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Bestia, a Freedwoman


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25 | 17th December 52 CE | female | Freedwoman (allegedly) | Witch, Plant-Gatherer, Eccentric | Who knows? | Original | Sibel Kekilli



(Image Source)



What can one say about Bestia? She is strange, outgoing, and puts on an air of playful mysticism. She fancies herself a nymph in all but name, and climbs rocks and trees without a care if her garments tear. She can be frenetic and aggressive, toying and silly, and wraps it all up in a beaming, carefree smile. Eager to surprise or delight, horrify or disgust, she's a sucker for poking fun and getting strong reactions out of people. It's hard to say how much of this is her original personality or her trying to emulate Bacchus, her patron god.

When matters of ritual or business are concerned, Bestia can become far more down to earth...to an extent. Bestia is passionate in her rituals, snarling oaths of vengeance or bellowing out hymns. The fear and awe she tries to invoke in others is something she takes seriously, seen as a sacred duty. To be an avatar of the divine is her goal, her calling, and she believes the world could use some more zealousness. Bestia can be dismissive of more stoic or low-key personalities, as a result, and it gets her in trouble. She also has problems with personal space, especially if she wants to be intimidating.

When it comes to her past, Bestia is tight-lipped. She'd rather it remain a mystery and object of speculation.



Bestia is a dainty little thing at five feet even. Her hair is long, dark and curly, falling to a few inches below her shoulder blades. She has sharp, dark eyes, and a face full of smile- and laugh-lines. Her skin has an olive touch to it, and is worn and somewhat leathery from the sun. Her hands and feet bear the callouses of work and hard travel, and are often covered in dirt. There are faint scars all over her, with some noticeable slashes and old bites on her lower limbs. She dresses in a plain, worn chiton, which is ragged and torn at its edges; in winter, this may be supplemented by a huge cloak of wolf fur and some boots. She's always covered in grass stains, and twigs and flowers are frequently tangled in her hair. A smoky odor lingers around her, suggesting someone who's often in an enclosed space with a fire. Latin and Galatian are both her mother tongues, though she has an obvious Galatian accent. She also can understand a little Gaulish due to Galatian's relation to it.



Father: Unknown

Mother: Cispia, a household slave

Siblings: Unknown

Spouse: None

Children: None

Extended family: None that she knows of, but she's heard of an aunt (or possibly grand-aunt) on her mother's side, who was someone named "Locusta". Her father might also have relations, but she knows nothing about him.

Other: None



From where did Bestia come from? Did she spring from earth and loam, or sand and sea, as the nymphs of legend before her had? Did she come into existence from the tears of a god, or the breath of the divine settling onto a statue? Neither is true, but she'll never admit it. She's instead the daughter of a household slave and some nameless man - likely one of the slave's masters. She hails from somewhere in what would come to be known as Turkey, from either Asia, Lycia or Galatia. Freed in 73 CE, she's made the long way to Rome, traveling up through Eurasia and down into Italia.

According to Bestia, she was a simple hair and perfume slave before her freedom. Into slavery she was born on Saturnalia, and was raised by a stern but clever woman: Cispia. She wanted for little, though her larger-than-life personality suggests otherwise. Her mistress was good to her (though she sneers a bit as she says this), and her work was (relatively) free of drama. Bestia earned her way into liberty, she says, by being humble and doing what she was told until her master died. Old age claimed the kindly mistress, Bestia says, and Bestia had plans to remain in her house. She was even thinking of serving the mistress's three children: a trio of lovely and upstanding daughters.

But then, of course, the villa burned down one night. How a shame it was, Bestia says, that the stable boy was so careless with his lanterns and the hay. Near everyone in that villa either burned alive or severely injured. The prefects were too slow in bringing water, and the flames were fed by tapestries from every wall. It was a skeleton by the time morning came, and what use is there to serve a skeleton?

(All of this explained as Bestia shrugs and smiles, of course. There's a twinkle in her eye, something predatory and dark, but it might be for show. She can't be that crazy, helping to burn down a villa to engineer her own freedom.)

Now Bestia lives on the outskirts of Rome, having arrived back in the summer of 76 CE. She’s started coming into the poorer areas to hawk herbs she's gathered. She sells flowers, too, and caught wild game, and the odd animal she's managed to get on a leash. Her home is impermanent, with Bestia sleeping in ditches, forest clearings, and in caves in rocky hillsides. She sometimes pops up when a Bacchanalia goes off, partying along with other wild maidens. She claims to have been indoctrinated into their ways by priestesses on the road. Any further details about such she's tight-lipped on, but she likes to give a scandalous hint or two. Something about an equite being too uptight, and his very libertine wife....



Kah | GMT + 0 | PM


Edited by Kah
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