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It was of course important to stay in shape. Tertius knew all about this, especially with a young and handsome body slave and lover like Hector… he was certainly in shape still and Tertius had to keep up with him. On top of that, he just didn’t want to sit down and eat and drink until he could barely move. No, he wanted to keep on looking good and staying fit. Today he decided he’d exercise at the Thermae Aventini – well first some exercise in the surrounding grounds around the magnificent building with the thermae and afterwards, he’d of course go to have a bath and maybe a massage.

First things first though – the important part and then the relaxing part. He’d left his proper clothes on a bench in the gardens outside the thermae and there he’d let his body slave stay with the clothes, so they wouldn’t be stolen. He wore his tunica and the short breeches as he went for a run around the thermae.

After the second round, he was feeling rather warm and stopped by a fountain to splash some water in his face. When he looked up, he saw another man doing the exact same thing on the other side of the fountain and he couldn’t help but smile. The other seemed familiar, one of his fellow Senators, but there were so many and it was impossible to keep up with them all. He believed this one was called Calvus and decided it would never hurt to make another friend in the Senate… “Greetings… it is a good day for staying in shape, is it not?”

@Mord

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Justinus often exercised, he knew that his body could no longer keep its form in his age without frequent reminding, while he often exercised at home or at a gymnos, the thermae had an advantage, first was the bathes and the other was the social company. Though he usually performed calisthenic in the atrium before proceeding to the tepidarium before the warm bath proper, he decided to run the pace of the building, thus he stripped down to his subligaculum, leaving the rest of his clothes with one of the capsarii, first making sure that nothing valuable or important was among his items even though he had checked before even coming, and then proceeded to jog at a steady pace.

His war injury erred him in his task, but he kept true to his stride despite the discomfort in his hip though likely because of it he felt more tired and sore than he normally had when he was younger... Or perhaps it was age? No, he decided it was the injury as he had seen others his own age perform admirably in athletics and not seem to be in any discomfort.

He was finishing his first round, when he saw a figure at a fountain. Though he normally ignored such situations, preferring to speak in a more relaxed environment that doesn't distract him from his task - but this time he was called out too and he knew it would be impolite to not respond in kind.

"Greetings... it is a good day for staying in shape, is it not?"

Slowing his stride he approached the fountain splashing himself with water and performing some leg stretches as he replied "Indeed, the sun shines warmly upon the skin and the warmth of a bath calls after the training."

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In the Senate, this would have been an awkward conversation, considering that Tertius wore just the tunica and short breeches and the other man wore even less than he did. But that of course gave Tertius a chance to admire the handsome man, although that was not something he’d say out loud to another senator. Instead he had simply greeted the man, although most of his name had yet to come to Tertius’ memory. He was certain that the last part of the name was Calvus. The other slowed his stride by the fountain and also splashed some water in his face.

“Indeed. In fact I think at least for me, it will soon be time for that bath.” He said, although Hector sat elsewhere, guarding his clothes. He could have left it with one of the capsarii, but he simply didn’t trust the thermae slaves enough to do that. And his body slave did a fine job as well, so it was really no issue for him.

“Calvus, isn’t it? I’m Varus… Tertius Quinctilius Varus.” He said with a smile to the other man. He knew his family name had a less nice ring to it, because of his ancestor, but by now it seemed most people could look past that.

@Mord

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Justinus listened to the man proclaim his intentions for the bathes, and Justinus felt a twinge of envy; he would much prefer the baths to running more laps, but to enjoy only comfort would make one puerile, complacent and arrogant, qualities the Justinus despised and that he saw in many Senators, they desired power for powers sake and thus turned into sycophants, but that would not be his lot... He would push his body and mind for power because he knew he was to only one with the actual resolve to punish wrong doers, resist temptation and build security, the glory of Rome would last forever, and with effort, so would his dynasty.

Thinking of such things always made him think of his children, and his wife which he remembered with regret... Rather than being with her, loving her as he should have he fled away to the Legions and all but abandoned her, the short time they had together before she died were bliss and he wished for just a few years more. Plautia, his first and so far, his only wife, the bearer of his children - his legacy. 

Justinus pushed such melancholic thoughts, it wouldn't do to unbalance his humours.

"My name is Justinus Junius Calvus, and yes... I believe I've heard your name on the senate floor. Even speak a couple times... Your oratory, I would say is skilled though it would seem that it would fall upon deaf ears when other senators bray rather than debate when the mood is choleric. You're a moderati are you not? Ah, I suppose it doesn't matter now... I would desire a hot bath myself at this moment, but I just began my laps and I must stick to my discipline of at least three around the the Thermae. I suppose I will see you inside if you are retiring from your own exercise?"

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It would be nice to go bathing very soon, but meeting a fellow senator here was good too. Tertius had always enjoyed meeting people in the baths, because it was often such a relaxed place to be. It wasn’t as fancy as the Senate and there weren’t drunk people around like in the taverns. It was just laid-back and everyone were here because they wanted to be. At least all free Romans.

The other confirmed who he was and then mentioned he’d heard Tertius’ name in the Senate before and even paid attention to him when he spoke. Well that was good to know, that he wasn’t boring everyone too much and wasn’t overheard, despite being known as a back-bencher. But he knew that his kind were valuable too. He did not speak up often, but when he did, he felt it was because it mattered to him. His words held weight. And apparently Calvus noticed this, although Tertius was not arguing as loudly as some of the others.

“We can meet inside the thermae, if you would like.” Tertius agreed with a friendly smile, “Sticking to discipline sounds like a good plan, far too many forget what it is, once inside the city walls. Think what we could turn Rome into, if discipline was found more often.” He said with a grin, “We shall talk once you have finished. I feel we may have more to speak of. So until then… Senator Calvus.” He gave the other a nod and then returned to his body slave and walked into the thermae to get ready for the baths.

Soon he sat in the tepidarium with a cloth wrapped around his waist, enjoying the warmth and what it did to his muscles. He sat on a bench by the wall, so that he could lean his head back and relax, but he looked up, when another entered. And smiled when he saw it was his newfound acquaintance.

@Mord

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Continuing his run was difficult, he finished a total of five laps before the wound in his hip threatened to collapse him, the sirens call of the warmth inside the Thermae called out to him. So he made his way into the building, limping slightly. Having giving his clothing already to the bath slaves he went straight to the Tepidarium to loosen his muscles before the bath. As he entered he scanned the room and quickly spotted Varus on one of the benches, he wondered where he should sit, side by side as equals and friends? Or perhaps in a position not unlike two negotiators discussing a matter? The man appeared friendly enough, so the former choice wasn't adverse to Justinus and the latter might offend, yet one may interpret sitting closely together as conspiracy for friendliness, or an eagerness to gain or show confidence with a person. In the end, he decided to sit beside him, but at a distance away, about half an arms length so that no one could come between them but neither were they pressed shoulder to shoulder, it was a casual sort of friendliness, continuing the conversation they began outside.

"I see you are enjoying the warmth, comfort is as much needed as discipline after all."

Justinus turned to face the man, "So, what shall be our topic, or would you rather bask in the glowing heat of the Tepidarium in silence for a little longer?"

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The warmth and the steam of the tepidarium was always welcome after a run. Some might want to cool down, but Tertius had learned that warming the muscles after exercise made him relax much better and to him it felt strengthening. Now he saw Calvus finally entered too and smiled at him. Tertius had not really considered how they’d sit and talk, he had just found a good spot and assumed Calvus would do the same. They were of course not quite friends yet, merely acquaintances, but who knew what the future held for two men randomly meeting at the thermae?

Calvus came over to sit beside him, an arm’s length away, so that they could still talk but weren’t touching. The other commented on the comfort of the tepidarium and how comfort was needed just like discipline – as they talked about before.

“I don’t mind basking in the heat here, but conversation would not be unwelcome.” Tertius said, considering what they should talk about too. He didn’t know Calvus so well yet, so maybe a little talk concerning that. He gave the other man a friendly smile, “So, I only know you as a fellow Senator – tell me something about you that has nothing to do with politics. What interests you?”

@Mord

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Justinus searched his mind for the answers to the mans question and found them to be dull, he said as much but also that he didn't think that was a bad thing "Well, I enjoy exercises, as you must know from outside. Otherwise, I take care of my children and occasionally amuse myself with writings. Lately my mind has been to occupied to concentrate on my own leisurely pursuits." He kept his back straight, proud as he looked down to his hand and flexed it "When I was young I enjoyed a lot of things, games and such, and found simple things too boring. Now I am older, and feel older than I look and find something as simple as a glass of wine while watching my children play, or trying to teach them their lessons to be relaxing and reassuring."

 

He looked back over to the man and took a moment to examine him, he was patrician in his features and close to an age of Justinus, he didn't know much about the man but he supposed that these meetings were the opportunities to rectify that. "And you? What interests you?"

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Tertius listened with interest to Calvus explaining his interests... and he couldn't help but smile at the other man's words. Of course it was not everything they had in common, but many things Calvus liked were also similar to what Tertius liked. Writings sounded interesting though, Tertius did not really do that, but he might be interested in learning what his handsome companion here wrote. Of course, at the end, Calvus wondered what interested Tertius.

"More or less the same." He said with a smile, "I enjoy staying fit, as you know now - and I spend time with my daughter when it fits into my day and my plan. I also have a few of my slaves at home, who are good at keeping me occupied. And I do still enjoy watching gladiator fights though, I have even owned a few. Sometimes it is a good idea... sometimes they are little more than the beasts they look like." Tertius then explained, thinking about the gladiator Celadus that he bought and what a mistake that had been. Celadus kept standing up to him and wouldn't break and with a gladiator, you also could not break them too much - or else they would be useless in the arena. 

"Besides all that, I am a praetor. I have been for a good while too, but I like it. I find it very interesting to come into contact with both high and low in Rome, when I work. What do you do, besides the Senate and whatever you do in your free time?" Maybe Calvus was a praetor too, he couldn't remember, or was he a military man? The Course of Honor could be followed in many different directions.

@Mord

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Justinus listened to man speak of his similarities with some interest, but more or less this was idle small talk and while it was certainly an easy change of pace from the usual politics it was still idle small talk. He was getting to know his fellow senator and that was important as well as letting Varus know more about him, it was a fair exchange he supposed for improving their relationship, and it didn't hurt to be in pleasant company.

"I'm not sure of your question, when I am not working everything else is my free time. Though I suppose, before the Senate I was the Primus Pilus of the first Legio for several years... I served as a Legionary in varying positions for near three decades before that." His military record was hardly a secret, in fact it was the opposite; he wanted more people too know, he was proud of his service and knew that it was looked upon favorably in Rome. Though he didn't specify his Legatus as Cneaus Flavius Alexander Germanicus, he admired the man but he or his children had rivals in Rome so it's not necessarily to his advantage to boast being a subordinate to the man when his renown as a subordinate was limited to being a less than noteworthy officer.

"I'm afraid there isn't much to say of my life besides that. But I am interested to hear you speak, the position of Praetor is a honourable one. I hope you perform well in it. I wasn't aware you had a daughter, what is her name if I may ask?"

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Tertius thought that the other man had followed a more military career than Tertius had. He could have done that too, but his oldest brother died young and then the second disappeared and Tertius’ father was growing old and sickly. He had to leave that career behind him and return to Rome and take care of the family instead of running around in the mud in Northern Gaul close to Germania. It was interesting though to meet a man who had followed a very different career path.

“Three decades as a Legionary? That is impressive. Where did you serve? I spent a few years in Northern Gaul myself, but then had to return to Rome.” Tertius said and then Calvus applauded him for his job as a praetor and wondered about Tertius’ daughter too.

“Her name is Antonia Varia, I named her after my late wife. Sadly her mother passed away barely a year after our daughter was born – but at least I have her, now.” And his son born by a slave, Teutus, but he didn’t mention him, because he had never been properly recognized. He supposed though that it was a known fact that Teutus still lived with him and one day, he would free his son and make Teutus his heir. He had no other sons and the Varus name had to live on… “How many children do you have?” If Calvus had sons, maybe there was a future husband for Antonia here.

@Mord

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Justinus was surprised at how animated the man had become towards his mention of a military career than felt as though he understood when he mentioned having served in Northern Gaul and later the hardships that had befallen. Justinus was never meant to be here, he wanted to serve in the Legion till death but most of the men in his family were dead now, Clemens had saw too that, as well as just bad luck with illness, Justinus himself was never actually meant to become anything; maybe a companion to his older brothers successes, he figured it was why he had been encouraged to join the Legion in the first place - Tucked away in some nice corner away from Rome but conveniently close enough to support the family as a soldier. He wondered if the man sitting next to him regretted following a different path, no matter how similar it was different after all. Perhaps he wished he had stayed a Legionary?

"Nearly three, closer to two but I suppose the art of politics is always to embellish a little bit without outright lying." He chuckled a little in his throat "I was in Germania. A German spear ended my military career, straight through the hip." He pulled his subligaculum down slightly to expose the scar on his hip and present it, it was noticeable, the tissue stark white compared to the rest of his tan skin and slightly puckered, he replaced his garment and looked ahead thoughtfully as he listened to the man tell him of his wife and daughter, nodding in understanding "I grieve with you, the death of a spouse is a feeling I can unfortunately relate too."

"I have three, Lucius Junius is my oldest, then there are twins. Gaius and Junia. I love all of them, and would see them to inherit the best parts of me, and my fortunes and career, it's the least I can do for them." Justinus sighed through his nose and smiled ruefully

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Three decades as a Legionary was impressive, Tertius thought. And then Calvus had come to Rome too. The other however corrected himself and said it might be closer to two than three decades, but you could always paint the truth a little bit more interesting. Tertius smiled and nodded and then the other shared that he had been in Germania until a spear ended his military career. Tertius glanced briefly towards the other man’s hip when the other showed the scar on his hip, it looked quite bad and it was something that Calvus even sat here now. He then looked up to Calvus’ face again, “I am sorry about the spear… I hope you’re doing alright now though. You seem to be.” He said with a smile, “My brother disappeared in Germania, after a trip there to fight down a roaming band… that’s what ended my career, because I was suddenly the sole heir to my father and had to return to Rome to be by his side.”

Then Tertius had told about his daughter and how her mother had passed away and Calvus said he could relate to having lost his wife to death. Really? This turned more interesting by the moment, since they appeared to have at least a few things in common. Calvus then explained about his children, three of them and he seemed to love them all.

“I hope the same for my daughter. She has her mother’s spirit though, she is quite curious and outgoing, yet sweet and kind.” Tertius said with a fond smile, “She is all I have, so I have to watch over her the best I can, until it is time to find her a suitable husband.” He paused as a slave came up to them, asking if they needed anything, but Tertius shook his head. When the slave had left again, he looked at Calvus, “Should we move on towards the baths? Maybe a swim in the *natatio?”

@Mord

*natatio - the swimming bath

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