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Felix

Too much free time and no company

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Aulus was having a party for his friends, and he had given Felix the night off. There used to be a time, back when he was a simple household slave, when all his dreams would have been fulfilled by a night off outside the house, in the great city of Rome. But things had changed a lot since then, and even after their discussion with Aulus, Felix still did not feel like he had a place, or something to do, when he was not following his master's orders. He would have happily stayed at home, in the background, waiting to be useful, but Aulus was certain he would not need his services tonight. So, Felix was on his own on the streets of Rome, wandering aimlessly, searching for... he didn't even know what.

This was definitely not the best part of the city. He had been to the villas and palaces in Aulus' service, but now, on his own, he would have been a suspicious sight in the rich neighborhoods, in his simple tunic and cloak. Not that Felix was afraid. He'd learned to defend himself a long time ago, on the road to the East. The Subura, and its surrounding neighborhoods, were interesting to say the least, even now, as the sun was going down. There was music, chatter, and quite a bit of traffic as people came and went from their work, or looked for entertainment. Felix kept to himself, observing everything with keen eyes as always. Maybe he'd find something interesting tonight. Or maybe not...

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Gaia stepped out of the Elysium and into the cool night, pulling a cloth close over her head, both to keep herself warm and to keep any clear view of herself obscured from sight. She was used to travelling alone back and forth between her home, the brothel, and the homes belonging to expecting or new mothers at late hours, but the familiar streets often grew rowdy after the sun went down, especially as men and women began to stumble out onto the stone-paved roads, drunk off wine and shouting into the night. Enough trouble came where there was a mixture of drink, boredom, and bravado, and she’d learned to keep herself largely invisible, where inebriation might draw them over to her. 

As she walked, Gaia glanced over her shoulder, a habit that she’d made when she’d started to realise her brother was getting people to follow her and her son. Even though what he intended to find out from either of them evaded her.  She caught sight of tall figure directly behind her and at first, didn’t think anything of it until after a few steps and deliberation, she slowly began to wonder and second-guess. She stopped in her tracks and waited for the man to come nearer, it became clearer that he was a slave, though one could never be too certain with the way some dressed. “Are you following me?” she asked frankly.
 

@Chevi

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Felix didn't pay much attention to the woman walking in front of him. He could tell it was a woman from her frame and the way she moved, but there was not much else to tell about her. Other women beckoned him with obvious intentions, but this one was going about her own business, in the same general direction as Felix, but at a brisker pace. He wandered down the same street, musing about where she might be going only for a mere moment before he continued looking at... other things that lined the street. When she abruptly stopped and turned, he almost bumped into her.

“Are you following me?”

"What?" Felix blinked, taking a step back. "Why would I be following you?"

@Joaquin

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Gaia’s brows pressed together in a show of equal confusion. In the light-and-dark of the lamplights and night-time, it was difficult to search for any telling of the truth in his face. She was left with the uncertainty in his voice but with Titus, she was always left with a confused instinct and often second-guessed herself. Still, if he was indeed a slave, then he was unfamiliar to her both in the sense that she had not seen him before and that he had a more polished air than the servants she was used to. In fact, more than most, generally-speaking, given that people on the streets were often in a hurry and abrasive, just as she had been with him. Particularly in the madness of the crowds or at certain hours, usually later in the day and more-so once the sun fell. Normally, expletives would have been thrown back rather than a question. It might’ve been that which made her reconsider.

“I’m sorry,” she answered slowly, sounding confused in her attempt to diminish the earlier accusation. “I thought you were someone else.” But she didn’t elaborate any further, she couldn’t, and yet there was some relief in her voice but only for as long as it lasted. She could have left it there and continued as one might in Rome, but the curiosity had the better of her. “Are you not from here, anywhere near then?”


@Chevi

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The woman looked a little scared and a little confused. Felix took another step back, trying not to look like he was about to lunge at her. What was she doing walking the streets alone here?

“I’m sorry. I thought you were someone else.”

Well... he was someone else. But definitely not anyone who knew her. Did someone harass her?...

"I mean no harm."

“Are you not from here, anywhere near then?”

"No... not really. I was taking a stroll, and I guess I walked farther than I realized." Felix admitted a little sheepishly. He should have watched what part of the city he was wandering into. "I'm not even sure where I am. It has been a while since I walked around Rome."

@Joaquin

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“You’re lost?” she asked, more surprise than mockery in her voice, even though she was lightly amused and smiled by that point. “It could happen to anyone,” she added with reassurance, although she herself was still trying to recover from her own mortification. If it hadn’t been so dark, then the rising colour in her cheeks and the flustered look in her face might’ve been seen, despite her attempts to keep her voice natural behaviour and small talk.

“Where were you before Rome?” She had guessed that he mightn’t have been from the neighbourhood, he didn’t carry himself in the way that most did when they were. He had taken an interest in the sights that had become so repetitive to her that they had melted into backdrop drowned out by thoughts and imaginings. Yet by the way of his words, it seemed that he originated from farther than she had imagined originally. By comparison, she had seen little beyond the neighbourhood and far less beyond Rome. It cost to travel and she rarely, if at all, had that amount of money.

It was lucky at least that he’d encountered her, she wouldn’t leave him until she felt comfortable that he was a little more certain of where he was. Call that a mother’s instinct. “If you’d like, I could show you around,” she suggested, growing more relaxed where the man had a calmness that radiated, and she was in no hurry to go home. “It’s not exactly the forum so it may prove disappointing.”

 

@Chevi

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“You’re lost?... It could happen to anyone,” 

Felix looked a little sheepish about it anyway. No one was ever truly lost in Rome; sooner or later they found the Tiber or the Capitolium, and they could reorient themselves. Lost usually meant something more dangerous than simply being disoriented. Still, he did not know this part of the city nearly enough to wander around alone.

“Where were you before Rome?” 

"Rhaetia" Felix answered, but did not elaborate. A lot of men did military service in the provinces. "Britannia and Germania before that. It's been a while."

“If you’d like, I could show you around... It’s not exactly the forum so it may prove disappointing.”

"Well... I have already seen the Forum" Felix noted with a small smile "I wouldn't want to hold you up, though. Do you live here?"

@Joaquin

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