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It was a late afternoon and she had snuck out. Septima felt a little excited as she walked down the street, alone – there was no chaperone and her sister wasn’t here. No slave, nothing. She was on her own! Of course it wasn’t the first time, but she grew more brave and bold and she just wanted to go out and try and live life a little bit. That’s all she wanted. She wore a light green chiton today, with a simple (but beautiful!) dark green palla over her shoulders. Her long hair had long, wavy curls and was pulled a bit back from her face. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. It was a beautiful day.

She didn’t really have a plan for where to go. Maybe she’d go and see a race, on her own? Or a gladiator match. She’d love to see that, without any escorts, so she could truly try and experience it. Or maybe she would just go and watch them train. She’d heard they could be quite handsome, some of them, big and muscular brutes and she was kind of interesting in looking at that.

But maybe if she came close to the ludii, that’s where she would go. Maybe a trip to the market at first, buy something to eat for herself and then find a nice place to eat it. There were many places where you could buy a quick meal when you were out and about.

Septima finally arrived at the large marketplace. She stood for a moment, just taking it in. It was then she saw a girl from far away, but thougth she looked familiar – an old friend of hers that she had not seen in years. Septima smiled and decided to approach her, but the girl then walked away with her escort and Septima followed her. They disappeared in the crowd though and Septima stopped, not sure it was a good idea to follow. Maybe it wasn’t her anyway.

It was then someone walked by her and bumped into her and then hurried away. She arched a brow, not sure what that was about and headed back to the market to find some food. She reached for her purse and… it was gone! 

“Oh no…” She looked towards where the person bumping into her went, but they were long gone now, she imagined. This was not good... and she was hungry!

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Caecina Tusca glanced up into the blue sky, shielding her eyes with one carefully manicured hand. It was a beautiful day for a gladitorial match, which was exactly where she was heading, accompanied by her trusty slave Astraea as well as two bodyguards. The hustle and bustle of this area was not the girl's favorite, especially because she was in close proximity to the lower classes, but the matches more than made up for the filth in the streets. Carefully holding her dark blue palla out of the mire, Caecina strolled along, glancing at the bolts of colorful fabric. Perhaps there was time to do a little shopping before heading to the gladiators. 

 

But just then, she heard a cry of surprise. Glancing around, she saw an acquaintance, Septima Major. Putting on a charming smile, she headed toward her, but her smile dropped when she realized that Septima was the one who had cried out. "Oh, dear, what happened?" 

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This was not how it was supposed to go, she thought to herself. She was out to have a bit of fun on her own, just stroll around Rome and have a bite and watch a race or take a closer look at those infamous gladiators, but she wanted the bite first. And then she was robbed! This was messed up and she stood there, staring in the direction where the thief went and had no idea what to do. It was probably too late anyway, he was long gone and she didn't even get a good glimpse of him before he was gone. Now she had no money and she had no escort to take her home or hand her some extra coin. 

Then she was approached, although she didn't see Caecina before she was close - there were so many people here. She nearly jumped when she was spoken to, but then looked at Caecina who had both a slave and two bodyguards with her. Not quite out alone like Septima. Gods, she was going to notice Septima was out alone! She was not as highly ranked as Caecina, she was not related to the Imperial family, but she knew Caecina from social events where they'd both been. They were more or less the same age and shared a few interests, like wanting to marry someone handsome and wealthy. But that's not why any of them were here, she imagined.

"I... just got here and..." Septima began, sighing and then inched a bit closer to Caecina, speaking with a lower voice, "Someone stole my purse. Did you ever have that happen to you?" She then asked, she didn't want the slave or the guards to hear and hoped Caecina wouldn't tell on her. 

@Echo

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Caecina remembered Septima from the same social gatherings, though they weren't the same rank and Caecina rarely had time for people below her unless they were entertaining. She remembered Septima as a genuine and kind person, so Caecina had warm feelings for her, though they weren't close. And even though she wasn't prone to compassion or pity, she covered her mouth in surprise when she hear her acquaintance's plight. "That's terrible! I declare, the crime in this city is out of control." She looked around for someone who looked like they were with Septima, but it seemed she was alone. "No, that has never happened to me. Did you see where the thief went?" Caecina couldn't help but think being out alone was a recipe for disaster, though she did envy Septima a bit. Astraea was like a clinging burr on Caecina, almost never leaving her alone. But she would probably get into a lot more trouble without the wise old Greek woman. 

@Atrice

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Caecina seemed shocked that Septima had been robbed and that made her feel a little bit better. Because by the gods of Rome and Egypt, it was wrong that a young lady like her should be robbed in the middle of one of the markets on Rome. And Fortuna must have left her, because she thought it would be a nice day, but now it was not. Caecina's presence made it a little bit better though.

"It really is! I can't believe this happened to me." Septima agreed that the crime must be out of control. Not that she had a lot of experience with it, but now she had some and that was more than none. And she'd have preferred none. It was really outrageous. Caecina said she'd never been robbed and wondered where the thief went. Septima could only sigh once more.

"He went in that direction, I think." She motioned in among the stalls at the market where he disappeared, "But I didn't get a good look. So I don't know what he looks like. I'll never get it back." She said, "I had hoped to have a fun day and now..." She said. Maybe she should try and think about something else, to feel a little bit better. This was not a nice feeling, after all, "I hope your day is better than mine. How come you're here?" 

@Echo

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Thankfully, Caecina had been shielded from the crime in the city, but the stories she had heard were not pleasant. Thieves were running rampant, from what she had heard. But Caecina never went anywhere without at least Astraea, and never to the marketplace without a guard. The young woman gazed in the direction the thief had went, sighing in commiseration. "I am very sorry that happened to you," she said earnestly. Septima had been wanting to have a pleasant day and her loss struck a chord with Caecina. 

 

"I was actually shopping for some fabric for a new chiton. But now I've met you, I simply cannot leave you alone. Why don't you accompany me?" 

@Atrice

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Caecina was very nice, sighing too and said she was sorry this happened to Septima. Septima was sorry too, but what could she do? She hoped no one would ask questions once she got home. She knew she might have to explain where she'd been all day, but how to explain the missing purse? Hopefully they wouldn't notice and she could just ask her grandfather really nicely about getting a new one. Tell him it was broken or something. That was for later though, right now her day was ruined and she tried to think about something else by wondering why Caecina was here. She spoke about shopping for new fabric, although now she'd not leave Septima on her own.

"That's very nice of you." Septima replied, "You're sure it won't be inconvenient for you? Since you had an actual errand?" She asked, she didn't want to get in Caecina's way, but the other girl really did seem nice and she wouldn't mind spending time with her. Surely her family also wouldn't mind her making friends with someone of a higher rank than herself - it could lead to new acquaintances and who knew what men entertained Caecina. Perhaps Septima could find a husband of Senatorial rank too.

@Echo

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Caecina hadn't really been seriously shopping. It would be nice to get some new fabric, but really, she was in no big hurry to get one. Shopping was just something that she enjoyed doing, looking at all the things she would like to buy if she were allowed to. The girl waved her hand flippantly. "Not at all, I'm really just window shopping," she laughed. Septima might rank below her but it was never a bad thing to have friends. Plus, Septima might know other people that Caecina would want to meet. She was learning that all types of people had their uses, even if it was just a friendly person to talk to. 

 

Caecina turned her attention back to the other girl. "What were you planning to do today?" Caecina wouldn't mind paying for Septima to join her at the gladiatorial games, or for their lunches. 

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Septima didn't want to interrupt Caecina's day, but she just laughed at Septima and said she wasn't seriously shopping, just looking at things it seemed. Well that was nice, because Septima was definitely not shopping now that her purse had been stolen. She was still a bit wary about going home without it, so staying out a bit longer together with Caecina definitely seemed like a better idea! Caecina asked what plans she had and Septima thought about what to say for  few moments.

"I had wanted to get something to eat and then maybe go see a race..." She said and leaned closer again, "... or gladiators! I haven't seen a lot of such fights but I hear they can be quite... interesting." She added with a little smile, she wanted to see the gladiators, not the fights, to be honest. Septima was growing more and more curious about boys and men and the ones around her at home, they were always so... well polite and even posh, sometimes. Gladiators often showed a lot more skin, brutes that they were, but she was curious about that part too. She hoped Caecina would agree.

@Echo

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Septima explained her plan for the day and a bright smile lit up Caecina's face. "What a pleasant coincidence, I was just thinking about going to see a fight." The girl had been to several fights recently and couldn't get enough of them. Like Septima, she enjoyed a taste of the male physique that could only be witnessed at a fight and maintain one's reputation as pious and modest! For a time now, Caecina had fostered an appreciation of male bodies, particularly in the hope that she would marry a handsome young man herself. 

 

"That settles it, then," she said grandly. "We shall go and see the gladiators. Do you know anywhere good to eat around here? I confess, I mostly eat at home." It was shaping up to be a thoroughly pleasant day. Enjoying the opposite gender with a friend to whisper with was exactly the kind of thing Caecina enjoyed. 

@Atrice

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Caecina smiled when Septima explained quietly that she considered going to see a gladiator game and apparently the other young lady had though about the same. Septima chuckled and Caecina said that's what they would do then... but they had to find something to eat first. 

"It's going to be so exciting to see a gladiator fight." Especially without any of her family members or any guards from home. It would be very exciting she thought! And Caecina actually didn't seem like a bad friend to have in this case at all. She might even get better seats at the arena than Septima would have been able to and although there were no big games going on today, there was always something, she knew that. But food first, it seemed.

"Well there are plenty of thermopolia..." She said, "Not that I go there so often either, but I hear most of them are very good. There's one over there." She motioned in the direction of the nearest place, where you could get a warm meal and take with you. There were a lot of such places in Rome, not everyone lived in a fancy domus with its own kitchen. She knew many of the plebes couldn't cook at home. 

@Echo

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Caecina grinned. "The gladiators are so fierce, it is almost frightening. I'm thankful they're in the arena and I'm just watching!" she joked. Caecina looked in the direction Septima was pointing. "Perfect, that's where we will go!" She started in that direction, her stomach rumbling slightly. She hadn't realized how hungry she was until they had started talking about food. While they walked, Caecina considered what to talk about. "Have you been to many fights? I haven't been in a while, but there is always interesting to watch."

@Atrice

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Septima nodded at Caecina's comments about the gladiators, "Yes, better keep a safe distance from them. We just want to watch them fight, after all." She said, but with a playful smile, because she probably was not really watching them for the sake of the fight. Although it was incredible to watch them fight, they were so brutal and beastly and no ordinary Roman would fight the way they did, she was sure of that. But that's also what made them so interesting. She couldn't help but be a bit curious about them, probably like most other young ladies in Rome, who never saw a half-naked man except for gladiators. 

Food first though and they approached the nearest thermopolia, where you could buy a hot meal or something else to eat on the way. Caecina asked if she'd been to many fights while they walked, "I haven't been that often, but of course, a few times. I've never been there on my own though." Until now. And she really wasn't on her own after all, so it was perfectly fine, right? Caecina had two guards and her trusted slave with her, so Septima could even claim she had a chaperone now. Not that it was her plan for the day, but it was probably best in the long run. 

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"Well, I am sure we will have a marvelous time together!" The pair stopped for food in the thermopolia. Once they had the parcels in hand, it was to the stadium! Caecina led the way, comfortable with that position, and once they reached the stadium, she led the way to her family's normal seats. "We have such a good view from here," she commented. The gladiators were not yet in the stadium, so Caecina suggested they eat first. 

"I have been considering becoming a patron for a gladiator, but I haven't brought it up to my father or Juliana. I can't imagine they would let me," she giggled. 

@Atrice

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Septima smiled to her acquaintance, maybe even a friend, if they continued to have a good time together. The day had certainly turned out differently than she planned, but not in a bad way. Her grandmother always taught her to smile and make new friends and connections when she could, and well, she could right now it would seem. Together they stopped to buy something to eat, "I am sure too." Septima replied and soon they had their food and continued to the stadium nearby. It was kind of exciting, coming here without family, although she wasn't alone after all. They did have a good seat, a bit better than what she was used to - which wasn't bad at all. 

While they sat down, Caecina shared her idea for becoming patron for a gladiator, "It sounds exciting though, I think you should try and ask. I doubt my grandfather would ever let me do such a thing." She said and unwrapped the food, looking down in the arena, where a couple of other slaves were pretending to fight, but doing it wrong all the time, making the crowd laugh - just to have something to do while waiting for the actual fight. "Do you know any of these gladiators? They have quite fierce names sometimes." 

@Echo

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Caecina smiled when her companion said that her grandfather would probably never let her become a patron. "Maybe my father will let me if I don't ask for anything else for while. You should ask too - maybe we could even go in together, split the cost?" She was really just being hypothetical; there was no way her father, let alone Juliana, who had a much tighter rein on her, would let her do such a thing. 

Then, Septima asked if she knew any of the gladiators and she shook her head. "I'm not very good with names, if I am honest. I recognize faces I've seen multiple times, but I can't always remember their names. What about you?" 

@Atrice

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Caecina said she could try and ask her father if she could be patron for a gladiator and then suggested they could go in it together. Septima looked at her, not sure if Caecina was joking or if this was the real deal, "It sounds like fun. Maybe it could work?" She suggested, but she honestly wasn't sure. Maybe she could talk to her twin sister about it and see what she thought. She suspected though that Clio would not think it was a good idea, but maybe she could persuade her anyway. Being patron for a gladiator sounded exciting. Think, to pracically own one of those beasts! She looked down on the entertaining gladiator-clowns, who were not impressive, but at least amusing. And Caecina said she didn't recall any names of gladiators, but she was better with names.

"I don't know their names so well either. And you can't well see their faces from here." She said, looking at the arena. But you could see their bodies, at least. One of the entertainers had won over the other now and that match was over, so they left. An announcer said that the actual gladiators would show up very soon. 

"Do you think we could meet one? After they've fought. I've heard that if you pay, you can meet them." She said thoughtfully, looking at the men entering the arena now. 

@Echo

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"Well, we shall see, I suppose," she said with a laugh. She really didn't mean to ask him for it, but it was fun to speculate. "Who would you patronize if you had the chance?" Caecina opened her food as well and ate a few bites. Then Septima remarked that you couldn't see their faces from here. "No, you're right, you can't. But I have been close enough to see their faces a few times. Not often. But a few."

@Atrice

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Caecina wondered whom Septima would become patron of, if she had the chance. It was a fun dream to have, but she was certain her grandfather would say no and her sister too. She looked at the men who had entered the arena and smiled playfully, "Someone really muscular and handsome." She said with a grin. It really could be interesting to see one of them up close and Caecina said she had seen them up close before. Septima looked at her with a curious gaze, "Really? What were they like? Brutal beasts like those down there?" She had never met a gladiator. She met that man with the races, Marcus, but the races and the gladiators could not be compared that much, she thought. 

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