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Shopping with intent


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Early March 77AD

Lucius was stalking the Emporium Magnum with a particular goal in mind; he wanted to purchase a particular kind of good. A slave, to be precise. And not just any slave, he wanted a bodyguard for his sister. He'd seen the way her current guard didn't suit her, and just like their father, he wanted her to be safe. Unlike their father, he felt he cared a little more about her tastes, or at least about the kind of slave that was suitable for her. Hopefully their father wouldn't object too much.

It needed to be someone who could fight, first and foremost. And it needed to be someone who looked intimidating. Not too old, still in good condition. Not too young either, nor too attractive. None of the men of the family wanted Ovinia getting distracted by her slaves. As an officer in the legions and someone who had been to the provinces and seen some action, he felt that he should be able to judge at least some of those traits.

Part of the Emporium Magnum was busy with slave traders displaying their wares, and Lucius stalked amongst them, running his gaze down row after row of enslaved humanity, looking for a likely candidate. Every so often he stopped and spoke with one of the traders about a slave that caught his eye, but each time he moved on. None of them seemed quite right. She did already have a guard, so it wasn't as though he needed to just pick any that might do.

Along the next row, one caught his eye. His initial thought was ugly, noting the complex blue tattoos and half-shaven head, but he paused and looked more carefully. There were scars, quite a lot of them. The pale hair colour and tattoos were exotic; they reminded him of the Amazon-like bodyguard with the Imperial princess he'd seen once when her entourage had crossed his path. A bit of a clean and this fellow could look more exotic than nasty too, and Ovinia did appreciate interesting things. And the scars looked like battle wounds...

"This one." He said to the slaver, pointing at Caturix. "What's his history?"

@Faustus

Edited by Sarah
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From one life to another, the gladiator ring disappeared in the distance as he was granted his first breath of what was supposed to be fresh air. Caturix pressed himself against the bars of the cage that he was being transported in with the others. Slaves, they called them. Much to the baring of his teeth when they attempted to force him into the cage the first time, which (rightfully or not) had earned him a slap across the mouth.

So he had remained quiet, blue eyes watchful as they were unloaded off the cart and into the bullpen where they would be displayed for countless of Romans to come look at them - perhaps even buy them. Caturix would look up often, watching as they stopped, towering over him as he remained seated; one knee to his chest and the other slightly stuck out in front of him. He had not been wholly broken, not like some of the others who had come with him.

Women and their children.

Women alone.

Other men.

They did not discriminate on who they took as slaves.

However, he did not flinch when they met his gaze; a curiousity and a quiet confidence gained from the hardships of the arena.

Caturix did not know when he had next looked away, tending to the dirt beneath his feet and to the rats which scurried along the floor searching for food or a warm place to nest. But it was a commanding voice which had caught his attention.

"This one."

He slowly pulled his gaze off the ground, coming to meet the eyes of the man who was pointing at him; a blonde strand of hair falling in front of his face, partially concealing the lack of an ear.

"What's his history?"

The trader guffawed, hands on his hip as he looked back towards the enslaved Briton. "That one?" Another guffaw as he tried to bolster the sell. "Got him from the gladiator ring; they says before that, Roman Legions took him from Britannia. He's got good spirit that one, plenty of balls. Don't think he speaks much, tries bite your face off well enough though! I'll give him for a good price, sir if you take him off my own hands, yes."

Caturix inclined his head, only partially catching some of the words that the trader had been saying. He was interested to find out what the man wanted, why he was looking at him so intensely.

It was as if they had not seen another man in their entire lives before.

@Sarah

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The trader seemed terribly amused by the question, his joviality feeling almost forced. To Lucius he seemed terribly keen to make a sale, and he listened as the man rattled off the barbarian's recent history. Britannic captive, then the gladiator ring. He'd survived, so presumably he could fight, but not well enough for the ludus to want to keep him. They would have sold him for a reason. As he listened the slave looked up at him, blue eyes meeting hazel, in that impudent way that captured slaves often had. They never seem to be truly broken.

Plenty of spirit, hmm? Plenty of balls. That translated in Lucius's ear to poorly broken, badly behaved and hard to control. It might serve him well in the gladiator's ring, but not so well in a Praetor's household.

I'll give him for a good price, sir if you take him off my own hands, yes.

"Hmm, no, I don't think so." He said, still watching the slave, who was watching him. How much did the man understand? The more recent captives often didn't speak latin well, and that was another thing they didn't really need.  "I'm looking for a bodyguard for a young lady of Patrician birth, not a badly behaved barbarian."

He turned away from Caturix and cast his gaze over this particular slaver's other offerings.

@Faustus

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"Oh-"

The slaver furrowed his brow for a moment as he looked at Caturix. "Honestly, sir, I was only saying it in jest. The man seems like a barbarian but he's anything but. My men handled him a little roughly on the transport over from the ring, hence why he might have been persuaded to bite. I'm sure he's--"

Caturix continued to stare at the new man who was looking for someone to protect a lady, he had learned a little from the gladiatrix who had taken him under her wing when he had been captured from Britannia and taken into Roman hands.

"The fact that he's survived this long should perhaps be taken into consideration?" The slaver would have offered another discount if it weren't for the first offer of a discount, he still needed to make his living.

Caturix decided that he had enough of being towered over, going from his seated position to a standing one. The slaver looked, eyes widening some as his hand wrapped around the chain - just as a precaution that the barbarian wanted to go for the man. "Why do you look so much?" His tone was not accusatory, simply curious. "Can she not protect herself?" Whilst his tribe had women who were child-bearers, they knew that they could easily bear arms too if they so needed to defend their home, like his mother had done.

"I'm--I'm so sorry, sir!" The slaver tugged back on the chain, yanking Caturix in the process, forcing him to sit back down. "Curious lot these Britons are. I can give him to you for a better price than what the other slaver over there can offer! Even clean him, I will."

@Sarah

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Honestly, sir, I was only saying it in jest.

Of course. Slavers would say anything if they thought it might make you buy. Perhaps he should look somewhere more upmarket. It was only that this particular fellow had stood out from the others, but clearly... wait, he really had bitten someone's face off? Lucius wasn't certain whether to be impressed or appalled. Perhaps both. As the slaver pointed out, the fact that the man was still alive said something for his fighting prowess, but Lucius wanted someone who would put Ovinia in less danger, not more.

His gave had already been rudely direct, but suddenly the slave was on his feet, speaking to Lucius without being spoken to. Badly trained indeed.

Why do you look so much? Can she not protect herself?

The slaver apologised frantically and hauled on the man's chain, forcing him back down, whilst expounding on the 'curious' nature of the Britannic barbarians and offering him an even lower price. Clearly he was keen to shift this fellow, and no wonder. And Lucius knew that he should have walked away, should have discarded any idea of purchasing such a rude, potentially dangerous and badly spoken barbarian, but something the man said caught his curiosity.

"I look because you are different, I haven't seen these tattoos before."And that was the simple truth. He was different, and therefor intriguing. "And to answer your question, no, she can't protect herself. Women do not fight." At least not in the civilised world. Did they then, where he came from? The insidious little thought crept into his mind that, if Ovinia had been able to fight, she might not have been so badly injured. But if he tried to teach her, their father would disown him.

The slaver was clearly no font of truth, so Lucius addressed the slave directly. "We are a good and proud family. We could give you a good home and a purpose, but you would need to be quiet and well behaved, and protect my sister with your life." Did he need to say that any such failure could well result in the forfeit of the slave's own?

@Faustus

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There were a lot of things that Caturix needed to learn of Roman's small talk and operations.

Not that any of it was important to him.

The Roman in front of him intrigued him and there was a chance that he could very well have walked off without another word and someone else would have filled the gap. He stared upwards at the man now, having been forcefully sat down. His arse hurt from the fall but he would get over it. There were worst things that could have happened. What Caturix did not expect was for the man to engage in conversation with him, noting the tattoos which covered his face and that he was different. He assumed that Romans did not have these tattoos but surely some of them had seen tattoos before--

Women did not fight.

He cocked his head one way as he processed the thought. It was strange to him to consider that they were not trained to defend themselves in any circumstance. They had Gladiatrix, so they did not mind seeing women fight.

"Are you then a chieftain?" Caturix asked.

The man certainly looked important and had been addressed as such by the slaver.

Then came the offer.

A new lease.

Cautrix furrowed his brow slightly as he took a moment to think on it, his voice lapsing into a silence before he looked the man directly in the eyes and gave a nod of affirmation. "I understand."

@Sarah

Edited by Faustus
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Romans didn't mind seeing women fight, in the right circumstances, but it was understood that they were freaks, not women of quality. Women of quality had menfolk to do their fighting for them. Including bodyguards if need be, which was why he was interested in this fellow. He was different, and interesting; clearly strong, blonde, and tattooed in a way that Lucius had never seen before. Only Roman slaves were tattooed, and even then only the lowest value or disobedient ones, usually on their face to indicate their owner. If they wanted to tattoo Caturix, they were going to have a hard time finding room.

Are you then a chieftain?

Barbarian slaves were often cheap, because they came with their own challenges. Frequently unruly, it could also be a challenge to get Roman concepts into their heads.

Lucius smirked in amusement. "I'm the son of a 'chieftain'." He confirmed after a moment. "Our word for chieftain is 'Patrician', and my father is a powerful one. You would be guarding a 'chieftain's daughter." There, hopefully he'd put it in simple enough terms that the man could understand. The man's brow furrowed almost comically as he seemed to think it over, as though this wasn't the best offer he was likely to ever get in his life. Finally he looked up, directly at Lucius in that annoying way barbarian slaves had - he'd have to learn not to do that - and nodded.

I understand.

That odd half-smile stayed on Lucius's face. He was the son of a Praetor, and much as he might not be enthusiastic about it, he had been raised and trained to enter politics. "You understand, but will you comply?" He said briefly, before realising that the man might not know the word, or understand it. "If you come with me, you will do as you are told. Failure to do so will be punished severely. But good service will be rewarded with good food, security and comfort." Relatively. "Yes?" He gave the man a stern look. It might have had more impact had he been older.

@Faustus

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Recognition flashed in Caturix's eyes as the Roman translated what a Chieftain equaled to in their society. "Patrician." He sounded the word out, more out of curiousity than anything else as he nodded. Protecting a chieftain's daughter seemed a better job than sitting himself in the market waiting to be picked upon by other Roman families for something else lesser than what was being offered. The man smiled, but it was not one of those smiles he had seen used before, one which did not seem overtly happy. It was certainly something that he was to get used to if he were to be working for them.

Caturix listened to what the man had to say, nodding again, this time understanding fully of what was expected of him. Or to a certain extent. The slaver seemed to eagerly be watching the duo interact, his fingers interlaced tightly in hopes that the conversation would end with him receiving a fine payment of coins from the Senatore.

"Yes, chieftain's son." It did not dissuade him that the man had shot him a glare, only slightly inclining his head to one side as he looked over to the Slaver who seemed to be rather pleased about the acceptance of his new role.

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Well, that was that then. The tattooed man seemed to have grasped at least the basics of what would be expected of him. If he didn't learn the rest quickly, Lucius had no doubt that his father would make it abundantly clear to him, following by giving Lucius himself an ear-bashing for bringing him into the domus. He might be due the latter anyway, but he'd seen how much the man his father had set to guard Ovinia frustrated her. This guy might be equally frustrating, but at least he'd be fashionable. Even the Imperial Princess had a barbarian fighter for a guard. 

"Good." He said, accepting the man's acknowledgement before turning to the seller to haggle over the price of the unkempt barbarian. Finally they settled on a price, and the seller removed the board and rope from around the barbarian's neck. 

Turning back to the barbarian, Lucius regarded him thoughtfully for a moment. "Stand up." He said brusqely. "I own you now. My name in the household is Lucius, but you will call me and any free man in the house 'dominus', and any free woman 'domina', which is respecful from a slave. I'm sure you've heard other slaves say it." Best he learned his manners quickly. "Follow me." Lucius started walking. "Escaped slaves are severely punished or killed, so just don't. You will be caught if you try." He'd already told the man that good service would be rewarded, so there was no need to repeat himself.

They passed a stall selling ground pork patties pressed into a cut-open bun filled with cabbage and pickled onions, and Lucius paused and bought two of them. "Here." He handed one of the buns to the slave and bit into the other. The meat was hot and juicy and the onion pickle well spiced. "What did they call you?" He asked around his mouthful, realising the seller had been so eager to make the deal and Lucius so keen to leave that he hadn't asked the man. 

@Faustus

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Cautrix watched the exchange carefully, his head tilted only for a brief moment as the Seller seemed rather pleased; going to remove the rope off his neck. Cautrix went to rub the tender section where the rope had rubbed against his skin, making it prickle and reddened. Everything then happened in quick succession; from the orders for him to stand to the way he were to interact with the people around his new home. "Dom-in-us." Cautrix sounded out the words, his eyes curiously going to the man to see whether or not he approved of how he spoke.

Romans were strange, their language was strange in his ears but Cautrix knew that should he have any chance of remaining alive and well, he would need to learn their traditions and cultures.

No escaping.

That was quick to be filed away in his mind as he began to follow after the man, his legs stiff from having sat down. He would shake his leg every few steps; annoyed at the way his leg seemed to have fallen numb until his attention was pulled to the smell of food. Cautrix recognised the smell of meats; what meat he did not know, but his mouth seemed to almost water as he stared at the food presented to him; stunned for a brief moment he was being fed. Cautiously, he picked it from the man's grasp - if only the caution lasted a moment before he took bites from it, hunger driving him forward as his brain tried to process the taste, his tongue flicking in and out as he decided whether he liked it or not. Though hunger was quick to win out.

"Cautrix. My lands, they call me Cautrix," He replied. "Dominus." The Briton added for good measure, unsure of whether or not he were to add it on every sentence - but the man had given him food, so he would heed and respect the man.

@Sarah

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