Jump to content

Unread messages


Recommended Posts

January 77CE

The stables were not exactly teeming with reading material. Azarion had learned the basics of writing and reading on his own time, but if he wanted to practice, he had to venture outside of his usual stomping grounds. Which is why he rarely ever got around to practicing. Most people had learned his gestures and signs by now, at least the ones he needed to have daily interactions with. As far as letters, he only really encountered them when they were scrawled on the walls.

And those walls were everywhere.

Azarion was on his way back to the Whites' stables from the forum, where he had purchased some small things for his new harness, when his eyes caught some of the scribbles on a wall. He was in no hurry, so he slowed down, and began to put some of the letters together. How did Romans have so much time to write shit on the walls?... And what did they even have to write about?

The first word he managed to piece together was F-U-C-K.

Well, that made sense.

@Sharpie

  • Haha 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rufus was out and about again; his ankle had been a nuisance for a week or so, but that had been several months before and it was back to normal by now. This time, rather than the Ludus Magnus he found himself near the stables of the chariot factions, a little closer to the Palatine and home - almost in the shadow of the Palatine Hill, in fact.

Rufus was minding his own business - well, his master's business - and returning home after his most recent errand, when he became aware of one of the other people walking along the same street. A young man with a slightly feral look, pausing to look at some of the graffiti on the walls.

He looked familiar, but it was only when Rufus saw him pause to try to figure out one of the messages that he realised who it was.

"Azarion!"

 

@Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Azarion jumped as someone called his name, and looked around to see a familiar redhead. Not many people ran around Rome looking like that. The young charioteer recognized Rufus, the man who'd taught him his first letters. They had not met since, and it felt like ages ago. In the middle of all that was going on, it was good to see someone friendly.

Azarion grinned, and waved to Rufus in greeting.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rufus grinned back. He had no idea how they were going to manage to communicate this time - the last time, Rufus had done all the talking (well, he would, seeing as the other couldn't speak at all!) and had stumbled more by luck than judgement on teaching him something that might be useful later on.

Speaking of which, he had a closer look at the wall Azarion had been studying.

FUCK ME it proclaimed, emblazoned in big bold capital letters a handspan high at least.

"Is this the only thing you can find to practice your reading with?" he asked, trying not to sound amused.

 

@Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rufus inspected the writing on the wall. No doubt he had an easier time spelling the words out, but Azarion was still proud of his progress. He now recognized FUCK at first sight.

"Is this the only thing you can find to practice your reading with?" 

Azarion shrugged with a smirk. As good as any. He made a wide gesture at the hundreds of notes and words and scratches on this tract of the wall. There was a lot to work with there.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Azarion's shrug and expansive gesture made Rufus laugh. He was right, though, there was a lot of writing on the walls around them, most of it very crude indeed. Some of it was accompanied by even cruder pictures.

There was a whole list of names in one area, in which the name Alexius featured several times, among others.

"Have you been practising your writing as well?" he asked, wondering which scrawls could be attributed to his friend.

 

@Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Romans sure loved to scrawl on walls about fucking. Even Rufus had to admit, if one wanted to practice their letters, this wall was as good as any.

"Have you been practising your writing as well?"

Azarion shrugged, making an ambivalent gesture. He had not written much, unless he really needed to explain something to someone, and Jason was not around. Otherwise, what should he write? He raised a questioning eyebrow at Rufus, making a writing gesture and pointing at the wall. Was Rufus in the habit of leaving messages?

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"On the walls? No - I don't really have anything I need to let people know about." He looked meaningfully at one particular message proclaiming Gaius is a manwhore and rolled his eyes. "I've got a tabula to practise in. Besides, I don't have any urge to write about sex all over the walls of Rome and I don't think anyone round here writes about much else."

A wax writing tablet didn't cost that much and Azarion might be able to borrow one anyway, as Rufus had, though Rufus probably had more reason to be able to borrow one.

"I don't suppose you've been leaving messages, either," he added, looking between the crude proclamations and Azarion. The youth didn't strike him as being a total innocent, not when it came to creative swearing and other things - he could probably teach the rest of the Roman graffiti artists a thing or two when it came to swearing, in fact. If they could read anything other than Latin, and if Azarion could write anything other than Latin.

 

@Chevi

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"On the walls? No - I don't really have anything I need to let people know about. I've got a tabula to practise in. Besides, I don't have any urge to write about sex all over the walls of Rome and I don't think anyone round here writes about much else."

Azarion grinned. Rufus was probably right. People did write a lot about sex. Wanting it, having it, having had it, or just... sex words in general, as far as he could tell from perusing any portion of the wall for any few minutes. Sure, sometimes there was the occasional advertisement, gladiator name, or political graffiti, but those were not very close to Azarion's everyday life either.

"I don't suppose you've been leaving messages, either," 

He shook his head. Messages, no. The only thing he'd scratched on the wall so far were some Sarmatian signs (Tiranes had started that one), and Safinia's name, at the alley where she'd died.

He turned back, looking at the wall again. As his eyes wandered over the scrawled letters, he blinked. Was that... his name? He'd learned to recognize his own name easily, although he knew not all Romans knew how to spell it. Hell, he didn't know how to spell it either, he'd just gone with what sounded right. But now... there was his name, on the wall. He leaned closer.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Azarion leaned closer to the wall - obviously, something had caught his attention. Rufus stepped closer to see what appeared to be a list of names.

At the top, in rather unsteady letters, someone had written Who do you most want to fuck?

"Well. It seems you've made an impression on someone," he said, and then felt the blood come to his face as he read his own name. It needn't be him - there was more than one Rufus in Rome, of course, except that next to it someone had queried, which one? and the first hand had replied the redhead.

Well, great. That wasn't at all embarrassing - there were plenty of other names listed. 'Alexius' showed up three times!

"Looks like you've got a secret admirer!"

 

@Chevi

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

At first, Azarion did not know why his name was on the wall. It looked like some kind of a list. His gaze trailed up to the top, and he slowly made out the letters of the question. Who do you most want to... well, he knew that one. Azarion blinked.

"Well. It seems you've made an impression on someone,"

Someone wanted to... 

What?

Azarion looked at the question again, and then the list of names. He recognized Rufus' name too.

"Looks like you've got a secret admirer!"

Azarion looked stunned. Someone actually... noticed enough to put his name on the wall? Or was it just some kind of a joke? He tapped Rufus' name. If Azarion had an admirer, he did too. He arched an eyebrow. What did that even mean?...

@Sharpie

 

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Well, maybe - but I'm not the only Rufus in Rome," Rufus said, voicing his thought of a moment before. "As for you, I'd say it means you've caught someone's eye, somehow." There could only be one Azarion in Rome, after all - and if you ignored the scars on his arms (and he probably had even more hidden by his tunic, too), Azarion was a rather good-looking young man. In a half-wild sort of way.

But some people liked that kind of thing.

"You're the charioteer, someone obviously admires you already - you didn't even have to wait before you got an adoring fan." He elbowed Azarion in the side, teasingly, like an older brother might.

 

@Chevi

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rufus was not the only Rufus in Rome. Or the only red-haired one, since the name kind of implied that, at Romans sucked ass when it came to naming their slaves. But Azarion... that was not a very common name. There could only be one of those in the city, or the gods had a very strange sense of humor.

"As for you, I'd say it means you've caught someone's eye, somehow."

Azarion was still confused. Whose?... How? He never thought of himself as attractive. And he had certainly never... fucked anyone. He was almost nineteen years old, but his life... had not really gone that way.

"You're the charioteer, someone obviously admires you already - you didn't even have to wait before you got an adoring fan." 

Azarion rolled his eyes, theatrically looking around and shrugging his shoulders. He might have an admirer... but where was this adoring fan? Scribbling on a wall was easy. And it was probably a joke. He turned back to the wall, now looking at the letters with new eyes, glancing back at Rufus. Do you think they wrote more?

@Sharpie

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You should see if you can borrow a mirror some time, you're pretty, uh..." Rufus trailed off; telling a half-tamed barbarian from gods-knew-where that he was 'cute' (or even 'kind of cute' or 'pretty cute') could not end well. Even if the barbarian was rather friendly with you. "Pretty good-looking. Just the sort that'll catch the ladies' eyes."

Though it wasn't the ladies who'd declared they'd like to fuck him, surely - although a bit of graffiti on a wall was anonymous enough that it could have been.

"I think there's bound to be more, somewhere - if there isn't yet, there will be."

 

@Chevi

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You should see if you can borrow a mirror some time, you're pretty, uh..."

Azarion arched an eyebrow. No, he didn't have a mirror... it had been a while since he had seen himself in anything other than some water in a washing basing. What exactly was Rufus getting at?

"Pretty good-looking. Just the sort that'll catch the ladies' eyes."

The other eyebrow went up too. That was... weird. Back at that one party, Vibia had been convinced too that he could get sponsors with his charms, although that was more for wealthy men... But being considered good-looking?

"I think there's bound to be more, somewhere - if there isn't yet, there will be."

Azarion turned back to the wall, perusing the letters. There was a whole lot of FUCK and SEX. He tried to find more names. Mostly his own because now he was curious, or Rufus' to prove a point. Instead, he found a third.

CYNANE HAS FOUR COCKS

@Sharpie

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Dirty-minded buggers, Romans," Rufus said with a laugh, looking at all the declarations of people getting laid, or wanting to get laid, or who they wanted to get laid with. "I think if you removed the word 'fuck' from the language, the walls would suddenly look a lot cleaner."

And then Azarion was squinting at another scribble entirely.

"I wonder who Cynane is, and why they think she's got four cocks. That sounds horribly uncomfortable. Unless she keeps them as trophies or something." Cynane was the name of one of Alexander the Great's sisters or something; she'd led an army into battle. And that was about as much as Rufus could tell of the origins of the name. He wondered who this Cynane might be.

 

@Chevi

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Dirty-minded buggers, Romans. I think if you removed the word 'fuck' from the language, the walls would suddenly look a lot cleaner."

Azarion chuckled at the suggestion. It seemed true. Romans, indeed, were very liberals about broadcasting their thoughts and desires about sex.

"I wonder who Cynane is, and why they think she's got four cocks. That sounds horribly uncomfortable. Unless she keeps them as trophies or something." 

Azarion grinned. He knew exactly who Cynane was, and he was pretty sure she did not have four cocks. Unless, granted, she was keeping them as trophies, which was a possibility. She was a warrior, after all.

His eyes wandered again. Some notes were individual, while others seemed to be a running conversation. People liked to leave messages for each other, not minding that the whole city could listen in on the conversation... he noticed the word for the Whites. That was another one he had noted often. Tilting his head, Azarion tried to put the rest of the words together.

I WANT TO SCREW THE WHITES' NEW CHARIOTEER

He is too cute

I hear he's got no tongue

Not a bad trait in a man

However men can use their tongue for good...

Azarion's smile disappeared, giving way to a frozen look on his face.

@Sharpie

  • Haha 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rufus had stepped a bit closer to see what he was looking at now, noticing the way he'd suddenly gone very very still, with an almost frozen expression.

"Ah, shit. They're full of crap, these people," he said, wondering just how much he'd be risking if he were to offer a friendly hug. "They don't bloody think, that's what."

There had to be better stuff than graffiti for Azarion to practise his reading with, but Rufus couldn't think of anything except temple inscriptions, which were few and far between in this particular stretch of alleyway.

"They can't think of anything except sex," he mused. "Which probably means the last time they got laid was oh, during the Civil War. They ought to find something better to do with their time, really!"

 

@Chevi

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rufus came over to read the same words. Azarion felt heat in his cheeks. From embarrassment. And anger. Yet another person talking about taking a fancy to him, probably for a joke, and then...

"Ah, shit. They're full of crap, these people. They don't bloody think, that's what."

Oh, they did think. They did think a whole lot. And apparently the rumors had already gone around Rome about Azarion's silence, and the reason for it.

"They can't think of anything except sex. Which probably means the last time they got laid was oh, during the Civil War. They ought to find something better to do with their time, really!"

Azarion frowned, and turned away from the wall. He was nineteen years old now, but he really had no experience on the front of... whatever men used their tongue for. It was just never something that really seemed like a part of his life. He was, after all, not exactly a catch. But still, people writing that on the wall, that hit something that stung. Azarion shrugged at Rufus' words, gesturing at himself. He had not gotten laid since the Civil War either, whenever that was. Whatever.

@Sharpie

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Hey - hey, don't take it so hard," Rufus said, the smile dropping from his face. "If it was what I said that's upset you, I'm sorry." He offered the back of his hand for Azarion to slap. "And if it was that -" he indicated the wall with his thumb "- people are absolute idiots with more time than sense. You're young, and good-looking, you'll find someone."

Rufus thought that he honestly wouldn't mind something a bit more... physical with Azarion, in fact, but wasn't about to say so just yet in case Azarion didn't think that way about men and would get spooked; he didn't want to spoil their friendship (not-hate-ship?) by bringing in any sort of awkwardness like that.

"The people writing that sort of crap don't know you, anyway. They only know what they see, and then they go and invent stuff for why something is the way it is." He gave his friend a concerned glance. "I'm not helping, am I?"

 

@Chevi

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Hey - hey, don't take it so hard. If it was what I said that's upset you, I'm sorry."

Azarion glanced down at Rufus' hand, then back up. He was clearly not the one offending anyone. Azarion was in a sour mood all of a sudden, but not because of Rufus.

"And if it was that - people are absolute idiots with more time than sense. You're young, and good-looking, you'll find someone."

Yeah. Sure. Azarion's face was clear on how little he believed that. It had not bothered him much before, but suddenly, it felt like just another thing that was bad, in a long line of bad things happening in his life.

"The people writing that sort of crap don't know you, anyway. They only know what they see, and then they go and invent stuff for why something is the way it is... I'm not helping, am I?"

Azarion finally smiled a little, shaking his head. No, Rufus was not helping, but it was not for lack of trying on his part. He shrugged, turning away from the wall. It was full of bullshit, anyway. And some actual shit. He gestured at Rufus in a questioning way, instead. Was he doing any better, with... finding someone? Or just life in general?

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Me?" Rufus wasn't entirely sure what Azarion was asking, but it probably wasn't a million miles away from what they'd been talking about, so he took a stab in the dark. "Have I got someone? No. The last time I got laid was... about two years ago. Wow - I didn't think it was as long ago as all that!"

I must be, though; he hadn't had anyone since his master's cousin had come to stay with his then-master, and had borrowed Rufus for a short while. It had been good sex, though, which was something.

"How about you, though? Got your eye on a girl?" He paused for a moment and gave Azarion a quick look. "Or boy?" He shrugged. "You don't have to tell me if you'd rather not, though - I'm sure I can find something else to talk about if you'd rather."

 

@Chevi

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Me? Have I got someone? No. The last time I got laid was... about two years ago. Wow - I didn't think it was as long ago as all that!"

Despite his sour mood, Azarion chuckled at that. The realization on Rufus' face seemed genuine. Poor man. Azarion only had a vague idea of what he was missing, but at least he wasn't the only one in Rome not getting any. The wall tended to project the wrong impression.

"How about you, though? Got your eye on a girl? Or boy?... You don't have to tell me if you'd rather not, though - I'm sure I can find something else to talk about if you'd rather."

Azarion shook his head at the question, and shrugged. Girl... not really. He had met some who seemed nice, but never got to spend enough time with them, even if they looked back. And Safinia... had just been a friend. A very annoying, but good friend. The men... he wasn't even sure how one got started on that. He shrugged again, and nodded. Maybe change the topic. Not that he was contributing much to the conversation. He chuckled, picking up a sharp pebble from the ground, nodding at the wall. Maybe they could do some writing of their own.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Would you like a girl, though? Or a boy, if it came down to it?" Rufus asked, and grinned as Azarion bent to pick up a sharp stone from the ground before indicating the wall. That would be as handy as any nail or piece of chalk, or paint, for them to leave their own message.

"All right, let's find our own blank bit of wall, then - I don't suppose you've got any message in particular that you want to leave?" he said. Maybe Azarion didn't think of anyone like that, maybe he didn't know how to think of people like that - he sure as Hades couldn't actually tell someone he liked them. Poor sod.

 

@Chevi

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Would you like a girl, though? Or a boy, if it came down to it?" 

Azarion pondered the question for a moment, then nodded, and shrugged. Sure. Who didn't want some company? Or some caring? Or... whatever sex felt like? It had to be good, otherwise they would not have been writing all about it on the walls. Speaking of...

"All right, let's find our own blank bit of wall, then - I don't suppose you've got any message in particular that you want to leave?"

Azarion smirked, turning to a relatively open part of the wall. The sharp rock was easy to scrape it with. Azarion was not exactly an eloquent writer, but he made quick work of the message. 

RVFVS NEEDS LAYD

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...