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Aeterna Roma RPG

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September, 76 AD

Sosia was busy in Rome, trying to find a way to please her father and her brother. Although it had never really been an issue before, suddenly it was a huge issue that they found a husband for her, before she reached the age of 20. Apparently it was best to get married at a young age, so that you could have plenty of children while you yourself were also strong and healthy. Sosia didn’t mind children, they were sweet, but it was hard to imagine herself as a mother.

 She had already visited the Aedes Vesta recently, to make a sacrifice, and now the turn had come to ask Minerva for help and guidance too. Minerva covered a great many subjects, so it was easy to find a reason to visit her temple. And wasn’t it beautiful? She thought so when she stepped out of her litter, into the bright sun of this September day and looked up at the temple. It still wasn’t really cold, but you could sometimes feel a cool breeze, different from the summer heat in Rome. She pulled her palla around her and waited for her slave to hand her the sacrifices she’d make. Once again she had managed to find beautiful flowers for the goddess and in a cloth was a carefully wrapped small almond pie.

 Quietly she climbed the stairs alone, holding the palla in place with one hand and the offerings in her other. She had no free hands. And it all went well. Finally she could step into the faint light of the temple, although she could see nothing as she approached the entrance. Outside it was bright and light and to her it seemed to be pitch black inside, which it of course wasn’t.

 She walked in. Or, almost. Because on the way in, she walked straight into someone leaving the temple. They were almost the same height, so it was only good fortune that they didn’t butt heads. Sosia however stumbled and to balance herself she let go of the palla, which fell off and down the steps behind her. Despite that, it was natural for her to be the one exclaiming an apology, “Oh, oops, I’m so sorry! I hope you’re alright!” She said, looking up at the young man, who was still a stranger to her.

@Sarah

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Minerva, goddess of wisdom, of defensive warfare strategy, of justice and law. Also of the arts and crafts, commerce and medicine. All things that the great Empire of Rome had need of, and many of them things that Tiberius either felt he had need of, or feared he might have need of in the future. One ignored the influence of the Gods at one's peril, and Tiberious could ill afford Minerva's wrath; rather he courted her good opinion with an amphora of olive oil, an ornate silver pin, and a set of fine parchment quills, entrusted to her priestesses. At her next festival he would send a cow for sacrifice.

Since Quintus's abdication, Tiberius had become acutely aware that the fate of the Empire was coming to rest on the shoulders of his generation, and so he prayed for Minerva's wisdom in leading them, her tactical acumen in defending all their forebears had wrought, and her bounty to keep the Empire supplied with it's need. And of course her guidance in law and justice. Already on the Cursus Honorum, he turned 20 in November, and it was likely that Tiberius would become a military tribune. He would need her guidance then.

One hand clutching the fine, snowy white wool of his toga, worn over the tunica laticlavia with it's broad purple stripes, Tiberius strode from the temple deep in thought, one Praetorian Guard following him. Unfortunately as he stepped into the blinding portal, someone tried to enter the other way, and unable to see each other, the two of them collided. Tiberius immediately stepped back, all too aware that such an 'accident' could cover a knife. But the form of the other had been soft and scented with flowers.

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“Oh, oops, I’m so sorry! I hope you’re alright!”

A woman's voice. Tiberius held up his hand to forestall any effort by his guard to rush forward, though history had shown that even women could be assassins. But if she wanted to, the opportunity had passed. Blue eyes looked quickly over the woman in front of him - young, slim, dark hair and eyes - and then to the fabric of the palla that had slipped from her grasp to land on the steps.

It was a simple accident.

"I'm fine, thank you." He said with a faint, reassuring smile. "Are you hurt?" No one was at fault, but it would not do for a lady to be injured.

Stepping past her to catch the fine fabric before the mischievious breeze could whisk it away, Tiberius quickly bundled it up in his hands. Very fine, and her stola suggested that she was from a family of good means, yet either she'd not worn the palla pinned, or the pin had been lost. Straightening back up, Tiberius held the fabric out to her. "Yours, I believe. Was there a pin with it?" It would be a shame if a fine pin or brooch had disappeared.

@Atrice

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She looked over the man whom she walked into and he didn't seem that much older than her. But very handsome and even wearing a white toga! He must be high ranked, she thought to herself, and inwardly she scolded herself for having walked into him like that. Luckily, she made it clear from the start that she was at fault for walking into him. He looked her over too and then said he was fine and asked if she was hurt. Sosia could not help but smile, he spoke very elegantly and seemed friendly.

"No... no, merely surprised, that's all. And there's no harm in that." She added kindly, still smiling lightly, while he stepped past her and picked up her palla from the steps behind her. He held it towards her, but since she still held the flowers and the cake with her other hand, she only had one hand free and it did not seem appropriate to just hold the palla clutched together there.

"It is mine. I did not have a pin in it. Would you... would you mind wrapping it around my shoulders again?" She asked, else she'd have to put the flowers and the pie down on the ground and since they were for the goddess, it didn't seem right to do that. She wouldn't like to receive flowers and something to eat, that someone had laid on the ground, so why should a goddess like that? At least the toga-wearing young man was kind, it seemed. He must be high ranked. Her father and brother would surely cherish her meeting this man. Maybe the goddess Minerva favored her already?

@Sarah

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"It is mine. I did not have a pin in it. Would you... would you mind wrapping it around my shoulders again?"

His glance fell to the offerings in her hands. Beautiful flowers and a delicious pie; enjoyable but not terribly expensive. She was carrying them, rather than a slave, and had no pin for her palla, yet her clothing was fine. Good family fallen on hard times, or family on the up and up? All these thoughts flashed through Tiberius's mind, largely automatically, as he returned her smile and carefully unfolded the palla again, letting the fine cloth spread out in the breeze. He'd been trained to assess people on first meeting, and warned that families would be likely to place their daughters in his path, now that he was of age. But none of that was any reason not to be chivalric to the young lady herself, who seemed very pleasant. And comely.

"So long as you will vouch that there was no impropriety." He replied quietly, gently looping the fabric over her finely done hair, and about her shoulders, then drawing the edges to her less burdened hand so that she could grasp it. She'd presumably been holding the palla before he'd bumped into her, much as he was holding his toga, and had simply lost her grip. "I trust that is satisfactory?" He asked in dry amusement, well aware that he wasn't qualifying as a body slave any time soon.

"May I know your name, and your paterfamilias?" He asked mildly, curious. That would tell him who she was, and who her family were, and he would be certain to remember both. She could bet that by evening he'd know more about her family than he had this morning as well.

@Atrice

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She noticed how he looked her over and she wondered if he liked what he saw. He appeared to be of high rank, with the white toga and all that. She must seem so clumsy to him. She dropped her palla, but only because she forgot to bring a pin. Besides, she was taken here in a litter and all she was here for, was the temple. She didn’t need it. Or, apparently she did. Her body slave Helia waited by the litter, she wanted to do this on her own.

 Yet now she was not on her own. She smiled gently as he unfolded the palla and he joked about impropriety, as he wrapped the palla over her hair and shoulders. He reached the edges to her hand, so that she could hold it again and she was suddenly very aware of how close he stood in order to wrap the palla around her. How close his hands were to her body. Her father would not approve, she was sure, but he was not here. The whole thing made her heart beat faster. But she didn’t even know him. She felt warmth in her cheeks and hoped he didn’t notice.

 “No impropriety as far as I know. You’re very elegant.” She said with a smile to him and chuckled at his next words, “It is very, thank you.” She looked up at him, he asked for her name now. Of course. They should get past this point. 

“Horatia Sosia, my father is Gaius Horatius Justinius.” She explained, “And what is yours?”

@Sarah

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Elegant? Was he? Whilst he might occasionally be complimented on his maturity or grasp of current politics, elegant wasn't something that Tiberius thought he'd ever been called before. The young man's cheeks flushed slightly, and for a rare moment he felt that he didn't know what to say. "Thank you. You're very beautiful." Was what came out.

As soon as he said it, Tiberius cringed inwardly, even as he kept a warm smile on his face. How was it that the older men could be so right, that a young woman might indeed make a fool of him, and to be careful. Presumably because they too had been young men once. Oh well, it was out. Best pretend that he'd meant it deliberately, rather than out of genuine startlement.

Besides, it was true. She was beautiful, and pleasant to speak to. And as she gave her father's name, the dupondius dropped. He knew the name, vaguely. If he recalled correctly, Horatius Justinius was a Senator who'd fled Rome during the purges, like so many. But unlike many, he hadn't returned permanently, rather staying at his estate and attending the capital when the Senate was sitting. Sometimes with his son; rarely with his wife. This young woman had probably grown up in the country, and was unaccustomed to life in Rome. In some ways he envied her the freedom he imagined she must have had. Regardless they were a well respected family. He wondered what had brought them back to Rome now?

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Lady Sosia." He replied, entirely honestly. "I am Tiberius Claudius Sabucius." He said with a slight bow. "My apologies for interrupting you on your way to pay homage to Minerva."

@Atrice

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He was very elegant, in her opinion. Very polite and kind. Although he had stepped close to her, but she was the one who asked him to do so and she hoped that didn’t make him think less of her. But it would seem it wasn’t so, as he thanked her for her compliment and then said she was beautiful. Now she did definitely feel warmth in her cheeks and she closed her eyes briefly, she had not expected to hear that when she came here today, but she almost felt honored. Surely this must mean Minerva was already grateful for her appearance here.

 “Thank you, I… you flatter me. I am honored that you find me so… pleasing.” Was that the right reply to such a statement? She’d been called beautiful before. But mostly by family. And they shielded her from having to deal with the other gender the last few years, so it had been some time now. And yet here it was. How could she not be flattered?

 But luckily he’d also asked into her name and she gladly gave it, along with whom her father was. The young man replied as elegantly as he’d done before and then said his own name. It rang a bell somewhere. She felt she should know who he was. Judging by his clothes and the way he spoke, he had a high rank in Rome. Her father would know who exactly he was. And she already felt that she really should be honored, shouldn’t she?

 “It is a pleasure to meet you too, despite the incident just before. And I don’t find you’re interrupting me at all. Not when you treat me so nicely.” She replied with a smile to him, “Maybe it is a sign… that the goddess wishes us both well.”

@Sarah

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It was a little reassuring that, for a brief moment, she seemed almost as flustered as he felt. He'd been warned that women could be great actors - just as men - but it didn't feel like an act. Either Sosia was the slightly unworldly young woman that she seemed, or she was very, very good. And he didn't think he could pick the difference; he might have grown up in Rome but Tiberius had been closeted in his own way, likewise for his safety. But there was no harm in what was said, and he decided that it was preferable to assume the best, until he had cause to think otherwise. He wanted to assume the best. A lovely young woman from the country, going to the temple, whose only crime was having timing as bad as his own.

And it was hardly an unpleasant encounter.

It was a pleasant thought in a way, that Minerva herself might have a hand in their respective terrible timing, if also slightly unnerving. Did one truly want the direct attentions of a God? "It would be nice to think that she wishes us well." Though he was aware that they were taking up space on the steps of the temple, and he had duties to attend to. "And that I might see you at future events." After all, being from a Senatorial family, she should move in the same kind of circles. In fact, he was planning to discuss organising a more informal party with Marcus Julius Silanus, when he next caught up with him.

But time moved on. "I need to continue, and I dare say that Minerva is hungry." He smiled and nodded to the pie that Sosia still carried. "But you have brightened my morning." He assured her. "I hope the Goddess continues to smile on you this day, and please give my regards to your father." It never hurt to cultivate a potential political ally, especially one with so pleasant a daughter.

Yes, he'd definitely invite her to the party.

@Atrice

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She definitely felt flustered and at first she’d not been sure he would notice, or she had hoped he would not, but when he called her beautiful, it was impossible to not be flattered and flustered all at the same time! She was not used to this kind of attention, but how could she not welcome it? And from someone like him. Her father would approve, she thought. He wore a white toga and he was elegant and even attractive, how could she not admire him?

 He agreed that it would be nice to think that the goddess would wish them well. She nodded, glad that he agreed and then he added he hoped he’d see her again.

 Sosia felt she blushed again, “I hope that I may see you again too.” She said and didn’t know if that was a stupid thing to say or what. But it’s what she felt and hoped for, truly. He was so kind and friendly. Then he said he had to go and she’d brightened his morning. She dipped her head politely when he took his leave.

 “I am certain the goddess is already smiling upon you, Tiberius.” She said and stood there until he was gone. He said she was beautiful. That he hoped to see her again. That she had brightened his morning. When he was out of sight, she carefully ducked into the faint light of the temple to present the pie and the flowers to the statue of Minerva. She thanked Minerva for her kindness and for allowing her to meet Tiberius at her temple. May Minerva bless her with wisdom and courage to continue this adventurous life in Rome and please her family. And Tiberius. Gods she hoped it was not a lie, when he said all those things.

@Sarah

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