Jump to content

Gift Giving


Sara
 Share

Recommended Posts

Mid February, 75AD

Horatia scanned the markets with a discerning eye, but a withering look on her face at the tat that was being offered. "What do you get a man that could afford to buy anything he wanted?" She said with a sigh, to nobody in particular. Casting a glance over her shoulder to Felix, she smiled mischievously; "You're worth your weight in gold, Felix, in every other capacity - lets see how you fare with gift shopping." Taking the man with her to the markets served a dual purpose; foremost to ask his advice, as the person closest to her husband than...well...anybody, herself included, but likewise for protection. The litter had been deposited some way back and the hum and crowds of the markets were a nuisance at the best of times, but fine weather and clear skies had driven out the masses and she was being jostled left right and centre before Felix had lengthened his stride. His imposing bulk had the brilliance of making crowds part as if he were parting an ocean and she breathed more freely with him close by. 

To others it might seem strange, to celebrate a date in the diary as she did, but tomorrow marked a particularly special occasion for Horatia outside of the usual birthdays and weddings. Tomorrow would be the seventh anniversary of Aulus' return to Rome after those years of absence in Cappadocia, Germania and Britannia. It had started as a habit the year after he'd returned - she'd given him a posy of flowers picked from the gardens herself, but as the years had gone on and their lives and marriage had settled down, she had begun to feel more content in splurging a little. Besides, not all of her wealth was tied to his and she had enough disposable income from her father to afford something special. 

But what special was, she had no idea. Last years gift had been planned weeks in advance, but she'd failed this year and so here she was, in the swarming market, hoping their faithful slave could offer guidance. Turning once more to look over her shoulder to him, she arched a brow; "Fabric for a tunic is out, it's too late to sew one ready for tomorrow and books seem wasteful." She was the reader in the family, and whatever she chose for him would likely not be to his tastes. She offered a gentle grin to Felix; "Any bright ideas, Felix?" But her smile was gone as somebody's elbow collided with her ribs and she winced. Gods she hated the markets.

 

TAG: @Chevi

Edited by Sara
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 "What do you get a man that could afford to buy anything he wanted? You're worth your weight in gold, Felix, in every other capacity - lets see how you fare with gift shopping." 

Felix would have been the first to admit that he was terrible at shopping. It was simply not something that slaves did. Not gifts, anyway; he'd run his share of errands, buying things his master or mistress ordered, but he had never had to make a decision - or had money, or had a person - to gift. Gifts were for free people with money to spend.

Like Horatia.

Still, Felix was happy to tag along. He liked his domina, and she had the same kind of loyalty to Aulus that Felix did, which made her an ally, and one of those rare gems of a wife Romans liked to praise. She was also not nearly as large as him, and the crowds tended to jostle her. Felix stood close enough to stare people down and give her space to breathe.

"Fabric for a tunic is out, it's too late to sew one ready for tomorrow and books seem wasteful. Any bright ideas, Felix?"

As she turned to ask, someone bumped into her. Felix's hand shot out instinctively; the days of imminent danger were gone, but it would not have been the first time he had to protect someone from a hidden blade or a cutpurse. He grabbed on to the smaller man's arm, who stared at him with wide, scared eyes; all Felix had to do was glare for a moment, and then shove the man away with one hand. He had a slave tabled around his neck too. No one complained.

"I am not... very experienced" he admitted sheepishly. Aulus could buy anything he wanted, and he was not a man of expensive tastes anyway. Felix made an effort. "Maybe... something familiar? Something he already has a taste for?"

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Horatia smiled lightly at Felix's protectiveness. It was habit and his role, but it was still nice to feel secure and actually enjoy the company of a slave. There were few in their household that she trusted as much as she trusted Felix, even if he was on the quieter, more pensive side. A little exasperated, but at herself rather than him, she laughed; "But what does he already have a taste for that he doesn't already own?" She bit her lip, trying to think as she drew to a quieter spot between two stalls and rounded to face Felix. 

Pulling up her palla which had slipped down, to cover her bright red hair she placed a hand on her hip. Fingers drumming against her waist she examined Felix and asked; "When we were in Raetia, did he talk of anything that he particularly missed in Rome? Any wines or foods or things? Any new clothing he needs?" Whilst she'd had conversations similar to that with her husband, the detail of them had slipped her mind for now. She knew full well he wasn't one for jewellery and they didn't need any new furniture or slaves. With a groan she raised a hand to pinch the bridge of her nose, "I'm the worst wife in the world, I can't even think of what he'd like.She chuckled, joking. She knew she was an excellent wife, but right now she felt about as capable as the kitchen slave who consistently cooked things with black olives, despite Titus' complete aversion to them.

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

They paused to take a breath between stalls. Even with Felix's imposing presence, the crowd was not easy to brave.

"But what does he already have a taste for that he doesn't already own?" 

Wasn't that the question. Aulus was not the kind to yearn for something he could acquire, and even for things he couldn't have. He was practical and driven... which, incidentally, made him hard to shop for. Felix could see the frustration in the domina's eyes.

"When we were in Raetia, did he talk of anything that he particularly missed in Rome? Any wines or foods or things? Any new clothing he needs?"

It was ironic, in a way, that they were the two people in the world who knew Aulus best. More so than either of them realized, although Horatia surely suspected Felix had had some intimate moments with his master. Felix opened his mouth then closed it, trying to come up with ideas.

"I'm the worst wife in the world, I can't even think of what he'd like."

"Not at all. You are an excellent wife, domina." that came easy. She really was. "I know he liked the wines, but I think there are still amphorae full of them in the cellar..." he felt useless, and he hated that. "Lately, most of his time is occupied with planning the public works he would like to gift to the city... he is a very selfless man." The fact that he did those to win consulship was beside the point. 

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Horatia smiled a little and looked unconvinced; "You're very sweet Felix." not that she needed the validation of a slave on her wifely abilities, but it was nice to have nonetheless - and she trusted Felix's judgement. 

Listening patiently, as he finished she bit at her lip before laughing lightly; "He is, which is what makes him so frustrating to buy for." Often before his birthday she had been known to canvass opinion amongst his family and slaves before buying a gift, lest he hate it. She'd never faltered before as far as she was aware, but then again, perhaps her husband was too polite to say that he hated a gift and only quietly mumbled his thanks whilst stashing said useless present away, out of sight. 

She did, however, have a niggling idea that she couldn't get out of her mind and she turned to look up at him, curiously with narrowed eyes; "Can you read, Felix?" 

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You're very sweet Felix." 

"I'm just telling the truth, domina." He was. Felix was not one for flattery (or talking much, for that matter), but he actually thought Horatia was as good a wife as a Roman man could wish for. And at least he could say as much, even if he could not help with the gifting for Aulus.

"He is, which is what makes him so frustrating to buy for... Can you read, Felix?" 

Felix blinked at the unexpected question, then nodded.

"I can manage, domina." he was never the kind of person (or in a position) to read for leisure, but he'd learned to read and write, because his proximity to Aulus required him to be able to do that. He had a better memory than writing skills, but he knew what he needed to know to read orders or write reports.

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She smiled, of course Aulus had taught him to read. Given their proximity over the last fourteen years, he'd have had to have learned although for some reason she doubted Felix was much one to read for pleasure. Then again, her husband had routinely said he was full of surprises. 

"Good." She nodded and pulling her palla up again she arched a brow, uncertainty in her eyes, "What do you think of a letter for him? It's not a gift in the traditional sense like a belt or a dagger or a horse but..." She sighed, feeling foolish - as if Felix would laugh her out of the market with her suggestion, even if that would never happen, "I was thinking a letter - listing all of his accomplishments from his birth to now; all of his roles and familial milestones, and a letter with it to tell him," She smiled slyly, "How proud I am of him." Words could and should always mean more than pointless tat picked up in panic from a market stall, she thought. Aulus wasn't necessarily the sentimental type, but hopefully he would see the effort and thought that had gone into it. "What do you think?" She asked, uncertainly, before adding with a little laugh as the crowds jostled around them; "And I'll need your help - I'm still vague about exactly what he got up to in your absence in Germania and Britannia, and to proof read, of course. If you think it a good idea, that is." 

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Felix was not sure where Horatia was going with the issue of reading and writing. As far as he knew, she'd already discarded the idea of buying books, since Aulus did not often read for leisure. 

"Good. What do you think of a letter for him? It's not a gift in the traditional sense like a belt or a dagger or a horse but... I was thinking a letter - listing all of his accomplishments from his birth to now; all of his roles and familial milestones, and a letter with it to tell him... How proud I am of him."

The look on Felix's face softened as he heard the idea. It was of a very personal nature, more so than most Roman wives would think of gifting, especially to a husband of Aulus' standing. But it was an honest and kind gesture.

"What do you think? And I'll need your help - I'm still vague about exactly what he got up to in your absence in Germania and Britannia, and to proof read, of course. If you think it a good idea, that is." 

Felix looked a little sheepish again. It felt like being involved in something intimate between husband and loving wife. Not that he had not been... involved in something intimate with Aulus before, but he had no illusions about the extent of that, or the role it played in his master's life.

"I think it is a great idea, domina." he said honestly. If anyone could appreciate the gesture, Aulus could, and if he didn't... well, it was no fault of hers. "I am happy to help if I can. Maybe we could... look for some good quality papyrus for you to write it on? Like the kind they write books on?"

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Distinctly pleased that Felix seemed to think it a good idea, she let out a deep breath and nodded at his suggestion; "That is a good idea." She glanced around herself, trying to establish her bearings in the market. Usually, if she required anything insubstantial she sent the slaves here, and for anything particularly important or expensive the traders visited their domus to show their fabrics or jewels. She was not used to the business (what Roman woman of high pedigree was!) nor did she really know where to head. 

Glancing at Felix uneasily she arched a brow, "Do you have any idea where to head, or are we to wander aimlessly, buffeted by the crowds like a fishing boat in a storm?" She grinned, imagining poor Felix being in the swell of the ocean, looking as sheepish as he did now. 

Removing herself from the little secluded corner they'd managed to find in the hum of the markets she glanced over her shoulder at the taller man; "I'm not taking you away from any of Aulus' business today am I for this errand?" He hadn't protested when she'd asked for his company, so she hoped not. Felix was valuable - both for his insights and brawn - but she could have easily brought one of the big men that worked the hypocaust or minded the door to accompany her on this fools errand.

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Matrons like Horatia did not often do their own shopping at the markets. They had enough slaves to send out, and when they were buying something fancy, Felix learned, merchants usually came to the house. He himself enjoyed being among the people of Rome, but he could tell his domina was increasingly uncomfortable out in the open.

"That is a good idea... Do you have any idea where to head, or are we to wander aimlessly, buffeted by the crowds like a fishing boat in a storm?"

Felix smirked, remembering his first time on a boat. It was not a kind image. "I won't let them buffet you, domina. And I think I know which way we should be heading."

"I'm not taking you away from any of Aulus' business today am I for this errand?"

"Not at all, domina." he said as he followed along, shifting to Horatia's side or sometimes even taking the lead to open up a pathway through the crowd "I think he has been looking at possible plans for building works. There is not much I can help him with that."

Felix steered the both of them in the direction of the booksellers' shops. They tended to stick together in the vicinity of other luxury goods; while they mainly sold books, they also offered blank papyrus scrolls and matching cases, for people inclined to write, or have something written. "Would these work?"

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She smiled slightly at Felix and inclined her head in thanks at his affirmation he would be her would-be guardian. To be frank, she doubted given his size many would risk getting too close anyway, but his protectiveness was comforting. Following him as he led the way (most unusual, but circumstances must!) she listened intently. "Ah yes, the building works." She chuckled good naturally and rolled her eyes. Aulus' intelligence meant  that she was under no presumption, whatever he put his mind to he would achieve. At present, however, that meant long nights looking over plans and counting costs. "How is he getting on with it?" She asked Felix. Whilst she spoke with her husband, himself, on it occasionally - a slave's perspective was always useful. Especially when Horatia was for all intents and purposes excluded from financial and legal matters, despite her husbands generosity in discussing it. 

As they drew to the stall she grinned at Felix. "Yes, definitely." And turned her eyes back to examine the wares on the display. 

Whilst she was a voracious reader, she'd never had particularly refined tastes compared to her contemporaries. She rarely dressed ostentatiously and only very occasionally spent money on extravagant purchases. In her mind as long as it was useful and simple, it was fine. She knew her husband to be of a similar mind and so as she ran her fingers over the wares she found what she was looking for. Simple, but well crafted papyrus with a plain blue case. She arched a brow at the man stood across the table and asked; "How much?" He took her in with a discerning eye, trying to work out just how much he could charge an obviously noble woman. She glanced back at Felix for reassurance before shaking his head at the proposed cost, a ridiculous fee. "Felix, where are the other booksellers, I don't do business with thieves." She turned to offer a polite smile at the man, "Good day." And moved to leave although in actuality had no intention to leave the stall. Lets see just how much he wanted this sale. Unfortunately for her, it seemed he needed it quite badly and he shot out a hand to take hers as if imploring her to stay. 

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Ah yes, the building works. How is he getting on with it?"

"He is selecting a place, that's all I know." Felix admitted. After their initial brainstorming, Aulus had thrown himself into planning, and at that stage, Felix was not needed. "It is a strategic decision... and also a matter of space, where he plans on building."

Mostly the former. Depending on what part of Rome's population Aulus wanted to know on his side, the placement of his public works was key to getting him closer to his goal. Horatia probably knew that too. Felix was not sure how much Aulus shared with his wife, but she was a clever woman, and they definitely trusted each other.

Horatia looked through the bookseller's wares. The man must have seen she was wealthy, because the price he gave her was ridiculous and she knew it.

"Felix, where are the other booksellers, I don't do business with thieves. Good day."

The man reached out to grab Horatia's hand. Felix turned and slapped his hand away with a warning glare; he didn't have to say anything for the bookseller to slink back with an apologetic look. Felix glanced at Horatia, waiting to see if she wished to walk away.

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Horatia recoiled her hand as Felix deftly, and swiftly slapped the man's away. She had wanted to make him work for a sale, but not to that extreme and irritation filled her eyes. Sensing an opportunity, however, she glanced up at Felix as if trying to tell him to play along (not that she suspected he'd contradict her, given their roles) and turned to face the man with fury on her face. 

"How dare you." She stated, her voice measured but evidently affronted, "No wonder your stall is empty if you try and molest those that would buy your wares." The man began to protest with a; "N-no domina I was-" but Hortia held up a hand with a glower. "Unless you wish me to tell my husband of this, you'll half the price you quoted me and that will be the end of the matter." She doubted the man would care a fig if she said the name 'Aulus Calpurnius Praetextatus' - whilst known in senatorial circles, plebs were largely ignorant of the upper classes. In truth, it wasn't a particularly large affront - merchants had tried worse on many women before than a simple hand grab, but what other way was there to get his price down than act as if it had been the most horrific affront imaginable? 

The man stuttered and then reluctantly nodded. Satisfied, Horatia glanced over her shoulder to Felix who carried her money, with a knowing glint in her eye that she had bested the merchant, "Pay the man, Felix, and we'll be on our way." Once the transaction was done, she swiftly strode away to find a quiet corner where she rounded on Felix and shook her head, mumbling under her breath; "Men are fools..." 

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Horatia shot him a look, and for a moment Felix thought he'd overstepped his bounds before he noticed the mischievous glint in her eyes. He let her take the lead as she turned back to the bookseller.

"How dare you. No wonder your stall is empty if you try and molest those that would buy your wares. Unless you wish me to tell my husband of this, you'll half the price you quoted me and that will be the end of the matter." 

Felix could see what she was doing now, and bit back a smile. The bookseller was sufficiently scared, not even thinking of asking who exactly her husband was in order to avoid offending Horatia even more. It was a gamble, and it paid off. Aulus' name did not have that kind of a pull among the general populace of Rome, but even he would have been amused to learn that his wife could get a discount without actually mentioning it. Felix, on his part, gave the man a stern look.

"Pay the man, Felix, and we'll be on our way... Men are fools..." 

Felix paid the man, and accepted the scroll and the case, tucking them safely into the basket he was carrying for Horatia. He caught the amused whisper as he followed her, and smiled too.

"We are, most of the time." he agreed as they walked "Is there anything else you wish to look for, domina?... I mean, gifts. Not foolishness."

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Not you," She chuckled and shook her head, nor her husband but that didn't need to be said, "I don't think I've ever seen you even come close to acting out of turn Felix." Which was rare. Even the most loyal, practiced slaves sometimes had moments of foolishness or pompousness above their station. She'd never seen it happen with Felix, but then again she'd only known him properly as her husbands body slave since their return to Rome seven years ago, and who knows what he had gotten up to before and during his absence from the city. 

At his question she shook her head but took a right rather than a left, going a different route than the one that had brought them here. "No, but i need to get out of these crowds, Gods..." She made it to the edge of the stalls and looked over her shoulder at him, stating; "We'll walk the long way round to the litter." Whilst not generally nervous in nature, large crowds of those she didn't know were not her favourite things - as she expected was true for most Roman women of her class. 

She began walking a route that skirted the edge of the market stalls, side stepping to avoid plebs and slaves and patricians alike who weaved in and out of the thinned out crowd. She said, loud enough for Felix to hear; "I understand Aulus is giving you a little more freedom to explore Rome," She knew why as well, but thought it better to let Felix talk - he interested her and it was only a good thing to be on the good side of her husband's body slave, for practical reasons of course; "Have you visited anywhere particularly interesting? I'm afraid women like me are a little more limited in where we can go and who we can see so colour me intrigued..." She shot him a sly smile over her shoulder.

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Not you. I don't think I've ever seen you even come close to acting out of turn Felix." 

Felix blushed a little. He felt plenty of foolish occasionally, even if no one took notice. It was a good feeling to be appreciated, even if what Horatia said was not completely true. Felix was relieved they were done with the shopping, and the domina had a good idea for what to gift her husband.

"No, but i need to get out of these crowds, Gods... We'll walk the long way round to the litter." 

Felix nodded and followed, continuing to keep an eye out for people who might have ideas about getting close to Horatia. The crowds were a lot thinner as they walked the long way around. Felix took a deep breath.

"I understand Aulus is giving you a little more freedom to explore Rome. Have you visited anywhere particularly interesting? I'm afraid women like me are a little more limited in where we can go and who we can see so colour me intrigued..." 

She really sounded curious. Felix sometimes tended to forget that even though she was nobility, and had freedom and privilege he could not dream of, she was still a Roman matron, and therefor limited in her movement somewhat. Some women were more brazen than others in their daily life, but Horatia was the honorable kind, helping Aulus by not drawing attention to herself. Still, she had curiosity. Felix smiled sheepishly as he followed her.

"I have been walking around, watching people... Rome has many things to offer, almost too many to go out and look for, so I just... wander. Found some good food, some good baths... Some beautiful gardens, really."

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Horatia listened intently as they meandered their way in the vague direction of the litter but couldn't help but add: "Watching people sounds awfully ominous Felix." She commented, but lightly and with good humour. 

Glancing over her shoulder so he could hear her in the hum and vibrancy of the market she arched a brow; "And have you found what you've been looking for yet?" She meant the comment to serve a deeper purpose, but supposed Felix was unused to feminine inquisition and decided to be more straightforward. She smiled wryly at him again and narrowed her eyes; "I hear marriage might be on the cards at some point in the future. I had been wondering if that's what you've been spending your free time doing; wife hunting." She grinned broadly now and shook her head, amused.

She had no real sense or any interest really in the lives of her slaves. Those of her fathers had served a purpose and she hadn't been aware of him granting permission for slaves to marry (as much as they could marry of course, it wasn't a 'real marriage' in the sense of her and Aulus' wedding) and nor did she think it had happened recently in Tiberius' house. But then Felix was different, she knew her husband had a connection with him in a way she might never, and it would suit her fine to see sweet Felix happy.

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Watching people sounds awfully ominous Felix." 

Felix blushed again, even though he could tell Horatia was making a joke at his expense. He really couldn't quite explain why he found watching other people go about their business so fascinating. It wasn't like he followed them or spied on them or anything. He just marveled at the diversity of people and lives that filled the streets of Rome. 

"And have you found what you've been looking for yet? I hear marriage might be on the cards at some point in the future. I had been wondering if that's what you've been spending your free time doing; wife hunting."

Felix blinked, surprised that his domina would bring up such a topic. He blushed a shade deeper as he shook his head.

"I am in no position to hunt for a wife, domina." he blurted out, then immediately realized his mistake. "Forgive me. I didn't... mean to sound ungrateful. I just... I just meant I am in no hurry to find a wife at all cost. But I am... considering the idea." Slaves did not have the chance to marry for wealth or rank, really. What remained was choice.

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Horatia listened intently but couldn't help the surprise on her face, not that he saw it given she was facing forward. It was some moments before she spoke again as she worked through the intent behind his words. A small part of her wondered, not unreasonably, whether his attachment to her husband was preventing him from seriously considering a spouse or lover. She was not so naive to believe her husband had never touched Felix, he was handsome and kind and a slave, beholden to the whims of a master. But that didn't seem like Felix. He was understanding and considerate and never overstepped. Surely he wouldn't be foolish enough to get doe eyed and lovestruck by his master?

"I'm glad you're considering it." She intoned as they walked, "A marriage helps one settle, find purpose." She added quietly. It had not been as if she were lost before her husband, but the difference to her life since his return had been marked and for the better. 

A sly grin on her face she glanced over her shoulder, "My body slave likes you, I think, Callista." And the woman certainly lived up to her name; beautiful and discreet. But then she had no idea (why would she!) of Felix's preferences. She walked in silence, ruminating over their conversation. She certainly had no need to delve into the private lives of her slaves but things had been quiet at home recently; her husband taken up with his building project, Titus' impending manhood meant he was pulling farther away from his mother, and even little Calpurnia now had other interests than visiting the gardens with her mother. She had time to kill and the thought of playing match-maker amused her. "And what has your thinking and consideration produced thus far? Do you have women in mind?" She glanced back at him again.

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I'm glad you're considering it. A marriage helps one settle, find purpose."

Felix had been wondering about that. Aulus had said something very similar. He had never considered having a purpose other than serving his masters, and he was as settled down as a slave could ever be. Was marriage something different? It was hard to tell until one tried it.

"My body slave likes you, I think, Callista."

"She does?" Felix blinked. That was obviously news to him. He only saw Callista in passing, since he served Aulus and she served Horatia; they exchanged some words, but never really had a conversation. Honestly, Felix was not even sure how to tell if a woman was interested in him. He was a very observant person, but even he had his blind spots.

"And what has your thinking and consideration produced thus far? Do you have women in mind?"

Horatia seemed really interested in this topic now. It wasn't like Felix could avoid answering his domina. Trying to deflect her questions would have come off as being... rude.

"Not anyone in particular" he admitted, walking along behind her "I have met some women who were... friendly, but I am having a hard time thinking of them that way. As a potential wife, I mean. It feels like a very serious decision. Maybe I should pray to Juno or Venus to help me..."

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"She's a mercurial woman, Callista, who knows what she really thinks...but you'd do well to spend more time with her." It wasn't an instruction, she wouldn't force Felix to socialise with somebody he might not like, but it was an opportunity should he wish to. Then again, Horatia was largely oblivious to the fact that slaves - particularly body slaves - were unlikely to have the free time available to them to properly socialise. 

She listened intently as they walked and nodded, solemnly; "It is a very serious decision, not one to be taken lightly." She affirmed. Divorce was common, of course, amongst the upper classes, but she had no real sense of if it was similar for slaves and their pseudo-marriages. Besides, along with marriage came the inevitable children and she could equally understand if that was an unspoken concern of Felix's. 

Deciding Aulus' slave seemed particularly uncomfortable with the topic, she shrugged her shoulders simply and said; "Well for what it is worth, I think prayers to Venus are a good idea, but I think any woman you choose would be lucky to have you Felix." And she meant the compliment sincerely. Felix was a good man - loyal, kind and decent - not to mention handsome. He'd be a catch, if he were a freeman. Smiling a little to herself, she asked without turning to look at him; "But anyway, back to the letter for Aulus. Is there anything particularly important you think I should include, that he's proud of?" 

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"She's a mercurial woman, Callista, who knows what she really thinks...but you'd do well to spend more time with her." 

"I'll keep that in mind, domina." Felix smirked while Horatia was not looking. As body slaves, neither he nor Callista had much time to spare, unless their masters gave them leave. Of course at this point if they asked, Aulus and Horatia would have approved of them spending time together - body slaves carried many secrets, and things were easier when kept inside the household. Even so, he was not sure if he wanted that at all.

"It is a very serious decision, not one to be taken lightly. Well for what it is worth, I think prayers to Venus are a good idea, but I think any woman you choose would be lucky to have you Felix." 

Any woman who is a slave. Felix very rarely had cynical thoughts like that, and he immediately chided himself for it. Way to sidestep his domina's compliment. "Thank you, domina."

"But anyway, back to the letter for Aulus. Is there anything particularly important you think I should include, that he's proud of?" 

"Loyalty." Felix said after a few moments of consideration "He values his loyalty to his friends, and to the imperials. He has always acted with that in mind."

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She meant the compliment. She wouldn't be surprised if the other slave girls in the house had their eyes on Felix. But then again, perhaps not. His role in the house made him indispensable to Aulus and her husband had never even floated the prospect of manumission for his favourite slave. Perhaps the other girls had eyes for those they saw that they might be able to make a life with, outside of slavery. 

Listening to his answer she nodded and smiled a little. That certainly sounded like Aulus. She didn't say that such things were already on the list and instead smiled over her shoulder at him. 

"Has he ever done anything particularly loyal, maybe during your flight or in Britannia, which I don't know about?" She'd got a roster of things to add to the letter, but she didn't doubt there were things he'd yet to tell her about his absence, all those years ago.

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Has he ever done anything particularly loyal, maybe during your flight or in Britannia, which I don't know about?"

Felix wanted to be useful to Horatia; her idea was good, and he knew Aulus would be impressed with the effort and caring she put into it. He sifted through his memories of the years he'd spent by Aulus' side. He knew his master way loyal, because he kept his given word to everyone, including Felix. But being good to a slave was probably not something someone his rank wanted to read on his list of main accomplishments.

"The flight was an act of loyalty, in a way." he noted. He was sure Horatia already had that on the list, though. He mused some more. "I once... saw him save a man, back in Britannia. We were crossing a river at high water, it was raining, and one of the soldiers lost his footing... Dominus went after him before anyone else, and just... got a hold of him until others got there to help. He earned a lot of respect from the men that day."

@Sara

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The pride on Horatia's face as Felix spoke could not be accurately measured. Aulus - for all his accomplishments, both personal and politically - was still a modest man. It was one of the reasons she had accepted his suit. She was not a woman that enjoyed the limelight, and her reserved personality relished a man that could be so accomplished yet didn't need to shout from the rooftops about it. She felt a dull ache in her heart as a lurch of love came over her again, much like when she was just a teenager and had seen him for the first time. 

"He doesn't tell me things like that." She mused, but there was no malice in her voice, "Which is why I'm very grateful we have you." She knew full well that in a lot of marriages - at least amongst the patricians - a mans body slave was often closer to his dominus than a wife might be. 

Deciding against asking anymore probing questions - she did not wish Aulus to think of her as suspicious or shrewish by digging into  his life where he did not share it openly with her - she just narrowed her eyes and started reciting, as they walked; "So his accomplishments...on the personal side we have to mention the children - two healthy, beautiful, respectful...for the most part children, and in his career we have the flight out of Rome, his positions across the Empire..." An idea struck her and she glanced back at Felix; "Do you think any of his comrades from that time would be willing to write testimonials for how much they value him? Or is that delving too far? I wouldn't want people to mow him for this..." She bit at her lip. To a woman, she thought, having the gushing admiration on paper from friends and colleagues would be adored - no doubt - but she didn't want Aulus to be  the subject of ridicule because of her outlandish gift ideas if she wrote to Titus Sulpicius Rufus or Lucius Cassius Longinus.

 

TAG: @Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...