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Charis

A Trojan and a Goddess

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Mid December, 74AD

Charis ran her fingers over the stems laid out in bundles on the stall. She was ostensibly at the market to collect cuttings for new winter flowers for the garden, but ever the resentful Briton slave, she dithered and dawdled on her errand. Having spent a good few minutes moving between (and often beneath, given her stature) the crowds she finally reached the stall and cast an impervious gaze over the wares. The stall holder had seen her frequent his stand, a female slave to tend the gardens was not especially common - and he always hated their interactions. "They're wilting." She arched a brow up at him and pointed to a collection of stems. "They just need watering, you can repot them once they die." Charis scoffed and shook her head, moving down the row of stems and running light fingers over each. 

She often found it amusing that she'd advocated for a job as a gardener when her skills with flowers, in particular, was desperately lacking. Medicinal herbs and food crops were her forte but she understood quite clearly that great bulks of ugly little herbs and turnip tops  were not in vogue for the Roman elite and their beautiful domus'. But she was learning more about the beautiful roses, narcissi, oleanders and violets that she tended to. She also knew when merchants were lying to her. 

"Bloody thief," she muttered in her own language, finding it convenient to swear when nobody could understand her, "I will be back on Friday, and I need geranium cuttings." She stated, and the man simply rolled his eyes and nodded, "Geraniums, yeah, yeah. You and half of bloody Rome." She offered a glower, "My dominus is a Praetor, I think his order should come first." She didn't particularly like throwing rank, especially when it came to alluding who owned her, but she'd found over her nine months in Rome that apparently mentioning Tertius' present occupation produced some sort of reaction in plebs and slaves. As it did this one, and he nodded hurriedly and went to write down the order; "Your name, so I know on Friday?" She sighed, "Charis," The man seemed to be gesturing for more than that and she snapped, "Slave of Tertius Quinctilius Varus." Satisfied, he nodded and went to serve another dawdling slave. "You better bloody have them next time." She muttered again in Brittonic. 

Errand completed, but in absolutely no mood to return to the stifling house, she turned on her heel to walk the long way back to the Esquiline. She frowned, however, as she saw a man a little way off studying her. It wasn't unusual but there was something in his gaze that unnerved her. Noting he couldn't possibly be free, judging by his garments she chuckled and said in accented Latin as she moved to walk past him; "You shouldn't stare, it's rude."

 

TAG: @Sarah

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He'd been sent to the markets again. It was one of Corinthia's latest whims, and he wasn't certain whether she was daring him to try to escape, or enjoying having someone she could send who wasn't answerable to her mother, or just liked ordering him around. Quite probably a combination of the three. Not that Aeneas minded, it got him out of the house in a way that didn't involve the ludus, and allowed him to see more of Rome. And more of the Romans, who were a more complicated people than the harsh regime they had at first seemed.

The markets were a place where everyone could mingle, and he passed all types from well-dressed Roman Senatores to simply garbed slaves. The latter were often of greater interest to him than the former, being his own 'social class' and therefor potential friends and also those he might learn from. He didn't dawdle though, he had his own mission on which he'd been sent, and nothing had seemed particularly worth pausing over.

At least, that was until he heard a voice speak a familiar tongue, a variant of his own that he knew from his trading journeys. The dialect of the Parisii if he was any judge, neighbours of the Brigantes, with whom he'd been trading when the Romans attacked. It had been spoken by a young woman, about his own age, walking away from the plant merchant's stall with annoyance in her step, and his blue gaze followed her movements. Another slave, to judge by her dress, though owned by someone of means. She seemed to sense him watching her, turned and frowned at him.

You shouldn't stare, it's rude.

"Sae's swearin'." He countered in Gaelic, the words spoken with the distinctive, heavy accent of one from lands further to the north of her homeland, a faint smile curving his full lips. "But I dinnae oft hear oor tongue spoken." Admitedly there were significant differences between their dialects, but he'd understood her well enough. He could only hope she'd understand him. Whether or not she felt that her day was bad enough without speaking to him was another question.

@Sara

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Charis stopped almost immediately and rounded on the man (a good head and a bit taller than her) with a startled blink. His accent was strong, but not altogether unintelligible. Besides Cynane and Aia, and a few slaves she overheard in the markets, her own language was now so alien to her ears that hearing it again made her heart beat just a little bit faster. She had begun to worry she'd forget it, but found herself muttering Brittonic phrases and swears under her breath whilst working at Tertius' and nobody had cottoned on just yet.

"Me neither," She replied in their dialect with a little grin. Glancing at him, she couldn't place him anywhere she'd seen before - which was not surprising given the vastness of Rome - but his dress likewise didn't indicate anything about his station. Slave, presumably, but whether in a domus, a ludus or brothel (or anywhere else besides), she had no idea. 

"Do you make a habit of lurking in the markets and staring at women, hoping they'd understand you?" She asked with an arched brow and a mischievous smile tugging at the corners of her lips, "If so, I'd suggest you're not long for this world." Roman woman had no patience for strangers (however handsome, she admitted), gawking or even just looking at them a lot of the time. Naturally, as if she was at home or in Petuar - she enquired; "What tribe are you? Your accent..." Is difficult, and barbarous. 

 

TAG: @Sarah

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