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Lost Cause


Wulfric
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Early December, 76 AD - after Male Fantasy

He suddenly felt very exposed, in a way he’d never felt like in Rome until now. But as he sat there, still leaning against the wall to his insula, people were looking at him. The fight was over, Ione and the guard had left and although the fight had been broken up, no one had come to ask how Wulfric was doing. He knew he must look like a mess. He could feel that his one jaw and cheek was swollen and would most likely turn blue or purple soon, and he still had the taste of blood in his mouth. And his clothes were all dirty and dusty. This was so bad. He couldn’t turn up for work like this! He wouldn’t get a thing done anyway.

 He had luckily not passed out, but he knew he’d been close. And his face was hurting everywhere, as was his chest and he had a terrible headache. How was he going to drag himself up the stairs to his insula? And what about the warehouse, when they expected him to come and he didn’t… it was fucked up, all of it. He needed help, now. And the inhabitants of his area didn’t seem to want to give it to him.

Wulfric closed his eyes, thinking he might just sleep here then. Once spring came, it really was time to return for Germania. It was now more obvious than ever, that he was very unwanted in Rome.

@Chevi

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This part of the city was not one where Iophon usually took his clients. Sure, it was full of stories, and exciting ones too, just not the kind that a traveler would be interested in. Unless they had very special interests in mind. Anyway, Iophon was alone this time, and just taking a convenient shortcut. But it appeared that the gods had guided his steps down this path for a very specific reason.

Seeing a man drunk and/or beaten up on the subura streets was not exactly a novelty. But Iophon was the kind of man who stopped anyway, since no one else did. In addition, as he leaned closer, he was shocked to discover that the face, beaten up as it was, seemed familiar. He had a good memory for such things.

"Wulfric?" he reached out to touch the man's shoulder, not sure if he was conscious. "Hey, my friend. What happened to you?"

@Atrice

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He didn't know why people didn't help him. They broke up the fight, so at least no one would be murdered in the street. But of course they knew he was a foreigner. He'd lived here almost since he came to Rome, after all, so people around here, they knew him. And now he screwed up by getting into a fight. And not just any fight, but a fight with a guard from the Elysium. No one wanted to get attached to that place, at least not in public. So they left him be. Just proving that foreigners like him did not belong in Rome. 

Wulfric had almost drifted off, when someone touched his shoulder and spoke his name. He opened his eyes, the right eye more than the left, because it was swollen... and he looked up, seeing a familiar face. At first he could not quite place it, but then it came to him. Wasn't this the man who showed him around, when he first came to Rome? Maybe it was fate, that he was also here when Wulfric came to the realization that he really ought to leave.

"I... fought. Did not end well." He said with a small sigh, as he was stating the obvious, "I do not know... what to do, now." Or, he knew, but it was winter and he wasn't so stupid he would travel on foot and by carriage in the winter months. Rome and the lands down here were alright, but the closer to home he got, the worse it would be. He had to stay a little longer.

@Chevi

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"I... fought. Did not end well."

"Yes. I can see that." There had been a fight alright, and Wulfric did not look like he'd won it. Which was strange. Wasn't he a warrior prince or something? He waved the questions away for later.

"I do not know... what to do, now."

"Well, first off, let's get you up." Iophon offered, crouching down to support Wulfric with his shoulder. "Do you think you can stand?"

@Atrice

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If only the guard from the Elysium had not been bigger than him and stronger than him. And drunk and more skilled in these kinds of fights... and if only Wulfric had not allowed Ione to sleep, so he fell asleep too and kept her for much longer than he should have. If only.

He sighed, of course Iophon could see he'd been in a fight that didn't end well. And now he was here. And didn't know what to do.

Iophon wanted him to get on his feet, crouching down to help Wulfric, "Maybe? I feel... head aching. Spinning... like wheel?" He felt dizzy, but he wasn't used to that word in Latin. How often did you need a word for this feeling anyway? He let Iophon help him to his feet and leaned against the wall again, "I live here." He nodded towards the staircase from the street and up towards rooms of the insula. Maybe Iophon knew a healer who could help him. If any Romans would. He recalled that Iophon wasn't Roman either. Maybe that's why he stopped when no one else did.

@Chevi

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"Of course it's spinning, it looks like you got punched pretty bad" Iophon pointed out as he hauled Wulfric to his feet. At least he was well enough to stand, although he probably did not have it in him to walk far. Luckily, he lived in the building. "Oh, that makes it easier."

Iophon supported Wulfric up the stairs to the door of his apartment. He'd need to find a place for him to sit. "You got some water in here?" he asked, looking around. He wrinkled his nose. "No offense, my friend, but it smells like sex in here. Did a woman beat you up like that?... Or her husband?"

@Atrice

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Wulfric nodded at Iophon's words, "Yes... punched pretty bad." If only he'd gotten the upper hand. If only the guard hadn't been so arrogant and ignorant. If only Wulfric had not spent the whole night with Ione in his arms. If only he had not wanted her in the first place. If only he'd not fallen over her bucket that day... if only his father had actually responded to him and opened his door willingly. If only his time in Rome had been fruitful.

But it had not.

He got to his feet with Iophon's help and explained that he lived right here. The other was kind to assist him up the stairs and eventually, they reached the right floor and the right door. Wulfric more or less fell down to sit on his bed. He had no chairs or even a bench or a stool. Iophon said something about water and that it smelled like sex in his simple home. It would smell like that, wouldn't it?

"Her guard. She is... a whore. I paid for evening, not night. But we slept, after... and he was mad. Drunk and mad." Wulfric sighed, leaning against the wall by his bed, "I feel tired." 

@Chevi

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Wulfric sat on the bed, while Iophon scoured the scantly furnished room for something to administer first aid with. The smells and the state of the bed spoke for themselves. His guess had been right. Sort of.

"Her guard. She is... a whore. I paid for evening, not night. But we slept, after... and he was mad. Drunk and mad."

"Oh. Boy. Mistake, my friend. Rookie mistake." Iophon shook his head, finally locating a pitcher of water and some cloth. "You never overstay what you paid for. They don't like it. And you need to find a better brother, if the man was drunk like that. Next time, ask me."

He returned to the bed.

"I feel tired." 

"Oh no. No, don't sleep. Hey." Iophon tapped Wulfric's face, and then dipped the cloth in water to start cleaning the blood off of it. "Tell me. Was she that good that you just passed out or something?"

@Atrice

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Iophon commented on Wulfric's simple explanation of the story, speaking a whole lot actually. He knew he'd made a huge mistake and he'd learned his lesson now. It hit home though, never overstay what you paid for. He'd overstayed in Rome, that's what he'd done. Paid for more than he got.

"I understand I make mistake. But... no next time, I hope." His first time with a whore of Rome and he messed it up. But there would not be a next time. Next time, he'd not be in Rome anymore. Spring was only a few months away. Right now though, he mostly just wanted to sleep. He was hurting and he felt tired.

But Iophon told him to not sleep and had sat down in front of him and began cleaning blood off his face. He winced and made a whimper by the feeling, this was low. The lowest he'd ever been. Iophon was keeping him awake with more pain and wondered how good it had been with the whore.

"She was good. But after, I want more. And she... needed pause." He explained. He should have listened to her, should have let her go after the first round. He should not have expected more. He didn't get it. He got beaten up instead. But he went on with the story to Iophon, "So, we rest. But then fall asleep." He sighed. How was he so tired when he spent the night in her arms? He'd slept so well. 

@Chevi

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"I understand I make mistake. But... no next time, I hope." 

"Oh, don't let one cracked head put you off women" Iophon grinned, dabbing at the blood as carefully as he could. A lot of it was in Wulfric's hair. He really had gotten clonked on the head. "Unless you want to move on to men, in which case, their gain."

"She was good. But after, I want more. And she... needed pause. So, we rest. But then fall asleep." 

"Insatiable, are we." Iophon chuckled. He turned Wulfric's head to keep up his cleaning work. "That was the mistake. Next time, you find the guy, pay him for another round, and then you fall asleep. Or pay for the whole night. If you have the coin... You liked her?"

@Atrice

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He tried to sit still while Iophon kept cleaning his wounds and his skin. It was nice of him to do, when he didn't have to. Wulfric said he hoped there would be no next time for such a mistake, and Iophon joked about women and men... "Oh, I am not... put off women. Just, no whore. And no more Rome." He then added. He didn't want men! He understood it was more common here, than at home, but... he didn't see the attraction. Not for sex anyway.

He explained what happened with Ione, why it went wrong and Iophon explained what he should have done. Then asked if Wulfric liked her.

"I did. And she told me, she want me too." He said, managing a brief smile, but then it faded as the muscles in his face hurt by the simple action, "But, I will not have whore again. This... teach me lesson." If he was to have a woman, it had to be someone he shouldn't pay for, so he wouldn't make a mistake again. Maybe he should buy himself a slave here in Rome. Although where would he keep them? It's not like he had much space in this flat in the first place. Maybe not.

@Chevi

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"Oh, I am not... put off women. Just, no whore. And no more Rome." 

"No Rome?!" Iophon would have gleefully gone along with the concept of swearing off women... but Rome? Rome deserved a lot better. Wulfric just needed to learn how to do things properly.

"I did. And she told me, she want me too."

"Of course she did."

"But, I will not have whore again. This... teach me lesson." 

"Correction, you will not have that whore again." Iophon noted, cleaning up the blood from his head. "We'll get you a better one. My treat. Should have asked me in the first place. Tour guide, remember? Rome has so much better to offer." he chuckled, turning Wulfric's head. "Well, from what I can tell, your skull is not cracked. That's good. Someone should stitch you up, though."

@Atrice

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Iophon seemed surprised that Wulfric wanted no more of Rome and he just nodded at the other's exclamation. Wulfric had then said he didn't want a whore again, but Iophon said he shouldn't have that one, but a better one. Iophon would find one for him. Wulfric gave him a look, a bit too tired and worn out to think about pleasure. But Iophon thought Rome had much to offer. And also that Wulfric should have something stitched.

"Good skulls is not cracked." He said, managing a little smile, "You know healer, who can... stitch?" He then asked, he wasn't in the mood for telling the whole tale about why he didn't want to stay in Rome for longer than he had to, not right now. Maybe later, when he felt better and had something to eat and drink. Iophon deserved it, for being so friendly and helpful towards him.

@Chevi

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"Well... I know one, he lives in my insula" Iophon nodded. "I can... run and get him. Unless you think you can walk.

It wasn't terribly far away, but walking after being hit on the head was probably not an easy thing to ask of Wulfric. At the same time, Iophon was hesitant about leaving him alone either. He dabbed some more at the wounds, trying to see if the bleeding was slowing down. Some of it had already dried, but the wet cloth was not currently helping. "Are you feeling faint or dizzy?"

@Atrice

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Wulfric didn't exactly feel like walking anywhere. He'd rather be here, he'd rather rest. His head was pounding, both from the pain by his jaw and from being hit so many times in general. At first the fight had gone well for Wulfric, but somehow the other man got on top and he was too heavy and didn't give Wulfric a fair chance. It was all messed up. And now he just wanted to rest. 

"Maybe it best, that you go get him?" He said, feeling strangely inferior, not something he was used to. But Rome had a habit of making him feel like that. Like he was worth less than the people who were born and raised here. Iophon spoke to him again and he looked at him, "Yes, I feel... not so well." Of course he didn't, given what happened, "I will wait here." It's not like he was going anywhere anyway.

@Chevi

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"Alright." Iophon was a little hesitant about leaving Wulfric alone, but he was clearly in no condition to walk. "I'll be back as soon as I can."

Luckily, his insula was not horribly far away. And Theodorus happened to be home. Iophon explained in a hurry what had happened (leaving out the sordid details), and the friendly neighborhood medicus immediately agreed to follow him to the patient. It wasn't more than an hour before they returned. Iophon just hoped that Wulfric's condition had not turned to the worse since.

"Good news! I brought someone who can help" he announced, walking in the door.

@Atrice

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Iophon left and Wulfric sat for a moment, wondering what to do with himself. Lie down and sleep? But it hurt everywhere and he honestly wasn't sure if he could sleep. He wanted to rest though. And to think he slept all night in Ione's arms... but his body was worn out after the fight and the beatings. Maybe he had something to drink. Wine. They didn't empty the jar last night. Wulfric managed to find it and drank the rest, although there wasn't much left. Then he leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes, just one moment... 

Suddenly the door opened and he woke up with a start. His cheek was hurting worse than before and so was his one eyebrow. Was that what needed to be stitched? He didn't know, he couldn't see it. And now Iophon was here, with someone else, unfamiliar to Wulfric.

"Good... I hope." Wulfric replied and looked at Iophon again, "I have not more wine." Meaning he'd like that. Maybe it would take some of the pain and help him sleep.

@Chevi

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"You must be Wol... Wulfric?" Theo ventured, walking into the room. It was just like any other insula apartment; much like his own (minus Didia's touches). The man definitely looked like someone who had been hit on the head. For a moment Theo thought he had passed out, but he opened his eyes as they walked in.

"My name is Theodorus. I'm a medicus. Iophon here told me you need help." Theo sat on the edge of the bed. "Let me see."

"I'll go get some wine. And food" Iophon offered. He wanted to be useful.

@Atrice

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He nodded when the newcomer spoke his name, "Wulfric." He replied, just to make sure the other understood it. The newcomer sat down on the simple bed, shared his name and wanted to take a look at him.

"See all you will. But, it is not pretty?" Wulfric managed, while Iophon said he'd go and get wine and food. Wulfric wasn't always so fond of the Roman wine, but it was easier to store than proper beer and you didn't need as much of it to feel light-headed. He understood why it was popular and why he wanted it now. 

@Chevi

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Iophon left, and Theo examined Wulfric's injuries. The wound on his head had been cleaned, and he confirmed what Iophon had told him on the way.

"I don't think your skull is cracked." he noted "But you do need stitches. Have you been stitched before?" He asked, fishing in his bag for the appropriate instruments. Blood was still oozing from the wound, which was not great. He would have to close and bandage it. Theo tilted his head. "First, look at me. Follow my finger." He moved his finger in front of Wulfric's eyes. Hopefully, the hit to his head had not been too bad.

@Atrice

 

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Wulfric nodded when Theodorus asked if he'd been stitched before, "I have, but only small stitch. After fight, when I was child." He said, trying to smile as he said it, because although it had hurt like Hel to be stitched, the rest of the story wasn't so bad. And it was what happened to kids, he knew that now. Especially boys, it seemed. Boys who naturally fight when they're playing and sometimes, some boys are bigger than others and their punches are harder... apparently, Wulfric hadn't learned a thing back then. And now it happened again. Suddenly the story was bad.

Theodorus then wanted Wulfric to follow his finger, which sounded a bit strange, but he did as told and although it didn't go so fast, he did manage to, "I follow fine? Is it eyes you worry for? I see fine." Well except maybe the left eye, with the swollen eyebrow, it hurt a bit to open the eye entirely. But besides that, he thought it fine, "I will be brave." Wulfric then promised, hoping that Iophon would soon return with more to drink.

@Chevi

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