Jump to content
Aeterna Roma RPG

Recommended Posts

January 76 AD

The new year had brought about a slight increase in business, but it hadn't increased Artemon's meagre salary in the same proportion. Gallus only cared for his own purse, that's what he did, and Artemon grumbled under his breath in Egyptian as he flitted about the old warehouse, loading and unloading things here and there like a (badly) paid cargo mule.

He had just put down his last crate and made a beeline for the water jug nearby when a figure came into his line of sight. That wasn't Gallus, or any of the other labourers he knew of. For one, none of them had such long hair. For two, none had such obviously feminine features either. Who was this lady? Had she entered the warehouse by accident, lost on her way to some other place? Artemon's first instinct was to greet her and ask her if she needed help, but Gallus wouldn't have approved of that. No, he was supposed to be serious and gruff so people knew not to mess with him!

"What are you doing here? This is private property!" he parroted in his best stern tone, wiping his sweaty hands on his equally sweaty tunic. "You need to leave."

@Sara

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Zia stifled a yawn with the palm of her hand as she languidly walked through the Porta Absidata towards the small warehouse. They technically had two - one at the port in Ostia and the other here - a corner of a larger building where they stashed their goods to be distributed throughout Regio IV throughout the evenings and nights. It was a storage solution she'd inherited from the schmuck whose business she'd stolen, and Gallus had kept a tight grip on it this time around - ensuring those he hired and handled valued discretion as much as the money filling their pockets. Still, despite Gallus being proficient enough, she knew better than to let those she trusted run things without any oversight - hence her visit tonight. 

Gallus himself was on the streets, supervising the runners that actually sold the product and so she took the opportunity to visit the store. It was late - well past midnight and she felt exhausted, but tried to ignore it as she surveyed the crates that were stacked shoulder high. It had been a good winter for growing, the farmers had obviously perfected their craft and she was pleased. Especially so given her nice little pot of gold was rapidly building. 

What she was less thrilled with though was the voice of an indignant little man shouting at her. She arched a brow as she came face to face with him, placing a hand on her hip. "Do I indeed?" She queried with sly amusement. "And who are you? Are these your crates?" She'd missed toying with people. She didn't get enough of an opportunity to do it in her day job. "There's a rumour some of the produce here is stolen. Know anything about that?" She teased with a sickly sweet smile. 

 

TAG: @Liv

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This was no damsel in distress, afraid of finding herself in a warehouse with a strange man or of getting a good whipping from her master - after having put his foot in his mouth so manifestly with his new Egyptian friend, Artemon had become more adept at noticing slave collars. She walked in like she owned the place, and Artemon narrowed his eyes at her, wanting to seem appropriately suspicious but instead managing to squint like he was nearsighted and end up looking like some alien bug.

"These crates belong to my boss. If you wish to see him you will have to come back during the day," he huffed, puffing out his chest and folding his arms across it. Good, now the woman should be suitably impressed. "I don't know anything about stolen stuff. Why are you here? Did your master send you?" Isis willing, the arrogant woman would leave on her own accord... because if not, Artemon didn't really know what to do. Gallus had told him how to deal with intruders, but he hadn't covered female slave intruders. Unless...

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

"And what is your bosses name?" She queried with all the innocence of a worldly prostitute down on her luck. She tried her best not to laugh as he puffed out his chest as if to menace her. She had dealt with far more impressive and malicious men in her years, did he think she'd be afraid? By some folded arms and a vague glare? Do not laugh Zia. 

But may the Gods damn Titus Sulpicius Rufus to an early, torturous grave. After slipping her collar - much as an unruly dog might - her first few months in Rome, the current incarnation she donned sat much higher up her throat. Whilst it was only a thin strip of leather with a tablet bearing her masters name on, it was also locked in place on her neck with her dominus having the only key. It made it far more difficult to lose, as to cut it off would demonstrate a purposeful act for which she'd undoubtedly face punishment. Usually, on nights such as this when she wished for her slave past (or...present, rather) to be concealed she donned a cloak but it had slipped down too far this evening. Honestly, fuck Titus Sulpicius Rufus and his petty ingenuity. 

"My master is none of your concern." She wagged a finger at  him, "Or..." Or maybe she could use this, "Or maybe it is your concern friend. Do you know who the Praefectus Urbi, is? Or even what it is?" From his slack jaw, she doubted he did and she'd only been clued in by Gallus a few months ago but it was becoming very useful knowledge. "My dominus is a powerful man, one who wouldn't take kindly to an imbecile carting stolen goods around a warehouse at this hour. So...are you going to tell me what's in those crates?" 

Only after she'd seen just how stupid this one was, that she'd reveal who she was.

 

TAG: @Liv

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Why wasn't the woman leaving?! Artemon shot her a threatening look (or one he hoped was threatening), hoping she would turn tail and he could finally get that water. His tongue felt like a dry log inside his mouth, but he didn't dare turn his back on her; there was no telling what she might try to do. Maybe she was hiding a rock somewhere with which to knock him out.

Increasingly suspicious and just as increasingly uneasy, Artemon cleared his throat. "He is called Gallus. And if you had any business with him, you would know that. So I assume you do not." If only Iophon and the rest of the family had been there to marvel at his deduction skills! Encouraged by his flash of genius, he stepped closer to a pile of crates as if to protect them from this possible thief. Nothing would get past him, and certainly not a cheeky slave.

"The who now?" His newly-found courage dissolved into dimwitted ignorance, and Artemon gaped at the woman like a fish out of water. He had no clue what this Praetor... Praevaricator was. Gallus hadn't told him about it? Him? Them? And if this entity was of importance, then Gallus definitely would have. Artemon concluded therefore that the woman had to be bluffing, and spoke accordingly. "If these truly belonged to your master, he wouldn't send a slave woman in the middle of the night to recover them! I'm sorry if he's had stuff stolen, but this is not it." He shook his head forcefully and laid a hand on one of the crates.

"Of course I do! What kind of fool would I be not to know what I'm working with?" He did know. Sort of. Some kind of herb. Deep down, he was still convinced it was some rare spice. "But you'll never get me to tell if that's your plan. Now leave, you're making me waste my time," he scowled, pointing his finger at the door.

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Zia was quite capable of tempering her emotions when needs me but this instance was beyond her patience. She let out an irritated huff and folded her arms across her chest, glowering at the little man in front of her. She let him waffle on in answer to her barrage of questions, and when he finally stopped and asked her to leave she stood still, staring at him with that unnerving glint of danger in her eyes. She stayed silent, quiet, for a few long moments considering her next move. Somebody would pay for this idiocy. 

"I was informed that Gallus was being cautious with whom he employed." She started, speaking slowly as if she was conversing with an invalid or a child, "That he didn't use his real name most of the time, and that he certainly didn't tell his minions what was contained in those boxes." She gestured to them stacked high. Whilst not illegal, the crates were incredibly valuable and also desired from various other traders and brokers in other regions of Rome. She only had authority in one, and she was sure any number of others would like to kick her off her pedestal and reclaim their patch. 

"They are my crates." She said with a sneer. "And Gallus is my employee. Which makes you my employee. And I would like to know just why you think I should let you go about your business when you seem intent on telling my secrets to any odd person that walks in." Danger lurked in her voice as she stared him down.

 

TAG: @Liv

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This woman was looking incredibly displeased, and reminded Artemon of his mother whenever he did something particularly stupid. He swallowed audibly, throat suddenly as parched as the land where the Nile didn't reach, and blinked at the woman as she addressed him.

"Your employee...?" Artemon stared at the woman, a deep crease forming between his eyebrows. But she was a slave. Slaves couldn't do business, or so he thought he knew. Or could they? Panic started to course through his veins as he pondered the likelihood of the woman speaking the truth. He could be in so much trouble if she was right. Might even lose his job, and end up hungry and on the streets! He would have Iophon's company, but that was a very small consolation. 

He needed to talk his way out of this sticky situation - and not just because he didn't think it was acceptable to hit women, but because if he did her master might come looking for him demanding reparations. And there was no way in this life that Artemon could afford that. His brain kicked into overdrive. "Well, in that case you should have no trouble telling me what's in these," he patted one of the crates, satisfied with his ingenuity.

Until it occurred to him that if this wasn't her first foray into the warehouse, she might already know what the crates contained. So his brilliant idea might not necessarily work. "Maybe we should go find Gallus? If what you claim is true, he will be able to confirm it." Possibly flay Artemon for entertaining a stranger too, but it didn't even cross his mind.

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Zia was dumbstruck. Was this man an idiot? Or just a very good actor? "My employee." She confirmed in clipped, accented Latin. In other circumstances this would be laughable, but Zia found absolutely no humour in her business, business that would one day afford her and her son (and perhaps her husband if he made amends) their freedom. 

She arched a brow and folded slender arms across her chest, taking the time to look him up and down with the same fiendish look of a cat trying to take the measure of some potential prey. "It's a flower." She said, and offered no further explanation - her silence deafening in the otherwise deserted warehouse. 

"And yes, excellent idea." She turned on her heel and stalked out of the warehouse - only stopping when she got to the door. She was impatient at the best of times - as if waiting for the rest of the world to catch up to her harebrained schemes. She clicked her fingers at him and shot him a glower. "He'll be at home. I hope you are prepared to walk, you look like you'll drop dead." Zia herself was unused to manual labour and tried to avoid it as much as possible in her current household - not that it gave her any more pity for the dolt stood next to her.

 

TAG: @Liv

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Artemon blinked again, squinting as though the sun was shining straight in his eyes (which was of course impossible at that time of night and inside a warehouse to boot). "Your employee...?" This made no sense at all. And the woman was looking more displeased by the second; Artemon felt himself wilting under her intense gaze like the flower inside the crates. It hadn't looked much like a flower to him since it was all dried up and had no petals anymore, but she wasn't wrong. Which made the situation all the more dire for him.

Well, it had been his idea, so he had to stay true to his word. His father always said that keeping one's promises was very important to get ahead in life. "F-fine!" he replied in an indignant tone, entirely fabricated to give himself some courage. There was always somebody coming and going - the warehouse wouldn't be left unattended. With an uncomfortable sensation that resembled fear pooling in his stomach, Artemon followed the woman to where she stood waiting for him by the door and tried to give her a glowering sample of his own.

"It's because I've been hard at work!" Yes, he was tired, but he was also used to running on little fuel. "You, on the other hand, don't look like you know what work is," he harrumphed with a very out-of-place smirk. Maybe the woman was attendant to the lady of the house, if there was one. Artemon saw them on the streets sometimes, some twice as plump as he was and clad in much better quality fabrics, and always concluded that it must be a very cushy job. "Lead the way, then!" he gestured towards the streets. It didn't occur him to ask how she knew where Gallus lived.

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Zia only stared the dolt down and arched a brow; "When you're clever you don't need to do the work. You get people to do it for you." She shrugged and gestured flippantly at him. It was a true statement both for her enterprise with the flower where she had minions like this man to do her bidding, and in the domus where she did the absolute bare minimum and got gullible fools like Nymphias to pick up the slack. 

She turned on her heel and walked out of the warehouse without checking that the small man was following her. For better or for worse Zia had something about her that generally meant simpletons or those beneath her did her bidding. She didn't doubt that this man was such a person and was trailing her. It was a walk that would take them some half an hour, but she was determined and ignored the ache in her feet in her stupid wooden sandals as she weaved in and out of the crowds. Why was Rome so busy? Even in the dead of night? 

She called over her shoulder, occasionally, to try and engage the young man in conversation as they walked - not out of niceness, mind. "How long have you been working for me?" She didn't look at him as she walked and instead kept the cloak she wore firmly wrapped around herself - hoping to disguise the ugly metal collar around her neck. 

 

TAG: @Liv

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...