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July, 76 AD

Marcus rolled his eyes at yet another posh son of a Senator, with his nose up in the sky, talking about that and hither as if he had any say in anything, with his old man still alive. Marcus was free as a bird, at least. His brother, his Pater Familias, was nowhere near Rome. He wasn't even sure where he was. His mother’s husband of course, he did what he could to keep Marcus afloat and out of trouble, but honestly… the man was not here and Marcus could do as he pleased. Which was not listen to nonsense about future escapades in faraway countries. The guy didn’t even know if he’d get there yet!

 He slipped away from the group of young men chatting and found his own bodyslave lingering near one of the entrances to the peristyle. This was a party or ‘social gathering’ for young men of high quality, to meet and interact and maybe form friendships and alliances to last until they one day would become important men. So boring! Marcus didn't need parties like these. He didn't know why the old man at home thought he did. There weren't even any girls present!

 “Silvanus… I’m bored. Why don’t you fetch me a jar of wine?” He told his slave and Silvanus arched a brow, “It is not our home, Domine. I can’t just…” He tried to argue, but Marcus rolled his eyes for who-knows-which-time this evening, “You can, because I told you so. And if they say you can’t, tell them that I sent you and if they don’t do as I tell them, I’ll tell our host what awful slaves he has. And what they did to me through you.” Marcus said and Silvanus could not see how he could argue himself out of that. So off he went towards the kitchens to find the wine.

 Meanwhile Marcus slipped over to a slave standing around with a plate of finger foods. The sticky, but delicious honeyed dates! Marcus picked a few off the tray and ate them, they were the ones with black pepper inside, his favorites! Expensive too! When he was done, he licked his fingers, one by one, until Silvanus showed up with the desired jar of wine, “Great, you got it! Thanks!” Marcus carried it off towards a corner of the atrium, where he could sit down and drink it on his own. Or so he thought.

@Chevi

Edited by Atrice
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Lucius was bored out of his mind. These social gatherings among young men from senatorial families were spent talking about politics, careers, and making allegiances for the future, nothing that he was particularly interested in. He'd exchanged a few words with a few people who he knew or found passably interesting, but soon migrated to the food. From there, he'd gone to the kitchen and struck up a conversation with the somewhat baffled kitchen staff, which resulted him getting his own plate of dates and a jug of wine. Retreating to the atrium, he noticed another young man settling down with a very similar jug, away from the crowd. Lucius smirked, walking over to join him and raising his jug.

"Is this the 'I am bored of politics' corner of the event?"

@Sara

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All on his own he’d pulled a stool to the corner of the atrium, thinking he could sit down there and enjoy his jar of wine. Silvanus was… somewhere, waiting for the next order. Marcus cast a glance towards all of the other fancy toga-wearing young men, some more arrogant than others, and all thinking they’d be the current Caesar’s right hand. They barely knew him! Marcus had played with the new Caesar as a child and they thought they had a chance? Ha! That was amusing. All he had to do was… well… use his connections and be a little smart. And he could be smart. If he wanted to. Right now, he just wanted to drink.

 Just as he turned to sit down and make himself comfortable, he was interrupted as someone spoke from behind. Another young guy, with a jug of wine in his hand and a plate of dates. Seeming to ask if he could join Marcus.

 “Don’t know if it’s the politics, really?” Marcus said thoughtfully, “Just… them, really. They think they’re something.” Marcus then explained and sat down on the stool, “No offense, of course, if you think you’re something too. Maybe you actually are. But we can drink, together. I’m Marcus Junius Silanus, you?” And just like that, when he thought he wasn’t going to meet anyone mildly interesting at this party, he had actually introduced himself to a stranger. Maybe the old man at home wouldn’t be so disappointed with him after all.

@Chevi

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Lucius did not know the other young man personally, although he was one of the many faces that appeared regularly at events like this (whenever Lucius could not find a way to get out of them). He seemed like he was just about as interested in the whole thing as Lucius was. And misery loved company.

“Don’t know if it’s the politics, really? Just… them, really. They think they’re something. No offense, of course, if you think you’re something too. Maybe you actually are."

"Well, my brother and I have very different definitions of 'something'" Lucius grinned, pulling up another stool to sit down.

"But we can drink, together. I’m Marcus Junius Silanus, you?”

"Lucius Vipsanius Roscius" he introduced himself, offering the plate of dates. "I'm the cautionary tale about the young senatorial who refused to start his cursus in time."

@Sara

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Marcus didn't really try to find a way to get out of these events. Because, while the other young men might irritate him a bit or bore him, at least there would be free wine and food and even all that you could want of those things. And he did like the wine, despite his age, so there it was. He'd sat down and apparently, now he had company. The other guy looked nice enough and he had both wine and dates, so of course he could join Marcus! If he wasn't offended by Marcus' words, of course. He sometimes said things before he thought them through, so it wasn't on purpose if he offended someone. It just kind of happened... the other just grinned and said something about different definitions of what being something meant. 

"I know the feeling." Marcus said, his brother apparently thought that being something meant you had to burn down your home, that you just spent a fortune on rebuilding... and so said fortune was lost, actually. And then you left Rome. Leaving your little brother in Rome with no close family except for his mother, who didn't even give birth to him. Right, enough about that. He took a swig of the wine after he'd introduced himself and the other did the same. It wasn't a name he was very familiar with. But he seemed nice enough, he thought as he picked a few of the dates for his free hand. Lucius told more about himself then.

"Oh? I only just made it far enough to start mine. I plan on signing up for the Viginitiviri as soon as I can." Marcus explained and ate a date, "What's your plan then? Why did you refuse?" It did make him curious. Marcus had just always known that was the way to go. He had to become someone important. Much more important than the other guys here. And he was well on his way, he met one of the Consuls recently! He knew it was all going to work out somehow. 

@Chevi

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"I know the feeling." 

Did he? Lucius knew he wasn't the only senatorial youth in Rome who had a brother as the paterfamilias. Maybe they were kindred spirits, drinking stolen wine for the same reason. Or maybe they were just equally jaded for different reasons altogether.

"Oh? I only just made it far enough to start mine. I plan on signing up for the Viginitiviri as soon as I can. What's your plan then? Why did you refuse?"

"I didn't... exactly refuse. I just never got around to it." Lucius smirked, sipping his wine. It had never been that dramatic with him. "I grew up on my family's estate outside the city, until Gaius - that's my brother - dragged me back here. I like it in the city, honestly... but I think the family ambition passed me by."

@Atrice

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Marcus was really curious about why a good-looking guy like Lucius would refuse to follow the course of honor. He was of the same class as Marcus, was he not? Then why choose less than luxury, when you could have it? Better ranks in the course of honor usually meant wealth and Marcus was determined to have that again. Of course, Lucius had probably not lost his, so he didn't need it so badly. Still though... and then he said he did not really refuse, he just never got around to start. That was even more strange! Marcus looked at him, as the other casually sipped his wine and explained the situation.

"The family's ambition or the family ambition?" Marcus asked curiously, "I'm sorry, I'm just not sure I understand... everyone else here are so eager to please each other and lick each other's..." Balls, but he stopped himself before it could pass between his lips, "I'm just curious about why you're not like that. I'm sure I'll get somewhere, no matter what. My father was famous. I will be too someday. No matter what shenanigans my brother is up to." And with that, he had some more of his own wine, while wondering what Lucius was all about. What drove him to be like he was? Why? Did he yearn to be different for some reason?

@Chevi

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Lucius was not usually this open with his feelings about the whole ambition thing, but the other young senatorial drinking alone at a party made him feel like he had encountered a kindred spirit. To an extent.

"The family's ambition or the family ambition? I'm sorry, I'm just not sure I understand... everyone else here are so eager to please each other and lick each other's..." 

"Ass?" Lucius grinned "Am I supposed to feel like I'm missing out on that?"

Making connections, they called it. They might as well have been honest about it.

"I'm just curious about why you're not like that. I'm sure I'll get somewhere, no matter what. My father was famous. I will be too someday. No matter what shenanigans my brother is up to." 

"I am the brother with the shenanigans" Lucius pointed out with a smirk. "And my father died in the civil war." He had been too young to fully understand, but it had been a turning point for everyone. "I am sure I'll find something too. I have until the end of the year to figure out if I'll go into the legions, or start training as a lawyer..."

@Atrice

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Marcus chuckled when Lucius finished his sentence, "I meant to say balls, but yes." He said, "And you're not missing out on anything, trust me." He replied and then went on wondering why Lucius wasn't like the rest of the guys. He mentioned why he wasn't there with them, because he simply knew he'd get somewhere and he didn't need all of them. Lucius explained that he was the brother with the shenanigans and his father was dead. Apparently he'd been given a deadline on when to find out what to do.

"My father died when I was very young too. I don't remember much of it." Marcus said and drank a swig of wine to honor his father, "What do you want to do then? Legions or lawyer? I'm not sure what I prefer. Everyone says I should go into the military too, but I'm just not so sure it's for me. On the other hand, if that's the way to go in order to get somewhere... I guess that is where I'm going, eventually." It was nice chatting with someone kind of in the same situation as him. Even if Lucius seemed to be a few years older, they were at the same point in their lives, because Lucius never started his course of honor. And apparently they both lost their fathers and now had irritating big brothers. To think, that Marcus used to look up to Lucius. But lately, his admiration had faded quite a bit. He didn't know if it would come back.

@Chevi

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"My father died when I was very young too. I don't remember much of it."

Well, they had that in common. Silanus seemed a few years younger than him (more the appropriate age to be having the same concerns about starting the cursus). Lucius knew there were quite a few young men in Rome their age who had lost fathers and grandfathers back in the war.

"What do you want to do then? Legions or lawyer? I'm not sure what I prefer. Everyone says I should go into the military too, but I'm just not so sure it's for me. On the other hand, if that's the way to go in order to get somewhere... I guess that is where I'm going, eventually."

"I am not sure I want to get somewhere... or rather, where it is I want to get" Lucius admitted "But the family name is on the line, and my brother is not married yet. So, I have to make a choice before I bring down the entire familia..."

@Atrice

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It was surprising for Marcus to meet someone, who didn't know what they wanted. Especially one equally ranked with himself in society. Lucius belonged among the social class of the Senators too, just as Lucius. And he was good looking, looked strong, didn't sound unintelligent. But he didn't know what he wanted with life, only that apparently he didn't want what he should want. When you were a young man born with a father, who was a Senator, you kind of had some things you had to do. Marcus did kind of like the structure of it, partly anyway. It was just all the annoying work you had to do to get where you wanted to be. That was the irritating part. But besides that, he knew what he wanted. Kind of? Power, that's what he wanted. Influence. People looking up to him. Maybe he'd one day be a Consul, like Aulus! But Lucius was clearly not going that way at all. 

"Yeah you better not bring down your familia, or you'll end up an outcast without belonging anywhere." Marcus said and took a swig of his wine while he thought about, "How about... you find something good to do. Maybe you would be a good lawyer? And then, if you got married before your brother and had a son before him... you'd hold all the cards. Until he has a son. If he has a son. Then you get to decide." That was some kind of idea, of course. Marcus liked this game, thinking about what someone else should do with their lives. He smiled at the thought. Maybe he really would make a good Senator too, once he got that far. 

@Chevi

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"Yeah you better not bring down your familia, or you'll end up an outcast without belonging anywhere."

Lucius drank from his wine too. That was the problem, wasn't it? For all his quiet rebellion and lack of ambition, he did not exactly have any other applicable skills at all. If Gaius decided to turn him out (risking the family scandal), he would not have much to do to survive...

"How about... you find something good to do. Maybe you would be a good lawyer? And then, if you got married before your brother and had a son before him... you'd hold all the cards. Until he has a son. If he has a son. Then you get to decide."

Lucius snorted, amused by the master plan.

"So... get married and get to making babies to piss my brother off even more. You know what? I like this plan." he grinned "Now, if there was only an eligible maiden whose family would accept me..." Of course, no one would. Not unless he showed some actual potential. Most Roman senators were not that dumb. "How about you? Any marriage prospects?"

@Atrice

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Marcus chuckled when Lucius was amused by his plan, well it wasn't all bad, was it? It did make sense, somehow. But the trouble was making it happen, of course. How to find a wife and all that, that was hard enough. He thought Lucius was a few years older than him though, so he probably had the right age. Then of course Lucius looked at Marcus, wondered if he had any plans about marrying. Marcus shook his head vividly.

"No... no way, not yet." He held up a finger to wag it to make it clear, "I'm just 18! I am not planning on marrying yet. Besides, I have nothing to offer a wife right now. I barely even have money. I need to accomplish something first." He said with a grin, "Besides, there's so much to do before settling down. Parties to attend, drinks to have, girls to bed... all that sort of stuff." Marcus held up the jar of wine and then downed a good gulp, "But, I could try and help you find someone? I'm sure you could. You're from a proper family, you're not old and ugly. All you need is someone and something to back you."

@Chevi

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"No... no way, not yet. I'm just 18! I am not planning on marrying yet. Besides, I have nothing to offer a wife right now. I barely even have money. I need to accomplish something first. Besides, there's so much to do before settling down. Parties to attend, drinks to have, girls to bed... all that sort of stuff."

They laughed and drank. Lucius was definitely not seriously entertaining the idea of marriage just yet. He did not have the standing, he did not have the means, and he definitely did not have the reputation to pull off a decent match. For everything else... well, he had other kids of companionship. But it was funny to imagine what his brother's face would have looked like at the idea. He raised his own jug of wine to Silanus.

"But, I could try and help you find someone? I'm sure you could. You're from a proper family, you're not old and ugly. All you need is someone and something to back you."

"Not old and ugly is most of what I've got going for me" Lucius grinned. "I wonder what kind of a match I could get, even if you backed me..."

@Atrice

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It was nice to have someone to drink with, away from all the rest of the young men with their noses stuck up into the sky around each other. Marcus enjoyed sitting here with Lucius, who was at the same point in life as him, it seemed, only Lucius didn't seem to want to move on. Meanwhile Marcus had plenty of not very humble dreams and desires, although marriage right now was not one of those. Lucius however was a few years older and Marcus would be happy to help him out finding a wife. A way to get back at his brother. Marcus knew all about being the younger brother nobody thought anything of. But he'd prove them wrong. And starting with helping out Lucius seemed like a good idea right now. 

Lucius grinned and commented on his virtues - which was that he was not old and ugly. He had nothing else to offer, or didn't think so anyway.

"I'm sure we could find someone good. Just leave it to me, I know people and my mother and step-father have plenty of friends. I'll eavesdrop, see if I hear them mention someone in need of a husband. Let's just hope she'll be pretty, right?" He said with a wink, "What do you think? Will you let me help you?" 

@Chevi

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Silanus seemed to like his own idea more and more. Maybe it was the wine talking. Lucius found the whole concept more than a bit amusing - more, when he thought about what his brother would have to say about an engagement. He was not going to go through with one, obviously, but thinking about it was good fun for a night of drinking.

"I'm sure we could find someone good. Just leave it to me, I know people and my mother and step-father have plenty of friends. I'll eavesdrop, see if I hear them mention someone in need of a husband. Let's just hope she'll be pretty, right? What do you think? Will you let me help you?" 

"Sure" Lucius laughed, shaking his head "Although there should be a bet about it if you don't want to make the whole thing a waste of time... You are more eligible than I am, as we stand. You should make sure you don't accidentally get caught..."

@Atrice

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Of course he liked his own idea - what kind of future Senator would he be, if he did not like his own plans and ideas and tried to follow them through? Besides, it would give him something to do and while the viginitiviri would be interesting enough, this seemed like far more fun than that. On top of that, it was nice gaining a friend this way. With a drink and a plan for the future! Lucius laughed when Marcus asked him directly, if the other would let him help finding a wife. Lucius suggested a bet then and commented that Marcus was more eligible than he! 

Marcus let out a laugh at Lucius' words, "If I get caught, I promise it'll only be between the sheets, not in vows between man and wife." He said, "But sure, we can bet if you'd like. Exactly what do we bet about? And what does the winner and the loser get?"

@Chevi 

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"If I get caught, I promise it'll only be between the sheets, not in vows between man and wife." 

Lucius laughed at the joke and raised his cup of wine. Silanus seemed intent on enjoying everything his young age had to offer. Including finding a wife for someone he barely knew, and making a bet about it.

"Exactly what do we bet about? And what does the winner and the loser get?"

"The bet is whether you can find a suitable bride for me whose family would approve the marriage." Lucius noted. The woman liking him was one thing, that was probably the easy part, but no patrician father in his right mind was likely to waste a perfectly marriageable daughter on him. "But I want to meet her first." He added, for good measure. He was not about to get roped blindly into an engagement. "If an engagement happens, you win. And... I'll owe you a favor." Lucius shrugged. "I'd offer my support, but that's not really worth much..."

@Atrice

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Why should he not be intent on enjoying everything life could offer him, at his age? The world was at his feet and one day, a chunk of it would be his. It was already there for the taking, for him to enjoy, so he did. Like this wine here. He took it. Or rather, his slave did, but it was almost the same. And he'd even gained a friend, it seemed, because Lucius laughed with him and at his jokes too. It was nice! Lucius even agreed that Marcus could help him find a wife, but then Lucius wanted to bet about it and explained further when Marcus asked.

He even only had one term - he wanted to meet the lady first and if he got engaged, Marcus would win. Lucius said he'd owe Marcus a favor then, because that's all he had, apparently.

"And if it does not happen, you win... and I owe you a favor, anytime. That's the best I've got too, unless you've got a better idea." Marcus said and held out his free hand with a cheerful grin on his face, "It's a deal then?" 

@Chevi

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"And if it does not happen, you win... and I owe you a favor, anytime. That's the best I've got too, unless you've got a better idea."

It was kind of funny to make a bet about something so serious as marriage when neither of them really had anything to bet with. They were gambling on future influence, which in Lucius' case was not very likely. Maybe it was just the wine talkig, and they'd wise up in the morning. But for now, it sounded like a hilarious idea.

"Deal" Lucius grinned, shaking his new friend's hand. It sounded like a win-win situation.

@Atrice

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