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Sunshine and dirt- what more does one need...


Tacita
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A new home, a new family to serve…while yes that meant a new routine, change was something Tacita was very familiar with. She had been a part of Aulus’ household now for about 4 months and although she had been a surprise to the household, she had certainly done her best to try and fit in. When it came to duties she was also fairly easy going – she wasn’t overly familiar with the more ornate jobs a female slave might do but she was good with general household tasks.

This day found her assisting the gardener- which meant she got to be outside enjoying the sun. She took off the satchel she always carried with her, which gave her the ‘voice’ she didn’t have and set it on the ground next to her then knelt next to the flower bed. With the beautiful July weather the plant was flourishing, but there were some dead blossoms on it which needed to be removed. Tacita stretched out a hand and with a gently twist the blossom came off in her hand. Taking a moment before reaching for the next dead head she looked down at the one resting in her hand- gardens had always amazed & intrigued her. It amazed her that something so beautiful could come from a seed in the dirt. She set it down and reached for the next one ready to remove it as well.

(Open- to anyone in Aulus' household)

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Aulus' schedule today was unusually, unexpectedly light, and he found himself in the garden of his house, a place beloved of his wife (and for good reason). It was a beautiful, restful place to spend a few minutes, or an afternoon, however long.

He was not needed anywhere in an official capacity today, and came out to enjoy the cool peacefulness of the garden, wearing only a tunic, glad to forego the complicated heavy folds of his purple-striped toga for a while.

He watched the slaves working for a moment, not needing to interrupt them as he sipped from the glass of wine he was holding. One of the slaves was the girl he had recently bought for Horatia, and he smiled - how fitting that she should be out here, in Horatia's favourite place in the house.

"Good morning," he said after a moment. "How are you settling in?"

 

@Jenn

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Tacita enjoyed the sounds of the other slaves working around the domus. As someone unable to engage in verbal communication, if it wasn’t for others around her making conversation her life would be a very quiet world. She let her gaze wander around before turning her attention back to the task at hand.

She reached out a hand to twist another dead bloom off the plant. Footsteps came up along the pathway. “Good Morning…How are you settling in?” Tacita looked over her shoulder to find Aulus, her Dominus, standing beside her. She picked up her bag as she scrambled to her feet with a smile on her face. After pointing to herself and the bag she took out her tablet and scrawled a quick answer. “Good morning Dominus. I think I am settling in well…” While a slave doesn’t normally get a say where they are sold/where they go, she felt that she had been lucky.

@Sharpie

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Aulus did not have a problem with allowing the girl to communicate the best way that she could, especially as there was really only one way she could communicate. She had grown comfortable enough in the house to reach for her tablet and stylus without thinking about it, which was good.

He found a bench where he could sit down; his height meant he loom over the shorter slave with little effort and he did not want to loom over anyone (well, not today) nor to appear threatening. His position as the master of the house must be quite intimidating enough without adding to it.

"Do you like working in the garden, or is there something else you like doing more?" he asked.

@Jenn

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When she heard his question and noted that it wasn’t a simple yes/no answer, she hadn’t even hesitated to point to her tablet. Before she had been taught to write, she would have struggled to express herself. While she would never be a scribe, she was grateful that one of her former masters had made the decision to have her taught to write- it was very basic writing but it gave her a voice. After the first few days of ‘asking’ for permission to use her tablet to answer she now regularly reached for it without even thinking about it. She never went anywhere without it.

As Aulus found a bench to sit on nearby she figured their ‘conversation’ was finished but he technically hadn’t dismissed her so she turned in his direction. Just as she did that he asked her another question. “Do you like working in the garden, or is there something else you like doing more?” Did she like working in the garden or was there something else she liked doing more? Tacita was the definition of a ‘general household slave’. She was usually easy going and did whatever tasks were assigned to her. She honestly didn’t know how to answer his question. “I like the tasks I am given- I help out where I am needed.”

@Sharpie

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Well, that answered that; he'd been told! Aulus managed a smile. "Well, you're a good girl and a hard worker. I just wondered if there was anything you particularly liked to do and would like to do more of? Or are there any skills you would like to learn?"

He wasn't sure why he was bothering so much about a slave - Horatia would probably think he had gone soft! On the other hand, Horatia knew him best of anybody and wouldn't think that because she'd seen him in his quiet moments with the children. It would be Cassius Longinus and Sulpicius Rufus who would think he'd gone soft, and neither of them were here to witness this conversation, thank Jupiter.

 

@Jenn

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"Well, you're a good girl and a hard worker. I just wondered… He just wondered? Did he think she was being rude? The master/slave dynamic was hard enough without communication issues getting in the way. She got anxious worrying that he misunderstood what she meant. …if there was anything you particularly liked to do and would like to do more of? Or are there any skills you would like to learn?"

To say she was confused by his line of questioning was an understatement. It was safe to say it had been a while since she had a Dominus like him, perhaps Octavianus had been the closest- he was the one who felt she should learn to write. What kind of skills was he referring to? Picking up the stylus she took a breath and began to scratch out a reply. “I apologize Dominus… I meant I’m happy here & love my work.” She was stumped about the new skills question- that would require more thinking on her part. “Can I think about other skills- I don't know now?”

@Sharpie

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"Of course," Aulus replied to her written question. "If there is anything you'd like to learn, I'm sure it can be arranged - just ask your mistress."

He was sure she was an intelligent girl, and adding skills would make her more flexible and employable in the house, and add to her value. Though that wasn't something he really thought about, there was no need to sell her or part with her; she was a good, hard worker, as evidenced by the tidiness of the flowerbed where she'd been working.

"You can tell your mistress if you have any problems, as well - or talk with Felix." Although 'talk' was probably completely the wrong word to use when she couldn't speak, of course. 'Communicate with Felix' just sounded clumsy.

 

@Jenn

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