Jump to content
Aeterna Roma RPG

Recommended Posts

Late April, 75 AD

It had been a good day at the Ludus Magnus. Alexius had really begun enjoying it there. First there was lovely Thessala, who was a great friend and a great sparring partner. She seemed to enjoy fighting with him too. And then there was Annis and how could he not adore Annis? Gods that woman was just sexy and fun and… so many good things. Their medicus was nice enough too, Alexius liked him and really, all the gladiators, it reminded him of the good old days and it was never bad to watch them train up close either. Surrounded by dirt and sweat, but for some reason, he liked it like that!

After sparring with Thessala today, he went to the nearby public baths together with some of the other gladiators, to clean up before going out tonight. It was late afternoon and as far as he knew, Oriana didn’t need him tonight. She hadn’t said so. They had fallen apart lately… so he thought he might just go out and enjoy a drink or ten and someone lovely too.

There were other people in the baths too of course and Alexius noticed a young man looking towards the area where the gladiators were bathing and joking between each other. He almost felt as if he was one of them, but of course he wasn't. He could leave. They would have to return to the ludus, they were slaves. Alexius gave a young man watching them a smile, while he dried his body with a towel and got dressed in his blue-grey tunica and short breeches again. Then he exited the baths and stood for a moment outside the gates, stretching his arms and legs a bit. Gods it had been such a good day today! Fighting made him feel alive!

As he stood there, the young guy from before walked up the road towards where he stood, probably actually planning to walk past him… but Alexius saw the way he looked earlier and honestly… the youth didn’t look too bad himself! “Greetings... I think I saw you just before, didn't I? You saw something, I know that.” He'd been naked, after all. Alexius asked with a playful tone and a wink, when the younger man was close enough.

@Ejder

Edited by Atrice
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Florus had gone to the baths after a long day of planting trees. He loved doing it, but there was no denying it was gruelling hard work. A bath was no luxury at the end of a day such as this. He had felt a lot more relaxed after his time in the hot water pool, his muscles finally soothed. It had been relaxing, that is, until the gladiators had come along. That had brought along a good deal of stress. Those men were loud, possibly obnoxious, and called a lot of attention unto themselves.  Most of them were tall, and all of them were muscular, Florus could see. They flexed their muscles, and walked around the baths, in the nude, proud of their bodies. They certainly had reason enough to be.

After deliberately trying to ignore them, the young gardener found he could not resist the urge anymore, and decided to look at them as discretely as possible. Of course, open-mouthed gaping was in no way discrete, but he wasn't one to know. Eventually, one of them turned towards him and smiled. Florus blushed deeply, and realised he had to leave the baths.

After he had taken care of things, he quickly got dressed and exited the baths, hoping to get back to the villa without any issue.

Issue found him, of course. The gladiator who had smiled at him was just ahead of him on the road, and he was talking to him and winking, which meant there was no way the gardener could avoid him.

He was still flustered, he found, and though he was not small himself, suddenly felt very tiny compared to the other man. 'Apologies. I didn't mean to– that is to say, I wasn't–' Florus trailed off. He sure had seen something indeed.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Alexius didn’t really feel like he’d been prancing around in the baths, but he did have a good looking body and he did know it. Oh he knew it! And he didn’t mind people looking, he wasn’t shy… he’d been a slave and tried a bit of this and that back then and now, it was just natural to be like this. But he’d bathed and a bath slave had rubbed him with a bit of oil and now he was dressed and feeling rather good. A good spar with Thessala, a nice bath and now… he could use some wine and some fun.

The youth who’d been looking his way in the bath, whom he smiled at, had blushed openly when Alexius smiled. How charming. He was good looking, the young man. And there was no harm done in flirting with someone that good looking, who’d already looked him over.

He spoke playfully to the young man when he walked past Alexius and the other seemed almost flustered and apologized and stumbled over his words. Gods! It was very adorable!

“No need to apologize, I don’t mind it. At all.” Alexius said and he couldn’t help himself and honestly, why should he even try? Why shouldn’t he just… go ahead and say and do what he wanted to? There was honestly no reason to beat around the bush when he was feeling as refreshed and good as he did right now, “Maybe you want to explain yourself though… over a drink? If you have the time?”

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Florus was doing an admirable job of not staring, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, at the man in front of him. He was fascinated by how a man could become so muscular. Himself, he wasn't too shabby, what with all the hard work he put in the gardens. He was young, but his body was starting to take shape. His shoulders weren't as broad, though, and he was more wiry than bulky. Still, he was toned, and when he occasionally glanced at himself in a pool of water, he didn't hate what he saw. Surely it was normal to wonder about other men's bodies. Surely anyone looking at the display of men on offer would need to excuse himself from a room too?

The man was making him blush, however, and he wasn't sure how to respond to it. He was being kind, saying that Florus' gaze hadn't bothered him, but the gardener knew it was bad manners to stare. 'I don't know if I can,' he answered. Did he have permission to do that? And why was the other man doing him the kindness of offering him a drink? He was sure there wasn't much else he could say, apart from offering excuses, but since the other man had said he didn't mind...

'I don't know what I can explain,' he said. 'I don't have much in the way of money.' This man didn't look like he was strapped for coins, but Florus had just spent all he was carrying, which admittedly wasn't much, on a mutton skewer and the baths.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The younger man was staring at him. Oh he tried to hide it, but he didn’t do a very good job. Good thing Alexius wasn’t shy. It really would be a pity if he didn’t invite this youth out for a drink or two and who knew what else? Not that Alexius would demand anything or take advantage of anyone, but he knew what he wanted when he saw it and no… he was not reluctant or modest about it at all. More the opposite, in fact.

He noticed how the other blushed at his words and then naturally proceeded to invite the young man out for a drink. Why not, right? But he said he didn’t know if he could or if there was anything to explain. He also had no money.

“I don’t mind paying. I’m going for a drink anyway, there’s a nice little place not too far away from here. Come, I know this part of Rome like I know my purse.” He said with a smile, “Unless you’re very busy to return to your master. But surely, one drink won’t hurt anyone.” Really there wasn’t anything he needed the young man and slave to explain, it was all very obvious to him, why he was looking at Alexius that way and why he was blushing now. Blushing, at that age though? He was older than Alexius’ son, surely - he was no boy. Maybe he was new in Rome?

“I’m Alexius, by the way. And you?” He said, maybe the young man would be more open to him if he introduced himself properly.

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Florus swallowed hard as the other man stated he was inviting him. With his own money. He wasn't sure why, but it felt like butterflies had colonized his stomach, fluttering around, and even making his head light. The sun was shining brightly, and the young gardener figured it must be hitting his head a bit too hard. Drinks were something he could acquiesce to. At least the one drink. That seemed fine. He had enough time for one drink.

'If you're certain it's no trouble, then I accept,' Florus replied politely. 'They call me Florus,' Florus wasn't his name, but that was still what he was called in Rome. He didn't have much of a choice but to use it.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

One drink never hurt – it was only several hat might do so and then it would not be until tomorrow they hurt… either because he had a bit of a hangover or because he got in some sort of fight and the bruises were something he’d look at when he woke again. He was pleased to hear that the younger man accepted the invitation… that was a good start, wasn’t it? Gods he was so polite, so charmingly adorable in his own way. He almost seemed kind of… innocent? Yes, he deemed, that was definitely the word he was looking for.

He introduced himself too, with a name that suited his person. Florus was kind of a flower, was he not? Maybe even unplucked… Alexius would have to be good to him. He would have to do his very best. Good thing he was plenty experienced, also with youths like Florus. He’d been out and sleeping around in years, with men and women, after all. He was plenty experienced to know someone fresh when he saw them.

“Good to meet you Florus.” Alexius said, while leading the way towards the little tavern he knew nearby, “It really is no trouble and I’m always happy to meet someone new. Have you been in Rome for long?”

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

'Likewise, Alexius,' Florus twittered back, cheeks still pink, liking how the name sounded on his tongue. It was difficult not to stare at the man, with his impressive bulk, and muscles, and face... Florus wondered what they felt like to the touch. It was exactly thoughts like that that had made him need to leave the baths, earlier, though, so he needed to simmer down.

Looking at the stones on the road was much easier, and provided some much needed distance. The steam in the baths must have gotten to his head: he didn't normally behave like this. Sure, people like gladiators were hard to miss, but he kept his distance away from them the rest of the time, as he did with everyone.

'Two and a half years, but I have not gotten out much,' he said. 'I'm a gardener, I am kept very busy. What is it you do?' He felt very brazen.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Alexius wondered if he should ask Florus why he was looking at him so much; had he never been so close to another man or touched him or anything? Had he just come to Rome from somewhere else and knew nothing about this city, maybe? And what it was like living here and enjoying life here? Alexius knew all about that and he'd be more than happy to share advice and more with this handsome young guy. Now however, Florus was staring at the ground while they walked. Alexius made some idle talk while they walked, wondering how long Florus had been here for. The young man explained himself and was curious too.

"A gardener... of course, with such a name." He said with a friendly smile, "I've been here most of my life. I was a gladiator for many years, but after I was freed, I've taken jobs here and there. As a guard and so on - I still like to fight. It's hard to shake something like that off, once you've gotten used to it." And besides, what else could he do? He never learned to read and write very well, that's why the job as a lanista did not suit him well. And he wouldn't know what else to do with his life. Protecting people was something he knew and fighting was something he knew. So working as a guard was best for him.

"Here we are. Nice little place, isn't it?" He walked into the tavern he'd been thinking about, gave a smile to one of the girls there - they knew him, he knew them - and then picked a place to sit for him and Florus. He wouldn't have to tell the barmaids what he would order; they knew he would need a jar of wine and since he was here with someone, two cups to drink from.

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The other man was friendly, and helped put Florus at ease. A lot more at ease than he was around Tranquillus, at any rate, who always just stood there, staring at him as though trying to pierce holes in his soul. The gardener wasn't sure why he'd congured up the image of the body slave. He didn't have anything to do with this situation, after all.

'I didn't choose this name,' Florus replied automatically. It sounded like a joke when he introduced himself. A gardener named Florus. How appropriate. Well, it hadn't been his choice. Samorix was just as fine a name as any, and it was his name, which made it even better. He wasn't about to share it with the other man, though. It felt too intimate to give out to the first stranger he met. He'd told his name to Cinnia, but then, she'd told him hers, and they were both Britons. In a city like Rome, he had to believe they were not strangers.

'I would make a bad gladiator,' Florus confessed. He hadn't made a great warrior. Captured in his first battle without his older brother to protect him, it wasn't something he was very proud of. But honestly, he was a farmer, not someone avid for combat. He liked peace and quiet and nature, and there was nothing about war that offered that. 'You were freed?' The young Briton turned eyes full of wonder at the gladiator. So apparently, it was possible. 'What do you do now? How were you freed?' And especially important to the gardener, how long had it taken? Some people had been slaves their entire lives; it sounded like an intolerable amount of time to the young Briton.

Eventually they arrived to the tavern. It was quite small. Alexius seemed to be well known here, because already they were bringing him wine, along with two cups. The girls smiled at the both of them, and Florus offered them a neutral look in exchange. They made him feel uneasy, but in a different way than Alexius was. 'I've never been in a tavern before,' he said. He'd barely ever tasted wine, either. Mostly just a sip here and there, out of curiosity, but never a ful glass, like he sensed Alexius was goign to serve him.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well he did his best to make people feel comfortable around him – and especially people as attractive as Florus here, because why would you not want to make such a handsome youth feel comfortable around you? Alexius could only come up with reasons why to make him feel like that. Florus however mentioned how he didn’t chose his name, even though it fit him since he was a gardener. He sounded a bit bitter about it, which made sense.

“Apologies… it’s often like that. I didn’t choose my name either. But I don’t recall the one my parents gave me.” Maybe it was close to his old slave name, Lexus, maybe it wasn’t. He didn’t know. He remembered a few things from his early childhood, but the name wasn’t one of them. Mostly he remembered his sister, that he’d not seen in more than two decades. Then Alexius had also explained what he did for a living and Florus said he’d be a bad gladiator, but grew more interested when Alexius shared that he was freed. Alexius smiled, leading the way into the tavern, where he was well known. Florus however confessed he’d never been in such a place before. Gods, he was so… green, wasn’t he? Inexperienced, even more so than Alexius’ own 15 year old son! Well, Alexius would be happy to teach him a thing or two… about many things.

“I was freed, yes… I’d been a gladiator for almost ten years I think? And I was well-known too; the champion of my ludus. One day, the old patron died and his son took over. And I dared to ask him for my freedom… and he agreed, to my great surprise!” Alexius explained, “I mostly take jobs that have to do with fighting, though. It’s all I know. I’ve been a bodyguard to a noble lady for the past year, but now I’m in the market again.” He said, he wasn’t shy and had no issues with sharing his story. He was in the market for many things, really. Both for a new and more steady job; and for someone new to share his bed with (or theirs, it didn’t really matter, as long as he got some).

“So you’ve never been in a tavern before? Here…” He looked up as one of the barmaids brought them an entire jar of wine and two cups. Alexius, as the one who invited Florus, poured for the youth and then he lifted his own cup to a toast, “To your first time in a tavern. May you enjoy it… what do you prefer to be called, if not Florus?”

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Florus was torn between gaping and furrowing his brow. Alexius didn't remember his own name? That was just... It was sad. How long did you have to be a captive for before you forgot your own identity? Would it happen to him? Never! It couldn't possibly. No. Florus would rather die than forget he was Samorix of the Silures. He gave the other man his usual neutral expression so as not to show him his bewilderment. It must be upsetting not to remember your own name, and the gardener didn't want to remind the man of it, or make him think he pitied him.

The story of Alexius being freed was really inspiring, and it was so, so, so much better than Cinnia's story about her friend. Between that and the horror stories of crucifixion, Florus didn't have much hope for the rest of his life. The best he could hope for was a master who wasn't too much of a brute, and to fall under the radar and be noticed as little as possible and never get in any trouble.

'You asked him for your freedom, and he gave it to you, just like that?' It almost sounded too good to be true. Had Alexius had to do something unspeakable to earn his freedom?

He took the cup of wine from Alexius' hand, and shook his head. 'Never. I'm relatively new to my household, I haven't been able to leave the villa until recently.' And why would his first placeto visit be a tavern?

'Gratitude,' he said, toasting the other man. He pursed his lips and contemplated Alexius for a second. Should he really be giving out his name just like that? Might he get in trouble for it? It hadn't been the same with Cinnia, he figured. They were compatriots. He took a sip of the wine, which was cool and went down well, although the taste was surprising. After a moment's consideration, he looked back at Alexius. 'Samorix. I've never really had wine before. It's... pleasant.'

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

He’d only been 7 years old when he was captured and sold to Rome and almost right away, he was given a new name and kept that until he was freed. Alexius had focused on adapting and trying to take care of his little sister and apparently, responding to a new name was one of the ways to make the adults back then be less angry with him. And then it just stuck. Now it was even part of his freedman name, but he always called himself Alexius and rarely used the first two names unless he had to. He’d always been Lexus… and now Alexius. He didn’t give it much thought at all.

Florus seemed surprised though, but kept on listening to Alexius telling his story in short. He seemed surprised to hear how Alexius had been freed and he chuckled, “Well I’d been a slave for over 15 years at the time. And I’d brought fame and fortune to the ludus. The new owner was friendly, so… he gave it to me. I still have this. It's a rudis, it is given to gladiators when they are freed.” He pulled a small wooden sword from his belt to show it to the youth.. It was very worn now, far from new, it was now over ten years since he was freed, but he never lost his rudis. It was proof that he was a free man.

He was surprised to hear that Florus had never been in a tavern and toasted to that, while Florus confirmed it. Not been able to leave the villa? Alexius smiled, “Well I’m glad you were able to leave now then, else I’d never have met you.” He said and winked at the youth before downing a good gulp of the wine. Florus then confessed his real name; Samorix. But what was even more interesting was the next truth that came. Alexius’ eyes widened for a moment, “You never had wine before?! Gods… and this isn’t even the best sort.” He said with a grin, “Wine’s good though.” Maybe he was a little bit too fond of a lot of wine... and the more he had, the friendlier he got, “If I see you again, I’ll make sure to get you some good wine next time. If you'd like, of course. I know I'd not mind seeing you again.”

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Florus looked in wonder at the other man's wooden sword. So that little piece of wood, that was a symbol of his freedom? Did he have to carry it always? What if he lost it? Would he be enslaved again? What of other freed slaves? Did they also get a rudis,  or did they get a little piece of wood that was symbolic of the work they had done? Fifteen years was a long time, though. It certainly was the majority of his life. It felt crazy to him that anyone could spend that long catering to someone else' every whim.

Florus blushed as the other man made friendly banter with him. He wasn't used to people being so friendly with him, but maybe that was because he didn't interact with people a lot. The older man made him feel strange, but he gathered it was because of the wine. 'I've had mead before,' he protested. He was not some innocent child! He'd lived a little! 'Gratitude, but you don't have to get me anything.' They barely knew each other, why would the man want to pay him anything? He wouldn't mind seeing him again, of course, but it was rather intriguing that Alexius would go all out for a practical stranger.

'Can I touch it? Your rudis?'

 

@Atrice

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Alexius saw how Florus looked at the wooden sword he showed him and smiled, Alexius was happy with the rudis too of course. He was kind of glad that he’d been a gladiator and not some ordinary slave; having his head shaved upon freedom and forced to wear that odd pileus hat… that just didn’t sound like something that would look good on him. The wooden sword he always kept with him and that suited him much better. It was his proof of freedom; should he lose it, he could no longer prove he was a freed slave. He’d keep it until his death!

But Florus was sadly still a slave, although Alexius would enjoy giving him hope. Florus was handsome, there were a great many things Alexius would enjoy giving him. They were having wine now and he was surprised to hear Florus never tasted it before, so he promised he could get him even better wine if they met again. If Florus would want to… Florus protested that he had mead before and Alexius nodded, “Mead is nice too. I don’t like it too sweet though. I like it spiced somehow.” He said, he had plenty of experience with all kinds of alcohol.

Florus said Alexius would not have to give him anything, “But if I want to, I hope you won’t say no.” Alexius said, a grin on his face and a spark in his eyes, while he lifted the cup again and drank some more. Florus then asked if he could touch the rudis…

The grin did not fade from his face, asking to touch another man’s hard sword… well… that could mean a lot of things. Alexius knew what he thought it meant, “Of course.” He said and pulled it from his belt once more and laid it on the table before Florus, “Inspect it all you like. Just don’t break it.” He doubted Florus would, but he couldn’t lose this particular item – perhaps his most valuable possession. He watched Florus intently while the other took a closer look at the rudis. Gods it suited him with such a thing in his hands!

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

'I've not had it often enough to compare different tastes,' Florus admitted. Back in Britannia, he had mostly still been a child, and as such, the mead he drank had been reserved for special occasions. After his father's death, and after his brother's death, there hadn't really been many celebrations in his family that called for the drinking of mead. He wondered if Alexius licked his lips after drinking mead, briefly, and shook the thought out of his head. Then he wondered whether Tranquillus drank mead sometimes. These thoughts were really random, and he pushed them away easily.

Alexius made his stomach squirm. Florus didn't know that wine could do that so quickly, especially not after so little time and only a single sip. Maybe things would get better after another sip? He drank again, and waited. Difficult to notice any change. 'If it please you, then I will accept,' he said. Florus was always polite, and especially so with people older than himself.

He grabbed the rudis, and examined its length, touching it, mouth slightly agape. He ran his hand along its smooth surface, inspecting its notches and liking the feeling of it in his hands. He wouldn't ever get one, because he wasn't a gladiator, but still, it was nice to hold something that meant freedom. Eventually, he handed it back to Alexius. 'Gratitude. You're lucky to own such a thing.' Even if it meant he had had to endure the previous years to earn it. Freedom shouldn't be earned.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Alexius nodded when the younger man explained he’d not had mead enough to compare tastes. So they’d have to drink both good wine and mead next time. He wondered what Florus would be like if he was drunk… easier to approach maybe… maybe less cautious and polite and more relaxed? Many people were like that, when they were drunk. Alexius did not fall out of order there, he was just the same. Very open-minded and friendly when drink. Maybe also with a little bit of a temper, if provoked, but that could also happen when he was not drunk.

Florus agreed they might meet again and have a drink, said he’d accept if it pleased Alexius, “It would please me very much. If it would please you too.” He said. Not that he’d force the youth to do anything he didn’t want to… but hopefully he did want it. To meet again, that was. And who knows what else?

He handed the rudis over to Florus’ hands when the younger man asked and Alexius watched him. He had to pick up his cup again, to pretend to do something while Florus ran his hands over the rudis and turning it with awe. Alexius drank a sip of the wine and licked his lips. Gods, this youth was turning his head and he didn’t even know it, did he? Alexius shifted in his seat and downed the rest of his cup and quickly poured another for himself, before Florus handed the rudis back to his hands. It was still warm where Florus had held it.

“Yes… I’m very happy with it too. What do you make of it? I know it’s become a little bit worn over the years… but it’s mine.” He said. He placed it back into its place by his belt.

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Florus didn't have any objection to seeing Alexius again: the man was friendly, and he had the shape of a gladiator... Wait, no, that was irrelevant. Alexius was friendly and generous, and made him feel at ease. Yes. That's what it was. His gaze followed the rudis as Alexius put it away, and lingered on his belt. It was a nice thing to own, and it suited the other man well.

'It would please me too,' Florus blurted out, then returned to thoughts about the rudis. 'I like it. You are lucky to have one.' It was awful that he needed one at all, but in a world where he needed on, he was lucky. 'Does it bother you to have that thing along your leg every day?' Florus realized he was still looking at, well, presumably the rudis, but also realized he was picturing something else, too. How random. He flushed.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Alexius luckily liked being friendly towards good looking people, who were also friendly towards him. And he liked making people feel comfortable around him. Florus hadn’t seemed to be in the beginning, but he was relaxing more now and he’d even taken a look at Alexius’ rudis. Gods those hands knew how to feel a sword, didn’t they? The youth said he’d be pleased to see Alexius again too and then said he liked the rudis once more.

“Thanks, yes, I am. Not all gladiators or slaves are that lucky. I wish for them they were. I didn’t enjoy being a slave.” Alexius shared and picked up his cup again, but before he could take another drink, Florus asked if it bothered him to have the rudis along his leg and Alexius arched a brow. Really? Did he just ask that? And now the youth was blushing again. Was Florus trying to hint at something else?

“It doesn’t bother me at all. Why, you think it would bother you? Maybe you'd like to... try? See what it feels like...” He asked with a little smile. Florus was adorable when he blushed. He liked that. There were a great many reasons to like this good looking youth.

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Florus stared at the man's lips as he was about to bring the cup of wine to meet them. He didn't drink, and the gardener inexplicably felt disappointed. He blinked back the odd feeling, and focused on the conversation at hand. Yes, all slaves should be free. Of course. There shouldn't be any such thing as slavery. Even the Romans, he didn't want to see as slaves. How good a person were you really if the first occasion you got, you behaved exactly like your enemies?

Talk about the rudis distracted him from further philosophy, though, and he put his hands to his cheeks, hoping to make the redness go away. Were they still talking about the rudis? Of course they were. What else would they be talking about? It wasn't as though Alexius might have followed his moment of distraction, after all. Florus tore his eyes from the ex gladiator's leg, unsure at what exactly he was trying to look at. The rudis. Obviously.

'I don't know. Swords aren't a gardener's tools,' he said, taking a nonchalant sip of his own cup. 'It's yours, I could never! What if someone saw?' Florus asked, lowering his voice as he scanned the tavern for overly curious eyes. If someone saw him wearing the rudis, they might think he was getting ideas above his station, and think his behaviour insolent. And report him to Rufus, who would no doubt have him crucified.

Florus took another sip of wine, and a droplet lingered on his lower lip. A slow tongue reached out to catch it. He didn't hate this drink. 'Gratitude for the offer, though,' the gardener said, reaching his hand across the table. It was a weird gesture, and he retracted it immediately. That was the problem with wine, he figured. It made you do funny things.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Florus kept watching him with such a strange expression – perhaps a bit curious, a bit interested and a bit… puzzled? Gods, whoever was able to get their hands on this youth were lucky. Alexius would just pray it wouldn’t be Florus’ owner and that he would not force the young man. The thought of that was upsetting! What was not upsetting however, was the way Florus blushed and now touched his cheeks – he probably felt the warmth of them too.

Alexius had naturally wondered if Florus would like to try wearing the rudis on his leg, or were they really talking about the rudis? Florus claimed a sword was not a gardeners tool and then he worried what others would think.

“I don’t think they’d care. And surely, you use knives too in a garden. To cut trees and stuff.” He almost wanted to ask how long and hard those knives were, but kept from it, as Florus sipped his wine and his tongue licked the lip after, as a droplet had escaped him. Alexius licked his lip too.

“No need to thank me, it is my pleasure to offer you such things. You’re a… delightful drinking companion.” He said with a little smile and leaned in to rest his arms on the table, bringing himself closer to Florus, “Is there anything else you’re curious about… ask me anything.”

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

'I have an axe,' Florus replied, trying to keep his tone nonchalant, though he was quite proud of how he was able to wield it. He was able to take care of dead wood and tricky roots with the least amount of effort possible. He was by no means lazy, of course, but it felt stupid to wreck your back for a chore when there were easier ways to proceed. 'And knives, too, but also shears.' And then of course he had a plethora of tools without blades or sharp edges.

Florus dusted off an invisible speck of dust off his less and less white tunic. Being a gardener didn't do much for clean clothes. This moment enabled him to look away from Alexius for a second. Mouth slightly open, brow vaguely furrowed in concentration, the young Briton wasn't able to get any of the dirt off of himself, so he looked back at Alexius, meeting his eyes. 'Mostly I use my hands, though.'

Florus took another sip from his cup, and a crooked half smile escaped him, his neutral expression returning to him quickly. 'You're a good drinking companion, too, for a first time.' Alexius moved closer to him, and the gardener found he didn't mind too much. That was normal, wasn't it? 'How is it like, to be a gladiator?'

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Florus claimed he did not use swords as a gardener, but Alexius would beg to differ – maybe not a sword, but at least knives or such things? Not that he knew much about gardening at all, but he had seen it done and his own son had been a gardener since last year’s fall and was already learning a thing or two about it. He had used blades of various sorts, sometimes. Florus admitted he had an axe and knives and shears… and then he was distracted for a moment, before saying he mostly used his hands. Alexius almost coughed into his wine. Gods he had the worst mind, didn’t he? They were talking about gardens… or were they?

“I’m sure you’re very good with your hands. They do look like… talented hands.” Alexius said, looking to Florus’ hands and pictured them holding a knife while cutting a tree and then wiping sweat off his brow. Which was not the worst picture to have of Florus, in his mind! He’d then shifted in his seat, moving slightly closer to the younger man and wondered if he had any other questions he’d like to ask his new companion.

“I’m sure we could do it another time too.” Alexius said, when Florus also called him a good drinking companion for the first time. Then Florus wondered what it was like to be a gladiator.

“The slave part of being a gladiator I didn’t like much… having to follow orders or face harsh punishment. I also didn’t always like it when they rented us out to wealthy patrons and we would have to kneel for them, no matter if we liked them or not.” But sometimes he did like it; Alexius did like sex, a lot. And a lot of it… back to the question though, “I liked fighting in the arena. And listening to the roar of the crowd when I won. Of course it isn’t the best way to fight; having to kill other slaves for the Roman’s amusement, but the feeling when I was victorious…” He inhaled a breath, thinking back to those times, “… and what came with being victorious, of course. The fame, the glory... and the pleasure. There's really nothing like sex after a good fight and you're still high on the victory.” He glanced at sweet Florus, wondering what he’d think of that.

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Florus tilted his head, expression a little confused as Alexius complimented his hands. He looked down at them. How could the other man tell if his hands were talented? How could hands be talented, even? They did what they had to, whether it was rough or gentle. Whether it was tugging on a particularly tenacious weed, or pinching an old bloom to deadhead it. They were just hands... His were more calloused already than those of the house slaves he had encountered, but that was normal. His work was more physically aggressive than theirs, and he had to wield tools that still gave him the occasional blister. He was still scrutinizing them as Alexius leaned in some more. Florus found he didn't mind. The other man was just trying to sit more comfortably, after all. And he too was leaning in a little more because, well, he didn't exactly know, but apparently it was the done thing, to huddle around the table like so.

'I would be amenable,' Florus replied, the ghost of a smile etching itself on his face. No, he wouldn't mind spending more time with the ex-gladiator at all. There was wine to drink, which he was discovering was very nice, and made him want to be bolder, and then, of course, there was Alexius. Who was a very nice, interesting man. He nodded as he listened to him, scooting himself closer too, little by little. He looked at him, biting his lower lip.

'I wouldn't like being forced to kill other people who had no choice but to be trying to kill me too,' he said. He hadn't liked his experience of war at all. The fighting, the blood, the noise... It was so contrary to the gardener's very essence. But at least he had done it to defend his land and his people. Not so that other people who owned his very life could watch on and call it a sport. Generally he didn't even like fighting. He was just a man who liked peace and quiet, why was it so hard to obtain?

'The pleasure?' Florus repeated. Again, pink tinted his cheeks. 'I wouldn't know about that.' Or, well, not with another person. He drank more wine, to avoid having to say anything about that, but found that his free hand was lingering on the table, and he was still looking at it for any trace of hidden talent. Well, when he thought about it, his hands did have other talents than strictly garden work... But that was none of Alexius' business.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

So Florus wouldn’t mind going out to drink with Alexius again. That was good. Alexius certainly wouldn’t mind spending more time near sweet Florus either. He really did fit his name, didn’t he? Like a flower, that had barely bloomed yet. Or a flower, that was waiting to be plucked to bring delight to others. And now Florus was even moving closer to Alexius too and he couldn’t help but smile, as he sat there with wine in his hand and told Florus about how it had been like, back when he was a gladiator.

He bit his lower lip ever so temptingly and then spoke of how he’d not like to be forced to kill other people, “No, that part I don’t miss. But I did it, because if I died, I’d never be free. And I desired that too.” Alexius said and it would seem Florus came even closer, as Alexius told about being victorious and what it rewarded you with. Florus blushed, saying he knew nothing about pleasure. His free hand was resting on the table and Alexius felt his body tingle, he wanted to reach out for Florus’ hand. He wanted to pull the youth close and into a heated kiss, but with how Florus spoke, he might barely even know how to do that.

“You don’t know about pleasure, Florus?” How could you not know about pleasure? Alexius barely recalled a time he didn’t know about it. When was his first time again? At the ludus, of course, and it wasn’t all that long after he arrived there. He’d been young and once he discovered how good it could feel, it left him wanting more. And it still did.

@Ejder

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...