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Aeterna Roma RPG

Just Close Your Eyes; The Sun is Going Down


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July 75CE

It was a rather dreary day in Rome, and the clouds sat heavily in the sky, promising rain later and blocking the sun from shining through. Citizens went on their way, mingling with slaves as they moved from task to task. Deianira had been given a few errands to run - as a part of the Elysium, it wasn't enough that she devoted her every night to serving the men of the city. She had to earn her keep in other ways, such as the errands she was running now. She had already made a few purchases, including an amphora of the cheap wine served to the workers which had been running low. 

As she was a diligent worker and quick, she had a few more minutes before she had to return to the brothel, and she intended to take advantage of it. She had wandered off a little further than she had meant to, and she was without a guard, though she didn't dare run off. Her master's wrath would be immeasurable if she ran off and he found her. She had decided to take the long way around to see what she could find. She walked through the crowd, gazing around her, pleased to be away from the brothel for once. But an icy chill ran through her as she recognized a face in the crowd. Marcus Barbatius. 

Stunned at first, she gathered herself and began walking away as quickly as she could, begging the gods to spare her meeting him outside of the brothel, too. She only hoped she hadn't been seen. 

@Atrice

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The earthquake happened not long ago, but luckily Marcus had not lost much. Some had lost more, people had died and even in his own neighborhood, not everyone were as lucky as he was. One of the cheaper houses down the street had fallen on a family, the women got out, but not the men. Marcus had seen it the day after, how they had found the bodies and all the blood. He had hurried with moving on, he knew that if he stayed too long, he’d do or say something that most people in Rome just wouldn’t understand.

He knew of course that he wasn’t normal. That was obvious to everyone else, so of course it was to Marcus too. He knew that not everyone found blood as fascinating as he did and he knew not everyone punished or killed their slaves over something minor. And not everyone visited brothels to do things to them, that you shouldn’t desire to do someone else.

Today however, had not been such a day. The weather was boring and Marcus had been to the market with one of his slaves to buy supplies. Now he was on his way home and sent the slave ahead of him, while he walked more slowly, taking a look at the rubble and whatever else the earthquake had causes not long ago.

Suddenly though, there was something else to take a look at. That whore, Deianira, whom he made bleed a while ago, was walking in the same street as he. What a coincidence. He should like to see if there was a scar now, where he cut her. She had such pale skin. The blood had been so… beautiful. Aculia had a scar on her cheek now, he thought with a little smile. Deianira however, she began walking faster and Marcus had just decided he would take a closer look at her. He moved faster, catching up and stepping in front of her to block her way, “Deianira… remember me?”  

@Echo

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Deia felt her heart racing as she walked along, trying not to make a scene out of her distress. Seeing him within the brothel was enough, but to then see him in public as well was... well, it was like he was haunting her. She thought she would get away clear, but it seemed he had spotted her and he stopped her in her tracks by blocking her way. She was out of breath and determined not to look him in the eye, because if she did, she would see the hint of the animal that got his sick kicks from cutting flesh. She had seen how he had risen to the sight of her blood. 

And how could she have forgotten him? No, he would be in her thoughts for some time. Studying the ground, she nodded. "Yes... I remember." 

@Atrice

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She was a slave and a whore. And a whore at the Elysium, even. The lowest of the lowest. And he had her once and he would have her again sometime, but right now, he just wanted to see how his work with her back then had turned out. Of course he couldn’t say if that would make him want more and she was a whore, so he could just pay her after. Plus her master was his friend, or whatever you’d call it. He was certain Titus really wouldn’t mind of Marcus borrowed Deianira for a little bit. But for now, all he wanted was to see the scar.

She was walking fast and breathless when he blocked her way. But she stopped when he spoke to her. As if she had forgotten him, he doubted that very much. Marcus smiled when she said she remembered him.

“Good. I want to see the scar.” Marcus said, no reason to beat around the bush here. And given how much pain she felt and how she had cried, she knew exactly which scar he spoke of, “Come. Your master won’t mind.”

@Echo

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Deia kept her gaze down still, but it didn't take an active imagination to visualize the smile that was surely covering his face. He was lecherous and evil, it was the only thought that crossed her mind. She had hoped she would never have to see him again, knowing now what she did about what a visit from him meant. She wondered what exactly he wanted from her, but then he said it in no uncertain terms. He wasn't one to mince words, apparently. She ventured a glance up at his face as he said her master wouldn't mind and frowned. 

Titus was not a kind master and if she were late, it would certainly earn her a beating, even if she did have a good reason. But was she supposed to deny him this? Knowing that he kept a tiny blade that would rend her flesh if she denied him? She decided not to say anything, since she couldn't find anything to say at all. She just hoped he would be quick about it so she could make it on time. 

@Atrice

 

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She didn't look up at him, which Marcus thought was a good thing. She was acting the way she should, at least. But she was a whore and he could just pay her, if he decided he did want more than just see the scar. That's all he wanted right now though. He saw her frown when he said her master would not mind, but it didn't matter to him if she thought differently. He would make it up to Titus somehow, he would pay him or offer him more free cuts and shaves and all would be fine, for Marcus. Deianira was just a slave and a whore, he cared less about what happened to her. If she deserved punishment, he'd probably be more than happy to help deal it out, even if he was the reason why she deserved punishment.

She didn't speak and he imagined that she had just made up her mind to please him, and do as he said. Marcus nodded with a small smile, this was his part of Rome and he knew it like he knew his purse and his knives, "Come." He said then, considering if he should take her home, and why not? "I know where we can be alone and you can show me what I did to you." 

@Echo

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Deianira was holding her breath but didn't realize it as Marcus spoke again, saying that he knew where they could be alone. Well, that was good wasn't it? He couldn't bloody well rip her tunica off in the middle of the crowded street. But then again, why couldn't he? She was worthless. She had some shame in nakedness still, but she hadn't always - it was a recent development. She supposed it was because of feeling fragile after she lost her baby. But she hoped he wouldn't undress her in public, anyway. 

Finally she spoke up. "Very well. I have to be back soon, though." Not that he cared. He would probably be the one punishing her if Titus thought she deserved it. She wondered why the man didn't put Marcus Barbatius on his payroll and be done with it; he was far more effective at keeping the workers in line than the regular bodyguard. Nobody wanted to go under the knife by his hands. It seemed he knew what he was doing today, so she submitted herself to his leadership, wondering where he would take her. 

@Atrice

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Marcus wasn't a cruel man, at least he didn't think so. He was just a bit different than most other people and he had some different desires. He knew he wasn't normal. He knew most people didn't like to kill or maim others and most people were not as fascinated by blood as he was. So he would not rip off her tunica in the middle of the street, he wasn't like that. Besides, he preferred it to be private - to have her and her face and reaction all to himself. Naturally she agreed to come with him, but she knew she had no choice, didn't she? He had only done her once, but that was more than memorable enough for her and she knew not to cross him. She said she'd have to be back soon, but she was right, he didn't care. Everything she was thinking, was right. He'd be happy to help Titus punish her. More than happy.

For now though, he held a hand on her back, just to make sure she'd come with him and not attempt running. They walked side by side, appearing like just another master and his slave, but they were anything but that. He was in his own neighborhood even and he greeted people he knew, until he reached his shop and home. He went around the back though, to the back entrance. Here it was less crowded, they were alone. He hadn't taken her inside though, but he stopped and he looked at her, "Here it's a good place. Strip, I want to see the scar." 

@Echo

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If Deianira had heard his thoughts, she would have certainly disagreed. He was cruel, among the cruelest she had ever met (and she had more than enough experience with men). She put him at a slightly higher level of cruelty than Titus Lupus, as Titus at least punished people for doing things wrong. Deia didn't think Marcus hurt people for any good reason; he just enjoyed it. He had certainly shown how much he'd enjoyed her blood the night they had met, as he had finished rather quickly. She started a little at the feel of his hand on her back as they walked, clutching her amphora carefully and showing her tension in her shoulders. 

He greeted people as they walked, but she kept her face in a drawn expression and averted her eyes, not even bothering to look for an escape as she knew it was hopeless. All she could hope for was that he would get it over with quickly, whatever 'it' was, and let her get on with her day. Eventually, they reached a house and went around the back, though not inside. She stared at him as he said to strip. "You mean... here? Outside?" All of her promiscuity was reserved for inside; she dressed modestly outside of the brothel, invariably. She made no move to strip just yet, unsure of herself and if he truly meant to make her stand outside naked. 

@Atrice

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He felt her tense up when he touched her back to keep her with him… it was always nice, having such power over someone else. Marcus enjoyed it when they feared him. Then he knew that he had the upper hand. She clutched the amphora she carried to her body and kept her head down while they walked. No one questioned Marcus walking around with Deianira and soon they were behind his house. They were alone here, so far, just next to the doorway into the house. And here, he simply asked her to strip.

“Why not?” Marcus asked, when she didn’t strip and wondered why he would have her do it here. Honestly it was for her safety too. If he took her inside, where no one would see what they did, he thought he might be tempted to do more. Out in the open, he wouldn’t do that. But she just stood there, making no moves to strip and Marcus inhaled an irritated breath.

“Do as you’re told.” He said then, because if she didn’t, he would have to help her and she’d already annoyed him plenty by not following orders the first time. His knives were inside. He could cut her with a bigger one this time, either add to the old scar or make a new one.

@Echo

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Deia eyed him, trying to control her breathing in an effort to manage her fear. She didn't want to show him her body, but she supposed she didn't want to go inside, either, if this was his house. But she took some offense to him ordering her like she belonged to him - who was he to order her to do as she was told? Titus hadn't told her to do anything but fetch the wine and don't be late. Marcus was not her master. But he was the one in control, simply because he was the one with the knives. Deia wished fruitlessly that she was allowed to carry a knife herself - she could follow that Thessala woman's advice and stick Marcus with the pointy end. 

But her hands were empty but for the wine, which was not known for its qualities in self-defense. She gingerly placed the clay amphora on the ground and looked around  one last time, her cheeks burning in shame, before removing the pins holding her tunica together at the shoulders and lowering the cloth so that her breasts were exposed. She didn't lower the tunica further, though, hoping that seeing the scar would be enough for his eyes. It had healed, for the most part, but hadn't settled into the white tone that scars took on over time. 

@Atrice

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She was a slave. Sure she was not his slave, but he could pay Titus afterwards, if needed. And any slave was beneath a free Roman like Marcus anyway, so she should just do as told or he’d tell her master and it would be even worse for her. All he wanted was to see her scar. But she had made no move to strip when he told her to and Marcus’ patience was easy to wear thin. She eyed him, daring to look and at first, he thought she would refuse. Then he would have to punish her – harm her, again. All she had to do was give him an excuse.

But then she moved. Marcus kept a sharp eye on her, but it was only to put the amphora on the ground and then she stood and removed the pins that held her tunica together by the shoulders. The tunica fell down, but was stopped by her waist by a belt or something. It revealed her pale, smooth and soft looking breasts and the scar from the cut he made into her. Marcus looked at the scar more than her breasts, because he was most interested in that. It had healed but it was still red. He reached a hand up to trace the line of it with his finger. It was shorter and thinner than what he recalled. He wanted to recreate it, make it better.

“It’s so thin.” He whispered and then looked up at her face, “Did anyone else see it, after? Someone must have had you after I did, while it was still fresh. What did they think?” He was curious to know the reactions to his work.

@Echo

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Deia found herself returning to the old reliable method of getting through meetings with clients - allow her mind to wander, far away from the situation at hand, and let her body do what came naturally. Compartmentalize body away from mind to make it bearable. It was risky to be fully present for every meeting, this one particularly so. To give oneself up fully every time would mean letting every client take a piece of you away, until there was nothing less. It was the one skill she had mastered. 

Marcus traced the line of her scar with his finger - her body felt this keenly. But she was looking past him, through him almost. She heard him ask a question, and she returned briefly to contemplate and answer. "Not - not that night. The night after." It had been a plebeian man, soft and gentle, a kind respite from the brutality of the night previous. He had voiced his concerns. "He asked how I got it. He was concerned." She hadn't told him that a crazed man with a sharp blade had done it to get his cock hard, of course. 

@Atrice

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She didn't look at him or where he touched her, while he did it. Instead she was staring into... nothing, but it didn't matter. Marcus was fascinated by the scar but also thought he could have done a better job. It could be wider, larger, more obvious. The knife could penetrate her skin again and make her bleed, that beautiful crimson blood on her pale skin. And in broad daylight too, that would be a sight. And hearing her whimper while he did it, while she knew he had the control. But for now, he wanted to know if anyone else saw his artwork upon her skin and she said she didn't bed anyone after him that night, but the night after. And her patron had been concerned, apparently.

Marcus also noted how her client had asked how she got it. He looked at her face, her eyes. She better not have told anyone who did it. He had not told her his name, had he? Marcus didn't need anyone to spread gossip and wrong rumors about him. If she'd set something in motion... he inhaled a breath, he was getting worked up over this, angry, and it was her fault... "And what did you tell him?

@Echo

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Deiania realized her mistake as soon as she saw the dangerous look on his face. She should've assured him immediately that she hadn't implicated him, even though it really wouldn't have mattered. "I... told him that I cut myself accidentally. He didn't really seem to believe me, but I wouldn't have told him the truth." She looked at him again with a frown. "But you know Titus doesn't care what you do as long as you pay. So it wouldn't matter if I had told him." 

She had a sudden surge of self-consciousness, realizing that any of his slaves or people looking out their window could see her bare-breasted. She fingered the edge of the tunic, wanting to pull it up. "You've seen the scar now. Can I go?"

@Atrice

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Deianra told him that she had told the client who noticed the fresh wound, that she'd just cut herself, but the man didn't seem to believe her. He arched a brow, that part was not good. Then she went on about how her master didn't care about such things and it didn't matter if she told the client or not, what happened. That part didn't matter. Titus didn't care, Marcus knew that. Titus just wanted his money and as long as you paid well, you could do as you pleased with the girls. This particular girl then began wanting to get dressed again, it seemed. She wanted to go. Meanwhile Marcus was debating within himself whether it was smart to do that. He worried about that client she talked about. Maybe he didn't tell Titus or maybe he did and Titus didn't care. But what about other people? What if he told his friends? And they wondered who cut her so badly and came to question her too? Marcus could not lose his business over a stupid prostitute.

"You shouldn't have said anything to him at all." Marcus said, ignoring her plea about leaving... instead he now reached for the wrist of her hand that was touching the tunic. He held her wrist tightly, "If anyone asks, distract them instead of telling them lies. Don't talk about it. You could be ruining everything." He hissed, "Do you understand that?" Titus probably wouldn't even care if Marcus killed her, as long as he found a replacement. He could buy a new girl for the Elysium. Someone better. Someone who wouldn't talk.

@Echo

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Perhaps Deia could have done better, distracted him with her body or by changing the subject. But after all, it wasn't like she even knew this man's name - just his first name, and there were about a million Marcuses in Rome, plus she hadn't told the concerned customer. How could anyone possibly track Marcus down without knowing his name or anything about him? The man had probably just been briefly concerned and then his mind had wandered off to something else, forgetting about her entirely. It was the place of a whore to be used and forgotten. 

Deia winced as Marcus grabbed her wrist, staring at him like a trapped animal. Now he was getting angry, dangerous, and she sensed that he was not a man to be crossed in this moment. "I didn't tell him anything," she said, feeling her anger flare up at the unfairness of it all. "You're hurting my arm."

@Atrice

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Marcus was worried - and he knew he should be. In his mind, he always managed to justify it when it hurt someone and he had every right to hurt this whore here, because he paid for it. But still, others would look down upon the act and would think something was wrong with him. And if they found him and found the things he'd done to people, how many slaves he killed (he barely knew how many himself, though) and about his family... it just wasn't going to happen. And that's exactly why some people died by his blade, because he didn't want them to talk. He could kill this one easily too and then just pay her owner and find a new whore for him. It would be a done deal. And it would be so easy and so beautiful.

But she winced when he grabbed her wrist, she stared at him and said she didn't tell the other patron anything. And then complained he was hurting her arm.

"You know I could do much more than that." Marcus replied, "Don't tell any other concerned clients about your scar. Or about me. Ever." He paused, tightening his grip on her wrist rather than letting go, while he looked straight into her eyes, "Or I will personally deal with both you and them." She had no idea what game she was playing, she did not know he'd killed and maimed many others before her. She didn't know how dangerous he could be. But maybe now she understood.

He let go of her wrist then, he wanted to do more to her right now, but it was daytime and the other whores would miss her too. And his own patrons, they'd miss him. He'd come find her at the brothel soon and question her again.

@Echo

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Deia felt a flash of boldness, a small one to be sure, but boldness all the same. She stared right back into the man's eyes, her own eyes hardening with hatred. She hoped her eyes communicated her loathing for the man. He spoke about her knowing he could do much more than hurt her wrist - of course she knew that. She had the scar to prove it. But sometimes she wished someone would help her pass into the next realm. Living in this one was sometimes too much, like at this moment, and she wanted to escape. To not feel anything anymore. 

As he let go of her wrist, she jerked it away from him and stood massaging it for a second. Surely he'd cracked the bone, but she wouldn't cry out. She didn't want to give him the pleasure. Still glaring at him, she dressed herself again and lifted the amphora off the ground, waiting to see if he had anything else to say. 

@Atrice

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She said nothing to him now. But she was daring and bold and perhaps too much. Deianira was staring right into his eyes and he knew that look. Not that her opinion of him mattered to him very much. In fact it didn't matter at all. She was a slave and a whore, the lowest of low, even at the Elysium. If she died, no one would miss her and she would be replaced. Her opinion mattered to precisely no one - as long as she kept her mouth shut and didn't tell anyone about him. If she did, her opinion mattered so much she might be risking her life for it. 

He let go of her wrist and she jerked her hand away, massaged the wrist. She'd definitely get a bruise there. Blood coming towards the surface of the skin where you'd pressed too hard. Marcus knew all about it. He stood there, watching her, but she dressed herself without another word and picked the amphora she carried, up again. She did not walk away though. She knew it would be stupid to turn your back on this man on purpose. 

"You can go." Marcus said, at least pleased with her finally acting like a proper slave. And then he waited for her to leave. But it was clear to him, that he was not done with her at all.

@Echo

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Deia knew that her one defiant act, the look in her eyes, was no use. She knew she didn't matter. Who had ever cared about her, truly? And why should they? She was less than nothing, a body to be used by those who paid for it and then forgotten. She would never have any use other than that, until her body wore out and she was forced to find employment elsewhere. 

Without another word, and feeling the oppression of her lot in life falling down upon her shoulders, she left. 

@Atrice

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