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Considia Melia


Considia Melia
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CONSIDIA M. l. MELIA

21 | 28th August 55 CE | Freedwoman | Midwife and herbalist | Bisexual | Original | Malika El Maslouhi

 

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Personality

A woman of few words, Melia tends to hide her thoughts behind a façade of constructed neutrality and hard-working compliance. The least she says, the least likely the other party will feel slighted or misconstrue her words. She hates the Romans and their appetite for slaves yet realises she is entirely dependent on them to achieve her goals – and that it is in her best interests to appear reliable and irreproachable to as many of them as possible, even though that means curbing many an acidic remark she would love to let out or letting them order her around as though she were still a slave.

Were she to let somebody get close enough to drop the mask, they would discover an insightful woman with a wry sense of humour and a bright mind who enjoys sharing her knowledge with others – at present, however, she doesn’t entertain the idea as it would mean more competition. Her dedication to her causes, some a bit more obvious than others, is clear for anyone who knows Melia to see; her enthusiasm, however, is saved for those she trusts.

Working with plants has taught her patience and being a midwife has taught her decisiveness - good traits to have when she is desperately looking for what is left of her family. Rest assured that she will find them.

 

Appearance

Melia sports very dark brown eyes framed by thick eyebrows and wavy dark hair that flows past her shoulders but is often put up in a bun as work dictates - features common in her people, as is her olive skin. She is thin and gangly as many slaves who grow up with just enough food tend to be and which makes her look taller than her 5’1”, with full lips that seldom curve in a smile. Now that she’s got the freedom to choose and buy her own clothes, Melia dresses modestly, the quality of her tunics just good enough to make her seem reliable and professional but without any luxuries that would deter from her goal of saving as much as possible. She uses earrings but keeps her hands free from all adornments, her nails short and her skin smooth with ointments she prepares herself – all to better perform her tasks as midwife.

 

Family

Father: Ameqran (deceased)

Mother: Jidji (deceased)

Siblings: Tifawt (sister, b. 52 AD, whereabouts unknown), Izem (brother, b. 59 AD, whereabouts unknown)

Spouse: N/A

Children: N/A

Extended family: Ghanim (uncle and stepfather, deceased)

Other: N/A

 

History

55 AD: Tamemt is born on a pleasant summer night, the second child to a young couple living in coastal Cyrenaica near the city of Darnis. Her mother Jidji is disappointed she has not given her husband a son, but Ameqran is happy the baby is healthy. Her sister Tifawt is very excited about getting a sibling to play with.

58 AD: Ameqran is presumed dead whilst on a fishing trip with a friend after a storm wrecks their little boat. Their bodies wash ashore two days later. As per their tribe’s customs, their father’s brother Ghanim marries Jidji a short time later so that the family unit is more or less preserved. Tamemt is confused that their father is gone, but happy that uncle Ghanim is there to play with her all the time.

59 AD: Izem, the son Jidji so longed for, is born. Unfortunately, she dies of puerperal fever and Tamemt resents the small crying bundle that took her mother from her. Tifawt tries to take up the motherly mantle, but she’s only a child taking care of her younger siblings.

60-64 AD: Like most in her tribe and following in the footsteps of her uncle and sister, Tamemt jojns the silphium business. Selecting the healthiest plants, extracting their resin, drying it and grinding it into a fine powder is hard work, but her small fingers are surprisingly adept at it. Ghanim tells her people all over the empire use it as medicine, and that’s why it’s so important to have a good product.

65 AD: on a clear winter day pirates attack their small village, keen on lining their pockets with slavery gold. They kill the elderly and infirm and those, like Ghanim, that put up a fight defending their homes and families; the survivors are taken across the Mediterranean to Rhegium, where the market awaits them. Tifawt is just at the right age to be sold to a brothel and this is the last Tamemt sees of her. Izem, being too young to be of much use, gets thrown in as a bonus when a buyer acquires a burly youth for farm work. Tamemt is purchased by Manius Considius Musca, a middle-aged herbalist with failing eyesight keen on making good use of her familiarity with silphium, and is taken to his small apothecary in Vibo Valentia.

65-72 AD: Musca and his wife Insteia teach Tamemt, now renamed Melia, the tools of their trade. The years pass by amongst about learning of herbs and remedies, collecting plants for Musca and helping him turn them into medicines. The couple are pleased that their young slave is a quick study and mostly keeps to herself, although she asks about news of her brother and sister every now and then. After an embarrassing occasion with an influential customer where Musca felt she spoke out of turn and the punishment that followed, Melia stops asking.

72 AD: Considia, Musca and Insteia’s pregnant daughter, comes to stay her parents for a few weeks, bored of being at home with her slaves in Tarentum whilst her husband is serving in the east. Although Considia expected to return to Tarentum with ample time to prepare for the birth, the child thinks differently and decides to make a very sudden appearance several weeks ahead of schedule. With half the household panicking and the other half gone in search of a midwife in the middle of the night, Melia suggests they take things into their own hands, to her distressed mistress’s surprising agreement. Remarkably given the circumstances, mother and child survive the birth with no sequels, and Insteia learns Melia’s hands can also be skilled in bringing babies to this world. Melia takes advantage of the new goodwill towards her and begs Considia to enquire about Tifawt and Izem when she goes back to Tarentum, which the latter agrees to do as thanks.

73-75 AD: With her masters’ permission and encouragement, Melia spends time learning midwifery in addition to her apothecary duties. Musca rents out her services to women in need and very generously allows her to keep a small amount of the profits.

75 AD: Melia receives word from Tarentum that Izem, now going by Leo, had been working in the olive groves near Canusium up until the previous year, at which point he was sold – although Considia was not able to find out whom to. Melia continues to slowly add to her savings through a fraction of the earnings she brings the family, now focused on getting enough to find her brother and buy his freedom, Insteia dies of what in modern times would be diagnosed as a ruptured appendix and subsequent sepsis.

76 AD: Musca follows his wife into the afterlife after a short bout of sickness and frees his few slaves in his will as reward for their service. After a few weeks of indecision and getting used to her new status, Melia resolves to head north to Rome: a city so populous would allow her to make more money as midwife and herbalist and at the same time look for Tifawt in the city’s countless brothels as she visits them in a professional capacity. On the way there, as well as after arriving, she never stops trying to discover her brother’s whereabouts.

77 AD: four months of Rome living haven’t turned anything up on either front, and Melia is starting to feel the bitterness of frustration. She eventually concludes that approaching one of the gangs behind the brothels might be her best shot, however dangerous it may be.

 

Liv | GMT | PM/DM
 

@Gothic

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