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Aeterna Roma RPG

A day for Neptune


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They were not the only ones under attack. That was kind of the point of the whole festival. The chances of them getting to cover behind the aquaeduct were slim at best.

"I'm not running though, so you had better distract them." 

"Distract them how?" Lucius protested. But the question was moot the next moment when Ovinia shrieked, making him jump, then grabbed his shoulders to turn him against the oncoming watery attack. He got the next cup of water square in the face. "Whoa, hey!" The children laughed and squealed, enjoying their momentary victory. Lucius huffed, blowing water from his nose. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw Ovinia covering behind him. "Alright, princess. Your turn."

@Sara

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From her vantage point, cowering behind Lucius' left shoulder, Ovinia couldn't see much in front of her but she did feel the droplets of water that came over his head and dripped down her back. She suspected most of it landed on his face. Too bad. 

She glanced up at him as he turned to look down at her, but she resolutely shook her head, planting her hands on her hips. "No...no, I don't think so. What happened to the honourable, brave man who'd protect me?" She could hear the slosh of buckets in the fountain which suggested the kids were refilling. A few bemused adults milled around them, watching with a mix of confusion and humour on their faces. 

But Ovinia didn't pay them, or Lucius, much heed as she suddenly made a run for it. It wasn't her favourite exercise but she was fit enough to leave Lucius in the dust as she sprinted away with absolutely no warning, heading for the aqueduct. 

 

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Lucius had been thoroughly soaked, the tunic clinging to him and dripping water. Ovinia had avoided the worst of it, and seemed to enjoy watching him being sloshed. Maybe it was her turn now for Neptune's blessing.

"No...no, I don't think so. What happened to the honourable, brave man who'd protect me?"

"They are in Britannia?" Lucius shrugged with a grin, which soon froze as she turned and bolted, leaving him the dust. "Hey!"

He didn't think she would run. She did not seem like the running type. And yet, she did, taking his cloak with her, heading for the aquaeduct.

"Oh, no you don't..."

He ran after her, squealing children in tow. He managed to outrun them, but only caught up to Ovinia once she reached the relative shelter of one of the aquaeduct's large stone and brick pillars. "So what's the plan now, huh?"

@Sara

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By the time Lucius caught her she was stood, back pressed against the brickwork, cheeks flushed and chest heaving at the exertion. She liked exercise, but wasn't exactly a model of physical fitness - she couldn't imagine that any woman in Rome was, besides the gladiatrixes perhaps. 

"You shouldn't have followed me..." She narrowed her eyes on him and then skirted round to the other side of the pillar, casting a glance to see how close the kids were, "I was hoping they'd take all their energy out on you and leave me be...so I could figure out how on earth I'm going to explain this to my family..." 

 

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"You shouldn't have followed me..."

She was right, he should not have. That became abundantly clear the moment he looked over her, soaked dress and heaving chest at all. Dammit. None of this was ever supposed to go this far.

"I was hoping they'd take all their energy out on you and leave me be...so I could figure out how on earth I'm going to explain this to my family..." 

"You could... always tell the truth?" he suggested, leaning his back against the bricks and looking away from her. "You got caught in the crowd and in Neptunalia?"

@Sara

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She gave him a look that said 'duh' as she came back round the other side of the pillar, although a frown fell on her face when she realised he was looking anywhere but at her. 

"Alone?" She arched a brow, "Or are you willing to suffer through another lecture from your brother if I tell my family  that you were my chaperone and you managed to get me in...this state." She gestured to herself, trying to sound despondent but her amusement was shining through. Usually she'd be incandescent if a hair was out of place or if she looked anything but perfection...but right now, she was running on a high of...something. It was odd but exhilarating. 

 

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They were definitely treading dangerous territory. Visiting a festival was one thing, but splashing water around and running away to the gods knew where was definitely not a good look for nobility. Especially for a decent young woman... even though, from the glances he stole at her, she seemed to be having a good time.

"Alone? Or are you willing to suffer through another lecture from your brother if I tell my family  that you were my chaperone and you managed to get me in...this state." 

"Alone. I'm not suicidal." he shook his head with a smirk "You could explain these are the holy rites of Neptune... but I think your brothers might still bury me alive for getting you too wet" he already knew by the end of the sentence that it had been the wrong choice of words. "Your dress."

@Sara

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The Gods were shining on Lucius Vipsanius Roscius when fate had made him interact with Ovinia Camilla, because for all her claims of worldliness, her knowledge of the intimate was severely lacking. The double entendre passed her by completely and instead she just scoffed, folding her arms over her chest and adjusting the cloak to shield herself. 

"Well, either I'm getting murdered for being alone or you are for drenching me. I vote you. I'll say we were harassed by some kids whilst I was waiting for my litter and I panicked and ran away. You did your very best to save me and calm me down. We will not mention that I threw the bucket or ran." She gave him a breathless grin. "Deal?" 

She cast a glance out of the solitude of the aqueduct to see the kids milling about, glancing in their direction and whispering amongst themselves. "Can you at least tell them to fu-...go away?" 

 

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He was worried for a moment that his choice of words crossed a line... but if there was a line, she seemed to be blissfully unaware of it. Did she not...? Oh, Venus. His brother had his work cut out for him.

"Well, either I'm getting murdered for being alone or you are for drenching me. I vote you. I'll say we were harassed by some kids whilst I was waiting for my litter and I panicked and ran away. You did your very best to save me and calm me down. We will not mention that I threw the bucket or ran. Deal?"

"Deal. Just... keep the details vague." he was still going to get an earful from Gaius about this. His brother did not tend to see him as a hero in any unusual circumstance. Even when he really was being helpful.

"Can you at least tell them to fu-...go away?" 

Lucius grinned, peering at the kids. "Not in those exact words, princess."

He stepped out of the shadow of the building, and held up his hands.

"Whoever puts their pail down gets pastries. But you'd better race back to the hut, I don't have an endless supply..."

@Sara

 

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"My hero." she preened with a giggle and a grin. She was taking this utter and complete lapse in self-control far better than she had when she'd sung, so that was...something. Then again, she had lots of hours left in the day to regret things. 

Chuckling as he stepped from the shadows but biting her tongue to stop from snapping that she was very much not a princess, she watched him. Leaning against the brickwork of the column she couldn't help the soft smile on her face as he interacted with the kids. Almost as soon as he'd said the words 'pastries' they bolted, pails and buckets abandoned as they sprinted back towards the make-shift hut she'd constructed. 

"You could be a tutor?" She called out as she affected to fix her hair, tucking it behind her ear before attempting to realign the straps of her tunica under the cloak, "Instead of a lawyer or tribune? You're good with them." She grinned, feeling relaxed despite herself.

 

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The children all hurried back to the shelter, and Lucius grinned as they slowly walked after them. Ovinia was trying to get her outfit into some semblance of order. She was still dripping water as she walked.

"You could be a tutor? Instead of a lawyer or tribune? You're good with them."

"That would be fun to do. But alas, usually done by slaves or freedmen." Lucius sighed, adjusting his own soaked clothes. "I'm too high born for most of the things I'd like to do. I can't even complain about it." He chuckled. "Let's hope your litter gets here fast. I would't want you to catch a cold."

@Sara

 

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Ovinia rolled her eyes and very, very hesitantly stepped out into the sunlight again from where she had sequestered herself. "I was joking.She tutted, "It'll have to be the legions...you can't tell when somebody is lying or mocking you, absolutely not cut out to be a lawyer. My father has a few of them for clients, trust me I know." 

Walking slowly (very slowly - lest there be kids hiding with buckets of water) back in the vague direction of the hut, she glanced up at him, arching a brow. "How sweet that you worry about me so much. Or do you just want to nurse me back to health? Try out being medicus for a day?" 

 

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"I was joking. It'll have to be the legions...you can't tell when somebody is lying or mocking you, absolutely not cut out to be a lawyer. My father has a few of them for clients, trust me I know." 

Lucius wrinkled his nose at her. It was only a joke because it was so obviously outside the realm of possibility. Which was a shame, according to him, but not according to her. And if being a lawyer was not his calling, the alternative left was the legions.

"How sweet that you worry about me so much. Or do you just want to nurse me back to health? Try out being medicus for a day?" 

Once again, that strange feeling that made him look away, as if she had crossed a line in her joking, even though he did not know what the other side was.

"You know I might not make a good lawyer, but you are missing out on being a stellar comedian." 

@Sara

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Ovinia furnished him with a grin and a mock bow as they drew closer to the hut. The kids were rifling through Lucius' sack without a care in the world, evidently on the hunt for more food. The melon had already been taken, as had the pastries judging by the crumbs left behind on the grass. 

"One of my fathers clients is a woman," She commented as she hesitated a few yards away from the kids - warily watching them to see if they had any more buckets or soaked rags hidden near them, ready for attack, "She runs a grain import business. I can't imagine anything worse...I mean, a comedian at least you'd have time off but..." She wrinkled her nose, "That poor woman spends all her life working. Never married, according to Decimus." 

 

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The children had taken Lucius at his word, and descended on the food like locusts. Oh well, at least they had kept up their end of the bargain.

"Not big on work, are we" He smirked at her. They were back to the banter from... having uncomfortable thoughts. "Who's Decimus? One of your brothers?" He kept forgetting them, there were just too damn many. He'd learn when one of them came to kill him.

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She arched a brow, glancing across at him. "Raising a family and running a household is work, thank you very much." She scoffed, shaking her head. For women of her class that's all there was. That and running meaningless charities or hosting parties, but she thought he'd laugh out loud if she said anything on that. 

Still hanging back from the kids, she folded her arms around her waist. He was right - despite the summer sun, she was getting cold. "No," She shook her head, rolling her eyes, "Pay attention. My brothers are Tullus, Gaius, Lucius and Tertius...Decimus is another of papa's clients. He does spice imports and other things." 

 

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"Raising a family and running a household is work, thank you very much." 

"Fair." He was not going to question how much effort it took to run a Roman household. He had seen his mother do it. And children were always a handful. Even so, her mention of another name in passing piqued his interest. Who was Decimus?

 "Pay attention. My brothers are Tullus, Gaius, Lucius and Tertius...Decimus is another of papa's clients. He does spice imports and other things." 

"I see" he quirked an eyebrow. One of her father's clients with whom she was swapping gossip in passing. "And here I thought I was the only one gossiping with the merchants."

@Sara

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She chuckled and couldn't help the flush that came to her cheeks. It had been a few months since she'd last seen him, after the failed attempt to get her father consider a marriage he'd been forbidden from attending the salutatio until her father had calmed down. And even now he'd been allowed to return, Ovinia was not to venture into the tablinum or anywhere near it when Decimus was in attendance. It was frustrating, and irksome. 

"Not gossip," She chided, rolling her eyes and clearing her throat awkwardly, "Just conversation. Trying to learn to be a good hostess, isn't that what a wife does? Greet her husband's clients and make them feel welcome?" She sniffed, water still in her sinuses and chill eating at her bones. "You'll have to give me the low-down on all of your brothers, should things progress...I don't want to seem an idiot..." 

 

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"Not gossip. Just conversation. Trying to learn to be a good hostess, isn't that what a wife does? Greet her husband's clients and make them feel welcome?"

Lucius shrugged. He was not sure how things went in families like her. His mother had raised them out in the countryside, his father had died early, and Gaius was not married yet. But at least Ovinia seemed to take her duties as a Roman matron very seriously already. He did not doubt she'd be good at it.

"You'll have to give me the low-down on all of your brothers, should things progress...I don't want to seem an idiot..." 

"I doubt you ever would." Lucius smiled, more genuinely this time. He could see she was shivering, still very much soaked through. He patted one of the children on the head. He looked like a hamster with his cheesk full of pastry. "Go bring the lady a cloak. You're the weaver's kid, right? Servius'? Tell your parents I will pay for it. Go."

@Sara

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Ovinia rolled her eyes at him, thinking quite earnestly that he was being sarcastic. She mumbled through chattering teeth; "What happened at the Portico...and here was a blip. I'm really quite serious, you know." Or she liked to believe she was. In retrospect, maybe she was just trying desperately to get her youth out of the way and settle down. 

As she watched the interaction she felt relief flood through her and nodded gratefully at the boy who scurried off. "I'll pay you back I..." She reached for her hip and then winced. Her slave had her coin purse. Which meant for all intents and purposes she was stranded here with no money. She unconsciously shifted closer to Lucius. "I take it you've done an apprenticeship with the weaver then?" She said as she wrapped his soaked cloak further around her frame, "If you know his kid?" 

 

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"What happened at the Portico...and here was a blip. I'm really quite serious, you know." 

"I know, but do you have to be?" Lucius noted with an amused smile. Seriousness was overrated, especially in a young woman like Ovinia. She was already expected to be chaste, elegant, and a bunch of other things.

Right now, she mostly looked cold. He sent a kid to get her a dry cloak. 

"I'll pay you back I... I take it you've done an apprenticeship with the weaver then? If you know his kid?" 

"Not exactly" he laughed, not surprised she would assume so. "But I have shopped from him and he does good work. Friendly family, too. And you don't need to pay me back. I think it's better for both of us if you don't go home wearing my cloak."

Because there would be questions.

@Sara

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"Of course I have to be." She mumbled with an undertone if what a stupid question"Well..." She frowned to herself, pulling her knees up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them under the cloak. Despite the summer sun, the wind was freezing her bones, "I guess it depends on who I'm trying to impress. Some of the men who have tried for my hand like a lighter personality, some like a more serious one." She glanced across at him, "I think your brother is the latter." 

Sniffing due to the chill, she managed a bubble of laughter despite herself. "True. But that could play into your story of the gallant hero who saved me from a gang of rowdy kids." She chuckled, "And I don't want to get into debt with you. Who knows what you'll ask of me for repayment." She offered him a sly smile, even though she really shouldn't. 

 

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 "I guess it depends on who I'm trying to impress. Some of the men who have tried for my hand like a lighter personality, some like a more serious one. I think your brother is the latter." 

Matchmaking was a game, a science, and an art form. Ovinia was playing it very consciously, weighing her options, and adapting to the task. With four brothers, it had to be difficult. Lucius wondered what she would be like if she thought a lighter personality could get her what she wanted.

"True. But that could play into your story of the gallant hero who saved me from a gang of rowdy kids. And I don't want to get into debt with you. Who knows what you'll ask of me for repayment." 

"Another song" Lucius answered with a grin. She was shivering, and his hand twitched, wanting to wrap her up into something warm. Luckily, the weaver's kid returned triumphantly with a dry cloak. Lucius gave him some coins and he ran away, excited. "Alright, you can pay me back, if it makes you feel better." He took the wet cloak from her, and wrapped the dry one around her shoulders. He could feel her shivering as he pulled it around her, and rubbed her shoulders in the process. He was feeling cold too, being similarly soaked. "There. Better?"

@Sara

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Ovinia gave him an expression of pure displeasure before it fell into an eyeroll. She knew he was teasing her, and she couldn't help but chuckle despite her discomfort. At least she could laugh at her mistake now. That was probably better, healthier for her than beating her up with self loathing. 

The boy returned and almost as soon as he dumped down the cloak Ovinia's nose wrinkled and she cast the garment a suspicious look. It looked made fit for a Pleb. But she was cold and as Lucius deftly withdrew his own soaking cloak and wrapped her up in the scratchy fabric of the new one, she let out a breath of relief.

She didn't realise she sank into his hand as it rubbed across her shoulder blades. It was comforting, it was nice. She gave him a grateful look and her eyes lingered on his face for just a beat too long. "Yes." She swallowed the lump in her throat and shook her head, realising the position she was in and shuffled away from him on the blanket. "Thanks." She mumbled and then glanced down at the cloak, "Though it's really not my colour and it's so itchy..." Levity, levity was better than confronting whatever moment that was. 

 

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He made sure she was as warm and comfortable wrapped up in the dry cloak as she could be. He could feel her shivering, and as he looked down he met her eyes, lingering for a moment too long. She shuffled away the next moment, and Lucius wrappef his arms around himself. Damn cold.

"Thanks. Though it's really not my colour and it's so itchy..."

Lucius rolled his eyes and reached out to tug on the corner of the itchy fabric.

"Oh, well, in that case, I'm happy to take it back. I'm sure a silk cloai will keep you just as warm..."

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