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November, 75 AD

 It had been weeks since he first met Aglaea, the nice and gentle slave to his uncle Secundus’ wife. Since hearing about her situation and getting to know her better, she was often on his mind. Wulfric knew he should make moves towards meeting his father, but for some reason, it was difficult to pull himself together to do it. Instead he decided he would meet this cruel uncle of his first, see if there was anything he find out or anything he could do about Aglaea’s situation. Both Tertius and Secundus did not sound like good men, but so far, Secundus seemed worse than Wulfric’s father at least.

 He had to be careful though. He did not wish to reveal to Secundus, that he was his father’s son – that he was Secundus’ nephew. So he had to find some other excuse to visit him. Working at the market was luckily helpful. He worked in a warehouse and he found out they made deliveries to certain households in Rome. And when he asked into it from his colleagues, he found out, that they delivered to a Quinctilius Varus household. One morning, Wulfric managed to follow the cart that went towards that part of the city. Since he’d been working well and hard for a few months now, his employer had already raised his payment and was giving him more responsibility. Wulfric was to check that everything went correctly at the house. And he would. And not just in the kitchen and with the goods.

 Since he was working, he wasn’t wearing his finest clothes. Just the simple daily clothes, more German than Roman in the style – he was not wearing the new and finer set that he bought recently. Anyone would be able to tell he didn’t come from here, although few might guess where he had his origins. He didn’t know the master of this house might. Once at the house, he let the others unload and stood by, looking at it all. There were mostly vegetables and grains and spices. Everything seemed to be in the correct amounts, but he still had a good excuse ready for meeting Secundus. He asked if the master of the house was home at this hour and if there was a chance to see him. The main kitchen slave said he was at home but wondered why Wulfric would meet him. She wasn’t sure Secundus would meet a foreigner though, but Wulfric said it was important and insisted.

 At long last, he was allowed inside, into the fancy looking household. Well somewhat fancy. He had been to a few other places already and he’d seen nicer. It didn’t look so well-kept to him. Quietly, he waited in the atrium for the master of the house to appear, curious to see his uncle in Rome for the first time.

@Járnviðr

Edited by Atrice
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Secundus had been dreaming of a happier future. Ever since Aglaea’s revelations about her pregnancy, he had felt a glimmer of hope towards his legacy, and the legacy of the Varus family. Although Tertius had openly paraded the shameful product of his liaison with his slave, Secundus would legitimize the child as his heir secretly, without the world learning just who the mother had been. Certainly, it would take logistical wrangling, but the three of them could retire to his villa and manage things from there. He had longed for a child with Livia, and finally, her body slave had given them a solution.

Although Secundus had remained in Rome since the earthquake, he intended to retreat to the villa as soon as possible. Livia needed to ‘become pregnant’, after all, and he did not like her having as much free rein to roam as she did in the city. For now, though, he performed his senatorial duties from his family’s home. Sometimes, Secundus felt the presence of the Varus clan- its history, and its untold future, pressing down upon him. He thought of his parents with respect and resentment, his brother with envy and anger, his sister with impatience and pity, and his niece and nephew with confusion and fondness. Secundus did not feel uncomplicated emotions about anyone in his family. They plagued him with worries and inconveniences. Sometimes he wondered if man would be better served living and maturing alone in the wilderness than surrounded by these suffocating shackles of civilization.

One of the household slaves interrupted his thoughts to tell him that he had a visitor. Secundus waved dismissively, saying that he did not want to meet with any interlopers who had come to gawk at the mad senator- for despite his decent behavior in public, his reputation had left the realms of private meetings with individual senators and entered the rumor mill. However, the slave returned to meekly inform him that this particular visitor persisted. Well enough. Secundus would allow him entry, and this stranger could see for himself how Secundus behaved when someone wasted his time.

According to the slave, this visitor wished to speak to the master of the house about the food that had been delivered. She could not explain precisely what this man intended to bother him with, and had begun to stammer when he pressed her on the issue. Finally, Secundus had dismissed her impatiently. He stalked into the atrium to confront this man who had hassled his slaves.

Well? What is it that requires the attention of the dominus?”

@Atrice

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While Wulfric was waiting, he was almost impatient. He was about to meet a relative from Rome, someone he was related to, whom he had never met before! But until his father knew of his existence, he would not let anyone else know. Secundus couldn’t know. And what was he like? Was he really how Aglaea described him? Wulfric of course hoped that Secundus might be better than what she said, but Aglaea had been so kind to him, so sweet, that he could not imagine why she should lie to Wulfric about something like this.

 Still, he would try and keep an open mind towards his uncle. And see where that would get him. He was, despite it all, a bit surprised with the way his uncle made his appearance. Stalking into the atrium of the house with almost angry steps and an annoyed voice… but Wulfric took him in. Secundus was perhaps slightly taller than he and definitely broader, but of course, he was also older than Wulfric. His hair was darker and his eyes too. What surprised Wulfric most however, was the beard. Most Roman men he’d seen here were shaved. Very few Romans wore beards. He understood it was something they considered barbaric – meaning, it was something people outside the Roman Empire did. Something people like Wulfric did… and Wulfric did also sport a small beard, very short though and well-kept. His people took pride in looking good.

 Right, the man was speaking to him!

 “Greetings, Dominus.” Wulfric said, his Latin was not yet perfect, but it had definitely already improved the few months that he’d lived here, “I am Wulfric, I come from your provider of fresh food. I am to ask you questions… my… employer, will know if you are… satisfied with your food.” He said, trying hard to find the correct words to use. He wasn’t really nervous about meeting his uncle. Just curious. Although so far, he was not amazed.

@Járnviðr

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Secundus frowned as the man spoke. His guest’s accented speech sounded familiar. Quite unlike the Romans that Secundus surrounded himself with every day, it reminded Secundus of times gone by. A foreigner, and not just any foreigner.. Secundus took in the man’s lighter skin and eyes, as well as his beard- he had clearly not lived among Romans for long. This man had come from Germania.

Welcome, Wulfric. Please, take a seat so that we may speak more comfortably.” Secundus called for the servants, who led the foreigner further into his domus. He remained in the atrium for a moment, recovering his composure. Who was this man, who dared to revive painful memories simply by his very presence in his domus? Had this man been one of his torturers? The chieftain of one of their uncivilized tribes? Perhaps he had witnessed some of Secundus’ time there. Perhaps he had participated. Secundus took a deep breath and went inside to join his guest.

My wife and I have been quite satisfied with the food. We have no complaints. What is it your employer needs to know from his customers? Please, ask your questions,” Secundus said, venom infusing his words.

@Atrice

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While Secundus seemed to take him in too, he recalled that Aglaea had mentioned Secundus had been in Germania once, years ago. He was captured, wasn’t that what she said? But Wulfric knew nothing but that. He didn’t know if it was the Chatti or someone else who did it and he had probably been a small child anyway, so he didn’t know anything else about it and he certainly didn’t recall any Romans being kept captive with his people. Now Secundus welcomed him and asked Wulfric to take a seat.

 “Thank you, Dominus.” Wulfric followed the quiet slaves further into the domus, until they reached a sitting area. Here Wulfric sat down in a manner of someone used to take charge – not on the edge of the seat or carefully like a servant. It took a few moments before Secundus joined him. Wulfric was oddly fascinated – not in a way that meant he admired Secundus, he was just fascinated by the fact that he was related to this unrefined man here. Secundus explained that he and his wife had been satisfied and had no complains about the food. He didn’t seem happy at all though, but Wulfric didn’t know whether that had to do with the food or with Wulfric. Aglaea had told him about Secundus’ moods. This might just be how he was like.

 “That is good, you have no complaints.” Wulfric said with a smile, “I will keep replies in memory. I am new to Rome, have not learned writing yet.” He then explained, other people might wonder why he did not have a wax tablet with him to write things down on. He knew some basics now, although it mostly had to do with numbers and not letters. And the Roman letters were not the same as what they had in Germania.

 “Where I work, we have grains, spices, vegetable. What food you like most?” He then asked, he had to come up with something to keep Secundus here, so he could know more about his uncle.

@Járnviðr

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Secundus narrowed his eyes as he watched the man take his place. He looked too comfortable to be an ordinary plebian. He wondered what the man’s life had been like before he came to Rome. He did not comport himself the way someone more accustomed to honoring his betters would behave. He moved with a princely bearing that betrayed some life of comfort and power. Secundus knew nothing of the Germanic people that had captured him, besides their cruelest behavior. He wondered if this man’s politeness hid an unrefined, baser appetite for violence underneath. He wondered what it might take to draw it out. The man admitted that he had not learned to write, which only fueled Secundus’ speculation more. Perhaps that was normal, among the foreigners in their city; Secundus had not ventured much socially, so he did not know. Perhaps now he would, if only to unlock the cipher of this stranger who dared interrupt his time.

My appetites lean away from grains and vegetables.” Secundus said, his voice becoming silky smooth. “Perhaps I simply prefer to demonstrate my wealth. Or perhaps my palate had changed, after my time in Germania. Have you heard the rumors?

Secundus did not specify what rumors Wulfric might have heard. Almost every person in Rome had the chance to hear the rumors of the uncivilized head of the Varus family, who had returned from Germania a changed man. He allayed the suspicions of most of the senators, because in public, he could maintain enough distance between the truth at the center of him and his surface behavior to pass for an ordinary patrician. Underneath…Aglaea, Livia, and Tertius knew well what Secundus was like. They had seen how volatile his moods could be. They knew of his impatience, his temper, and his hunger for confrontation. What food did he like? The only food a man could like after his time in Germania.

Meat,” Secundus answered sharply, cutting through Wulfric’s thoughts. “Pork, more specifically.”

@Atrice

Edited by Járnviðr
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Wulfric could write a little, he knew certain letters – but he could not write Roman letters yet and did only know a bit about reading it. Besides, he did not truly have a purpose with sitting here. He didn’t have to ask Secundus these questions… but he did it because he wanted to meet his uncle without said uncle knowing it. If they met later on and it was then known who Wulfric’s father was and his relation with Secundus, he could simply claim he didn’t know this time, that they were related. It was simple as that. Wulfric had it all planned out. 

He noticed how Secundus watched him, while he took a seat and wondered if he had done something wrong. But then he continued to speak and ask questions. Secundus said he did not prefer grains and vegetables. That was a pity. They had some in Germania, but Wulfric rather enjoyed Rome for its food too. There was such variety here and he loved it! All the new fruits and vegetables he never tasted before. But Secundus spoke of demonstrating his wealth through food and then spoke of Germania having changed his tastes. He would know if Wulfric had heard the rumors about Germania? What to say to that? Had he or had he not? Wulfric considered it for just one moment.

 “Apolologies, Dominus, I am new to Rome. I have not hear… rumor? You have been in Germania? This is where I am from… my people are Chatti. I did not know you been in Germania. I hope you like my land.” Wulfric said, knowing well that Secundus had been captured there, because Aglaea told him so. But he didn’t know by whom or for how long or what happened. And right now, he pretended he knew nothing at all. Perhaps Secundus would tell him more. So far, he was not impressed by his uncle, but he also didn’t seem as bad as Aglaea made him sound. Secundus then said he liked meat and especially pork.

 “We like pork in my lands. In cold winter, pork is good. I am glad you like.” He said with a smile that possibly resembled that of his father, Tertius – not that he was aware, of course, he never met the man.

@Járnviðr

Edited by Atrice
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Secundus bit his lip to hide his discomfort and distaste. Although this accent was not exactly the same as the one he remembered, the similarity made his blood boil. The idea that he could have liked Germania! This man did not know the sleeping wolf he had stepped on. He continued to make innocuous statements that brought to mind the haze of those days during his confinement. As if in response to the memory of hunger, his stomach grumbled. Secundus nodded sharply, attempting to clear his head of ghosts.

You,” he said, pointing at one of the slaves. “Bring my guest some food from what he just delivered to us. Prepare something that might remind him of Germania,” Secundus said, knowing full well the slave would have no idea what he meant. He didn’t either. What would remind him of Germania? Starvation and force-feeding. Slop. The recurring question, cropping up in his mind, about whether he would be fed, or whether the feeding would stop. The fear that he was turning into something less than Roman, less than patrician, less than human- a slave to his baser urges.

Pork, perhaps,” he added as the meek little thing scurried off to bring them some food. Secundus gazed into the distance, eyes gliding past Wulfric and past the room, back to the atrium. He did not need reminders of his time in Germania, and yet, here one sat, expecting welcome in his domus. Disgust, of course, dominated the emotions that rose above his momentary lapse into painful memories.

Tell me about your people, the Chatti,” Secundus practically spat. “What are they like? What are their virtues? Their vices.” 

@Atrice

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Secundus seemed to turn quiet for a while, as if he was thoughtful. Wulfric wondered what he was thinking about - Germania, perhaps? Wulfric loved the lands that the Chatti lived in and the current alliances they had with neighboring tribes. What the Romans referred to as Germania was however a huge area, inhabited by many tribes. But it was nice and beautiful and the people the same, or so Wulfric liked to think. He didn't know if any other tribes ever captured Romans like Secundus or what they would do to such men - or why they would capture a Roman at all. To mock him perhaps? There was peace between the tribes and Rome at the moment, but that didn't mean everyone liked the Romans. Recently however, things had become friendlier, because of the Roman settlements. As long as they didn't try to invade. Then Wulfric and everyone else would remind the Romans of a certain general, bearing the same name as Wulfric's father and uncle.

His uncle broke the silence, ordering a nearby slave to bring Wulfric some food that might remind him of Germania. The slave seemed confused and didn't move until Secundus added that it should be something with pork. Wulfric gave Secundus a polite and friendly nod, "Gratitude... you need not feed me. I am not... Senator, like you. But thank you." In fact Wulfric was more than a senator, at least according to his people's laws - at home he was a prince, grandson to the current king and so far second or third in line to the throne, depending on his mother. 

Secundus then asked to know more about the Chatti and asked about their virtues and vices, "Big questions, Dominus. Among tribes in Germania, Chatti known as strong, determined people. Our king is... firm, but good." He explained, "To Rome, maybe virtues are vices. I know Rome once try invade our lands. But that long time ago. Now... we are friends. When you were in Germania, Dominus?" 

@Járnviðr

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Secundus waved off the man’s false humility. Wherever they were, Secundus knew what privilege looked like. This man was comfortable with his station. Had they recently been to war, they might have captured Wulfric as a slave- or their enemies might have captured Secundus, something which did not bear thinking about. The idea of recapture- he might as well kill himself now. No, if Rome went to war with Germania, Secundus would be staying far from the battlefield, and men like Wulfric would walk through Rome as though they owned the place, rather than she owned them.

No need for gratitude. You provided us this food, so you’re welcome to a taste of it. That is the cycle of life, is it not? Besides, I suspect you have some standing of your own at home, and while Rome may not honor that, I am a generous man. And perhaps firm, but good, as well.

While in truth, generosity (nor goodness) did not explain Secundus’ behavior, his curiosity motivated him to keep Wulfric in the domus. He wanted to know more about this man and his people- and especially the ‘coincidence’ of their meeting, which he increasingly doubted was anything but intentional subterfuge. This man had arranged to be here- was he even working for the merchants who supplied his household the food? Secundus had invited a mysterious foreigner into his home- would he soon be made to regret that? He considered his physical prowess- much diminished, since his youth. He examined Wulfric, who seemed much younger and fitter. He would lose in a direct fight against this man. He could not afford that. He would keep the other slaves close, so at least if it did come to violence, he could use them as shields to ensure is escape.

My time in Germania was…longer than I would have liked. Very few men are kind to the prisoners they capture. I suppose I ought to be grateful that they didn’t kill me,” Secundus said, laughing sardonically. He would rather have liked to see those men’s heads on platters, part of the food spread out for Wulfric to enjoy. "I wonder, how many prisoners would you have seen, in your days with the Chatti?"

@Atrice

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It was interesting to meet his uncle and see what he was like. Wulfric watched him with curiosity, the way Secundus reacted to Wulfric’s words and the way he sat and held himself. To Wulfric, Secundus seemed to want to look imposing and superior. But he wasn’t. He impregnated his wife’s slave in order to gain an heir. And what if the child would be a girl? Would he do it again? If he could do it once, no doubt he’d do it again. Wulfric had to keep that in mind. They were having a somewhat friendly conversation so far, but for Aglaea’s sake, he could not allow himself to forget about her condition. But Secundus provided Wulfric with food now, very hospitable, although he did not need to. The other claimed he didn’t want to be thanked and then added he thought Wulfric had some rank at home. He claimed himself to be generous.

 “It good of you, to let me taste food. It very…” He paused, searching for the right word in Latin, then finally added, “It very hospitable.” He smiled and then they spoke more of Germania and Rome and Wulfric asked into Secundus’ time in Germania. Secundus said that his time there was longer than he wanted it to be and revealed he’d been a prisoner and they had been unkind to him. But at least they did not kill him. Wulfric didn’t laugh when Secundus did – how was that a laughing matter? And why was he captured? He must have done something to earn such a capture and to earn such a hard time there. And how did he escape? Wulfric became more curious. But Secundus went on, wanting to know how many prisoners Wulfric had seen.

 “I not see many prisoners from Rome. My people, friends with Rome now. Have been for long.” He thought about it briefly, “I do not remember any in our village. I am sorry you were prisoner. Maybe with other tribe? I know some tribes more… fierce than Chatti are.” Wulfric explained. He considered if he should ask Secundus more questions. On the other hand, they were not at all talking about food being provided now, as he claimed he came here to talk about. Secundus might figure him out. He was curious, but wondered if he should excuse himself. His grandfather always praised him for his diplomatic skills and that’s also why he allowed Wulfric to go to Rome. He decided to try and find a compromise.

 “You are kind, wanting knowledge about my people. But I need return to work soon. I stay only little more.” Wulfric then said, thinking that might be a fine deal.

@Járnviðr

Edited by Atrice
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Secundus listened intently to Wulfric’s description of his time in Germania, but the man claimed to have seen few Roman prisoners. The Chatti were friends with Rome, now. Of course. And he and Tertius had mended the rift between them! Very likely. The man soon changed the topic, however, suggesting that he needed to return to work. Secundus exhaled sharply, turning his head away.

Yes, of course. Work. You mentioned to my slave that you wished to speak to me- I assume it was about the food, and not your home. Please, speak freely about whatever it is you came here to ask me. Go on,” Secundus urged, with an inappropriate intensity for such a simple topic. He cleared his throat, leaning back. He would stay calm; this man had done nothing, and he had allowed a fit of paranoia to take over. Best not to acknowledge it further. This man was simply a foreigner; suspicious in his own right, but not in any way connected to the Germania Secundus remembered. He would not like anyone to think poorly of him because of an association with his sister or brother, let alone with Rome at large.

@Atrice

Edited by Járnviðr
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He noticed how Secundus seemed to listen very intently, he didn't move while Wulfric talked. It was only when Wulfric changed the subject, that the older man turned his head away and inhaled sharply. This upset him? Why? Secundus was a mystery to be figured out, Wulfric thought. He glanced around briefly, wondering if Aglaea was here, but maybe she wasn't. Maybe it was better that she wasn't here, so she would not see him and they'd both do something stupid like recognize each other. He still had to figure out a way to help her, but just meeting Secundus and seeing what he was like, would definitely help, he thought. Secundus replied, turning back to the subject from earlier too. And he made it sound as if Wulfric was the one who began to talk about his home, when really, it was Secundus who brought it up first.

"I did wish speak to you, about deliveries and food. You mention Germania first." Wulfric said, but with a smile, hoping it wouldn't upset Secundus to be reminded of that, "But yes. You say you like meat more, not vegetable. My employer want provide good service. Maybe you tell me if your wife likes... what she likes, I mean. Of food." He then added, just to make sure Secundus couldn't understand it the wrong way. Wulfric was actually also interested in knowing about Secundus' wife, since she seemed to accept the whole situation Aglaea was in too. To Wulfric, she sounded about as bad as her husband, although so far, Secundus only acted a bit strange, but not so awful, he thought. Maybe that was more with people he knew well? 

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Secundus’ lip twitched at Wulfric’s rebuttal. It almost amused him, at the same time as it stoked his anger at this interloper. Yes, he supposed it had been he who initially broached the subject- and who had provoked that poisonous thought process? Regardless, it was high past time to move on. With that, he settled in to listen to mindless prattle about food preferences and such matters. He could calm down here, in his own domus. His slaves stood, prepared to meet his every need; if he demanded they throw this man out, they would. His posture relaxed, some tension leaving his shoulders and hands. This was a perfectly ordinary meeting, not a fistfight, and it did not require him to sit so uncomfortably.

My wife does not tell me much of her tastes or preferences. I believe she enjoys your vegetables well enough- your employer’s, rather. Perhaps you should provide us an equal amount of both, to please both dominus and domina equally.”

He thought for a moment, and wondered just how much this service did for them. It was an odd question to ask, he knew, but Secundus wanted to know that people who worked for him were spending their time well in his service. Besides, he had intended to bring the conversation back to food. Unfortunately, he was not the best conversationalist.

Where do your vegetables come from? Is it a difficult process, procuring them for us?

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He noticed how Secundus' lip twitched, when Wulfric reminded the man that he wasn't the one who started asking questions and kept the topic on Germania. Not that Wulfric disliked talking about his people, but he feared that the more he talked, the more of a chance there was that he said something wrong... something that would cause Secundus to think that he was here under false pretenses. From what he learned from Aglaea, you should not cross Secundus. He could be a dangerous man, no matter how relaxed he seemed right now. Well maybe not relaxed, but not entirely fired up either. But enough for Wulfric to turn the subject back to food, that was a safe topic. Secundus said his wife did not tell him much about what she liked, but thought she liked vegetables.

"Ah, but employer does not sell meat. They not butcher. They provide dry grains and fresh vegetable. But I will tell employer what you tell me." Wulfric said and then Secundus suddenly wondered where the vegetables came from.

"I only help in warehouse in Rome. Vegetable come from country, I think. Also grains. They also talk about land named Egyptia, I think many grains come from Egyptia." Wulfric said, "Why?" 

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Secundus exhaled in lieu of further commentary. Something in him demanded a discussion of meat, in absence of the thing itself. Thoughts of Germania always made him crave meat, for reasons he did not wish to interrogate too deeply. The man spoke of his employer quite calmly and reasonably, stoking the fires of Secundus’ temper. As though he were the one being unreasonable! He had allowed this man into his home, and in return, he had been insulted! Additionally, the man knew where little about how his employer acquired the food. Once again, someone who should have served him, failing in their duty. It had become a common theme over the past year, and he did not like it. He wanted answers; if not about his food, about this man’s intentions, his motivations, his origins. Secundus did not believe in coincidences; if this man had decided to speak to him, there was some reason.

I am only curious. It seems important to know where a man’s food comes from, when he is not the one growing it himself. Food is the thing that gives us life, after all. What if my life were sustained on poisoned soil? The poison would seep into me without my knowledge. Perhaps it would slowly kill me, and I would not have noticed. Useful, to know where one’s food comes from. What of you? Do you eat what your employer sells? Does that warehouse contain your meals as well?

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Wulfric noticed how Secundus exhaled and thought for a moment, that Secundus actually reminded him of an angry bull. Who did not want you to mess with his herd, at all, in any way. And the bull didn't want to be messed with himself either. That's Secundus, he thought. So far, he'd been somewhat calm, but there were these odd moments, the way he reacted, the way he spoke... as if there was an ember there and it could burst into a flame within the blink of an eye. But Wulfric remained calm, spoke of his employer and sadly had to tell his uncle, that he didn't know where the vegetables came from, because frankly, it was not part of his job description to know. He helped packing the goods and he helped delivering the goods. And he'd been given more responsibility, which meant he now helped coordinate which goods went where. But he didn't know where everything came from. Rome was a huge city and the empire even grander for a Chatti prince like himself.

Secundus said he was just curious about where the food came from and then suggested the food came from poisoned soil and he'd slowly die from it. Wulfric arched a brow, what? Did Secundus insinuate that Wulfric's employer would kill him, just because Wulfric didn't know where everything came from? And then Secundus would know if Wulfric ate what his employer sold.

"I do not think my employer will kill you." He said with a smile, trying to smooth it out, "I eat... fruit, sometimes. And employer gives meal in days. But my employer sell food to people who have... fireplace? Room to cook food. Like you have. Where I live now is one room, no place to cook food. I buy food from thermopolis in evening." Wulfric knew that the Romans had special rooms where they cooked the food, away from the rest of the rooms in a house. Where he came from, houses were mostly just one large room with walls creating separate spaces, but the fireplace was in the same room where you also slept. It wasn't like Rome at all.

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 At the smile, Secundus rolled his eyes, impatiently tapping his foot. Everyone always aimed to appease him, as though his mood mattered more than their trespasses against him. He would not be angry if there was nothing that provoked his anger. The man deflected from the question, saying something about how he was not the type of customer his employer sold to. He would need to have his slaves check the food for him, instead. Just as well. It had been a mistake to publicly air his paranoia in the first place. He would keep further such questions to himself.

Of course. My apologies for casting aspersions on your employer. I am sure he is a good, honest man.

Secundus was sure of no such thing, but it seemed the polite thing to say after his accusation. He continued, not believing a word of it.

Thank you for answering my questions, Wulfric. Was there anything else that you wished to discuss?

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He really was like a bull that was slowly being teased. And as far as Wulfric knew, he hadn't said anything to really offend Secundus, but he was offended anyway. Now he was tapping his foot and rolling his eyes at Wulfric's words about his employer. Why would his employer want to poison one of those who provided coin for him? Coin was so insanely important to the Romans for some reason. Down here, you could not live without it. In Germania, they would trade goods instead. Things they could use. You could not eat coins. You could eat meat and if you had some goods, pottery, hides, fabric, mead... metal... you could trade it. But the Romans wanted their coin and since this household gave it to his employer, why would his employer want to kill Secundus?

The older man then apologized for his suggestion and Wulfric nodded, "I sure all is fine. And my employer... is good man, what I know." He said and Secundus then thanked Wulfric for answering his questions - as if it wasn't Wulfric who started asking... but it was all good and maybe he had stayed for long enough. He'd met his uncle, he'd watched how he was like and now he knew more about what a rough situation Aglaea was in, having to deal with this burning ember and teased bull every day... 

"There is no more, I think. Thank you for talking with me." Wulfric said and stood, "It is good to have meet you." He then said and waited politely for Secundus to say his farewell or whatever such a man would do. Wulfric would not turn his back to this man, that surely wouldn't be good at all.

@Járnviðr

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Secundus made a conciliatory “hmm” but could offer no more. He stood, looking at the exit rather than the man in front of him. He sensed potential enemies everywhere, and Wulfric had, for the moment at least, joined that number. Further conversation only heightened his sense that the man must want something he would not admit to. There were no more questions, a fact for which Secundus was marginally grateful. Apparently, it had been good to meet him. How nice for Wulfric. Secundus  

"Thank you for paying us a visit,” Secundus said, somewhat smoothly, in spite of his frustration. “Tell your employer that we appreciate his concern for our well-being.

He waved to one of the slaves and she moved to escort Wulfric out of the room. As he sent the man off, back into Rome, Secundus wondered why a man from Germania had so sorely wished to speak with him. It was impossible to believe he had simply been asked by his employer. No. Something more sinister was at work, and he intended to find out what.

@Atrice

Edited by Járnviðr
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Wulfric watched Secundus stand too and glance towards the exit, seeming in thought. What was going on inside his uncle’s head? Wulfric wished he could know somehow, because that might aid him in helping Aglaea with her situation. It was lucky that he hadn’t run into her here, or it might have gone very wrong. On the other hand, Secundus was his uncle. Surely, if he knew this fact, he wouldn’t be so hard on Wulfric… but he didn’t know, of course, so this was for the best. That Aglaea hadn’t been here and that Secundus now thanked him for the visit as politely as possible.

 “I will tell him that.” Wulfric replied just as politely and then a slave appeared to escort Wulfric to the exit of the house. He gave Secundus a nod as farewell and then he followed the slave. It had been very interesting to meet Secundus, but he wasn’t sure yet if it was in a good way. At least his uncle had not raised his voice or been cruel, but he had acted strangely and Wulfric would certainly not forget the comparison to a mad bull, that could easily be triggered into true anger.

 For now though, he would say and do no more about this matter. He would go to his simple room once he was done with the day’s work and then he would consider the next move concerning Aglaea. Perhaps it was soon time to meet his father, even? But he’d think on that later.

 FINISHED

@Járnviðr

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