Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Valeria Flacca

Let's Dance

Recommended Posts

Inside, the halls had been filled with laughter and chatter. Valeria had seemed to navigate the party company with ease from the beginning, happily moving from one familiar to another with her wide smile and excited hand gestures, sharing familial updates to those who asked and wild stories wherever she could squeeze them. But despite her comfort, she was still a homebody and preferred the time alone with her pen than in the company of others but like a sponge, she sucked in inspirations whenever someone sighed while wilfully imparting gossip or it appeared in an acquaintance’s tick or appearance that morphed them into a character of interest for Landicus.

Deeper into the night, the empty space around the seating arrangement above decorative meal-courses with feathers, flowers, and ornaments saw the ebb and flow of musicians, dancers, acrobats, and prancing comedian actors and Valeria, in her deep red wig and heavy kohl, gave a loud cackle at almost every single joke without fail. Aside from the music, the sprinkled innuendos at the otherwise tame party seemed to be one of the few moments where she hadn’t gone inattentive while glazing past the different faces, who seemed more focused on making a presentation of themselves rather than genuinely enjoying their time, in the chamber.

After the food, people began to cordon off and disperse into their small social groups peppered around the domus. Outside, a few voices belonged to some of the partiers standing in the white pillars which circled the gardens and alternated between shadow and moonlight. “You’re one of the musicians, aren’t you,” Valeria said with a kind smile and a glass of wine in hand. The girl with young with a pretty little face. With artists of any kind, Valeria often felt warmed up to them, perhaps a bias by the possibility of a similar spirit. Of course, there was always the difference between playing for payment and playing in one’s own home. “You did a marvellous job tonight. I hope they’re paying you handsomely.” 

@Sara
 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vibia was enjoying the evening. It was a treat for her, to be able to leave the Venus and actually earn money in other ways than spreading her legs. Her musical talents had been one of her selling points at her employers, given their reticence to employ freedmen and women (after all, it meant less coin in her Domina's purse and less ability to dole out punishments). But her talent with the cithara had proved a nice little earner for Titiana. She didn't know who had seen her play, or whether word of mouth had done the hard work for her, but Vibia had been instructed she had been booked for an evening of (chaste) entertainment at a party for some of the Senator's and equestrians of the city. 

She had played for several hours now, demurely, in her little corner and a few had stopped to marvel or offer praise, but by now her fingers were aching and she needed a break. Besides, she had no minders with her, who was to know she wasn't plucking her little instrument? 

She'd found herself in the garden and had thoroughly enjoyed the dismayed or slightly confused glances of a few of the male partygoers who had watched her perform and now drew into the cool night air. They were either trying to place her (hint, it was when I was on top of you!) or appalled that their conquest was now within breathing distance of their chaste, pious little wives. It amused her no end and she wore a broad grin on her face as she sipped her wine, alone, enjoying the peace of the garden. 

Her little moment of laughter was interrupted by another and she arched a brow at the woman who drew next to her. She didn't recognise her, but then again she rarely recognised women of this rank. She wondered if she knew her husband though. She inclined her head at the compliment, her grin fading to a polite smile; "Thank you domina, and yes, more than generously." A lie - part of it would be scraped away by the madame, but it was enough. And it wasn't like she was having to save to buy her freedom like so many of the other workers both here and at the Venus. 

Inclining her head back into the party, she smiled pleasantly enough; "It's a lovely party, are they friends of yours? I'm honoured they asked me to play." It sounded about as honest as she was (which was...not much) but she was trying. On to safer topics, she continued, "Do you play?" Few played the cithara - it was complicated and expensive, but she had been given a compliment and she thrived on attention, she might as well try and keep the conversation going. 

 

TAG: @Joaquin

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Valeria didn’t doubt that both women were keenly aware of the same thing: it was all polite conversation. She couldn’t fault the younger woman for it and as a senator’s daughter, she always had balance between expertly toeing the line and pushing the envelope just enough. “Lovely is a safe way of putting it,” Valeria, as a writer, always clung to words as they were used. “I suppose it is quite pleasant.” She wrung her lower lip as she were reflecting on the idea. “No one has died yet, at least.” Truth be told, if she had done it herself, which was might’ve been such a matron way of thinking, the party would have been different, some of the faces would have been different, in fact. If she didn’t have Titus or common sense, she would have done something like giraffes just because. “You must have exciting stories of other parties.” She looked at the girl in a way that said that she wanted a story. Something for Landicus, perhaps?

“I would consider some here tonight to be friends, of course, but some of the others, well…” Valeria drifted off, making a brief face, a grimace or wince, before she drank some of her wine. She wouldn’t spend any time murmuring about other party-goers to a stranger, especially not while still there, and it would’ve been different if the exchange had been between another of her class as opposed to a musician. What would the girl do? Scamper off, tears in her eyes, pointing her finger, like one half of a pair of fighting children: ‘Valeria said—!’ Still, it was better she kept her mouth mostly shut on the matter. It went without saying that there were a few uppity characters, particularly the men but also a handful of the women, there who needed a dose of reality. Perhaps it was that she was an artist above all else and like many artists, carried colourful worlds inside her mind and then often felt disappointment in how grey world that she lived in was, often questioning some of the others of her class who seemed contented with it.

“I do play and only the harp,” she lied with a smile, even though she played more as she’d simply had the luxury of time as a senator’s daughter. She just didn’t want to be a show-off, which was ironically coming from the woman who had embraced a night of makeup and wig-wearing. “Mostly I play for my children, the younger two. My eldest is beginning to think being around women above a certain age is uncool.” She wasn’t entirely serious. Sulpicia was a good girl and even though she missed the days where she was younger, she loved the kind of companionship that came with someone that was beginning to become themselves. She stopped there, knowing the talk of children was likely boring the other woman, especially when she hated other wives talking about their children and their non-existent talents. “You should come play at one of my parties sometime.”

@Sara

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vibia only arched a suggestive eyebrow and smirked, "Plenty of exciting stories, not all for polite company." She coughed discretely and gestured to the few guests that had also withdrawn to the privacy of the garden. She did chuckle at the other woman's expression, however, as she considered the guests at the party. Vibia wondered, for a fleeting moment, would it would be like to have such a circle of friends and acquaintances. The life of a prostitute wasn't a solitary one by the very nature of her job being that she saw men on a regular basis. But her own temperament kept people away, and she couldn't actually remember the last party she had been invited to enjoy rather than work. The thought, however, didn't linger and nor did it trouble her. She'd have plenty of time for such fun when she was finally rid of the Collegium and the Venus.

The talk of playing for her children, predictably, bored Vibia who found the prospect of having children as enticing as having her hair shorn off. Hence why she spent so much money on sylphium. Shrugging, she offered a polite smile and took a sip of the drink she'd been given; "How charming. Well, I am pleased to meet another musician." Even if said musician was only as skilled as her young children thought, which was to say, probably not very.

But the offer to play at one of her parties intrigued the young woman and she arched a brow; "That's a very generous offer domina, thank you." She inclined her head. But she thought better about seriously taking her up on it. Few women liked to employ her, and even fewer liked to employ her where they found out where her main residence was and what she did to earn her keep. Figuring it better that this woman knew before they entered into deep conversation, she confidently spoke again; "But you may not wish me around your...polite company, domina. Music is not my only source of employment." She arched a suggestive brow, before continuing (as in her experience, many Roman matrons were as oblivious as their young children), "My brothel rents out my services for music as well as myself. You'll have to go through them should you wish to employ me...in either capacity." Her suggestive smile lingered. Perhaps she'd given this woman some useful gossip? That her friends were employing a prostitute to entertain their gathered guests? But Vibia didn't really care at all.

 

TAG: @Joaquin

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Valeria almost snorted into her wine at the mention of ‘polite company’, given that everyone there hid behind a veil of normality, including herself. “Oh, no, no, we wouldn’t want to get anyone’s subligacula in a knot,” Valeria said with another one of her laughs, doubting that anyone would have much interest in what she had to say but it was only because she knew she was doubted in return. In some ways, the manner of thinking among the elite matched the animal kingdom and Valeria didn’t care herself like the chief baboon to the waterhole. She never underestimated the decadence of Rome, Landicus was purposely an over-the-top exaggeration and for as much as he was met with distaste and criticism, which interestingly contradicted the recognition of his name, Landicus was still their mirror. From her brother-in-law and his wife to Porcus and his porci lovers, everyone had something, it seemed.

“Ah,” Valeria answered in a ‘that makes sense’ manner. The musician’s suggestion that she could employ her in either capacity sent Valeria into an amused state, she couldn’t help but grin and she would have been sure to tell Titus about the proposition, if she didn’t consider the look he might give to rival her father’s.

A young, beautiful woman in the performance arts on display at a party, it hadn’t entirely escaped her, but it was a fact of life that went without saying. Still, even if the other woman hadn’t been employed from the brothel, there would be a man somewhere tonight that would want to pay her a sum for her time after seeing her. A career in music rarely paid on its own, after all, unless you were of the lucky few. The information did give her an idea. “All the more reason to find the hosts and enquire after the pretty musician. ‘Where did you find her? I simply must know.’ Which one was it, Decius? Fabia?” she asked like she was at the horse races. “My bet is Decius. His eyes don’t ever rise above here.” Her hand created a line at her neck. Not that she had much for her to stare at to begin with, but his efforts never went unnoticed. It would be entertaining to watch either of them squirm. Pretend as they may like many others but people clearly frequented and brought business to establishments like the Domus Venus.

 

@Sara

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vibia was used to all sorts of reactions from genteel women when they heard about her main profession. At least this one, if she railed, did it internally. Her dress was far too expensive to replace should she feel the need to throw her wine cup over it (which had happened, laughably, more than once). 

She narrowed her vivid blue eyes, watching the other woman intently as the cogs whirred into action. Well. This was new. She laughed, genuinely, before her face settled into a light smirk. "Decius, indeed." She inclined her head. One of the first rules of the Venus was that it demanded discretion from its workers, and thus she'd stay tight-lipped about the man's visits. She did, however, offer a conspiratorial little grin as  she sipped her own drink. "But he's nice enough to employ me here in my other capacity, so I don't mind the glances." It really was second nature to her, after all. 

She looked the other woman over surreptitiously. She was a pretty one, although she felt the wig and heavy kohl detracted from her somewhat. Loathed as she was to try small talk, she felt obliged. "And what of you domina? Are you here with a handsome husband to shut down any of the hosts' glances?"

 

TAG: @Joaquin

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“I suppose not. You are profiting from them in the end,” Valeria stated with a sense of endorsement, even if, unlike the musician, she was not used to such glances. Certainly, growing up as a horse in a field of lilies that were the other nobile daughters had contributed there. But while she would never – and didn’t intend to – understand the woman’s situation fully, she couldn’t fault someone for making money however they could. After all, she had her own outside her father and her husband as Landicus amassed money by benefitting from the stupidity of others and the controversy that they loved to feed, rather than consume. Still, it was times like these that Valeria was reminded, though she already knew it, that she was essentially a woman of privilege and for all that her literature covered, her joy of digging into the vulgar and the bawdy, she was easily removed. She wasn’t necessarily sheltered, she was a grown woman, but she was still shielded by the luck of her birth. Even if women like herself were never safe from her own parodies, given she was always poking holes in everyone through all the jokes in her writing.

“Oh, he is handsome,” Valeria said. The woman would have to take her word for it. For all, she could have known Titus could have been a feeble, hunchbacked man with missing front teeth and children of a previous marriage thrice her age. “Too handsome, in fact. I like to keep him locked up and every so often to let him out for a bit of air or food.” It was very likely that Valeria’s joke wouldn’t be received very well, they weren’t always, but that was part of the enjoyment and she couldn’t quite help herself with her absurdity. When she had been younger, she had been acquainted with The Cough, a warning sound that her father made at social events that Valeria likened to what a small dog gave just before a bark, but there were none to have there. “All to keep women from climbing all over him like a pack of hungry wolves.”

@Sara

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vibia decided against enlightening the woman that whatever money she was earning, a large chunk was going to go to the upkeep of the Venus, a chunk to the little worm Titus out of her stupidity, and an even larger portion to one of the most notorious gangs of Rome. It didn't seem fair, nor would it be prudent to chastise the woman's obliviousness at a party full of the nobility. Not if she wanted to be invited back, after all.

She couldn't help the smirk of devilment on her face at the description of her husband, although she had to physically bite her tongue to keep from saying; 'I imagine I probably know him myself, actually.' 

She did, however, add an amused laugh at the idea she would keep him locked away. "A windowless, airless room? Isn't that where all men should rightfully belong?" She smirked. She was, despite her personality as an inherently antisocial and cold individual, enjoying the conversation. This woman had a flippancy to her that Vibia herself held, and she grinned a broad, feline grin. "So tell me, domina, if this were your party and your husband was safe and locked away...and you had all the money in the world, what would you do differently?" She sipped her wine, and wondered just how depraved this one's mind really was.

 

TAG: @Joaquin

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A loud laugh burst through her mouth unceremoniously, which might’ve turned heads as if a lightning bolt had suddenly struck the gardens if it hadn’t been that most guests had already been acquainted with it for the past while. “It’s where most of Rome rightfully belongs,” Valeria added, following her remark with a short mischievous smile. Men behaved in ways that called for the mass production of leashes for the sanity of the empire but plenty of women she’d known were no less deserving of the same.

She adored planning parties, there was an artistry to them. “What I would do differently… I’m sure it would take much to shock the likes of you, less for my peers, but indulge a woman like myself,” Valeria said with a lazy waving gesture of her hand, referring to what the younger woman likely and rightfully saw: a boring upper-class woman and mother, which didn’t upset her at all. “I would have started with a change in the dessert. Just when all has settled down and the guests have grown full with food and sleepy from all the wine, the slaves would roll in a great mound of cake in tow, the height and weight of an elephant, in the shape of copious breasts, a nice jiggling centre piece, just to get everyone’s hearts beating out of their lethargy. Call it compensation, if you will,” she expressed with animation in her voice, gestures with her hands, and all the energy and relish of a twelve-year old boy who just discovered tits. “But you know what would be a far more interesting party? A gathering of all the stumpy, old lechers of Rome with the promise of a nude and blind-folded festivity with the fairest maidens from far and wide and a naughty frolic with whomever they can get their hands on, only to have them cop a feel of one another with no girls in sight.”

@Sara

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vibia's interest was piqued by this woman, which was more than a little usual for her interactions with noble women. She'd had a couple of very discrete female clients, and whilst she was as interested in the fairer sex as she was with the men of Rome, but the vanity and chasteness of most Roman matrons was mind-numbingly dull. She smirked, however, at this woman. She had a fire in her that Vibia enjoyed.

The smirk stretched into a broad, unshakeable grin at this woman's description of her perfect night, which reached its zenith with a spluttered laugh. "I'll have to suggest that to our domina," She said between choked breaths, "It'll give us a night off at the Venus if nothing else." 

Sipping at her wine, she arched a brow as her breaths finally settled. "And what may I call you, mistress...?" She'd mentioned 'Valeria' but the rest of her name escaped the prostitute. And despite the fact that she was enjoying this little foray into the world of nobility, Vibia was never not working and information for the Collegium was as much her trade as opening her legs or plucking her cithara. "You've been such pleasant company I'd hate to leave not knowing whose kept me entertained, or the name of her husband," She offered an arched brow, edging into dangerous territory, "If only to avoid said man if he falls mistakenly through the doors of my establishment."

 

TAG: @Joaquin

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Mistakenly,” Valeria repeated with a light and amused snort, her mouth then twisted into a floppy side-grin. ‘Mistaken’ was the frantic claim that someone gave when caught in flagrante delicto. If it wasn’t what it looked like, it most certainly was. “You needn’t avoid him on my account,” she said, pressing a hand to her chest as if she were touched by the gesture and the thought but really, it was a mixture of confidence in her husband and perhaps, even in herself. In the sense that she had never been a woman to concern herself with jealousy, which gave her a bit of a couldn’t-care-less quality but her late brother had such an influence there. His parting legacy was that he’d been so desperate for a lay, a brothel in town needed a scraper to pry his balls from the bricks outside. Or that was just Valeria’s story. Still, it was hard to be surprised by people.

“Valeria Flacca,” she said as she observed Vibia with the tilt of her head. It wasn’t a name that would be hard to discover. She was a writer even as Valeria Flacca, though she didn’t simply suspect, she knew anyone read her poetry. Landicus, on the other hand… Sometimes she would drop his name to reap the fruits of a filthy imagination, namely the laughter and the horror, but also out of sceptical and morbid curiosity. “But are you leaving me so soon? I ought to know your name as well. How on earth else would I ever remember the woman who offered to join my beautiful husband and myself in his prison?”

@Sara

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Needn't avoid him? Well that was novel. Then again, this woman seemed eminently more practical than most of her peers who were horrified by even the suggestion of their husband being within twenty miles of a brothel or a prostitute. But it was the way of the world, or at least the way of Rome and she appreciated that this Matron wasn't completely adverse to the prospect of her insipid little husband stumbling through the doors of the Venus. Or perhaps she simply didn't care that deeply. Either way it was refreshing and she couldn't help the genuinely sly smile on her face. 

That smile only grew at the mention of her name. A beat after she'd finished it, she'd committed it to memory for research and inquisition later. Valeria Flacca, novel Roman matron who enjoys the idea of a cake in the shape of giant tits and keeps her husband under lock and key.

"I'm afraid I've got to return to my duties domina," She sighed dramatically, "Music doesn't make itself much as I wish it did." Her fingers would be red raw from all her playing after tonight. It was a good job she'd spent a small fortune on lotions and potions to prevent calluses and smooth the skin. She grinned and inclined her head, "Vibia. I go by Vibia." Her old, 'proper' name was long forgotten in her mind. And as she pushed herself from the column she had been leaning against and respectfully dipped her head to the woman, she added in a hushed whisper, feline smile on her face, "You can ask for me at the Domus Venus." She took a step back and began to walk backwards, away from the woman before adding with a bubble of laughter; "For music at parties and such, of course." 

And with that she walked back into the party, to be gawped at and judged, buoyed at this irreverent woman.

 

TAG: @Joaquin

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...