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Receiving an invitation to the Imperial Palace may not have been an occurance on a daily basis, but when someone of his status such as senator Lucius did actually acquire one, then there was no opportunity and time to be wasted at all and it would've been taken advantage of immediately. He may not have been direct connected to the Imperial Family through marriage or any other type of blood relation (within recent memory), though that didn't stop him from being invited all due to his family's loyalty towards them, something which continued still under his leadership as the living Pater Familias of his branch, aiding in the reconstruction of vital infrastructure such as aqueducts, roads and temples, as well as the development of the empire through charitable works like orphanages and soup kitches directed towards the poorer classes. It was how he came into contact with the Caesarini Julia Drussila Augusta herself, one of the most notable undertakings involved the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the aftermath of Mount Vesuvius' volcanic eruption.

This would've attracted the attention of one of the Imperial Princesses, Claudia Caesaris, who happened to be a niece of the Caesar, and even Lucius briefly met her through his connection with the Caesarini, he gathered that she was also into restoration of vital infrastructure and works of charity, being described as interested in horses, having a keen mind for education and a desire to learn. The princess's beauty wasn't to be ignored either, as her darkly thick hair, pale ivory skin, blue eyes befitting slender, curvy body marked by a routine of physical exercise yet not tainted by any pregnacy or heavy work, would make any man bend the knee for her in an instant. A reminder sprung off in his head as his eyes gazed upon her presence in the garden whilst being led by a Praetorian, and in an instant he would also get reacquainted with impressive personality as a character. Wearing his Toga Praextata, which was a toga with a broad purple stripe on its border, worn over a tunic with two broad, verticle purple stripes, Lucius was there to build a influentially powerful connection, and he'd wager that it was exactly the same thing for the Princess.

Putting on a friendly smile of confidence, he approached her to steadily greet her as the man she was waiting for. "Claudia Caesaris, let me just say that it's such an honor to receive an invitation to the Domus Augusta, and it shall be a pleasure and privilege to enter into a cooperation that will only mean great fortunes for the empire. The Caesarini has spoken highly of thee every time we've worked together for the greater good." Lucius took her hand and kissed it gently, hoping it would flatter her by the very least and possibly resolve of any tensions in this proper encounter they finally organised together. 

@Gothic

Edited by The Young Pope
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Claudia remembered him from the assistance that he had given during one of the Augusta's many charitable projects. The explosion at Vesuvius was devastating for the people involved. The relief brought was vital for the impacted citizens. Many of whom had lost everything during the natural disaster. The Princess was gradually becoming more prominent in public life and her obligations towards the family. Two roles she both found herself drawn towards. The message had been sent out with an invitation for the Praetor Lucius Furius Pontius Thracius Minor to come visit her at the Domus Augustana. Since they were in similar social groups, she remembered meeting him already and the pair of them had not spoken at length though. Thus far, she found him helpful and handsome yet it was a visit of a political nature. 

Like mother and grandmother before her, the gardens were a place of solitude and reflection. They had been added to and changed over the years. Drusilla having made her own additions, and listened to both her and Rutiliana (Flavia's Caesaris') thoughts. She was seated, with a piece of parchment in her hand and in the background was her faithful body slave, Volusa. Along with Cynane, her former gladiatrix and Decimus, her favourite Praetorian who guarded her. When he approached her servant alerted her to give her time to rise. The parchment was rolled back up once more. The princess smiled politely  and rose to her feet elegantly. She took note of his proper Senatorial attire, it was more formal than she thought he would have been wearing to the social visit. 

She had been about to answer his greeting when he took her hand and kissed it gently. Claudia's chin was raised to look at him. Her clothing was made out of silk, her hair curled and flowed down her back. Her eyebrows narrowed in irritation at the gesture before her polite smile returned. "Praetor, thank you for coming to visit me and I hope we may work together once more for the benefit of the Empire. And," Her lips lifted, "Rest assured, I will offer you my hand to kiss in the future." Claudia answered politely, and with a slight warning concerning the boldness of his gesture. 

@The Young Pope

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"Duly noted, my domina...Shall we?" Lucius nodded, asking quite politely if they could now take their seats. She was quite the feisty one though, he admitted to himself. Usually when the senator took the hand of a woman and gave a kiss, it wasn't just to show his nature of a gentleman. It would also act as a good indicator to him a part of the woman's character, whether it was low- or highborn. Usually, the women he'd met in the past considered it to be flattering and their response was the typical of what one might've expected. With Claudia Caesaris however, her entire persona undertook the form of someting entirely different. It actually made a good impression on Lucius, liking how she seemed to be a strong woman with her own convictions already, despite her tenderly young age. He also noticed how they weren't exactly alone, with what seemed to be a slave belonging to hers sitting closely, and an imposing Praetorian by her side as well. It was at this moment his two lictors entered the garden, carrying their bundles of wood to signify the authority of a Praetor such as himself.

"I find it interesting when it comes to customs and traditions, generally speaking. A privilege that belongs to that of magistrates are Lictors. A Praetor is as it's commonly known entitled to two of them within the Pomerium, yet he can acquire a total of six of them beyond these imposed boundaries. Perhaps I should place myself by the Pomerium boundary or 'line' and actually tip-toe between the sacred area and the outer region, just to test the responsiveness of the other four lictors that I may have once outside the city." He humorously said, realising that it wasn't every day he'd dedicated a thought to these peculiar matters, and just confirmed how gardens could serve as inspirational settings to suddenly delve into deeper thinking and contemplation. The two lictors themselves who accompanied Lucius headed towards the side opposite to where he was sitting with the pricess, yet remained at a fairly respectable distance. His head returned to focus on the Imperial sitting in front of him.

"Before we begin with the formalities, may I kindly ask the Princess how she and the family have been faring this past time...I hope rather well without too many pressing issues to deal with at once?" He began to ask, reclining back on whatever he sat on and eagerly awaited the response he would receive from the domina. 

@Gothic

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Claudia smiled, pleased that he had accepted what she said and they could move on from it. She did not appear surprised about the sight of the lictors that came with him and accepted them as part of visiting them. It was not uncommon for slaves and other attendants to be present when a visitor had arrived. She, however, noticed where they stood calmly and noted the respectable distance they had. 

"It would be quite an interesting experiment," She answered, a hint of playfulness, "you would be able to see which of your lictors are quick on their toes and which are not." Claudia mused. Briefly her imagination took hold as she imagined each of the lictors following typical procedure, rushed forward to take their place and arguing over who would be in what position. 

Ah, she noted that he was a well-versed politician. Most of them would ask how the family were, and she guessed that he meant the smaller family group of family rather than the large, extended family network. "The family is well," She answered politely. It was true. Caesar was in good health as was the Augusta. The princes and princesses were all in good health and spirits. From what she knew of the extended family, they were filled with prosperity. And as for herself. "I have also been well, thank you for asking," She answered politely. The princess enjoyed keeping herself busy and involved with her duties. Her rare moments in the gardens were the few quieter times she had, and those moments were treasured. 

"And what of yourself and your family?" She asked politely. At the present, she could not recall whether or not he had a wife or not. 

@The Young Pope

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“I’ve been feeling rather well, thank you for asking, as I haven’t felt this inspired and motivated to serve the interests of the empire for quite some time...Still in the search for a suitable wife, but I’m sure that the Gods will guide me to one eventually.” He slightly smiled, as the attempt to find one has proven to be quite the challenge surprisingly speaking, considering there were many senators in his prime age that were in need, but all of the Roman women were either already married or didn’t care enough it seemed.  

 

“As for my sister and her family, they happen to be in good health and spirit, which is wonderful considering I have one less issue to keep track on. Even if it has been a while since they visited, and vice versa, we still keep close contact through correspondence.” He couldn’t help but feel proud over what his sister managed to accomplish despite the perception of their diminished authority in society, and wished that he expressed it towards her more frequently. Lucius may have neglected keeping contact with her for a long time since the deaths of their parents, but at least he was trying his best to repair the relationship after receiving divine intervention from this new faith that seemed to be the answer to everything.

 

“Anything else my domina wishes to inquire about me, or should we begin with the actual business at hand that has brought us both together?”

 

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