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He had questions that needed answers. Every so often he would dream frightful images of his sister calling his name, pleading with him to take a message to the head Vestal and they had begun to get more insistent as time went on. When Lucius went to see his sister's children, they all had her warm, dark eyes and it was a reminder of what was lost to him. Finally, Lucius found the courage to go to meet with his sister's lover, and his thoughts echoed with questions whether she would make sense of them. His sister had done her duty, married and produced children. There were no men to rival his brother-in-law's other than Pontia. Lucius had heard it whispered about her Sapphic taste. Given Pontia's role in society it gave her additional protection to not be wooed by the promise of a man's affections. Still, the proper traditionalist in him despised the idea of his sister being involved in this way. 

His body slave had accompanied him to the Aedes Vesta, the Temple of Vesta and the home of the sacred flame. The body slave held the gifts in offering and 'officially' he had some questions about storing his will. Everything to ensure his son would inherit his wealth and property when he finally passed away. Yet.. this was an excuse, he knew the reasons or could easily find another to answer these questions.

Lucius did not wish to share his sister's words from beyond the grave. 

He did not want to go back to sleep and disturb his sleep with her tears, crying and pleads for him to tell her lover. 

The Senator stood with his hands clasped behind his back, his posture upright and strong as he waited for one of the temple attendants to speak with him. Lucius looked healthy except for the darkness under his eyes through many nights of troubled sleep. One of the Vestals' slaves approached him and asked what he desired. "I am here to speak to the Virgo Vestalis Maxima. Inform her that Lucius Caecilius Metellus has arrived to see her. She will know who I am." He said, and waited. 

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She knew the name. How could she not? Lucius was brother to her beloved Caecilia, a woman she still missed and longed to see. Occasionally, she would see her love's children and it pained her because they had similar eyes. Much like their mother, or in Lucius' case, his sister. Pontia had seen Lucius on several occasions, there were times when duty called and they would run into each other. The pair never really spoke much before Caecilia passed away, and not at all since Caecilia was gone. She imagined that it was too painful for him to see her. It suited her. 

Pontia held her hands in front of her. She was a servant of the Goddess Vesta, the first of her order and walked calmly towards him. Her gaze met his. Her heart skipped a beat at the sight of the similar looking eyes that had been so dear to her heart. Her facial expression was friendly yet she could not allow herself to become too comfortable in case the grief was too clear. Her duty was to Vesta, her love was supposed to be for Vesta alone, and yet... she had loved another. 

Her Caecilia. 

Her sweet and loving Caecilia. 

"Ave Lucius Caecilius Metellus, welcome to the Temple of Vesta and how may her servant help you today?" She asked formally, politely, and purposely wished to put a barrier up between the pair of them. Although at this time she was unsure whether it was him she was protecting or herself. 

@Brian

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Lucius wanted to ask several things, and some were not as polite as they should be. 

"I," He stopped himself, still not sure how she would take his dream and exhaled slowly. He was not an Oracle nor anyone holy by any means. He hoped that he was at least a dutiful brother to his sister, even if she was no longer with them. If this worked than the nightmares would ease, and he would get a decent night sleep again. And his dear Caecilia would finally be at rest. The nights would be restful, slumber would come easily, and he would finish the promise to Caecilia's ghost.

"I believe that I have a message from my sister that I am supposed to deliver to you, and, it was for the pair of us." Lucius put all his cards on the table, and waited for her answer. Lucius shifted on the spot, it did not sound right and he hoped that she would not accuse him of losing his mind. 

"If I may have a moment of your time to tell you in private?" Lucius asked, and had no desire to be accused of ever corrupting a Vestal. "Private but visible." He quickly corrected himself. 

 

@Gothic

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Pontia stopped and blinked at him in confusion for a moment before her divine poise was returned to her.

A message? 

Lucius had never struck her as a particularly devout nor a man given with any blessings from the Gods. She had offered advice to many who wished to seek her counsel. Her obligation was to Vesta, first and foremost. She knew and honoured the other Gods yet it was Vesta she pledged her lifelong loyalty towards. She inclined her head in agreement as she gestured with her hand towards the area where Vestals would answer questions from visitors, while not giving any reason to question their vow of chastity. 

"I will hear you," She said quietly, walked towards the seat and sat down. Her mind was filled with a variety of thoughts and feelings. Her heart fluttered at the thought of her sweet Caecilia's words. Perhaps he had consulted an Oracle? Or found a letter or journal from her? Now seated, it gave her a chance to view him up close. He had darkness around his eyes and had not looked like he had been sleeping well. Perhaps there was bad news concerning his sister? 

"What did she say?" The Vestal asked softly and sounded more like the woman rather than the Head Vestal. 

@Brian

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He followed her silently and sat beside her. The moments felt like an eternity. Slowly Lucius began to find his courage and exhaled slowly to settle any remaining nerves. Strange dreams were associated with shamans or women. What would she think of him for his mind going in this direction? Insane, weak-willed or even unmanly? Still, he had made a promise to his sister. His sweet Caecilia, and he was not going to permit her spirit to remain angry at him. Nothing like this had ever happened to him previously, and after today, he hoped his sister would finally be at peace. 

"My sister came to me at night in spirit form. Not once,  but several times with a message she instructed me to give you." You, her lover, the one he believed she truly loved. "She told me she regrets not being able to claim the love loudly and publicly as she would like, and knew that your love and service to Vesta always came first." Lucius paused, debated whether he should continue and for the moment could not bear to look at the Vestalas Maxima. Especially not in her eyes during this time, either. Lucius had survived many dangerous situations yet this... this was his greatest trial. 

His hand tightened around the piece of parchment. It was pressed, had sweat and a hint of dirt on it. 

It remained sealed. 

Unopened. 

"She tells me she left a gift for you. The instructions are inside. I do not know what it contains," Lucius added, and hoped it was not something that would condemn him or his family. The few precious members that still remained. Lucius steadily reached out with the letter on the flat of his palm for her to accept or deny at her pleasure. 

"She loved you." 

@Gothic

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Sweet and lovely Caecilia. 

Her hand reached out to take the piece of parchment from his hand. Her fingertips caressed it and brought it up to look more closely. It even still retained her perfume. Her eyes closed, imagined the sight of Caecilia walking towards them and felt her heart flutter at the thought. Words could not express how much she missed her. Pontia was forced to return from her thoughts. Her eyes slowly opened and she resisted the urge to kiss the parchment. The final words to her from her beloved. It was a blessing to receive the gift. 

She had been about to thank him for the gift when the next line took her completely off-guard. Her heart fluttered, tears pricked at her eyes and she knew it. Lucius had never spoken of this to her. In many ways, it was ignored for both Pontia's and Caecilia's sake. Pontia loved Caecilia in return. Few, if any, could ever hope to compete with Vesta and her duty towards her. Caecilia? The love she had for her was beyond words. Silence passed for a moment. Her hand lifted to discreetly wipe the tears torn of joy and sorrow from her eyes. 

"I... I loved her, too.... she was the only one I have ever loved," Pontia whispered. A rare display of her divine position being replaced with the woman underneath. She slowed her breathing. Her gaze moved around to see if they were watched or overheard. Most people seemed to be too busy going about their daily life to worry about their conversation that was taking place. 

In private she would open the letter. 

"I hope she will give you peace, Lucius." She said kindly. 

@Brian

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The words had finally been spoken. 

His sister had married respectfully and yet remained Sapphic in nature. With a Vestal? He did not know what to do think still. After today he would remain silent concerning the love between the two women. Now he felt truly at peace in a way he did not feel for some time. The message had been revealed, and had been well received. Lucius wanted to reached out to touch Pontia's arm in gratitude yet did not wish to cause any issues. Perhaps he would not see his sister tonight at all? It would be a blessing to sleep soundly without her haunting words disturbing otherwise pleasant dreams. 

Lucius had come to discuss what was needed, and did not wish to reveal too much gratitude or thanks in such a public place. Some things were not for the populace of Rome to see. Thus their meeting had come to a conclusion. Nor did he wish for the Vestalas Maxima to lose her composure in public to arouse any questions or unnecessary comments. 

"I hope so, Vestalas Maxima," He said, rose to his seat and bowed his head to her politely. "Thank you for seeing me today. I have other business to attend to and I do not wish to keep you from your duties to Vesta." Lucius gave a possible and respectable reason for the meeting to come to a close. 

@Gothic

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Her heart still fluttered with the tenderness of this news.

Pontia's eyes were glossy from the tears of joy. Her true feelings would be revealed only by the cover of darkness and in happy whispers of gratitude to Vesta. Even from beyond the grave, her Caecilia still loved and cherished her. It warmed her heart. She would open the parchment and read it. Always, she would keep it safe. There had to be a way for her to keep it with her at all times, especially so it would remain close to her heart. 

Pontia was so grateful to Lucius for carrying this message to her. 

In response she nodded her head and rose to her feet. The pair both taking on the mantle of their prominent roles once more. Her head inclined as she regarded him politely. "Not at all, Senator, thank you for your message," She said, and noticed the familiar veil of one of her Priestesses walk past her. Pontia had not desire to "If you have any questions for myself or for Vesta, know you are welcome to return." 

She hoped he would understand the message.

"Farewell, Senator. I wish you have a pleasant day." Pontia answered, and turned to leave with the parchment still in her hand

-Fin- 

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