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This is a First


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May, 76AD

Domus of Gaius Ovinius Camillus

Her father had been tense all day, and now the hour was approaching he was perhaps even less charitable, if that were possible. She sat opposite from him in the garden, her sister-in-law Viria sat a few feet away watching the scene with evident unease. "I mean honestly, a freedman? For my only daughter?" The scoff he made after his rant had finished made her jump. "If you don't want him as a match, why set this up at all? Why not just decline?" she queried with obvious unease but a light voice, trying not to test his patience anymore than the situation already had. "Because Tertius is a friend, and a colleague, and I wouldn't dishonour him so by refusing outright to even meet the boy." Ovinia rolled her eyes, "So we will have this meeting, you will be warm and approachable but do not encourage him," he gave her a firm stare, his words hard, "and then when it's all said and done we shall say that we don't think it is a good match on personality grounds and be done with it." Her father huffed and took a deep sip of his wine, "And you can remain friends with Praetor Varus?" He nodded and continued to drink. 

Well, this was a first. She'd been through a handful of these conversations, testing out potential matches and they had always ended in mutual disappointment when an agreement couldn't be reached or one side declined the idea. She'd never gone into one of these conversations knowing that there was absolutely no chance of a marriage at the other end of it and, had she been a more hospitable person, she would have felt a little sorry for this Teutus Quinctilius Varus.

She didn't know him at all, hadn't even heard of him until last week - not by name at least. She'd heard the gossip that the good Praetor had a litter of children via different slaves, although she'd been informed subsequently that it was just the two; a newborn son and this Teutus. What he was like, she didn't know, but having been informed he'd lived a good twenty something years of his life serving at the leisure of his own father, Ovinia wasn't hopeful. Not that she had any need or want to hope - the match wouldn't happen, even on the off chance she did enjoy his company, her father would see to that. But they had to put on a show of it, as if her Papa was seriously considering Teutus as a prospect and she looked every inch the young woman ready to receive a visit from a match. Wearing a white tunica and draped in a palla hemmed with deep blue and gold, she sat arrow straight on the marble bench in the garden. She'd perfumed her skin and the smell of the lemon mingled with the fragrance of the flowers around them. Her hair was neatly combed and whilst half was braided up behind her ears, the other half was left loose around her shoulders. The gold on her throat and wrists glinted in the sunlight. 

As a slave appeared and nodded to her father, Ovinia stood but made no move to attend the atrium. Her father gave her a lingering look of warning and then moved to greet his guest - guests? - she realised she didn't even know if the other Praetor, Praetor Varus was attending as well. Smoothing out the fabric of her tunica she shot Viria a 'help me' look, which the other woman returned with a grin. Here goes nothing then.

Her father loomed back into view, accompanied by a tall young man. Dark hair, light eyes - unusual in this neck of the woods. Ovinia inclined her head politely. "My daughter, Ovinia. Ovinia, this is Teutus Quinctilius Varus, the man I told you of."  and the man he had been ranting about all day. "A pleasure." She offered a breezy smile as her father spoke a little more; "Viria will keep watch over you - and nothing gets past my daughter-in-law," He shot Teutus a warning look this time. Which was laughable, really, as most things got past Viria - especially when she was distracted. "Enjoy your conversation." He said tightly and then strode off, leaving Ovinia and Teutus standing awkwardly in the garden. 

 

TAG: @Sharpie @Atrice (if Tertius wants to attend!)

 

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Teutus was wearing his best tunic in honour of the occasion; despite how he felt about things, there really was no need to show his father up. In actual fact, he wasn't quite sure how he did feel about things, never mind how he was supposed to feel at meeting someone who might potentially be his wife if everything went the way it was supposed to.

It would be nice if Tertius could leave him alone for five minutes to run his own life, but why change the habit of a lifetime? And of course Tertius still had the power of a paterfamilias over him (not that Uncle Secundus agreed about that, but Teutus was staying as far out of that quarrel as he possibly could!)

And now he was left looking like a stranded fish as his host made one of the briefest introductions Teutus had ever been the subject of and disappeared into the house with a less-than-welcoming "Enjoy your conversation."

"Salve," Teutus managed eventually, not knowing quite how to start this conversation, but feeling that if anyone was going to start talking, it might as well be him.

 

@Sara @Atrice

Edited by Sharpie
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Tertius had high hopes for this meeting! Perhaps too high, he was aware of that, but honestly… Teutus was a grown man and a freedman now. He ought to find a wife and produce the next generation of the family. Tertius would prefer that Teutus got around to do it sooner than he did and why not? So when he’d discussed matters of children and marriages with one of the other praetors, they finally decided that Camillus’ daughter would meet Teutus. Of course he knew that Camillus might not want his daughter to marry Teutus, a freedman who’d lived most of his life as a slave. Tertius didn’t see the issue though, Teutus was still the son of a Senator.

 At least Teutus had not argued against the meeting either. Surely it would only be good for him to befriend a stunning young woman and one of good standing too. Tertius did hope she was stunning, he’d never met her in person, but if she could charm Teutus, it would be good. He didn’t know yet if Teutus would charm her. He always seemed so strangely distant and it was hard to tell what he felt or thought… about anything really. A trait Tertius was unaware he too had.

 Together, father and son had arrived, not talking much on the way. A slave greeted them and allowed them inside. Tertius allowed Camillus’ to introduce the two young people. She was stunning, thank the gods! Surely Teutus could see that it would be a good match too? Hopefully he wouldn’t ruin this chance he’d been given.

 Camillus didn’t seem to plan on staying around for long, but Tertius lingered for a moment, “Ovinia, a pleasure to meet you.” He said with a smile to the young woman and then looked at them both, “I’m sure you two will get along. Sadly, I can’t stay for long, as I have other business to attend to. I look forwards to seeing you later, son.” He said to Teutus, making sure they heard him address Teutus as his son. There could be no doubts here that Tertius hoped for the best! Then he gave them both a nod, before he too disappeared to share a few words with Camillus, before leaving the residence entirely.

@Sara @Sharpie

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Ovinia inclined her head at Tertius with a sly smile. "A pleasure indeed." It was always worth flattering the father, although compared to her own Tertius seemed positively youthful. It would explain Teutus she supposed - he must have been the product of a teenaged dalliance. She noted the emphasis on son and felt another pang of guilt that this was not to end the way either of them wanted it too, and yet they were oblivious. Sad. Still, she wasn't going to dwell and as the Senator made his excuses she commented; "I'm sure we will see one another again soon." And then they were left alone. Or...almost alone, as Viria resumed her reading on a bench a fair few feet away. 

She grinned at the young man and parroted back; "Salve." He seemed nervous, or awkward. She couldn't help herself; "I'm not going to eat you alive, you know." Chuckling she gestured to the wide half-circular bench - big enough for them both to be seated on it without encroaching on the others space, or propriety. "Shall we sit and have some wine? I think it's one of fathers better vintages," It wasn't, but it was certainly going to be better than the lora he drank for most of his life. A slave scuttled out from the shadows and poured to cups - leaving them on a small table in front of the bench. Ovinia reached for hers. "I suppose...we should get to know one another a little." These sorts of meetings usually had a predetermined script; name, age, hobbies, career ambitions, family, although with Teutus she supposed there might be a few more interesting answers than the usual sort she received from her prospects. If nothing else, his life had been...fascinating for somebody like her..."Where shall we start?" she shot him a slightly conspiratorial look. 

 

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"I think your father doesn't like me," Teutus said, echoing his hostess' gesture and reaching for his own cup, though he didn't drink from it just yet. "Where do these conversations usually start?" He gave a small shrug.

Ovinia's father could not be more aware of Teutus' drawbacks than Teutus himself was - and why Tertius had thought Teutus would make a suitable husband for a senator's daughter was a question Teutus couldn't begin to answer. Probably yet another way Tertius was deluding himself, if the truth were known. He seemed to think that Teutus could be or do anything he chose to do, yet Teutus was amply aware that he could not - he wasn't even officially Tertius' son, when all was said and done, not according to the law and holding the rights of a freeborn son.

Because he wasn't a freeborn man, something Teutus was sure Tertius worked hard to forget because it was simply an inconvenience to remember and to face the truth of the matter.

Ovinia was out of his reach, but that didn't mean that he couldn't have an enjoyable conversation with her. If only he had any real knowledge of what nice, freeborn, high-status unmarried girls of her age liked to do!

Would it hurt to admit his ignorance? Perhaps not.

"I'm sorry. My only real knowledge of what you might be able, or willing, to talk about is what my younger sister likes to do, and she is only twelve," he said, cupping his hands around the cool bronze of the goblet he was holding.

 

@Sara

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Posted (edited)

Nomy father doesn't like you - but she was hardly going to say as such and instead mirrored his own apathetic shrug with one of her own. "Am I your first prospect, Teutus?" Her lips quirked into a sly, teasing smile, although she felt a kernel of pity bloom in her stomach. The poor man seemed entirely out of his depth, and equally uncomfortable. Which was a shame, she thought. He was a handsome one - or would be, if the slightly sad look on his face was replaced with a smile. 

She let out a small laugh at his admission of his sister and shrugged her shoulders - at least he was honest. "Well, I imagine I am a little different to a twelve year old girl - given I'm nineteen." She grinned at him, but hoped he took her words with the gentle amusement they were intended with, not in mocking. "And usually whomever I'm meeting doesn't bother to admit his cluelessness and starts immediately with; 'how old are you?' or 'have you heard about this battle I fought in' blah blah blah." She sipped her wine and gave him a sidelong glance, trying to put him at ease by disparaging her previous suitors. It was true, at least in part, that most of the men she had come to know via these conversations couldn't wait to tell her about their glorious victories or passion for state work. It was slightly mind numbing. 

"So, why don't we start with some basics..." Setting her wine down and folding her hands in her lap, she considered him for a moment and then asked - with an innocent smile on her lips; "What are you looking for in a wife, Teutus Quinctilius Varus?" She doubted anybody had asked him that before, and wanted to see if a forthright question might shake him out of the apathy he seemed to live in. 

 

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"Am I your first prospect, Teutus?"

"Yes," he admitted, and took a mouthful of wine - it was not as good as his father's best vintage, but wasn't by any means the worst that he'd tasted. You're probably not the last girl I will be introduced to with a view of a potential marriage, but eventually my father will have to admit that none of his fellow Senators will marry their daughters to a common freedman, he added in the privacy of his own thoughts.

"I am sure your interests are far more grown-up than those of a twelve-year-old," he said instead. "And you have just told me your age, so I don't need to ask that, and as I have never fought in a single battle in my entire life, nor am I ever likely to, I don't have anything to boast about there."

Her question was a startling one, and he couldn't help laughing. If she had been trying to lighten his mood, she had succeeded admirably.

"You are the first person to ask me that, Ovinia Camilla," he told her. If things were a little different, perhaps they might make a good match, but things were what they were.

"I'm not sure. I can't have a political career, so I don't need a wife who would be happy to marry a politician. Someone who would be capable of running a home, of course. Someone with ideas, who I could talk to." He shrugged. That was unlikely to happen, of course.

He suddenly realised that what he really wanted, more than anything, would be someone he could consider a friend, which was even more unlikely, given the status women had in Rome - or, rather, their lack of status.

"What about you - what sort of man would you like to marry?" he asked, in an attempt to deflect her attention from him. Women liked talking about themselves, of course - if he'd learned anything from Antonia Varia and Charis, it was that.

 

@Sara

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She succeeded! Good! She grinned as he laughed and offered a smile. This was the man she wanted to meet - not the awkward, anxious one that had entered the garden. But then as he spoke, she felt the sadness creep back in. What he wanted was...really not very much. Not compared to the virtues a lot of potential-partners listed. She strove not t o let it show on her face though and instead kept the placid smile on her lips. "That's very wholesome." She chuckled and sipped her wine, "And good fortune for you that I have no desire to hang on the arm of a politician, and I do like talking and have plenty of ideas." She felt cruel - keeping up a pretence like this, but she had her orders from her father and wasn't going to cross them. 

Blinking at his question, she shifted in her seat, smoothing the fine fabric of her tunica over her legs. "Somebody kind," Obviously - that should have been a given but unfortunately wasn't, "And somebody with passion." Her lips twitched and she sipped her wine before setting it down on the table in front of her again, "Passion for their work or their aims, that is. And..." She narrowed her eyes, trying to genuinely think. She had a choice in her partner - of course - but her views were generally superseded by those of her fathers. She was expected to agree to his match, and so had never really put much thought into who her partner would be. She imagined it would be some bland, middle aged Senator who once served in the legions and never let you forge it. 

"...and somebody who knows what they want, I think." Ovinia was forever a follower, not a leader, and needed a firm hand to guide her. "How does that chime with you, Teutus?" 

 

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"I think that sounds admirable," Teutus said, and set his cup down, taking a breath. "I hope... I do hope you find him, because I think we both know that this isn't going to be allowed to happen, not you and me. My father... I think my father is deluding himself that I can be like any son of any of his friends, and do exactly what they can, can marry anyone they could, and it isn't going to happen. I'm sorry you got dragged into this, you deserve far better."

He would have to have another conversation with Tertius, to try to make him understand that no matter what he felt about it (and Teutus never quite knew what his father felt, or thought, about things) that he would do far better to let Teutus find a wife for himself among the plebeians he now lived among, or perhaps a freedwoman somewhere - and there were women in situations similar to Teutus' own, who had been long-serving slaves to a mistress and had been rewarded with their freedom for that long service.

@Sara

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Ovinia blinked, taken aback as he started talking. She kept her fingers on the base of her goblet which she had set down earlier, and was grateful that she had the foresight - she might well have dropped it in surprise had she not already set it down. That he would talk so candidly to a perfect stranger, deriding his father like that...Ovinia couldn't quite believe it - everybody had critiques of their parents, she was no different, but she certainly didn't go airing it in public. Viria must have heard it to for she glanced up and gave the young man a quizzical look before resuming her reading. 

Struggling for how to respond, she paused for a moment and then composed herself - offering him a slightly unamused glance; "This might have happened, Teutus, had you been less frank." She removed her fingers from her wine, and adjusted her palla around herself. "I will give you a piece of advice - and you can do with it what you will - I don't know you, I do not know your life or what you've been through but I do know our society and the expectations put on the children of senators and patrician's," She held up a finger as if to silence him should he begin speaking, "And the thing that we are not supposed to do, is criticise our betters, ergo, our parents." She gave him a meaningful look as if to say 'I get it - fathers are dicks'. 

With a soft sigh, she shrugged her shoulders; "I am not opposed to this match," she was, she really was - but now moreso because she didn't think she could stand being married to a man as...downbeat as this one, but she had to put on a pretence for Viria - and her father; "So make of that what you will. But I should like to know why, in the company of a charming young woman," She gave a small, self-deprecating grin, "You choose to fixate on your father, rather than me." 

 

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"I have said nothing that is news to either of us," Teutus said, getting up and moving away from her. "We know my status, and yours. Therefore, we both know a marriage between us is unlikely to take place, no matter what we might think, or desire to the contrary." He had heard the tone of voice in which Gaius Ovinius Camillus had addressed him, and knew that he had been admitted to the house under sufferance.

"You are a charming young woman, very beautiful and no doubt vivacious, the life and soul of any party you attend. You will marry well and all Rome shall hear your name and that of your husband - no doubt he will have a great many victories on the battlefield and shall make a glorious name for himself in the political sphere. I am in trade, which is not something a man of your father's lineage would countenance his daughter marrying into. My father is a senator, a praetor, and has hopes and dreams for me that are unlikely to be fulfilled as I am not of the same status, and am unworthy to court you."

He had tried to let her down gently, but it seemed she was having none of it. Well, he had tried, at least.

 

@Sara

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She was not expecting...this. She had been dreading it, but she had been expecting a dreary conversation with a dreary young man - too intimidated to really do anything, and then she'd talk with her father and her father would let his father down easy and they could all get on with their little lives. She had not been expecting him to jump as if she was a plague carrier and stand apart, speaking at length about how sad and miserable his life was, and his father. Not what she expected at all. 

She saw Viria out of the corner of her eye stand and then heard her ask; "Shall I get your father?" but Ovinia shook her head and offered her sister-in-law a warning look, which she then gave to Teutus; "Sit down." She said to Teutus in a voice she usually reserved for the slaves and her errant nephew. 

"Fine." She said with a breath, keeping the composure she had learned and that had been ingrained in her since her girlhood - she had to be a proper Roman matron, utterly unflappable, "You are unworthy to court me. But that doesn't mean we cannot be friends, does it?" She arched a well shaped brow and gave him a look that said 'chill out'. "Besides, my father will reappear in a short while and ask how this conversation went. If it went well then fantastic - he will discuss it with your father, and they might strike a deal, they might not - as you say, it's unlikely. But if he comes out and hears we've been quarrelling, or if my," She leant in a touch closer and lowered her voice, "Dim sister-in-law decides to tell him you've been particularly...choice about your father, and that gets back to Praetor Varus - I suspect you'll not be in for an easy ride." She leant back against the bench and retook up her cup, "So match or not, sit and enjoy my fathers hospitality?" 

 

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He was not fool enough to sit back down where he'd been sitting, and do anything would even hint at damaging her reputation.

"Of course we can be friends," he said, choosing a seat across from her, and gave her an even look. "How would you like the rest of this conversation to go - we have hardly been quarrelling, have we?" He lifted his own eyebrow in return, she was not going to intimidate him, no matter what she might try. He gave her a level look; whatever report reached Tertius, Teutus was not in for an easy ride. He hadn't ever had that, why should things change now?

"I am sorry," he said, in case she did think they'd been quarrelling. He was sorry anyway, she deserved much better than this sorry excuse for a conversation. "So, what do you like to do with your time, apart from putting self-absorbed fools in their place?"

 

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"We've not been quarrelling," She confirmed with a wry smile, "Good senatorial girls don't quarrel, after all." She thought she heard Viria snort in amusement but chose to ignore it. Ovinia was generally an even tempered person, and very much a 'follow orders' type of sibling and daughter. She did have her argumentative moments though - generally reserved for her eldest brother and whatever slave was in closest vicinity. 

She waved a hand, relieved they seemed to be past that wrinkle of tension. It might just have been the most exciting thing to have happened to her all month - which really said a lot about her sad little life, but nonetheless she was grateful to be on more even footing now; back to familiar ground. Laughing lightly she shrugged; "Oh it's a full time job for me, Teutus." She grinned - trying to make him feel more at ease. He was an odd man - difficult to read and changeable, but she was stuck conversing with him until her father deemed her to do otherwise, really, and so settled in for the long haul. She was willing to give him another chance. 

"But besides that I like the arts, singing particularly. And the games of course." She picked up a few grapes and twisted them in her slender fingers, "And now we are being honest with one another - what about you? What do you fill your days with Teutus?" 

 

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"No, you are a consummate peacemaker, Ovinia - that is a good skill to have," Teutus said, and reached for his wine-cup. "You sing? I am almost ashamed to admit I have no musical talents whatsoever, but I do enjoy listening to others play, or sing, as the case may be."

The mood had lightened, now that they were clear where they each stood - as clear as they could be, anyway. "The games are not bad, though I think prefer the races, personally - there is something to be said for the speed as well as the skill of the drivers." He sipped his wine. "I said I am in trade. I import olive oil and other goods - the very best olive oil comes from Hispania Baetica, and we can't produce as much oil as we consume here in Italia. I hope to venture out into other things, but it's a very small concern right now." He shrugged.

 

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She inclined her head with a soft smile; "I do. Not as well as some, I'm sure, but it's a hobby and keeps me entertained. My brothers...maybe not so much." The amount of complaints she received from Minor in particular suggested she was as untalented as any old gutter shrew. 

"Mhmm," She said and curled herself into the curve of the bench, regarding him. "I've just never had particularly good seats at the races, maybe that's why I'm missing out?" And the few times she had been, she'd been drenched by various cups of what she hoped was wine from the cheap seats above. It had put her right off. And now they were on to him - good. She was genuinely intrigued. Besides her fathers clients, Decimus included, she didn't have much to do with tradespeople. Things just...happened. She wanted shelves for her room - they were constructed, she wanted a new bed, it was there. She fancied peaches - the very best were imported and placed in a dish in her room the next week. She never had to worry about the 'how' before. Meeting somebody that dabbled in it intrigued her and caught her imagination. 

"Is it a big business?" she asked with no pretence, genuinely interested as she nibbled on a few grapes. "And will you get to go to Hispania? I've only ever left Italia once, to go to Antioch during the...troubles, but I was so young all I remember is the heat." She shrugged thin shoulders and smiled at him, "Is your ambition to travel, perhaps? Away from...interferences and meddling here in Rome?" She looked at him with wry amusement. 

 

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"No, it's not that big, not yet, I've only just started it in the last few months." The questions she was asking now seemed far more genuine, born of actual curiosity, than the questions and conversation they had just been having. "Yes, I think so - and other places. I need to source producers and maybe buyers and various other links in the chain. It would be one reason to see more of the Empire, at least - I've never left Italia before, ever."

Though speaking of travelling around the Empire was hardly fair when Ovinia might never leave. That sort of thing very much depended on her future husband and his career and whether he wanted to take his wife with him to wherever he was posted.

 

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"That big yet?" She countered with a sly smirk and a grin, "Have some ambition Teutus...you never know, one day your humble olive oil trade might be the premier trade in Rome and you'll be richer than Crassus." She gave him a faux-knowing look and nodded to herself. Then maybe her papa would be sorry. Then again, maybe not. She suspected he'd rather her marry a pauper with an excellent lineage and name than a rich equite or lower. Frustrating as it was. 

"You shall have to write to me Teutus," She said as she set down the stalk from the grapes and picked her wine back up, curling her legs underneath herself as she reclined on the bench. "Tell me tales of your adventures, make me jealous as I sit at home and spin my wool?" A little flirtation never hurt anybody, did it? And he had warmed up a little now, so what was the harm? "Where do you want to go?" 

 

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"I said not yet - I never said it wouldn't be, ever," Teutus returned with a grin. "Small steps - growing the business is the precise reason I plan on going to visit Hispania Baetica, and other places. There's plenty of money to be made, after all, it'll just take a bit of effort and a bit of time, and soon every other amphora of oil bought in the Forum will have been brought in by me. And while that part of the business is growing, I'll go east, perhaps to Asia or Iudea, where they get the very best purple dyes from for the Imperial family, and the stripes in the Senators' togas."

That would be a very good trade to break into, as well - there was a great deal of money to be made there, because of just how expensive it was to produce. He could imagine her father (and his own, come to think of it) owing the purple stripes of their togas to a freedman they had both discounted. That would be something.

"Where would you go, given the chance to, though?" he asked, settling back with his wine. She was a very pretty girl, and she would make a good wife for some lucky man.

 

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She grinned as he explained his plan and nodded, genuinely a bit enthralled. She was easily led and had a wild imagination that extended beyond the norm, she often thought. It meant she could picture him, standing on some distant docks in Ostia or Hispania, wind whipping his hair and the fine tunic he wore as he dictated where his slaves were to  unload his precious cargo. His coin purse sat heavy in his hand. He was happy and content. The thoughts made her smile. 

"I..." She blinked and thought about it, moving her palm up to rest on her jaw as she turned the question over in her mind. Nobody had ever asked her that before. "Nowhere as exotic or glamorous as Asia, certainly. I'm not sure I know precisely where that even is." She grinned and tossed her hair back as she withdrew her face from her palm and sat up straighter. "Your plan sounds excellent Teutus, and I shall look forward to the day you give me a hefty discount for my patronage?" She quirked an eyebrow and then went back for the question, "I would like to go to Hispania, my mother tells some of my relatives were from there - hence my colouring," more exotic than traditional Italians she always thought with a small amount of glee, "Or maybe even Britannia? I want to see the weather all the slaves grumble about." 

 

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"Britannia is about the furthest anyone can go and still be in the Empire," Teutus said. The sheer distance made even Britannia seem appealing to him, right now. "It's good for slaves - though the sort who work in the fields rather than the well-trained slaves you have to serve dinner. And wool, for togas and winter tunics, and silver for coins, and other metals like tin and copper." He couldn't see himself becoming a slave trader; he'd leave that to other people. But everything else he'd mentioned would be good to add to his import business - and it would mean that he'd have cargoes in all different ships and all different parts of the empire, so if anything happened to one, it wouldn't be the total ruin of everything. Right now, though, he only had the lease of one ship and needed to expand to more as quickly as he could, to prevent that possibility.

"I think it would be worth seeing, even just once - Britannia, I mean. And of course you can have a discount, I will make sure of it personally." There was good reason for the offer, too - gain customers, keep them loyal and other people will want to buy, too. Especially when your customers were Senators' daughters and hopefully their fathers, brothers and husbands.

 

@Sara

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She listened with genuine interest and replaced her jaw back on her palm with a sly smile. "The land of plenty then?" She arched a brow. All the men she'd met had either served in Britannia or wished they did and liked to remind her about it in most conversations. 

She inclined her head with a sly glance and a chuckle; "Why thank you, kind sir. I'm going to hold you to that," She said with playfulness in her voice, "Ovinia Camilla never forgets." She did, often  but...she wanted to sound mysterious. Sitting up straighter again and tossing her hair over her shoulder, she frowned and glanced between him and the vacant space where his father had stood before his departure. "Forgive the question, and you can absolutely decline to answer," She sincerely meant that, "Do you still live with your father?" She'd never been matched to one that hadn't...imagine not living with your parents! What luxury! 

 

TAG: @Sharpie

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"And opportunity," Teutus said lightly. Really, the only real reason he'd decided on Hispania as a place to move to was because he had heard that it was a very similar climate to Italia; Britannia was said to be cold and wet all the time, and he rather liked the warm sunshine of Italia. Sunshine had to be vastly preferable to cold grey wetness full of barbarians, anyway.

"No, I moved out of my father's home recently - it was just easier if I had my own home," he said. There were other reasons for the move, but running a business such as his from his father's house would be to invite perhaps too much scrutiny. Anyway, he'd lived there all his life and needed his own space, especially after recent events, not that anyone needed to know about his reaction to those. "It's unusual, but then... a lot of things about my life are unusual, I suppose," he added.

 

@Sara

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She studied him with genuine interest. She'd never really met somebody like him before, who had the freedoms outside of family obligations that were so rare in her own class. She nibbled at her lower lip as she considered her next thought, although she was momentarily distracted by his quip and she offered an easy grin. 

"Unusual is good," she sipped her wine, "Or interesting at least. It must be nice not to have the weight of expectation on your shoulders?" she asked, with only a thinly veiled inference to how she herself felt. "You are a king of your own domain Teutus," She chuckled again and reached for a few honeyed almonds, "Where abouts do you live?" She pictured a sprawling domus with bountiful, beautiful slaves and nobody to order him around or tell him how to spend his time. Such luxury! 

 

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He had never really considered things that way, but she was right. He suddenly felt regret that they had started off on the wrong foot, that he probably was right that her father would refuse to countenance a wedding between them (even on such slim acquaintance!).

"You have a more optimistic outlook than I do," he confessed. "I hadn't thought of that but... you're right. And thank you for pointing it out. I'm sorry it's not like that for you."

And he was, truly sorry. Seeing Ovinia Camilla and the narrowness of her life even compared to his own made him think of Antonia Varia and what it would be like for her as she grew up, with the same weight of her father's expectations to marry well.

"I don't have a domus, not yet - maybe when I'm a rich merchant grown fat on the proceeds of the business. But right now, I have rooms in an insula on the Esquiline while I make my mark on the world. Maybe it isn't very much, but it is mine."

 

@Sara

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