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Here Goes Nothing


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June, 76AD

Longinus wasn't, by his nature, a nervous man but by the Gods he was skittish now. The meeting with Seconds and Tertius had been odd and disconcerting to say the least, but he'd persevered - sending his compliments to Secundus for a lovely afternoon and pressing his desire to meet the man's niece. He didn't know what to make of Sergia - he'd glanced her once  or twice throughout the years at various functions but couldn't recall much beyond dark hair, blue eyes and a pretty face. If he'd spoken to her, he couldn't recall it and he hoped to the Gods he hadn't because the Longinus trying to court a young woman was likely to be different to the Longinus enjoying himself at a party. There was a significant chance he'd acted like an oaf back then, and winced as he paced the atrium. 

The house was deserted - his mother and daughter at the villa in Formiae for the next few weeks, which suited him fine. No need to frighten the poor young woman off with his overzealous mother and miserable child. That did, unfortunately, leave Sergia in the company of only men so he'd extended the invitation to Secundus' wife Livia. But tales were told and deciding he'd rather not have to face the couple who spent most of the year oddly isolated in Tibur, he'd also invited Tertius. He liked the latter, more than he liked Secundus at any rate and was hoping the Praetor would be able to temper the moods of his guests. 

Dinner was being prepared and the slaves hurried around the place, straightening a few of his odd collectibles here, and a vase of fresh flowers there. He fidgeted as he drew to a stop, tugging at the folds of his pallium and wishing he'd had a good long drink before this. How was it that facing down the Brigantes in Britannia hadn't made him sweat but the prospect of arranging a marriage did? He swallowed and waved a hand at a slave; "Wine." His throat felt as parched as a desert and he gulped it down as it was handed to him. He didn't have long to wait and stew further in his misery though, a slave entered the atrium with a guest trailing behind him. 

 

TAG: @Járnviðr @Liv @Atrice (and @Sharpie and @Chevi if you want Attis or Mets to make an appearance at any point!)

Also figured we could jointly NPC Sergia? And come up with an excuse as to why her mother isn't at the dinner... 

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Secundus had long awaited this day. Sergia fussed and preened and otherwise seemed to want to delay and tarry on the way to this dinner; for what reason, Secundus could scarcely imagine. She seemed reluctant to arrive there with him. Perhaps the girl missed her mother, who had declined to attend, citing her weak constitution. Secundus would have confronted her on the matter, but he had given up on trying to overrule both mother and daughter together- they were both too stubborn to listen to reason, and he needed to argue them around to his point of view by catching one of them alone. Tonight was the night to arrange Sergia’s marriage to Longinus, so Secundus was happy to leave his willful sister behind.

His niece barely spoke to him, during the day before the dinner, and Secundus happily accepted the silence. Her petulance would soon become tiresome, but hopefully Longinus would not see it before their marriage was finalized. Secundus had not seen his wife’s own flaws, until after he had married her. It was an easy mistake for a man to make, when his interests were aligned with preserving his family line and name. Livia had been beautiful and the proper lady, someone who would be an excellent wife to a senator. If only he had seen what lie beneath her mask.

He had asked Livia whether she would come, but of course, the choice was up to her. In fact, with Livia delaying as she did, simply to avoid breathing the same air as him, Secundus was rather inclined to simply leave her behind, as well. He waited, though, and the three of them left together. Both women spoke amongst themselves, quietly, while Secundus avoided making conversation with either one of them. He only said one thing to Sergia, which was that she should make a good first impression on Longinus.

As the three of them followed Longinus’ man into the atrium, Secundus’ eyes swept over the place in undisguised, unapologetic judgment as he catalogued the changes from their previous visit: what had been moved? What was new? What looked worn down? It was only a full minute of taking in the décor that Secundus smiled thinly at Longinus.

“Thank you for extending the invitation, Longinus. This is Sergia, my niece. And this is my ravishing wife, Livia.”

@Sara @Liv

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Attis' master seemed as skittish as a virgin in a brothel. It was very much unlike him, and Attis batted his hands away as he tried to tug his pallium even straighter than it already was.

"You'll be fine, domine," he said. "Just pretend you're entering negotiations with one of your barbarian friends or something? Except these people aren't likely to run you through if they get upset, at least."

And of course Longinus was nervous enough to need wine before anyone had even knocked at the door. Attis had figured that might be the case and personally overseen the watering of it; he had no intention of letting his master get tipsy today intentionally or otherwise, and it was his duty to look out for his master no matter what, whether or not Longinus appreciated it, or even knew about it.

All Attis could hope was that his master didn't end up with the same cycle of falling for the girl and losing her as had happened with the last one - he had never seen his master in such despair, ever, and did not want a repeat of those few months. For now, though, he was going to stand watch, serving as if he was one of the house slaves and generally keeping an eye on his master. He owed him at least that much, and would risk the telling-off his master was likely to dole out. That would be later, of course. Much later. For now, the only way he would not be present was if he was directly ordered to leave the room and even then he would contrive to be nearby.

 

 

@Atrice @Liv @Sara @Járnviðr (Attis isn't going to post in regular rotation, he will b around but I will only post if Attis is directly addressed and I'm tagged in - otherwise consider him exactly as present as any other slave waiting on Longinus and his guests!)

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Tertius was pleased that Longinus had invited him to the dinner, when it really wasn’t necessary. After all, Sergia was Secundus’ responsibility and Tertius was just her uncle, unwelcome in the home Sergia lived in for the moment. He hadn’t really been there since he moved out and into his own Domus and the few times he had… well it never did end well between him and his brother and he really didn’t think it would do anyone any good if they ended up fighting. Besides, they were too old for that. Two grown men fighting like boys? No, he would not lower himself to do such a thing. Secundus might. Secundus wasn’t right in his head.

 But thoughts were free, at least, and no one knew what he was thinking. He arrived at Longinus’ house in a litter and stepped out, finely dressed in dark green and gold for the evening. Once there, he was greeted by a slave, seeming surprised that he came and so soon. The slave informed him that the other Varus party had just arrived. How many would come, he wondered? Had Secundus forced poor Livia to attend too? And Quinctilia?

 Quietly he followed the slave and from afar he saw the other Varus party. Secundus, Livia and Sergia. Tertius inhaled a quiet breath. He was here for Sergia and this was all about her. He had to try and side with his brother, if she was to marry Longinus. He would have to try and help convincing the man that the lovely Sergia really was a good match for him. Of course she was. The daughter of a Senator marrying another? And Longinus was a handsome man, seemed friendly too, surely it wouldn’t be the worst match ever made.

 Tertius waited until Longinus and Secundus had exchanged their first words, before he too spoke up, “Greetings, Senator Longinus. And thank you for inviting me.” Tertius said and then looked at his family, he could appear charming and friendly if he had to and at least he didn’t dislike his sister in-law and his niece… so there was a trace of warmth in his voice, even though he could tell that Sergia wasn't entirely pleased to be here at all, “Secundus, Livia… Sergia. What a pleasure it is to see you all.” 

 

@Sharpie @Chevi @Sara @Liv @Járnviðr

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Livia's immediate reaction at being told of this party had been to rein in an eyeroll. Trust her insufferable husband to go round arranging get-togethers when they had agreed she should be keeping a very low profile away from Rome - and all thanks to his appalling scheme, no less. Common sense prevailed soon afterwards, however, and she was forced to acknowledge that it was indeed high time Secundus got serious about finding his niece a husband and that squandering this opportunity would reflect very badly upon him, and her by association, and upon poor Sergia the most through no fault of her own.

She played her part by attempting to put Sergia a little more at ease whilst on their way to dinner, quietly extolling the purported virtues of this Longinus to the best of her knowledge - good friend of her sister's husband the Consul's, legatus and conqueror of barbarians several times somewhere, wealthy and no squabbling siblings to share the family fortune with. Of the blessings of married life Livia spoke nothing, because she could not draw upon a single example of a blissful event as Secundus' wife.

The litter reached its destination soon enough and they stepped out, Livia walking behind Secundus in a loose-fitting dark green stola and a flurry of lighter-coloured and soberly decorated shawls as they were welcomed into the domus by a sollicitous slave. Like her husband, she took in the eclectic decor, hoping Longinus' apparently unconventional tastes found a sufficient outlet in showing off his home lest Sergia find herself being asked to put on a pair of antlers and cover her body in dark paint on her wedding night. If the other woman was similarly taken aback, she hid it well. Hearing the drone of Secundus' grating voice, Livia straightened to attention and plastered a convincing smile on her face, surreptiously gesturing at Sergia to do the same. "Greetings, senator Longinus. How very kind of you to invite us to join you for dinner."

Well. She could add 'handsome in a rogueish way' to the list of portents. 

Another familiar voice and Livia turned her head to see her brother-in-law. Tertius' presence brought her a small measure of relaxation; she wouldn't be alone in trying to keep Secundus' temper curbed. "Tertius! What a delightful surprise," she beamed, fully aware her husband did not share her opinion and all the more pleased to rile him up for it. Teutus was nowhere in sight - perhaps he had not been invited at all, or had but had elected to pass. Lucky him.

@Sara @Járnviðr @Atrice

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Longinus offered a light grin as the first, and then the second Varus party entered into view. He wasn't some lovesick teenager anymore and managed not to gawk at the ladies as they drew to a stop next to Secundus and then Tertius. He greeted the former first with an inclination of his head; "Not at all, I'm pleased you could find the time. And yourself too, Praetor Varus." He inclined his head at Tertius and then turned his attention to the women of the group. He assumed the shorter blonde was Livia, judging from the stola and he frowned a touch. Aulus hadn't mentioned that his sister-in-law was such a beauty. But he kept his attention on the taller, younger woman next to her and he inclined his head; "Sergia, a pleasure. Your uncles have told me a great deal about you - all sickeningly complimentary, I should add." He grinned, jesting. 

If first impressions were anything to go by, they were off to a good start - at least from his perspective. She was alluring - not with the heart stopping beauty of his late wife Antonia, or the vibrancy of Sestia, but in a way he couldn't quite put his finger on. There was something in the way her cool blue eyes scanned his home and the slight curve of her mouth - hinting at a smile - when she greeted him; "It's a pleasure, Senator Longinus." that drew him in. It was wariness of him, and this occasion no doubt - he could see that - but a kernel of intrigue as well perhaps? Whatever it was, owing to their proscriptive rules and formality as a society, he couldn't dwell on it for long without seeming a poor host. 

Pleased that Livia seemed to have picked up a conversational thread he nodded; "I thought it a fine opportunity to have a wider family dinner, I can only apologise that my own aren't in attendance," He said as he gestured for the guests to follow him into the triclinium where the couches were arranged, "That's one of the saddest things about being an only child - your dinner parties are always lacking guests." He had no set preference for seating, although now they were here he wish he'd put more thought into it. Taking the lead, he seated himself on the central couch and allowed the others to take their own places. "Wine?" He asked to the group.

 

TAG: @Járnviðr @Atrice @Liv

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Teutus had arrived just after his father, on foot as the cheapest and most convenient method of transport (and the one he could almost guarantee would be the best way to annoy his father - everything had its benefits!) Besides, he was more than used to walking everywhere, and Senator Lucius Cassius Longinus' house was nowhere near Tertius', thank all the gods for small mercies. Although that meant that it was likewise nowhere near where Teutus had found rooms, but that was a small price to pay.

The Senator didn't have a daughter of marriageable age (he did have a daughter, though, to the best of Teutus' recollection, though she was somewhere closer in age to Antonia Varia - maybe they could be friends, if everything went as planned today?)

His aunt and cousin were the only women in attendance - his cousin for the obvious reason, and his aunt presumably in the role of chaperone - Jupiter knew that neither Tertius nor Secundus would be much good at that job, and Teutus was less than suitable all round, really.

There was a point he almost turned around and decided to go almost anywhere else, but curiosity about Longinus and what shitshow the evening might turn into at his father's and uncle's hands kept him on course. And when had he become such a damn pessimist? The evening might even be enjoyable and fun and all the good things... Unlikely, but possible.

So, he had arrived just after his father and been admitted, and was now looking for his seat in the triclinium with the others, inwardly sighing at being consigned to the lowest place, but it was a private convivium with just six people, so it wasn't really as low as all that.

@Járnviðr @Atrice @Liv @Sara

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Secundus nodded curtly to Tertius at his greeting. He could play civil for the length of this dinner. He had done it so many times in his youth, even though he had been a wild young man, impetuous and carefree. He had known how to put up a proper front for everyone respectable enough to demand one. He could do this here. It had been more difficult holding his tongue around his brother since his return, but he was no barbarian. He placed a hand on Livia’s waist- the touch was designed such that it would linger on his wife’s body for seconds at most before pulling back. It would seem like a loving gesture between man and wife, to anyone who did not know the couple well. A performance, for one man and one man alone.

“Yes, a wonderful surprise, brother,” Secundus said with seemingly genuine warmth. He soothed his temper as it flared under the ignominy of Livia’s and Tertius’ judgement. Instead, he trained his vision on Longinus, who was meeting Sergia for the first time. He studied the young man’s expression for anything that boded poorly for the union. His good humor seemed to relax Sergia, but she retained the proper grace and poise for such an occasion. Secundus relaxed ever so slightly, the fist of fear and rage crushing his heart unclasping. He let out a breath that he had not realized he was holding.

At Longinus’ direction, the dinner party moved as one through the space. Their host seated himself and finally offered them wine. Secundus gestured dismissively for Livia to sit before himself, as was only right. He also whispered to Sergia, that she might sit opposite Longinus. It seemed most appropriate for the two prospects to have clear sight of one another while keeping their distance, and Sergia should not join Longinus in the highest place, not yet. They were not yet married. Sergia hesitated and glanced at Livia, as she always had a habit of doing when Secundus bid her do anything. The girl doubted her uncle’s advice in all matters. Rather than prolong the awkwardness, Secundus sat down on the middle couch. He tried to steal Longinus’ attention to give the women time to decide where to sit.

“Longinus, have you met Teutus? My favorite nephew,” he added in an undertone with a wink at Tertius, as he took a swig of wine.

@Atrice, @Liv , @Sara , @Sharpie

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Livia seemed more than happy to see Tertius at the dinner and he smiled back at her, although he also noticed how his brother placed a hand upon her waist. Tertius didn’t see a loving gesture, not at all. He knew it was not. What he saw was a possessive gesture, as if his brother would make sure they all knew that this one was his. As if Tertius would take advantage of his brother’s wife, however beautiful she was. All he did was feel pity for her, for having married Secundus. But the brothers could act civil, at least. For Sergia’s sake.

 Longinus also appeared pleased that Tertius was here and Sergia greeted him with a soft smile and polite words. Tertius was pleased. His niece had grown into a beautiful young woman and Longinus would be a fool for not admiring her. She looked like her mother and his sister had been beautiful in her youth too. She still was, really. But she wasn’t here.

 The host invited them all further in, apologizing for the lack of his own family there, but Tertius just smiled, “You don’t seem to be lacking guests right now, Senator.” Tertius replied, trying to make Longinus feel less ill at ease. Then of course he noticed another guest arriving, although this one didn’t even announce himself and he was also late, it appeared. Teutus. Tertius was surprised to see him, he didn’t know he’d been invited. And then of course Secundus just had to make a comment about Teutus. It took all of Tertius’ self-control to not comment, that Secundus had yet to meet his other nephew by Tertius. But he didn’t, also for Teutus’ sake, because he knew his son had not fully accepted Peregrinus or his place in the family.

 Instead Tertius picked up his wine and took a good swig of it. He hoped his brother would not continue like this – or else he was certain that Sergia would miss this opportunity to escape him. This was going to be a long evening.

 

@Sara @Sharpie @Liv @Járnviðr

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Not for the first time Livia wished her skin could be made of fire to burn her husband's hands; since it wasn't, she powered through the thankfully brief touch, managing to unfreeze a heartbeat later. Why on earth Secundus elected to only occasionally remember he had manners eluded her, but since he was now exercising them for all to see, she would have to play along and select a seat; the choice fell on a spot further away from their host, so that the men might sit closer together and discuss what they had come here to discuss without having their authority passively questioned by placement. A quick exchange of looks and a barely-visible nod to Sergia that she should do as her uncle suggested, and all were comfortably seated instants later - even Teutus, who turned out to just be fashionably late instead of a no-show like Livia had assumed. "Now now, don't ever let Marcus hear you say that," she teased, playfully touching her hand to Secundus' arm as if the gesture would stay his tongue and drawing it back two seconds later as she smiled over at Teutus. "How lovely that you came too!"

She was not as skilled in the ways of seduction as that tart Secundus had brought into their domus some time before - nor ought she, in her role as respectable matron from a good family and sister-in-law to one of the esteemed consuls - but here was a good opportunity to demonstrate to Sergia how to draw and keep a man's interest at least for one evening... and provide some insight as to what tickled Longinus' fancies whilst she was at it. Witty conversation? Innuendo? A demure and obedient woman? Regardless of what it ended up being, hopefully Sergia would pick up on it and adapt her own demeanour. Livia reached for her wine and took a sip, savouring its sweet taste. "Oh, this is excellent! Is it Caecuban? My father is quite fond of it," - a little too much - "and rates it above Falernian even. I'm afraid I'm not as adept as him in telling the difference," she giggled with deliberate obliviousness as she put down the glass, inwardly not giving a fig as to the wine's provenience. If it was made from grapes from Longinus' own property, he would be pleased; if he had bought it from someone and was now being congratuled on his choice, he would be pleased. 

"Indeed," Livia agreed with Tertius, dipping her head. "That is an issue this family have not experienced, praise the gods. My sister-in-law Quinctilia has Sergia and Marcus," she shot a warm look at the younger woman, "-Tertius has Teutus here and little Antonia," (and a baby boy by a slave, but no need to mention him) "-and we are working on it," she concluded in fake cheeriness with a flash of a smile at Secundus, hoping her little exposition was enough to get the wheels in Longinus' head turning with regards to possible fertility. All men wanted a son, that was what it inevitably boiled down to, and before she started seething again at the situation Secundus had put her and Aglaea in, Livia smoothed an inexistent wrinkle by her knee and took another sip of her drink.

@Sara @Járnviðr @Sharpie @Atrice

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Longinus blinked at Secundus and then glanced to his left to see a taller, younger man. Had he missed him entirely when they'd all entered? He offered a genuine, friendly grin. "I haven't, it's a pleasure Teutus." And it was sincerely meant. He vaguely recalled his mother talking of two sons of Tertius born by slaves but that really was absolutely no skin off of Longinus' nose. He had a bastard son himself, Pelias, and well...he'd hardly kept it in his subligaculum with Sestia, had he? Besides, Longinus hardly cared for pretence - what did it matter to him that he had a freedman at his table? 

He grinned at the obviousness of pretty Livia's words and chuckled, "May the Gods be thanked for your good fortune then, alas, no such luck here. I've no siblings and only one daughter." Poor Cassia, desperately longing for a sibling, "Although I'm not in my funerary urn yet so there's still time." He sipped his wine and cast a conspiratorial glance at Sergia who didn't necessarily return it - looking towards Livia for direction. Had he overstepped? There'd be no getting on if she couldn't handle a simple bit of innuendo...or maybe he'd been out of the game for so long that such things were completely verboten. 

They were all settled and seated now and he felt a wave of anxiety wash over him. He really had no clue where to go next and for once regretted banishing his mother, the woman at least understood social cues enough to be able to direct a conversation. Sipping his wine and stalling for time he glanced across his various guests and posed a question which he naively assumed was inoffensive enough; "Sergia, you're lucky to have such a family around you. I can't quite recall...do you all live with one another? You must have quite the domus, Secundus." 

 

TAG: @Járnviðr @Sharpie @Atrice @Liv

 

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Yes, everyone was quite pleased that Tertius had arrived. Secundus smiled politely as they all exchanged pleasantries about Teutus’ arrival. Secundus ignored the envy that curdled in his stomach. He had nothing to offer as Livia launched into a digression about her father’s favorite wines. It was all very insipid, but that was part of the game. Longinus had invited them here to perform for his benefit. They were accessories for Sergia, who the young senator was evaluating for suitability. Perhaps Livia had said the right thing- Secundus could hardly distinguish between polite conversation and empty-headed nonsense; from Livia’s lips, it all sounded the same.

When the conversation briefly turned to children, Secundus allowed himself a slight smile. He would have a son, soon enough. Their arrangements would ensure that the boy would not be plagued with the same controversy and scandal that Tertius had foisted upon his family. He hoped Longinus would only be half as wise, in his dealings with Sergia. A flare of protective anger filled him, for a moment, as he looked at the man. His clumsy joke soothed Secundus’ anger; this man lacked the guile to harm Sergia, he thought scornfully. Attempting to distract himself, Secundus drank his wine; quick, greedy gulps, rather than the genteel sips of his brother or his wife. He hardly registered the taste.

Sergia began to respond, a demure smile on her lips but fire in her eyes. Secundus tuned her out completely as he reclined. Whatever his niece was saying, he imagined it would be lacking in the caution which women ought to speak, yet none the less charming for it. He had no idea where she had gotten that charisma from; certainly not from her mother. Instead, he only rejoined the conversation as he realized Sergia, face fixed in a pleasant smile that was now fading, was looking to him for a response. Now, what had the girl been saying?

“Yes, as my niece said,” whatever it was that she had said. He hoped Livia had been listening, at least. “It is an arrangement with its challenges, but between the domus here and the villa in Tibur, it is not quite so crowded as you might imagine.”

@Sara , @Liv , @Atrice , @Sharpie

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My favourite nephew, Uncle Secundus had called him. Whatever he thought about his uncle, that simple acknowledgement helped settle Teutus' conflicting emotions about this whole thing. And if he could help his cousin to a good marriage with the Senator - not that there was really anything for Teutus to offer that his father and uncle couldn't, seeing as they were both older than him and had the power over the family and its relations with the other leading families in Rome.

He returned the Senator's grin with a smile of his own. The family politics of gens Quinctilia were probably not at all the sort of thing that Cassius Longinus wanted to get embroiled in, of course. He seemed a nice enough sort of person - even on such short acquaintance, Teutus couldn't help wishing that his father were more like their host. Perhaps the inner politics of his own family wouldn't be so damaging to the family members then!

He didn't really have anything to add to the conversation and was content to remain silent, sipping at his wine (it was good, though he did think Aunt Livia had overstated things somewhat, comparing it to Falernian so favourably) and listening to everyone else jostle for attention.

 

@Atrice @Liv @Járnviðr @Sara

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No, if they actually held family dinners for their entire family, they would not lack guests at all. and since Longinus had invited several of the Quinctilii Varii clan, well, he had plenty of guests now too. Livia was kind, offering Tertius some friendliness and support he seemed unable to find anywhere else. His brother he did not count on, not at all. They could be polite and civilized and pretend things for Sergia’s sake, but they both knew the truth. Teutus he wasn’t sure would support him at all these days. Things were… strange between them.

He was surprised when Livia mentioned that she and Secundus were working on having children. Really? Livia would willingly bed his brother? Or maybe he forced her, the brute? They didn’t look like a happy couple to him though and it was honestly rare they were seen together. Last time Livia came to Tertius house, she did not bring Secundus with her. He knew she was friendlier with their nephew than with her husband. How much, he didn’t know. But he had his suspicions.

 Longinus asked Sergia about their living situation and Sergia replied, speaking about how she lived with both her mother, her uncle and Livia and all the slaves of course. She was kind enough to not mention that Tertius moved out long ago, because that’s something everyone knew anyway. Meanwhile Secundus drank some embarrassingly greedy gulps of his wine, before he commented on Sergia’s words. He barely sounded interested. Why was he even here?

 “Enough about living conditions elsewhere though.” Tertius commented, once Secundus had finished, “You have a fine home, Senator. And I am sure that with time, this place will be crowded too, in a good way of course. Is this where you stay all the time, or do you too have a villa elsewhere?”

@Liv @Sara @Sharpie @Járnviðr

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Funny how a dinner party with this many attendees could be more glacial than court proceedings (or so Livia imagined; she had never witnessed any). Between Sergia's belated recognition of their host's somewhat clumsy flirting, Secundus' obliviousness to anything beyond his own thoughts and Teutus' quietude, she very much felt like she was alone in bailing water out of this sinking ship. She nodded absentmindedly at her niece's reply, taking frequent sips from her cup. "Tibur is very peaceful," she interjected during a lull in the conversation, more to make it seem like she was following it than out of actual interest.

Help came in the form of Tertius, the gods bless him, and Livia gave her brother-in-law an appreciative smile before joining in with her own remarks - that hopefully Sergia would segue into some witty sentence or two. "I imagine your home would be even nicer with the pitter-patter of small feet bounding about." She shot Sergia a quick and pointed look as if to signal this reaction was something to pay close attention to, then carried on with a flourish. "Tertius, surely senator Longinus has a villa by the sea like most of us!" Livia let out a dainty, short-lived laugh before bringing the cup to her lips again. Was Lucius Cassius Longinus an unrepenting urbanite or did he favour rural retreats? For the other woman's sake she hoped it was the former, because the latter, as they very well knew, was so boring as to be tear-inducing.

A peaceful prison, really. Or could have been, if Secundus did not ruin the bucolic setting with his presence.

@Sara @Járnviðr @Sharpie @Atrice

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He grinned at Livia Justina's amusing quip about children. He bloody hoped so; he loved his daughter but most men his age had at least one son entering their teenage years, or at least his close friends did. He glanced to Sergia, who flushed and inclined her head. Well - at least she was modest, that had to be good yes? His usual picks; Antonia and Sestia most vividly, were bold women who would have likely had a flirtatious rejoinder to such a comment, but Sergia didn't - she merely looked embarrassed and glanced down at her wine. Probably for the best - his usual picks hadn't exactly worked out well in the past. "A man can hope, Livia Justina." 

He glanced around the table conscious this was an odd sort of group. Teutus seemed to be willing himself away, or at least unable to conjure up any words - the same with Sergia, Secundus just looked irritated and bored...at least Tertius and Livia were trying. He inclined his head at Tertius' compliment with an easy grin; "You're kind but I know it's not to everybody's tastes - but what's the point of going to Britannia for a decade and a half if you can't bring back some of their precious goods?" And a healthy amount of slaves which increased his worth tenfold. 

Nodding, he placed his wine down on the table and picked up a piece of bread, "Formiae, not Baiae - sorry to be so unfashionable." He chuckled and dipped the bread in the oil, "Although I wouldn't be opposed to buying a new one," Which didn't have his mother in it whenever he tried to visit it. "But I like to travel, see parts of Italia and beyond that I've not seen before - perhaps I should visit you in Tibur," He chuckled and then glanced at Teutus, "Or I hear you've got yourself an import business - any far off lands you could take me to, Teutus?" His mothers gossip was good for something. He realised he'd been talking in the singular though and glanced at Sergia conspiratorially, "Of course should I marry I wouldn't drag my wife somewhere she didn't wish to travel." If she really put up a fight, he might just leave her at home though. 

 

TAG: @Járnviðr @Sharpie @Atrice @Liv

 

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"So far, merely Hispania, sir, although I am looking at the potential of expanding to the east as well - there are always good needing transportation and of course there are all the spices to be found to the east," Teutus replied to his host's question, striving to sound easy and interesting. "I would rather build on a sure foundation and expand naturally than over-reach myself and fail for no reason. Is there much of value to be found in Britannia, do you think?"

He had very little interest in expanding into the slave trade; there were enough merchants transporting slaves around the Mare Nostrum, and of course slaves had to be fed and watered and kept clean, which all required an outlay Teutus would rather not spend - and there was the risk of illness and all sorts of other factors. Inanimate goods which were easier to transport and store before sale were where Teutus' interests lay. Besides, he'd been a slave himself - he had no qualms in owning slaves (he would need to think about buying some for some of the heavier work) but he drew the line at trading them.

 

@Járnviðr @Atrice @Liv @Sara

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