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Aeterna Roma RPG

Don't Become Some Background Noise


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Early May, 75CE

Apparently, the things that rich nobles got up to in Rome differed very little from what went on in Greece. To the girl's chagrin, one of Deia's first assignments as a slave and prostitute at the Elysium was to make an appearance at a low-level noble's home for a party, as eye-candy for those in attendance. Though Deia had to wonder why the noble hadn't sprung for a worker at the Domus Venus; they were apparently more sought after than her companions at the Elysium. The only conclusion was that he was either not as wealthy as he made out to be, or he was cheap but wanted to appear like he had the wealth to spare in order to get a prostitute to stand on a platform for a few hours, and then, perhaps, bed a few of the guests. Time would tell. 

Also to her annoyance, Deia was responsible for walking to the house herself, accompanied by a couple of the musclemen who guarded the prostitutes at the brothel. She was new to Rome, so the way confused her a great deal, and she was nearly in tears from frustration by the time they got there. She couldn't even read or write her own home language, Greek, let alone Latin. She could speak it, but the locals here were not very friendly. But at last, they arrived and Deia was shown to the main room of the house, where she would be displayed. For the journey, she had worn modest enough clothing, but once she was at the house, it was time to wear what one would expect a prostitute to wear. She was shown to a back room after her tour so that she could change in peace. She thought she was alone, so she sat on the floor, rubbing a hand on her forehead to try to ground herself. This was her life. She had to keep up her appearances. 

@Chevi

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"Well fine, then I'm taking the wine with me!"

Thessala made a dramatic entrance into the small back room, carrying a jug of unwatered wine and making a rude gesture at the servant who had told her she should not make an appearance until later on in the party, when she could liven everyone's spirits by some displays of witchery. And maybe swordplay. Depending on how drunk everyone was. No one wanted the entertainment around until the party was really going, and people were barely beginning to arrive yet.

Thessala huffed, shoving the door shut, before she noticed the scantily clad girl sitting on the floor. She blinked, looking her over, then held out the jug. "Well, at least I'm not alone with this fuckery. Wine?"

@Echo

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Deia looked up suddenly at the noise, watching in amazement at the behavior of the other woman, talking back to someone and making a rude gesture as well. Gods, if she only had the gumption to do something like that! She would tell Titus and all her customers to go straight to hell and walk out. But she knew what would happen if she did that, and she didn't want it to happen. So she remained quiet and kept her head down around the brothel. This woman's appearance, however, was surprising and slightly amusing after the strain of the past hour and weeks. 

Deia gave a shadow of a smile as the other woman held out the jug, offering her some in a strange accent Deia hadn't heard before. "Well, I guess that would be alright. Thanks." She received the jug in her hands, reasoning that the night would be much easier to endure with a wine-clouded mind. As she drank, she examined the other woman. "I guess you're here as entertainment, too?"

@Chevi

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Thessala might have fought for her right to drink like a barbarian, but she was not going to keep all the wine to herself, not when she had to share the back room with someone else who was also clearly not welcome in sober company.

"Well, I guess that would be alright. Thanks."

"Mhm." Thessala took a seat too, crossing her legs.

"I guess you're here as entertainment, too?"

"Yep" she nodded, the talismans braided in her hair jingling "Thessalian witch and gladiatrix. I do sword tricks, minor curses, and Amazon fantasies for select ladies. You?"

@Echo

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After the initial surprise at the woman coming into the room, Deia was able to focus on her appearance more and she was intrigued. It wasn't everyday that she saw a woman in such wild clothing, besides what Titus might make a centerpiece lady wear to catch the eye of the customers, and it was fascinating. Deia herself rarely decorated herself besides cosmetic changes to her face with kohl and rouge, let alone jewelry. 

The other woman explained that she was a witch and some of the things she did. Deia let out a wry grin at the mention of curses. "How much do curses cost?" She was mostly joking, but if they worked... Sometimes she felt like she was cursed somehow, though she'd never done harm to anyone on purpose. She blushed a little at the woman's question about her occupation but shrugged and told her anyway. "I work at the Elysium," she remarked delicately. "What's your name?"

@Chevi

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"How much do curses cost?"  

"A lot. I'd charge less if they were real." Thessala grinned, taking a swig of the wine. She played the role of a witch, but she never ventured into seriously dabbling it the things they did. It was just for show. She was not even Thessalian, after all. 

"I work at the Elysium. What's your name?"

"Thessala." she grinned. She knew Elysium, from rumors anyway. It was one of the many brothels in the city of Rome. "And yours?"

@Echo

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Deia smiled sheepishly, a bit disappointed that the curses weren't real. "I guess that's all the same, then," she said. What would she even do with a curse? Curse Titus? That wouldn't do at all - if his luck ran dry, then so would the luck of all the workers at the brothel. If his fortunes dried up, his mood would sour even more than it already was and he might dole out more punishment than he already did. 

Deia nodded as the other woman introduced herself as Thessala. "Deianira. It's nice to meet you." She eyed the other woman as she explained her own line of work, understanding that she might have preconceived notions about her line of work. Not unjustified notions, either. "So, what do you do with your time when you're not 'cursing' people?" she asked, giving a grin. 

@Chevi

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"Deianira. It's nice to meet you."

"Likewise" Thessala handed the wine back to her. It was always good to meet new people whom she did not have to be mysterious or polite around. She knew quite a few prostitutes, given how many parties she was invited to, and most of them were fun to be around in a whole different way than men thought.

"So, what do you do with your time when you're not 'cursing' people?"

"I fight people in the arena" Thessala grinned "The gladiatrix part is real. They don't let me take my swords out of the ludus, though. Something about being a risk."

@Echo

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Deia dipped her head as Thessala said likewise. She seemed like a vibrant person, Deia thought, and fun to be around, though the prostitute felt that she was hardly able to match such energy at the moment. She had to save that for when she was actually out at the party. Thessala proceeded to explain that she actually was a gladiatrix and Deia nodded in response, drinking a little bit more. She had never been to the arena before, since she'd only recently arrived, and she doubted she would probably never have the pleasure. 

"Is that a very dangerous job, then? I can't imagine..." She had the sudden thought that perhaps it might be preferable to face an enemy who was tangible, rather than her fears of insecurity and abuse. It would certainly be preferable to face an enemy with a sword in hand, anyway; even if she didn't know how to use it. Thessala said that they didn't let her bring swords out of the ludus and she grinned. "They do keep us under lock and key, don't they?"

@Chevi

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"Is that a very dangerous job, then? I can't imagine..."

"Not really a job" Thessala grinned. Jobs got paid. She didn't. She was a slave, and didn't really have a choice; enjoying the fights was a lucky bonus to the whole thing. Plus the perks that sometimes came her was in... other currencies than money.

"They do keep us under lock and key, don't they?"

"Well at least they think we are dangerous" the gladiatrix flashed her teeth in another grin "One way or another. So, where did they get you from? Before the brothel I mean."

@Echo

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Deia realized her slip and blushed. "Right. Sorry." She should have known that Thessala wouldn't consider her work as a job, since it wasn't paid work. Deia could identify with that, since she wasn't paid either. And she certainly did not enjoy her work, no matter how much she pretended to for customers who wanted their girls to be enthusiastic. 

Thessala went on to suggest that the Romans thought they were dangerous and Deia laughed ruefully. "Oh, well, maybe you. But I don't think anyone would think I was dangerous. I wouldn't know what to do if I had a knife." But she would like to have one, maybe. Perhaps she could leave the brothel and melt into the crowds of Rome. But she knew, deep down, she didn't have the gumption. Thessala then asked where she had come from before the brothel she was at currently. "Well... I'm from Greece. But I was born in a brothel there and I kind of just... went from one to the other. Where are you from?"

@Chevi

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Romans learned to be careful with slaves, trained to kill or otherwise. Even a prostitute could be dangerous if she was left to her own devices (or paid enough by some political enemy). Thessala knew that her skill with the sword made her a threat, but generally, most Romans thought she was satisfied with her fame and her adoring fans, and did not think twice about having her at fests as entertainment. 

"Oh, well, maybe you. But I don't think anyone would think I was dangerous. I wouldn't know what to do if I had a knife."

"You stick them with the pointy end." Thessala supplied with a helpful grin, drinking some more. At this rate, she would be comfortably buzzed by the time they let them out of this damned room. "Romans are surprisingly squishy under the hard shells."

"Well... I'm from Greece. But I was born in a brothel there and I kind of just... went from one to the other. Where are you from?"

Born into a brothel. Thessala wondered what that was like. The same way the other woman probably wondered what it was like to be a gladiatrix.

"Thrace. My family sold me for food." she shrugged "I do enjoy the fighting better than being a household slave, though. I've always had a knack for it." she looked at the other woman. She probably could not say the same about her profession. "You think you'll even buy your freedom?"

@Echo

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Deia had never been put into a position where she'd had to (or been able to) defend herself, and had only handled a knife to cut bread, never a person. There had been plenty of times she'd wanted to cut a customer, certainly. But then she would be beaten and that wasn't worth it. Thessala was amusing, though, and Deia chuckled a little. "I was more thinking that I would probably get disarmed before I got the chance to do any damage. But I appreciate it." 

Thessala went on to explain that she was from Thrace and that her family had sold her for food. She imagined that would be a difficult thing to go through and Deia did not envy her. But at the same time, Deia had never had a real family and so could not relate to that kind of betrayal. She'd gone through life trusting very few people. "It's good that you enjoy being a gladiatrix, at least." She took one more sip of the wine, feeling her nerves steady a little. Her hands were no longer shaking, anyway. Then Thessala asked if she would ever buy her freedom and she chuckled a little. "One can hope. But it would take me years to save up enough to do it. Are you hoping to buy your freedom, then?"

@Chevi

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"I was more thinking that I would probably get disarmed before I got the chance to do any damage. But I appreciate it." 

"Stick them when they are distracted." Thessala noted sagely, then smirked, glancing at the door. Wonder if someone heard her giving such advice. "Theoretically."

"It's good that you enjoy being a gladiatrix, at least. One can hope. But it would take me years to save up enough to do it. Are you hoping to buy your freedom, then?"

"I do, although I am not sure what I'd do with it" she admitted with a shrug "Maybe stay at the ludus. Likely. But it's the principle, you know?... What would you do?"

@Echo

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Deia gave a laugh. "Well, if I'm ever in a situation in which I need to stab one, I'll remember your advice." The woman then stipulated that this was all theoretical and she nodded seriously, though resolved into laughing. "Of course. Theoretically." The woman's next question was a curious one - what she would do if she were free? It was something that had occupied very little space in her mind, as there was little chance she would ever gain her freedom. She had always been a slave, and moreover, had been a sex worker since she'd been old enough to be one. Freedom was a far-off concept. 

"I... don't really know. I wouldn't know what to do with myself." But after another minute of silent thinking, she shrugged. "I think I might like to go travel. There is so much to see in Rome and its surrounding territories that I'd like to see." 

@Chevi

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Thessala smiled, resting her head back against the wall as they both mused their possibilities. Freedom was out of reach for both of them, at least for now, but one had to dream if one wanted to get up in the morning and survive. Even if it was just a dream of doing voluntarily what she has been doing as a slave. Small steps.

Traveling, though.

"I hear there are barbarians out there" she grinned "And all kinds of unsavory women."

Thessala would have loved to meet more unsavory women on her travels.

"So... how do these evenings go for you?" she ventured "Do you have someone keeping an eye on you?"

@Echo

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Freedom, or dreaming of it, wasn't what kept Deia going, really. She had never tasted it, and therefore couldn't pine after it. But she managed to find a reason to wake up every morning, somehow found the strength to keep going. She couldn't explain where her motivation came from, but it was there, like a flickering light. 

Travels were much more interesting to think of, though. Thessala suggested there were barbarians in the surrounding areas of Rome and she laughed. "Well, I'll know what to do with one if I meet one, won't I? Stick him with the pointy end?" Thessala then asked how these evenings went for her. Deia wasn't too sure - this kind of event was not something she'd had experience with in Greece. "I'm just supposed to go out there and entertain, I suppose. Yes, there's a guard from the brothel here - though I don't think he's here for my protection, just to keep me in line, I expect." Not that she had much of a rebellious streak. 

@Chevi

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"Well, I'll know what to do with one if I meet one, won't I? Stick him with the pointy end?"

"Good girl" Thessala grinned, raising her glass. If and when both of them were free to go wherever they pleased, she suspected the woman would make an entertaining companion.

"I'm just supposed to go out there and entertain, I suppose. Yes, there's a guard from the brothel here - though I don't think he's here for my protection, just to keep me in line, I expect." 

"Probably" Thessala sighed "Sometimes the men at these parties get out of hand, but as long as they don't damage the goods, the guards won't care much... been there, in the early days. Hence, the witch thing." she grinned "Now they are too unnerved to cross me." She tilted her head "If one of them is out of line, give me a signal of some sort... I'll see what I can do."

@Echo

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Deia smiled genuinely and raised her cup as well, finishing off the remaining wine inside. Thessala was very kind, talking to her and getting to know her a little. Even the other whores at the Elysium were less than forthcoming with niceties. It was like a dark cloud hung over the establishment, cast by Titus Lupus, no doubt. Any girl that got out of line there were swiftly dealt with - either by the established guards or by Marcus Barbatius, which was a far worse fate. 

Thessala said that the men at parties like this sometimes got out of hand, suggesting that the guards wouldn't get involved unless the goods were damaged. She gave a slightly surprised look, chuckling nervously. "I suppose you don't have experience with the Elysium, then. Most anything goes unnoticed by the guards... for the right price." She hesitated for a moment, then pulled down the right side of her tunica, exposing the newly healing scar on her right breast that had been placed there by Marcus Barbatius. "Like I said. For the right price." Her gaze softened slightly as she pulled the tunica back up. "But thank you, Thessala. I appreciate your concern."

@Chevi

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"I suppose you don't have experience with the Elysium, then. Most anything goes unnoticed by the guards... for the right price."

Thessala made a face. That was too easy to believe. She had the same experience, sometimes; even with all the people who adored her as the Thessaly Witch could not keep her from being offered up for entertainment, blood and flesh and all. The girl bared her side to show a recent scar. It was easy to guess how she'd received it. It made Thessala want to punch some men even more.

"Like I said. For the right price. But thank you, Thessala. I appreciate your concern."

"I haven't had experience with Elysium" she admitted with a dark look "It's sounds like a shit place. Which makes the name ironic."

@Echo

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Deia chuckled, still melancholy. "Well, I can't really say it's any worse than any of the places I've been at before." Really, her last place was worse - or maybe she just thought that because of her association of that place with the loss of her baby. Even now that she had caught the attention of Marcus Barbatius, she wasn't in danger of losing her life, as long as she was still of use to Titus. 

Just then, a guard of the household came in. "You. You're to come in now." He gestured at Deianira and she stood, glancing back at Thessala. "Thank you for the advice, Thessala. And for the wine. I hope we meet again."

@Chevi

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"Well, I can't really say it's any worse than any of the places I've been at before." 

Thessala made a mental note to find out more about Elysium sometime. She could not do much about it, being a slave and all, but she knew people. And the people she knew, like Alexius, knew people too.

A guard came and ordered Deianeira in. The show was no doubt about to start. Thessala stood too, but the host's plan must have been sex first and blood later, because th eguard shook his head, keeping her back in the room. Dammit. 

"Thank you for the advice, Thessala. And for the wine. I hope we meet again."

"Take care out there" Thessala waved "I'm sure we'll meet again." If not out there, then later. By the time Thessala was allowed in, Deianeira might be in a room with a client. She wished they could have just spent the rest of the day drinking together in the room. Wishes... the gladiatrix sighed, and drank some more.

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