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February, 77AD

Marcus Barbatius was not a happy man at the moment. Last time he went to the Elysium, they gave him a petty and afraid girl, and he cut her and then after a few weeks, he’d come back for her again. Her or another. But during those weeks, Titus had suddenly left the Elysium and had not sent word to Marcus, so he didn’t know what was going on. There was a new owner to the only brothel Marcus cared to visit, and he was difficult. Apparently now he had to pay to cut the girls again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted that. He had of course paid before also, before he met Titus, but now he’d gotten so used to their little arrangement, that it displeased him. 

And that was not the only thing that displeased him. That stupid guy from Egypt who came to his shop a few weeks ago, had spilled gossip about a mute young guy, who claimed he was friends with a barber and he’d even mentioned another guy named Alexius. Marcus had heard the name before, or rather, read it. On the walls of Rome. It wasn’t hard to find out where the man lived and what he looked like. He had quite the size and was easily recognizable. Plus the guy, Artemon, had also told Marcus where they lived, more or less. It was easy to find out about that. And then one day, not long after, Marcus was walking through Rome, he saw the girl he cut at Saturnalia. So she lived! But not only did he see her. She was together with the man called Alexius. But, that also meant she’d most likely told someone about Marcus. And maybe this Alexius knew. And since Alexius had a party with the mute kid, who was friends with a barber, it was all very likely that it had to do with Marcus. He wasn't stupid, he could put two and two together. They, however, were stupid. For thinking he'd not find out.

To Marcus, it felt like Rome was falling apart. It felt wrong. Maybe he should leave Rome, like he left his hometown. Start over somewhere else. That’s what he was considering, as he sat at a random popina in Rome, eating a stew with a cup of wine on the side. The more he thought about the whole ordeal, the angrier he felt inside. And the best way to calm down again, was to give into the anger and take it out on someone else instead. He finished eating and stood to enter the fresh night. But as he was leaving the popina, someone else was walking in. Marcus glared at them and then almost violently pushed them out of the way, in order to disappear into the early Roman evening. 

OPEN FOR ANYONE (it is likely that the thread will take a violent turn)

Edited by Atrice
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At least the person he pushed away wasn’t stupid enough to follow him. It was still early evening, but his head was throbbing, and his fingers were itching and before he knew it, the small knife he always carried with him, was in his hand. He needed to do something. He had to do something. He had to hurt someone, that was the only way he could get this anger to disappear. Marcus began walking towards his home. If no one useful turned up on the way, he thought that tonight might be the night he’d lose the only female slave he had. Or maybe Manus. He’d been with Marcus for years, he knew too much. And he’d seen how Manus looked at the clients sometimes, as if he wanted to say something. It was too risky. Yes, it would be Manus. He knew that now.

 He picked up his pace, almost running now. Rounding a corner, of course bumping into someone. Marcus managed to not fall, but the young woman he ran into, did. She looked up at him. Marcus looked around. She was alone. He walked over to her, reached a hand as if he would help her up, but he didn’t speak a word.

 And the second she took his hand, he clasped his tightly around hers and flung her towards the nearest wall. His one hand was still in hers, holding her so tightly that she’d probably feel like he’d crush her hand. And in his other hand was the knife, now pointing to her throat. She started crying. Sobbing. She didn’t even struggle, she just gave up, just like that. But she still made a sound. He hated it. Why did they always cry? It was so irritating! “Stop!” He hissed at her face, “Shut up!” 

But she didn't stop. The idiot didn't stop crying. 

(THE THREAD IS STILL OPEN)

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It was still early evening as Atratinus made his way home from the Curia, swathed in yards of white fabric with its emblematic purple stripe. It had been another useless session with idiots prattling on with awful, stilted speeches. Little had been decided, which was irritating. He'd wasted almost a full day with rubbish...and thought it spoke volumes on how their new, esteemed Caesar was managing things that hundreds of men could gather and decide precisely...nothing of value. He was in a foul mood and had shoved his slave away as he tried to escort his dominus to a litter. He'd walk - he needed to clear his head. 

It was that odd sort of twilight now and the sky was a vivid, dusky blue but Atratinus didn't notice as he shoved through (and directly into) the small crowds that were clogging up the street after a days work. His stature and his dress should have meant they moved out of the way but they didn't. Useless plebs. He grumbled with annoyance as he strode on, feet remembering the way even as his thoughts drifted aimlessly; on his ex-wife and her pernicious little letters, of his children and their sweet play that they had performed last night...to pretty young Sosia. He really ought to get round to sending that letter to her father. Distracted as he was, he almost tripped over the pair of people in a cut through but stopped just in time. He growled in annoyance; "Fuck somewhere else, this is a public street." But then he heard the girls whimper and saw the flash of silver. He frowned and glanced at the man - shorter than him but those eyes..."You!" 

 

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The girl was sobbing and Marcus was just about ready to end her sobbing for good. He didn't even know what rank she was. She was kind of finely dressed, but not like that other girl he had so much fun with at Saturnalia. He almost did more than just cutting her. And then he thought he killed her and left her. But she was not dead, instead she was alive and she'd most likely told that brute Alexius about Marcus, and Alexius knew Artemon, who came to his shop... it really was not good... and this girl, this girl right here, she was in his way and needed to die because she was crying. But before he could slit her throat, a man more or less walked into them and growled something about fucking somewhere else.

Before Marcus could tell the man to fuck off himself, the other had stopped and was staring at him. He'd seen him before, hadn't he? They played a game. But the man was no fun. And sadly, he'd evaded Marcus back then. And now here he was and he had caught Marcus in action! 

"What about me?" Marcus hissed, "Maybe you want to fuck her before she dies?" He nodded at the girl, whom he still held by the hand and still had his blade to her throat. He hadn't stopped. But his fingers were itching. The girl froze, it seemed. Tears streaming down her cheeks, while she was looking at Atratinus with pleading eyes, but she did not dare speak. Just hoped to live. Marcus didn't see her tears. He didn't care. He cared for nothing else but blood right now. Someone would bleed tonight. It didn't matter if you wore rags or fancy white robes like the other man. They all bled the same, crimson blood.

@Sara

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Atratinus stilled and his eyes flicked, startled, to the sobbing girl he held in his hands. He sneered back; "Not my type. Not yours either," He took a step forward. He was taller and broader than the man but the swathes of white fabric shrouding him made it awkward to walk, "Let her go back to whichever hovel she came out of." The girl nodded hurriedly at the suggestion and the motion caused the knife to knick her skin very slightly so a rivulet of blood began winding its way down her neck.

His hand twitched. He still had the scar on his forearm from their last encounter and he remembered the smarting pain of it. He exhaled sharply through his nose and took another small step forward. "One yell from me and the whole city descends on this alley. So fuck off. Now." Maybe he should have yelled now; but he was bluffing. Even yelling 'Senator being attacked!' was unlikely to prompt much help. The city really was a shithole. 

 

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Hadn't Marcus told the man last time, that everyone bled the same? And that he was not safe. Maybe he would be a much better victim than the sobbing girl. Marcus made him bleed once. He'd do it again. He just wanted to make someone bleed. For everything that was going on. For how everything was falling apart. Someone had to bleed, someone had to die. The other man said the girl wasn't any of their types and he wanted Marcus to let her go. The girl liked that idea. It caused her to nod. Marcus felt she did it, because his blade touched her skin and now she was bleeding. Marcus felt it before he saw it. Felt the soft, yet firm feeling of a blade penetrating the surface of the skin. She winced, tried to pull away, as if she could. He inhaled a breath at the sight, almost ready to continue cutting her, but then the other man threatened to yell.

Marcus leaned his head close to the girl, "I will find you again." He whispered and then he pushed her to the side. She scrambled and began running. Marcus turned to the other man. He couldn't even remember his name. But he remembered he'd cut him. Made him bleed. He would do it again.

"You will not yell." Marcus said, "There are not anyone here to hear you." He added, looking up at the other man, unafraid. His fingers were tingling, he wanted to cut the man, he just had to find a way to do it. The other was bigger than him and Marcus was closer to the wall... he couldn't run. No, he would have to risk his own blood... "You punched me last time, didn't you? You made me bleed." Suddenly it all came back to him, and it felt right to remember it right now, "Are you going to do it again? Punish me, for what I did to her?"

@Sara

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Atratinus felt a palpable sense of relief as the man let the girl slip away. She launched herself down the alley as fast as she could and was out of sight in almost an instance. Now, however, the mans attention was firmly on him. He smirked. 

"Yes, yes I did punch you." He chuckled with the arrogance of a man utterly at peace with his wealth and status and the belief that little to no harm could come to somebody like him, especially not from a nobody like this one. "And no," He took a step forward with a smirk, using his height to try and intimidate  the fool. He was in a dangerous position and he knew it, but he figured fear and intimidation were likely the only tools this man knew...or respected. "No, I'm not going to punish you. But I will make sure you get your just desserts if I ever see you in Rome again. You hear me?" He took another half step closer. "Now," The smirk was back, "Fuck off." 

 

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  • Atrice changed the title to Falling Apart [M - V]

Once the girl was gone, she was also gone from his mind. Now he could focus on something else - this irritating man, that he met once, a lot time ago... this irritating man, who had deserved the pain Marcus had given him back then and he deserved it now too. For interrupting Marcus, for being here, for speaking to him like this. But since he was in a bit of a bad position, he decided to provoke the other man, which might make it easier for Marcus to hurt him. The other smirked, then chuckled at the memory of him punching Marcus. Sick. Why would he chuckle at such a memory? Marcus just wanted him gone. Bleeding and gone. His head began throbbing again. He had to make it stop! He had to stop it! The other man had to stop it! 

Then the other - he could not recall the name - said that he would not punish Marcus. But he did also step closer to Marcus. He was taller, wearing white robes. Marcus looked at them. Imagine them dyed with the deep, red color of blood. He could almost see the way the blood would be soaked up by the thick cloth, how it would follow the threads and spread... but he wanted to see it for real. He wanted to see it happen. The other stepped closer. He was still talking. Asking Marcus to fuck off. Oh he was so close now and Marcus still had the knife in his hand. The Senator was almost asking for it. In fact he was. 

"No, you... fuck off!" Marcus said, now it was his turn to smirk as he moved his hand and in a quick motion, pushed the sharp tip of the blade through layers of fabric, cutting downwards until he no longer only felt the fabric, but the skin and that sensation, when the blade penetrated the skin. He let out a little sound as he felt it happen. It was almost too much. It felt so good, so satisfying

@Sara

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Atratinus was a fool. He knew it the moment he saw the other man's hand move from the corner of his eye - just a millimetre but it was enough for him to realise just what an utter, utter idiot he had been. He felt the blade almost instantly as it came hurtling through his skin into his stomach. He choked and doubled over - inadvertently pushing it deeper as he did. He let out a long, guttural groan for a moment before the pain really kicked in. Blood was dripping down now from it. He wasn't a medicus, he didn't know what it had hit but he felt that familiar taste of iron in his mouth as it too filled with blood. He spat it out. 

Instinctively he moved to try and push the man away with all of the force he could. He couldn't tell if he was succeeding - the corners of his vision were dimming but he pushed with a grunt; "Y-you..." He tried to choke out words but found his mouth filling with blood again, "I-I am a Senator of Rome!" He managed to roar that loudly enough that he knew had been heard. The knife was out of his skin now but he couldn't recall when that had happened. His toes were slick with blood that was running down under the white of his toga. He lunged for the knife in the other man's hand. He didn't know why, but in that moment, all he saw when he reached for it were the faces of his children. Oh, Gods.

 

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Yes, the Senator was a fool. Marcus would agree with that. But he didn't think so far right now, because all he could think about, when the man stepped closer to him, was how easy it would be to stab him, to produce blood. And how much he deserved it, for how he treated Marcus, for how he spoke to him. So it happened. He stabbed the other man. So easily. Before the other barely realized it was happening, he doubled over and the knife went deeper, all the way to the handle and Marcus could feel the blood on his hand now. He barely noticed the groan from the other, his eyes were on what he'd done and on the knife and on the blood. The blood on his own hand. The other spat out blood, which landed on Marcus. He ignored it. He was too paralyzed by what he'd done.

And then the other pushed Marcus away, the best he could. Marcus stumbled along the wall and the other began talking.

"You're a Senator, but look... your blood is red too!" Marcus replied and when the other lunged for the knife, Marcus stepped aside and came at the other again, this time aiming for the throat or the neck. One hand grabbed hold of the toga, so that the other could stab the throat. And it seemed to work. He stabbed it deep into the other, producing a large blob of blood before it trickled out. He let go of the toga to touch it. And it felt so good, warm, wet, sticky. He could even smell it. Marcus pulled the knife back to stab the other again. More blood. He needed to see more! 

@Sara

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He managed to get the knife for what felt like an age but must have only been a second before it slipped through his fingers. He knew it was over. His vision was darkening, the pain was dissipating and a coldness ran the length of his body. But he would not beg. He was a Senator of Rome. He was a patrician. He would fight until his last breath and go down proudly as a proper man, a proper Roman man. He always imagined himself dying old in his bed after a long, illustrious career - surrounded by his sons and their sons and a wife, crying those soulful, deep tears that only women could shed. He did not imagine dying like this - a Senator to be sure, but not a respected one, alone, in an alley from a pleb with a knife. 

And then the knife struck his throat. He choked. His breath was gone, air sucked clean out of his lungs and he blinked. It felt like an age before he managed to open his eyes again. He was somehow on his knees now, blood pooling around him, streaming from his stomach, from his throat, from a cut he hadn't felt on his arm. He groaned. It was a low, guttural, deep sound that came from some place deep inside him. He didn't know if the other man was talking - he didn't hear it if he did. He was cold, his bloodied teeth were chattering. It was so cold. So, so cold. But there wasn't pain. Just...darkness, beckoning him. Every blink of his eyes took longer, every breath was more laboured, more drawn out before there was none. Lucius Sempronius Atratinus, Father of three, Senator of Rome, previous Tribune of Legio II, previous Quaestor and Patrician, was dead. Shrouded in blood and white robes, dead in the dirt like a pleb. Such was the way of Rome. 

 

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Posted (edited)

The Senator did grab for the knife. Maybe he had it, maybe he didn't, but he wasn't doing well because of the stab in his stomach. So Marcus got the hold of it properly and he went on to stab the other multiple times in the throat. He barely tried to fight back now, to Marcus it felt like he'd just given up. This was nothing like the sobbing girl he had before, or the girls at the Elysium, who trembled just by seeing him. This was... beyond that. More than that. And the way the blood seeped into the white robes, coloring them crimson, as he had imagined, was beautiful! He didn't care about the person. Just the blood.

The other went down. On his knees. Marcus watched it all happen, stayed near, he didn't want to leave. But as the other landed on the ground and lay still and the blood soaked the robes and the dirt beneath the man, he realized that the man was dead. Marcus knelt for a moment. Dipped all of his fingers into the blood. Still so warm.

But the man was dead. He was dead! And he'd yelled just before. That he was a Senator. 

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw people were coming towards the scene. Marcus stood and looked at what he created, his work, for a moment more. How he wished he could have stayed longer! Then he ran away. The blood dried on his fingers, on his face, but he ran and ran until he reached his shop and his home. He no longer thought about killing his slave Manus. No, now he wanted something different and he didn't fuck corpses! He wasn't that sick! 

It was only later that evening, that Marcus had it in him to consider what he'd done. He'd killed a Senator. Hopefully it could not be traced back to him. But people were already looking for him, he knew it. He had to stop it. He had to stop the people who knew things. And then he'd leave Rome and people would never know he did it. Just like he left his hometown. And he'd make sure his slaves didn't talk either.

Tomorrow. That's when he'd begin.

@Sara

Edited by Atrice
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