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Aia could still scarcely believe that they had survived the attack. It had been a close call. Too close. Some god must have guided Cynane's hand, because if the gladiatrix had missed her one shot when she threw her weapon, all of them would have been dead by now, or dragged into slavery. As things stood, they were still pretty much screwed.

The horses had run away, but they slowly wandered back once the danger was gone. Still, there was no way they were going to make it back to Rome before dark, not injured and worn as they were. Decimus still had the arrow in his shoulder; there was a chance he would bleed out if they tried to remove it on the roadside. Aia had shredded her already torn palla, and made a sling for his arm, and some bandages. But they needed to find shelter, and fast.

The last place she wanted to go was Flavia Juliana's villa. But it was also the closest place to go where they would find shelter. Juliana was her domina, and related to Claudia, so while she was likely to explode like the Vesuvius when she found out about this little adventure, she was also the most likely to help. They could make it there together, with the help of the horses, keeping an eye out for danger. Luckily (Fortuna was in a good mood today), they did not meet anyone on the road. Just as well; Aia could imagine what they looked like when they showed up at the villa's door: Claudia drenched in blood, Cynane wearing victorious war paint, Aia covered in dirt with one eye swelled shut, and Decimus with an arrow in him and supported by the rest of them.

The slave at the door took one look, and ran yelling for Flavia Juliana like the building was on fire.

Oh, there would be consequences.

@Gothic  @Atrice  @Sains  @Jenn

Edited by Chevi
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The journey had been torturous. If the constant jabs of pain from the arrowhead touching his bone with every step and movement weren't enough, then the insufferable dread of seeing that blood soaked cloth tied neatly about his arm would keep him moving. Of course he knew they couldn't very well stop and rest for the night on the edge of just any road in the province. Not only would they endanger the safety of the princess if they chose to be so foolish, but he'd be lucky if he didn't awake with a bulging puss filled limb where his arm had once been. 

Even still, this agonizing form of motivation didn't do much for him. Every step his mount took was liable to send another wave of pain through his arm, unless he focused and held it just right. Though Aia had done a typically superb job when it came to wrapping up that wound, he could still feel the occasional warm droplet land on his thigh. It was concerning, but he'd seen worse on the frontier. So long as they could find this bloody villa he'd be alright. That's what he'd like to believe, at least. With little hope of getting to Rome before tomorrow it was truly the very best they could all hope for.

Finally, when they'd arrived, Decimus was keen to dismount. He did so clumsily, stumbling as he hit the ground with a knee and hissed a curse at the beast as it instinctively backed away and made to walk off. This, truly, was not his day. The support offered by his fellow companions was appreciated, though he wished they might not take such care of him. The wound hadn't taken away his ability to walk, but he was grateful of course. 

At seeing the reaction of the slave with little input from any of them he couldn't help but feel as though this wasn't going to be well accepted back in Rome. Honestly he just hoped that no one would hear of it, but that idea was laughable! He could already hear the reprimands he'd get from his Commander for being wounded in such a way. It would be an unrelenting deluge... 



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Claudia was exhilarated. She had never felt so alive through having survived and the Adrenalin was starting to fade. Fortunately, cousin Juliana's home was close by and they would soon find safety there. The Princess had hoped that she would be able to wash off her face and body. All in an attempt to make it look less bloody. Aurea's walk was slow and steady. She glanced over towards Cynane who looked the most happy with how things had gone down. Her bodyguard's face coated in a bloody war-mask and had to admit, she blushed with desire under the blood on her cheeks. 

"I think it will be okay," She said with blind optimism and an awkward smile of encouragement. However, with each step made towards the recognisable villa.  Claudia's worries began to increase. She glanced towards Aia and Decimus, concerned for how they would be seen and whether or not they would get into trouble. It could have gone much worse than it had. 

Cousin Juliana... though.... Claudia was unaware that Juliana had a visitor, Julia Valeria, her one time nanny. 

She raised her chin, exhaled slowly and was assisted down from her horse by one of the shocked stable boys. Alarmed at the now dried blood on her face and clothing. Each of them had their own mark of the conflict. Claudia had to admit that Cynane looked to be in the best shape than all of them. Not to mention there was something about her face painted in blood. She landed on the ground with an oof. 

"It will be okay," She said to her companions. Confident until she saw her cousin's facial expression as she approached. 

"Oh, fuck..." Claudia muttered under her breath. 


@Sains @Atrice @Chevi @Jenn

OOC: After Atrice and Jenn. I will post with Juliana 😄 

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It was lucky that Claudia's cousin did not live so far away. They were too far away from Rome to be able to get there before nightfall and Decimus was injured. They needed help, they needed to get to safety before dark, so they wouldn't have to spend the night under the open sky. Cynane could do it on her own, she wasn't afraid, but she worried about the others. She just bet the bandits didn't count on a Briton warrior turned skilled gladiatrix to protect her princess like that. But it was her purpose in life, now. And if Claudia had died and Cynane lived, she knew she would face her own death too. She had to save Claudia. And so that's what she had done.

The war-paint on her face was a bit of Britannia left in her. She remembered stories about it being done, and she remembered warriors coming home from battles. You only did it if you killed your enemy. Often in a battle, you would kill more than one and you could not remember which ones were your kills. But if you could, you could take a bit of their strength onto you and wear it with pride. That's what she had done. She never had a chance to, in Britannia. Her first battle happened when she was just 17 years old, and she was captured. Since then, her skills had become much better. She was no longer a novice on the battlefield; far from it! But she was not looking for praise. All she cared about was keeping Claudia safe and alive.

Her princess... Claudia's blood-drenched dress was becoming more stiff, as the blood dried, but it clung to her body just perfectly and yes, there was something oddly beautiful about that. Still, this was no time to consider such things too much. They had to get to safety. And they moved mostly in silence, towards the imperial cousin's home. Claudia kept saying it would be okay.

Would it be, though? They did manage to keep the princess alive, but they had been attacked and were not without injuries. 

She stood behind Claudia when they arrived and the slave at the door quickly ran to call for Flavia Juliana. Cynane inhaled a breath and when her princess cursed under her breath, she placed a hand on her shoulder and said quietly, "Don't forget who you are." 

She hoped Claudia was right; that it was going to be okay. But she had a bad feeling about it.

@Gothic @Chevi @Sains @Jenn

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(prior to Claudia/everyone else arriving at Juliana’s)

Julia had been doing some work in her domus, but she received an invitation from Flavia Juliana. The invitation had been very simple- there was no indication as to the reason for the invitation. She informed their head slave that she would be heading out for a while and that she was unsure when she would return. After adjusting her chiton and adding a palla for warmth she left for Juliana’s.


Arriving at the Domus of Flavia Juliana, she raised a hand to knock on the door. The door was opened by her slave. “I am here at the request of Flavia Juliana- please inform her that Julia Valeria is here.”  There was a quick ‘yes Domina’ and the slave stepped back to let her then shut the door behind her and went to get Juliana. Julia let her gaze roam around while she waited for Juliana to return. It was a beautiful Domus.


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She had invited Julia Valeria over the family home. It had been some time since she had seen her last due to her isolation  and was happy to learn that she rented a property from Alaric Aetius Stilicho. Essentially, Juliana had been lonely yet did not feel comfortable pestering her family into coming to visit her. The invitation had been sent. When Julia Valeria arrived she was welcomed into the home.  Juliana walked to meet her and greeted Julia fondly. A hug and a kiss on either of her cheeks when she heard noise outside. There was the sound of horses. She gave Julia a confused look and headed out to see the gathered group of riders. Instantly she recognised them as her cousin, Claudia. Decimus, her bodyguard who had previously served under her husband. Aia, her son's tutor, and she recognised Cynane. 

She gasped at the sight of her cousin's face and garments covered in blood. Anger and a sense of defensive justice filled her. She was concerned yet for a split second. Her expression was that of her warlike father.  Juliana rapidly clicked her fingers as she stormed out of the entrance way. The household slaves were in action! They were assisting them down. Taking the horses to care for them. "Fetch help for their  wounds!" She commanded.

The Medicus came running to tend to the injured. Little Quintus looked at what was happening from behind a pillar, heard his mother's voice and went back to hiding again. 

Juliana saw the guilty look on her cousin's face. The concern faded just slightly.  

"Who attacked you? Are they still alive?" She asked rapidly, an arm draped around her cousin's shoulder. "Come, we will get you washed. Everyone will be cleaned up. I want answers about what happened." 

Juliana would not accept no for an answer. 


@Jenn @Chevi @Sains @Atrice

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"It will be okay... Oh, fuck..."

Aia almost laughed at the princess' comment. That about summed it up. They looked like they just came from battle, and the look on Flavia Juliana's face when she saw them spoke volumes about what was about to come. As much as Aia had racked her brains on the way here to come up with a reasonable explanation, there was none to be found that was not going to get at least some of them in a lot of trouble. Claudia, first and foremost.

Slaves helped everyone inside, and a medicus made an appearance. Aia stayed at Decimus' side as they were all ushered in.

"Who attacked you? Are they still alive? Come, we will get you washed. Everyone will be cleaned up. I want answers about what happened." 

"Bandits. We were ambushed. Some are still alive but they fled after Cynane killed their leader." Aia's old instincts of field reconnaissance kicked in as she gave a report as if Flavia Juliana had been a ranking officer. Which she was, right about now. But she was also Claudia's elder, so Aia gracefully sidestepped the fact that said leader had been on top of Claudia at the time. "This one has an arrow in his shoulder that needs to come out." she told the medicus, hauling Decimus along.

@Sains @Gothic @Jenn  @Atrice

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Julia heard the footsteps before she saw Juliana, who a few moments later entered the room. Julia warmly accepted the hug and a kiss on either cheek. “Thank you for the invitation.” Before they could sit down for a chat the sound of horses was heard outside. It was a sound that Julia was VERY familiar with considering the property she lived on was a ‘working’ horse farm. Was Juliana expecting more company? Considering the confused look that came her way the answer to that question appeared to be no. Julia followed a few steps behind Juliana towards the door but sped up closer to Juliana’s side when she heard her gasp. In the courtyard were some figures who she would recognize in a heartbeat- Claudia whom she had known since a baby, Decimus, Aia and Cynane. It took only a quick gaze to clearly see that something very serious had happened. Juliana immediately took charge of the situation summoning her slaves to help them all down and calling for the Medicus. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Juliana’s young son Quintus peek from around a pillar and then go back to hiding. This was not something he should be seeing.

The Medicus came running prepared to do what was necessary. Aia after hearing Juliana’s demand for an explanation gave a very precise run down of what had happened. She noted that Aia specifically mentioned Decimus’ shoulder which clearly had an arrow sticking it out of it. It was a wonder he was still conscious. Juliana declared that everyone would get washed up, wounds tended and then she would have answers- Julia wanted those answers as well. Wondering what exactly she could do as Juliana seemed to have things well in hand, she tapped a passing female slave on the shoulder “Domina Juliana’s son Quintus was hiding behind that pillar- make sure he does not witness anymore of this. If no one is able to keep an eye on him come find me.” She nodded yes and headed off in the direction of the pillar to round up Quintus. Julia then turned towards the rest of the crowd and saw that Juliana was supporting Claudia on one side and Aia had Decimus. She moved close enough that she could step up to the other side if extra support was needed. She also wondered if she should send word to Alaric for assistance but she would wait until more information was given.


@Gothic @Sains @Atrice @Chevi

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Decimus had watched the situation evolve with some amount of interest, noting the princess's cursing which he found to be particularly humorous. They'd all certainly come down to a level playing field once the attack had taken place, that was for certain. If one could never see the true nature of a person before combat they'd certainly see it afterwards. With that said, all this milling around about his arm was something that he didn't care for. The sooner he'd seen a medicus and had it removed the better. 

One thing was becoming a bit more apparent to him, though. He'd lost a lot of blood. His eyelids felt heavy even as he was led towards the medicus who would soon put an end to all of this fussing. It was no mystery why he'd lost so much either. Between being thrown from his mount, dueling with his own blade, and getting into a wrestling match there was definitely a lot of blood pumping through his system and out of that wound for all of the time it had been left uncovered. That bastard that felt the need to twist it certainly hadn't helped things either! Visions of what might happen to his arm should he wake up to an infection flooded his mind as the surgeon took him by the arm as well and there was only a few words that he could think to say as he was led away from the others. 

"Lets be done with it..."

Oh, if only he'd been wearing his armor! He wouldn't have to now grapple with the idea of losing one perfectly good arm to the dogs. Bloody regulation might have done him in with this one. 

Whatever conversation the other non-wounded persons might have after his own departure was anyone's guess and not exactly his concern. One thing was for sure, their little rides into the country probably wouldn't be happening again. The emperor would hear one word of this and they'd probably all be told off, or worse, and he couldn't exactly see it helping out his future career. He began to curse the idea of their little excursion to no end as he laid eyes upon a chair that was likely to be the place that the arrow would be removed. Curse it all.


@Chevi @Gothic @Atrice @Jenn 

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Oh, fuck. 

Claudia watched her cousin approach them, and did not wish for them to suffer because she chose to be foolishly generous. She thought of a diplomatic way to answer the question when she saw Julia, her former governess approach her as well and could not hide the distinct look of 'oh, fuck' from her facial expressions. She may have possibly been able to fool Juliana. Julia, however? Perhaps not at all.

Fortunately, Julia seemed to be more distracted by little Quintus than with her for the moment and it gave her some time. She didn't have a lot of time to wonder what little Quintus thought of the scene. 

"It looks far worse than it is, cousin," She answered, gave Decimus a concerned look as the servants began to led him away to receive medical care. One of the things Claudia liked about Aia was her honesty. Except right at this moment, she gazed at the redhead a strained smile to encourage her to let her deal with her cousin and explain what had occurred. However, the words had already been spoken. What was the more polite way to refer to bandits along the road?  "Decimus is injured, and they all risked their lives to protect me." She added, and realised the extent of how badly it could have potentially gone for them. They could all be dead by now. 

"It was my fault, cousin. I stopped to help a wounded bandit and rode ahead away from them. It was foolish. There were survivors but Decimus, Aia and Cynane killed the leader of the band." She added. Unsure whether or not she would assist any bystanders along the road anymore. Claudia hoped she would still be able to go riding. 

Claudia looked over at the blood soaked Cynane and hoped she would follow them inside the villa. No doubt headed towards the baths. 


@Chevi @Sains @Atrice @Jenn

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Cynane stood quietly while everyone made a fuss out of everything. She had done her work, and she believed she had done it well, she had protected her Domina and killed for her. If that did not prove loyalty and devotion, only death would, and she was glad she was at least not dead. None of them were. Soon enough, the Medicus came running and Claudia's cousin asked a ton of questions and wanted them all to get cleaned up. She was clearly quite upset over seeing all of this, but it was how it was, nothing to do about that. 

Aia explained what happened in a few words and Cynane remained quiet. There was no reason for her to talk; she was the only one in the little party that was not a free person, after all. Still just a slave, after all. 

Claudia told her cousin that it looked worse than it was and Decimus was led away by the Medicus to be dealt with. Claudia assured her cousin that they all risked their lives to save and protect Claudia, and Cynane was at least grateful for that. But it should not have happened at all. She wished she'd been firmer with Claudia, that her mistress had never approached the bystander on the road, then none of this would have happened. Claudia was, despite everything that had happened in her life, still a very good and kind person. And now Claudia also took the entire blame while they were led towards the baths.

She noticd Claudia look over her shoulder at Cynane, seeming concerned, but Cynane gave her a small smile in the midst of it all and of course she would follow her mistress, unless anyone held her back and told her not to. Honestly though, she would only take orders from Claudia. So she followed. Quietly, obediently and very alert, still. 

@Gothic @Sains @Chevi @Jenn

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Juliana did not believe a word of it. 

She had primarily addressed Claudia and instead it was the wayward Aia who answered her instead. Juliana raised an eyebrow yet there was still plenty of time for an interrogation later on. The medicus looked at her for further instruction, she flicked her hand for them to leave and exhaled softly. She would be having a stern word with the pair of them later. However, for now, Decimus' safety was important. Not that she would admit it but she was fond of the wayward pair.

"Treat him, and once the arrow is removed and he is stable. Bring them to me." She told the medicus and the other household slaves who came to assist. The medicus offered him something to drink with a sedative to ease the pain and began their task. Naturally, little Quintus watched eagerly and was oddly silent throughout. 

She walked with her arm around her cousin. The blood from the bandits now coated her, and she listened to her cousin closely. Caesar would need to be told, and she hoped that the service provided by Decimus, Aia and Cynane would not be forgotten in the process. "Do not worry about it. Get yourself cleaned up, you are safe, and come speak to me in the triclinium." Juliana said, turned and left Claudia and Cynane at the baths. 

Food and drink would be provided as they would go into detail about what had happened. 

@Atrice @Chevi @Jenn @Sains

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Juliana took stock of the situation, and the information she had been given. The princess was already attempting to take full responsibility for the events - probably knowing that she could not be punished for things the same way bodyguards or slaves or wayward interpreters could. Claudia was a kind person, even when shaken from the life-threatening fight. Aia told her mistress all she could, but her eyes were on Decimus as he was being led away by the medicus and his helpers. When Juliana dismissed them, Aia gave her a nod, and hurried along. She stayed by Decimus' side as the arrow was removed, causing a lot of pain. It was hard to watch, and even worse to hear the sounds Decimus made before he finally and mercifully passed out. The medicus claimed that he would recover. Aia watched the wound treated and bandaged before she thought about leaving. She would have stayed by Decimus' side, but she also had to return to the domina and weather the consequences. She washed herself and changed her clothes before she returned to the triclinium to meet the others, paler than her usual self. 

@Jenn @Atrice @Gothic @Sains

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Julia heard the story as it was quickly presented. She was not entirely sure what to make of it and she wondered what Juliana thought of it. Juliana was very clearly used to being the Domina of the house as she immediately began issuing orders. She sent Decimus off with the medicus to be tended, with Aia running off after them as soon as she was given permission. Juliana then walked off with her arm wrapped around Claudia. Julia was ready to step in if Juliana needed assistance, but it seemed like she had it taken care of. They were led off to the baths and Juliana left them with orders to get cleaned up then to come speak to her in the triclinium. With that Juliana left. Before Julia turned and followed her she gave a look over Claudia as if to make sure that she truly was physically okay- mentally might be another story but that would come. Not knowing what, if anything, to say she turned and followed Juliana from the room.


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