Jump to content

Recommended Posts

February, 77AD

Titus hated this region of the city. It was full of the miscreants he tried to avoid in his day to day life, and the uniform of the vigiles made him an easy target for their ill-humour. He'd already dodged three or four buckets of slop being thrust his way from the balconies of insulae he walked past. He tried not to think about what was in them. He should have really been doing this in a pair but his company was otherwise occupied in The Elysium and Titus was in no mood to drag him out. He would give the man a good kick in the balls though, later. 

As it was, Titus was on his way to what one passer-by had described to him as a 'spectacle' down on the corner between the Sparrow popina and a lodging house frequented by whores. It was not an area he wanted to be in, but more than one person had stopped him and told him to 'get that woman out of here' and 'lock that man up'. Whilst the vigiles were naturally more known for their fire fighting capabilities, they were equally responsible for the petty sort of crime and vagrancy that filled places like the suburra. Titus sighed as he elbowed his way between the crowds of people gathered to watch the scene unfolding. 

He had absolutely no idea what to make of the spectacle in front of him, and who this wild woman was and what she was up to. 

 

TAG: @Kah

Have left it open for what Bestia is up to!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I am telling you now, that chicken is forfeit!" the wildling snarled, pointing at a scraggly rooster that was tied to a post. It flapped around and away from her, its feet and spurs almost tangling in the string of wool that kept it there. "It's bought and owned! It's mine!"

"By whose will?" argued a much-taller, black-bearded man, looking one part flabbergasted and one part intimidated. He had more than a head over the crazed, wolf-fur-clad woman, but was leaning away as if she were rabid. "I told you you could have it if you could prove you were an auspex! The chicken did fuck all!"

"To your eyes!" the woman snapped, pointing with vigour at the man's face. "I said the prayers and took the bread! It pecked and fled, and I gave you your sign!"

"You scared the bloody thing away!" the man cried. "It stared at you for five seconds and then you screamed, 'Jupiter has spoken, aiieeee!' and waved your arms around!" He mimicked the motion with an exaggerated flop and fling of his arms and wrists. The woman scoffed, reeling back in disgust.

"You dare mock your fortune? In a place like this, where you could use more fortune than what you probably make in an hour?"

"What's that supposed to mean?!"

"You know exactly what it means, you two-bit cheap man-whore bottom-bitch!"

The man's eyes blazed. In a moment, he lunged, the wildling's furs flapping back as she darted away. "Why you little - " he growled, thick and calloused hands reaching out to grab her.

 

@Sara

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Titus was as utterly bemused as the rest of the onlookers and he glanced between the bellowing man and squawking woman...and then to the chirping chicken with wide eyes and a shake of his head. Fucking idiots. He didn't intervene, not at first, and just let the scene play out. Once the man had left he'd shepherd the woman out of the way to another region, hopefully and out of his hair. He'd seen her before and the scene before him seemed like her standard sort of fare. It was intensely irritating. 

Unfortunately his plan wasn't quite that simple and as the man moved to swing his arms towards her, Titus groaned and stepped between them. He got a shove to the chest from the big man for that. "Get out of the way boy, the stupid thieving bitch needs to learn a lesson!" He growled and shifted from foot to foot to try and get round Titus, who held his ground firmly. For fucks sake. "Use this as a learning opportunity," He said with a shake of his head and a shove back at the man, "Not to give your money to women like her on the streets, eh?" That was a mistake and Titus only managed to block the punch aimed at his jaw at the very last moment, leaving him with a throbbing chin and an angry, growling man. "Fuck off," He offered, "Before I make you." That prompted a sneer but he did back off, long enough for Titus to snap his head round to the woman. "Now lets go before you end up tied to a post like your fucking chicken." 

 

TAG: @Kah

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The woman held back, glaring, as the vigile sorted the taller man out. She winced sympathetically Titus was hit, and when he moved to address her, she gave a little bow. The chicken clucked and tried to run, only to squawk as it tripped on the yarn. The woman ignored it, instead walking up to the vigile.

"A thousand praises upon you, vigile!" she said, holding her hands together as if praying. "Keeper of order, humble servant of Justitia! Please, please, have my thanks and my regards. This chicken is more than a mere bird - here!"

Swift as she could, the woman ran over and grabbed the fowl by the legs. It crowed in surprise as she hefted it high, undoing the string and tying its legs together. Shuffling back over, her stitched-together wolf furs dragging in the mud, she said, "I gift this! Please, let me sacrifice it to a god of your choosing, to ask for a blessing for you! Or...yes! I could feed you! I know how to cook many things. Rooster has a good, lean meat. Oxyzonum chicken, perhaps? Pullum frontonianum? Perhaps you'd like your chicken Parthian?"

Her eyes were bright and shining, and her grin eager. She looked as if she'd met the Augustus himself, rather than have a simple vigile step in.

 

@Sara

Edited by Kah
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Titus wanted her to leave. And quickly. But that didn't seem like it was going to happen any time soon and the tall, broad fella behind him started grumbling again - shouting expletives over Titus' shoulder, directed at the woman. The woman that was now presenting him a trussed up chicken. He audibly groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose. 

"You can cook it for me out of the city," He mumbled and jerked his head further up the street. It was a ten or so minute walk from here to the Porta Asbsidata, and that was plenty close enough to kick her out of the city walls and off his plate. "Now get a move on, before I change my mind and let the big man at you." He wouldn't change his mind; he loathed the violence that was commonplace on the women and weak of Rome, but he wasn't quite sure how else to get her moving. He was just relieved none of his colleagues from the Castra were here to see this chaos. 

"Or do I have to physically drag you up to the gates?" 

 

TAG: @Kah

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Yes, yes, of course I will come!" she said. "I will cook it for you outside of the gates, over a fire! I can promise no spices this time of year, but it will be good! And it will have all its organs! That way you can have the cock's strength and bravado, and should you ask for it, as many hens as he might!"

The rooster was flapping around, absolutely done with the chaos of the day. The big man was turning around and grumbling, Bestia ignoring him. She kept pace with the vigile, even though her crude pallium must've weighed heavy on her frame. The bottom was filthy and soaked, the leather torn and rotting, snagging on stones and bits of road. Her smile didn't waver, even as some people looked over and stared at her.

"What is the name of my saviour, O Praetorian of the People?" she asked. "To whom shall I ask in the temples to bless you? Is there a woman I should pray for, or children to offer for so that they may have good health?"

She swung the bird over the shoulder, and it gave an awful squawk. It tried to reach up and peck at her, but she shook the rooster to befuddle its mind and slow its efforts.

 

@Sara

Edited by Kah
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Titus mumbled a "Sounds nice" in agreement as he shepherded her away from the grumbling man and the fight that was clearly just about to start before his intervention. He had no intention of dining with her...although it was probably worth less punishment than his colleague who was currently grunting away at The Elysium. 

"Titus." He offered no more than that. There were undoubtedly a million other Titus' in the city and that anonymity suited him fine. "And no prayers needed," He shot her a firm look over his shoulder, "Just keep off the bloody streets. I know of you," He shook his  head in bemusement and turned back to face the front, quickening his pace as he did so. "How many  times have the vigiles or the urban cohorts moved you on? Shouldn't that tell you something about maybe not scamming people across the city?" He shook his head. "What was your name again?" So he could tell the Prefect to spread it throughout the city: "avoid this woman."

 

TAG: @Kah

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Just keep off the bloody streets. I know of you."

"Oh?" the woman asked, arching her eyebrows. "And how do you know of me? Have you seen me peddling? Are you interested in my wares?"

Her pleasant expression vanished when Titus asked her about her "scamming". Scamming? Scamming?! "Who in Hades has said that I'm scamming?!" the woman said, voice pitching high. The request for her name was ignored. "I catch fauna for menageries and food! I bring herbs into Roma for the sick and the hungry! I read the birds for anyone who asks me! I do not scam people, my good vigile - I ply an honest trade!"

Her voice dipped into something sounding hurt. Her eyes plead with Titus as a dog might with its master for a bone. "I beseech you, good Titus of the Vigiles! Please, listen to me! My reputation has been besmirched! This is all a mistake! Allow me to show you the honesty of my work, somehow!"

She swung the chicken off her shoulder and held it up. "I would give you this cock for free as proof of my word, not a bribe! I would read your fortune and give possession of him unto you! Please, let me clear my name somehow - if not through augury, then something else!"

 

@Sara

Edited by Kah
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I know of you-" But he was cut off by her reaction to his previous words. He blinked at the outburst and look that crossed over her face. And then the pleading. And the chicken. Gods have mercy. 

"Stop! Stop!" He turned on his heel and held his arms up  in a protective stance as  the animal was launched close to his face. "Let me get a bloody word in edgeways and I might be able to explain." He shook his head, irritated by the curious looks from passers-by. He was half tempted to throw her over his shoulder and carry her to the gates himself. She was a slip of a thing compared to him, even in her rain and mud sodden furs. 

"You have a connection with the Gods then? You're an honest, hard-working woman? The fauna and flora and...chickens," He glanced at the bird, "I grant you, might be honest. The readings? From the face of a bloody chicken? I'm sorry my lady, I truly am," He took a step away from her, "Is complete horseshit. But go on, prove it." He offered, as if that were the only way to shut her up.

 

TAG: @Kah

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 "You have a connection with the Gods then?"

Bestia nodded with vigour.

"You're an honest, hard-working woman?"

Bestia nodded again. "Mhm-hm!"

"The fauna and flora and...chickens, I grant you, might be honest."

"They are!" Bestia insisted. "I go the fields and pick the plants myself! The animals I catch alone, with my bare hands! I do only the best I can for my customers!"

And then Titus called her readings "horseshit". Bestia scowled, looking ready to launch into another tirade. The mean face disappeared when Titus asked her to prove herself, and Bestia stood there for a moment. One had to wonder if there was whiplash from how fast her mood seemed to change with the situation.

Then, she said, "Of course!" and collected herself. She cradled the chicken in her arms, among her furs. "Gladly, my good Vigile! For you, I charge nothing. All I ask is that you give me bread to divine with, and enough clear space that I can let the chicken work."

She began to walk forward, as if to start searching for the latter. She stopped and then added, "And some wine or water, for a libation. If not, I can use other means."

 

@Sara

Edited by Kah
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The scowl on the woman's face was almost comical, but never much of a smiler, Titus merely smirked a fraction and arched his eyebrows, watching her with curiosity. That amused look was wiped off his face almost immediately and he shook his head, gesturing for her to keep walking and following him up towards the gates out of the city. "You ask for nothing, charge nothing...but the cost of bread and wine." He shot  her a look over his shoulder and rolled his eyes, murmuring in discontent. 

As he kept walking, despite his usual taciturn nature and fondness to be mute, he couldn't help himself. It was women like this - charging for the most ridiculous affairs - that kept people in poverty, kept them handing over what they could ill-afford to spend for...nothing. "Riddle me this, woman, if your chicken is so special and can divine the will of the Gods, why would you give it to me? Or roast it?" He scoffed and his gaze was harder now as he looked back at her, "You're defrauding the people of Rome - you're lucky I'm not taking you to a magistrate." 

 

TAG: @Kah

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Because you didn't ask for other options!" Bestia snapped. "If you didn't want to provide the wine, I would find water from a fountain, or use my own blood! If you didn't want to give me bread, I would've begged for it or saw if a Patrician would spare some!"

The woman stomped through the muck of the street, who-knew-what splattering her legs. She sped up and aimed to swing around in front of the vigile, aiming to jab a finger at (or into) his chest. Baring her teeth, Bestia spat, "And the offering of chicken is because I'm willing to share such a gift! Unlike what the people of this gods-damned twice-forsaken city believe, some people [i]still[/i] do that! And, unlike them, I do actually do all of this out of respect for you lot, even though we both know very well some of you are out fucking around in more ways than one!"

People were stopping to stare. Hands went over the ears of children. Coin was swapped between two fisher-folk betting on how long it would take before Titus beat her. A water-bearer rolled her eyes, incredulous at the display. Bestia fumed and glared, fists clenched but held out at her sides.

 

@Sara

Edited by Kah
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Titus blinked as the woman rounded on him - a fur covered ball of fury and scorn. He took half a step back, out of the firing line of her jabbing finger, but no more than that. He was used to dealing with furious plebs triple her size; a fraudster and slip of a woman didn't frighten him. The frenzy in her eyes, however, did make him slightly wary and his fingers moved to grasp the fire stick he kept slung in his belt. He'd learned the hard way that the item was a useful baton in situations like this.

"Calm yourself woman." He muttered and then turned to the small crowd that were  gathering to watch the spectacle, "And fuck off before I round you up as well." the gathered people smirked but did eventually begin to shuffle off - evidently unwilling to test Titus' thin patience farther than it was already stretched. "If you think us so unworthy of your talents, may I make a helpful suggestion?" This conversation was the most he'd spoken in weeks but he knew there was little chance of getting her out of his hair without trying to reason with her, "Why don't you ply your trade in a more grateful city? I hear Ostia  or Pompeii even have a need for wise women. Because you-" He jabbed his finger now, "Need to fuck off." 

 

TAG: @Kah

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bestia stared angrily. She bared her teeth a little, looking like she was going to bite Titus's finger off. The rooster squawked in pain as she tightened her grip on it, fists clenching hard. If Bestia squeezed them any tighter, one might wonder if she'd break the poor bird's feet off.

All the tension and irate feeling in her escaped with a long sigh. She rubbed her nose and eyes with a free hand, then held out the cock toward Titus. Bestia looked up with a sullen expression.

"I get it," she said. "You deal with too much shit for this. Here, take the bird. It's yours, and I don't want to waste any more of your time. I'm not conning anyone, all right?"

She'd stand there and wait for him to take it, or for him to instruct her to do something else with it. Had Titus won the argument? It was seeming so, and Bestia's posture had slumped forward in a pose of surrender. On the other hand, Bestia changed moods as often as markets changed coin, so she still might bite his finger off.

 

@Sara

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He rolled his eyes dramatically as the woman slumped, defeated. Guilt washed over him, ever so slightly. He just wanted her gone not...like this. He waved a hand at the bird. "Keep it, it's yours. What am I going to do with that on patrol anyway?" She smirked, the thinnest of smiles, and chuckled lowly. 

"Look," He sighed and ran a hand through his hair - the bouncy blonde waves springing back to cover his forehead almost immediately, "I really don't care what you get up to, how you earn your living, and how many people you piss off in the process but I just need you to do it somewhere else. Right?" He arched a brow. "Either out of the city or another region," The bird flapped its wings in Bestia's arms and he took an uneasy step back, "You're a headache waiting to happen and I've had a very long night. Do we understand each other?" 

 

TAG: @Kah

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...