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Aeterna Roma RPG

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September, 75AD

So much had happened since the spring, when Clio for the first time told her sister about the boy she met in the gardens. With whom she swapped clothes and wore boy’s clothes for a little while. And he wore hers! It was scandalous, really, but she had kept her promise and not told a single soul about it. They were twins, they’d always been together and Septima believed she would always love her sister and be loyal to her. They were very different apart from the fact that they looked almost exactly alike. But they were still sisters. Clio could trust her.

They’d talked about Clio going to see the boy again and Septima would come along, so it at least wouldn’t be the two of them meeting alone. And maybe she was also a little bit curious about this boy, Lexus. But time moved on and they had not gotten a chance during the first month after and then it was suddenly May and their birthday. And then summer came and parties and events and then an earthquake shattered Rome! While the damages in their home had been repaired, the twins had been sent to spend time with relatives outside of Rome.

And now it was suddenly fall and thoughts of the boy gardener Lexus were far away. The twins had other things to think about. After the earthquake, some people became homeless and some of them had settled in small camps the gardens in Rome - and it was decided in the family that the twins should go and hand out a little bit of food and clothes they had outgrown, to the homeless. Septima held a large sack with bread and fruit and her sister had the other sack with the clothes.

Together they ventured to the Gardens of Sullust to hand out their items. As they came nearer the gardens, she looked at Clio. They spent much time together, but not all time, of course, so she was curious about how it looked like behind the walls to the gardens. She wasn't even sure she'd ever been here at all, “Have you been here since the earthquake?”

@Chevi

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The gardens had changed a lot since she'd last been there. Clio followed her sister, stepping carefully and glancing around. There were people still camping out there, sleeping on blankets and under makeshift tents they hung on trees and bushes. It was not the same place where she conducted peaceful observations before. And they reminded him of someone she had not seen in a long time.

She had been planning on going back to meet Lexus again. Whatever Thalia might have thought, Clio took a liking to the young man. As a friend, and someone willing to participate in wild experiments with patience. Sure, she could not meet him alone again, but Thalia was willing to come along. But then family things happened, and then the earthquake hit, and then they left Rome... she had no way to send a message to Lexus about any of that. She wasn't even sure if he was still in Rome, or if he'd... been hurt in the earthquake. She felt a mix of guilt and regret about all of that.

And now they were here, to help those who needed it. It was good to do something useful like that. Not much of a young noblewoman's life ever felt useful to Clio, other than learning - but even that was only useful to her, not to others. She carried a large bundle of clothes as she walked alongside Thalia. She was a little shy about doing charity work herself, and she let her sister take the lead.

“Have you been here since the earthquake?”

"I haven't" Clio admitted. "It has... never been the right time for my studies..."

@Atrice

Edited by Chevi
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It must be awful, living in a camp like this, Septima thought. Imagine not having walls around you to protect you or a roof to keep you cool when the sun was shining, and dry when it rained. Imagine that. And not being able to eat when you were hungry. It must be very awful, Septima thought and she felt sorry for the people living here. There were even kids running around as if this was normal.

Septima was not very familiar with these gardens, but if you didn’t look at the small camps, it was  a very pretty place. There were flowers and fountains and statues and little pavilions. She could imagine taking a stroll here on a spring-day, it must be beautiful at that time.

Her sister had been here of course. She recalled this was where she met that boy, who was a gardener and the son of a former slave. Well Clio had not mentioned him in a long time. She wondered if Clio had even been here and she said she had not. That it hadn’t been the right time for her studies.

“Of course, your studies. That’s the only reason you’d come here.” Septima said with a small sigh, “I imagine it’s beautiful when there are not camps all over.” She said then, moving on from the topic of studies and she glanced around, seeing a little family camp over under some trees. There were kids there too.

“Should we give them some things? Come.” Septima said and headed towards them.

@Chevi

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He had been sent home from work early today and decided to take a good long walk. His father was probably not at home anyway, it was the middle of the day and Alexius was probably busy guarding someone or something like that. Lexus could of course just go home, Didia would probably let him in, although… she was probably working too. No, taking a walk was best.

He’d been in the gardens a few times since he met Septima here. His father had thought it a good idea that he saw her again, thought Lexus ought to pursue her although they had almost had an argument because Lexus was nothing like his father! Something his father was naturally not so fond of, because he thought it best if a boy was able to fight and wanted to kiss and make love to just about anyone who would.

Lexus was not like that. He was growing though and this month would present him with his 16th birthday. He was barely a boy anymore, was he? Perhaps his father was right. Perhaps he should get on with women. Lexus was curious, of course. He just didn’t quite know how to proceed.

At last he entered the gardens. He’d been here a few times, his employer had sent him here with food for the homeless who camped out here and he gave those he met before a smile, as he moved on through the gardens. Eventually he reached the statue depicting the Dying Gaul. He remembered looking at it with Septima… who had never shown up to meet him again, although he had his hopes up at least to begin with. But now it had bene too long… hadn’t it?

@Chevi

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“Of course, your studies. That’s the only reason you’d come here... I imagine it’s beautiful when there are not camps all over.” 

Clio blushed a little at her sister's comment. She did value her studies, but she also hoped she would eventually meet Lexus again. The gardens had been a nice place. Now they sheltered people who needed help, but that did not really take away from their beauty.

“Should we give them some things? Come.”

Clio followed her sister, looking around for a place where they could set up their baskets to hand out what they had brought. Nearby she could see the statue of the Dying Gaul; it still stood, which made her smile. It was too good a piece of art to be destroyed by the earthquake. 

"How about we set up over there?" she pointed, changing directions to walk over to the statue. As they came nearer, people were beginning to notice they were carrying things, and began to move closer too. Clio looked at her sister; she was the braver of the two when it came to dealing with strangers.

@Atrice

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Thalia was so busy taking in the sights here, that she did not notice her sister blushing, when she assumed that the only reason why Clio would come here was for her studies. Thoughts of things that happened in the springtime, half a year ago, were far removed from her mind and instead she wanted to begin handing out things to the homeless and the poor here in the beautiful gardens. So she said they should and Clio looked around to find a place to set down their things. Clio suggested to place their bags by a statue in a nearby flowerbed and Thalia nodded.

"That sounds like a good plan. I imagine you know what that statue is supposed to look like? He looks like he's in pain." Thalia said as they moved closer, so far ignoring the people looking at them. 

One person was not looking at the girls though, but at the statue. It was a young and handsome darkhaired guy and Thalia smiled and brushed some hair behind her ear when she'd set down her bag, maybe they could persuade him to help them out? She coughed softly to let their presence be known to him and when he turned to look, she smiled even more widely at him, "Hello... I hope I didn't disturb you? But now I have your attention... would you mind helping us with something?"  

Meanwhile Lexus stared at the two young women as if he'd seen a ghost. It was Septima! He hadn't thought he'd ever see her again and now... there was two of her! 

@Chevi

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"That sounds like a good plan. I imagine you know what that statue is supposed to look like? He looks like he's in pain." 

"It's the Dying Gaul" Clio specified with a smile. She liked sharing things she knew with her sister. Thalia was rarely interested in history or sciences, but she could listen when she wanted to. "It was carved after King Attalus of Pergamon's victory over the Gauls. And brought here after another King Attalus bequethed Pergamon to Rome in..."

Clio could tell she'd already lost Thalia's attention the moment she noticed a young man standing nearby. Young men were always more interesting to her than history. Clio chuckled, and was about to say something...

"Hello... I hope I didn't disturb you? But now I have your attention... would you mind helping us with something?"  

... and then he turned to look, and Clio lost her train of thought.

It was Lexus.

Clio could feel herself grow red in the face, as she clutched her basket, trying to figure out what to say, as if she had not been chatting about kings just a moment before. Thalia already her her signature charming smile on her face.

"... Lexus." Clio cleared her throat "Salve."

@Atrice

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Septima kind of preferred beautiful statues of women and men, not statues like this one. He did look like he was in pain. And of course her sister knew what the statue was, the name and why it was here, but Thalia was already moving on towards the statue, because she’d spotted the nice looking young guy standing there, and wouldn’t he love to help out two such pretty girls?

She heard Clio chuckle behind her while she spoke to him and then he turned to look and he had this strange look on his face. She couldn’t quite decide if he was surprised or shocked or maybe a bit of both?

Thalia glanced at her sister, who was blushing all of a sudden and then she greeted the guy. Lexus? Oh, wasn’t that the boy she met here in the spring? This was him? Thalia looked at him, thinking her sister had definitely found a good looking one here, no matter what his background was.

“This is Lexus? I’ve heard about you, I’m glad to finally meet you!” She said with a cheerful smile to him, setting down her bag with the food, “I’m her twin sister, in case you didn’t guess.” She added with a grin and looked at her sister, wondering what she was thinking.

@Chevi

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Lexus honestly didn’t know what to think! He’d come here quite a few times, around the same time of the day as when he first met Septima here, but she hadn’t come. Summer went by and now it was almost fall and… here she was! But she wasn’t alone. For a moment there he forgot she’d mentioned a sister and he just stood there, forgetting he was supposed to talk.

Septima blushed and greeted him then and before he could form words, her sister spoke up, approaching him with a charming smile and introducing herself, basically.

“Salve, both of you.” Lexus finally managed to say, “I’m… glad to meet you too. And you.” He said with a smile to Septima, “I didn’t know if I’d see you again.” It was kind of weird that her sister was here, he remembered how they’d been last time and now they weren’t even alone. He should be braver and bolder, like his father. Why wasn’t he?

@Chevi

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Clio could tell that her sister finally realized who Lexus was, because her expression immediately changed from open flirtation to keen assessment. Thalia was many things, but she was never the girl who would flirt with her sister's... interest.

This is Lexus? I’ve heard about you, I’m glad to finally meet you!”

Clio blushed ever deeper. Now it sounded like she had been talking about him... which she had, but he didn't need to know that! Too late, Thalia was carrying the conversation.

“I’m her twin sister, in case you didn’t guess.” 

It was obvious, but judging by Lexus' expression, he needed a moment to process anyway. It was always awkward when people gawked at how much alike the two of them looked.

“Salve, both of you. I’m… glad to meet you too. And you. I didn’t know if I’d see you again.”

"I... things happened" Clio admitted, not sure what to say "Family things. And then there was the earthquake, and then Grandfather sent us out of Rome for the summer, so..." so that they would not be around the chaos caused by the insulae collapsing and people being on the streets "... um. So, we just returned recently. I... didn't know if I'd see you either. Are you... alright?"

@Atrice

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Thalia had definitely realized who Lexus was and thought this whole thing very interesting! She ignored the looks from her sister and the way she blushed, for now, although it was cute to see Clio like that. Although she had to admit, she was also maybe slightly envious. She hadn’t yet met any boys or men who made her blush like that.

Meanwhile Lexus also seemed a bit shy, as he greeted them both and then spoke to Clio, saying he didn’t know if he would see her. Clio tried to explain what happened and why he had not seen her and then wondered if he was alright.

“A lot has happened since last time.” Lexus agreed, “I’m good… our insula survived the earthquake and so did both my father and myself… as you can see.” He added with a little grin, looking at the Septima he knew best, “So… what are you doing here? You wanted help with something?”

@Chevi

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Clio wished she could be as friendly and eloquent as her sister was when she was making friends. She had met Lexus before, on that strange day when they exchanged clothes and went exploring, but even so, now that he was standing here again, she felt like the right words were just erased from her mind.

“A lot has happened since last time. I’m good… our insula survived the earthquake and so did both my father and myself… as you can see.”

"I am happy to hear that" Clio nodded with a smile. She had been wondering if Lexus had been hurt in the earthquake; some of the insulae did not fare well, and there were also fires after. It was good to know that her friend was safe.

“So… what are you doing here? You wanted help with something?”

"We are... bringing some gifts to people who are sheltering out here" she said, setting her basket down too "Oh... this is my sister, Septima Major." she said, turning to her sister "And... this is Lexus. We met here before". She knew all that already, obviously, but it still felt the polite thing to do.

@Atrice

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Septima watched the little interaction between her sister and Lexus with great interest. She’d never seen Clio truly interact with a boy like this and they both seemed shy, it was kind of cute, actually. She wondered if Lexus would like her too, but then stopped herself, because he was a plebian, son of a freedwoman and no match for her… or for Clio, for that matter. Even though it was cute, it wasn’t right. What to do?

 Meanwhile Lexus tried to keep the conversation going, explaining he’d been good and survived, which felt stupid to say, because she could see him standing right here! Septima was sweet though, saying she was happy to hear it all and she smiled that sweet and soft smile she had. Lexus glanced at her sister, whose smile had seemed more… beaming, than that of the Septima he knew. Then he wondered what they were doing here and Septima explained and introduced them.

 Thalia laughed, “I think he kind of guessed who I am and I guessed who he is already, sister.” She said with a bright smile, thinking she needed to chat with Clio a bit about timing of introductions. There was little need for it when you’d already talked and explained who you were.

 “It’s alright.” Lexus said, “That’s nice of you to do… both of you. There are plenty of people in Rome needing help.” He added and looked around, “Do you want me to help with the gifts? I’d be happy to. I’m not in a rush to be home.”

@Chevi

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“I think he kind of guessed who I am and I guessed who he is already, sister.” 

Clio blushed again. She was blundering through this conversation, which was embarrassing. She wished she had her sister's conversational skills. No doubt she paled in comparison to Thalia. She had never been jealous of her sister in the company of young men, she just wished she could follow her example.

 “It’s alright. That’s nice of you to do… both of you. There are plenty of people in Rome needing help. Do you want me to help with the gifts? I’d be happy to. I’m not in a rush to be home.”

"Help would be nice" Clio admitted, happy to have something more practical to talk about "I think... maybe, you could help us get the word out, and line people up? We were thinking, maybe women and children first, since a lot of out clothing is for them..."

@Atrice

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Septima watched her sister blush more than once near Lexus and thought that her sister was definitely into this boy here. No matter his rank, maybe Clio was in love! And it was bad, because he was below their rank, but it was also kind of sweet. And he wasn’t too bad looking at least, she thought. And he was nice too.

 Lexus was just smooth, she thought. He said it was alright that Clio introduced Septima, when she already did it herself, kind of… and then he went on to call them nice and suggested to help with the gifts as he was in no rush to go home. Why not, Thalia wondered? Meanwhile Clio accepted the help and wanted Lexus to help them get the word out and have them line up.

 “Sure, I can try. You just… get ready with… what you need to do.” Lexus said with a smile, looking at Clio with a smile and then gave them both a nod and he was off. Septima was left behind with her sister and inched a little closer to her, nudged her playfully in the side.

 “I see why you fancy him.” She said with a grin, “He’s cute and very nice too! Did you know he’d be here today? Wasn’t this where you first met him?”

@Chevi

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Lexus was willing to help them, which was probably a good idea. Thinking about it now, the girls had not really worked out the logistics of handing out all their gifts to the people. An extra set of hands, and someone who knew the gardens better, was much needed. Thalia, on the other hand, seemed very much amused by the surprise encounter, and how flustered her sister got.

“I see why you fancy him. He’s cute and very nice too! Did you know he’d be here today? Wasn’t this where you first met him?”

"I didn't know!" Clio shook her head, a little embarrassed "I mean, we met here, but that was a long time ago... And I don't... know if I fancy him. How do I know?"

@Atrice

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Oh Clio, she was probably more into Lexus that she would admit - even to herself! But Thalia saw her blushing and it was not hard for her to guess what was going on. She wanted that kind of feeling too, but while some men could make her blush, it was just because of what they said and the attention they gave. It was not their mere presence that did it. She felt no butterflies. She was sure Clio felt butterflies! She nudged her sister playfully and asked more into their current situation, but Clio said she had not known he'd be here although this was where they met.

Then she claimed she did not know if she fancied him.

"I'm pretty sure you do!" Thalia said with a grin and tried to move some of the items in her basket around to make it look nicer. She then leaned a little closer to Clio, "You're blushing and stumbling over your words. I think it's pretty obvious." She said with a wink and looked towards Lexus, who was talking to people in different camps as if he'd always done it. 

@Chevi

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Clio busied herself with the contents of their baskets; people were already beginning to line up, moving closer curiously to take a look at the goods about to be handed out. This really was not the time to talk about men... except with Thalia, it was always the time. Especially when her sister was trying to her with her gaining a love life. Or at least an understanding of one.

"I'm pretty sure you do! You're blushing and stumbling over your words. I think it's pretty obvious."

Clio blushed even more at those words, glancing in Lexus' direction before turning back to the baskets. "You think he noticed?" she ventured, in a whisper. She really was not good at this.

@Atrice

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