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A Walk Interrupted


Sara
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Mid February 75AD

Zia glowered at those she met on her walk. The meeting with Diegis had not gone well. Well, the first part - a hurried greeting and then a heady, lust filled few minutes up against the wall of the room assigned to him were excellent but the conversation that followed had riled her beyond her usual irritability. Whilst she saw her husband far more than she saw her son, it did not stop the meetings descending into petty squabbles. She'd seen the way he glanced at the girls as they walked to his room and the way he talked with such animation about his new role. She had snapped, exclaiming that he seemed to be enjoying his life of slavery and his stuttered denial had ended with her throwing a half-cup of sour wine over his face and leaving the building in a storm of fury. She'd send a message by some stupid, gullible slave, with an apology at some point. But not yet. Now she needed to stew in her anger. 

The walk back to his domus, her newfound home was long and her feet were already aching. Even her anger wasn't enough to carry her through and with a mumble of discontent, she stopped to rest against a building. Swatting some of her loose - dishevelled hair from her face (those few minutes of passion had suitably destroyed her respectability) and pulling at the itchy, plain tunica she huffed. Even in winter, Rome was unbearably hot to her and the irritation she felt at that moment wasn't helping. 

She heard footsteps to her left and before she had a chance to caution the person, their sandalled foot stomped down on her toes. She let out a yowl of pain, and without stopping she snapped, standing to her full height; "Watch where you are going you cretin." She glared. It was something she had said, in such a tone, hundreds of times when she had her own slaves, when few men and fewer women outranked her but now she was the lowest of the low, and after blinking she realised that such a tone, such a statement was entirely inappropriate. Swallowing her anger and her biting comments she dipped her head, "Apologies." She said with a sigh, "It hurt." 

 

TAG: @Open! 

 

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Aglaea was on her way back to the domus after running an errand for Livia. She was in her own world, after having to bargain and haggle with the person trying to sell her a piece of jewelry for far more than it was worth. She didn't notice the other woman until she was right in front of her, and she accidentally trod on her foot. "Oh!" She stepped quickly away, covering her mouth with her hands. The woman had made some angry comment, but Aglaea barely noticed. "I am so sorry, I was not looking where I was going. Are you hurt?"

@Sara

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Just as soon as she ventured to look up at her intruder, she realised the submissive act wasn't particularly necessary. First, she was a woman - second, judging by her clothes either a pleb or a slave. Neither of which were particularly a cause for concern. The mumbled apology she had given was replaced by a frosty glare on her face as she snapped in accented Latin: "Yes I'm hurt, you stood on my fucking foot." Before she shrugged and went back to glowering at the offending toes. 

She was never usually much one for outbursts - preferring to keep her cool and play the long game, but the argument with her husband had set her on a back track that day and she needed somebody to take it out on. Florus' poor rosebushes in the domus had already had too much abuse. 

"Are you blind?" Zia drawled, turning her imperious face back up the woman, "Eyes damaged in birth or from staring gormless into the sun for too long, perhaps? Permanent damage to your eyes is all I can assume given you didn't see me right in front of you.She glared and folded her arms across her chest. 

 

TAG: @Echo

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As the woman spoke, Aglaea felt her own temper flare up. But after a second, she remembered the tenets of her new religion - to love thy enemy and to turn the other cheek. She took a breath before responding, clearly gathering herself. "I apologize once more. I was not paying attention." She looked at the woman's foot. It didn't seem permanently damaged. "Can I help you to the curb? You should rest your foot before continuing on." It was hard to swallow her pride like that, even harder not to reply with harsh words. But she knew that mean words did not often come from nowhere. Perhaps this woman needed help in more ways than one, and if she could show kindness, perhaps it would help. 

@Sara

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Zia begrudgingly held out an arm to be supported back to the curb. Much as she might like to not project any weakness, her foot was throbbing waves of pain that radiated across her toes. She had a good hour or so walk until she was back at the domus (why Diegis' had to be held so far away was anybody's bloody guess) and she couldn't very well do it with one functioning foot. 

"Thanks." She managed to mutter under her breath in her accented Latin, although from the gruff tone and little glower, it was obvious that she didn't really mean it. Thanks for crippling me, you bitch is what she really wanted to say. 

She eased herself down to sit on the step of domus - presumably a slave's entrance that she'd be shooed away from any moment - and then turned her green eyes to study the other woman. "What, were you thinking about your love and daydreaming and so didn't see what was right in front of you?" She scoffed and then remembered herself. She asked, instead, "Or your dominus, perhaps?" She was either a slave or a pleb, and Zia needed to know which so she knew how far she could scold her.

 

TAG: @Echo

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Aglaea took the woman's arm and supported her to the curb. She heard the sharp edge in the woman's voice but was determined not to rise to it. "No," she replied patiently. "I was purchasing a piece of jewelry for my mistress and the shopkeeper was difficult to deal with." The woman seemed to imply that she might have some sort of relationship with someone, or even her dominus and she almost laughed, but figured that would make her even more angry than she was. "Your foot looks as though it will be alright in a moment."

@Sara

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"Lets hope it'll be fine, I don't want my domine suing you for damage to his property." She muttered, although the thought made her smirk. After what damage Titus Sulpicius Rufus' instructions had already inflicted on her body, a lame foot would probably delight him. Still, to threaten such a thing never hurt anybody. 

Irritated at having been slowed down, and in pain, she moved to stand upright on her leg and felt a sharp arrow of fire stab at her foot. For fucks sake. It was still miles back to the domus and would take her twice as long if she was forced to limp like some fool. Shooting a glower at the way of the woman (girl?) she said, curtly; "Either you are going to have to help me walk back or you can spend your money on a litter for me. The choice is all yours." She said tersely and with a finality that meant she'd be surprised if the other woman argued back. 

 

TAG: @Echo

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Aglaea didn't respond to her first statement. She highly doubted that she was that highly valued to be worth suing over. Aglaea doubted that Livia would bother suing if she got a bruise. It was just something that happened in the city. The woman continued to talk and said that she would have to pay for her to get back to her domus. She wondered what the right thing to do. She had very little money to start with, but would her savior say to forsake her personal belongings on behalf of someone less fortunate than her? She probably had enough for a small litter. "I have already apologized for my actions. I will not grovel," she said simply and not unkindly. "I am sure that your foot will be alright if you simply rest a moment. I can stay with you until you are alright to walk." Aglaea didn't sit next to the other woman, but made no move to leave, even though she could easily get away from her if she wanted to. "Where are you from?"

@Sara

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Zia muttered under her breath and bit the retort on the edge of her tongue. She flexed her toes out and felt that irritatingly sharp stab of pain across the top of her foot which made her face crumple. This bastard woman should walk barefoot through the bloody city in penance, she thought malevolently. 

"Dacia." She replied coldly, and with a little shrug. Her accent was strong but her Latin was fluent now. Not that anybody could really  tell where said strong accent was from, given the breadth of the Empire and their untrained ears. She'd been assumed a Briton, a Gaul and everything in between. Uncultured swines. But the woman herself had her own accent and didn't look native to Rome (then again, it was such a melting pot one never knew). "You?" 

 

TAG: @Echo

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Aglaea noticed the pain in the woman's face and remembered the skin of water she was carrying to stay hydrated. "Here, I have some cool water." She offered the skin to the other woman. The cool water would help soothe the injured foot. The woman explained in no long words that she was Dacian and then asked where she was from. "I am from Judea, originally. But I haven't been there in years."

@Sara

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Zia begrudingly took the water and drank it with relish. Her mouth felt as dry as sand and it was a relief. But then she frowned, eyes skirting between the water skin and the woman and back again as if she was slowly piecing together a puzzle. How could she be so stupid? Nobody did things out of the goodness of their hearts, not here in Rome. She immediately regretted swallowing so much water and tossed the skin back to the woman.

"What's in it?" She asked, eyes narrowed. "Nobody is nice enough to injure somebody and then give them a drink without wanting something." Zia didn't realise how ridiculous she sounded and so glanced around the pair of them. Was she working in tandem with somebody else? She'd heard rumours of slave grabbers and for possibly the first time, realised that even live under Titus Sulpicius' thumb would be preferable to being sold to Gods know where. She moved to stand, wincing as she did and continued to peer around. "Is this some sort of trap?" 

 

TAG: @Echo

Why yes, Zia is so jaded she thinks somebody being nice to her is a complete set-up...

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Aglaea frowned at the woman as she threw the skin back, asking suspiciously what was in it. "Water. What, did you think I poisoned you?" She opened it up again and took a drink herself. "See? Perfectly safe. And it was the least I could do, stepping on your foot like I did." She looked at the woman for a moment, curious about why she was so distrustful. She must have had some hardships in her life, to think that some random person on the street was setting her up or something. "No, it's not a trap. It's a water skin."

@Sara

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Zia's green-hazel eyes narrowed and she watched intently as the woman took a sip. "Good." She mumbled and extended her hand out to retake it back. She still felt on edge, but a little relieved that the girl (woman?) imbibed it herself. 

"They did that, you know." She arched a brow as she sipped and went silent. Sighing, refreshed, she held the skin in her hands, "The Romans. When they came to Dacia. Oh they'll tell you it's all lies and rubbish," She wafted a hand, "But I went to a village and saw a woman about my age - blood out of her mouth and a wineskin in her hands. One of their wineskins." She clicked her teeth, "I bet they marched into that village and gave all my people wine and food as an offering, laced with poison to get rid of every last one of them." it was probably pure fantasy and it was just as likely as that woman Zia had seen had poisoned herself, but it was a good story nonetheless. 

"They get you during war?" She asked, genuinely intrigued, "Into slavery, I mean." 

 

TAG: @Echo

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Aglaea inclined her head. "I don't know you, so I have no reason to poison you." Not that she would ever poison anyone, anyway. She handed the water skin back. "Maybe put some on your foot, it could help soothe it." The woman listened to Zia's story, frowning as she absorbed the words. She wasn't really surprised. The Romans could be remarkably cruel to those they wanted to conquer, but to offer poisoned wine? It was almost too hard to believe. "I'm sorry you had to witness something so terrible," she murmured softly, grounded by the cruelty of the story. 

Then, the other slave asked whether Aglaea had been snatched during the war. It wasn't a topic she brought up often, how she had come to be in slavery, but she supposed she had nothing to lose from telling her. "No. My parents were very poor and had too many children to keep up." She paused, her throat momentarily blocked with emotion. "They sold my sister and me into slavery when we were young."

@Sara

Edited by Echo
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She arched a brow but actually followed advice for once and decanted some of the water onto her sandalled foot. Predictably, it did nothing to help the shooting pain. "Don't be sorry for me." She cautioned with a snort of derision, "Be sorry for the woman that was poisoned and the rest of them." She shrugged limply. She'd been through a lot, and whilst she was incredibly begrudging to admit it, some of it was the fault of her stubbornness. Many in Dacia had no blame though, and still been bound in chains. 

Zia's jaw dropped as the woman stated her reason and she frowned deeply. "What the fuck?" She choked. Naive as she was to the Roman ways of slavery, Zia hadn't appreciated that one could volunteer family members into the life that she and this woman now led. "What shitty parents." She summed up simply, "You're better off rid. What kind of fuckwit parents sells their own children?" She didn't know whether it was because she had her own son in slavery - albeit apart from her - that made the subject so emotional but whatever it was, it provoked a reaction in her. She only realised after a few moments that perhaps this time she had gone too far. "Sorry." She mumbled and shrugged her shoulders, "Still, as I said, you're better off without them." 

 

TAG: @Echo

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Aglaea nodded simply as she said to be sorry for those who had been poisoned. She made a mental note to pray for their souls tonight. Aglaea had been lucky enough not to witness anything quite that bad. She had lived a life of relative wealth, due to her position at the side of a wealthy senatorial lady. But she was still a slave, and had no freedom to make her own choices. She supposed she never really did; up until the age of seven, she was under the control of her parents, and after that she was handed off to a new mistress. The only decision she had ever made was to convert to Christianity. 

She smiled softly despite these thoughts, though. "I suppose you have a point. My parents were foolish to have more children than they could care for. But in a way I am thankful for their decision."

@Sara

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Zia smirked at the woman's measured words. Odd. If she had been sold into slavery by her parents she doubted she would be so considered in her opinion or measured in her tone. Then again, there was little chance of that happening when she was younger; she was born into absolute wealth and power in Dacia and only now found herself on the lowest rung of the ladder. 

"Thankful?" She snorted in derision, "For what? Putting you into a life where your dominus could have you nailed up to a cross at the click of his fingers? To be abused? Sold?" She scoffed and shook her head, "What is there to be thankful about?" She knew rationally that not everybody had, had the experience that she had endured and some even enjoyed their lives as slaves. Why or how she didn't know, but she just couldn't understand, try as she might.

 

TAG: @Echo

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Aglaea chuckled slightly at the other woman's reaction. "It doesn't make much sense, does it? Not at first glance, anyway. And it's ironic that my parents, Hebrews, sold me into slavery after all the trouble Moses went to to take our people out of slavery in Aegyptus." She shrugged. "But I would not have led a good life life back in Judea. I have been very blessed with good mistresses who treat me well. I might have died, had I stayed back in my homeland. I believe God has a plan for me." Jeremiah 29:11, she reminded herself: For I know the plans I have for you." 

@Sara

Edited by Echo
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It was like the woman was speaking a foreign language. She had no idea who this Moses was, or why he saw fit to meddle with slavery and free people, but her comments on her mistresses was interesting. Zia half-wondered if she'd be like her husband and find the whole enslavement thing more tolerable had she served a woman rather than despotic nasty little man. Then again, she knew what she was like when she herself owned slaves and doubted she'd fare much better. 

Something else caught her attention too and she frowned. "God?" She queried, "Don't you mean Gods?" her own, Dacian Gods were different to the Roman ones but there was still a plethora of them. How odd it would be to just worship one?

 

TAG: @Echo

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Aglaea looked curiously at the woman as she seemed shocked at her belief in one God. But then, she reasoned, not everybody knew the tenets of Judaism, let alone Christianity. She feared for a moment that she had outed herself as a Christian by stating that God had a plan for her, but that was in the Torah, not in the newer sermons of Jesus. "I'm Hebrew. We believe that there is one God - Yahweh." She gazed at the woman for a moment. "Do your people worship multiple gods, then? Like the Romans?"

@Sara

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"Yah...weh?" She repeated, the word sounding as foreign to her as any. What reason, though, did a Dacian woman have to learn about the Hebrews? She frowned though, genuinely confused and irritated at her own confusion. "Is he...the main God? There must be others as well as him?" 

At the woman's own question she nodded as if it was the most obvious thing in the world; "Yes, of course we do." She shook her head, still perplexed that this woman didn't. "But ours are better," of course she'd say that, "And we take it more seriously than them." She waved a hand as if gesturing to the Romans in general. "Our priests are as important as our Chiefs whereas here, they just seem to mumble their way through and make a sacrifice here and there and then forget about them." She scoffed. They'd get their comeuppance in the after life, she was sure of it.

The talk was interesting though, she'd give the woman that, and was distracting her from the ache in her foot.

 

TAG: @Echo

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Aglaea chuckled at the woman’s confusion, though not in a mean tone. “Yes, you’ve got it. We also call him Adonai and Jehovah - but don’t be mistaken, these are all names for the same God.” She was beginning to enjoy the conversation- she rarely talked about her religion with anyone other than other Jews and converts, and the chance to educate someone was like a gift, despite her abrasive attitude. “We believe all other gods are false.” The woman commented that the Dacian priests were far more revered than those of the Romans, and Aglaea had to agree. “The Romans do have a curious relationship with their gods, do they not?”

@Sara

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Zia just didn't understand. Not one iota. And interrupted the woman who pondered over Roman worship; "But...does that mean he has all the elements?" She wasn't getting her point across very clearly and shook her head, "I mean, he controls everything? Or she?" It was just as likely this woman's one God was a woman. There were plenty of powerful female Goddesses in the various pantheons that were worshipped by people of the Empire. 

Going back to her earlier comment, she snorted in amusement as she tried to flex out her foot. "Mhmm." And then elaborated on her mumble, "They worship them when it's convenient to, and forget about them the rest of the time." She scoffed and shook her head, "It's foolish. They seem to forget that they control everything for them, and just because they've sacrificed a bloody pig or crow or whatever, doesn't mean they're eternally in their good books." 

 

TAG: @Echo

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"God is the Father. He created the heavens and the earth and he blesses those who abide by his teachings and ask forgiveness for their sins." Aglaea thought that summed it up quite nicely. She understood it was difficult to understand, though, from the other woman's perspective. This was clearly her first exposure to the Hebrew religion, and Aglaea had been raised in the religion and stuck to it throughout the years on her own. Of course, there was more than what she was telling her - about the Son, who had been sent by the Lord to die for the sins of the world.

Aglaea listened to the other woman as she elaborated, chuckling slightly. She had noticed a chasm between how she expressed her religion and how the Romans did. Aglaea prayed every night and morning, and throughout the day, she used the teachings of both Judaism and Jesus to determine the right course of action. Which was why she was sitting with this woman until she felt better. "You have a sharp wit and a keen eye."

@Sara

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Zia rolled her eyes; "Thanks." Like she needed the validation of a random slave to make her feel better? As if. She was loathed to admit, however, that it was nice to be recognised as anything other than a target for stone throwing or a mindless drone to sweep the atrium. 

Tentatively, she pushed off of her perch and felt her foot protest but in a less obvious, less painful way than before. She knew she needed to get back. Her absence would be noted and she was in absolutely no mood to deal with Titus Sulpicius Rufus' petty judgement this afternoon - not after the argument with her husband (who, she thought, would do very finely rotting in a cage right about now). Glancing at the woman she inclined her head in a silent thanks, she was not big enough to actually say thank you. 

"I need to go." She only said and tentatively took a few paces. 

 

TAG: @Echo

I think we're about ready to wrap up?

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