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Aeterna Roma RPG

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Spring 76 CE

The concept of pet dogs was a new one for Metella. She had had dogs around before, back in the village, and even in Rome sometimes, but they were usually dogs for hunting, or for guarding, or strays. This one... well, this one was here to stay. It was dominus' dog, a tiny bundle of blinking eyes and wrinkles, hence the name. 

"I am still not sure what the purpose of an inside dog is supposed to be." she admitted to Attis as they watched the pup sniff around the atrium. He moved with a waddle, and seemed interested in everything. "I mean, it is adorable, but it's gonna leak everywhere. And why are we watching it again?..."

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"It's a dog," Attis said helpfully, leaning against a pillar with his arms folded. "It's not supposed to be useful for anything. Well. Maybe keeping the master amused. And if it leaks - or anything else - I am not cleaning it up." 

Attis rarely ever pulled rank over any of the other slaves in the house, but clearing up behind a puppy that couldn't or wouldn't control its bathroom habits was not something Attis was at all prepared to do. 

"Though if it's as leaky as all that, the garden might be a better idea than the atrium."

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"It's a dog. It's not supposed to be useful for anything. Well. Maybe keeping the master amused. And if it leaks - or anything else - I am not cleaning it up." 

"Very helpful of you. I called it first" Metella reminded him with a grin. The dog was indeed amusing, the way he waddled around the atrium. She wondered what it would be like when it grew up. Probably less cute. That was the way with people too.

"Though if it's as leaky as all that, the garden might be a better idea than the atrium."

"Garden it is" Metella agreed, moving towards the door. The dog, on his part, cricled around and noticed his own tail instead. "Come on! Come on good boy! Not you, Attis. Come this way!"

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"To answer your first question, I have no idea why we're watching it. Though I suppose it needs more supervision than Cassia," Attis said with a one-shouldered shrug before peeling himself away from his column. "C'mon, doggy, Aunty Metella will get a biscuit for you if you come this way."

The dog ignored him, flopping onto its behind and lifting a leg to scratch its ear.

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"Well, it doesn't listen at all, that's a lot like Cassia" Metella agreed, chuckling as Attis also failed to have any effect on the pup. Apparently small dogs and teenage girls were not all that different. Metella tilted her head.

"C'mere, pup!" she repeated, tapping her knee. "Be a good boy."

He wasn't.

"Hey. How about whoever gets the dog to go to them wins a bet?" she grinned at Attis. Anything was more fun with a bet.

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"What're you going to bet?" Attis shot back, promptly, patting his own calf to see if he could encourage the puppy to him. 

It was just like their master, ignoring everything except what was in front of its nose.

At least it had moved a bit closer to the passage through to the garden by now, probably more by luck than anything. They would be lucky if it didn't divert through the tablinum. Attis couldn't help a momentary grin at the thought that, if it did, and if it did something unspeakable on the tablinum floor, Longinus would only have himself to blame.

Or Sulpicius Rufus. On second thoughts, it was all entirely Sulpicius Rufus' fault.

@Chevi

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"What're you going to bet?" 

"Whoever loses has to watch the thing next time the dominus leaves it home. Here boy! Come to mama."

Attis was just too easy sometimes. Metella chuckled, moving to the other side of the garden entrance from him. Either way, the puppy was going to make progress. Once it was done chasing its tail and gnawing on its hind paw.

"You think it has fleas?" the thought just occurred to her, and she was not very pleased with it.

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"Considering chances are pretty damn high I'll be with him the next time he goes anywhere, that doesn't make sense," Attis replied. "Anyway, you're high enough in the pecking order that you can get someone else to watch the thing. Just suggest Cassia wants to go to the baths or something."

Why Sulpicius Rufus thought Longinus would like a pet dog, particularly one whose skin seemed several sizes too big and hung off it like an oversized tunic, was something Attis couldn't begin to understand.

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"Fine, what do you want to bet then?" Metella rolled her eyes. "Who gets to ride the thing into battle when it grows up to be the size of a horse?"

Attis was right, she had her ways of getting out of most chores she was not strictly ordered to do. Dogwatching was never going to be her responsibility... except for this instance, because somehow the two of them found themselves alone with the pup in the atrium. Sure, there was the slave at the front door, but he was otherwise occuped by some messenger or another knocking...

The door opened.

"Oh. No. No you don't..."

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"Oh, cock! No, you don't!" 

The dog had noticed the open door, and gone running towards it. Attis threw himself full length on the floor, trying to grab the animal somewhere and prevent it running out into the street. 

Why he was so concerned with keeping the creature in the house was a question for the ages. Or the gods. Meanwhile, Attis was left sprawling across the mosaic floor of the atrium, with a grazed arm that was going to sting like crazy when he noticed it, getting licked half to death.

 

@Chevi

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The small bundle of loose skin and fur displayed a remarkable sudden burst of speed the moment the door opened. Whether it was attracted by the outside world, or just grateful for a third option, Wrinkles made a scamper for escape, while Metella and Attis realized at the same time that dominus would have their skin if they let the pup get loose. Attis reacted first, throwing himself headlong onto the floor. He missed, but the valiant attempt distracted the dog who, happy to have someone on his personal altitude, turned around to start licking Attis in the face.

Metella doubled over laughing, and waved at the doorman to close the door.

"Attis, grab him!"

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Attis obliged, throwing his arms around the puppy, which obliged him by wagging its tail so hard its entire back end seemed to be wagging. It was a very wriggly armful of dog that he ended up with - and he was probably showing far more of his person to the world at large than he habitually did because his tunic had ridden up somewhat. 

He looked up at Metella who was in fits of laughter. "We have to get a collar for this thing if he wants to run off every time the door's opened," he said, trying to keep hold of the dog and stop it from thoroughly washing his face for him.

 

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Metella was thoroughly amused. She giggled as Attis gathered up the wiggling pup into his arms. He looked a right mess down on the floor, but he had saved the day. So far.

"Yes, he needs a collar. And we need a sign at the door. Cave canem" she ginned. "Nice catch. I think he likes you. And I'm not kissing you for a while."

Attis was good and slobbered by now. Eventually she paused the giggling long enough to offer him a hand to help him up from the floor "Let's take him to the garden. You need to teach him where he can wee."

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"Me? Why me?" Attis asked, accepting her help to get up.from the floor, which was not an easy manoeuvre to accomplish when constrained by an armful of wriggly wrinkly puppy. "I caught him, you can show him the best flowerbeds to dig up and which statues he can piss against. That grumpy-looking nymph would be a good start."

He managed to free one hand enough to wipe his face off. The very first thing he was going to do once he could put the dog down was to wash the slobber off in the fountain. 

"I think he should've been named Fugitivus," he added, waiting for Metella to open the garden door.

 

@Chevi

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"I caught him, you can show him the best flowerbeds to dig up and which statues he can piss against. That grumpy-looking nymph would be a good start."

"She would make an excellent dog toilet" Metella agreed. She didn't like the nymph much. Hopefully dominus didn't either.

"I think he should've been named Fugitivus," 

"Or Saliva" she grinned as she opened the garden door, and let Attis in with the dog. Both of them were going to get a lot happier once they were among the greenery. "He is going to grow up big, isn't he..."

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"Or Licky," Attis said in agreement, finally able to put the dog down. "Yeah. I've seen fully grown dogs smaller than he is now. I hope the master doesn't mind having the entire house rearranged every time he wags his tail. The dog, I mean. And blergh." He wasted no time in crossing to the fountain and ducking his head under the water. 

He emerged a moment later scrubbing at his face and running his fingers through his soaking hair, which had drooped over the scar on his forehead. 

"What on earth possessed him to decide a dog that size would be a good addition to his domus, rather than sending him out to the villa, anyway? Though he'd make a good pony for Cassia."

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"Or Licky."

"Never name a pet, Attis."

"Yeah. I've seen fully grown dogs smaller than he is now. I hope the master doesn't mind having the entire house rearranged every time he wags his tail. The dog, I mean. And blergh."

"I think he likes the idea. Not the rearranging. The size. Of the dog. Don't quote me on that." Metella grinned as Attis dunked his head in the fountain, and the dog went sniffling around the flower pots.

"What on earth possessed him to decide a dog that size would be a good addition to his domus, rather than sending him out to the villa, anyway? Though he'd make a good pony for Cassia."

"She can ride it into battle once she realizes being a warrior queen is a legit cursus option." she shrugged, watching the pup sniff some flowers. "You never wanted an impressive pet?"

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"Noted. Don't quote you on something I didn't understand the half of," Attis aid with a grin. "And I was angling for the master to get me an elephant or something. Not a gods-damn battle dog. Are you filling Cassia's head with stories of your barbarian queens, then? They're not Roman, I don't think it's an employment option for a well brought-up Roman girl. Especially a patrician girl." 

He shrugged as the dog snuffled around the statue of the grumpy nymph. "Go on, Licky, that's the one you want to pee on."

 

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 "And I was angling for the master to get me an elephant or something. Not a gods-damn battle dog. Are you filling Cassia's head with stories of your barbarian queens, then? They're not Roman, I don't think it's an employment option for a well brought-up Roman girl. Especially a patrician girl." 

"Any woman can be anything if they put their mind to it." Metella grinned, waving a hand. If the girl wanted to be a barbarian queen, all she had to do was... um, run away from home, cross the Alps, get across the limes, find a suitable barbarian king to marry, marry him, kill him, inherit his kingdom, and voilá! As the Gauls would say. "And I hear elephants have a high mortality rate in Italia..."

Attis, on his part, was nudging the pup towards the nymph statue. 

"Go on, Licky, that's the one you want to pee on."

"I think I want a cat." Metella mused, taking a seat on a bench "One of those fancy Egyptian cats. Or a pretty snake."

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Attis for his part had just glanced down at his arm and sucked in a breath as he realised just how much it stung; it had been scraped raw by the mosaic tiles. He splashed it with water from the fountain, which didn't particularly lessen the stinging.

"I can understand the desire for a cat, but why a snake?" He wasn't sure whether or not the master would let her have a cat, but if it was proposed in the right way, he probably would. Cassia, though, would likely scream the house down if they tried to introduce a snake. Which might be a good reason to try.

The puppy finished nosing at the nymph's feet and obliged Attis by cocking his leg as requested.

"Good boy. Don't think the master likes this thing particularly - don't you think she looks constipated or something?" Surely the master could afford better statues than this one.

@Chevi

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"I can understand the desire for a cat, but why a snake?"

"They are pretty? I hear they worship them in the East." she shrugged. A snake at least would have been more interesting than a dog. Even though the puppy was kind of cute, and smart enough to follow basic instructions. Such as 'pee on that nymph'.

"Good boy. Don't think the master likes this thing particularly - don't you think she looks constipated or something?"

"I am starting to lose track of what the master does or does not like. I never thought he'd keep a pup either" Metella noted, giggling as the dog waddled over to lick Attis' leg. "Does your arm hurt? Let me take a look."

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"Cats are friendlier. And softer, at least bodily. And they worship them in Egypt, or they used to." Attis grew disparaging. "Mind you, they worship a lot of weird stuff in Egypt, or they used to. What do people in Britannia worship?"

He obliged Metella and showed her his arm. There was a nice raw scrape along the outside of his forearm where the mosaic tiles had caught him - half-assed artisans couldn't be bothered laying everything flat when they'd done the work in the first place.

"The master is a big kid, really, I think. He likes playing soldiers and doesn't like old people spending all morning nattering about nothing, which is why he prefers the legions to the Senate." He shrugged. "Mostly he likes life to be simple, and it hasn't been that for quite a while for him."

 

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