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24th of June, Fors Fortuna

Months ago, Alexius met the very handsome and friendly Felix when he’d gone out for a night on the town. He’d interrupted a gang of guys about to beat someone up; and that someone turned out to be Felix. This Felix was someone he’d like to meet again and they had actually planned meeting for Vinalia Prima in Aprilis, but for some reason, Felix never showed up that night. Alexius had gone to his house as planned and patiently waited for his new friend to show up, but he never came and Alexius grew impatient. It was Vinalia and he couldn’t wait all night.

So he had moved on since then, a lot had happened and at the same time, not much at all. His son had met a girl and Oriana’s father had decided she no longer needed a bodyguard to live in the house. Alexius had to move out and maybe that was for the best; the affair he had with her was doomed anyway, so he didn’t even know why he stayed. Well he knew… he had feelings for her and they were returned, but how could she ever marry a mere freedman, when she deserved so much more?

Now he had a new home and Lexus had of course moved in with him. They got along fine, although most of the time, they didn’t see each other much. Lexus had a job and Alexius took little jobs here and there too, to make everything work and so they could pay for their home.

It was late June now and time for another of his favorite Roman festivals – the Fors Fortuna. And didn’t he enjoy it? Not just because there was usually a lot of wine and pleasure involved, but also because it was the good fucking Fortuna they celebrated! The goddess of luck, the one who turned wheel and hopefully in the right way! He did earn his freedom once, years ago, and he would thank her for being alive and healthy and for having brought his son back to him.

On the way to the temple, he walked past the home Felix showed him months ago and he stopped for a moment, kind of hoping he might actually see Felix again. And Fortuna worked in his favor, even today. Or perhaps, because it was today, she did it. The great Fortuna!

He couldn’t help but grin, when that handsome creature emerged from the house, hopefully to also participate in the festival, “Felix! How good to see you! And on this blessed day, even!”

@Chevi

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A lot had happened since Felix met Alexius that night. The man had saved his skin, probably his life, and Felix was planning on seeing him again, maybe drinking a few cups of wine with him. It wasn't some big romantic plan - there was no romance involved at all - but Alexius had been good company, especially for a night out in Rome.

Things, however, turned in another direction. For everyone's safety, Felix and Callista had been confined to the household until Aulus resolved whatever political matters he had gotten into with the praetorian tribune. It had been a long few weeks, and Felix was growing restless, even at his master's side. This day was the first time had been given time off, and the freedom to leave the house, with the knowledge that the danger was definitely over. It was the day of Fors Fortuna, a favorite festival of the people of Rome, and Felix was heading out to enjoy the festivities for a night.

Fortuna seemed to have plans for him right away. Stepping out of the house Felix barely walked a few steps when he heard a familiar voice.

“Felix! How good to see you! And on this blessed day, even!”

Felix smiled, turning to see Alexius walking towards him. "Alexius! It is good to see you again! Heading to the festivities?"

@Atrice

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Fortuna must have faith in him. Just as he’d walked past the house where Felix resided, he had thought of said attractive and friendly person… and Felix appeared! On the day for Fortuna’s festivities while he was on his way to the temple! He grinned cheerfully at Felix when he came and the other turned to smile at him too, exclaiming how good it was to see Alexius too.

“Of course I am. And I’ll be more than happy to head there with you.” Alexius said to the other man, motioning that they could walk together, “Fortuna must have blessed me, for bringing you out just as I was here too. But…” He trailed off, it was strange that Felix never showed up last time, when they actually had a decided date for when they’d meet again. After everything that had happened with Charis, which he only found out when he ran into her, of course he’d been a bit worried over Felix too, but there wasn’t much he could do. Now Felix was here however… perhaps Alexius could be enlightened?

“Where were you last time… for Vinalia? Festivities in the house, perhaps?” He asked, hoping it didn’t sound like he was upset over it or blaming Felix. He just wanted to know, really. There was a lot of gossip in Rome, but he tried to not pay too much attention (except when it was about himself), so he’d rather hear it from Felix, instead of assuming things.

@Chevi

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Felix barely knew Alexius, but he knew he liked good drinks and fun, and this festival was both. No wonder he was heading down to the Tiber. He was going to be good company, not just because of the drinking, but also because Felix could trust him if they happened to get into trouble.

“Of course I am. And I’ll be more than happy to head there with you. Fortuna must have blessed me, for bringing you out just as I was here too. But…” 

Felix knew what question was coming. He did not imagine Alexius pining away after him when he didn't show up for a long time, but he knew if he'd meet again, there would be questions about his disappearance. Felix didn't like disappointing people, even if he barely knew them.

“Where were you last time… for Vinalia? Festivities in the house, perhaps?” 

Felix sighed, shaking his head as they fell into step. "Dominus didn't let me leave the house for a while." He wasn't sure how much exactly he was allowed to tell, without breaking the secrecy of Aulus' household matters. "It was... a family issue."

@Atrice

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Alexius was certainly not the type to hang around waiting for someone who didn’t show up. He moved on, that’s what he did. Found something or someone new to have fun with. But he had liked Felix that night they met and he had wanted to hang out with him again. Perhaps even more, as they talked about, but couldn’t proceed because Alexius’ arm had been hurt. Now it wasn’t hurt though, he was fine and healthy and Felix looked the same. Very fine!

He did however of course wonder why Felix didn’t show up the day they agreed upon it and Felix sighed and shook his head. As if it wasn’t something good. Alexius had hoped for some random, but not too deep excuse… but then Felix said his Dominus had not let him leave the house because of some family issue.

What the actual fuck was up with Romans confining their slaves in the house for a long time? He sensed there was a lot more to this story and knowing already that Felix was a man of few words and loyal to his master, he wasn’t sure he’d get more than what Felix had already told. Still it had him worried. Charis had been locked up too and she wasn’t fine.

“I see… are you alright?” He asked, looking with concerned eyes at his accidental companion for the night. Alexius may not have been sitting around, moping over Felix not showing up, but he liked the guy. So of course he worried.

@Chevi

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“I see… are you alright?”

Felix knew Alexius probably had questions, but he also knew he couldn't answer them, because his master's secrets were his to keep. So he just gave Alexius a warm smile, letting him know he was grateful for the concern, and nodded. "Yes. I'm well. It is all done now."

For the better. For the first time in a long time Felix was free to go out, and enjoy the festivities. He sighed and relaxed as they walked on. "So... did you have any plans, for today?... I haven't really been to this festival before."

@Atrice

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As he had already guessed, Felix would not share the why or how of why he was confined in the domus for so long... but he gave Alexius a nice and warm smile and said he was well and all was done now. What was done? Alexius was curious, but he still wasn't sure he'd get anything out of Felix. Not while he was sober anyway, but it might not stay that way, "That's good, at least. You do look well." He added with a smile to his companion and who knew what else?

They were moving towards the temple together though and Felix asked if he had any plans for the day. Alexius let out a little laugh.

"My plan is mostly to drink plenty of wine and enjoy myself. There are usually some that have made floral garlands to offer anyone to wear and people also sail on the Tiber on decorated boats. I suppose it's almost romantic." He added with a grin, not that he was a huge romantic or anything, but if any partner he had was, well, Alexius would adapt, as he always did, "Some also play games and it's common to place bets, because well, Fortuna... she may also bless you with good luck in gambling." He added, looking at Felix, hoping he thought it all sounded like a good time. Alexius knew he did.

@Chevi

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"That's good, at least. You do look well."

"You too" Felix smiled. At least they would leave it at that. The rest of the day was for freedom and a festival, and it was good to leave the household and not worry about his safety anymore. Especially at Alexius' side. The man had already saved him once.

"My plan is mostly to drink plenty of wine and enjoy myself. There are usually some that have made floral garlands to offer anyone to wear and people also sail on the Tiber on decorated boats. I suppose it's almost romantic... Some also play games and it's common to place bets, because well, Fortuna... she may also bless you with good luck in gambling."

"Sounds like fun" Felix agreed "I don't have much to gamble with, but merriment is always good. And garlands." he added with a chuckle. He tried to imagine Alexius wearing flowers. Wine would be welcome too, for once, to set the mood. "You worship Fortuna then?"

@Atrice

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He smiled when Felix said he looked good too, well, they had agreed on that, then. And then Alexius spoke of what his plans were and told Felix a bit more about how this festival was usually celebrated. With floral garlands, decorated boats, gambling… and wine in plenty, but that’s how most festivals were like. Hence why Alexius enjoyed them so much. He probably should drink less wine? But he wasn’t a small man and he could take it.

Felix thought the festival sounded like fun, with the merriment and the garlands. Alexius chuckled too, “Yes, garlands… even on the boats. I just bet we’ll be decorated too.” He said and Felix wondered if he worshipped fortuna.

“Gods, yes! Don’t tell Jupiter, but she is the one above them all.” He said with a grin, “Fortuna blessed me with my survival of the arena… and all the benefits of that. She blessed me with freedom and last year, I met my son. Trust Fortuna, worship her and she will bless you.” Alexius said. Fortuna was probably his favorite Roman goddess. Not that he had others; he was born in Germania but remembered next to nothing about the religious practices. He grew up in Rome with the Roman gods and they were his too, now.

“What about you, do you have a favorite among the divine?” He asked on the way, making a little bit of conversation while they walked… and got to know each other a little better.

@Chevi

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“Yes, garlands… even on the boats. I just bet we’ll be decorated too.” 

Felix chuckled at the idea. He was kind of looking forward to it. Romans had a way with garlands, they looked and smelled nice. And they made him feel festive, just by looking at them. Fortuna was definitely a goddess to be celebrated right.

“Gods, yes! Don’t tell Jupiter, but she is the one above them all. Fortuna blessed me with my survival of the arena… and all the benefits of that. She blessed me with freedom and last year, I met my son. Trust Fortuna, worship her and she will bless you.” 

Felix grinned at Alexius' enthusiasm. For someone who had been in the arena, he had such enthusiasm for divinity, as if nothing bad had ever happened to him. Felix liked the goddess too; he had his fair share of fortunate turns in his life, some of them fairly recently.

“What about you, do you have a favorite among the divine?”

Felix mused over the question.

"I respect them all, one way or another. I always thought Dionysos... Bacchus was one I'd follow if I had the chance" he chuckled "I never had the fight in me to be useful to Mars, and I'm not an artist for Apollo."

@Atrice

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Alexius definitely admired Fortuna, in case Felix didn't guess that by now... but he probably did. The garlands were a fun touch to the festival, but Alexius really more came for the wine and to show his respect to Fortuna. Felix grinned as Alexius explained just how good Fortuna had been to him and would be to anyone, who would put their lives in her divine hands. She must be beautiful, he thought. The most beautiful of them all. But don't tell Venus or Juno, he thought with a smile.

Then he asked if Felix had a favorite and he said he respected them all, but especially liked Dionysus or Bacchus. And he also said which ones he wasn't much like at all.

"I like Bacchus too." Of course he did, he liked wine! "One of my old friends named her tavern after him. I heard though... that there's a secret society of worshippers and that they only accept women." He said, but with a smile, "What I wouldn't give to watch their ceremonies and find out what they do!" He added with a grin. There was a lot of mystery when it came to that society and no one really knew what went on. There were just rumours. 

They were surrounded by more and more people and he could see the river just down the street. There were indeed boats and people decorated with garlands. 

@Chevi

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"I like Bacchus too. One of my old friends named her tavern after him. I heard though... that there's a secret society of worshippers and that they only accept women... What I wouldn't give to watch their ceremonies and find out what they do!"

Felix chuckled. Of course Alexius was interested. He seemed like the kind of man who would absolutely try to find out where the secret Bacchanalias were held, just to join the party. Some people were just too lively for their own good.

"I think, historically, that would not end well." he noted. Callista had introduced him to the world of Greek plays a while ago. "This woman at the household... she reads plays. There was a story about the rites of Bacchus." And how people got shredded by maenads if they did not respect the mysteries.

Walking down towards the river, the crowd grew thicker and more flowers appeared. Felix grinned, feeling the spirit of the festival. "Should we get garlands?"

@Atrice

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It was easy to make Felix grin and chuckle it seemed. He wondered how often anyone else put such a smile on the handsome slave's face and Alexius decided to make it his goal to make Felix as happy as he could today. The other was in a good mood to begin with, so that helped of course, but still, one could always do more. They were now discussing the Bacchanalia and it was often all very secret and it was an all women's society of women, as far as he knew. He'd love to join, then. But Felix said ti would not end well and told about a woman at the household telling him about a play with the rites of Bacchus. 

"And how did it end then?" You couldn't just leave a story hanging like that! Moving on though, Felix wondered if they should get garlands.

"Sure, let's! I bet we can't avoid it anyway." Alexius said and looked around, there was a young girl standing a bit ahead of them with garlands hanging around her one arm, she seemed to be either handing them out or maybe she sold them for a tiny coin. She was very pretty too, so Alexius wondered if he could buy a garland with a kiss instead. He approached her and assumed Felix would follow.

@Chevi

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"And how did it end then?" 

"The women tore the men apart" Felix summarized the gist of the story. It was best not to mess with the rites of Bacchus. But today was a whole different kind of festival: it was for everyone. And it involved drinks and merriment and flower garlands. 

"Sure, let's! I bet we can't avoid it anyway."

Alexius found a pretty young woman selling garlands for coins, and headed her way. Felix chuckled and followed. He had some money saved. Spending it in honor of Fortuna sounded like a good thing to do. He also glanced around, wondering where they could get something to drink...

"I think the cornflowers and daisies look good together" he noted with a smirk. Alexius was not looking at the flowers much.

@Atrice

 

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Alexius arched a brow, when Felix said that the women at the story about Baccanalia had torn the men apart. That sounded... far out. But then again, some Romans did have the strangest kirks and desires, so why not? And now Felix mentioned it, he actually could imagine that a women's cult would not want any men to know what they were doing. What a pity. But they were moving on and his mind was removing from women performing a carnage on men, to pretty women handing out garlands. Felix seemed to want garlands too and Alexius found someone who would give them.

Felix followed him to the pretty young woman there and commented on which flowers looked good together.

"I bet they'd look good on you too. Not that you need improvement." Alexius said with a wink to Felix, chosing to not offer her a kiss for the garlands anyway, because he was here with Felix and didn't want him to think Alexius was interested in anyone but him today and tonight. So Alexius bought a garland of cornflowers and daisies for Felix and another for himself, also with daisies and some yellow flower he didn't know. Alexius didn't know a whole lot about flowers, but it looked festive.

After he had paid the women with a coin of the right value, Alexius hung the garland around Felix neck, "There you go. Now you're officially a part of this festival." Alexius said with a smile, "Should we find something to drink?"

@Chevi

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