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September 76 AD

It was still pleasant out, though a little brisker than the height of summer, but warm enough that the gardens could still be enjoyed in the evening, the spaces set aside for the party warmed by strategically placed braziers and lit by taller torches. They gave a flickering light, sometimes gentle and sometimes casting odd shadows, but adding a playful and at the same time primal air to the event.

Invitees had never-the-less been encouraged to bring a warm cloak, toga or palla, just in case. But it was meant to be a relaxed evening, not a stuffy, formal event. In his ponderings over the illnesses of Caesar's past, Tiberius had developed a hypothesis that one potential cause could be stress, and so this evening was meant to be something of a stress relief, a fun and fanciful time with friends, particularly for Titus. He'd invited their siblings and cousins, along with their peers. None of the older generation, whom he'd been accustomed to thinking of as the 'adults', because suddenly he and his were adults. There would be other, formal events for all generations in the near future, he was certain.

Food had been organised, not a multi-course, reclined cena but rather platters of tasty, nibbly delicacies, carried by slaves or placed on strategic stone tables. Other slaves carried pitchers of wine, ranging from the vinyards along the Tiber through to Greek vintages, and elegant glass cups were available to drink from. Tiberius had asked Marcus Junius Silanus to organise entertainment, and already a flautist was playing a merry tune by one brazier, whilst nearby a juggler tossed coloured leather balls in increasingly complex patterns whilst balancing another on their nose.

The layout of the gardens meant that there were several spaces, corners for conversation or the central area for lively conviviality. Here and there Praetorian Guards were unobtrusive in the shadows, keeping an eye on their Imperial charges, whilst more screened entrants at the gates. Once inside, the gardens seemed almost magical.

(OOC: Open to:

  • Characters under 30, of Imperial or Patrician class, as guests
  • Slaves of guests
  • Hired entertainers.)
Edited by Sarah
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Lucius had a spring in his step as he walked into the party. He did not usually enjoy there affairs, even less so when they involved people his own age. Especially when they were just for men. This one, however, promised to be both interesting - and impossible to miss. An imperial invitation, via his new friend Silanus, who had not given up yet on finding Lucius a suitable match. Be it for marriage or for a career. And at least this time ladies were also invited. That meant fewer prostitutes and more interesting conversation.

None of this was, however, why Lucius felt so alive. But that was a story for another time.

Walking into the gardens, he looked around, admiring the setup. It really looked elegant and expensive. He had not met any of the imperials in person before - that was Gaius' ambition - but at least he could mingle and look around without the anxiety of meeting the entire family in a formal setting. From what he had heard from Silanus, Tiberius Claudius Sabucius was quite an intelligent young man.

Drinks were offered, and Lucius accepted a glass cup of wine from a slave, glancing around to see if he could find Silanus. He would probably need introductions first.

@Sarah

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Marcus had been busy since that day he and Tiberius agreed on having this party. Since that day at the baths. It was nice having something to do with your time, other than just waiting to wear a toga as one of the vigintiviri and that had not happened yet. Instead he was just a youth, attending his classes on various subjects, bored with half of them and then off to have fun somewhere in the night. He'd been the right person to speak to, concerning parties... he had great experience with attending them! So now that he had the change to arrange it, together with Tiberius, he enjoyed it quite a lot. Food was scattered on platters here and there, there was plenty of wine and so far, some simple entertainment. As the evening moved on, more entertainment would come. Marcus had found a theatre group who'd perform some sort of interesting play once everyone had a bit to drink and maybe some of the finest of the Domus Venus were attending later too. They often had skills besides pleasure below, after all.

But that was for later. Now was now and Marcus was dressed up finely in a blue tunica with a matching toga and of course, lined with orange, to really make it all stand out. His hair was 'fresh' as they'd say, not really orderly, and yet, it was meant to look like that. With a warm smile on his face he began greeting the first guests as they arrived, telling everyone to eat and drink as they pleased and besides that, just relax and have a good time. It was meant to be informal. 

His smile widened as Lucius appeared among the new arrivals and he grasped a cup of wine and approached his new friend.

"Lucius, I am so glad you could come!" He said cheerfully, "This can only turn out better than the party the night we met... it was so dull, remember? This time, it's everything it should be." He knew, because he helped arrange it! Of course it could not be everything, as his idea of a party went even further than what the Imperials would allow, but still... it would be good! Very good! 

@Sarah @Chevi

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The day of the party had finally arrived. Tiberius had to admit that he was excited, he'd been looking forward to it since his conversation with Marcus, and he hoped that it would be the fun and relaxing evening that he'd intended, and that Titus particularly could enjoy some time to relax. Hopefully they all would. Still, he was a little nervous behind his politician's facade; he wasn't exactly the most experienced at either parties or planning them; more so at formal dinners. But that was why he'd enlisted help.

So far everything had gone to plan, and even Tiberius had to admit that, as the twilight faded, the Hortulus did look inviting and slightly mysterious. Something to intrigue and entertain, with it's braziers and entertainers. He himself was wearing a deep purple tunica with a thin lines of gold thread embroidery at all the fashionable places, a bright, white toga over the top. The tunica had been made for him for formal events, and since he was hosting he supposed that he should look the part.

At least he wasn't doing it alone. "Marcus, there you are." He greeted his friend with a smile as he approached. "Being the perfect host already, I feel tardy." He turned that smile to the dark haired fellow who looked to be a few years older than the two them. "But you must introduce me." He urged, wondering whether this might be the man whom Marcus had asked him to invite; he'd sounded like he would interesting to talk to.

@Atrice@Chevi

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Ovinia glanced around in awe. She'd never been to the palace before, and certainly never into the inner sanctum and gardens and now she saw why - even being of Patrician birth and with an esteemed lineage, they were so resplendent they weren't meant for somebody like her, they were meant for the enjoyment and luxury of the imperials. Despite her usual confidence, she had to admit she was made a little breathless by the sight. 

Her favourite brother, Lucius, was chaperoning for this evening but as he looked around the gardens and the bevvy of beauties that filled them she could tell he was already distracted. She chuckled and nudged him with her hip; "I'll be fine if you want to catch-up with other friends," He gave her an easy grin, "It's an imperial party - I'm hardly going to end up dead in some ditch if you leave me by myself." Lucius agreed with a nod and a chuckle, leaning down to kiss her cheek; "Fine, but be good. And don't tell Father." before straightening up and barrelling off to see somebody he had spotted when they entered, an old legion-friend perhaps.

Dressed to impress in an expensive emerald chiton, tightly belted around her waist, and a gauzy palla that did little to keep out the chill but did suffice as an expensive, richly decorated accessory, she looked the part. Her long dark hair was left loose around her shoulders given she was still unmarried, and gold bangles and necklaces glinted in the torchlight. Still, despite looking the part at that precise moment she didn't exactly feel it. Without her brother's lumbering presence next to her she was alone and groups of conversation had already started to form, none with her in. She darted her eyes around the gardens, trying to catch the eye of somebody she knew to be invited over...

 

TAG: @Atrice @Chevi @Sarah 

 

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Her brother Gaius had accompanied her to the Imperial palace tonight. Her father would have it no other way, if Sosia was to go to this party. And although Gaius was not invited, he was not going to stray far from the palace, just to a nearby poppina and he would wait there for Sosia. Meanwhile Sosia's body slave Helia would follow her inside and was instructed to send a messenger boy to Gaius, should anything happen to Sosia. She sighed as she heard them discuss the instructions before she went in, as if she was some small child and not a grown woman invited to the party by none other than Tiberius Claudius Sabubicus! Since she met him, she'd found out who he was. That he was the son of a former Caesar and the infamous Lucilla Augusta, of whom she'd always heard a lot. Think, that he was related to them! It almost made him god-like in her eyes, she'd heard tales but never thought she would meet someone like him. And he had said all those things to her the day they met, and she barely knew who he was! But her father told her all about it and would surely write to her mother about it too.

And now, here she was, at the palace. She thought she might meet him here. Did he send the invitation? Her father hadn't said. But she was here. At the palace. It was so grand. It was nothing like the villa near Capua or their domus in the city. It was so vast.

She wore a stunning crimson gown, that went well with her dark and curly hair and her hazel eyes - and her skin, like slightly tanned marble. Over it she wore a thin, matching palla. Her father said it had been her mothers once, when she was young. Now it was Horatia Sosia's turn to wear it. And together with her slave Helia she entered, soon arriving at the gardens of the palace. It looked so stunning! So exciting, like a story she'd heard once but now got to experience. She stood for a moment, just taking it all in, until a slave passed her with a tray with goblets and asked if she'd like one. Oh of course! She picked one up and looked at Helia with a happy smile and ventured further in. She barely knew anyone here. It was all so new to her. 

And then she did see someone she knew! Gods, of all places, they would reunite here! 

"Ovinia!" She said with a grin, approaching the girl she met on the way to Rome, "I did not know I would see you here! It's so exciting, isn't it? You look beautiful! How have you been?" 

@Sara @Sarah @Chevi

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Marcus rather enjoyed the feeling of being important – the feeling of being someone who mattered. So what if he was one of the youngest people here, that changed nothing. He still helped the planning, he made contact with entertainment, he sent out a lot of messengers with invitations and everything. And now was the perfect night for a party. It had barely begun and he already loved every moment of it. Hopefully, the future would be just like this. Marcus doing things for people that would make them happy and at the same time, pleasing those who were superior to him.

 As he greeted guests and Lucius just arriving, Tiberius more or less snuck up on him from behind. He looked dashing too, in the purple tunica and a white toga, as it was proper for his class. He greeted Marcus, calling him a perfect host and then he would meet Lucius of course.

 “Don’t feel tardy, you’re… fashionably late, as you should be, right?” He joked with his friend and then nodded with a smile, “Tiberius, this is my friend Lucius Vipsanius Roscius that I told you about. Lucius, meet Tiberius Claudius Sabucius… we used to run around playing here as kids. Quite a different game we’re playing tonight I think.” He added with a happy grin and thought he saw Ovinia arrive, but he was busy, so he’d have to give her a proper greeting later.

@Sara @Sarah @Chevi

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Silanus appeared in a matter of minutes, with a wide smile and a cheerful greeting. He moved in the palace gardens as if he was at home.

"Lucius, I am so glad you could come! This can only turn out better than the party the night we met... it was so dull, remember? This time, it's everything it should be." 

"This is already better than most parties I have been to" Lucius grinned, glancing around. Nothing was bound to be dull when one was spending time with the young and wealthy on the Palatine... At worst, it was going to be memorable. 

Another young man approached them, and Lucius recognized one of the imperial princes by sight.

"Marcus, there you are. Being the perfect host already, I feel tardy. But you must introduce me." 

Oh. There was a reason the invitation had come from Silanus.

Other guests were arriving too, and someone was calling out a familiar name. Lucius was momentarily distracted, glancing in the direction of a group of women. Of course, his brother's intended would be where the fancy party was. Too bad Gaius wasn't. He said he was too old to participate in such events anyway.

“Don’t feel tardy, you’re… fashionably late, as you should be, right? Tiberius, this is my friend Lucius Vipsanius Roscius that I told you about. Lucius, meet Tiberius Claudius Sabucius… we used to run around playing here as kids. Quite a different game we’re playing tonight I think.” 

"An honor to meet you." he turned his attention back to Tiberius with a smile "Thank you for the invitation. And what" he arched an eyebrow at Silanus "games are you referring to, pray tell?"

@Atrice @Sara @Sarah

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Marcus's companion proved to be the young man whom he'd told Tiberius about; the very Lucius whom rumour had it was very different from the political aspirations of his father and brother, but rather had an unusual approach towards class and station. That intrigued Tiberius, who was well aware that every person in the Empire, from the lowest slave to the most pompous patrician, played an important part in the the functioning of the Empire. He'd been looking forward to meeting Lucius.

"It's agreeable to meet you, Vipsanius Roscius." The young Imperial replied in turn. Lucius looked to be a little older than him. "I've looked forward to the opportunity to speak with you."

As they were introduced, Lucius glanced away for a moment, and Tiberius followed his gaze, seeing that two young woman had arrived, one of whom he recognised. He felt a warmth at seeing Sosia there; she had received his invitation and been allowed to attend. He decided that this was a good thing. The other young lady he didn't know, though clearly Sosia did. It was good that she had a companion here.

But Lucius was asking about the games that Marcus had alluded to. "You shall have to ask Marcus himself; he has organised the entertainment." Which had the added benefit of Tiberius being able to claim no involvement, if something did go awry. But he doubted it would. Marcus knew what made a good party.

"But come, Marcus, we must be good hosts." He gestured to indicate that they should follow, and led the three youths in the direction of the two young ladies. "Lady Sosia, I'm glad that you could come." He offered the dark-eyed young woman a warm smile, before turning his gaze to her friend. "And I don't believe that I've had the pleasure." He said, hoping that someone would do the honours.

@Atrice@Sara@Chevi

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The party that greeted Rutiliana as she found her way into the hortulus was not the stuffy formal occasion she had been accustomed to. She wasn't quite sure what she actually preferred, she had only had a small taste upon coming of age to experience the events her father and step mother organized. Events no doubt would maintain a hold upon the imperial palace considering that her uncles and aunts were all still very much daily figures within the workings of the palace.

She couldn't help but think that her very traditional father would be rather cross at the occasion, but such was the battle hardened after all.

She knew she cut an elegant figure as she moved from the shadows into the firelit heart of the gardens, plucking a finely crafted glass of wine from a slave as they passed by. She could spot a few familiar faces among the crowd, but most were new to her thus far. New players upon the chessboard that was the imperial family. But two faces were missing thus far. Titus and Claudia.

Curious.

Ru weaved her way towards Tiberius, though he was busy chatting up some young gentleman who appeared not to much older than her brother. Not wanting to interrupt him, she simply placed a hand upon his back for a moment in a gentle, familiar greeting as she turned to scan the room once more. Hoping to find someone she knew to focus her attention on until her brother got done so she could question to make sure that the other two knew and had been invited.

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Ovinia offered a relieved smile at Sosia as she greeted her, leaning in to leave a soft kiss on the other girl's cheek. "And you look just as beautiful." she commented, disguising her jealousy with a breezy smile. Sosia really did look beautiful with her pale skin and dark eyes - similar colouring to Ovinia's own but somehow more refined. She never liked competing for attention and instead tossed the end of her richly decorated palla back over her shoulder to distract herself. 

"I've been well," she inclined her head and then rolled her eyes conspiratorially, "Busy with meetings and social things...you know how it is." Or maybe Sosia didn't, given she'd been sequestered in the countryside for most of her youth. The poor girl. "How have you been kee-" Her conversation was cut off by the approach of a small group of men. It felt odd, to be unchaperoned (her brother having almost immediately disappeared), but seeing which men it was, the tension eased in her shoulders.

She gave Marcus a winning smile and spared a glance to Lucius but didn't let her gaze linger more than a beat, before turning her attention to the man who addressed her and Sosia. She knew he was an Imperial given the purple tunic and judging by the distinct lack of Praetorian's over his shoulder, she surmised this was Tiberius not Titus. Curious that he seemed to already know Sosia. Curious and irritating. The girl had only been in the city a short while, how had she already bagged a Prince? 

Still, she let none of her displeasure or awkwardness show on her face and instead inclined her head at the man. "Ovinia Camilla." She introduced herself, not waiting for Marcus or gods-forbid, Lucius to do the honours. "You've put on a beautiful party, but I suspect you might have had help from a certain Silani?" She cast a grin to Marcus. This evening had his fingerprints all over it. She shifted a little to the side to make room for another woman who joined the group.

 

 

TAG: @Atrice @Sarah @Chevi @Eris

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Marcus was happy to hear that Lucius approved of the party and then Tiberius had shown up. Marcus introduced the two to each other – his old, childhood friend and the new friend he met just recently. Marcus joked about how they played here as kids and now they’d play different games tonight. Both Lucius and Tiberius wondered about the games and Marcus chuckled, “You really have to ask about that?” The game of having fun. Getting drunk, having fun and possibly playing some love games along the evening. If the women would.

 Speaking of women, both Tiberius and Lucius had looked towards a small group of women and Marcus recognized Ovinia among them. He also noticed Flavia Caesaris appearing, she grew more beautiful by the day. He'd have to approach her tonight too. But for now, he followed the others towards Ovinia, who spoke with another quite stunning young woman. Marcus gave them both his brightest smile, before Tiberius spoke. Oh, so the girl he didn’t know was the young lady Tiberius spoke about! Well he could see why he’d think her interesting. She looked very sweet and gentle. Almost too much, he thought. Damn that she was already taken! Ovinia quickly introduced herself and commented on the party.

 Marcus grinned right back at her, “Maybe he had a little help.” He said, “I’m glad you were able to come, Ovinia. It's going to be an amazing party, I just know that.” He smiled, but noticed how Ovinia and Lucius barely looked at each other. Did they know each other, but pretended not to? How interesting. He must find out more about that. Maybe Ovinia wasn’t as pure as she said she was. The other girl however… he smiled at her, “And you must be Horatia Sosia? Tiberius did mention you met… I’ve known him for years. I hope you’ll have a good time here tonight.”

@Sara@Sarah@Chevi@Eris

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Sosia was happy to receive a soft kiss on her cheek from Ovinia, she had been so nice when they met and she didn’t know Ovinia would be here tonight! Honestly though, she felt a bit relieved for it, because then at least she knew someone. Well she knew Tiberius too, but whenever she thought of him, her cheeks felt warm and she wasn’t sure if she’d dare approach him again. Ovinia said she looked beautiful too and that also caused Sosia to blush, “Thank you.” She said, casting her eyes down for a moment. Ovinia had been well since they met, of course. But she didn’t know how it was to be busy with meetings and social things. Not yet.

 Before she could speak more to Ovinia though, Tiberius had suddenly approached the pair of them and he looked stunning in the purple tunica and white toga. She tried to stay cool though, looking at the other young men with Tiberius. Ovinia appeared to know the blonde of the three men, but nobody really addressed the dark-haired guy, who seemed a bit older than the others. She wished she could be as bold and brave as Ovinia appeared to be, speaking with them so casually.

 The blonde guy spoke to her though, said he heard about her and something about the way he looked at her and smiled caused her to blush again. It was going to be difficult to get through this evening without feeling awkward, she thought to herself.

 “Thank you, I… didn’t know I was so… memorable.” She said, looking at Tiberius, “You look gre…  I mean… good. Of course I came.” Sosia continued with a shy smile, feeling she stumbled over the words. She wasn't used to events like this! “I'm sure I will have a good time, with such company." She said to the blonde, then looked at Tiberius once more, "Who are your friends?”

@Sara@Sarah@Chevi@Eris

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A gentle hand on the small of his back signalled Ru's arrival, and he glanced aside for a moment and smiled at her. His younger cousin and adoptive sister was flowering into a beautiful young woman, and he was glad she'd come. He'd just have to keep an eye on her with Marcus. But Marcus had his sights set elsewhere, at least at present.

They joined the two women who'd arrived and clearly knew each other, whilst Tiberius only knew one, sweet Sosia. He asked for her name and she introduced herself without hesitation as Ovinia Camilla; so this was the young woman whom Marcus had told him about. She was certainly confident, even bold; no wonder she'd caught his eye. "Delighted." Tiberius assured her in return. "Your suspicions are correct, Marcus was kind enough to assist." He would always give credit where it was due.

"Very memorable." He assured Sosia, though how could he say otherwise? But it was true. Ovinina seemed to take this all in her stride but Sosia seemed a little overwhelmed. Or nervous? She stumbled over her words and he really hoped that she would be able to relax enough to enjoy the evening. That she felt the need to compliment him was rather endearing; definitely no Rome-raised Senatorian lady. Her manner was almost a relief. "Thank you. You look enchanting." He said gently. Both women did, all three counting his sister; really, they were rather spoiled.

But she asked about his friends. "Marcus Junius Silanus you now know, this is my sister Flavia Caesaris - we call her Rutiliana - and Marcus has just introduced me to Lucius Vipsanius Roscius." So now they all knew each other's names.

Hopefully by the end of the evening they'd know each other better. Tiberius had been looking forward to talking to Lucius since Marcus mentioned him, and hoped he'd be able to spend some time with Sosia. Ovinia had that poised nature that made him think of the Consul's preference in women; she would be interesting to know better. But for the moment she and Sosia looked happy in each other's company.

Tiberius turned to Marcus's friend. "Lucius, I've heard that you've taken an interest in the affairs of the plebs. I'm intrigued." He said, hoping the slightly older young man would tell him more.

@Sara@Chevi@Eris@Atrice

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This was a party, one that included all young people, men and women, patricians and imperials. As much as Lucius was at ease in the company of Silanus, it was time to mingle. Especially since Tiberius said so. Lucius followed along, flashing a smile at the women while everyone introduced themselves. Ovinia was looking her very best, and sizing everyone up with a quick glance. She was not here to play any games, it seemed.

"Ladies. Lovely to meet you." he nodded in greeting. The girl named Horatia Sosia seemed to be a little out of her element. The imperial sister looked young nad curious about the company. The more at easy of all was probably Silanus, being at home in both worlds.

"Lucius, I've heard that you've taken an interest in the affairs of the plebs. I'm intrigued." 

Lucius' smile wavered as he blinked in surprised. How did the... he shot a glance at Silanus. Right. They were friends. Good enough friends that Silanus had told the imperial about him, and his... affairs. He could tell Ovinia was probably keeping an eye on him, but he didn't dare look.

"Some of them" he answered lightly. "It feels only fair to explore the city outside of our own domus. And I like talking to people. Or occasionally singing with them." he added with a small smile.

@Sarah @Sara @Atrice @Eris

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