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All's fair in love and war [M]


Ovinia Camilla
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AU Timeline - 78AD

Ovinia had not expected to spend her twenty first birthday locked in a cage, tears drying on her cheeks, hair a rats nest of tangles and wearing the itchiest tunica she'd ever had the misfortune to own. Then again, she had not expected her father to miscalculate quite so badly. Civil war - he had said - had been inevitable; people were discontented, food was growing scarcer with the poor harvests and the leadership structure was crumbling. He had believed until the moment he had bid that slave to plunge the sword through his chest, that he had been in the right. She had thought so too. Only now, as his daughter sat alone in her cell, did she begin to doubt it. Her mother had followed him out with a poison sipped in her wine and her brothers were scattered to the winds; some in chains others fleeing for their lives. Somebody had to answer for the crimes of those who had stoked the discord throughout the Empire now the dust had settled, and unfortunately for Ovinia Camilla, the judgement had fallen on her. And all the other crying, wailing once-Citizens locked up with her.

A voice barked a little way off; "Ovinia Camilla!" She ignored it, arms hugging around her knees even tighter and staring straight at the floor. It rang out again; "Which one of you is Ovinia Camilla!" She glowered as the man drew to a stop just in front of the cage, glancing between the rows of women. Somebody's voice piped up behind her. Nessenia. The bitch. "She's there - that one, in the green." She'd never liked the pompous, self-serving arrogant young woman. Before she could tell her as much though a hand found her upper arm and yanked her up and out into the corridor and through into a courtyard. She blinked into the daylight as it burned her eyes. "Wash yourself." The man grunted and she blinked at a large bucket of cold water, and a comb set out on a small stool. She scoffed. "I'm not washing in front of you." The man merely shrugged, unmoved. "You'll be doing a lot more than that if you don't hurry the fuck up." The glint in his eyes set her on edge and she swallowed, picking up the rag. She didn't undress, but he didn't seem that bothered beyond reminding her every thirty seconds that she had to hurry. She took her time, leisurely combing her hair and scrubbing the grime from her arms, from her chest, from her face.

"Move it." She felt a shove to the back and she stumbled. The man didn't care, urging her forward. They drew to the main gate. She remembered coming in, only three days ago but it felt like a lifetime. "You run, you get branded. You fall behind, I use these." The man held up a pair of menacing looking manacles. "Where are we going?" She said in response but the man merely shoved her forward, out of the open gate and into the crowds of a city rebuilding itself. "I said, where are we going?" She protested. She knew where they were going. She knew she was supposedly a slave now and that presumably meant she was on her way to whomever now 'owned' her, but who that person was, she had no idea. She felt a lurch in her stomach. This was the moment she'd been dreading, perhaps more than any other. Images of the girls being dragged off to the brothels filled her mind. She felt her breath quicken. "I said..." She felt the slap before she saw the hand and she winced, clutching her face in pain. "You don't get to demand answers. Now move." The man grunted, angling his hand in between her shoulder blades to hurry her along. 

By the time they drew to a stop she was breathless, her calves burning from the walk in ill-fitting sandals. She didn't recognise this region, which was a relief and nor did there seem to be a brothel or popina here. She let out a breath, leaning forward heavily to try and draw more air in as the man knocked on a door. It was a residential road; damaged by the looting and fires that had overtaken the city in the last few weeks of the unrest, but this domus was still standing. How, she didn't know - the Civil War had been going on for over a year and it had left very little of the city untouched. A hand gripped around her upper arm again, dragging her into the frigid home where a slave was standing, looking quizzically at the man and then her in turn. She could see suspicion and resentment lingering in his eyes. "Wait here." The man instructed to her and then jerked his head at the man. "You, follow me. The dominus is in the tablinum." So she was left alone. She did not wait where she was instructed too and instead cast her eyes around - looking at every bit of it. It seemed unloved in, this place; cold and new in a way she couldn't place. A few people milled around, slaves she assumed and she merely cast them an imperious, derisory look and left it at that. 

She saw the man who had accompanied her move back into the atrium out of the corner of her eye, from where she was examining a fresco. He offered her a smirk and a chuckle. "Good luck. You're up." Gesturing for her to make her way to the tablinum, before ducking back out of the door. She blinked and slowly, leisurely glided to the curtained room. It was gloomy. She didn't say anything - just gave the man sitting behind the desk and the slave to his right a mild look. The silence couldn't last though, and she added; "Well?" 

 

TAG: @Chevi

Edited by Sara
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Lucius Manius Victorius Roscianus was not having a good day. Then again, no one in the entire goddamn city of Rome had had a good day since before the latest civil war started.

At least they had won. Lucius and the other tribunes rallied around the praefect, who gave his support to the imperial family. The city burned and people died, but in the end, the families trying to take over were subdued. And punished. And now it was time to pick up the pieces.

He had gotten injured in the last days of the fight. A battle wound, they called it. He didn't like it, but he let them. He would be rewarded for his service to the empire, they had assured him, but Lucius was not a fool. His arm would never be the same again. That reward, whatever it was, came with a desk, and paperwork. Which, ironically, he could not even goddamn do himself.

He had been trying to use his left hand all morning to write, and it was not happening. Lucius was in a foul mood. Then, to top it off, his servant came in to report his... reward had arrived. And it was a person.

He'd been gifted an enslaved patrician. They were an as a dozen these days.

Lucius was swearing under his breath as she walked in. He looked at her, surprised. She was... young. Pretty. And visibly annoyed. 

"Well?" 

She was not a trained body slave. Or a slave of any kind. Lucius shook his head.

"What the fuck am I supposed to do with you?"

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Ovinia blinked. "My thoughts exactly." She hadn't been trained to do anything beyond sit still, look pretty, get married, and weave some wool. She had experience with children by virtue of her sister in law but...She cast a glance around the domus; it was hardly overflowing with life or the sounds of little tiny feet running riot. 

She turned her attention back to the man, curiously studying him. He seemed familiar, in a way she couldn't place and adjusted her tunica - wishing she had the protection of a palla and a fine chiton instead. Could she have known him? Before? She supposed that was part of the point of this punishment; humiliation in front of those that once called her a friend.

The man to the right of the desk cleared his throat and leant down to speak to - presumably - the dominus of the house. Ovinia felt her nerves lurch as she caught some of the conversation. "I was told she came from an important family. She can read and write, speaks Greek..." The man trailed off, looking awkwardly between Ovinia and the man behind the desk. Was her list of accomplishments really so small? She exhaled sharply. "I am Ovinia Camilla." She started, although her voice had lost some  of the strength it had when she first walked into this place. "And may I ask who you are?" 

 

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"My thoughts exactly."

Well, that was snappy for a slave.

Lucius pushed his chair back, looking at the young woman, paying more attention this time. His right arm was in a sling, bandaged and covered from wrist to shoulder. The medicus had done what he could, but still hurt a lot, so he drank more thick wine from his cup. Damn.

Marius leaned down to talk to him. He was a freedman, and he took his job very seriously.

"I was told she came from an important family. She can read and write, speaks Greek..." 

"Can she." Lucius winced. Read and write. Well, at least he could still do one of those things now. Greek was useless, though. He spoke some too.

"I am Ovinia Camilla. And may I ask who you are?" 

It was almost amusing, how differently she behaved than other slaves. Lucius figured other people around the city, the "lucky" ones, were having the exact same problem with their patrician gifts right now. And probably dealing with it in different ways. This girl did not know how lucky she was.

"Lucius Manius Victorius Roscianus. Tribunus viligum." In case she needed to know. "Ovinia Camilla, it seems like you have been gifted to me."

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Ovinia arched a brow and surveyed him, trailing her eyes from the very tip of his head down to where his body was concealed by the desk. Her eyes lingered over the arm sheathed in a sling. Whatever injury he had sustained, it looked painful. Maybe that was the reason for the sour face and a wince. Tribune of the vigiles. Equite, then. She ran the name over in her head, trying to draw a long buried memory from somewhere. Lucius Manius Victorius Roscianus...Lucius Manius Victorius Roscianus...

She was distracted in running through the name that she almost missed what he said. Gifted? She blinked. She presumed she'd been sold; not as some trophy in a war that should never been won by the likes of the man sat across from her. She could only vaguely disguise the sneer on her face. Instead, she let out a scoff. "Congratulations." She awkwardly fiddled her fingers, pulling at the itchy, scratchy material of the tunica. It still - even after two weeks of travelling from the villa where it had all happened, and the few days in the slave market - felt alien to her.

Lucius Manius Victorieus Roscianus...

It came to her like a flash of lightning, and delighted that she'd figured it out, she flashed a smug, beaming grin; "You were a patrician." So he'd understand. "You were the man adopted down!" She heard the story although she couldn't recall a time they had ever been personally acquainted. It wasn't to say it hadn't happened though; the patricians of Rome were an insular group and she might well have seen him at a party or such. "You understand," She said with a relieved breath, "My situation." 

 

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"Congratulations."

Oh, she was definitely not used to her new status yet. It was interesting; Lucius would have assumed they would have broken her before giving her away. Apparently not. Maybe some patrician privilege did go a long way.

There was a glint of recognition in her eyes as she sized him up. And a smug grin. Gods, this girl.

"You were a patrician. You were the man adopted down!"

"Glad the scandal is alive and well." Lucius groaned, rolling his eyes. Even a civil war could not wash that story away. People needed to get over it.

"You understand. My situation." 

"Well... not completely." Lucius noted, standing up from the desk and emptying his cup of wine. "I did not participate in a rebellion against the emperor. And I still have no idea what the fuck to do with you. Do you have any useful skills at all?"

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She took an instinctive step back as he stood, although the wounded arm made her feel more comfortable. She'd seen the violence of men on her journey back to Rome and in the markets. Her cheek was still stinging from one such incident. But she thought it better to start strong; if she started with her pride in tact, with a grin and a glimmer of resolve, she reasoned he'd go easier on her. Besides, she did not think this would be for much longer. That was the plan, anyway. 

"In my defence, neither did I." She counted with a shrug and a confused glance at him. "I just happened to be somebody's daughter." Granted she did fervently believe in her fathers mission. It didn't seem real. She swallowed the lump in her throat and blinked tears away before they fell. She'd cried enough; she couldn't show weakness now. "I can look after children." She offered with an irritating little smirk, "And...weave. And sew. And host parties and plan them." She arched a brow at him, "You didn't know you were getting me?" 

 

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"In my defence, neither did I. I just happened to be somebody's daughter."

She was one of those, then. Patrician girl, taken into slavery as revenge on the men of her family. Who were probably not alive anymore. Lucius came closer, and he could tell she was putting on a brave face. Good for her.

"I can look after children. And...weave. And sew. And host parties and plan them."

"I don't have children and I don't do parties." And he was not about to start either anytime soon, that much was clear. He sighed, looking her over.

"You didn't know you were getting me?" 

"I didn't know I was getting anyone at all. Honestly, money would have been better." At least he could have spent that on useful things. "But here we are. I'll get Sabina to find you some sewing work, and you can make yourself useful."

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No children no parties. The words; 'how boring' were on the tip of her tongue but she bit them back and swallowed them down. She'd been forward thus far but she knew it was a fine line, one she was determined to stay on the right side of. 

"Money?" She offered a smile, "How much would I be worth then? Comparatively?" It felt as if it was some great joke. Some hilarious anecdote she could recount at a convivial next week. It didn't feel real. That was why she was still smiling. Nodding, she wrapped an arm around her waist. "Just sewing?" She gave him a suspicious look. "Fine." She knew she'd treated her own slaves with far, far more than that but...that was different, she supposed. They were proper slaves. She wasn't. Speaking of which... "And I need to use the baths." She presumed he had some in the domus, as most rich people did. She glanced around the tablinum, trying to figure out where it would be. "The cage...thing where they held me was disgusting." She wrinkled her nose.  

 

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"Money? How much would I be worth then? Comparatively?"

"I have no clue." Lucius deadpanned. Probably a lot, if they had sold her to a high end brothel. Girls like her were expensive, even he knew that, although he had never purchased a slave this quality. She also did not seem to realize yet how lucky she was. Marius looked like he was about to give her a piece of his mind, but Lucius preferred that she figure it out on her own.

"Just sewing? Fine."

"Until you learn something better to do."

"And I need to use the baths. The cage...thing where they held me was disgusting." 

"She needs to..." Marius looked ready to faint with indignation. Lucius waved at him, stepping closer and wrinkling his nose.

"You do need to wash." he agreed. "Marius here will show you where you can draw water, and he will show you where you sleep. There should be a clean tunic too somewhere."

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She didn't like the man standing to Lucius' side. She arched a brow at him in challenge as Lucius stepped closer. It was embarrassing, but she kept her shoulders rolled back and her chin up. I didn't raise a coward. That was what her father had always said to all of his children...all of his sons at least. It had never applied to her before, but now it did.

"Draw water?" She frowned quizzically. She had no idea what that even meant; water had always just been in her baths or the pool in the atrium or her fountains or her cup. "From the sky?" Marius choked, clearly smothering something between laughter and an exasperated moan. She felt her cheeks flush. "That's where rain comes from, doesn't it?" She snapped back heatedly and then straightened her spine, glaring at the two men. 

You are a patrician woman. You are Gaius Ovinius Camillus' daughter. She ground her teeth but managed a polite enough "Thank you." To Lucius with an inclination of her head and turned on her heel to stride out of the room, hearing a muttering, cursing Marius follow her out. 

---

Drawing water, it would turn out, was the easiest thing she had to do that day - even as her weak little arms struggled to work the pump. Stripping and washing in a courtyard surrounded by horses and smirking freedwomen (and probably freedmen lurking in the shadows), sleeping in a dormitory of snoring others, and stabbing her index finger with a needle so many times it had bled onto the fabric (she might have overestimated her sewing abilities) were only a handful of the things that had born her to reality.

"I can't do this." She choked as she strode, unescorted into his tablinum the next morning. It had only been an evening and half a morning. That, for Ovinia Camilla, was enough to show her that the life of a slave really was not for her. She pulled again at the tunica - less itchy but too big and ugly and then moved her fingers to fiddle with her hair that she'd pointedly refused to braid, despite Sabina's mutterings. "And the stupid ugly little man at the door won't let me out." She already despised him with his easy smirk and following eyes. "He said I need your permission." Which was, ludicrous. She let the slaves come and go from her fathers domus (it did not occur to her that they might have checked directly with their dominus before leaving).

 

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To be honest, Lucius would have half forgotten now by the strange gift, had Marius not complained about her abundantly in the morning while he was helping Lucius get dressed. It already put him in a foul mood, because he liked to dress himself... except now, he couldn't. And on top of that, apparently Ovinia Camilla was the talk of the household. Laugh, rather.

She marched right into his office half an hour later.

"I can't do this. And the stupid ugly little man at the door won't let me out. He said I need your permission."

That's because you are a slave.

She was either in denial, or... she didn't really know what being a slave meant. Which was ironic, her family probably owned a whole bunch of them. Lucius sat back, looking her over with some amusement.

"And... where would you be going, exactly?"

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"For a walk. Or home. I can't stay here." She choked out, furious. She felt as if her fingers, her chest, her throat was on fire and she struggled to keep her breathing even and steady. The poise she had managed to muster yesterday was gone; replaced by a desperate ignorance against the oncoming tide of reality, that was hitting her in full force but that she was determined to ignore. 

"They said I have to call you domine." She scoffed. "I'm...not a slave, not like that. We have so many at home, I'm not one of them." The insipid little women who tiptoed silently around the domus, nodding, eyes down, chins lowered, hopping between her brothers beds and pouring cup after cup of wine at dinner. That wasn't her. "You don't even want me here," She offered with increasing frustration, "So give the little goaty man your permission and I'll be on my way." 

 

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Well, Ovinia Camilla was not smirking anymore. Lucius almost felt bad for her, watching reality sink in. What her faction did, the whole civil war... it had been awful, and cost a lot of people their lives and homes. But that did not make this feel any better.

"For a walk. Or home. I can't stay here. They said I have to call you domine. I'm...not a slave, not like that. We have so many at home, I'm not one of them."

Lucius glanced up, noting that Marius was hovering by the door. He had probably been fretting about Ovinia marching in here. He waved a hand, sending him away.

"You don't even want me here. So give the little goaty man your permission and I'll be on my way." 

Lucius sighed, his free hand pinching the bridge of his nose. He either had to handle this, or Marius would, and Marius was... not known for being tactful.

Then again, neither was Lucius.

"Well, Ovinia Camilla, you are a slave. That means you can't go home." Never. Even if her home had not yet been razed to the ground. "And you are right, you are not like the others. They are all free. I don't like to keep slaves. But I am informed I can't free you even if I wanted to, because... well, this is punishment for what your family has done." Why they were also punishing him, though, he was not sure. "You can go on a walk, if you promise to come back. But I would need to know you'd keep that promise. You do not want to be a runaway slave."

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"I'm not coming back!" She choked, as if that would ever be a realistic proposition. If she walked out that door she'd walk and walk and keep walking until she found some outpost with an iota of sense that realised she was not a slave and she should be afforded the respect and deference she deserved. 

"So what?" She was frowning now, all flushed cheeks and glaring eyes, "I spend my life with your freedmen and plebs, sewing the holes in your tuincs, domine?" She spat the last word, venom in her voice. "What?" she glared at him, "Are you going to change my name too, huh? Whip me? Sell me?" She scoffed, the words or memories from her fathers own domus tumbling out of her mouth. She knew how her father dealt with errant slaves...but that was not her. She would not be humiliated. "You're pathetic." She choked, "Keeping somebody who has done nothing wrong in the gutter just to make yourself feel better about all the awful things you did to keep your Emperor in his seat." 

 

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"I'm not coming back!"

Well, that was going to be a problem.

"So what? I spend my life with your freedmen and plebs, sewing the holes in your tuincs, domine?"

Right now, that sounded like a bad time for the both of them. Ovinia was riling herself up now.

"What? Are you going to change my name too, huh? Whip me? Sell me?"

She could probably be heard across the house at this point. Lucius watched her, wondering if she was going to tire herself out.

"You're pathetic. Keeping somebody who has done nothing wrong in the gutter just to make yourself feel better about all the awful things you did to keep your Emperor in his seat." 

He winced at that last one. A civil war was never neat and tidy. Sure, the rebels were mostly in the wrong, but they did drag a whole lot of people along who deserved better. The people of Rome. People Lucius had sworn to protect, not hunt and kill.

"Alright, let's get a few things straight." he said, pushing himself up to walk around his desk. He leaned back against it, keeping his eyes on Ovinia. "Your family instigated a civil war. People died. You are being punished, because your relatives, or maybe you too, I don't care, have made bad choices. I did not ask to be a part of that punishment." He kept his eyes on her, wondering if she was going to go off again. "I can't set you free. I can sell you or gift you to someone else. But you need to hear this." He took a deep breath. "You have not been gifted to me for your skills. You have been gifted to be so I would bed you. Lucky for you, I don't bed people who don't want it. But not many think like me in this city, so if I sell you, you might regret that choice. And if you run away, you might regret that choice even more."

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Panic and revulsion rose in her chest and fright filled her eyes. She took a step back further away from him and then another. "Lucky for me?!" She choked and glanced behind her, counting the steps mentally between his office and the front door. She could maybe run it. Then again, she was barefoot. Like a slave. "I should be grateful to you that you're not going to rape me?" The scoff that she let fly from her lips was so loud she raised her fingers to cover her mouth afterwards, anger was bubbling, mixing with terror. "Well thank you, domine, you are truly a blessed master." 

She should calm herself down. She took to pacing the office in front if his desk, pointedly not looking at him, looking anywhere but. "Why would I regret running? You're not  going to come after me." She made a point of looking at his arm before turning her gaze back to the floor as she paced and paced and paced. "You could speak to the Emperor for me." She offered with a growing sense of dread and diminishing anger as her pacing turned to dawdling and then she finally came to a complete stop. "I should have cut my wrists when my mother poisoned herself. Maybe I should now." 

 

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"Lucky for me?! I should be grateful to you that you're not going to rape me? Well thank you, domine, you are truly a blessed master." 

Lucius frowned at her. He did not expect a thank you for stating that fact, but she also did not realize that she was, indeed, lucky. He knew for a fact most men in his position would have taken the opportunity and never thought twice. He'd never liked that. Reality was sinking in now, but Ovinia's dignity was still fighting the inevitable. 

"Why would I regret running? You're not  going to come after me."

"Someone else would. And they would brand you." At the least. She had to know that.

"You could speak to the Emperor for me."

"Not until things calm down." The emperor needed to show strength, which meant he needed to show revenge. Visible, and merciless. He was not going to start granting pardons until the city was at least partially back on its feet. And definitely not for patrician girls.

"I should have cut my wrists when my mother poisoned herself. Maybe I should now." 

The look in Lucius' eyes softened.

"Please don't do that." he said quietly. He knew she was getting desperate. But her choices were limited, and so were his. "You are safe here. I am not going to hurt you. But you need to stop trying to get away."

 

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She didn't want a brand. She was embarrassed enough by the scar on her back from the madman that had taken her into that shack near the Colleseum. In the intervening three years it had faded to a silvery white line on her shoulder and another on her hip. But that was enough. She swallowed the lump in her throat, feeling like she could be sick or burst into a flood of tears at any moment. She'd stopped her pacing, standing stock still instead. 

There was hope though. Not until things calm down was not a 'no'. It wasn't even a maybe. But it was something. She flicked dark eyes up to his face with a gratitude she shouldn't have had for what was, a meagre offering. But as she was rapidly, rapidly learning, she needed something. Her world was closing in as reality sank in. The look in his eyes didn't help. It would be so easy to get a knife from the kitchens. She glanced that way out through the domus. But there was a reason she was still here; she couldn't do it at the villa and now she had missed her chance. She could have had honour, and led with her mother and done it but her hands couldn't grip the knife and she couldn't press down. Now she was stuck here. She knew she was no braver now than she was then and there was no honour in a slave killing themselves. 

"I want my own room." It was a petulant request, but it was thrown with a strangled voice of desperation and sadness. "I can't sleep with the others in there. And I want to be able to sit in the gardens and read." She swallowed, "You're not going to use me for the reason they intended." Which she would thank every God going for, "So it won't matter to you." She swallowed, exhaling hard through her nose. Her eyes were drawn back to him and then back down to the sling. "What happened?" 

 

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Lucius watched all the thoughts play out in Ovinia's eyes. If she wanted to kill herself, he could not stop her, not really. He also could do precious little to convince her it was worth living on as a slave for the rest of her life. But he did not want her death, out of all of them, to be on his head. He waited to see how it would play out, once she had weighed her options realistically.

"I want my own room. I can't sleep with the others in there. And I want to be able to sit in the gardens and read.You're not going to use me for the reason they intended. So it won't matter to you."

Lucius smiled a small smile. Now she was making demands again. "You will have to learn to make yourself useful. But you can read in your free time." She could not just play at being a guest in the house. The servants would not let her do that. The room... that was a trickier request. "I'll see what I can do about the room. But you'll have to be nicer to the others if you want a chance at it."

"What happened?" 

He followed her glance at his arm. The smile was gone as he pushed away from the desk, turning his back to her.

"A civil war happened. You can go."

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She should not have been surprised at his reaction. As she learnt over the following week in his house, the situation with whatever had happened to his arm was not to be mentioned. That was one of a great, great number of rules she had, had to learn but it was perhaps the easiest to remember. The tone of his voice stuck in her mind and she swallowed a lump in her throat when she thought of it. Beyond that, the rules and regulations of the house were easy enough; do whatever the dominus or his guests want (and she'd hidden herself away from any of the latter), listen to the servants (because they outrank you), never have free time, don't leave without permission, don't steal so on and so forth. For the most part she kept herself hidden away; sewing and mending tunics and cloth as best as she could, doing general busy work (until dusting had made her sneeze so much Marius had told her to go and get fresh air...which she did...for most of the afternoon) and keeping out of sight of the dominus. He hadn't asked for her to serve at his meals and she hadn't made herself available to do so. Ignoring him, and ignoring her lot in life suited her fine. Until it didn't.

She'd constructed the sort of cave for herself only the evening prior. In a storage room, stacked high with boxes and crates she'd found a bit of floor slightly longer than herself. The snoring was driving her to distraction, as had the whispering and the giggling and so she'd taken it upon herself to move. She'd found pillows hidden in one box and swiped the blanket from a made-up cubiculum. The floor, however, was too hard and so tonight she had taken the cushions from a never-used sofa in the gardens. It was - relative to the cot in the dormitory - like sleeping on a cloud. She'd nestled herself in there, surrounded by boxes and swathed in fabric so she suspected she would be pretty invisible to anybody that decided to peer in. Or step on her. Which they did. The rustling and swearing had woken her up but she'd stayed still and quiet, unable to see who it was in the darkness. Until that person stepped on her foot. "Ow!" She howled, bolting up right and trying to massage the ache from her foot. "Watch it." She was muttering more to herself than trying to figure out who was in her room.

 

TAG: @Chevi

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Lucius woke up in a cold sweat to pain shooting up his arm. Pain had been constant since his injury, but he had made himself believe it was slowly getting better. He still drank opium before going to bed. But this time, in the middle of the night, his whole arm seized up in a way that almost made him bite his tongue. It took several minutes before he could will himself to sit up, panting and growling in pain. Dammit.

Marius was not a slave, he did not sleep by his bed. Or anywhere near at all. He would have, if Lucius asked, but he hated the idea of being waited on like an invalid. And now, the wine was gone, and so was the opium. And goddamn his arm hurt. Fuck. Maybe it would have been better to lose it.

He made his way down the hallway, leaning against the wall. There was no need to make a fuss and wake up the servants. He would manage just fine. The storage room was not that far away. He knew where the jugs were, and where the vials were with the opium. Still, he was breathing heavily by the time he made it to the door.

Fuck.

He had not lit a lantern, because he could not do it with one hand. He'd manage. He opened the door, walking in, and promptly stepped on something.

"Ow! Watch it." 

Someone. Lucius lost his balance, stumbling back against the shelves. His shoulder collided with the hard wood, and this time he did cry out in pain. Why was someone even on the floor?...

"What the fuck..." he groaned through gritted teeth.

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Posted (edited)

She let go of her foot as she heard somebody else wail out in pain. She couldn't see a fucking thing but she recognised the voice almost immediately. It was one she had been successfully dodging for a week. She scrambled back up in her little blanket mountain, trying to find the thick, disgusting tallow candle she had pilfered from the dormitory and light it. She couldn't get the flints going at first and mumbled, speaking over her shoulder. "I was trying to sleep." She offered by way of an explanation as she hit the flints until it sparked and she could light the candle. The smoke and smell billowed from it immediately and she winced. Still, it illuminated the space between them well enough. 

"What's wrong?" She wore a worried expression on her sleepy face as she tried to blink out the tiredness. He looked in agony. She knelt up in her little blanket fort and her hands hovered nervously be her side. She didn't know what to do and panicked, pushing herself up on tired, wobbly legs to try and walk past him. "I'll go wake Marius." 

 

TAG: @Chevi

Edited by Sara
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There were colorful spots dancing before his eyes in the dark. Damn, he needed to find the medicine. Someone rustled in the darkness of the storage room.

"I was trying to sleep."

Ovinia Camilla. She had been sulking for the past few days, but at least she had not been underfoot much. Flint clinked, and a small flame illuminated the storage room, revealing a pile of bedding. Lucius slid down, collapsing on top of a crate. Sitting felt more stable than standing. Ovinia, on her part, looked like she had seen a ghost.

"What's wrong? I'll go wake Marius."

"Don't." he caught her on her way out with his free hand. "I don't need the fuss. I'll be fine." The fact that he was still grimacing with pain said the opposite, but he really did not want Marius fussing over him. Or the rest of the household. He knew they already worried, and he did not like to be treated like an invalid. "I just need to find the opium, it's in here somewhere."

@Sara

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She glanced down at his hand barring her way with fear and wariness just for the briefest of moments before it turned into pity. She'd seen pain like this before and knew acutely what it did to a person. No wonder he had been so cold that day she had stormed into his office. 

"Opium won't help." She added but nonetheless returned to her little den of blankets, trying to glance around in the gloom for it. She was not going to argue with an addict, for she presumed that's exactly what he was. It was a disorganised mess in here. "You need to see a medicus. Opium just masks it." 

 

TAG: @Chevi

 

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  • Sara changed the title to All's fair in love and war [M]

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