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When Britons stare at walls


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Early March, 77 CE
One of the many, many Roman Walls

The sun was up, the birds chirped and the Roman city was bustling. Caturix had been sent out to find goods for the feast tonight, however, he had more than gotten sidetracked with the amount of people and noise that compared to his vague memories of the rolling hills of his tribe. He moved through, a confidence in his walk not pertaining to a slave, as the Roman citizens looked at him; both disgust and fear in their eyes as they hurried on past the Briton.

It was the scribbles on the walls which had caught his attention, his brow furrowing as he swept a stray strand of blond hair dropped in front of his face. He stepped closer, his head tilting to the side as he brought a finger up to trace the words. There was a lot of it, whatever it said. He knew them to be words, for his Master had tried to teach him enough to get by in the local marketplace aside from what his already learned 'cock' and 'balls' that a small child had pointed out.

@Chevi

Edited by Faustus
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As colorful a city as Rome was, one could still spot an outsider from a mile away. Or Aia could, anyway. Because she liked them. Being from Gaul, and having served in the legions, she counted herself as Roman, but she had a fondness for everyone who did not quite fit the mold of polite urban society. And the guy with the tattoos and the blonde hair and the scars was definitely not polite urban society. The way he stared at the scribblings on the wall was a mix of interest and confusion.

Aia, carrying a basket of assorted vegetables on her arm, stopped next to the man and glanced at the writings herself.

"Don't believe a word they're saying" she noted with a smirk. "Those women are not free, and they are definitely not virgins."

@Faustus

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Engrossed, as he was, Caturix had almost forgotten about the bustling exterior of the Esquilliae. The words danced, with little rhyme or meaning to it as he finally realised that he was not alone in staring at the wall. His head whipped to one side, blue eyes narrowing as he took the woman in. "Why do they write here then?" It was as much as he could muster at the time, the words still after all these years strange on his tongue.

Caturix mimicked what he had seen, the tablets that the Romans wrote on, the words escaping him as his brows furrowed in marginal frustration. "Walls." Clearly having given up on the notion of what he had wanted to say previously.

This would have to do.

He pointed at the written words. "None of these women seem to be free. Are men not free too?"

@Chevi

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Why do they write, then? Aia chuckled.

"To lure people in, no doubt. It's false advertising." 

Some brothels in Rome did live up to their name, but a lot of the scribblings on the wall were of the more... imaginative kind.

 "None of these women seem to be free. Are men not free too?"

"Not if you want to have sex with them they aren't" Aia grinned. She knew she was not talking like a Roman lady, but then again, she wasn't one. She tilted her head at the man curiously. She could read the wall all day any day, but meeting new people was always more fun. "Where are you from?"

@Faustus

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Caturix furrowed his brow.

"So they tell lies."

He was pretty certain that was what the woman was trying to say. He did not understand much of what she had mentioned, but certainly it sounded as if the writing on the wall was trying to lie to him. "Where do they want to lure?" Caturix checked that what he had said sounded right to the woman before continuing. That was when his mouth quirked up into a smirk.

"Ah. Sex." That he understood. Though he still did not understand the notion of why they were not free when they were having sex, the Romans practiced strange rituals. Even with the gladiators and gladiatrixes, people threw themselves at them for sex. Caturix shrugged his shoulders, as he noted that she did not speak how his masters did - she did not speak the same as the other Roman ladies did with the same caution to words. "I am from Britannia. Are you not Roman?"

@Chevi

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"So they tell lies. Where do they want to lure?" 

"Brothels, most likely." Aia chuckled. Those places liked to advertise on walls in the most vulgar ways.

"Ah. Sex."

She nodded. That was a common language most people understood. But she was still curious about the man, and where he'd come from.

"I am from Britannia. Are you not Roman?"

Aia smiled, switching to one of the more common Briton dialects she new.

"I'm from Gaul. But I live in Rome now."

@Faustus

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Brothels.

He'd not heard of them before; a strange place where women and men (presumably according to the scribbles on the wall) had sex. "Brothel." Caturix repeated, his face scrunching as he pronounced the word, deciding that he wasn't a fan of the word. Then again, the lure of sex had never been something which plagued him like so many other men in his tribe.

Caturix was surprised when she had switched over languages, visibly taken a back that she spoke something he understood more fully. "Then we both have that in common....did they take you too?" He asked, curious why the Gaul had decided to stay.

@Chevi

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People were always more comfortable speaking their own language. Or something close to it. Aia smiled as the man answered, looking at her curiously. It was an easy assumption that he made, given her looks and the way she spoke.

"Then we both have that in common....did they take you too?"

"No, not really...  I was born inside the empire." she admitted. She was a peregrinus, not a freedwoman. This man, on the other hand... it appeared he was a slave. "They brought you here?... Let me guess, bodyguard?"

@Faustus

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He still continued to frown, though understanding that not every slave nor freedwoman was property of the Empire like he had been. It was a question he would ask her later. "Gladiator. First." He replied. It was a part of him that did not mind admitting that he had once been a fighter for the people's entertainment, a strange period of his life where he learned that many of the rich would throw themselves at them for a night to claim bragging rights above others. "Then I was....bought. To be a guard, yes."

Caturix remembered that day in the market, with the others who had been up for auction after they had been bought out by the slaver who thought he still had enough energy and youth to be something of use for a Roman family. "Why do you not stay in Gaul?"

@Chevi

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"Gladiator. First. Then I was....bought. To be a guard, yes."

"I see." That was not an unusual story, on the whole. Romans liked ex-gladiators as their bodyguards. They were tried and proven, and also good for showing off. The man was certainly built like a gladiator.

"Why do you not stay in Gaul?"

"That... is a long story" Aia chuckled. "Let's just say... I came here because of a man." The man being Aius, but she was not going to go into that. "What's your name, by the way? I'm Aia."

@Faustus

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Caturix's features seemed to light up, though perhaps a misunderstanding on his part, he could not help but smile when she mentioned that she had been here because of a man. "Love." Stated rather than asked, though she had been free to correct him if need be. Then he gave a chuckle, nodding and seemingly pleased with one such observation. "It is good to meet you, Aia," He tasted the words on his lips as he said her name, repeating back to her to ensure he was saying it right. Placing a hand on his chest, "My name is Caturix."

Then for a brief moment his attention went to the wall once more, seemingly less interested in it now than previously before turning to look at Aia. "What do you do in the city?"

@Chevi

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"Love."

"You could say that" Aia smiled. She had found it - or rather, recognized it after a long time. And now she was glad she had.

"It is good to meet you, Aia. My name is Caturix."

"Pleasure to meet you, Caturix" she nodded, still speaking Britonnic. It was good practice, and her Britonnic was better than his Latin.

"What do you do in the city?"

"I teach languages" she grinned, then decided she should probably elaborate. "Rich people hire me to teach their children Latin, Greek, and Gallic or Briton depending on where they are headed for military service."

@Faustus

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It was good that there was someone who could speak his language, it seemed like years had gone past since he had heard his native tongue being spoken. However, Caturix could not help but cock his head one side as she mentioned that it was a pleasure to meet him - a notion that had gone unfamiliar to the Briton after so many years upon being looked down on in the ring and as a man who bore many strange tattoos.

Caturix raised a brow, listening to the woman who taught languages. She reminded him of the gladiatrix who took him under her arm and taught him the basics necessary to get by in understanding Romans. "And you are then rich." The Briton stated, curiously. "It's impressive you know so many languages. Do you use Briton often with the rich people?"

@Chevi

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Aia laughed at the assumption.

"I am not rich. But I can afford to live in Rome, and that's enough for now." She shared an apartment with Decimus, had food, clothes, and most things she needed. She was content.

"I have a knack for languages, it turns out. Rich people... usually ask me to teach their sons Britonnic before they head to Britannia with the legions. For them, it's part of the cursus. They have to serve as warriors first, before they can come home and get into politics." She used warrior instead of soldier, a concept Britons didn't have a separate word for.

@Faustus

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His brow furrowed at the laughter, but he did not sense any malice in her tone as she spoke. Not like how they had once laughed at him and hit him to remain quiet. Aia was certainly different from those he had spoken to before, one who held more patience for his misunderstandings of Roman culture. A knack for languages seemed to pay well, though his own translation of Britonnic to Roman was something which made Caturix's head spin. However, he nodded in understanding that they all served as warriors first before they went to serve their homeland.

Caturix frowned at the mention of Romans heading into Britannia, disapproving of their actions as he spat off to one side. He was now a slave to one of these Romans, and whilst life was far better than being a gladiator, the crimes they committed against his family were not forgotten easily. "These warriors get to come home to their families. Why can we not go back to ours?"

@Chevi

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Disdain was evident in Caturix' face as he spoke of going home. Because the Britons lost, Aia wanted to say, but it wasn't fair. They had put up - were still putting up - a valiant fight. Sometimes, people wee just not as favored by the gods as others. And sometimes some people made war, and then others suffered for their decisions.

"Do you have family? In Britannia?"

@Faustus

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The disdain was quick to fall to the pain that he felt; the loss that he had perceived when he was taken away from his clan. But he held strong, his brow low on his face as his lips pulled tight into a thin line. "I don't know. Maybe they still live there, elsewhere. Maybe they are here because the Romans took them away." Caturix pushed back strands of stray hair as he tilted his head. "You have family here then?"

@Chevi

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Aia gave him a sympathetic look. He had been defeated and taken to Rome, and he had no idea what happened to his family. She knew that was a common thing. She remembered Erea, searching for her family. She shook her head.

"No. I only have my... husband here." That's what Decimus was, for all intents and purposes. "You know, I met this girl... in Britannia. And then I met her again here, years later. She had been captured and brought here too. And she was looking for her family... I think she found some of them, in the end. She has been freed now."

@Faustus

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