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Tarbus
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April, 76 CE

“Tst, tst…” Tarbus gave the headstall a shake with his good hand, to get the stallion’s attention. He spoke gruffly to him in Dacian. “Stop being an asshole. You’re not going to get to fuck her so just keep your dick to yourself!” He gave the stallion’s flank a flick with the tip of the lead, making the animal side-step skittishly, its partially released member swinging pendulously as its hooves beat a little tattoo on the stone flags of the yard.

 

On the far side of the stable area, a mare in heat pranced, aware in her own way that she was garnering interest and causing a ruckus. She too might be receptive to some four footed frolicking but that was not going to happen. Typically, mares in heat were not brought to the stables at the circus, just for this very reason. Someone must have screwed up and miscalculated her cycle. Tarbus wished he knew who to thank for this added headache to his day. He chucked the lead strap once more, moving his hand closer to the halter, just in case the amorous racer decided to give him any trouble.

 

The horse leapt a bit, this time towards the slave, but Tarbus stood his ground and muscled the knucklehead, with their shoulders pressed hard against each other, man to beast. “The gods take you! Be still!” Tarbus grumbled sternly, as the groom approached once again, in their combined effort to get the excited animal harnessed and ready to be brought together with the rest of the team. In this the two men were falling behind, and that was never a good thing.

 

Suddenly, the mare nickered, a true ‘come hither’ call. The stallion reared, cowkicked – narrowly missing the groom’s head – and plunged forward, almost knocking Tarbus, cursing, to the ground. But he managed to keep his feet and was running after the horny animal, trying to grab the leather lead that flapped in the air, while those many people in the yard jumped to the left and to the right trying to avoid the fractious creature, who trumpeted his love song to the heavens.

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She barely knew what she was doing here – but she had some time off and she had been unable to catch any of her other friends in Rome today. Charis was unavailable and Annis was busy training. She had friends many places in Rome, but today, none of them had time for her. It was then she recalled that charioteer, Marcellus, that she met once and she decided to see if he would remember her. He had promised her a tour of the stables and she thought she could meet him and see if he would give her that. If he had the time for her.

 Wearing her more or less usual outfit, a pair of breeches and a thigh-long tunica, probably more suitable for a man than a woman, she moved through Rome to find the right place. At least she hoped it was the right place. She tried to ask her way into the place and a slave said she’d go and see if Marcellus was anywhere to be found. Cynane just had to wait. She found a place in the shade and stood still, just watching everyone going about their daily work. There was a man trying to handle a particularly ill-tempered horse nearby – or that’s what it looked like to her – and it was quite the spectacle. Cynane didn’t know much about horses. She knew how to prepare one for a ride and she knew how to ride. But that was about it.

 Suddenly it happened, faster that she had realized and faster than she could react. The horse broke free and came in her direction. She jumped out of the way, hopefully in time. Cynane rolled onto the ground, knocking her head into a nearby wall in the process. She felt the pain and then everything went dark... when she woke up again, she wasn't sure where she was or how much time had gone by. Fuck!

@springy

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Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! This was about all Tarbus could think, as he chased after the escaped stallion, reaching for the lead strap with his good hand. Sure, it would be no skin off his nose if a few Romans got run over and trampled under the hooves of the lust filled beast. But it would undoubtedly result in skin off his back, or worse, if his part in this incident was seen as the one to target for inflicting a lesson on would be inattentive slaves! From the corner of his eyes he saw people of all varieties scrambling this way or that, and in exasperation he shouted out, “Someone try to fucking catch him by the gods!” It was probably imperfect in its Latin declension, but it was good enough. Doubtful that it had any direct impact though, as those stable workers in the yard either already knew their job or had already decided to opt out and forego the risk of serious injury by trying to turn this equine tide of misfortune.

Of course, the yard was by no means big enough for the horse to get up a gallop. Plus, the object of his desire was not so very far off, and that is definitely where he was heading. The mare too was now deciding to act fractious and danced at the end of the short lead her handler had her on, as he tried to quickly move her into a stall, to remove her from any attempted assault by the amorous would be lover. This proved to be the means by which Tarbus managed to get his fingers on the trailing lead attached to his own charge. He was running and then bent to scoop at it as the stallion slowed. He grabbed it, while finally others moved in the try to get hands on the halter. It took a few seconds, but just as quickly as it had all begun, it was over.

In the final moments, the stallion had caught Tarbus’ thigh a glancing blow, as it had reared and plunged. Handing the lead to the groom who now seemed intent in taking control of the situation, who fair snatched it out of his hand with some appropriate cursing, Tarbus rubbed the spot, knowing it would bruise deeply in the coming days. His head lifted a bit and his dark eyes, without seeking too, came to rest on a small knot of people who were gathered around a form on the ground. Oh, shit! he thought, and groaned inwardly. He hobbled a bit as he made his way over to gaze down at a fair haired woman dressed like a man, or at least he thought she was a woman. She certainly looked like a woman, except for her garb.

The others gathered around her were murmuring and chattering, some calling for someone to run for the medicus. Tarbus searched his memory, trying to reconstruct the scene of the stallion’s flight, and he was certain, completely certain, that the horse had not run over anyone. Vexed, he asked a man standing next to him, “What happened to her? She could not possibly have been struck by the stallion. Not fucking possible!” he murmured, as the man shrugged and said he hadn’t seen what happened.

Tarbus, almost antagonistic in his desire to know the extent and cause of the woman’s injuries, pushed closer and painfully knelt beside her. A woman, one of the slaves, was on her other side and patting her cheek gently. The fair haired one appeared to be unconscious. Tarbus looked at her anxiously, looking for signs of broken skin, or bone. At that moment the woman’s eyes opened, in that way that is common for those swimming back to the world of light. Out of concern more for his own welfare than hers, though the two might now be intertwined for the moment, Tarbus asked anxiously, in passable Latin, “Are you alright? Where are you hurt? What happened? Did you fall or...or did the horse strike you somehow?"

Regardless of cause and effect, he knew his ass would be on the line if Marcus determined it was the “one armed” Dacian’s ineptitude had been the cause of this woman’s injuries, whatever those might be. Perhaps things would go better for him, if he was solicitous and expressed concern – and made an apology, much as it would leave a nasty taste in his mouth. At least from the looks of her she was no Roman, and that at least was some small consolation.

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Cynane usually did not get hurt like this… usually, she was able to control her movements very well, but it had been a matter of getting out of the way from the horse and she had to move fast. She had not had time to look around and figure out exactly what to do, so she’d just rolled out of the way and hit her head in the process. Now she was on the ground, someone had pulled her a bit away from the wall and someone had stuffed a cloth underneath her head, while she was passed out.

 When she came around and stirred, feeling the bad pain in the back of her head and blinked to open her eyes, there were people standing around her, staring at her. What were they looking at? Why? She didn’t need them! But there they were, all murmuring and talking with each other… she until a man, the one who’d tried to hold the wild stallion before? And failed? He asked in someone broken Latin what happened and if she was hurt.

 “My head hurts.” She just said, trying to touch the back of her head, but she winced, “I… had to get away from the horse.” She said, trying to sit up, “I’m here to meet someone…” As soon as she tried to sit though, the pain grew worse and she had to stop. She looked at the man, most likely a slave, but currently also the only one she had to blame for her injury… not a good starting point for any man encountering her, “What happened to the horse?”

@springy

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