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June 30th, 76 AD

Alexius life had not been going according to the plan lately. Not that he ever really had a plan, but lately, things had just taken a wrong turn. Not that it was all entirely bad, not that he was bored or didn’t have any lovers or anything like that, but he’d been feeling strange. He couldn't really explain it. All he could hope was that tonight might help. It was now about half a year ago, that he went to talk to Thessala, or rather, let it all out in a good spar with her, that he found out about the event. Thessala had heard rumors that the gang who ran the Domus Venus were considering to put up a day and night of entertainment. A private night, an exclusive night and it wouldn’t just be the kind of entertainment that the Venus was famous for. No, it would be all sorts of things. Including gladiatorial games. It was going to be a big event! 

 That was the first time he heard about it, back when Thessala told him what she'd heard. Then a month or so, he was invited to talk to them. It came out of the blue and he didn’t know what they wanted, it wasn’t like he wanted to be a bouncer at the Venus! Brothels were not really his thing, not at all, in fact. He always felt so bad for the women and men and boys and girls working there, forced to sleep with anyone instead of being able to choose, like he did. But the Venus didn’t want him to become a bouncer or a guard, no… they wanted to see him fight in an arena. And wondered if he’d fight a woman. Because they had managed to get a deal with a ludus about one of their most fierce and famous gladiatrices. With that, they gained his interest and then they also offered plenty of coin for his efforts. 

Alexius always felt like he was in need of coin. Good wine wasn’t entirely cheap, after all. And to always have food and wine in the home to offer guests, well, that was not cheap either. So he agreed to the deal. He’d fight as a gladiator again. Purely for entertainment, there would be no Caesar there to say one should live and one should die. They could draw blood, of course, and one would win and another would lose, but killing was not on the menu for the evening. You couldn't continue entertaining people if you were dead, after all... 

 It was now a year since the most recent earthquake and apparently that was the perfect occasion to celebrate. He hadn’t really fought in an arena since he was freed, but everyone knew he’d never forgotten about it and he had even at times considered returning, for real, and not just for one night only. That’s what this was though. Now, he could barely wait. He'd worked hard and exercised to return to his former strength - and here he was. Dressed and armored as he’d been in the past, as a Murmillo… walking through the tunnel underneath the seats, the tunnel that led to the private arena. The tunnel that led to the roar of the crowd and a proper fight against a proper opponent. He couldn't help but smile.

@Chevi @Sara @Sharpie @Liv

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Thessala did not really have any say in what events she would be participating in, but the lanista knew she could make everyone's life a living hell if she was forced into something she did not want to do. Luckily for everyone's peace of mind, this event sounded intriguing. Expensive, exclusive, and exotic. She was sure the ludus got pretty coin for it, but that was not really what got her attention. At first, she thought it would be one of those fights where people wanted some women wrestling in the background of an orgy... but they actually had an arena.

And she was fighting a man.

Sometimes the gods did smile.

When Thessala entered the arena, she first saw the armor of her opponent in the bright, dancing light of many torches. It was not late in the evening yet, but the sun had already set. The arena was decorated with flowers and colorful banners (some of them depicting some suggestive scenes), and smelled heavily like wine already. She was sure high bets were being made. Rome liked its novelties, and a gladiatrix fighting a man was just the thing everyone would have an opinion about.

Thessala had an opinion too. She was going run that murmillo into the ground.

The gladiatrix grinned widely, flashing her twin swords as she walked slowly into the arena. Her eyes were painted dark, and her hair was decorated with the beads and charms and feathers that made her look like a Thessalian witch even in the daylight. Which was funny, because she was not Thessalian at all.

Oh, the irony.

"Oh, this is going to be fun" she said in her native Thracian, laughing as she rolled her shoulders. "Ready to tempt the gods?"

@Atrice @Sara @Sharpie @Liv

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Considering who was sponsoring this particular show, Aulus had been in two minds whether to attend or not. He was a Consul, with a position to uphold (and all that that entailed) after all. He had made very sure that the Venus was fully paid up and all its licenses were up-to-date before accepting the invitation. Just in case.

Anyway, the Venus was a very up-market kind of brothel - not that Aulus had ever darkened the doors on personal business; he had a wife whom he loved, and a good-looking body-slave for when he wanted something male, and if he wanted anything else, he had plenty of other slaves, too; he had no need to pay for sex, ever.

But this was going to be an interesting show - a gladiator against a female fighter, something that rarely happened, if ever, in the big new Flavian Amphitheatre - and he was accompanied by his son, his own friend Longinus, and Longinus' nephew, seated in the seats of honour closest to the sands of the arena. It would be for Aulus to declare the winner of the bout, if it were not obvious, although today's fight was not to the death - that was reserved for the most special of occasions, and it would be Caesar himself who dictated who lived and who died.

"So, who's going to bet on the girl?" he asked his companions, looking around.

 

@Sara @Atrice @Liv @Chevi

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Longinus was genuinely delighted to be here, and in Aulus' seats no less! He teased his friend mercilessly for his newfound position, but he did now begrudgingly admit that it had its benefits. He was delighted for Aulus - it was his dream, but at present he was more delighted for himself for having the sense to make friends with the man. Look at these seats! 

At the question Longinus sorted and shook his head, leaning back in utter relaxation, "They say she's a witch, but no witch is that attractive." Chuckling he sipped his wine. "And no witch is going to beat a man unless she has several Gods we've never heard of on her side." The men in the audience would surely intervene before that became a possibility in any case. The male ego was such a fragile thing. 

It was an odd group they'd found themselves in for this evening; Aulus, his teenaged son (who seemed a little...distracted by the workers of the Venus who were loitering near the seats obviously occupied by Senators), himself and his young friend Marcus. The latter he'd invited because he thought he'd be good company for the games, and he'd received no reply from Titus. Besides, he'd promised to help the young man make connections and what better connection than the current Consul, and the man who would - in a week or so - sit on the new Caesar's consilium. "What say you Marcus?"

 

TAG: @Atrice @Chevi @Sharpie @Liv

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It was going to be interesting, fighting a woman in the arena… and this time he would be properly paid, for he was no slave attached to a ludus – he was a free man, who had signed a contract and agreed to the terms concerning this particular fight. He’d never fought against a woman in the arena before. Only outside of it, but there he did have plenty of experience. He used to spar with Achillia, the gladiatrix he once loved. And now he did it with Thessala and a few times with Annis too, although he and Annis were more lovers than fighters. Thessala on the other hand, he enjoyed sparring with her. She was good company.

 But he had no idea he was going to see her tonight. He entered the arena as a gladiator in shiny armor, returned to former glory, or so he hoped. He knew that he’d been announced as the once so infamous Lexus… and well, he was still remembered by many, he knew that. It’s not like he never told about his gladiatorial past, after all.

 The woman he saw was dressed up and he immediately recognized her – because he had indeed often seen her fight in the arena too. His smile did not fade, she looked dramatic, glorious and scary all at the same time. Any other gladiator might fear her, and they should. She could be deadly, if she had to be. But tonight was all about entertainment and nothing else. Thessala was good at that, putting on a show. Alexius was too. There was a reason he was alive and free today – because back in the old days, he’d fought to win and to live, so that he could be free.

 She grinned widely at him, she’d not recognized him yet? Perhaps not, because when they sparred, they weren’t heavily armored like now. His dimples were not hidden by a helmet. Alexius lifted his gladius up into the air with a roar to the crowd watching and then approached her, a grin on his face too, yet hidden by the helmet that he wore.

 “Thessala…” Alexius then said, looking at her while they waited for their cue to start the fight, “You look stunning.”

@Chevi

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Marcus was so excited to go this particular game and night of entertainment. It’s not like he never saw any games before, he’d seen plenty, but this one he knew was special. And not just because it was a gladiatrix fighting a former, and apparently once famous gladiator… but because he was here with Longinus and none other than the new Consul, Aulus Calpurnius Praetextanus! It was quite the honor, even Marcus knew that. He’d tried hard to not be beaming all the way to the arena with Longinus. They weren’t even in Rome. This night was arranged by the Domus Venus, or so he heard. He expected there’d be different entertainment later.

 For now, he took a seat near Longinus and watched the two rivals enter the arena. He’d definitely seen the woman before, but the man wasn’t known to him. Apparently this man was a gladiator before Marcus was born. He had to be old! Older than Longinus, maybe? He glanced at his friend and mentor. That’s what he was. A kind of mentor. He wasn’t even sure how old Longinus was.

 The older men began talking then, about whom to put their bets on. It sounded like Longinus preferred the male fighter, but then Marcus was asked and he looked at them.

 “Definitely her. I mean, look at her… she looks like she’s from another world entirely.” Marcus said, “Not that it’s a bad thing. She is… attractive.” He added with a grin, hoping the men didn’t find his opinions too childish for their tastes. The other young man present seemed to agree with Marcus, although he wasn’t very occupied with the arena. What then? Oh, the ladies over there. Marcus gave them a smile. Not that he knew them in person, but… he might? You never knew, after all.

@Sara @Sharpie @Liv @Chevi

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Tertius could actually proudly say he’d never gone to the Domus Venus. He knew that some thought you should not be proud of never having been there… but why would he go? He had Hector at home. And he had Charis. Of course Charis he hadn’t slept with since he found out she was pregnant, but… he still had Hector. And other female slaves, should he desire that, but it didn’t happen too often. Hector worked hard to keep him satisfied. He was just always there. But his youngest son was growing older and Charis didn’t have to feed him constantly anymore. Things seemed more relaxed with her, at the moment. They seemed to get along – and he liked it, when things were like this with Charis. He couldn’t claim he did not miss her company.

 So he decided to give her a night off. The other female slaves were watching over Peregrinus, so Charis was out for the night with Tertius to see something he considered very Roman. A gladiatorial fight. And it might be for her, this one, because no one were going to die. The Domus Venus arranged it, sure, but Tertius was mostly here for the fighting. And to spend time with Charis. Reconnect, if you could put it that way. Perhaps in more ways than just the conversational way, but that all depended on how it went.

 He’d asked her to dress up in that fine dress he gave her once and Tertius dressed to match her somewhat; her dress was light blue, his tunica was dark blue. The light and the dark. The slave and her master. Together they entered the area of the arena and climbed the stairs to reach a proper seating for a Senator who was not a Consul. It was quite near where the highest ranked would sit though and he smiled when he saw Longinus there. Pleased to see he knew others here.

 But Tertius took a seat of his own and looked at Charis, “Come, you can sit too. It’ll be an interesting fight, I believe. I don’t know who’s fighting yet, but they say it’s going to be both a male and a female fighter. That’s not seen in ordinary games.” Tertius explained to her, as if this was just a normal and casual situation, “I hope you’ll enjoy this night.”

@Sara

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Charis couldn't say that she wasn't nervous. She didn't like the games, from the little she'd heard about them and glimpsed and she doubted she'd like a fight sponsored by a brothel any more. But she had been invited (not much of an invitation when the invitee couldn't refuse, mind) and it was an opportunity to get out of the house, for which she was grateful. Peregrinus was now ten months old and much as she loved him, it was...tiring. He slept less in the day now, which meant her work in the garden had been curtailed for the foreseeable and she spent most of her days minding him instead. She liked it, of course she did - he was her son - but sometimes she'd be lying to herself if she didn't say she wanted...a break. 

What Tertius intended for tonight, however, was beyond her (as with most things he chose to do). They were on far better terms now than they had been in...well, in over a year by her estimate - since before the poison and he'd realised she was with child, and whilst she was grateful as it made her life far easier, it was also slightly unnerving. As was being taken somewhere like here - somewhere public - dressed up as she was. She wore the blue chiton, steamed and cleaned and Jocasta had braided her hair and pinned it up on her head. It was a simple style, far removed from the outlandish curled up-dos of the Senator's wives, but nor was it a style she usually held. All the female slvaes, Charis included, were confused as to whether he was taking her as a guest or as a slave and so she tried her best to look like the former, as if she belonged, whilst keeping her mannerisms towards the latter.

Her eyes were down when he addressed her and she quickly moved to the seat next to him. "Thank you for bringing me, domine." She said with a small smile and cast her eyes over the arena. A man had entered since they began talking, decked out in a gleaming armour. She thought she caught the name 'Lexus' but couldn't be sure and instead waited for the arrival of the woman. "Are these special games then domine? They're not usually sponsored by...was it the Venus?" She tried to feign innocence but a wry smile sat on her lips as a beautiful woman, draped in barely anything, leant across Charis to pour Tertius a drink. 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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She was very pretty tonight. Very sweet looking, he thought – it looked like she’d actually made an effort to look her best tonight, which really did please him. He enjoyed the moments they shared almost daily, when she would present Peregrinus to him and he’d spend time with them both. Or he would find them on their own and be with his son and Charis too. He enjoyed those moments very much. His life could be so busy and people could annoy him to no end, but when he was with his son and with Charis, everything often seemed so calm and peaceful. If he had a bad day, they always made him feel better. Even more than what Hector did.

 So Charis deserved this, tonight. Some time away from their home. He hoped she appreciated that he chose to take her out like this. It was a huge gesture, considering they had not done this since he found out she was going to have his son. And that was more than a year ago. But here they were, at this arena well away from Rome, just the two of them, taking a seat together. Charis acted the perfect slave so far, she even cast her eyes down now and thanked him for bringing her.

 He tried to make some conversation, telling her about the match they were about to see and how special it was. She looked at the arena and then wondered more about the games. Tertius chuckled at her sweet words.

 “No, no they’re usually not.” He said, while a woman poured Tertius a drink. He gave her a quick glance, then waved her away. He was here with Charis.

 “It’s not a place I really frequent… not at all, actually. I’m satisfied enough at home.” He then explained with a small smile and picked up his drink, “But I’ve always enjoyed gladiatorial games. I heard it’s two famous names we’re going to see. A once famous gladiator, now returning to the sands for the first time in more than a decade… and a gladiatrix who is very popular at the moment.” Tertius said and looked at the arena again, with the two opponents now present, “Yes… see the female is Thessala. I’d know her anywhere!” He let out a little laugh, but then he remembered something and looked at Charis, “I think… didn’t you mention her once? When you’d been attacked in the street?”

@Sara

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Charis smiled to herself, musing that Hector would be overjoyed to hear that. She cast a quick glance back up to the woman as she offered a little pout and then sashayed away, her blonde hair swinging down to her hips. That could have been me, the thought bloomed into her head quicker than she could prevent it. She remembered the days in the pen at the market, when few had paid the young British girl any attention and they had been considering selling her to a brothel. She cast a glance across at Tertius. All things considered, she had done well for herself. 

She listened to her dominus and tried to picture the man underneath the armour, but his face was concealed and she gave up hope - instead concentrating as the woman strutted into the arena. It couldn't be! "Yes," Charis smiled broadly but there was an edge to the grin - a look of worry that made her nibble on her lower lip as soon as the smile fell. "Yes, she saved my life after the thieves..." Well, he knew the rest and she trailed off, eyes trained on the brunette woman who strutted about in front of her male opponent. She couldn't help the question that came next; "Is one of them going to die? It seems so unfair...he's so much bigger than her..." and oddly familiar, in the way that he moved. 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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Tertius did not visit the Domus Venus, but he wouldn’t say no when they offered him a drink. Gods knew he paid plenty to be present tonight, but he just had to see this fight. And it was a good opportunity – or so he thought – to spend a night with Charis, away from the domus and the family and all of the drama. Just the two of them, going out together. Sure she was his slave, but they got along so well since Peregrinus was born. Tertius was beginning to trust her again and he could only hope she’d not betray him again. But she wouldn’t. Her son was his too, after all.

 They looked at the two down in the arena and Tertius recognized Thessala right away – who would not recognize the Thessalian witch? A worthy opponent for the male gladiator, he thought. And then he recalled that Charis had met her once! He never did get around to thank Thessala for saving Charis and taking care of her, but he had not forgotten either. Charis smiled, confirming his thoughts and Tertius nodded, pleased with himself that he remembered. Then Charis had more questions about the fight.

 “The Domus Venus… is all about being quite alive, so no deaths tonight. I don’t know if you know this, but that gladiator, I’m quite sure he was once known as Lexus. He was quite famous! But he was freed. And he’s not been fighting as a gladiator since. Until tonight.” Tertius smiled, see this was what had him so thrilled! He’d been a younger man when Lexus was still a gladiator, but he had enjoyed the games back then too and he was quite certain he’d won a lot of bets because of this gladiator. Tertius was not familiar with his freedman name, but it wasn’t important either… he continued musing, “I don’t think the fight is unfair though. Lexus is skilled, yet he’s not as young as Thessala. And well, she is also skilled and female - and Lexus has a reputation for being quite the womanizer too.” Tertius gave Charis a look, assuming she might put two and two together on her own. That’s another reason why he liked her, after all. She was smart.

@Sara

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"Lexus." Charis repeated, a small frown on her face as she watched the two of them below and ran the name through her mind, repeating it silently to herself; Lexus, Lexus Lex-...oh Gods. She was only vaguely hearing Tertius as he spoke, although made sure to give an appropriate little laugh at his comment about this Lexus being a womaniser. "It will be quite the fight then, I-I can see why so many men are here." She laughed a little with a wary smile and kept her eyes trained on the male figure in the arena. It was him, almost definitely. 

Charis was many things, but she was not a skilled actress and she could tell just from her posture - try as she might to fix it - that she looked a little troubled to anybody that looked her way. She equally knew that Tertius, oblivious as he was in many respects, had a knack for sensing when she was lying or was keeping something from him, as their history had demonstrated. Eyes still downcast and towards the arena, she cleared her throat (Gods she wished she'd had wine like him!); "I think I know him as well. This Lexus, man. If he goes by Alexius now, then that is him. He also helped me, although not quite as dramatically as Thessala." There. Tertius could have half a story. 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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Tertius was excited about the match and he could not really hide it – didn’t really try either. He didn’t assume Charis knew a lot about gladiatorial fights and while she knew Thessala, surely she didn’t know about Lexus. Or whatever his new name was, he had heard the former gladiator was still in Rome, but it wasn’t something he thought about daily. Charis repeated Lexus’ name and he heard her laugh when he told about the gladiator being a womanizer. She spoke of what a fight it would be, but she sounded nervous. Tertius looked at her, her eyes were fixed on the arena.

 He did indeed sense something was off here, Charis was once again not telling him the whole story here. In fact, she hadn’t told him anything, but before he could ask… she did! Tell him, on her own! She knew Lexus, apparently! And she didn’t just know of him, she knew his current name because she’d met him. She’d met him? Lexus… Alexius now, the infamous former gladiator and womanizer? Tertius arched a brow, he should think it interesting, because she could introduce them, but on the other hand… Lexus helped her once and Tertius knew better than anyone, that Charis was quite beautiful. And that she could be sweet and charming Charis could be if you were kind to her.

 Tertius inhaled a small breath, not realizing until now he’d been holding it. He too looked at the arena a few moments, watching Alexius with his sculpted body move around. In the armor of the Murmillo, of course. That’s what he used to fight as.

 “You must tell me more.” Tertius then finally said, his voice possibly a bit firm. There was indeed something she had not told him here. And he wanted to know, now! He felt his head was spinning, he had taken Charis out for a nice night out, and now this?

@Sara

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Well that's not going to cut it, clearly. She nibbled at her lower lip and sighed. Where to start? And more importantly - where to end? His voice was firm, and she knew full well that she had better not tarry when he was in such a mood. Glancing up at him, just for a brief moment before dropping her eyes back down to the arena - where the fight was just about to start, she strove to keep her voice even. 

"I met him when I was having an argument." he valued honesty, so honesty he'd have, "With Helios. The blonde man, who came to you to...tell you about my..." fuck-up"time in the gardens with Cynane. I was angry at him and confronted him and he was aggressive and...Alexius stepped in, without him...I don't know what Helios would have done to me." This awkward, horrible conversation had to have some benefits, and branding Helios as a violent man was a definite benefit. "I have seen him a few times since, he..." Sorry Alexius"Tried to kiss me, and I slapped him." She chuckled and glanced up at Tertius with slightly imploring eyes, "I haven't seen him in months now, I promise domine."

Gods, just let the fight start so they had something to distract them. 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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There was a lot of murmur above the arena; it was to be expected, people were placing bets, evaluating the gladiators. Once the fight started, the murmurs would unify into cheers and cries and gasps. Thessala lived for that.

“Thessala… You look stunning.”

She turned her attention back to her opponent, and she finally recognized him the flickering light. She grinned again, this time in a more genuine way.

"Look who came out of retirement" she said, suddenly happy this was not a life-or-death fight. "Don't worry, I'll make sure you don't throw your back out in this."

The crowd sounded both excited and restless. It was time to start this. Thessala raised her swords and let out a shriek, sometimes she usually did to scare the daylights out of her opponents. If she looked friendly for a moment, she was now back to her usual insane-Greek-witch persona. She lunged for Alexius, slashing at him in great wide arcs, knowing the flash of the blades would look great in the firelight.

@Atrice 

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Posted (edited)

It was quite something to be back here, in the arena, after more than 15 years away from the sands. Yes, he’d somehow learned to count. He knew a little back when he was a gladiator, but being a freedman forced him to learn a lot more. The arena seemed the same though. Except he’d never fought in this particular one before, but the shape and the audience in the seats and the sand itself… and to think there was once he could barely wait with leaving it behind. Yet here he was, back on the sands, facing what he knew was a worthy opponent. None could be more worthy than Thessala, who appeared even more stunning from his point of view now, than the many times he’d seen her from the seats.

 She had not recognized him, so he made himself known to her. She grinned and then she made a joke. Alexius smiled, “I just came out of it for you, it seems.” He said, although she could not see the smile, since he was well hidden behind his helmet. The crowd went from a murmur to louder voices and yells and Thessala raised her swords and let out a shriek. If this wasn’t about putting on a good show, he would have laughed, happy to be here with her, even if he knew he’d be hurting later. Yet he could not let his fans down.

 Alexius had already roared and now she came at him, slashing with the swords and Alexius lunged back with his one leg, holding up the shield to push her back and away from him – and he would use his stance to jump up against her with his gladius, aiming for her arm and attempt ducking under her swords, dancing towards her other side. Of course she was smaller and more agile than he, but at least he had his strength and his experience. And this was just the beginning. Apart from sex and wine, his third favorite thing to do was fight. He knew it would be wilder. And he already loved it.

@Chevi

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"They are evenly matched, despite appearances," Aulus said to his son - and anyone else who was listening in. "She may be a woman, but Lexus is past his prime and has returned to the sands just for this match. They are both well-trained, but her lightness and lack of strength is countered by his slowness and age - not that he is old. He is merely older than is usual among active fighters."

Aulus' attention was on the two gladiators below them on the sand, rather than any of the barely-dressed women in the seats nearby. If anyone else of his guests preferred to watch the girls make utter fools of themselves by draping, practically nude, over the seats, that was their look-out - though he kept a surreptitious eye on his son. It would be time soon enough for Titus to become a man, it would be nice to have an idea where his tastes leaned, to be able to get the right sort of girl for him when it came down to it.

 

@Sara @Atrice @Liv @Chevi

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Longinus grinned at Marcus and waggled an eyebrow. His young friend was at the stage in his life where women were a fascination and a pleasure, but not a burden (besides financially, if one indulged the Venus). Longinus himself - and he suspected Aulus as well - had a more complex view of the fairer sex given they'd both been married and suffered through the trials of what that entailed...at least he thought so. His older friend was always somewhat guarded when discussing family. 

"It seems we're both wrong Marcus, our sage, wise Consul has put us in our places." he chuckled and sipped his wine, only jesting. He didn't quite realise how fortunate he was to be such good friends with one of their Consuls, nor that he was able to get away with mocking him. 

His attention was diverted from Aulus and Marcus for a moment as the fight began and the woman made a shrill scream, loud enough to make Longinus wince. Alexius batted back against her swords though and he found himself cheering the older man's movements. Maybe he backed him because he saw himself on the man? Written off as slightly past it? 

 

TAG: @Atrice @Sharpie

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To think attending gladiatorial games was such a complicated affair! To start things off, Titus' reply to Longinus' missive had been delivered to Lepidus Cassius Longinus instead and far later than it should have, thanks to a new and particularly dense slave that had been promptly taken back to the market following the mishap. Then, for some nebulous reason not even the gods must be privy to, his cunning big sister Sulpicia had chosen that very day to pay them a visit after weeks of forgetting Titus and his family even existed - probably to discuss summer arrangements and figure out how long she, Lucius and the boys would have the villa in Baiae to themselves for. By the time he had managed to extricate himself and Publius from said visit by claiming a prior and very important commitment (which wasn't a lie!), the sun was already dipping beyond the horizon and the event was well underway.

Nevertheless, they made it in one piece and wasted no time in finding their seats - one of the perks of being a friend of one of the Consuls was that they indeed were very good seats. Titus greeted his fellow patricians and sat down, mumbling an apology about their lateness and trying to gauge how far into the match the gladiators were. "Your cousin Lepidus sends his regards," he told Longinus as Publius too saluted the others and took his seat. "What did we miss?" As far as he could tell, not a lot - the gladiator had just tried to duck under his opponent's twin swords, and neither was yet covered in blood. It wasn't every day that one could witness a gladiatrix and a gladiator facing off against each other in the arena, but the Venus' usual brand of entertainment wasn't of your everyday variety either.

@Atrice @Chevi @Sara @Sharpie

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She was quite right, that was not going to cut it at all. Tertius tried to focus on the sands, but right now his mind was elsewhere and he could not help but notice, that it took a few moments for her to answer. So she had to weigh her words and figure out what to say? Then she looked at him briefly, before looking away and then explained about an argument. She spoke of Helios, whom he had almost forgotten, but now he remembered… it made sense she was angry at him, although she should not have spoken so ill of Tertius in the first place.

 Apparently Alexius stepped in and saved her from Helios and she’d seen him since. She mentioned Alexius even attempted kissing her, but she slapped him instead. Tertius arched a brow, kind of impressed by that statement. He hadn’t guessed she’d do a thing like that!

 “How good you are.” Tertius commented with a smile, “I’ve heard he’s charming, so I’m glad to hear you did resist said charms. And I’ll have to admit…” He added, looking at the two fighters in the arena again, smiling a bit, “He still has his good looks.” What a pity the man was no longer a slave and gladiator, because Tertius thought he might actually want to pay for something like that. And he never paid for sex. He had Hector… and Charis, should he want her again. He looked towards the nearest servant or whatever they were, the sparsely dressed women and young men prancing around. A young, darkhaired woman came over, “Please offer my… companion some wine too.” Tertius then asked her with a smile, and she did pour wine for Charis. Once tertius had waved the woman away again, he looked at Charis again, lifting his own cup, smiling, “A toast then… for you staying true to me.”  

@Sara

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Marcus listened to the Consul, as he weighed in on what he thought of the two gladiators down on the sands. He thought them evenly matched and didn’t seem to favor one over the other. He pointed out their strengths and weaknesses. Marcus nodded thoughtfully and Longinus grinned and pointed out how clever the Consul was.

 “I guess we shall see who’s right, once they’re done.” He said, hoping the Consul didn’t mind that Marcus had his own opinion. He’d been told anyway that it was a good thing, instead of just agreeing with everyone else, you should form your own ideas. So he did. The fight seemed to be about to start. The Witch let out a scream and Marcus found himself smiling widely. Then she went at the older gladiator, who did indeed fight her off, then attempting to duck under her swords. Oh this would be so interesting!

 Then they were suddenly joined by another Senator, who seemed to know all the rest. He was also accompanied by a younger boy. Where were everyone around Marcus’ age? He supposed he’d stick with the older guys then. He wasn’t a boy.

 “You didn’t miss a lot, they’re just starting. I don’t think we have met before? I’m Marcus Junius Silanus.” He said, hoping it was right that he introduced himself, but now it was done. He glanced to his older friend, hoping he’d think it was alright. If only his brother was around, then he could have been teaching Marcus such things. But he had to figure it out on his own.

@Sharpie @Sara @Liv

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"I don't think you've missed too much," Aulus told the newcomer, turning his head to see that it was Titus Sulpicius Rufus who had joined them.

"It makes it more challenging to work out who to bet on, when two fighters are so closely matched despite the apparent advantages each one has," Aulus said to Junius Silanus. The younger man was Longinus' guest, and Aulus did not want to snub him or make him feel unwelcome - he was not unwelcome, after all. Anyway, none of the others were even close to his age and both Aulus' son and Sulpicius Rufus' were younger than him.

It was shaping up to be a very interesting fight, more interesting than Aulus had initially feared it would be, the Murmillo against the woman who had two swords instead of a sword and a shield. She seemed quite a formidable opponent, but Lexus was a skilled and experienced fighter and had not won his rudis by allowing himself to be drawn beyond his capabilities.

 

@Sara @Liv @Chevi @Atrice

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"Lepidus sends me nothing but complaints," He rejoined at his friend and slapped Titus heartily on the back with a wide open palm and a grin. He inclined his head at young Publius and then glanced as Marcus made his own introduction. Should he have done that? Whoops. "Marcus - this is Titus Sulpicius Rufus, and his son Publius." He then gestured at Titus and Aulus in turn, "The three of us met in Britannia far too long ago.And he loathed good old Suplicius Rufus at first, and had been largely indifferent to the current Consul. Look at them now! 

"Do you think so?" He queried at Aulus with a slightly vexed expression, "I may have been cajoled into putting some coin on Lexus. But!" He held his hands up, "I stand by it. I'll buy you all a drink with my winnings if I'm right." And if he lost then...well, he had enough to spare on a bad bet. It wasn't like the time in 72. He'd returned from Britannia, had a blazing row with Antonia, got absolutely leathered on cheap wine and bet on a game...he couldn't even remember which one and almost lost his villa. He'd had to buy it back at a very inflated price the next day. 

 

TAG: @Liv @Atrice @Sharpie

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How he did not press for more details, Charis didn't know. Maybe it was the morsel of truth that had satiated him? Whatever it was, she thanked the Gods he took the bait and nothing else and she offered him a gentle smile as he complimented Alexius, but said nothing. She was not going to push her luck by agreeing - if he had any suspicions left she was not going to confirm them for him. 

Companion? She blinked, intrigued. She was here as a...companion? Not a slave? That he had wanted her dressed up, suggested something of the sort, but one could never, ever tell with Tertius. One moment he'd be almost...tender, and the next? Well...she wasn't sure she'd ever forget the feeling of being locked in her room for those months, nor the feeling the first time  he had taken her to bed. She was grateful he offered her wine and as it was passed to her, and before he suggested a toast, she sipped at it - her mouth suddenly dry as a desert. 

She withdrew the cup and touched it lightly on his. She ventured to look up, just for a moment and caught his eyes. "Always, domine." She dropped her eyes again and was glad of the distraction as the two champions circled each other. Wincing as Thessala launched a volley at Alexius she nibbled her lip. She honestly couldn't say who she'd rather win, but at this point she just wanted it to stop. How was this entertainment to most people?! 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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Tertius was just pleased that Charis had not fallen for a womanizer’s charms and that she even slapped him. It must mean something, he thought… that she’d done such a thing to not sleep around, to stay true to Tertius. So he asked the nearest sparsely dressed woman to pour a drink for Charis, indeed referring to her as his companion. Because that’s what she was, tonight. She had been so good and she took such good care of his son, how could he not want to reward her with a night like this?

 He suggested a toast then and their cups touched, as she promised she’d always be true to him. Soon after she dropped her eyes, well, she was a well-trained slave too, now, he thought. His gaze also returned to the sands for a few moments, as he enjoyed his drink. Two fine people down there on the sands. And one right next to him. Her words tonight touched him and he wondered how much it meant. He couldn’t help but wonder. She was the mother of his son, after all. And things were so peaceful when they were together, with Peregrinus.

 “Charis…” Tertius then began, looking at her once more, “Forgive me, if I misread this… but I feel we have gotten along well lately. And you standing up to him…” He nodded towards Lexus in the arena, but kept his eyes on Charis, “That means something? Whatever it is we have, I think…” He trailed off, couldn’t find the right words. Gods he felt like a fool now… “I just hope that after everything that happened last spring, that we are fine again. You and I.”

@Sara

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