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Aeterna Roma RPG

Here we go again...


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Sometime in July 76 CE, in the afternoon

Mere minutes ago, Mania was fuming. She was as if she had suddenly been posessed by the Goddess Ira herself, as her parents had once again found someone they wanted to force her into marrying, and she was to meet him today. She hated it. She hated the fact she couldn't choose a husband for herself; if she could, she might actually look for a candidate whom she wouldn't want to chase away. The way things were at the moment, though, Mania was more than set to do to this man what she had done to those before him - simply have him meet her older brother at some point. The way he spoke of her usually made any man run for the hills. That, at least, was the one thing Primus was useful for.

However, as Mania entered the upper-class building of the poppina on Via Lata, her demeanor might make the other patrons think her heart was a ray of sunshine. While she wouldn't exactly bet on the success of the match, Mania was not about to bring shame onto her family by being outwardly against it, at least not in the presence of her possible husband-to-be. At least the poppina served wine, in case he was much too unbearable. However, after the dinner party she had attended only a few days prior, where she met and embarrassed herself before Senator Longinus (one of the few men she actually would agree to marrying), she would at the very least be much more mindful of her wine consumption.

As she made her way into one of the private rooms of the poppina, she took a deep breath. She was told he was, indeed, part of the Senatorial class and even had some connections to the Imperial household; his score was already much higher than the dimwits her parents usually tried to set her up with. Perhaps he was actually smart, ambitious and successful, and wouldn't treat the possibility of marrying a goldsmith's daughter like a get-rich-quick-scheme. Most of the time, it seemed as if Mania herself was her own dowry. Mania, however, was a realist, not an optimist, so all remained to be seen. Given how promising the description given to her by her mother seemed, she was open to being pleasantly surprised, at least.

 

@Atrice

Edited by David
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Marcus felt nowhere near ready to marry! But his mother’s husband had some connections and thought it was about time that Marcus met some proper young women. He was to join the vigintiviri this year, after all. He was growing up, with or without his brother present. Lucius might be the pater familias of their now tiny family, but he wasn’t here and Marcus had to listen to anyone else giving him proper advice. He hoped that this was indeed proper advice and he would take it anyway and meet this young lady. Caecina hadn’t said anything, it wasn’t like he could marry her anyway. His mother and her father would never allow it. They were married, after all.

 Hopefully this day would go well then, no matter how it would end. Even if he did not plan on marrying the lady, her father clearly had other plans and you never knew… she might actually be nice and hopefully at least easy on the eyes.

 So he was dressed up as finely as he could be, in blue shades to match his eyes and his hair. The meeting was to happen at the Poppina Via Lata of all places; a place he enjoyed frequenting and actually knew well. He’d been busy with a bath this morning and it took quite a while to tame his hair, but finally he was out of the door with his Briton body slave Silvanus in tow. Was he late? Gods, he wasn’t sure! He rushed with Silvanus through Rome, finally reaching the Poppina and entering. He was directed by one of the workers there, to one of the private rooms.

 “How do I look?” He asked Silvanus, who ensured his master that he looked perfect. Marcus sent him off to find wine and something simple to eat, a snack if you will, for him and the young lady. Marcus then inhaled a breath, ran a hand through his hair and then entered, only to find the young lady in question already there. She was easy on the eyes, thank the gods!

 “Mania Victoria? Apologies for being late. Or were you early?” He asked with a grin, “I’m Marcus Junius Silanus and happy to finally meet you!”

@David

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The eyeroll Mania had to supress upon seeing her match enter the room would've made the tides around the world shift by sheer force of gravity. Caecina's half-brother?! Of all the men in Rome?! Mania had befriended his half-sister on the social circuits years ago. The second he introduced himself to her, he gave it all away - the name seemed all too familiar. Caecina must be wheezing with laughter right this very moment! Mania had told her all about the match and the scheduled meeting, and Marcus had undoubtedly done the same. Mania's tactics to send men running had become somewhat of a running joke between her and her friends; should Marcus reject her, they would never forget it. She'd be the laughing stock of Rome's upper echeleons and undoubtedly be avoided by any and all suitable men in the future. Caecina would receive a very passively aggressive letter in the coming days, at the least. Mania felt her anger rising and her face turning a slight hue of red. Hopefully, Marcus would interpret it as blushing.

"No need to apologise - I've only just arrived myself!" she said with a smile as sweet as honey. At least he wasn't ugly. It was obvious he liked to spend time working out and was in good shape. "Forgive me if I'm being too nosy too quickly," she began to assure herself of Marcus' possible relation to Caecina, "but might you be Caecina Tusca's half-brother? She has told me so much about you!" Caecina had indeed occasionally spoken of her half-brother, but, truth be told, Mania was never very keen on listening. Anytime brothers (or half-brothers) somehow became the topic of conversation, Mania either excused herself and found something better to do or ignored what was being said completely. She didn't want to speak of her own brothers, one of them being an insufferable, pompous show-off and the other a weak-minded pushover. "Curiously, I've never seen you accompany her to any of the parties we've attended together - I would've noticed you, I assure you,she added, flashing a slight smirk at him. Mania knew what most Roman men, especially those of higher social standing, wished to hear from women - how handsome they were and how highly others spoke of their heroic achievements. Looking at Marcus, though, his superficial beauty seemed to be the only thing of note thus far, as he could've hardly been of an age by which he could've accomplished anything meaningful or noteworthy. "Are you normally not one for social gatherings?"

At least he was handsome; whether he was also interesting remained to be seen.

@Atrice

Edited by David
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She smiled sweetly. Marcus didn’t really know a lot about her, except she was beneath his rank in Rome and that she was ready to get married. Caecina had not told him a lot about her, probably because Caecina too fancied Marcus. He wondered if she was jealous that he’d gone here today, but honestly, he couldn’t deny meeting a good looking young woman and lady. And no matter what, it was important to make connections, because they might be important to him later in life. His step-father had told him all about that and sometimes, Marcus paid it a little attention too. So he’d meet this Mania. Hopefully she was good company.

 She said she’d just arrived herself, and then she asked into his relations. Marcus chuckled when she said Caecina had told him a lot, “Has she? Nothing bad I hope.” He wondered, before she went on about how she’d not seen him and Caecina together at the parties and she claimed she’d have noticed him. She smirked, and he wondered what that was all about.

 “I am very much one for social gatherings, maybe we have simply not attended the same ones? I’m sure I’d remember you too, if I’d seen you. You’re very cute, Mania.” He said and looked around in the room. The window just showed the wall on the other side of the street, nothing interesting there. But there was a table and some couches placed around it, almost like a triclinium, which he supposed was a good thing. He was not used to meeting people in places like this, not people like Mania anyway. He did notice something else in here too. Or rather, something that was not here. He rather liked it not being here – other people.

 “How did you get here? No slaves or bodyguards? Caecina has a bodyguard, he’s very irritating.” He explained with a grin, he didn’t like Manius much at all. But no bodyguard also meant he was alone with Mania, which he thought was a very good thing. Not that he had any plans of doing anything she didn’t want to do. But you never knew what she did want.

@David

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"Oh, no, nothing bad at all, only the best, of course!" Mania replied, still smiling as sweetly as ever. Mania could hardly remember anything Caecina had ever said about Marcus, but her eyes always seemed to light up at least a little bit whenever he became the topic of (a very one-sided) conversation, so it mustn't have been that bad. Judging by how this meeting was going thus far, Marcus had not run into either one of her brothers as of yet. Mania didn't yet know whether she should be thankful or resentful of that fact.

"Oh, aren't you a charmer!" she replied to his compliment. If there was one thing Marcus could possibly deter Mania from making him run, it was by complimenting her; Mania was very proud of her look and, indeed, very aware of the fact she was an eye-catcher. "With a tongue as honeyed as yours, I might start to wonder why you aren't married already..." On one hand, it was strange Marcus hadn't found a wife yet - with all the opportunists in Rome, she'd have expected several women and their mothers and fathers to be fighting eachother in the streets for a match with Marcus. After all, he was of high standing and well-connected and Mania could think of at least a dozen women off the top of her head who would gladly use him as a springboard for other endeavours. Mania herself included, of course.

"Oh, yes, Caecina's bodyguard truly is irritating! He hardly ever lets us have any fun when we're together!"  While Mania was never one for partying like a Plebian and "letting loose," as they liked to refer to committing several acts of debauchery and immorality, she still knew how to have fun. Spiking people's food with aphrodisiac, gossipping, backhanded compliments, telling an oh-so smitten young girl the man she had been eyeing all night had expressed interest in her, only to see her embarrass herself... Things like these were how Mania kept herself from dying of boredom at the various social events she attended, however Caecina's bodyguard would never let Caecina participate. Of course, he would never reprimand Mania, as it was simply inapporopriate for one's bodyguard to berate another.

"I was carried here in a litter by some of our slaves - owned, of course, not rented, both the litter and the slaves," she pointed out in a joking manner. "As for bodyguards... well, my older brother usually hoards them all for himself, being heir and all..." she said, letting out an audible sigh. She wasn't particularly afraid of anything happening to her while out and about, but it did irritate her that both her brother and her father apparently didn't deem her important enough to give her an entourage of her own. However, even though she didn't feel threatened without bodyguards, turning on the waterworks to make her brother out as the selfish egotist he was was something Mania did at every chance. "Don't you think that horrible? A woman like myself, unprotected, in Rome, with all the criminals and desperate Plebians running around, doing Jupiter knows what? Should even just one of them decide to go for my jewellery someday, I will be doomed!" Mania did indeed wear a lot of jewellery on a daily basis, however she also knew the many rings on her fingers and the sharply cut gems they were adorned with could be used to her advantage, which she had come to learn by teasing her brothers. She was nowhere near defenseless, but if Marcus was at least a slight bit of a gentleman, he would surely pride himself on being able to protect her.

@Atrice

Edited by David
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Mania smiled quite sweetly, saying that Caecina had only told the best stories about him. Well that was good, at least. Hopefully she’d not spilled any secrets she wasn’t supposed to share, but he was quite sure that their secret was still safe. Not that they’d ever gotten further than to kisses and caresses, because they knew it wasn’t right, but those were pretty good things too! He wondered if Mania would be up for stuff like that, but time would tell. Marcus continued their conversation, calling her cute and she called him charming in turn, with a honeyed tongue.

 Marcus let out a laugh, “I guess I’m still looking for the perfect match. But there’s no reason to not have fun until that’s happened.” He replied, although honestly, he wasn’t serious about looking for a wife just yet. He was 18 years old! Most men who got married were way older than he was, they’d been out and about, they had come some way in the course of honor and they had achieved things. Marcus couldn’t claim he had done that yet, but soon Titus would be installed as Caesar and he hoped he’d remain friends with him. If so, he could rise high… if he played his cards right. And then he might marry, because then he had more to offer than a name. Thinking about that, didn’t his step-father mention that Mania here had some coin to offer? Maybe he should be more serious about it…

 But the conversation went on, about Caecina’s bodyguard. Mania seemed to agree with what he was like and Marcus could only nod at her words, “He never lets anyone have fun, to be honest. Trust me, I live in the same house as he.” He pointed out, but was glad to hear that Mania was here all on her own. No annoying bodyguards or chaperones or slaves, it seemed. He heard how she sighed after she mentioned her brother being the heir, and then she ranted about how bad it was that she had no bodyguard.

 “Hopefully that won’t happen! If you want, I’ll happily escort you back, once you’re ready to go. Then you’ll have me and my body slave, who also happens to serve as my bodyguard. His from Britannia, but he’s alright.” He explained and just then, Silvanus showed up with a jar of wine and a basket of bread and a little flask with olive oil for the bread. He placed it on the table and Marcus waved him away again, “Wait outside the door?” He asked his slave and Silvanus did as told, leaving the two young people alone again. Marcus sat down on one couch, watching Mania. She really was quite nice to look at, “So, Mania… you mentioned Caecina’s bodyguard never lets you have any fun. What kind of fun is it you like, then?”

@David

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Oh. So Marcus was the type that liked to have fun before finding the perfect match. Slowly, he was beginning to remind her of Primus. Primus would happily spend a night with any girl who as much as looked in his general direction. How weak and feeble men were, slaves to their natural urges. Mania, for one, intended to stay pure as a vestal virgin until her marriage, and even then planned on only giving in to the urges of the flesh to legitimise the marriage with a child or two. Hopefully, she was wrong and it was not that kind of fun Marcus was referring to, otherwise the match would find itself snubbed quite quickly. Mania certainly wasn't some Plebian whore, and she wouldn't allow anyone to treat her like one. She replied to his mentioning of fun with a giggle and hoped he wouldn't treat her politeness as an invitation.

"What is it you're looking for in a match, then?" she asked. She knew it was probably what most men in Rome looked for in a woman; quietness, servitude and submission. However, Mania was of the opinion that if a man wanted those qualities in a woman, he could buy himself a slave. If she thought of it, wives were little more than glorified slaves within the household. That was one of the main reasons she was so opposed to marriage, especially an arranged one, but that was how things were done and the likelihood of her parents letting her marry someone she picked out for herself was slim to none. Afer all, their marriage was the result of a match aswell.

"Oh, that must be dreadful!" Mania remarked about Marcus' lament concerning the lack of fun within his household. "I guess that's the silver lining of my brother hounding most of the guards - I'm much more free to do what I like than most of my friends," she thought aloud. She had never thought of it this way - there, apparently, were some benefits to playing second fiddle within the family, although Mania was most likely even below that, as she still had a younger brother. He was a total idiot and absolutely inept at anything except for gem engraving, but was still preferred by his father to her due to being a man. Thankfully, he wasn't much of a threat to her, if at all.

Marcus' offer to escort her home at least somewhat dispelled Mania's fears regarding his intentions and morality, or apparent lack thereof. He was, apparently, at least a little bit of a gentleman. "Thank you," she said as Marcus' slave entered the room with food and drink. She wasn't usually this nice to slaves, but she wanted to make a good impression. "Oh, you know, the usual," she replied to his question of what kind of fun she liked, which again made her think he wasn't really that much of a gentleman after all. "If I may speak candidly, I do find the things one can find out about others at various social events rather fascinating... Things the people they concern would never tell you themselves, of course..." Hopefully Marcus would get the hint and she wouldn't have to call herself a gossipmonger. That was such an ugly word, filled with negative connotation. She preferred to refer to herself as inquisitive and well-informed.

"Now, what is it you like to do for fun?" She sincerely hoped he wouldn't turn out to be a womanizer. Up until now, things were going rather smoothly, but at this point, Marcus was on very thin ice. She sat down next to him in expectation of his answer, although she maintained a healthy amount of distance. She didn't want his hands to end up anyplace they shouldn't be.

@Atrice

Edited by David
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Uh that was a tough one, he thought, when she out of the blue asked what he was looking for, for a girl to be a perfect match for him. Marcus honestly had not thought this through, had he? What was he looking for, in a woman? He vaguely remembered discussing it with Longinus once, but he honestly could not recall what his older friend had said. What then? There was one girl he really liked, but he couldn’t have her. Even if she was a good match!

 “I guess I’m looking for someone I can trust to keep my secrets, and I’ll keep hers in return. A friend and partner that I can trust.” He said, “And if she’s as charming as you are, that’s a bonus too.” Marcus added with a little wink. Mania mused about her brother hoarding the guards of their house again then. Marcus would of course happily escort her home, with Silvanus guarding them both. She thanked Silvanus and then answered Marcus’ question concerning fun. First she said the usual. The usual? What was the usual? Marcus wasn’t a girl, how would he know? But then she went on… in many words saying she loved gossip. Of course she did. Girls did.

 “Secrets are always fascinating to learn, aren’t they?” He asked with a grin and watched her sit down while she delicately asked what he did for fun. He poured some wine for them both and handed her a cup, while he sipped his own. It was alright, the wine. He’d had better.

 “What I do for fun… well, the usual?” Marcus smiled, using the same words as she did, hoping she’d realize it did sound kind of silly, when you didn’t know the other person, “I like coming here, for example… at the Poppina. Sometimes I like going to the race court or see gladiators fight too. Do you like such things? I do see girls there sometimes.” He wondered, now he’d not said too much, but she knew what kind of a guy he was. Upper class noble guy, enjoying what most young men at his age enjoyed.

@David

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