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To Nymphias four to five years sounded a long time. For one, she was only sixteen years old so four to five years was a long time for a sixteen year old, especially when she compared how much more mature she felt and appeared compared to when she was a child, which was exactly four to five years ago. However, secondly, she was just new to Rome, only having been there for a number of months, and so that number of years felt like a very long time to be in Rome and a slave. It made her fear she would be trapped in Rome for that period of time. And yet, surely, it was better than being dead.

Nymphias creased her brows in thought. Were Briton men crass? She only truly had her village for reference, her brothers included, and the other villages that she’d visited during her life and after her family had gone missing.

“Not as bad as Roman men,” said Nymphias in honesty. But she hadn’t realised that this difference might have been because she was free in Britannia and had been younger so less eyes were on her; whereas, in Rome, she was both older and a slave, someone not worthy of their own independence.

“I think they too busy to be crass,” said Nymphias. “Just like your people too busy to fight.” Nymphias then pointed at the kohl being wiped away. “I see so many with that in their eye. Does it always come out so easy? Do you wear that all the time? I think it look pretty on you.”

@Liv

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Clio didn't know that she believed Nymphias' judgement on Briton men: the girl was obviously biased and still seemed very attached to her uncivilised land, not to mention that her young age likely meant she hadn't come across a very wide range of men of different dispositions. It was a fact that uncouth males could be found everywhere, and the only thing needed to lure them out was a minimally good-looking man or woman, but were Britons really more polite than Romans? Clio merely nodded softly, pretending to agree so her friend wouldn't feel slighted. 

She smiled at Nymphias' question about her make-up, although it too reminded her of her encounter with the Briton gladiator: he had been just as curious about the eye paint as his fellow countrywoman now was, and Clio would provide Nymphias with the same explanation she'd given the young man. "It's very popular all across the Empire, in Bithynia we called it stimmi. It protects your eyes from the strong sun and keeps the evil eye away." Hearing Nymphias declare it looked pretty on her made Clio grin from ear to ear - that was one of the reasons she painted her eyes, but not the one she most easily admitted to.

"It starts to come out with water, like if you cry. The good stuff stays on much better, but I obviously can't afford that," she explained, failing to mention that she'd sometimes take a little bit from her domina's higher quality stash. " Clio paused to think about when had been the last time she'd gone without the cosmetic, and when she couldn't remember, concluded that she did indeed wear it all the time. "Yeah, I guess I do," she stated with a one-armed shrug. She always applied it after waking up, and did not dare remove it to sleep; one was at their most unprotected from curses when asleep.

"You don't wear it in Britannia, do you? I met another person from there who was also very intrigued about my make-up." Maybe they had another way to curse people, or very weak sun. Or maybe they were simply very fond of their blue drawings.

 

@Beauty

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Nymphias eyed Clio’s eyes curiously with a concentrated expression, her eyes practically boring into the other woman’s face. Nymphias began to wonder how she would look like with such a thing on her eyes and since they were in a little market area, Nymphias then wondered if there would be some of what Clio had on her eyes present there. She looked around, bright-eyed and thrilled, mostly forgetting about the strange man who had before been following her. It would certainly cover the redness around her eyes that came about every time she cried. And she cried a lot.

“Oh, no,” she said absent-mindedly as she searched around for something, anything, that looked like what was on Clio’s eyes. “Was this person a man or woman? Was their name Erea?” Nymphias still had yet to find her family at this point but hoped both her brother and sister were well. She was worried they were enslaved too or worse, dead. The not knowing was what ate at her, though she doubted she would survive if either one or both of them were dead. She was barely surviving as is.

She noticed a pile of what looked like black powder to her and pointed to it. “Is that what you have on your eyes?” said Nymphias. “I want some too, I want to look like you with your eyes.”

@Liv

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Clio observed with almost academical interest as the blonde girl looked around, presumably looking for kohl after her intense study of Clio's face. The whole scene was like watching a child at the toy maker's stand, completely overwhelmed by all the different colours and shapes. If Clio thought back to how this fortuitous meeting had started, the looming threat of a stalker seemed to be the furthest thing from Nymphias' mind now. 

"It was a man. One of the newest gladiators at the ludus." She had not spoken to him again after that autumn day, although she occasionally watched him train as she did with all the others. Clio put a finger to her chin, trying to remember the man's name and failing. It was not Erea, though, that much she was sure of. "I forgot his name, sorry. But it wasn't Erea. Is that someone you know?"

She walked over to where Nymphias was pointing at something and hummed her assent. "Yeah, that's it." it was now her turn to examine Nymphias' eyes thoroughly, and although she tried to think positive thoughts, deep down Clio was not very confident the black cosmetic would suit the Briton. If applied carelessly, it might end up making her look like she'd been punched in both eyes. But that part she could do something about, Clio thought as she smiled sheepishly at Nymphias.

"Why don't you let me do your eyes then?" Then there would be a measure of damage control. "But you need a proper stick, and it has to soak overnight in olive oil..." Not to mention that the merchant would not appreciate the two women testing his wares openly like that. 

"Tell you what, you buy some powder and a little jar to put it in, and we can meet again in a few days and I'll bring my supplies and do your eyes for you! How does that sound?" Clio could certainly prolong an outside errand or two beyond their normal completion time, but she didn't know if Nymphias was afforded the same freedom.

@Beauty

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