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Aeterna Roma RPG

You Should See Me in a Crown


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September, 75AD

Evening in Rome. She wasn’t even sure what she was doing out this late, honestly she ought to head home to the palace – but Claudia was probably already sleeping and Volusa lay there too somewhere and the praetorians guarded her door. Cynane wasn’t in a hurry yet. She’d been visiting a bath house and was taking a long way back to the palace. The sun went down as she walked and people came out in the streets. Some had finished the day’s work, others were just beginning.

In an open square where a few streets met, a stage had been set up and actors were getting ready to perform some kind of play. Benches had been set up in front of it and Cynane stopped, curious. It was rare she got to see these things. Some wealthy senators squeezed their way past her and sat down on the front rows and Cynane took a seat in one of the back rows, by the end of a bench so she could easily get up and walk away.

The play began. A fisherman’s wife was waiting for her husband to come home from the sea, but he didn’t come and what was a lonely woman to do then, when higher ranked men wanted her attention? Cynane rolled her eyes, well, that woman was to kick their crotch and tell them to go find someone else, she thought to herself. But people around her were amused and she thought she better be on her way. That’s when a man came to her side, pushing his way in to set next to her by the end of the bench. He was larger than her. Much larger.

Cynane stared at the stage, lifting her chin as she did it, “Well well, a barbarian woman!” The man said, looking at her. She was dressed in her preferred clothes, breeches and a thigh-long tunica, not very feminine at all. The most feminine was probably her long braid down the back. Meanwhile the man... was clearly drunk, “I never had a barbarian before… not one who actually looks like one…” He said with a grin and placed a hand on her thigh. Cynane inhaled a breath, glaring at him, “Get your hand off me!” She bit back, pushing at his hand with hers, but he didn’t stop there. Instead he caught her wrist and held it tight… “Uh she talks! And fights!” He laughed and stood, “I like it…” He said while attempting to drag Cynane with him. Fuck! She tried to jerk her hand away from his, thinking she could probably easily use some kind of attack to get him away, but the square was crowded and she was, after all, just a slave.  

@Sara

Edited by Atrice
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Sosia liked to keep herself busy. If she didn't, her moods ebbed into the morose and with a husband absent for the Gods knew how long, and a staff that she tried to keep a respectful distance from, she had to fill her days to stave off the loneliness. The theatre was one such way to distract herself, and as she settled in her seat she tried to relax. Her body slave was with her, but stood at the back of the crowds given the limited seating and Sosia felt uncomfortable without her calming presence. They were more like sisters than domina and slave; given Loreia had been with her since Carthage and knew the intimate details of exactly how she came to be a pleb in the city. She'd kept her secret, and for that Sosia was eternally grateful. In return - her slave had freedoms most would dream of, including the opportunity to socialise with friends in such places. Still, Sosia missed her and being alone and subject to lascivious stares from drunken patrons of the street performance was uncomfortable. 

Finding it increasingly hard to relax, she relinquished her seat and moved to stand to try and find Loreia. But as she brushed through the crowds something else caught her eye. A man was trying to tug a woman away from the seat she was sat in, and by force it seemed. Sosia felt nerves settle in the pit of her stomach. She shouldn't get involved, it wasn't her business. But something gnawed at her. What if that was her - all those years ago? She would have wanted somebody to intervene. She hesitated for a moment more, praying somebody else would do something so she wouldn't have to. 

Nobody did. With a deep sigh, she wrapped her arms around her waist and tucked one into the fine palla she was wearing so the man wouldn't see the trembling of her hands. She strode over and with a beaming smile she glanced at the woman, blonde, beautiful but barbarian and then at the man. "Can..." She started in a weak voice before she coughed and tried again, "Can my slave help you sir?" The man blinked at the blonde and then back at Sosia. She had married into an equite family and thus had adopted their fashions and dress. Her stola was made of fine fabric in a light pink, with a deeper shade on her palla. The gold of her wedding ring glinted on her finger as she stood there, trying to remain cool, calm and confident. 

the man guffawed and released his grip on the blonde. "My mistake, my lady." He smirked and then grinned, revealing a mess of missing teeth. Sosia struggled to hide her revulsion. "I must have gotten your woman confused with another." He side stepped out of the row, leaving a gap next to the blonde. Hurriedly, Sosia sat down and bit at her lip, unsure if she should say anything to the woman. Knowing her luck, she'd probably be annoyed that she'd intervened at all. 

 

TAG: @Atrice 

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He was larger than her, but that did not really speak in his favor – she’d taken down bigger guys before. The issue was different here though. They were in a crowd and he was very likely very free and she was a slave. She shouldn’t fight him off. She’d make a scene and that would reflect badly on the princess. Of course it would also look bad if the princess’ bodyguard was raped by a drunk plebian in the street. And she had to think fast, find out what to do, while the man continued to try and drag her away and Cynane struggled to stay in her seat. No one in the nearby seats did anything and Cynane thought she’d have a better chance fighting him off when they were alone. So she chose to not to anything.

He had her standing now and when she thought they’d leave, a shorter, dark-skinned woman approached them with a beaming smile. She looked at Cynane first, then at the man, while she found her voice and then said something about her slave. Was she… intervening? As if Cynane was her slave? Cynane tried to not look too surprised and the man blinked, looking back and forwards and then he let Cynane go. He apologized and then left them alone.

Cynane sat down again and the other woman sat next to her, suddenly looking much more nervous than she had a few moments ago. This was a bit awkward. They didn’t know each other, but the stranger just helped Cynane and she didn’t know her. Why did she do it? Did she hope to gain something? Did she expect a reward now, from Cynane’s real owner? So many questions… but she supposed this was not the right moment to ask them…

“Thank you… domina.” She said to the woman, looking at her. She looked younger than Cynane, had very fair skin and seemed rather wealthy, in fact… “I don’t know why you did what you did. But thank you.”

@Sara

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Sosia let out a breath as the woman spoke first, so she didn't need to. She glanced to her side, at the blonde and let a gentle smile fill her face. "Y-you're welcome." She nodded and then lowered her voice as the performance began with drums and a group of giggling women on the stage. She had to shake off the feeling of discomfort of being called domina. It had been happening now for years but it didn't get any easier and she felt words stick in her throat. She nonetheless beamed a big smile at the woman and inclined her head. 

"I saw it, from over there," She gestured towards the front, "And...you didn't look happy and he looked...well, awful." She chuckled to herself and barely suppressed a shudder at his image. She only hoped he wasn't lurking anywhere around, waiting for them. Back in a past life she had known men like that - even as a 'pleb' in Carthage the handsy fools had been too much for her to cope with. "I was worried I was intruding on something, but as long as you're alright?" She glanced across at the other woman. All blonde hair and ice blue eyes - so exotic! She'd seen nobody quite like her in Africa, and whilst blondes were more common in Rome - it was still rare enough for Sosia and she was a little enthralled. She inclined her head at the other woman with her smile still on her face, "I'm Sosia." She glanced at the stage to see the action and then back at the woman; "But...if you'd rather watch the performance than talk to a stranger I understand." She laughed a little.

 

TAG: @Atrice

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It was very kind of the younger woman to help her – she honestly had not expected anyone to even lift a finger or an eyebrow for her, no one here ever did. There were some precious few people that she liked and would trust, but they weren’t here. And they couldn’t get her out of a situation that could be turned out very grim no matter what. Either Cynane had managed to escape the guy, but she’d probably have to beat him in the process. Or the man turned out to be stronger than her after all and she’d have been violated. No matter what, it wouldn’t have been good. But then this woman showed up, saving her and the disgusting stranger too.

The other woman seemed surprised when Cynane spoke, thanking her and she stumbled over her words, lowering her voice too, forcing Cynane to lean a little closer, because it seemed the woman would say more. Then the other smiled beautifully and said she saw it from afar and that Cynane had looked unhappy and the man awful.

“He was… and it would have ended a lot worse, if you hadn’t shown up.” Cynane replied, while the other looked at her, almost examined her. Oh… she looked at the woman, beautiful, well-dressed and even with jewelry. A fine woman of a higher rank. Would she now have Cynane instead? Not that she thought she’d mind, the thought of the woman claiming payment for her deed like that. But Cynane wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. This was Rome and what a slave thought mattered little. She looked at her hands in her lap, unsure what to think now.

Then the woman said she hoped Cynane was alright, “I’m fine, thanks.” She said, worried about what would come next. The stranger seemed nice though. In fact she didn't even seem like the type who would demand a random slave to pleasure her, but Cynane would not be surprised. Some people acted one way in public and differently in private. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad though. It definitely wouldn't be as bad as it would have been with the man.

The stranger then introduced herself as Sosia and then almost excused herself, which made Cynane look at her again, “I am Cynane. And I… owe you. And I am not in a position to tell you to leave.” Cynane said and glanced at the stage briefly. It turned more and more weird, the play, “The performance is a bit strange. I admit I don’t always understand the stories.”

@Sara

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Sosia frowned a little as the woman retorted that she was fine. Something in her tone or the way she sat, staring down at her hands, made Sosia uncomfortable. Had she...done something wrong? By intervening? She was naturally a quiet person - although given her elevated station now had been growing more comfortable socialising and making small talk - but in this situation it all fell away and she withdrew into herself. She hated feeling as if she'd done something wrong, and she let the silence settle for a heartbeat after she'd introduced herself and made pleasantries. It was firmly in the other woman's court should she wish to talk. Of course, had Sosia known what the blonde was thinking she would have been mortified. Thank the Gods mind reading was not real. 

When her companion did speak, Sosia glanced sideways at her and hurriedly added; "Oh but I don't want you to feel as if you have to speak to me." Although whether her words were drowned out by the jeers and cheers of the crowd and the band, or heard by her companion, remained to be seen. 

But relief washed through her as the blonde spoke and Sosia offered a beaming smile, shaking her head; "Oh me neither. The stories never make sense anyway." She frowned and adjusted her palla over her curls, "They expect the audience to be too drunk to notice I think, but I come quite a lot and it's always just as confusing as the last one." She realised she'd made an opening for the question; 'well if you find them odd, why do you come at all?' and she quickly clarified before her company had time to ask it; "But it gives me something to do, and even in Carthage we never had anything quite like this, not with so many people." She added with a little smile before turning her face to the stage again. 

"Do you...do you like the theatre?" 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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Cynane owed Sosia something, surely, for what she did. It occurred to her for a moment that this could just be a case of one woman helping out another, but if she had learned anything in Rome it was that everyone expected something. And especially from a slave. You didn’t do something good for a slave and expected the slave to not repay the kindness somehow. Maybe Claudia would reward Sosia for her help? If that’s what Sosia wanted… although now she said she didn’t want Cynane to feel she had to talk to Sosia. But she did. It was an awkward situation, honestly.

Sosia suggested Cynane would rather watch the performance, but she admitted she thought it strange and didn’t quite understand the stories. Sosia smiled back again, saying she sometimes felt the same and spoke of drunken audience and how she watched it a lot anyway. Sosia liked to talk, it seemed, because Cynane had yet to come up with a reply to that, before the other woman went on about having something to do and then Carthage that didn’t have something like this.

Did she like the theatre? “I think I might enjoy something… better.” She had seen better performances at the palace, but even those often turned more… vulgar, later in the evening. And the actors and actresses were always also prostitutes. Not really something she enjoyed at all.

“I’m not quite sure why I sat down here. Do you…” She trailed off, feeling she could not just leave Sosia here, after what she did, but she also didn’t know how to ask her if she should follow Cynane… “Do you want to move away from here?”

@Sara

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