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What can I say except you're welcome


Beauty
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He had heard through the grapevine that Safinia and Azarion had been seen together. “Seen together” meant a number of things but when he had told Safinia that he heard and saw everything at the Circus Maximus, he meant it. He was perceptive and noticed a lot of things, including things he wished he never saw. Most people weren’t aware of how loudly they spoke or how conspicuous they were being. He didn’t usually pry into businesses that weren’t his own unless he thought he was doing a favour. He mostly overheard things while reading in the middle of the Circus Maximus.

On that particular day, Bassus had been reading Landicus, just to see what the crazy Romans saw in it. It didn’t matter how many times he tried to see what it was all about, he just didn’t understand the appeal. It was filled with tits and pure vulgarity. Sex was great, there was no debate about that, and the tales were funny, certainly, but Landicus was an offence to one’s intellect. It offered no room for discussion. Some might have called it “a commentary”, he called it horse shit. Just like the act he gave when racing, adopting a mere persona. If it made the Romans scream, it made them scream. Seeing Azarion, Bassus slipped from his position and slowly made his way towards the boy with a grin on his face, one that clearly had a devious idea.  

“There is my big man,” said Bassus, clapping his hands. “Look at you, looking handsome today. That’s the smoulder face we all know and love.” Bassus reached forwards to nudge Azarion playfully in a companionable way. “What do you have to say for yourself? Getting the ladies already.” Bassus chuckled. “Anyways, let’s go drinking just because we can.” Bassus nodded in a direction leading outside of the tracks. Many years ago, he would have thought in 75, he would be drinking with his son in Judea but today, it was Azarion in Rome.

@Chevi

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Being a charioteer-in-training came with a whole different daily routine. What had been taken up by caring for the horses was now time for personal training, practice... and caring for the horses. That last part was not really anything to complain about; Azarion loved working with the animals, and he was convinced that he'd only become a good charioteer if he had the best team of horses.

Sadly, being a charioteer-in-training also came with a whole lot more interaction with the other Whites. Like Bassus. Who seemed intent on being friendly towards him, which was, frankly, more than a little annoying.

“There is my big man! Look at you, looking handsome today. That’s the smoulder face we all know and love.”

Azarion stared at Bassus like he had just sprouted a second head out of his ass. What? Was he already drunk this early in the day?

“What do you have to say for yourself? Getting the ladies already. Anyways, let’s go drinking just because we can.” 

Ladies? What ladies? Azarion winced as he was patter on the shoulder. Bassus was either messing with him, or he was drunk, and trying to get drunker. Or he was out of his mind. All equally likely. Azarion gave the charioteer a wary look. Then again, what did he have to lose? He was mostly done with all immediate errands. He tilted his head and gestured in question. Drink where?

@Beauty

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Azarion looked suspicious of him. Did he think he was going to lead him into an alleyway and stab him? Bassus carefully watched the boy gesture and so Bassus pointed ahead of them. “It’s not far from here, you want me to care you?” said Bassus in jest but he figured there would be plenty of carrying when the day was done. Unless, of course, with Bassus’ so-called expertise, the boy ended up in a pile of disrobed women. Who wouldn’t be all over the little guy? He was handsome and talented, thought Bassus.

Rome was a melting pot. Bassus had grown used to being around people of all shapes and sizes, no matter their ability and background. While Azarion wasn’t the warmest figure, Bassus did not take any of it at heart, merely accepting the boy as he was. Bassus wrapped his arm around the boy’s shoulder, dragging him in the direction of their destination.

“Is there a woman in your life, Azarion?” said Bassus cheerfully, looking down at the boy. The boy was now upgraded from being a mere stable boy. In this small way, they could celebrate through Bassus drinking with him but teaching him how to navigate the seas of wooing as well. “All these Romans worry about who they are going to marry but you, my friend, are destined to have any woman you desire. A little direction from me and they’ll be screaming your name. Not just from the stands but…” He gave Azarion a wink. “You understand, don’t you?” He was sixteen, was he not? Although Bassus’s own head had been in books at that age, Bassus remembered being that age very well. He had just begun noticing girls his age. “All it takes is standing tall and confidence.”

@Chevi

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 “It’s not far from here, you want me to carry you?”

Azarion huffed and followed along willingly. Bassus was crazy enough to actually try to drag him if he didn't follow. Besides, why not? Not like he got invited out to drink that often. He was still new among the charioteers, and still very much the runt of the pack.

“Is there a woman in your life, Azarion?”

Azarion blinked, then hesitantly shrugged. What was this about women? Sure, he knew some women, some worked for the Whites and some just... visited sometimes. There was Safinia, for example. She worked in the kitchens and allowed him to steal apples sometimes.

“All these Romans worry about who they are going to marry but you, my friend, are destined to have any woman you desire. A little direction from me and they’ll be screaming your name. Not just from the stands but… You understand, don’t you? All it takes is standing tall and confidence.”

Case in point: unless he wrote his name down for said women, they would not know what to scream. But Azarion was not going to point that out for now. Instead he followed along, wondering where all this was going. He tried to pull himself up to look a little more confident. But he also tapped the slave tablet around his neck. Women were not usually drawn to that.

@Beauty

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Bassus gave Azarion a thumb’s up, noticing the boy pulling himself up. “That’s right,” commented Bassus proudly, though he believed the person who was likely better for this particular job was Marcellus. When it came down to it, Marcellus seemed to like women a lot more than Bassus did. Bassus had visited a few brothels during his time in Rome and ended up simply talking instead, though that wasn’t to say he didn’t sometimes get down with his bad self. But that was usually outside of brothels as they weren’t really his thing. He then flapped his hands around as he spoke as if to emphasise. “Eye contact, a great big smile, and your body oozes sex, if not then confidence. It’s like acting.” A little drinking would help give the boy some confidence. It turned even beggars into kings. And it wasn’t like you had to actually be confident in yourself. His god knew he wasn’t at all some of the time. 

But as the boy tapped his slave tablet, his eyes stared at it for a while, wondering what he meant and then it dawned on him. “Oh, that,” said Bassus, waving a hand in the air. “Pfft.” He stopped in his tracks and took a hold of the boy’s shoulders to stop him. “Here, allow me.” Carefully, he took the thing off of him. He was within Bassus’s presence anyways, he would be in safe hands. He hoped. He then tucked the thing under his arm. “See, no harm, hm? Let’s get going.” He then hurried along once more. “Have you always wanted to be a charioteer, Azarion?”

It wasn’t something Bassus thought he’d ever be doing and while he liked it enough, he knew he would have been better doing something with words. But seeing the boy calm the horse long ago, Bassus knew he had it in him. He was only glad now that he was being recognised for it.

@Chevi

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It appeared that Bassus had taken it upon himself to mentor him in the ways of being a charioteer. Which, in this case, had nothing to do with horses or racing. Charioteers were known for their popularity as much as their skill, and in that regard, Azarion still had a lot to learn.

“That’s right. Eye contact, a great big smile, and your body oozes sex, if not then confidence. It’s like acting.” 

I don't really want my body to ooze anything. Azarion rolled his eyes. Also. Slave, remember?

“Oh, that. Pfft. Here, allow me.... See, no harm, hm? Let’s get going.”

Azarion stared at Bassus as he removed his tablet. Now that was definitely not allowed. In fact, Azarion would get his ass whipped into oblivion if they found out he took it off. But Bassus did not seem bothered at all. Azarion made a mental note to blame it all on the other charioteer if it came to that.

“Have you always wanted to be a charioteer, Azarion?”

No, I wanted to be a war chief of the Saii, you moron.

Azarion shook his head with a frown. Sure, being a charioteer was a career in Rome, much better than mucking out stables, but in the end, who the hell wanted to do this all their life for entertainment? He tilted his head at Bassus. Did he?

@Beauty

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The frown told Bassus that Azarion didn’t always want to be a charioteer. Admittedly, Bassus had to pause a minute to know what the boy was saying when his head tilted in his direction but then it dawned on him. While there were some scrolls in Judea that spoke of words spoken with one’s hands and he had conversed with plenty of others much like Azarion before, Bassus couldn’t pretend he always knew what the boy was trying to say. But he tried.

“Me? Well, no,” he said honestly as they walked through bustling crowds. He had always enjoyed the company of horses but had never expected or desired to make a career out of them. Neither had he ever cared to gain grandeur or fame, he had craved for contentment, and yet here he was. He had everything he hadn’t anticipated and none of what he wanted. “My family owned an orchard and my father, brothers and myself were scribes as well. For a time, while in Rome, I acted as a tutor or accountant.” He left out his history of slavery, partly from personal shame and because his time as one had been less than favourable but slivers of the truth remained in his words. “If I wasn’t a charioteer, I would have liked to follow my family’s footsteps but being a charioteer pays quite well.”

He shrugged and then looked on ahead of them, his eyes settled on the tavern. “We should keep our eyes on the prize, hm, Azarion?” he said cheerfully, pointing ahead of them. “There lies our Garden of Eden. Our forbidden fruit. Remember, you see a woman, you smile widely. Let’s see your smile.” He looked down at Azarion, ready to see that handsome smile.  

@Chevi

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“Me? Well, no. My family owned an orchard and my father, brothers and myself were scribes as well. For a time, while in Rome, I acted as a tutor or accountant.” 

Azarion blinked, actually surprised at the answer. Bassus, the daredevil charioteer with all the swagger, used to be a scribe? How did one even go from one to the other? Did he get bored with numbers and decided to risk his lives in the Circus?

“If I wasn’t a charioteer, I would have liked to follow my family’s footsteps but being a charioteer pays quite well.”

Oh. Sure. Azarion forgot sometimes that Bassus wasn't a slave like him. He got to make a whole lot of money from winning for the Whites, and the additional benefits of people being all crazy about him. No wonder he was so confident. No wonder he also forgot sometimes that Azarion was not free.

Bassus, the accountant. Now there was an image to remember. Would women still fall all over him if he still was?

“We should keep our eyes on the prize, hm, Azarion? There lies our Garden of Eden. Our forbidden fruit. Remember, you see a woman, you smile widely. Let’s see your smile.” 

A what in the what now? Azarion looked at the tavern, then back at Bassus. What garden? What forbidden fruit?... More importantly, screw the smiling. Azarion smirked at Bassus instead. He was not going to walk into a tavern with him grinning like an idiot.

@Beauty

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