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The Furii-Pontii and Tullii-Marii branches of Lucius' family had long been promiment patrons and clients of the highly reputable Paulus Annius Faventinus for quite some time now, supplying their households with the finest, most exquisite furniture and other goods of unimaginable worth, the origins spanning even as far as beyond the borders of the Roman Empire. The young senator had met and gotten to know this peculiar sorts man, an auctioneer by trade and son of a legionary, who often conducted deals with his father Lucius Major, being invited to their Domus or sometimes it was the opposite, taking place at his shop in the Campius Martius district. However it had been quite a while since there was any serious contact between Paulus and Lucius, as it was mainly the latter's parents who'd taken up on the initiative to have the auctioneer as their main supplier, but with them gone and Lucius' subsequent period of depressed attitude, there was no incentive for him at the time to continue this lucrative relationship.

However once Lucius snapped off of his self-pitying and started to live again as a (changed) member of the Roman nobility, he remembered his father's words about the value of keeping Paulus and his business close to the family, and wasn't that old man of his actually right? The auctioneer even participated in the funerals of his parents, and he couldn't remember the last time he ever said thank you to him, for what he'd done for the family throughout these years. This had to change and thus Lucius Minor felt compelled enough to venture out to Paulus' store and make things right again. He was also in need for some re-decorating and the auctioneer probably had in store, some rare piece of exotic furniture that would suit perfectly. With no time to waste, the senator finally arrived at Paulus' business and gave a few good knocks on the door before letting himself in. Once inside there was still familiar smell, characteristic to that specific location, summoning positive memories of nostalgia when he was a few years younger.

"Paulus Annius Faventius...It's me...Lucius Furius Thracius...Minor." Lucius took a deep breath and waited patiently for the owner to come out, or so that's what he hoped at least.

@Sharpie

Edited by The Young Pope
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Paulus was dealing with trying to fit a couch into an awkward corner at the back of his premises when Crispus informed him of his visitor. He left his staff to it and emerged, clad only in a tunic - he had set his pallium aside much earlier. If anyone expected him to wear that (or worse, his toga) for a whole day unless he was out and about cultivating customers, they had another think coming! 

He pulled his tunic straight and emerged. The 'Minor' tacked onto the end of the name informed him that it was not his late patron but that man's son (who could probably drop the 'Minor' part of the name now that 'Maior' was deceased).

"Good morning, sir," he said, brushing a dusty cobweb from his arm. "Welcome to my humble shop - what can I do for you?"

'Humble' might be stretching a point; it was a decent size, for an auction house had to fit in all sorts of things, from furniture and statues (there was a very nice one of Venus bathing that was situated by the door) to  Egyptian glassware and high-status pottery, most of which was stashed towards the back of the shop so it wouldn't be broken by clumsy viewers.

@The Young Pope

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Lucius was, to say the least, quite surprised or even outright shocked about Paulus' reaction over seeing him for the first time over two years, formally speaking that is. He didn't know how to interpret this auctioneer's calm and cool demeanor; was he thrilled over seeing the son of one of his greatest clients to have employed his services and purchased goods throughout these years of magnificent partnership, or was this his method of containing an outburst to infuriating anger that simply wanted to explode from within, due to the Senator neglecting this special relationship? Taking a closer look at his facial expressions, Paulus proved to be a hard man to read, that old son of a Legioneer. There was so much going on in Lucius' head that sitting down and talking things through first, prior to embarking on a shopping round, ought to be in order.

"Paulus..I-I don't understand...perhaps it would be better for both of us to sit down for a moment and become reacquainted, as I'm sure those chairs over there would suffice. Your legs must be weary and tired after standing up for quite some time, right?" Lucius said, sitting down on what seemed to be less expensive chairs and hoped that he wouldn't anger the Auctioneer. "First and foremost, I'm here to offer my most sincere, absolute apology over the complete neglection of my family's patronage and clientage, as it's completely my own responsibility in the end. I was disrespectful enough to not thank thee for the services your business has provided to the family throughout these years, and how much my father's always spoke highly of you, even inviting you presence to the Domus itself. Let me reassure you that I'm thus here to attempt setting things in the right order, and this prosperous relationship will resume to a new chapter, under a new generation under my lead." Lucius could now only pray to his God that he hadn't made himself a  complete fool, though he rightly deserved it probably in any case. 

@Sharpie

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"Oh, no, no - I didn't mean that at all," Paulus said. "I wouldn't have expected you to come here yourself - but that isn't to say that you aren't welcome." 

He caught Crispus' eye, indicated his guest and waited for the slave to nod. He'd had Crispus for so long that there was no need to give orders verbally, especially for something as simple as demanding refreshments.

A jug of wine and two goblets were delivered promptly, along with a plate of fruit - grapes and figs. 

Paulus waited until his guest had been poured a cup of wine. 

"It is good to see you, though, sir. I trust that you are well?"

 

@The Young Pope

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Oh thank the heavens that this didn't turn out to be what Lucius initally thought as, letting out a subtle yet comforting sigh of relief as the slave was preparing refreshments and something edible, as both of them could've certainly have use for it in this instant when reigniting a neglected relationship. "I should offer my apology for you for acting like a madman gone unhinged or something along those lines." Watching how his cup was being filled up with time, the senator wondered as to how the conversation would proceed from that point of time, but at least he no longer had to concern himself with further appeasement and lowering one's self like a beaten dog to a subordinate master, brutally speaking. It had only gone a year or two at the most since they had any real contact, though Paulus didn't seem to have changed one bit based on Lucius' own observation; same facial hair structure, clothing and even the manners were precisely the characteristics that th senator remembered about him. The interesting question however was whether his mental self remained the same or not.

"Well I can't say that it has been an easy transition to my normal, actual self since the death of my parents and there were challenges on this path of redemption that had to be tackled along this process. But a few yet notable changes have occurred in my life, and it's safe to say that I haven't felt this great about myself and society in fact for a rather long while. Not sure if you've heard from the neighbourhood criers, but I'm currently on my first year of my term as Praetor. This job has its own set of challenges, though a fine duty indeed to serve the Empire in this capacity, and upholding the justice ought to be an honorable man's foremost priority. Certain perks are included as well including..." At this realisation managed to make Lucius pause for a while, as there was a tendency for him to suddenly talk at lengths whether he was passionate or interested about a particular subject at hand, though it naturally depended on the recipient he was interacting with. Still, this was a good opportunity for the partner to soak the information in and digest it in its raw form. 

"Excuse me for a moment, I almost forgot...Oh silly me." Lucius shook his head, standing up from his seat and made his way towards the door, opening it at last to reveal half a dussin men standing outside wearing togas such as himself.  "There's no need to wait for me outside, my good sirs, hop on right in!" The six men initially looked upon each other back and forth, deciding to do as their senator said and proceeded right into Paulus' shop, making sure they wouldn't trip over anything deemed of great value, placing themselves at last on the side of the room. "This is one perk of being a magistrate, Paulus...Lictors, in all of their form and glory mind you...Usually I'm only accompanied by two of these bodyguards when I'm inside the 'holy area', but considering your location is deemed further beyond that boundary, I've the privilege to have all six with me." Lucius finally ordered to lower their wooden rods, knowing that it may have been quite tiring to constantly carry those symbolic signs of authority and power all day long. He approaced Paulus once more and sat in front of him.

"I could ask the same about you my old friend, I hope that business is going rather well still? It seems to be the case!" The senator grabbed a hand full of the grapes and figs, eating one by one and enjoying them piece by piece. "You also happent to be a man of many talents as well...not only do you posess the ability to acquire the finest furniture and trinkets, but also that belonging to the realm of food and even wine, cheers!" Lucius clinked his cup with the auctioneer's and took a sip. Oh wasn't it lovely with wine of the greatest, impeccable quality?

@Sharpie

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And of course his patron had brought his lictors with him, though Paulus was of the opinion that there was no need for the display, although it was possible that Lucius was on his way to or from some official engagement.

He caught Crispus' eye again, indicating the men. Crispus nodded; he would get them something to drink (Paulus was hopeful that his patron might spend enough to cover the cost, even if he did not do so today) and would ensure they did not break anything.

"Business is indeed going well, people are always changing things about their homes, whether they're getting rid of something or want that one finishing touch for the atrium," Paulus said, taking a sip of his wine. "May I ask whether this is purely a social call, or whether I can help you in my professional capacity?"

If it was the latter, he could get his people to work while the two of them continued to talk. If the former, they could continue with what they had been tasked to do already.

 

@The Young Pope

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"Hold up...Crispus was it?" He took hold of Paulus' most trusted servants, handing him quite a few coins, putting these directly in his hand. "These should cover the wine and a little more." Lucius simply smiled before returning the attention towards the auctioneer sitting opposite him. It was the very least he could do according to his own thoughts, considering the Lictors could be a bit of a pain depending on the occasion, but as mentioned they had their uses from time to time. "As for whether it's purely out of social reasons, or the spheres of business...One could actually consider this to be a combined venture. I never really understood these silly superstitions about the dangers of combining business and pleasure. Bah, it has proven to be again and again quite effective time management wise and so far one has come out of it alive and whole...more or less." Lucius chuckled, lifting the cup of wine to have a taste of it and savour the atmosphere.

"Would you prefer if we browsed through the wares whilst talking? Either choice is fine by me, whichever is the best method of showcasing the items available for sale whilst making up for lost time since we last saw each other."

@Sharpie

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"Well, let us discuss your needs first - I should hate to rush you in enjoying your wine and refreshments," Paulus said, mollified by Lucius' willingness to cover the cots of entertaining his lictors. He was quite willing to give up his afternoon to his patron, who was a pleasant enough man after all. Especially as it had been a while, though that was understandable enough, what with his father's death. "Is there anything in particular that you're after? A new statue for your atrium - we've got some very nice copies of a good statue of Venus that have just come in, and there are others if Venus isn't to your taste. I shall be very happy to show you around our showroom - you might see something you had not thought of, after all."

He liked his friends and acquaintance to have an idea of what they wanted, but equally, he was more than happy for them to browse. It was his experience that people often came across things when 'just browsing' that they'd had no idea they needed when they woke up that morning.

 

@The Young Pope

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"Y'know, a statue was something that I originally planned to acquire for the Atrium, but then again one of the reasons why I enjoyed accompanying my father to your shop was to simply browse through the myriads of treasures, and I remember that every time we visited the store, it always ended up us bringing home a trinket or two." Wonderful nostalgia came now rushing through Lucius' inner self, as venturing to Paulus meant that there was something unexpected yet rewarding at the same time which caught the eyes of his dear old father, who had a particular good taste at acquiring items which would greatly enhance the environments of the Domus itself. After having a bit more fruit and drinking up the last drops of wine, Lucius felt quite satisfied and couldn't wait to embark on a quest for exploration and discovering exotic products that were worthy of his tastes and money. Perhaps he could find something to give to the local Christian community, in order to show them appreciation and gratitude for always being there for him.

"Whenever you're ready Paulus, I'm now ready and able to take a look at your finest rarities, and I do expect to leave the viccinity of a precious item. After all it has become a mandatory practice for all that I know." 

@Sharpie

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"Of course." Paulus set his own empty cup aside and stood. "You have been here before, of course, but I don't know whether that was before or after we expanded our premises. The things being sold outright are on this side, anything on the other is for auction, though I suppose a generous offer won't be refused by the current owners. If it's a large item, it's much easier for you to provide the slaves to move it,of course."

He led the way into the main part of the premises. "I shall let you lead the way in looking around, seeing as you haven't been here recently. I don't know what kind of things you are interested in and would hate for you to miss something just because I think you should be interested in something else."

 

@The Young Pope

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"Did the expansion occur a couple of years ago? If so it must've slipped my memory somehow, though I suppose it'll come back bit by bit as I take a look around." Lucius raised himself from the chair, feeling quite satisfied with the fruity snack he had the pleasure to enjoy with the auctioneer, who didn't mind reminding the senator on which side the items available for sale and auction were located respectively. As Lucius could picture it clearly as if he only visited the shop yesterday, one's head would spin around looking at all four directions due to the myriad of items on display, eagerly awaiting their future owners willing to project a lot of funds just to be able to claim them for their own household. Since it had been a while engaging in the business of acquiring exotic goods, feeling rather overwhelmed by the abundance of choices to be made, the senator decided to step back a little and let the host responsible for the premise to take charge of the showcasing. 

"Oh no my old friend Paulus. On the contrary, I wouldn't mind being led by an experienced salesman who knows a thing or two about these treasures. Well that is if you still know your way around the art of haggling?" Lucius humourously requested it to him to conduct it so. "Just show me the latest items, or those that have caught your keen eyes and attentive interest."

@Sharpie

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"You should be careful or you might find me sending you home with a mismatched set of supposedly Samian dishes or an equestrian statue of the Divine Augustus Caesar  riding a three-legged horse or something equally ridiculous," Paulus said with a smile. "Let us look around the sale room, then." He led the way.

There were various items of furniture, of course - lecticae and tables, the latter of which held smaller items such as a set of Syrian glassware or a tabula set with board and pieces made from semi-precious stones. Several statues of various levels of execution - most indifferent, some very good indeed and one or two dire. One of the best was a satyr with pan-pipes, and Paulus patted its stone head as he passed it.

"Do say, if you see something you'd like a closer look at," he told his guest.

 

@The Young Pope

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"Ah the good old satyr with his pan-pipes." Lucius commented, taking a closer look of it. To think that he used to find them to be fun little buggers, but now all of that changed thanks to the Christian faith. "Lovers of wine, music, dancing, and women, though always fail to insert their manhoods into nymphs or mortal women...it reminds me of some of the senators that I have to deal with on an occasional basis as a matter of fact." The senator laughed, reminding himself of being 'satyr' once upon a time, though perhaps with the added benefit of actually finding a woman at the foot of his bed...if he actually went that far. "Did you know that in some cultures or even religious, they're considered to be foremost representatives of evil due to their passion for leading a life in full excess of vices? The differences in interpretation will never cease to fascinate my mind, I can tell you that right now." A satyr in other words was out of the question, though he could clearly see why Paulus thought it was among the best in his collection, based on the quality of the structure and the overall design being appealing enough as eye candy.

"Oh my...Paulus, what can you tell me about this Lectica? I've never quite seen such a mode of transporation being a magnificent piece of art at the same time." At least something had finally caught the young senator's appeal. Even if a lectica didn't immediately pop up in the radar of priority, it could serve as a tool to impress the other Roman nobility, especially when arriving at special occasions like celebrations or dinners, as well as serving a purpose during hot, sunny days. 

@Sharpie

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