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35 | 2nd November 40CE| Slave | Horse Trainer | Homosexual | Wanted | Michael Fassbender





The shackles of slavery are reprehensible to a man like Tarbus, a once fiercely proud warrior confined now to a life of indignity. Throughout him courses the spirit of rebellion, a reckless streak that had ignited him long before his tribe were dominated by the Romans. Like his brother, Tarbus was raised to be a warrior and that fighting spirit persists even despite the injuries he sustained defending his tribe. Although he can no longer fight, the sentiment persists, as bright as ever – or more so. 

Tarbus’s fitful energy is tempered only by a fervent desire to protect those he deems family. In the past, this has been confined to his tribe, but the longer he spends in Rome, the further these tendrils stretch. His defiance at facing the shame of slavery has forced in him a keen kinship with fellow slaves – whilst also stoking a disdain for those who presume to own them. 

Beyond the bulwark of furious defiance and sharp temper, then, Tarbus is good-hearted, good-humoured, and a stout friend. He holds justice close; his moral compass generally rings true, even if he has a tendency to march to the beat of his own drum. He’s an easy friend to make at the popinae, favouring a ribald humour and with a fondness for plenty of wine. Even if his sheer desperation to be free of slavery and to save his family from a similar fate steers him into dubious activities at times, Tarbus is an inherently good man. 



A tall, well-built man, Tarbus strikes the intimidating figure that chimes every inch the warrior he once was. That he still strives to be. He holds himself tall and proud, more often than not with a disgruntled, defiant scowl set into his dark brow. Were it not for his injury, he would be a natural fit for a gladiator. Indeed, standing at over 6’0” Tarbus would have made a memorable figure upon the sands of the colosseum. Instead, he maintains his strength and fitness training the horses and riders for Factionis Album.

Thanks to his work with the racing factions, Tarbus’s skin is peppered with a persistent blanket of scars and bruises. Most apparent, however, is the injury he sustained to his sword-arm, striving to defend his family from the invading Romans. Brutal lacerations drive waxy scars across the length of his right arm. But for that, his skin is weather-beaten and sun-marred. His work largely takes place under the beating sun and it’s well apparent.

Beyond that, Tarbus is a handsome enough man. His nose sports the marks of having been broken a dozen times over, but his broad, crooked grin and bright blue eyes have some charm about them. His chin is often poorly shaven – not much stock in a slave’s appearance when he’s lathered in the filth of the stables, more often than not – and his auburn hair is cropped short but tousled. Between that and the simple, well-worn tunics he wears, Tarbus evidently isn’t a man who places much stock in his appearance.



Father: Rubobostes (of the Appuli tribe) - deceased.

Mother: Bendis (first wife of Rubobostes) - alive.


Duccidava (elder sister, married to a warrior of the Appuli) - alive.

Duras (elder brother, warrior of the Appuli) - deceased.

Spouse: Semele (of the Ratacenses tribe, eastern Dacia) - deceased.

Children: Oroles (son, born 65 CE) - deceased.

Extended family:

Nieces and nephews by his siblings. 

Zia (cousin)

Diegis (cousin-in-law)

Other: Titus Sulpicius Rufus & Valeria Flacca (owners)



Tarbus was born as the third child – and second son – to Rubobostes of the Appuli tribe (a fierce warrior and the tribe’s stablemaster) and his first and only wife, Bendis. His elder siblings, particularly his brother, Duras, welcomed to their younger brother, having often envied the fuller families of their tribe mates. Tarbus’s childhood was a happy one, spent brawling and sparring with Duras or, as soon as he was able, helping his father with the horses. Their gentle strength swiftly appealed to him as an ideal foil to Tarbus’s rapidly gathering sense of adventure and haphazardness; without the responsibilities of being the family’s first-born son, like Duras, he found great joy in the freedom of the tribe. His spirit from an early age was one prone to running loose, often on the back of one of his father’s horses.

Throughout his childhood, both Tarbus and his elder brother dreamed of following their father into battle, despite their mother’s chiding. Having lost many of her own family members to war, seeing her boys off into the wilderness just as she did her husband was almost reprehensible, despite the courage and honour that it brought. The ambition soon drew to a crashing, predictable halt when their father was killed in battle. Life swiftly changed for them all and Tarbus moved into adolescence with a rising temper. 

Swiftly, Duras took over the running of the stables, having apprenticed under Rubobostes for long enough that his boots were not too daunting to fill. As his brother was forced to swiftly grow up, so too was Tarbus, and he took with him a cloak of fierce resentment, too. Life amongst the Appuli continued otherwise normally, though without his partner in crime to spar with, Tarbus turned to the other boys of the tribe to keep him company. Tsinna, an elder lad whose father had fought with Tarbus’s own, became his favourite. 

In the beginning, it was as Tarbus missed dearly with his brother: sparring together, play-fighting, taking the horses out along the river. Before long, teenage curiosity led to an inevitable exploration. Sooner still, Tarbus fell: head over heels. 

How strange, it was, to love another another man. Boy, really. There was shame in it: not that it was another man, but the things he allowed Tsinna to do to him. That was the thing: when he looked at Tsinna and when his thoughts drifted to those ideas, the sort his brother had joked about with women alone, Tarbus could not bring himself to mind. They left along the river frequently, hidden amongst the copses and the bushes and the rest of the wilderness, that did not judge, and that bowed comfortingly around him when Tsinna, bastard that he was, shoved Tarbus away one day with a punch. 

Why do you let me do that, he snarled, the passion in his frown recast as a scowl of disgust. Like a woman, he spat. You're a man now, Tsinna insisted, when his fist crunched agaist Tarbus's nose. And he was, though it had taken an awfully long time to realise it. They were men. It wasn't right for a man to—

Tarbus bit his tongue and fought back: the first of many. The brawls were no longer in jest. Perhaps they never had been.

It was just as well, in the end, that Tarbus and his sister, Duccidava, were sent along with their cousins to safety with their family in the Caucoense tribe. A fresh start, that was all he needed. He was a man now, after all: time for a family and time to cease hauling his family into disrepute. Besides, there was the well-being of the rest of his family to consider. With another tribe, in other lands, there was nothing to help him recall Tsinna but the babbling waters they passed and the crooked rise of his broken nose that looked back, cross and hurt and ever resentful.

Only three years later saw their return to Apulum, though it was not to last. Uncle Brindis, chief of the Appuli, was understandably concerned with standing defiant and strong against Roman aggression, despite the war that claimed Tarbus’s father and brother having drawn to a close. An close alliance with another tribe was natural. Understandable. Sensible. And, faced with the opportunity to defend rather than shame his family again, Tarbus was all too glad to follow his cousin, Zia, to the Ratacenses tribe.

Surcea brought with it a precarious happiness. Gone were the tendrils that bound Tarbus’s anger to his family and to his childhood home. To Tsinna. His marriage to Semele was a swift one, steered by the impetus of protecting his cousin, but as far as wives went, Tarbus was pleased: she was a fine fit for him, with a bite as sharp as his own, and he enjoyed her company enough (even if she was not entirely his heart’s desire) that their first child was soon on the way. To both of their delight, their son, Oroles, was brought strong and heathy into the world.

The peace wasn’t to last. Where occupation lies, there’s sure to be conflict. Where Zia and her new husband, Diegis, were concerned, it seemed ironically conducive to peace.
He cautioned against their plans. Of course he did. The reckless, furious young man of years gone by had ducked his head for his family: his young lad, his wife, his legacy. Invariably, and till the end of his days, Tarbus defended their efforts even when others disapproved. He warned against them, always, but when Rome’s aggression burst into a celebratory feast, he felt a grim, vexing sense of inevitability. On its heels, anger rose, fierce and terrible and inevitable. The brutal deaths of Semele and Oroles.

The screams and the terror drove through to his heart through the long slog to Rome; with every jostle and every barked order, the physical and mental bruises chimed savagely of memories Tarbus would rather have forgotten. 

First: the peace of the feast lacerated by the sudden, terrible violence. Next: the disorienting haste as he leapt to his feet, sword in hand, and the unending rage that flooded his chest and his stomach and every damnable fibre of his being. Then: in the ensuing struggle, the awful pain in his arm, and the blood, and the sudden blackness. 

Tarbus awoke to darkness and to agony. After that, the months passed in misery. By 75CE, having passed his 35th birthday under the yoke of slavery, the fury mutated. The freedom of his youth is tethered, ironically, forever to his heart; Tarbus is not a man to idly suffer slavery. Although his talents with horses were quickly realised, leading to his lease to Factonis Album as a horse-trainer, the work leads only to recollection of his youth, riding free with his tribe. He’ll be damned if he’s to linger in Rome as a slave for too long. Of late, he has come to the conclusion that the solution, if not his future, lies in the only form of defiance he can conceivably achieve in his current situation: aiding the Lupii of Roma in their betting scams. After all, he has the privilege of working closer than anyone with the horses of the racing factions. Influencing the betting scams is not exactly the flawless moral high ground that Tarbus would prefer, but he considers it a means to the end. After all, plotting and scheming to their advantage has long been a family trait. 



Jane | GMT | Discord



Edited by Jane

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