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Aeterna Roma RPG

Flowers For All


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Zia rarely came out in the evenings to watch by her minions as they did their deals and made her gold, but needs must. The problem with having a lucrative business, she'd found, was that it meant everybody wanted a piece of it. Nothing had happened thus far, beyond a few gang low-lifes making offers to her own runners, but she wanted to keep an eye out and she wanted to see it for herself. Being here was a risk, she knew that, but the cloak she wore - even in the summer heat - hid the slave collar she was locked into and she kept her hood up. Gallus was - for all intents and purposes - the front man of the operation and only glanced in her direction where there was something she should see. 

In this case, it was a small man who seemed to be gesticulating to one of her young employees. Zia arched a brow and watched from the shadows as the conversation got more heated. She called over to Gallus; "Gang?" And the man shook his head, looking equally perplexed. If this young man was in a Collegia then he wasn't being particularly subtle about his intentions. She slipped from the shadows to get a closer look and frowned when she saw that the man wasn't talking. "What do you want?" She called out and gave him a once-over. "We don't do charity here, if you can't afford it  then leave." 

 

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Ever since Safinia's death, Azarion once again felt like he had no roots in the city. Despite his growing career as a charioteer, and the added freedom it came with (he was now allowed to leave the Circus, as long as he got back by curfew), he found himself wandering aimlessly more often than not. He hoped that if he spent more time in the popinas and around the markets, eventually he would hear something useful about whoever killed Safinia. Asking questions, obviously, was not something he could do. So, he wandered, and hoped.

The man called out to him first. Azarion had wandered farther than usual from the Circus tonight, and it was getting dark. The many must have assumed he was here looking for whatever he was offering, because he gave him some all-knowing, secretive looks, and opened his bag to show off his wares. Azarion was not sure at first what even he was selling, but the scent soon made it clear. He knew it, from faraway, long time ago childhood memories. Leave it to the Romens to adopt everything that seemed useful from their neighbors.

He made some gestures, asking for the price; more elaborate questions, like about the quality, were not going to work anyway. The young man must have been especially stupid, because the gestures confused him to no end. Damn.

"What do you want? We don't do charity here, if you can't afford it  then leave." 

Oh, good, a woman joined in. Azarion huffed. Charity, my ass. He made some gestures at her, maybe she was smarter. I have money. But I want to see what you are selling.

@Sara

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Zia arched a brow as he huffed and folded her arms across her chest. She could tell the little minion she had working for her was confused; she generally didn't get involved in the day to day and many didn't even know she existed. Gallus shot the boy a warning look and then one at their mute guest as well for good measure. 

She watched his hands as he gestured to the bag. He wanted to know what they were selling? It didn't matter, he didn't look like he had much to offer by way of coin and she wasn't in the habit of selling her expensive flower to paupers and slaves. She rolled her eyes. "Do you not speak Latin?" Even she did, if this one didn't then he really must be an idiot. 

 

TAG: @Chevi

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"Do you not speak Latin?"

Alright, maybe she was dumb.

Azarion sighed, motioning at his mouth and making a cutting gesture. Mute, not deaf. He tapped the tablet around his neck, too; it carried the Whites' emblem. There was no guarantee she'd know who he was; he had not participated in any big races yet. But at least she knew he belonged somewhere. He was not going to flash them any coin until he was sure he was making a purchase and not getting robbed. It was an illusion, of course, but it was all he had. Whether she noticed he scars and marks on him in the twilight, he didn't know. She also had an accent that he could not quite place. He made gestures mimicking smoke flying into the air. That was what she was selling, wasn't it?

@Sara

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She watched him with thinly veiled disinterest at the cutting motion. She'd seen it happen, both back in Dacia with slaves as mouth and less important than herself, and again at the slave market. She'd not been that unfortunate, but the fact this one had didn't garner any sympathy from her. To survive and flourish you needed to be smart, evidently this one wasn't otherwise he might still have his tongue. 

At his mimicry she nodded and arched a brow. "Yes, it's to smoke. Flowers, from Dacia." It wasn't a secret and wasn't illegal, if the gangs want dto find out what it was they need only have bought some from one of her little dealers. She watched him cautiously. The boy had only glanced at the bag from her vantage point and seemed to know what it was. Curious. "You know what it is already though, don't you?" 

 

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"Yes, it's to smoke. Flowers, from Dacia."

Dacia. Of course. That's what the accent was. Azarion's people had dealt with their neighbors often, especially after Dacia became a province. Their culture was definitely different, but they both kind of hated the Romans the same way. And they both knew what these flowers were for. No wonder she was selling them in Rome. It was probably good business.

"You know what it is already though, don't you?" 

Azarion nodded. Turning his side to her, he tapped the tattoo on his calf; it was the same motif most of his people wore, so if she'd ever met Sarmatians, she was likely to recognize it.

@Sara

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She glanced down but the light was too dim. She signalled for Gallus who promptly unloaded a torch from the wall, shining it down so Zia could see better. She tilted her head to the side as she studied it. He was right, she did recognise it. She had been an important woman in two tribes of Dacia, and both had traded with Sarmatia frequently. She had never visited, but had hosted them in her court more than once. 

"Sarmatian," She chuckled and shook her head, gesturing for Gallus to re-hang the torch, "You're a long way from home. Slave?" she gestured to the collar around his neck. 

 

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A man brought a torch to take a better look at his tattoo. The woman seemed to be running things. That was unusual in Rome, but not all that strange if she really was from his part of the world. He wondered how she had ended up so far from home.

Evindently, she wondered the same.

"Sarmatian. You're a long way from home. Slave?"

Azarion always felt a small sense of relief when someone recognized his tribe. It felt like not being invisible, like he was to most Romans. You are too, he noted with a raised eyebrow. He tapped his slave tablet again, and pointed at the Whites symbol. He made gestures, mimicking holding the reins of horses. Charioteer. He tilted his head, motioning at her. What was she, the local herbalist?

@Sara

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She narrowed her eyes on the tablet, trying to decipher it. It meant nothing to her but the motions he was making reminded her of those made by her dominus' children, horses - not surprising given his provenance, and she understood the Roman's thought it fun to strap men into a cart to be dragged around behind them. Lame. 

"A charioteer? How fancy.she chuckled and Gallus did too. She jerked her head for the Sarmatian to follow her back into the shadows, she didn't much like being out in the streets, or in plain view. That wasn't her role. She understood the inference of his gestures though and chuckled, "I'm a business woman." She commented as she retook her seat on an upturned crate, half hidden in the shadows. A business woman with a very well hidden slave collar. 

"How did you lose your tongue?" 

 

TAG: @Chevi

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"A charioteer? How fancy." 

Sarcasm. Great. At least they had one language in common. 

She nodded to him to follow. Azarion followed, despite the very likely chance that he still might get robbed. He hoped she was not a prostitute that lured people in with flowers. He probably did not have the money for that.

"I'm a business woman." 

Definitely a prostitute.

"How did you lose your tongue?" 

Azarion gave a look. Really? Well, he could tell her the story... if he had a tongue. He rolled his eyes, crossing his wrists. Captured, obviously. The fact that he had tattoos meant he had been born among his people, but he was not sure she would put it together. He made gestures, signifying a border on a map, and being taken across that border. The rest was probably too hard to follow. How did one mime hostage?

@Sara

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She watched him with a hard stare as Gallus turned his back and went back to attending to business. She folded her arms across her chest and frowned at his gestures. Most of them made absolutely no sense; you'd have thought he would have come up with a better way of communicating by now if the tongue-loss was not a recent thing. 

"I get that you're a slave." She scoffed, unsure why she was so interested but persisting anyway, "But I had thought Sarmatia was faring better than my homeland." She didn't mind admitting she was from Dacia, there were thousands of her kin-people in the city and it wasn't as if anybody would be able to guess swho she was or who owned her just by her country of origin. She hoped. "Not all of your people are under Roman rule, no?" Unfortunate that this one was. Like her. Dacia was still free in parts, from what she understood, despite Titus Sulpicius' best efforts. 

 

TAG: @Chevi

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"I get that you're a slave. But I had thought Sarmatia was faring better than my homeland."

Yeah, because we fight better.

"Not all of your people are under Roman rule, no?"

Azarion shook his head. No, they weren't. But they had treaties, since they lived along the border, and sometimes those treaties did not hold up. And then chief's sons lost their tongue. Azarion glanced around. He didn't normally carry writing instruments, because he didn't normally have people to talk to. And the ground was paved. Damn Romans. Azarion mimed writing to the woman with a questioning look. Could she even read?

@Sara

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She arched a brow, annoyed at herself. No she couldn't read. Not really anyway - she recognised a few letters here and there but her dominus hadn't ever shown an inclination to upskill his slaves (one of the many reasons she considered him a fool) and she didn't get much of an opportunity to read things with her current role as head-sweeper and duster. 

Clicking her tongue in annoyance she shook her head, "No. I don't know how to read the Latin script. Pointless language anyway." Even if the irony was not lost on her that she was speaking it now. It was regrettably easy  to learn. She arched a brow at him though, "You read?" Interesting. "And write?" She always had uses for odd-sorts that had skills. 

 

TAG: @Chevi

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"No. I don't know how to read the Latin script. Pointless language anyway."

Azaion snorted. He was not going to argue with that. He understood Latin, he probably would have spoken it well too, but now he would never know. But he missed speaking his native tongue.

Also, the businesswoman did not read, surprise.

"You read? And write?" 

He shrugged, waving a hand. A little. He had learned enough to write his name and other important information. He pointed at the man standing nearby again, then made the hand gestures for money. He mimed the smoke again, and tilted his head with the questioning look. Was it worth the price?

@Sara

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Zia's eyes narrowed in a calculated fashion and she titled her head to the side, studying him. She had a rag-tag band of people working for her; low-lifes and petty thieves, orphans and idiots - a very motley crew. She wasn't unwilling to add to their number, and a slave with an in at the stables was good to have. She had suspected sports venues would be a profitable avenue, but hadn't successfully managed to find somebody to flout her wares there, it was a difficult crowd to crack. 

She considered his gestures and it took a moment for her to understand his meaning. "Is it worth it?" she snorted and nodded, "Yes. You've never smoked?" It wasn't all that surprising, in Dacia at least the flowers were reserved for the priestly class...or women like her who had her own supply. "It relaxes you, makes you feel calm and blissful and...happy." She wasn't much of a saleswoman but as the smile slid across her face, she wondered if it was more persuasive, "You look like you could use some relaxation. And those in the stables as well, I suspect?" 

 

TAG: @Chevi

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