Jump to content
Aeterna Roma RPG

Move Quick, You Might Avoid Damnation


Echo
 Share

Recommended Posts

June 30th - The Earthquake! 

It started early in the morning, when the sun had just started to peek over the horizon. Curled around her injured arm, Annis slept fitfully, her dreams filled with murky images of Britannia. The island in her dream began to tremor, shaking with great magnitude. Suddenly, she awoke to the sound of someone screaming, “Earthquake!” 

They had all felt the tremors the past few weeks, but Annis hadn’t been too concerned about it. Until today, that was. Alexius was here; after another enjoyable night, the pair had fallen asleep. Annis clumsily got out of the bed and shook him awake. “Get up, Alexius, earthquake! We need to get out!” The young woman then rushed outside, knocking on doors as she went to warn others of the danger. The gods were angry today. 

Tag: anyone at the Ludus Magnus! @Chevi @Atrice

Edited by Echo
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It had been a lovely night with Annis – after they first met by the arena, he’d come back to see her, as they talked about how it wouldn’t be too bad to do something together again. That something of course had to do with them in a vertical position and preferably naked. It wasn’t that he felt he was in love with her, it wasn’t like it had been with Oriana or with Achillia all those years ago, but he liked Annis. She was good company in several ways. But eventually they had fallen asleep, Alexius with an arm around her… but then there was suddenly a tremor much like the ones that had been the past few weeks, although this time, it felt worse. Alexius woke with a start too as Annis shook him awake and yelled something about an earthquake. And then she was gone.

“Annis!” Gods, why did this have to happen now? He scrambled out of the bed too, caring less about the naked state of his body, as there were more important matters. The safest place right now might be in one of the training grounds in the ludus, he thought to himself. Or maybe the arena itself… no, stones and rocks could crumble and fall from the higher seats and the sunshield. The training grounds it was. Where was Annis? And Thessala… and Theo?

Alexius ran too, hoping to wake others up. This was not his home, but he was known here and he had a very strong sense for protecting others… and that kicked into gear right now, “Get up, all of you!” He yelled and ran to where the locked cells might be. He pulled a door to one of them, they were screaming and yelling inside, some of the newer and less assimilated male gladiators inside - but he had no key. Fuck!

“Does someone have a fucking key?!” He yelled as a guard ran past him, trying to get away. What the fuck? So what if they were slaves, those inside, they had to help these people!

@Chevi @Echo

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

Rana was sleeping too, of course, when it happened. She had never in her life experienced an earthquake before; they didn’t really have those up in Germania where she was born and she’d only been in Rome a few years. People had talked about the tremors the past week and about angry gods, and she’d been a little surprised too, but she had a positive outlook on life still and wasn’t truly afraid. She didn’t know how bad it could get.

But now there were was screaming and yelling and she rolled off the mat she slept on, on the floor in the room she shared with a few other women. They were up too, seeming scared and they were trying to open the door, but of course, they had been locked in here for the night. They couldn’t get out! And it was contagious, their fright... Rana felt it too!

“Help, someone!” Rana yelled with the two others, her Latin was perfect now, but right now, Rome was not. She could hear someone somewhere yell something about a key. Yes, a key! They needed a key! This was probably not the only cell that was locked here. Above them, bits from the ceiling was breaking loose and falling down, creating a lot of dust in the air. She coughed, all the dust and the lack of fresh air made it hard to breathe without coughing. What if they couldn't get out? What if the roof fell down on them? Hopefully Thessala wasn't locked up like Rana was... hopefully she'd make it out... why didn't someone unlock the door? "Thessala!" 

@Chevi @Echo 

((Rana is not in the room that Alexius is currently trying to reach, she's in another))

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

It was the early hours of the morning, with most of the city peacefully asleep, and Thessala was just on her way back to the ludus after a night out. She had certain privileges, and some patrons who liked to invite her along for their parties as an exotic quest; one of these patrons had kept her longer, and Thessala was not complaining at all. She was walking home in the quiet before dawn, just when the carts were already done and people were not awake yet.

The earthquake hit just as she walked into the ludus.

The first shock sent her reeling; she was still buzzed from the drinking she'd done, and she had to steady herself against a wall as the whole building began to shake around her. Thessala swore loudly in her native tongue. Of course the gods would chose this time to shake the city... People were already yelling and running, and she bolted into the courtyard, watching the chaos. She saw a flash of blonde hair as Annis emerged from a room.

 "Thessala!"

The building was shaking, tiles and pieces of paint were falling. The call came from the rooms where the less trustworthy new recruits were kept. Thessala's stomach dropped.

Those rooms were kept locked for the night.

"RANA!" she knew the voice, and bolted for the door, as more tiles showered. One hit her on the shoulder. She just noticed Alexius at the nearby door.

“Does someone have a fucking key?!”

"Help me break them down!"

@Atrice @Echo

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Theodorus was not a stranger to the earth moving. He had felt it when he was a child, and then again since he'd moved to Italia. It was always a great and terrifying thing to experience, the sheer anger of the gods, and the destruction it could bring to places that were not built to last.

This, however, was his first earthquake at the ludus. And the first of this magnitude.

Theo rolled out of bed as the building began to shake, and it dawned on him than this was worse than he'd felt before. He bolted for the door -Astrius was already outside somewhere - and then changed his mind, running to his workshop and grabbing for the bag he kept there for emergencies. Another shock, and something toppled over and broke; shards showered around the medicus as he scrambled outside. People were already yelling and running.

"Stay in the open!" he yelled at no one in particular, noticing a scantily dressed Annis nearby "Stay away from the roof!"

@Atrice @Echo

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Annis had moved before thinking, only pausing to pull her tunic over her bare body. In a blur, struggling to remain standing amid the rumbling, she had run straight through the quarters, not considering the locked doors that were keeping some inside. But once out into the cool night air, she was more awake and heard the familiar voice of Alexius, enraged, calling for a key. She was immediately ashamed, and in a second was running back into the quarters, ignoring Theo as he yelled to stay in the open. What kind of person would she be to leave all those people without even trying to help? 

The movement of the building was making dust flutter down from the ceiling, making the whole inside of the building hazy. As she made her way inside, a guard bolted past, a key ring jingling on his belt. Annis grabbed his arm with the strength of anger at his cowardice, ripping the ring from him. As soon as she let him go, he continued outside. "Alexius! Where are you?" 

@Atrice @Chevi

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rana had barely been here a year – in fact she hadn’t, had she? She turned twentyone years old six moons ago and now it was high summer. High summer and hard earthquake! She was usually one with an optimistic outlook on life, but this was something she had never experienced before… and now she stood here, locked in a room with two other young gladriatrices and they couldn’t get out. She pulled and pushed and kicked at the door with the others and hoped someone would come to their aid. She yelled out for Thessala, but the Earth rumbled and the gods were angry.

The dust clung to her face and to her body, sweat and tears made it cling and made it heart to see through the dust. Then she heard Thessala’s voice. Thessala, who had basically become her tutor in this ludus… her only true friend here and Rana had hoped for more. Now those thoughts were far removed from her mind though, as all she wanted was to get out!

“Thessala! Help us!” She yelled and lost her footing and fell over. She felt the ground might crack open under her. She would go to the underworld, to Hel, she would not reach the proper afterlife! She heard people yell outside too and she felt sick. Why was this happening to her? Were the gods not on her side after all? What about Loki, he would understand! But he was a trickster and he had tricked her too… into believing she could make it. Maybe she couldn’t.

@Chevi @Echo

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So what if they were just slaves. They were people! They did not deserve to die because their home was poorly built and because they were locked up! They had no chance to flee… no chance to escape without help. If the ludus fell down, they would die and Alexius could not just stand by and watch it happen. He had to try at least, something the guards did not seem to care for.

Thessala appeared and tried to get another door open, just as Alexius wondered who had a key. He saw Theo, the medicus, who told everyone to stay away from the roof and he glared at him, “These people in here can’t!” He practically growled, angry that some of the others would rather save themselves than try to save others. Alexius might die trying. But at least he tried! Thessala wanted to break the doors down and he nodded.

“Do you know where there’s an axe?” He asked her. Someone behind the door she tried to get up was yelling her name. She had a friend there.

Fortuna, be on their side. Keep them safe.

He didn’t know them like he knew Thessala and Annis. It didn’t matter. Annis was then calling his name, “Annis, here!” He couldn’t see her in the faint light and all the dust, but he hoped she could find him. Either that, or find safety. She didn’t deserve death either.

@Echo @Chevi

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

“Thessala! Help us!”

Thessala felt anger as the building kept shaking around them. Why was Rana locked in? Why were any of them locked in? This was not fair! Where the fuck were the guards?... Alexius appeared. Maybe they could break the door down. They had to.

"I'm here! We'll get the door open, hold on!"

“Do you know where there’s an axe?” 

"Fucking weapons are locked in too!" Thessala swore. No one kept the weapons out at night in a ludus. Not since fucking Spartacus. 

Annis appeared out of somewhere as more dust and tiles were falling. Thessala kicked the door, but it held. "We need to get this open!"

@Echo @Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The whole world was shaking, and Theo could already hear cries of pain around the ludus. It was going to be a busy day, if he managed to come out of it unhurt. He heard Annis yelling, but she seemed to be running in the other direction. Some brave fools seemed to be running back to help those stuck inside. Theo muttered some prayers to all the gods.

This was bad.

"Get out of there, the roof won't hold!"

@Echo @Atrice

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Annis heard Alexius's voice nearby and ran toward it, ignoring the choking dust that floated down from the ominously creaking roof. Soon, she came upon Thessala and Alexius struggling to open a door, in which Annis could hear the calls of trapped gladiators and gladiatrices. "Here! I got some keys! See if they work!" She thrust the key ring at Alexius and meanwhile, she rammed the shoulder of her uninjured arm against the door, trying desperately to help those inside get out. 

Why was this happening? It was senseless, it was chaos! "We can break it down, come on!" She swore under her breath in Britonnic. 

@Atrice @Chevi

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

They didn't have a key, so he thought an axe might be useful to break down the door. But of course the weapons were locked in too, he knew that, why didn't he think that? But surely someone would want to help! There were women screaming behind Thessala's door. They ought to work together, get one open at the time. Instead of losing them all, they might only... no, he wouldn't finish that thought. Some of them dying was bad enough and they did not deserve it! Thessala was kicking at her door and then Annis appeared with a set of keys. Alexius caught it and tried to get a key in the hole with the door moving in front of it. Wrong key. Annis said they could break the doors down.

Alexius tried another key and he heard someone shout that the roof wouldn't hold. Alexius looked up. More plaster was falling, little bits were tearing lose and threatening to make it all too loose, so that it would all fall down. He looked at Annis or Thessala. They didn't deserve to die either.

"Fuck!" He kicked at the door after failing with another key, "We need to get out!" Alexius yelled to the two women he knew best here, "Come on!" He said, gesturing for them to move, hoping they would get the message, "The roof is coming down!" 

@Echo @Chevi

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rana couldn't see what was going on outside the room. She knew Thessala was there, trying her hardest, she could hear people shouting at each other and the sound of keys, but the door didn’t open. She heard someone shout that the roof wouldn't hold and looked up. It wouldn't. She really had to get out! She jumped up, pulling at the door with the other two women. What was this madness? The ground never trembled like this where she came from. The gods must be angry. Someone had not treated them right. Someone had not said or done the right things. Maybe her gods had forgotten her, now she was in Rome... she was too far from home. She should never have left, but how could she not, given what happened up there?

She closed her eyes, feeling the fear run through her body. She wanted to breathe deeply, but there was too much dust. This couldn't be it! It couldn't!

“Please!" She yelled, together with the others. Next to her, one of the other women fell to the floor. Rana knelt by her side, had she passed out? “Hey, wake up… we’ll get out, come on…” She said, pushing at the other, trying to get a hold of her hand to pull her up. Her own face was wet with tears and sweat and the dust clung to her skin.

The roof wouldn’t hold. She laid down too then and buried her face downwards, under her arms, to protect herself. Maybe she could make it. Maybe she could. There was a loud sound of rubble around her, as the walls gave in and the roof finally came down and within a matter of moments she screamed, as it all fell down onto her body, onto her back and her head. Something hit the back of her head and her hair and fingers turned wet and crimson with blood. More bricks fell. Then the scream was cut short, when the air was knocked out her lungs and she couldn’t move. And didn’t. Rana was no longer.

At least the door could open now.

@Echo @Chevi

Edited by Atrice
  • Like 1
  • Sad 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Annis appeared with keys. Maybe they would make it. Alexius fumbled with them, there were just so many, too many, and fucking Romans with their fucking key never fucking thought about maybe marking with one was which. They were one key away from the women on the other side. From Rana. 

Annis and Thessala threw themselves at the door, but the keys kept not working and the building kept shaking, and someone was yelling about the roof.

"Fuck! We need to get out! Come on! The roof is coming down!" 

"No!" Thessala yelled back. What, just fucking abandon Rana? And the others inside? There was a rumble on the other side of the door, and everything was filled with dust. Thessala lost sight of Annis and Alexius. Bricks and tiles were falling now, and she curled up against the corner of the doorway, pressing her face between the stone doorframe and the wood, covering her head with her arms. Pain shot through her body as things crumbled around her. And then things went quiet.

@Echo @Atrice

  • Sad 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Get out of there!" Theo yelled at the people trying to break down the doors. He could see the roof slip, and he knew they were not going to make it in time. Dust erupted everywhere as part of the building collapsed. The medicus took a step back and coughed, his mouth, nose and eyes filled with dust. Blinking, he tried to make out shapes in the courtyard as the shaking finally stopped. There was an eerie silence, all of a sudden. For a long moment, the whole world just... ceased.

"Annis?" Theo ventured, ears still ringing, stepping closer to the building "Alexius? Thessala? Where is everyone?..."

@Echo @Atrice

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was no use, the Romans had built strong barricades to keep their property in. Try as she and Thessala might, they couldn't break down the door. Annis coughed into her elbow as the air grew dustier and more hazy, feeling hot tears rolling down her face at the unfairness of it all. She barely registered a small piece of plaster falling on her injured shoulder, but she did hear Alexius yelling at them to get out. She looked between him and the door and then placed her hand against it, almost like a goodbye. "I'm so sorry," she said. 

The roof was coming down. Annis was right behind Alexius as it collapsed, and she jumped out of the way, laying dazed on the ground for a moment. How could this have happened? How? The Briton tried to control her breathing, hating herself for not helping the others keep breathing. They didn't deserve to die. She should have done more. After a moment, she sat up, holding her arm which ached a little bit. "Where's Thessala?" she said quietly, looking around. She wasn't in the courtyard. "She was in there with us!" This time she yelled, standing quickly and staring at the wreckage.

@Atrice @Chevi

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fucking keys and fucking Romans for locking up their newest slaves at a ludus – as if they would run wild when there was an earthquake! They were probably way too scared, if they had just arrived and had barely even heard about these shatterings of the ground. Alexius had never truly experienced one before, but he’d heard about them and he had felt it when there had been smaller rumbles. But never like this. Fucking Romans!

 Still though, there were two women he cared about right next to him and even if he hated to think like that, they mattered more to him than the nameless people behind the door. Thessala said no though, when he said they had to go. Alexius made for the door though, this was not his time to die – not yet! And not this way!

 Annis was right behind him when they entered the yard outside and he looked behind when she jumped out of the way from the crashing boulders behind her. Yet after a few moments, there was just dust in the air and Alexius struggled to see. He held a hand up in front of his mouth, he had nothing else to do it with, as he had left Annis’ room in a completely naked state.

 Annis now sat up and someone was calling his name. Alexius held a hand for Annis to help her and she thought about Thessala, “She was! Gods… fuck!” Alexius said, “Thessala!” Around them there were guards and slaves and workers, confused and trying to make sense of this, just like them. Where the fuck was Thessala though? Was it safe to try and dig her out? Gods he hoped she wasn’t dead!

@Chevi @Echo

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everything felt very, very far away. Sounds were muffled, light was muted, and Thessala's whole body felt numb. Was she... dead? Was this how one passed into the afterlife? Was she a shade now...? She felt like a shade.

There was dust everywhere. A quietness, a whiteness. The earth was not shaking anymore. Thessala's eyes stung as she blinked. She tasted dust and iron on her tongue. It hurt to breathe. Were things supposed to hurt when you were dead?... A small part of her mind doubted it. The realization came with a pang of regret. Why not?

Someone in the distance was calling her name. Her witch name. Thessala the gladiatrix. Thessala the witch. Thessala the madwoman... she had told Rana once that she needed a new name. Did she get one...? Her memories were muddy. 

Rana... Rana called her name.

There was a flash of clarity and Thessala drew a breath, trying to cry out. Pain shot through her side and she choked, her throat full of dust. Instead of words, coughing and some strangled sounds came out.

I'm alive.

Fuck.

@Atrice @Echo

  • Like 1
  • Sad 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Theo blinked, his eyes watering from all the dust. Part of the building had come down. There were sounds slowly filling the stunned silence. He could make out Alexius' naked form, and Annis' blonde hair now. They were both calling for Thessala, but Theo could not see her anywhere.

This was going to be bad.

There were people inside that building. Under that rubble. People were going to need medical attention. Probably a lot more than he was equipped for now, with only one bag of his supplies at hand. Thea looked around, trying to see who else was in the courtyard. Who was in charge?...

It felt much like a battlefield.

Theo knew battlefields.

"Bring the injured over here!" he called out, his voice raspy from all the dust. He moved to the corner of the courtyard that was in the shade, and away from the rubble. "You!" he pointed at one of the gladiators standing around, seemingly unhurt but confused "Grab buckets from the kitchen and go get as much water from the fountain as you can. You! Go get all the sheets and clothes from those rooms over there. You! Head out, see how the other ludi are faring, and if they don't have serious injuries, get the medici! The rest of you, start digging!"

@Atrice @Echo

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Almost not noticing the gesture, Annis accepted Alexius's hand to help her up. Once she was standing, she looked frantically around the hazy courtyard for Saba, her friend and competition, against whom she had no ill blood and who was now buried and possibly dead. A sob that came from deep in her chest escaped her and she looked toward Theo as he began giving orders. Faithful Theo. You could always count on him. Numbly, she approached the pile of rubble, using her one good hand to shift pieces of debris from the pile. They would have to work quickly. Annis couldn't afford to lose one of her good friends, not after all the friends she had lost before. Saba was always good to her. 

@Chevi @Atrice

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The worst part of the earthquake seemed to be over now. Alexius stood with Annis by his side and covered his mouth from the amount of dust and dirt in the air. Slowly it began to settle and he looked around. It wasn't the entire ludus that had crashed, but a part of it. He wondered if the wealthier people's homes looked as bad as this though - they could afford better improvements. And not locking up their slaves. Thessala had not been locked up though, so she had to be somewhere among all the rubble, right? At least Annis was fine. And there were a lot of people out here in the yard. But not everyone.

Theo began shouting out orders and Alexius jumped on it too, helping Annis moving bricks and stones to dig out people, "Thessala!" He called out again. She was a good friend. He didn't want to think he lost her. She had been calling a name, hadn't she? Was her friend buried, perhaps... and that's why she had not wanted to leave? But what use was it that two people died instead of one? He carefully moved further in over all the rubble and tried to remember where the doors had been, the doors they had tried to open. Everything was changed now.

He heard someone cough and saw a person, covered in dust, she seemed almost white, like a ghost, there near a door that had survived standing, while the walls around it had fallen in, mainly on the other side of the door, "Thessala? Are you alright?" 

@Chevi @Echo

Edited by Atrice
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Thessala? Are you alright?" 

Was she? She could hear noises now, someone rolling bricks and debris aside. She coughed again, her throat dry and painful. She was still sitting curled up by the door. She was not sure if she was dying or not. She didn't feel bad pain other than her side. She'd been injured in the arena before, but this... was something totally different. Was she alright?...

"Here" her voice came out more of a croak. "Rana..."

@Atrice @Echo

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Annis's head shot up as she heard Alexius's voice calling Thessala's name, rushing to where she could see her friend, half-buried in rubble. Tears rushed to her eyes at the sight but it was a miracle she was still alive! They needed to get her to Theo immediately. "Saba, you made it," she said quietly, using the name she had given her when they had first met. "We're going to get you out of here, okay? Just lie still. It's going to be alright." Carefully but quickly, Annis began shifting the rubble around her friend, trying to ignore her friend mentioning Rana. There was almost no chance the other gladiatrix had made it. 

@Chevi @Atrice

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was Thessala, wasn't it? Curled up by the door they'd tried to come through and apparently, that seemed to have saved her, because there was rubble on both sides of the door and around her. But she sat there, covered in dirt and dust, coughing, not looking like herself. Annis was right behind him and he noticed that other gladiators and workers at the ludus had begun searching for life among the fallen walls. When he was close enough, Thessala said something, possibly a name, but he didn't know it. Was that the one she shouted while the earthquake was happening... the one she tried to save? The reason why she had not left this door? Well fuck... there was a good chance Rana was not alive, judging by the amount of bricks on the other side of the door.

Annis spoke to Thessala, but she called her Saba and promised they'd get her out. Alexius nodded, "Yes, we're going to get you out." Alexius promised her and moved closer, helping Annis dig out Thessala properly. Hopefully she hadn't broken any bones! "Can you get up?" Alexius held a hand for Thessala to take, worried about his friend and what had happened to her... and her friend or whoever Rana was.

@Chevi @Echo

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thessala saw a glimpse of blonde hair and white skin, blinking as she tried to see through the dust and the sudden light.

"Saba, you made it. We're going to get you out of here, okay? Just lie still. It's going to be alright."

Annis. Annis was here. Rubble was shifting around her, and other sounds were registering now. She heard Alexius again. Was he there too? Were they unhurt?... And why was she not hearing Rana anymore?

"Yes, we're going to get you out. Can you get up?" 

Thessala blinked, noting the hand that was offered. She reached out, wincing at the sharp pain in her ribs. She knew she needed to get out from under the rubble. She needed to move. But gods, it was hard. Her hand finally found Alexius', and she tried to pull herself up, groaning as she moved. How many bones had she broken?...

"What... what is happening...?"

@Echo @Atrice

  • Like 2
Link to comment
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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...