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Lucius Junius Silanus

From Behind these Bars (Lucius Longinus)

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July 73 CE - the Tullianum in the Forum Romanum

For most of his life, Lucius Silanus hadn't really had a home to call his own. He was raised in Asia in his youngest years, and after the death of his father and then mother, he moved on from place to place - living with his uncle Gaius Longinus and aunt Lepida in Syria, and then to Rome where he was taken in by his uncle Decimus, who was for all intents and purposes his father. He travelled with Decimus to Britannia for the man's proconsulship, and lived in the governor's palace there, only to return to Rome after Decimus' death. When he returned, he again took residence in the home of the Junii-Silani, where - at that time - his aunt Calvina was the caretaker of what was left of their family. Though she had been the oldest, she had only just returned to Rome from exile. Then came the riots and Clemens' rise to power, when Lucius and his sister escaped Rome to live in Africa. Calvina refused to leave Rome again, and was killed during the destruction of the family home.

After Quintus Caesar brought peace, Lucius returned to Rome with Flavia Juliana - the widow of Lucius' uncle Decimus, and the woman he considered to be his mother. With her help he managed to rebuild the family domus on the same land, almost to the exact same specifications as the original. What a shock it had been, then, when Lucius returned from months of service in the east to find that a cousin he hadn't even realized existed - Vitellia Calvina - had laid legal claim to his home during his absence, and using his absence as an advantage, had created a very strong case against him. With what wealth he had tied up into the home itself, Lucius was left only with what Juliana could lend him, and in the end, the case had settled in favor of Vitellia, stating that though Decimus had lived in the home, it had always belonged to Junia Calvina, and thus was the inheritance of her daughter.

Outrage. Disbelief. Two of the strongest emotions that coursed through Lucius. Two emotions that led him to set fire to the home he had exhausted himself to rebuild. Just when he'd thought he had a home, it was by his own hands that it had to be destroyed. Vitellia was quick to have Lucius arrested, and he went willingly to the Tullianum in the center of the Forum where he was held with others, nobles and common plebs alike, waiting for his trial. Though some had lost hope, Lucius was determined, despite his destitution. He still had connections. He still had allies. He still had friends...

@Sara

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Longinus strode with purpose towards the Forum. Since his return to Rome seven months ago, he had tried to avoid the place as much as possible. The crowds frayed his patience and the self-importance of its visitors irritated him. Still, needs must. He'd even dressed for the occasion - a rarity for a man who placed as much importance in his looks as he did poetry or theatre - but he wanted to impress on those at the Tullianum that he was not somebody to be trifled with. Money, of course, always greased these sort of situations as well and Vitus his secretary carried a small coin purse just for that reason. 

Entering the prison he squinted into the dim light. The sounds and smells of the place reminded him distinctly of the parts of his camps where new spoils were stowed; quivering in fear and (in some instances) quite literally pissing themselves. He shook his head, for the life of him he couldn't imagine his Tribune here nor what had driven him to such drastic measures. 

As he was eyeing the place Vitus had done his work and a few coins exchanged, Longinus was shown through to a dank, windowless room at the back of the building. Whistling to himself to keep the tension from building he glanced over his shoulder at Vitus who looked about as pleased to be here as any of the prisoners. "Try not to look quite so depressed Vitus, you're not the one in here." And as if on cue, the door creaked open and the familiar face of Lucius loomed into view. Painting a broad grin on to his face he moved to embrace the younger man and waved a hand that the guard should leave which he did. Vitus must have spent a small fortune on buying him off. "You know what," He grinned as he pulled back, "You've looked better, but you've looked a hell of a lot worse." 

 

TAG: @Chris

 

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Longinus was a welcome sight.. though truthfully any sight at all in that dark cesspit was welcome. Held at arm's length by Longinus after the brotherly embrace, Lucius grinned quickly. "Ever a man imbued with positivity, commander," Lucius said, letting live the old habit of calling Longinus by his title rather than his name. Lucius shuffled his feet against the moist floor of the cell, and put himself into the sliver of light that crept in from the corridor beyond it. Though he knew it was only the light of a candelabra and not the sun, it still felt oddly refreshing to be draped in it, however momentarily.

"You've heard the details?" After the deed was done, Lucius prepared for the eventuality that he would be apprehended. Planning ahead, he had instructed his freedman Falcius to immediately call upon Longinus in such an event. Whether or not the man had taken time to investigate why exactly Lucius had been thrown in with common criminals was still unknown. "If not, all the better you hear it from me, I suppose."

@Sara

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Longinus always seemed to have a natural buoyancy and energy about him, even in generally dire circumstances - of which this was one. Still, he chuckled and offered an incline of his head to the compliment. But it seemed the brief moment of levity was not to last and as he dropped his arms from his friend and pseudo-protege, he sighed heavily. Shaking his head, he eyed him with an arched brow. 

"Not all the details. That you set a fire in your own bloody house and now even the most avaricious of landlords wouldn't be able to rent it out for all its worth." He also knew that it probably had something to do with the confusing cousin who had laid claim to said land, but that didn't excuse his actions nor did it really explain it. 

With a jerk of his head to Vitus his secretary promptly left thereby leaving the two men alone. Longinus moved to sit on the rotting wooden bench that must double as a bed in this room and gestured for his companion to sit on the upturned bucket whose proper use he didn't want to think about. Shaking his head and running a hand through his hair he sighed and glanced at the younger man. "What on earth possessed you Lucius?" Of course his Tribune had his offer of help, unquestionably, but he wanted the truth first. He didn't know how seriously the younger man was taking this and much like their shared time in the military, Longinus still wasn't a man to let his juniors get away with mistakes without realising their gravity.

 

TAG: @Chris

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Lucius thought to speak to the instability of the bench as Longinus postured himself over it, but the man sat and seemed stable enough before any words could form, so Lucius let it be. He followed Longinus' eyes to the bucket he hadn't yet had to use, but was certain had been used well beyond its value - if it even had one to begin with. Not one to squirm in the face of a little dirt - or shit as it were - Lucius took a seat and then a deep breath to begin telling the tale of how he'd ended up in the Tullianum.

"Well... I suppose rage possessed me," he answered honestly enough. If anyone knew of Lucius' bouts of rage, it was Longinus; he was there when Lucius, still then a boy of eleven years, took his father's gladius and slaughtered Scaevo, the Briton slave whom had gained Decimus Silanus' trust only to betray and kill him. "That domus had always been Decimus', for all I knew. I lived there before and after Britannia, and from all I could see it was the family home, and he, as the pater familias, was the owner. Turns out the truth was a bit more complicated. Any copies of the deeds and testaments that Decimus had were destroyed in the riots, so, I secured the land and rebuilt the home." Lucius stopped himself abruptly. "I don't know why I'm repeating all of this when you know it already."

"But, what you might not know, and what I didn't know, was that my aunt Calvina had inherited the domus. Her daughter, Vitellia, had a testament that proved she was the rightful heir to the land." What complicated matters even further was that Calvina had been exiled during Claudius' reign, and all of her possessions had been forfeited to the state, after which time Decimus was given the land as a caretaker - which is what Lucius' argument had been in the courts. Vitellia's defense was that when Quintus Caesar extended clemency, all previous charges were forgiven and reversed, which also restored properties to rightful owners. "Without any sort of physical testament myself, it was a hopeless battle, and she won the home I spent all of my inheritance on..."

He paused, rolling the tip of his tongue over the edge of his upper teeth. "Well, she won the land. I paid for the home. The walls, the decor, the furniture. So, she can have the land, and live there if she chooses, but not before paying to rebuild it as I did."

Lucius understood that his actions had been incredibly brash and foolish. In the moment he had only been pushed by rage and a desire for revenge. Sitting in that cell, he felt a different, quieter sort of rage. He still wanted revenge.

 

@Sara

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Longinus listened with well measured patience, honed through years of tedious negotiations with savages. Rage was not uncommon when it came to young Lucius, and whilst he tolerated it in the field or Britannia, if he was still the man's commander he would have clapped him straight around the head at the thought he'd unleash it in Rome. The idiot. His face displayed uncharacteristic neutrality though as he listened. A cousin? Well...that was unfortunate. But then with how vast some Roman families were now, not altogether unexpected. 

He didn't say anything until the youneger man had finished, and instead rested his jaw on his fist, eyeing him coolly. He had a level head on his shoulders, and was already thinking about practical arrangements to make this better. In the short term, however, he sighed exasperated - finally breaking the silence - and added; "You petty, vindictive idiot." He shook his head and let a whistle of air past his teeth as he exhaled. 

Clapping his hands together as if to rouse some life into the dank cell he eyed his comrade. "Why did you not come to me? You know we could have financed the best, money-grabbing lawyer or pay off a few of the idiots to get your claim." He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "And what next?" He would offer all the help he could, even if his friend was not as remorseful as he had hoped he would be, but he needed to ask for it. 

 

TAG: @Chris

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