repeated to herself in her head, although from her position underneath him she couldn’t do much of anything to speed him along. She felt like a little doll compared to him and it took significant effort for her to move enough to wrap one hand around his shoulders, the other hand flat on his chest as if keeping him at a distance. Still, there was something she could do and slowly she moved her hips up to meet his own movements. She still didn’t look at him, however, and kept her eyes firmly shut, and her face turned to the side.

 

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Tertius had enjoyed how she had returned the kiss he gave her and how she’d let out a gasp when he touched her. That was unexpected, he hadn’t thought she’d feel much pleasure at all, but it had to mean she wasn’t entirely put off by him. Tertius couldn’t wait much longer though and she arched up against him when he entered her. He’d held himself there for just a moment to look at her… she was looking away from him and her eyes were closed. This was just something she was going through and if he hadn’t been so turned on by her body and the fact that this was the first woman he’d had in months, it might have felt less satisfying that she wasn't even looking at him.

But it did feel satisfying, no matter her reaction. And she was not stopping him or fighting to get away, she let him do it. She knew it was his right; that she was his and he could do whatever he pleased with her. He could have her in his bed if he wanted to. When he’d started moving, he felt a hand on his shoulder and another on his chest. And if he hadn’t been so busy having his way with her, he might have removed that hand, to show her she wasn’t going to decide how close he could be to her. But he was busy and it felt so damn good.

The thrusts were fast and as he kept on going, eventually he’d feel that tingle in his entire body and the need for release and climax. He kept watching her, ran a hand down over her side while his other hand kept him up and gods how did she end up here again? It didn’t take long from there until he finished with a few last and harder thrusts and grunts… then he was spent and relaxed for a moment on top of her, before he moved to lie by her side again and catch his breath. Maybe it was a mistake not sleeping with her until now… she was very attractive and had definitely turned him on well. Tertius turned his head to look at her when he’d caught his breath, thirsty now that he had time to think about, “Hand me a cup of wine.”

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