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The Tempest


Ovinia Camilla
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AU - 76AD

Everything stung. The pain of salt water mixed with fresh bleeding wounds dragged her back to the land of the living slowly, with groggy coughs that spilled more salt water onto the sand, and shaking limbs that tried to push herself to her back. Ovinia didn't understand where she was. The last thing she remembered was the darkness of the Ionian Sea stretching out menacingly before them, the white caps of waves illuminated by the moon and stars that twinkled overhead. Now she was here - (finally) led on her back on the sand of a beach, shivering in the warm sunlight of early morning, drenched, in pain, and...alone.

She tried to move her head and managed it with effort to scan her surroundings. Everything was blurry and she moved shaking fingers to wipe the sand and hair and water from her face. The effort caused her to cough again - her lungs burning. Nobody to her right; just wood broken up on the shoreline. She dropped her head back to the sand in effort. After a few breaths she managed to look to her left. She wished she hadn't. Bodies - only a couple, but that's what they were. For a brief moment she considered if they - like her - would rouse when their wounds started to burn but then she saw their faces - down into the water, their bodies still and she let out a strangled cry. 

This was supposed to be a small trip; a surprise one, it's why she'd travelled alone besides her bodyslave and a guard. From Rome to Patara to visit her brother, it would have been two weeks or perhaps three, but they had been held in Taenarum and had, had to board a new boat. It had been a creaking thing, uncomfortable but fast and they had set off two mornings ago - lugging around the cape and into the sea dotted by islands that shimmered like jewels in the blue of the water. She wished she'd remembered and she shut her eyes again, dropping her head back to the sand as she tried to flick through memories of the night. She managed to claw back a memory of a creaking sound and a scream. Her eyes flew open in panic again. She had to move. Water was lapping at her ankles and she was shivering, even in the warmth of the sun. 

"H-help." Her voice was a croak, barely audible. She prayed she wasn't alone.

 

TAG: @Chevi

Edited by Sara
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Lucius had always known he would die at sea. It had been a given, unspoken thought ever since he started working on the merchant vessels like his father before him. He was at peace with the prospect; it was part of a life at sea, which he enjoyed; it was a price paid for the freedom of sailing. He had no illusions; he had lost his father, uncles, and other male relatives to Neptune's realm. But as long as it lasted, it was worth the freedom.

That all, however, did not make a shipwreck hurt any less.

Lucius coughed up so much salt water he half expected a dolphin to come up with it. He had waded to dry land before he collapsed in the small hours of dawn, and now he was seeing the sun come up, a sight he had not expected to see ever again. The ship was gone, broken up on the rocks and scattered on the waves as well as on the shore. He could see some bodies, but no one moving around. He only had a vague idea where he was. There was no port, or other land in sight.

Was it a grace from the gods to let him live, or some sort of cruel punishment?

Lucius made himself get to his feet, although every movement hurt his entire body. There was no use lying around. He shook sand out of his hair. Hus tunica clung to him and he shivered in the early morning breeze. He needed to sift through the wreckage to see if there was anything useful on the shore.

"Help..."

He had almost stepped past the girl's boy when she moved, and called out, barely audible. Lucius blinked. One of the passengers... they had taken them on at Taenarum. How was she still alive? She did not seem like she could swim.

"Hey." Lucius crouched down to take a look at her. She seemed worse for the wear much like he did. Maybe worse. Maybe she was dying. 

@Sara

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Ovinia sniffed, tears spilling down her cheeks and melding with the sand and water already there. She called out again, trying to sound louder, "Help..." And then a shadow loomed into view. She blinked, trying to clear the fogginess of her eyes and mind but it only worked so much. She tried to focus on the form. Water dripped onto her nose as the shape moved to crouch down. She focused. A face - eyes, nose, mouth, hair clogged with water...She cried out in relief. She wasn't alone. "Hey." 

Her words came out as a croak as she tried to speak, her throat burning; "I-I can't sit up." She wasn't mortally wounded  but her limbs wouldn't cooperate with what she wanted them to do. It had taken what felt like years to move onto her back and now she was led almost in the water shaking, unable to stop herself. She tried to do it herself, propping her forearms underneath her but she only managed to prop herself - blood from a wound on her shoulder seeping into the sand - before she collapsed back down again. 

 

TAG: @Chevi

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Out of all the people on the ship, this girl had to be the one who lived. It almost annoyed Lucius, although he was not by nature a cruel person. But with all his crewmates, his captain, their ship likely lost... she was not going to be much help in any of this. She looked pitiful, struggling to prop herself up.

"I-I can't sit up."

She tried, and fell back down. She was bleeding from multiple wounds.

"You can move your arms" Lucius noted. That was something. "Can you move your feet?"

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She frowned and choked in frustration and nodded. She wanted help to sit up, not help to wiggle her toes. Which she did anyway - rolling her ankles. Her thighs trembled. "Yes." She said - her voice gaining strength but her lungs, her throat still burned and she coughed - trying to clear it. 

"Help me," She demanded and struggled again to prop herself up - her whole body jerking with cold and exhaustion and pain. The water lapped at her feet, covering her ankles. Deciding he was of no use to anybody and he was still dripping water on her face, she tried with great effort to push herself to sit and let out an alrighty cry as she moved her arm to her lap. What she couldn't see, of course, was a piece of wood embedded just above her shoulder blade. She assumed the dripping down her back was water, not blood.

 

TAG: @Chevi

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She could move her feet, and she pushed herself up again, struggling. Her back was not broken. Lucius himself felt broken and exhausted, but he reached out to support her shoulder anyway, to keep her in a sitting position. He touched something warm and sticky. She was bleeding more than he'd realized, because the sand had soaked up most of the blood. Tilting his head, he noticed the shard of wood embedded above her shoulder blade.

"Shit." he frowned. She was probably too shocked to feel it. "You're hurt."

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"O-Of course I am," She said obliviously and tried to use her good arm to push the water-logged, sandy tendrils of hair from her face. She just felt so cold - the palla she had been wrapped in was long gone to the waves and the thin tunica she had underneath it wasn't much help to warm her, drenched as it and she was. She glanced down, examining her legs and noting the bruises already starting to form across her calves and her arms. Her face felt tender but she dared not touch it. 

"What happened?" She demanded breathlessly as he tried to quell the nausea she felt at being sat upright. She didn't know how long she'd been led on the shore for - teasingly out of reach of the waves before she woke up, but it must have been some time judging by the pruning of her skin and the water she kept coughing up. The fact that everything hurt suggested the ship had not gone down easily and she recalled the white caps of the waves as they moved through the water, and the little rocky islets that they'd passed on their passage that morning. Maybe it was better she didn't know.

 

TAG: @Chevi

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"The ship went down is what happened" Lucius coughed. She was bruised and scraped all over, but still not aware of the worse injury. He probably looked about the same, but he was used to it. Well... not the shipwreck part, the injuries part. He was at a loss of what to do with her, though.

Alright, first things first.

"Can you walk? Come on. Let's get you out of the water." He shifted to her good shoulder and wrapped an arm around her, hoping to help her stand.

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"Really?She snapped and shot him a glare. No shit the ship went down. Whether her glare had any effect given their current predicament was anybody's guess. She certainly felt annoyed though. Maybe that was a good sign that she hadn't really lost her wits, if she was still able to become frustrated this easily.

But the heat dissipated from her gaze and she gave him an anxious look not unlike a child being told off. She wanted to move but at the same time she absolutely did not want to. She was safe here and in pain, who knew what moving would do to her? But before she could protest that he should heroically leave her to drown with the incoming tide, she felt his arm slip around her and she struggled to heave herself up. Her legs jerked and shook underneath her but she managed to stand...vaguely...with a great deal of support. She took a tentative step and winced. Why would her body not stop trembling?! Why would it not do what she told it to do?! "Where are we?" Her voice was smaller now, more afraid as she took another step.

 

TAG: @Chevi

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If she was well enough to snark, she was well enough to walk. Lucius helped her stand, and although she was trembling all over, he managed to walk her towards some rocks nearby, further up the beach. She sounded a little confused, but to be honest, so was he.

"I have no idea." he answered her question. "I might be able to tell, but I need to get up higher and look... Alright. Sit here." He helped her sit on one of the rocks. So far, so good. And that was exactly as far as he had planned ahead. "Um... what's your name?"

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She bit down on her lip so she wouldn't cry out as they shuffled awkwardly further up the beach. When he finally deposited her on some rocks she let out a strangled sob and moved to wrap her arms around her knees, huddling in an almost-ball to keep warm and stop her tears. 

"Ovinia Camilla." she choked and looked up at him, "My father is a P-Praetor in Rome. He-he'll send people out looking when we d-don't dock." Granted they weren't due into Patara for several more days at least, but she wouldn't countenance that she would just be abandoned, that people wouldn't come looking for her. They had to. She was not going to die on some rocks with some stranger. "Who are you?" She gave him a wary look up and down and then finally unfurled herself from her hug, shuffling up on the rocks. "Y-you're injured sit down." 

 

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"Ovinia Camilla. My father is a P-Praetor in Rome. He-he'll send people out looking when we d-don't dock."

A praetor's daughter. Shit. On the one hand, she was right; she was the one person they would look for, if they looked for anyone at all. On the other hand... what in the goddamn world was he going to do with a praetor's daughter?! If she got... more hurt, that would be on him alone.

"Who are you? Y-you're injured sit down." 

"My name is Lucius. My father used to be captain on the ship." Of course she wouldn't recognize one of the crew, patricians never did. He sat down next to her. "Well, Ovinia... I don't know how to tell you this, but you have a piece of wood stuck in your shoulder. Don't!" he added, in case she tried to reach for it in panic.

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Used to be. She misunderstood and thought he was referring to losing his father in the wreck. The softer side of her came out in force and she shook her head, moving a hand to rest on his shoulder very fleetingly, "H-he might be fine, we're fine, t-there's probably others." Like her slavegirl and her guard. They would be fine. They probably washed up on the other side of the island or another one. They couldn't possibly be the only two survivors. 

But then panic set in and not even his pre-emptive 'Don't!' stopped her from jerking her arm and furiously trying to reach her shoulder. She let out a scream of pain at the movement and hunched over, panting. Her fingers, from where they'd briefly brushed the wood, were sticky with blood. She gave him a panicked look. "Do you know what to do? Were you a medicus on the ship?" A ludicrous proposition but she was spiralling now.

 

TAG: @Chevi

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"H-he might be fine, we're fine, t-there's probably others." 

His look softened as she jumped to assumptions. It wasn't her fault, it was not like he expressed himself clearly. "He died a long time ago." Not that it hurt any less to talk about it. But at least he did not have to go through the wreckage to find him. He tried to remember who else she had been traveling with.

She grabbed for the wood in her shoulder and screamed, doubling over. There was still blood seeping from the wound.

"Do you know what to do? Were you a medicus on the ship?" 

"No, I was not a medicus" he admitted, shaking his head "But I know a few things about wounds. Just... breathe. And don't try to take it out, it will bleed too much. I'll... need something to bandage you first."

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"Oh." She offered a commiserating look, awkward and unsure of what else to say beyond; "I'm sorry." She'd never really experienced loss. She still had her parents and her brothers and even a grandparent. Still, she was soon distracted by the rapidly escalating situation with her shoulder. 

She was squirming in pain and gave him a wide-eyed look. "It's just a-a piece of wood, just yank it out!" She disagreed and tried to reach it again but the pain at the movement winded her and she stopped trying. Bandage? She blinked and cast a look around them. There was nothing here but rocks and sand and far off behind them some greenery. No fabric, nothing to bandage with. She glanced down at herself - the tunica was still in one piece but it was longer than his - reaching down to her ankles - and she managed to awkwardly lean forward to grab the hem. She winced as she tried to rip it (and failing to) before offering it to him. "Rip off a strip." She commanded.

 

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"It's just a-a piece of wood, just yank it out!"

"It will bleed a lot more if I do" he noted, gently slapping her hand away from the wound. She would not be able to hold pressure on it once the wood was out. She might even faint from the blood loss. He glanced around, and she did the same, landing on an idea as she pulled on the hem of her tunica.

"Rip off a strip." 

Lucius sighed, kneeling next to her. The tunica was flimsy enough that it tore easily, with a loud scream of fabric. This was the least fun Lucius had ever had tearing a garment off anyone. The strip of fabric was thin, to say the least, and also soaked in salt water. He frowned, and got up. "Stay here."

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She was suitably distracted by the pain, the cold and the bizarreness of the situation not to be uncomfortable with a strange man this close to her - touching her skin as he ripped off a strip of her dress. She sniffed as he held it up. She wasn't convinced it would be of any use to stem the bleeding and Lucius seemed to agree as he stood up. She glanced at  him with wide eyes and her fingers curled into the fabric at her knees. 

"Where are you going?" She croaked out and started to push herself up (why did everything ache?). Her eyes were wide and when she finally managed to stand she looked about as feeble as she felt, clutching at her dress, shaking lightly, hair matted and imbued with salt and drenched in water that still dripped rhythmically down her skin. "I'll come with you." She said as she wobbled, before adding quietly; "Don't leave me." What if he never came back?

 

TAG: @Chevi

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"Where are you going?" 

"I'll get something to pack your wound with." Lucius had a vague idea and headed up the beach towards the nearby bushes. Ovinia, not to be ignored, managed to wobble to her feet. Glancing back, he saw her trying to follow.

"I'll come with you... Don't leave me." 

"I will be right back. Sit down before you faint." Lucius hurried up the beach and rustled among the bushes. There were trees further up, but no sign of anyone living nearby. It was likely this rock was one of those countless tiny islands no one tended to settle on. Just their luck. But at least Lucius found what he had been looking for: some larger boulders and fallen rocks, covered in fresh green moss.

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"D-don't take that tone with me." She snapped, but it was purely out of fear of being abandoned. She knew she had absolutely no valuable skills to offer him in a situation like this and that she was likely more of a burden than a help. She felt a cool chill wash over her. What if he did leave? To try his luck and save himself? What if he tried to...She hurriedly sat back down. She might have had no skills but she had her youth and her looks. The Gods only knew how long they'd be stuck here and if nothing else she knew that men got bored and had...needs. She wrapped an arm around her knees. 

When he finally returned she turned cautious eyes up at him, her demeanour changed, more standoffish and afraid. She'd thought herself into a very dark place but knew she still needed his help - much as she might wish he'd stay a hundred feet away from her. "A-any signs of anybody here? Anybody else?" she asked as he drew closer.

 

TAG: @Chevi

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Lucius managed to harvest a large amount of fresh moss. It was not as good as clean dry bandages, but it was used on wounds often, and it would have to do. He returned to where Ovinia was sitting. At least she listened, even if she had been protesting. Being a patrician was not going to do her much good now. She looked at him like he was responsible for the wreckage alone.

"A-any signs of anybody here? Anybody else?" 

"None I can see. No one alive, anyway." he frowned, sitting next to her again. He tried not to think about all his crew mates, dead. "Now. I am going to take that piece of wood out, and bandage your wound the best I can. It will probably hurt a lot."

@Sara

 

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She let out a mewl of sadness at his proclamation that nobody else was alive and hid her face in her hands. At least he offered a distraction shortly afterwards and she glanced through her fingers at his face. He was honest, she had to give him that. She tried not to flinch at his proximity and instead nodded. She needed the help. Then she'd move away. "Do it." 

She shifted on the rock so her back was to him and steeled herself - gripping her fingers into the fabric of her chiton and biting down hard on her lip. She'd never been injured before, not properly, and with each passing moment as the shock wore off, she felt the burn and pain of the wood in her shoulder. "Get it out." she ordered, but her voice was shaky - as if at any moment she would lose her nerve. 

 

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She seemed to resolve herself to accept his help. Lucius shifted to sit behind her, reading the meager bandaging materials he had. He just hoped the wound was not worse than it looked.

"Get it out."

He did. With one swift motion, the shard of wood was out, leaving a fresh trickle of blood running down her back. Her tunica was already ripped around it, but the rest was fast turning red now. Lucius picked up the moss and pressed it against her shoulder, trying to stop the bleeding. Maybe, if it did not soak through too much he would be able to bandage it.

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She screamed through gritted teeth as he yanked it out and then slapped his hand and the moss over the bleeding wound. Tears bubbled as did a choke and before she could stop herself they were streaming down her cheeks. The sharpness of the pain almost immediately eased to a dull, ferocious ache in her back and she squirmed, trying to get away from his hand, trying to do anything to stop it.

She felt faint but didn't say anything. She needed to appear strong; maybe he'd respect her if she was strong. She tried to focus on the  view of the water in the distance to keep herself awake - the gentle lapping of the waves at the shore as he worked to bandage it. She breathed. In, one, two, three...out, one, two, three...She remembered that from her cousins childbirth. She thought the general principle might apply here. 

"How b-bad is it?" She asked through gritted teeth - still flinching and trying to move as he touched it - utterly involuntarily. 

 

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She screamed, as expected, and tried to squirm away from his hand. Blood tricked down from under the moss as his hand shifted.

"Stop that" he sighed, using his other hand at her waist to keep her steady. It probably hurt like the Furies, but she needed to sit still. He pressed clean moss to the wound, and held it in place.

"How b-bad is it?" 

"It would need to be stitched up, but that is clearly not happening." he frowned. "Hold still. I'm doing the best I can." If the moss had a chance of quelling the bleeding and staying in place, he needed to bandage her shoulder tightly. "Um..." he sighed. "Look, there is no good way of saying this, but I need you to..." he tugged on the shoulder of her dress. Half naked and not bleeding was still better than dressed and dead.

@Sara

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She flinched from his hand at her waist and still tried to squirm away. It was deeply, deeply unfomfortable - he probably had no idea, not the pain of the wound but being this close to a man  - a strange man, a slave potentially. Probably, actually, it occurred to her. She flinched again as he packed on more moss and spoke to her. "Just hurry up." She choked, furiously and tried to breathe through the pain and the discomfort. 

That discomfort only increased as he tugged on the shoulder of her chiton. She didn't understand for a moment. Then she did and she snapped her face over her shoulder to stare at him - utterly horrified. She wasn't wearing a strophium underneath it. "No." She choked out, utterly fervent. "If you need to bandage it, bandage it over my dress, if you need the material, use your own tunic." She moved a hand on her good side to hold on to the shoulder of her dress to hold it in place should he try and tug it down. "Or-" She choked, discomfort rising by the moment as she tried to weasel out of his grip, "Actually just leave it - just leave it, the bleeding will stop and y-you have your own wounds to tend." 

 

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