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The first deep rumblings did not waken Marcus. They did, however, awaken the horses in the stables, and they, in turn, woke Marcus (and, hopefully, the stable staff). And then the earth moved.

"Ahura Mazda!" Marcus swore, and rolled out of his bed. His immediate thought was for his son and daughter, his second was for his staff and horses.

He threw on a tunic and left his room, turning to his children's room. Their nurse was looking out of the door, wide-eyed. "Earthquake. Get the children out into the courtyard, and stay there!"

She nodded and withdrew, leaving Marcus to head to the other side of the house, that overlooked the stables of the White faction. There were several people already down there, milling about in apparent confusion. He looked back to see the nurse holding his children's hands in a firm grip.

"Papa!"

"Go with Esther, I will be with you soon - I have to make sure the horses are safe, too."

He headed into the confusion of the stableyard and began to assert order.

"Stay in the middle of the courtyard! "Varica, Bassus, Menelaus, Theseus, Azarion - start bringing the horses out. Don't spook them any more than they are already. Everyone else, you will need to hold them, and if you cannot be calm, at least be quiet!"

 

@Beauty @Chevi @Echo @Liv @Jane

(Thread title from Horace Odes book III - post equitam sedet alta Cura)

Edited by Sharpie
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Azarion woke up to the lough neighing of the horses before he ever realized that the building was shaking. He sat bolt upright, confused, and it took one of the other charioteers yelling 'earthquake!' before he realized what was happening. He'd never experienced an earthquake before. He knew the earth moved in Italia sometimes in a way it didn't back home, but to know it and to feel it were two completely different things. It was surreal.

The horses were terrified, he could tell from their voices. Azarion jumped out of bed and ran towards the stables barefoot. People were running into the courtyard now, and Marcus appeared, yelling orders above the noise.

"Stay in the middle of the courtyard! Varica, Bassus, Menelaus, Theseus, Azarion - start bringing the horses out. Don't spook them any more than they are already. Everyone else, you will need to hold them, and if you cannot be calm, at least be quiet!"

Azarion did not slow down on his way to the horses. He opened the first stall he got to, throwing a rein over Borena's neck and leading her outside. She seemed glad to be freed and bolted; Azarion had to hold her back, making soothing sounds as he led her outside at a steady pace. All the horses were skittish, the world was still shaking, and there was the sound of things falling everywhere.

@Beauty @Liv @Jane  @Sharpie

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Bassus had just arrived at the stable yard, he was earlier than other days, and had been whistling an old tune his father used sing out loud. All of a sudden, the earth shook and Bassus almost lost balance, his arms flailed around him as he tried to catch something to hold onto. He could hear structures being torn apart from far off, aloud moaning sound which was eerie and as if a god was sighing. Trying to discern what to do, he heard Marcus yell. It was just like Marcus to remind everyone about the horses.

As a man he was certainly no match for an earthquake, that was for sure with the way the world seemed intent on tossing him about. Trying to maintain stability, he walked slowly, simply because it didn’t look smart to be running as the ground was moving and shaking in ways that mortals weren’t used to. One slip after a run and there could be an injury that one didn’t want. As a charioteer, he couldn’t risk that. Slowly and surely, he made it to the stables and took hold of two horses, guiding them outside of the stable just as he was told, trying to keep them from being too skittish.

Seeing Azarion, he turned to the boy. “Have you seen Safinia?” he said, he hadn’t seen her yet. Whether she was at the Circus Maximus or not, he didn’t know. Still, he was deeply concerned for her but tried to remain calm overall. All one could see upon looking at him was the usual expression he gave daily, one between neutrality and friendliness. It didn’t do to panic.

@Liv @Chevi @Sharpie @Echo @Jane

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It was one night when Marcellus hadn't been out late. The rumbling woke a normally light-sleeping Marcellus, who barely registered what was happening. But his senses awoke and he looked around in confusion. "Well, shit," he said, grumbling to himself. It could never be a quiet night. At a steady trot, he made his way to the courtyard, from which he could hear the stirrings and noises made by distressed horses. Looking around a little more, he saw the various staff members, as well as his fellow charioteers, who began following Marcus's orders to bring the horses out of the stable. That was a good point! The roof wouldn't necessarily hold, even though he hoped it had been built well enough to withstand the earthquake! 

Moving quicker now, though not quick enough to lose his balance, the young man hurried into the stables, opening the first stable he got to that wasn't already attended. It was one of his favorite horses, Aethon, who was a firebrand at the best of times. But Marcellus spoke to the nervous stallion, calming him before he could pull a kerchief over his eyes, shielding him from the dust and the sights of the stable which were sure to cause the horse to bolt. This was going to be a difficult night. 

@Liv @Chevi @Sharpie @Jane @Beauty

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Marcus could hear tiles being shaken loose and sliding to the ground - one of those would be enough to seriously injure someone, maybe even kill them, but what was more important was to get the horses into the open exercise yard that the stables were built around, where they would be safe if the building suffered worse damage than a few loose tiles.

He looked around. Drivers, stable hands, the chariot building staff, the kitchen staff - everyone had a horse or two by now.

And as soon as it had begun, that shaking stopped, the ground beneath his feet going solid and unmoving as ever. 

He looked for the nearest person unencumbered by horse-holding. "We are going to check the building for damage - any further movement and I want you to come straight back here."

There might easily be further movement from the earth, there often was more than one tremor, but  he prayed that Ahura Mazda would be merciful.

@Chevi @Beauty @Liv @Jane @Echo

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Azarion passed Bassus on his way back to the stables, after he handed Borena off to one of the chariot builders. H ehoped the guy would be capable enough to hold her still. There were other horses still in here, and his heart pounded as he entered th swaying building again, hoping to rescue another horse.

“Have you seen Safinia?”

Azarion paused, then shook his head. He had not. Did Safinia even sleep here, in the building? Or did she live elsewhere? As much as he didn't mind the girl's company, he did not know a whole lot about her. Pressing on, Azarion got another horse and led it outside, just as the earth finally stopped shaking.

It was quiet. Very quiet.

 "We are going to check the building for damage - any further movement and I want you to come straight back here."

Azarion was not sure if Marcus was talking to him or not, but he handed the horse off anyway, and fell in next to him. He eyed the tiles on the roof suspiciously. Some had already fallen, and some looked very unstable. He pointed up at the roof, questioning. 

@Sharpie @Beauty @Echo 

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