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Aeterna Roma RPG

Panem et aurīgae


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With celebrations soon to commence, so too does the appetite for races increase. The charioteers, then, must prepare for battle. Each race is a battle against themselves as well as the other contestants. A chariot, loosed from one man’s control, is a weapon of instant annihilation.  The sport takes a toll on their bodies. Meanwhile, the hungry watchers take in the spectacle. All of this would be enough to make any patrician balk- but Menelaus is not a patrician. He adores the attention, relishes the spectacle, and craves the toll. He plans to live a hard life, even though he dreads the end of it. Why choose caution over bravery? That would hardly be the appropriate path for a charioteer.

Instead, Menelaus prepared for the upcoming races. He did not yet know the details, but they would certainly be expected to participate in the ongoing celebration in some fashion. For now, he had returned from the latest round of practice, and had a moment of quiet in the stables. He felt the rush of it, still, even now that he was at rest. Menelaus took a moment to breathe deeply, smiling, when he heard someone else approaching. He turned to greet the newcomer, curious to see who would be here to speak with him when there was no race in progress.

@Sharpie

Edited by Járnviðr
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Marcus had always found it best to regularly visit the various workshops and stalls of the stables. Although he trusted his charioteers, workers and slaves, it was and ever would be only to a point. Once he took his hands off the reins, so to speak, the place could easily run amok. To know that the faction leader could, and would, descend upon them without a moment's warning kept them on their toes and didn't allow any of them to get too slipshod.

And so it was that Marcus, walking with his usual unhurried deliberate tread, came upon one of his best charioteers taking a breather in a quiet corner of the stables.

"Menelaus. How is training going?"

 

@Járnviðr

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Menelaus comported himself respectfully as Marcus entered the stables. The warm openness in his bearing smoothed itself into a patient receptiveness. The question was a simple one. Menelaus only gave himself a moment to consider it. Regardless of the details, the overall answer would be the same.

Well enough. I believe I can keep up with some of the youngsters who have joined our ranks, despite my advanced age,” Menelaus quipped. More seriously, he added, “I cannot speak much on the others’ progress, at such an early stage.” It was not that early, though, as they both knew. Training needed to proceed at a rapid clip in order for the racing team to reach peak performance on time.

@Sharpie

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Marcus clasped his hands behind his back, nodding at the charioteer's words.

"And what do you think of Azarion's progress?" he enquired, unconsciously lifting a hand to stroke the nose of a curious horse that had put its head over the stall door to huff at his head.

He was still not sure whether or not he should allow the boy to enter the bigae race that would be the precursor to the main races in celebration for the new Caesar. The mute boy had surprised him and seemed to have flourished in a way neither Marcus nor Azarion's master had expected.

 

@Járnviðr

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“Azarion? Performing well beyond my expectations. He’s taken to it quite naturally- use him before he has a chance to weaken with age- most who burn that brightly do so quickly.”

Menelaus frowned thoughtfully. Most of the young charioteers had an attitude that concerned him, but it wasn’t his place to question these things. After all, he had most likely once been like them. He still enjoyed the thrill and the excitement. Perhaps it was normal, until they earned some wisdom.

“What are your plans for him?”

@Sharpie

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"I was thinking about letting him race in the bigae for the upcoming celebrations," Marcus said. "He's young, but not much younger than any other charioteer, and it would be a good experience for him - although perhaps I should wait for a less prestigious occasion, perhaps in one of the other circuses than the Circus Maximus? I wouldn't want him overwhelmed by the size of the crowd and the importance of the occasion, even if it isn't the quadrigae."

The races between the four-horse were naturally much more prestigious than those between the two-horse bigae, and required far more skill - the skill of charioteers such as Menelaus, who would be racing in the most important races, and for the largest prizes.

 

@Járnviðr

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Menelaus hesitated for the barest of moments before answering. Taking an opportunity from a newcomer to the races could be selfish, if it benefitted him, but if his honest assessment was that the boy had potential but was not ready- no, it was not. The boy was ready.

“The expectations will be good for him. He will learn. Some boys would not, but if my measure of him is correct, he will not buckle under pressure. Speak with him yourself to form your own opinion, of course, but I believe you will find the same.”

While the bigae were less prestigious, they were no less stressful on a beginner charioteer- and yet, Menelaus believed that Azarion would benefit from the experience, even though it might cripple the progress of a lesser athlete.

“Let him race in the bigae, and you’ll see a man emerge with the right talents to entertain a crowd, despite his inexperience.”

@Sharpie

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"Speak with him?" Marcus' voice grew dry. "You are aware he can't talk, of course?" He smiled. "But as much as we can communicate, I will."

He grew serious again. "There's something else I wanted to talk with you about, other than Azarion. I've watched you with him - he's made great improvements since the first time I took him round the circus in a chariot, and I think you have great potential to be a trainer, if you want the role."

Marcus took pride in selecting the best people for the jobs he required, whether slave or free, and he would not force anyone into something they hated - to put someone into a role they hated would be to run the risk of that person sabotaging things whether accidentally by neglect or deliberately by their actions, and that could potentially lead to injury or death. Much better to have people happy in what they did, after all.

 

@Járnviðr

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