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To Aglaea


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January 77 AD

The remains of a letter can be seen amongst the ashes that a dutiful slave clears out of a fireplace. Were the slave literate, he would have noticed a wildly inconsistent hand behind the few words that can still be made out, as if the writer was overcome with emotion. The ashes and burnt pieces of papyrus are unceremoniously dumped by a cabbage patch, although the wind will carry most of it off before they can enrich the soil.

To Aglaea, from her mistress Livia Justina

It has been now almost half a year since you pulled your little trick and I still cannot believe you continue to be so impudent as to not have returned home. Do you have any idea of the lies I have had to tell to justify your absence?! Never in my life have I seen such an ungrateful slave and you are wise to stay away, for if you come back I will have you whipped to within an inch of your life and shipped off to the mines!

How could you do this to me?!

How could you leave me alone with him?

I thought we would be together forever. I really did. But that man poisoned you against me! I know this isn't like you. What did he offer you that you would betray your mistress like this? I could withstand anything with you by my side; I thought the same went for you. Clearly I was mistaken. I shall not make the same mistake twice.

Maybe I will send slave hunters after you to teach you a lesson. i shall tell them not to hurt you, they are simply to bring you back unharmed. Then things can go back to the way they were, and you can comb my hair again. Ursa is as useless as ever; even a blindfolded monkey would be more competent. It's so hard to find decent slaves these days, you know? Won't you come back? She's going to scalp me some day, I just know it!

Faustus is teething and is utterly insufferable these days, much like his father. I pray that is the only way in which they will resemble each other. I should pray he grows up to resemble you instead, but then if he does he will run away and leave me too. So I won't, and the gods curse and damn you all if it is in his blood and he betrays me anyway! All boys leave their mothers when mother Rome comes calling on, but I shall make sure he stays with me until the last possible moment. I can't let him run off on me too, can I?

It is my greatest wish to see you again in this life. I pray to the gods every day that it might come to pass. 

May they guide your way to your rightful home.


  • Sad 3
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