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Late July, 76 AD

The warehouse was nice and secure now. Teutus had already gone home a while ago and Alexius made sure the other guards knew their duties for the night. He’d been there the two previous nights and now he’d really like to get some sleep. Certain doors were locked and the guards would keep the rest of the warehouse and the goods safe. So home he went. Lexus was probably already at home, but Alexius would want some food on the way, possibly some wine, so he took a shortcut to a street where he knew there were some good thermopolia.

 It was already getting dark though, so he’d have to hurry. While he could keep himself safe, he really didn’t need a fight tonight and he thought he could do with a good meal and some rest instead. So he’d just hurry home before he ended himself in a brawl or something. Not that a brawl wasn’t sometimes a good thing. He found he almost enjoyed it at times, and he often met such interesting people during or afterwards!

 He rounded a corner, he was getting close to the good street, when he saw someone else up ahead on the somewhat dark street he walked on now. There were two people, walking relatively close to each other, a woman by the looks of it and a cloaked figure not far behind her. Maybe a domina and her slave or guard? That’s what he suspected anyway. Nothing strange about that. But they weren’t walking the same way as he, because when the street split into two, Alexius walked one way and the two others the other way. It wouldn’t be long now, before he’d reach one of his favorite thermopolia. That’s when he heard a yell from the other direction.

@Sara

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The party had been a dud. She could have guessed that it would be from the guests the second she had stepped through the doors and seen them; smug married couples and a few singletons milling about - already declined as potential future spouses and so merely looking around for entertainment elsewhere. It had dragged on, and on and on. The recital of some ancient poetry hadn't helped much, nor had the awful food. She'd left in a sour mood - stalking away through the streets with her slave - a brawny German who she barely knew but was one of her fathers new hires. He didn't speak much and that suited her fine, she wasn't in the mood for conversation. She just wanted to get home, and walking at this point, would be quicker than calling for her litter. 

It happened so quickly that she didn't know what to do. Thrasus was ahead of her by a fair few years, evidently miserable and wanting to be in the domus himself. He turned to glance back at her with evident impatience which she met with a smug, irritated smile. He was her property, he had to wait for her. But after a moment his eyes drifted  to something behind her and she frowned at him. He started to back up and away, his whole body tensing. "What are you doing?" She snapped, irritated and tired and grouchy. But he was turning on his heel and jogging down the street away from her before she got an answer. Instead, all she got was an arm snaked around her waist to hold her steady. She let out an ear piercing scream of shock and flung her arms back in an attempt to get herself free.

 

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He had been following the pair for a little while. In fact ever since they left the fancy home. Really he was just returning home from the thermae, which was closing now, but that's when he spotted the young woman and her slave and his fingers itched to do something. The slave was clearly older than her, but didn't look very smart either. And the young woman seemed very important, or, she thought she was very important. That's the vibe he got from her, when they walked past him in the street. So he followed. Maybe just a little slice. A little cut. A little bit of blood from one of them. When they turned down a quiet street, he thought it must be his luck. If they'd turned the other way, they would have come to a busier street. It was meant to be.

He slid out from the shadows and approached the pair from behind. The slave saw him and freaked out. Barbatius almost laughed at the sight of the frightened slave. He looked strong, but he was apparently easily scared. Well, then it would the young woman who would bleed for him. So before she could turn around and see him too, he was behind her, pulling her up close against his own body. She struggled and screamed in his grasp, so he quickly slammed his free hand over her mouth. The other hand, the one he had around her waist, was the one that held the knife.

"Shut up and stay still." He hissed and wanted to drag her into the shadow by the wall. But he didn't get the chance. He heard the sound of running feet from far behind them. Someone had heard her scream. Fuck. "Another time then." And he let her go, moving past her and running away a moment later. He still had his hood up; she'd not get the chance to recognize him. Another time he'd find her. And see her blood.

@Sara

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Honestly it was not a yell. It was more like a scream and it was that of a frightened woman. Not that Alexius ever made someone scream like that, but he'd heard it countless times in the Roman night. And while he was hungry, he could not ignore such a scream. Did it come from the woman he saw just before, with her slave? Alexius ran in the direction the scream had come from and he was already worried. There wasn't another scream, after all. Maybe the woman was already... something. Silenced somehow. Fuck. He had to do something! Why didn't anyone else react? Fucking Romans!

When he arrived however, the young woman was alone. Where was her slave? Alexius looked around, he saw someone running up the street ahead of them both. That must be her attacker. If it was her with the scream... should he run after the possible attacker? No, rather stay with the woman, make sure she was safe. She looked quite young.

"Are you alright, Domina?" He asked, just in case. It could be someone else. But it made sense that it was her. Well he'd know in a moment.

@Sara

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Ovinia had never been so utterly petrified her entire life. She felt like she was frozen to the spot, and didn't even breathe as she felt the firmness of a knife against her waist. She cried though, tears streaking from her eyes and dripping over the hand that was clamped over her mouth. And then he was gone, pushing past her and knocking her over as he run the length of the street. She was shaking, trembling all over. What the fuck had just happened? She felt like she might throw up. 

And then another voice. Ovinia flinched, scrambling over until she was crouched with her back scuffing against the wall to her right, panting and trying to catch her breath. "G-go away." She choked out and then her voice gathered strength and she screamed, "GO AWAY!" The man could be part of it; a ruse to distract her and cause some horror hitherto unpredicted. She glanced up to see him; tall and broad and strong and looking concerned. She wound her arm around her knees, in shock.

 

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As Alexius arrived at the scene, the woman was on the ground, shaking and trembling. Alexius considered briefly to run after the attacker, but decided that the young woman needed his help more. Unless the attacker was the one he was looking for... but if it was, he'd find out soon enough and then he knew more of the man's hunting grounds. It all depended on what the attacker did to the young woman. He asked if she was alright, but she scrambled herself to the nearest wall and told him to go away. Alexius shook his head as he looked at her, now truly concerned about her! What did the man do to her?

"There's no way I'm leaving you alone out here." Alexius said, because that was just a fact. There was no way he'd leave a young and vulnerable, clearly shaken too, young woman alone in the Roman night. Where the fuck was her slave, if she had one? Maybe it was the attacker he saw with her just before. Alexius didn't know yet.

"I heard your scream. Did he hurt you?" Assuming it was a he. Carefully he approached her, crouching down by the wall too, but not too close in case she screamed again or latched out somehow. She didn't look hurt, but you never knew... "That's not, what I'm going to do. I'm not going to hurt you. I'm Alexius, and I will help you."

@Sara

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Ovinia pressed her back as hard as she could against the wall to create as much space between herself and this man as possible. He was keeping a distance though, for which she was grateful, even if she cast a suspicious glance down the alley - as if expecting this to be a ruse as well. She shook her head silently as he asked if she had been hurt. No. She supposed not - it just felt as if she had. Nobody had been that close to her before, not like that, and the feeling of a blade against her waist made her shiver again and a fresh bout of tears broke over her lashes. 

"I-I want to go home." She managed to choke out and glanced down the street again. Her slave was nowhere in sight. The utter, utter, utter bastard. "M-my slave ran away." And if he had any sense, would stay away. Better to be considered a runaway than face her father's wrath once he found out about this, of that she was sure. She didn't trust this man, how on earth could she, but at least she was not alone out here anymore. "Did you see who did this?" 

 

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He'd tried to get down to her level, by sitting by the wall as she did, although not too close to her. If he stood, he'd seem so much taller and more intimidating to her and he wasn't here to scare her. He was here to help, as he told her, but of course, as she was so afraid, she didn't grasp it yet. When he asked if she was hurt, she shook her head and a moment later, she shivered and in the faint light of the evening he could see her tears. Her body trembling. She was crying. Great. Alexius wasn't always good at handling tears though, he was much more practical...  he did like to comfort people, but in a different way. And he didn't know her yet, so he wouldn't offer her an embrace, not yet anyway. Maybe if or when she was ready for it, but he would be careful. Judging by her clothes, she had a high rank in the Roman society.

She said she wanted to go home and then said her slave ran away. Alexius sighed, fucking... slave! Leaving a young and vulnerable woman like her alone in the streets of Rome! Why the fuck did he run? Sure, it was a slave, but running from your mistress and then getting caught was bad. Alexius had often considered escapign, when he was a slave, but he didn't want to face what would happen if he was caught. He knew he wasn't the brightest man in Rome, but he also wasn't stupid. He was very fond of breathing, after all. The girl spoke again, wondering if she saw who did it.

"No... they ran when I came." Which was kind of odd, if the attacker was strong, surely he could have fought Alexius. But he chose to run rather than fight. A bit of a coward after all? Attacking defenseless women in the street, but running instead of fighting. 

"But you're not hurt? That's good." He couldn't have had much time, the attacker, since Alexius came as soon as he heard the scream... "I can follow you home. You'll be safe with me. I'm used to fighting and keeping people safe." It was more or less what he'd done the past ten years of his life.  

@Sara

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"I'm fine." She managed to choke out with undue pride. Her bottom lip was wobbling though and tears were still drying on her cheeks. She felt like she could cry and cry and cry but managed to hold it together, out of shear stubbornness more than anything. 

"I've just been assaulted," She scoffed as she tried to push herself up. Her legs and her arms were trembling and she leant on the wall for support when she finally found her feet. "W-why would I want another strange man following me home? Seeing where I live?" she took another step back, involuntarily, further away from him. A life spent in the city meant she had learned to be wary of strangers and keep her wits about her. Before this night, however, the worse she'd ever dealt with were lewd comments and being pickpocketed in the forum. She swallowed at the dawning realisation that it could have been so much worse. 

 

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She was fine. Well physically, she was fine. But mentally, clearly not. Her bottom lip still trembled and then when he said he could follow her home, she tried to get up, pointing out how she'd just been assaulted and didn't want another stranger to follow her home. Her entire body was still trembling. Alexius inwardly cursed the slave who ran for it and the attacker who made her feel like this. Like she couldn't trust him! But of course, she didn't know him. Why would she trust a stranger? Even if he came to help her. This was Rome. You couldn't trust anyone you didn't know. So inwardly, he cursed Rome itself too. Then he stood too, but kept his distance, since she also kept edging away.

But he inhaled a breath, he had to make her understand, somehow! As if he'd leave her be, to be assaulted again!

"You think it would be safer if you walked home alone? He could still be hiding somewhere, waiting for you." Alexius pointed out, "And I am a stranger now, but I don't have to be. If you want it... my full name is Lucius Antonius Alexius." Of course it could be a false name, but it was not, and if she just asked a little around, she'd learn that Alexius was a very real thing and very well known too.

So he continued, "And right now, you have a choice... it's either trust me to take you home safely, or trust that the attacker is not waiting for you." And that was that. She could of course also choose to stay by this wall, but that wasn't much safer than walking home alone in the darkness. If she chose to walk alone, he could of course just follow at a safe distance, just to make sure she'd get home safely. But he'd prefer walking with her. 

@Sara

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Ovinia gave the man a glare, but given what she was feeling, it was weak and nowhere near as threatening as in her head. His words sent a shiver up the entire length of her spine and she wound her spare arm around her waist as it protecting it from the invisible, lurking attacker. She repeated his name over in her head and then out loud; "Lucius Antonius Alexius." It didn't ring any bells. The gens was obviously famous, but the branch he was from was foreign sounding, peculiar to her ears. "Lucius Antonius Alexius." She repeated and then drew her eyes up to his. 

"We can walk." She swallowed, "But the first thermopolia that we see, I am going in there and I am going to tell the owner that Ovinia Camilla is being walked home by Lucius Antonius Alexius, and I want him to see you. If anything happens to me, there'll be a witness." She'd read that tactic in one of the books she'd picked up out of boredom from her mother's dusty shelves. She swallowed. "It's in the Esquiline. Come on." She was trying to sound imperious, but just sounded afraid as she wobbled herself straight from the wall and slowly, very slowly, began her walk home. 

 

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She repeated his name a few times, but only after glaring at him. He supposed she was trying to appear strong, but she didn't look like it and there was definitely no way he was letting her walk home on her own. But she'd memorized his name now and then agreed to walk with him. Good choice. Alexius looked her over, while she talked about going to a thermopolia and then mentioned her name. Ovinia Camilla. He didn't know the family. It reminded him briefly of Oriana though, but he quickly pushed her from his mind again. Past loves would get him nowhere. So he just nodded at her explanation.

"If that's what you prefer... Ovinia. Can I call you that? You can just call me Alexius, everyone does." He replied with a smile, feeling like he was getting somewhere now. Somewhere with her not fearing him, that was! Well she was pretty, but she seemed very young. She couldn't be much older than Lexus. She explained where she lived and his friendly smile stayed put. What a coincidence!

"Oh I live in the Esquiline area too. I know the best thermopolia to go to, there." And he'd been heading to a thermopolia when he heard her, so her idea wasn't bad at all. She'd feel safer and he might be able to grab a meal to take with him, as he walked her home. He looked at her, she walked so slowly, poor thing.

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"You can call me Ovinia Camilla." She snapped. She always got like this when she was frightened or panicked; stubborn and haughty and all of the worst traits she harboured came out to play. She recognised it immediately and shook her head, mumbling an apology. "Ovinia is fine." Or as close to an apology as she would ever likely come. 

She glanced up at him as she walked slowly, although it occurred to her that once she got to the end of the street she really had no idea where to go. She had litter bearers usually that carried her, or slaves or her brothers to direct her. She blinked and drew to a stop. "I...just want to go home." Her bottom lip was wobbling in upset and she wrapped an arm tighter around her waist. If this man hadn't interrupted then she would be...she sucked in a shaky breath and swallowed a boulder size lump in her throat. 

"Do you spend your evenings lurking in dark alleys to save young women, Lucius Antonius?" She chose to ignore his preferred name. 

 

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He arched a brow at how she snapped at him, but didn't tell her it was wrong. She seemed to be in shock, after all, so she might not realize how she was behaving. She looked like she might be a nice young lady in fact, and definitely of a fine rank too, so she probably normally didn't treat people like this. Especially people who were nice to her. And Alexius did what he could to make her see him as friendly and helpful, because really, that's what he was here to be! So he didn't comment. And then she said he could call her Ovinia. Alexius nodded.

After a little while, she came to a stop and said she wanted to go home. She was hugging herself, her lip trembled again and Alexius looked at her with a quiet sigh. He wished he could make her feel better. An embrace might do it. But she might not be ready for that. So he did all he could instead.

 "I'm sorry it happened to you." He said, unaware that she didn't know the way home. She then looked up at him and seemed to try and make some conversation. It surprised him though, the name she used. No one called him Lucius. No one. Everyone used the name Alexius. Both because that's what he preferred and it was so much easier. And half of Rome's men were called Lucius. Not all of them were called Alexius. It was just easier to remember him by. Hopefully she would. But, she asked a question.

"I don't, actually." He said with a little laugh, "I was on my way home from work, wanted to grab something to eat on the way... when I heard you. And I couldn't ignore it." Alexius then confessed, looking at the directions the street took now, "The hill is this way..." He nodded in the right direction, "Or did you still want to stop at a thermopolia?" 

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Ovinia caught on a thread of something and whipped her face up to look at him; "What work do you do?" The logical part of her mind said it didn't matter what he said; he could lie and she could be dead if he was in league with whomever accosted her, but in her mind she was clinging onto the stories in her mothers library about the brilliant young noble who sought clues and such, to fend off attackers. If she knew who he was, then she could go to the vigiles if this all turned south. 

She blinked at his redirection and then glanced left and right. At least there people up ahead. "I want to go to the thermopolia." she insisted, as if that would help.

 

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He was surprised to hear her interested in what kind of work he did, but it was good to make conversation and at least it seemed to make her relax some. He wasn't shy about what he did anyway, why should he be? It was his life, he chose it, he didn't need anyone else telling him what to do. He wasn't a slave anymore, after all. Thinking about it like that made him feel even better about his work, "I am the head guard of a warehouse a friend of mine has. He's a tradesman, of sorts. It's a good place." He promised, Teutus definitely had a good business set up and things were happening with selling the wares and sending them abroad and all that. Alexius could never do such a thing. But he could be a guard. At work. And right now.

Ovinia chose to not go directly home, instead she would still go to a thermopolia on the way, as she suggested earlier. Alexius nodded with a smile, he wasn't in a rush, "Then that's what we'll do. I hope you won't mind if I grab something to eat while we're there? Though I promise to follow you home. I'll not let someone like you walk around unguarded. I'm not like that slave of yours." He motioned for her to walk with him in the direction of the street at the Esquiline that had the best thermopolia. How convenient. For her and for him.

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Ovinia let out a breath, deep from her chest. A guard. That was good. She forgot, in that moment, her suspicions that he could be in on it and simply feeding her a lie - and instead revelled in the fact  that this man was an upstanding citizen with a job to protect. "You guard things for a living." She commented with only the hint of a smile. "That's good." 

She nodded as he agreed to her plan, although as she relaxed into his company it seemed he was more trustworthy than her irrationality had suggested initially. "Someone like me?" She arched a brow as they walked, looking up at him, "Is it that obvious I'm out of my depth?" She was consoling herself that, that barbarian could have jumped anybody or held a knife to the waist of any young woman - pleb or patrician, free or enslaved but surely the plebs and slaves would have more sense than to walk down an unlit alley at night. She was an idiot.

 

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He nodded at her comment, pretending that he had not heard the deep breath of relief. Was she afraid he would do something to her? But he wouldn't. Honestly. Alexius would do no such thing that would risk his current freedman life. Besides, he had no reason to hurt anyone. Well other than people who sought to steal or destroy anything he was protecting. Be it the goods in the warehouse or this pretty young lady here. He'd hurt them. Happily even. A good fight could get him high too sometimes. 

"Yes, that's what I do. What I've done for more than ten years." He could count that far, at least. Actually a bit more than that, but why should he? Ten years was a long time. And it was also good that she thought it a good thing. She had a very pretty smile, he thought to himself, happy to see it. Then she'd wanted to go to the thermopolia and Alexius agreed with her idea. She didn't seem to mind that he wanted a bite to eat, as he still promised to follow her home. Why would he do anything else? He smiled at her comment on his take on her.

"Maybe a bit... not that I can blame you for it. I'm guessing your father is a Senator, is he not? And you're usually not out this late on your own. No father would let a beautiful unmarried daughter out alone at this hour. Especially not a Senator." Alexius explained, while he barely noticed how he complimented her. It was just a fact, after all, "Did you go somewhere interesting?" He continued to try and make some conversation as they walked towards the street, honestly it wasn't that far, but while they were talking, she was relaxing. And that was good.

@Sara

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She nodded mutely at his appraisal, and even managed a small chuckle at his compliment. "He's a praetor, Gaius Ovinius Camillus. And I never said I was unmarried." She glanced to him and thens shrugged. Her hair being down and a lack of a stola suggested she was, but she would be surprised if a man like Alexius knew that. Then again, maybe he was more familiar with women than her naive mind could comprehend. 

"Just another mindless party." she commented, bored even of talking about it. "They're all the same. Same people, same conversations." She shrugged with a sigh. "But I was hoping  that would be the only entertainment in my evening, not being jumped by some..." She struggled for a polite word, "Psycho with a knife."

 

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Alexius noted the name in his mind and smiled when she mentioned she never said she was unmarried. Well she was quite young, obviously, on her way through Rome escorted by just one slave, her hair wasn't done in some fancy hairstyle and she didn't wear a proper stola either. He was quite familiar with women, both the unmarried and the married kind, after all. But she didn't know that, "No, you didn't say. But I'm quite sure I'm right." He just replied and then she went on to answer his question about where she'd been.

A party, but she didn't appear to have enjoyed it so much. Well not all parties for the wealthy were that interesting. You often found more interesting people in the lower classes, even if all those in the higher ranks also had something to hide. Poor Ovinia had not expected the extra event tonight. 

"If you call that entertainment, you're out of the ordinary I think." He said with a chuckle and would have mentioned something about his own joy for fights, but then it faded as the words went through his head again. A psycho with a knife, that did sound quite familiar! A little too much, in fact. Alexius looked at her, concerned again, "He had a knife? You didn't mention that before. I hope it's not too personal, or too... much for you, but if you don't mind me asking. Did he appear to try anything but attack you?" 

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She nodded mutely as he asked if the man had a knife. Yes. And the feeling of it against her waist, she was sure, would keep her up for days to come. At his question she felt her cheeks flush red. She knew she needed to be cautious in the backstreets of Rome; her father had sat her down to have the awkward conversation about what a pretty, unmarried woman like her had to offer the scummy men that lurked in the shadows.

"I...I don't know." She swallowed and looked up at him with wide eyes. "He had a knife t-to my waist and wanted to try and drag me off," She swallowed and felt her fingers shake. She rearranged her palla over her hand to hide it. "I...assume he was going to..." She exhaled and tried to gather confidence, as if talking about this was natural, "Force me. But he didn't get the chance. But yes," She swallowd, "He had a knife. And when you came and he ran he said...he said another time then.

 

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Of course many in Rome carried knives although they should not. It wasn't uncommon and especially not in the dark underworld of Rome. A place a girl like Ovinia probably knew nothing about, and it ought to stay that way, honestly. She was far to pretty and sweet to have such things happen to her. He felt bad about asking into what happened, since she'd been so shaken right after it happened, but this might also be his only chance at questioning her. If he could find the motherfucker who hurt Didia, among others... gods, he didn't know what he'd do! Kill him? Slowly and painfully? Like a gladiator who knew he'd win but was just dragging it out for the crowd.

Right, Ovinia was here! And he didn't know if the guy who attacked her was the same, but... maybe? She explained that he'd tried to drag her off, while rearranging her palla and her fingers were shaking and she stumbled over her words. He shouldn't have asked. If only he could beat himself up sometimes... meanwhile she continued, explaining how he ran when Alexius came and spoke of coming after her again.

"Fuck." Alexius exclaimed, then realized it and gave her an apologetic look, "Apologies, it's just... I hate the thought of you being attacked again. I'm sorry I asked, but a friend of mine was attacked last year. By someone with a knife, who wanted nothing but to hurt her. But I don't know if it's the same guy." He would have to keep his ears open again, the psycho was obviously still out there, doing his thing, after all. 

"I'm glad I managed to stop him, at least. So we'll hopefully never know what he wanted to do. Sick bastard." He couldn't help it, seriously, why and how could anyone enjoy hurting others like that, on purpose? Alexius never enjoyed hurting someone. He enjoyed the fight itself, he enjoyed the physical release it gave him and he enjoyed figuring out how to fight the opponents. He didn't enjoy the pain. 

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Ovinia flinched at the curse word. She had heard the same from her brothers, but it was still not common language in her circles. She managed a ghost of a smile as he apologised. At least he has some manners, she thought to herself. 

"Your friend..." She cast a glance up at him as they walked, "What happened to her?" If it was the same man then it was a stroke of luck. In her naive estimation of Rome's seedy underbelly, there had to be thousands of depraved men wandering around with knives ready to jump innocent women as they walked home. Maybe she was just a pessimist though. 

Smiling tightly, she nodded. "You did. I..." She winced, "I haven't said thank you, have I?" She felt more settled in his company as they walked. She would perhaps be called foolish, for letting her guard down so easily, but she reasoned that if he had been in on the plan or wanted to jump her, he would have surely done it by now? "I am...thankful. Thank you, Lucius." 

 

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He noticed how she flinched when he cursed, he hadn't meant to do it, it just came out. Alexius wasn't of the fine breed she clearly was. He grew up among slaves and gladiators and had lived his whole life in a very different world than hers. Well most of his life. He had served nobles before too. And well, that did mean he did have manners. Besides, it was hard to charm women if you didn't have manners. Ovinia then asked more into what happened to Didia. Well he might as well be honest. It wouldn't serve Ovinia if she didn't know the truth about what was out there. Maybe she'd bring a guard and not a useless slave with her next time she went out at night.

"She met a man one night, who ended up attacking her and he cut her shoulder so she bled. And he didn't want money or anything else from her. That's what he wanted. I've met a few others who had the same happen to them." Alexius explained. Others might try and shield a young woman like Ovinia from such things, but what good would that do her in the long run? Alexius wasn't the kind of man who liked to keep secrets or keep the truth from people.

Ovinia then suddenly thanked him for coming to her aid. And then she used that name again.

"It was the least I could do." Alexius replied with a smile to her as they came into the busier street with the good thermopolia. Without thinking, he made his way with her towards his favorite place. Really he would have come to the aid of anyone screaming like that, he'd done it before and he'd probably do it again. It was no big deal. And his pleasure, sometimes. He didn't think Ovinia would repay him like that though, she didn't seem to be the type. But there was something else, "Can I ask you to do one thing for me though? I won't ask for anything else." He paused, "Please... call me Alexius."

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Ovinia swallowed the lump in her throat. What if that had been her? The vain part of her winced at the thought of her skin being scarred like that. It wasn't such a concern for plebs or slaves or forewomen but she was a patrician, and an unmarried one at that and being youthful and beautiful were key to securing a good match. It was such a trivial concern though, and she felt selfish for even thinking it. "Maybe it was him." She agreed with a little sigh, "I'm...glad I didn't find out though. Was your friend alright, in the end?" Presumably so, if she could talk about what happened but nonetheless, she felt sick. 

As they entered the busier street she felt herself relax and let out a deep exhale. She felt comforted by the crowds even if she felt a bit more secure in the man next to her's presence now. He was of course still a stranger though, and strangers were never to be trusted according to her father. As they drew to a stop in front of a bustling thermopolia she steeled herself to made her undoubtedly ridiculous statement to the owner, but before she did, he asked a favour. She blinked and self consciously wound her arm around herself as he passed. Was he going to ask for...?

She blinked. His name? She frowned. "Oh. Yes, yes Alexius. Can I ask why though? You don't use your freename?" 

 

TAG: @Atrice

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