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Aeterna Roma RPG

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September 75

 

"Onions, garlic, figs, cumin, lentils," Davus murmured to himself, repeating the shopping list over again (minus the items he had already bought, of course). "Onions, garlic... oof!" He had been distracted in his search and ended up very nearly walking into someone. The someone, when he'd recovered his wits and stepped backwards, an apology ready, turned out to be a young woman, of similar complexion to him, dressed simply, and with a veil over her head.

"Apologies," he said, checking that he hadn't dropped anything - he hadn't. "I wasn't watching where I was going - I hope you're not hurt?" His Latin was perhaps more melodious than a native would pronounce it, thanks to his Egyptian Greek accent.

 

@Echo

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Aglaea, too, had been in her own world as she walked along to the marketplace from synagogue. She had been considering the teachings she had heard of Jesus today, lost in thought as she synthesized her new knowledge with her own life experiences. But as sometimes happened when she became too engrossed in thought, she almost walked into someone. She noticed him just before she would have crashed into him, but in her haste to move out of his way, her veil was dislodged. She quickly replaced it and turned back to apologize, but he got there first. 

Smiling generously, she waved her hand. "Not at all." She looked at him with an interested expression, having noticed his accent. She thought that she must, too, speak with some accent, though she had learned Latin at a very early age, so it must be faint. "I'm not hurt, thank you - are you? It seems we both were lost in thought," she said, laughing. "Forgive me, what accent is that? I haven't heard it before..."

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"Not hurt at all," Davus said, thankful that the other was equally uninjured. "Uh, Egyptian," he said, in answer to her question - what an odd question to ask, in a city like this, that had people from all the corners of the empire in it. Her own Latin was accented, though much softer. She had probably spoken Latin for much longer than he had, if she'd ever spoken anything else. He couldn't place hers, although the accent of the few words she'd spoken sounded vaguely familiar - yet not quite. "I'm sorry if I, uh..." He indicated her veil, which she had had to rearrange.

He wasn't sure where she was from, and from the plainness of her dress, she was possibly a slave, and for a slave to cover her head probably meant she was Jewish or something - he remembered them from his childhood in Alexandria.

 

@Echo

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Ah, Egyptian. But surely that wasn't all? She'd heard Egyptians speak - but, she realized, it didn't particularly matter. She had encountered plenty of people with interesting accents, and since languages were an interest of hers, she always made a point to ask, as though she were collecting exotic accents for her collection. "I see. Your Latin is excellent," she said kindly. 

The young man then gestured at her veil which she had securely rearranged onto her head, apologizing for knocking it loose. She laughed a little - she really only wore it during synagogue and after it, being sure to remove it upon reentering the domus, since she didn't want to draw attention to her membership in a religion other than the Roman sect. "That's quite alright," she assured him. "It was my own fault for not wearing it securely enough. So, you are from Egypt, then?" She was clearly interested in Egypt, having never been there before. 

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"Thank you," Davus said simply, thinking that she must be very kind - his Latin was by no means as good as hers, though it did help that Latin was a regular language that followed the same sort of patterns, in its own way, as his native Greek did.

"From Alexandria," he said, somehow finding it quite natural to fall into step beside her, although he was perfectly ready to be told to get lost. She must have heard of Alexandria - it was a city renowned for learning and philosophy, after all. "Can I ask where you're from?"

 

@Echo

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Aglaea smiled as she continued on her way but he fell into step with her. The company was welcome and she wondered if he wanted to eat lunch with her; eating alone got lonely sometimes. "Of course," she responded. As they walked, she asked where he was from and he told her that he was from Alexandria. Always interested in learning, Alexandria was the pinnacle of everything she found interesting in her free time. "Oh, amazing! I've always wanted to go, but of course..." She chuckled a little. "I go where my mistress goes."

He then asked where she was from. "Judea," she said with a small smile. "But I haven't been there in many years. Are you new to Rome?"

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He shook his head at her question. "No, I've been here for..." he had to pause to work it out. He'd been in the household of Titus Sulpicius Rufus for six years, and in Rome itself for three years before that... "Nine summers?" She looked at least a little interested, at least.

"I was only about ten when I left Alexandria, I'm sure it isn't how I remember it at all." He shifted the shopping basket to sit more comfortably on his arm. "What about you - where are you from?"

She had at least confirmed that she was a slave, like him, which meant he could relax a bit and not have to worry that he might somehow offend a free woman - he wouldn't want to offend anyone, even a slave, but free people were apt to get touchy when their dignity was somehow offended by a slave, and touchy free people were quick to lash out, even when the slave was someone else's property. He risked a sideways glance. This young woman looked altogether too gentle and kind for that sort of reaction - there was something about her that had drawn him and he couldn't even begin to say what it might be.

 

@Echo

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Nine summers was quite a long time, almost as long as Aglaea. She'd been with Roman mistresses since she was seven, but with Livia since she was fourteen. She was caught for a moment by surprise at that thought - she'd spent most of her life with Livia at this point. "That is quite a while... what did you say your name was?" She smiled briefly before attending to his question. "Judea," she explained. "Though I don't remember it all too well. I've been with my current mistress for fourteen years, and my mistress before, I was with for seven."

The young man she was walking with seemed kind and interested in talking, which was a trait that either endeared a person to Aglaea or put her on guard. But there was nothing dubious about him - he seemed well-mannered and honest. He was clearly a slave as well, too, which she was glad to notice - one found all sorts of interesting information through the grapevine of slaves. But he was also nice for talking to about their homelands. 

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"I didn't, but it's Davus," Davus said. "You didn't tell me your name, either, though."

Fourteen years with the same mistress? He could barely imagine that; he'd had three masters in the same length of time. "Judea? That's a long way away - even further than Alexandria."

He thought it was, anyway, further towards the rising sun than his birthplace. "I've only been with my current master for six years, the longest I've been anywhere except my very first place." 

Only thinking about that reminded him of his mother and then he was reminded of the last time he'd seen her, when they were pulled apart in the huge slave market at Delos.

 

@Echo

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"Forgive me," she said with a little laugh. "It's Aglaea. I'm pleased to meet you, Davus." She was, too. He seemed like a pleasant young man and she was interested to learn more about him. He asked about Judea and said that it must be a long way away, further than Alexandria. "It was quite a journey, but I didn't go straight from Judea to Rome. It was a bit more roundabout than that."

He mentioned that he had been with his current master for six years and she glanced at him. "Might I ask who your master is? Mine is Livia Justina - but she doesn't get out so much, you might not know her." 

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"Mine's Titus Sulpicius Rufus," he said - the slave tag he wore just gave his master's initials (he thought) and those could refer to almost anyone. "I don't suppose you know him, though - he's a senator, though, so you might." There were over six hundred senators so the chances of her knowing his master, out of all of those, was pretty slim.

"And I didn't come straight here from Alexandria, either - I was in Corinth for a bit." It was nice to have someone to talk to, someone who understood his journey and where he'd come from, even if neither of them had been to the other's birthplace. She must be a bit older than him, he thought - maybe four or five years older than him? It was hard to tell, with her hair covered.

"I hope you don't mind me asking," he said, speaking a little quieter. "Why are you wearing that?" There were slave women who covered their hair, but most of the ones he'd seen didn't bother - it was far more common for upper class ladies to cover their hair when they went out.

 

@Echo

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The name rang a familiar bell in her mind but she couldn't place it. Surely she must have met someone who knew someone in his household. "I may have heard the name," she said with a shrug, chuckling. "But as I said, my mistress does not socialize much, so I don't get to know them much." There were too many senators in Rome to know for sure, of course. 

Davus went on to explain that he had been in Corinth for a while before proceeding to Rome and Aglaea nodded. "I've never been there either. Is it nice?" She played with a loose end of her head covering as they walked, an unconscious motion. "I lived in Antioch after I left Judea, with my first mistress. And then I was sold to my current mistress, of course."

Davus seemed nervous when he began his next question, asking her why she was wearing her head covering and she giggled a little. "Oh - I'm a Hebrew. It's customary for women in my faith to cover their hair, especially during our worship. I just left my... temple." He might not have been familiar with the real term for her place of worship, so she figured 'temple' was easier. "But I don't wear it all the time. I usually take it off when I return home." They had come to a honey cake place that Aglaea had been planning on stopping at and she drew to a stop. "You don't... want to join me for a cake, do you?"

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