Jump to content

Start as you mean to go on


Recommended Posts

February 77

Tiberius was studying or reading or something - Jason had had no idea that scrolls could be so endlessly fascinating! - which had led to Jason's being able to take a few moments for himself, so long as he stayed within call of his master's rooms. That was easily done; his master was in one of the rooms off a private courtyard which gave Jason the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor space while still being within an easy call.

He had found a patch of grass in the sun where he could lay down and stare up at the blue sky above, trying to pretend he was looking at a portion of the vast skies over the steppe at home. It wasn't quite working, though, he couldn't hear horses from his position, and the grass wasn't tall enough for the wild prairie grass. Nor was the wind the constant fresh breeze of his home.

It was all he could get, though, and if the force of Jason's wishes could move the steppe to where he lay, Tiberius would have looked up to find himself surrounded by eternal horizon where the blue sky and the green grass met.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marcus was bored, or something. He'd slept in, as he often did, and there was no meeting or assembly for the new vigintiviri today. It was nice to have moved out of his mother's home, he'd sorely needed that, even if he missed her sometimes. Her and Caecina, but maybe it was for the best. And he could always come and visit them, which he considered, but maybe not today. It was long into the morning anyway now, the sun was high up and Silvanus easily helped Marcus get dressed for just being at home. A tunica with a belt and a pair of slippers. And he put on a robe too, because it wasn't that warm yet. Quietly he wandered through his new home, still inspecting it, still trying to imagine what certain walls should be painted like, and so on. They still needed to throw a party for the young people of Rome, so they could see their new home. Marcus' thoughts were on that. 

Apparently Tiberius was too busy reading something important and Marcus didn't want to busy himself with that right now. Instead something else came to mind, as his stomach growled and he felt thirsty too. He should get something to eat. Silvanus was still in his own quarters, but he could go and find someone else to send to get him something to eat and drink. Marcus didn't see anyone nearby though and crossed a courtyard to find someone.

That's when he nearly stumbled over Tiberius' body slave, Jason! He managed to stop before he stumbled though, staring down at the slave. Who was just doing... what? Lying in the grass, staring at the sky... doing nothing useful? He was just being lazy, wasn't he? Tiberius really was too nice with his slaves.

"Get up." Marcus told the slave. It wasn't his slave, but Tiberius obviously had not put Jason to work right now. And Marcus did have work for him. So... so be it.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jason was abruptly jerked back the reality of his life here in Rome as a shadow fell over him a fraction of a second before he was kicked in the side. He eyes flew open to find his master's friend looking down at him, having apparently very nearly stumbled over him.

Fuck!

At least the kick hadn't been deliberate, although it might as well have been, especially going by the curt order that came next. "Get up."

Jason scrambled hastily to his feet, trying to calm his racing heart and adopt the blank yet attentive look of a dutiful slave, while also trying not to resent the interruption. He didn't know his master's friend very well, and if this was the first impression he'd given the young man, Marcus Silanus was probably under the impression already that he was lazy and good-for-nothing.

"Sir."

At least he was Tiberius' body slave and not some random house slave, slim though that protection might be.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marcus was not brought up to see slaves being lazy. They were part of a functioning household and so they should be functioning too. Not just lying around on the ground in random courtyards with their eyes closed, doing nothing. So he simply ordered the slave to get up, since Jason was the first slave he'd seen since he decided he was both hungry and thirsty and someone should help him fix that issue. 

The slave got to his feet quickly, attempting to appear dutiful, but Marcus had already judged that he wasn't. He'd need to talk to Tiberius about how they were going to do this, with the household. They would need a head slave, someone to keep everyone in check here. Also the body slaves. 

"Since your own master is busy, you might as well help me. I'd like something to eat, and drink." He glanced around, this courtyard wasn't too bad actually... "Have it brought out here." Marcus said and waited for the slave to carry out the order. 

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Something to eat and drink - oh, of course!

"Yes, sir."

Jason managed to hold the sigh until he was out of the other's sight, leaning back against the wall and squeezing his eyes shut. He stayed there for a moment, trying to let go of his resentment that he should have been interrupted - that he was here at all - before pushing himself upright and heading to the kitchens.

He was strongly tempted to pour Marcus Silanus a cup of cheap posca but managed to resist - it would only lead to more trouble and he really didn't need that! - and eventually returned with a cup of the Falernian wine and a plate with a flatbread and cluster of grapes. 'Have it brought out here' had had definite undertones of 'bring it here yourself and don't slack' after all.

There was a marble bench with a table by it, the perfect place to set his burdens down, and he did so, stepping back and folding his hands, the perfect attentive slave.

"Sir."

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was a rather small courtyard, but maybe a gardener could make it even prettier. Actually, a stone path through it would be nice he thought. Yet the fact that there was already a bench and a table spoke well for the courtyard. It would be a good place to take visits in the afternoon, he thought to himself. Marcus then sat down on the bench and waited patiently for his friend's slave to return with food and drink for him. His stomach had just growled again when Jason showed up, presenting a plate with bread and grapes and a cup of wine for Marcus.

He was being perfectly attentive now, wasn't he? Quite the contrast to how Marcus found him here. He didn't really know Jason though, but Tiberius seemed fond of him, so he must be good at what he did, at other times.

"What were you doing just before? Sunbathing?" He said then with a grin and took a swig of the wine. Since Jason was here anyway, he might as well talk to him. Being alone was rather boring anyway.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jason was very conscious that his own master was rather indulgent, on the occasions that the mood took him... and that he didn't know his master's friend at all, especially not as someone who might have actual power over him. To say that he had nothing to do would probably land like a badly-flighted arrow.

"I was enjoying the sun while waiting if my master called," he said. "My master like to be alone when he's reading and thinking."

Or at least, not to have slaves around, including Jason. And the words 'my master' would always taste bitter in his mouth no matter who he was addressing.

 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jason just lying around in the sunshine doing nothing was something to keep Marcus entertained right now. Because he shouldn't be doing that, but he'd done it anyway. And Marcus could use that, since he was bored and Jason was the only one present he could have fun with. So he would, on Jason's behalf of course. Later, Marcus would have to have a chat with Tiberius about how slaves were to act in their new home, because they'd have to agree on that at least. If this was to work. But for now, Jason was the target of Marcus' attention. The slave answered politely and was probably truthful too, which was kind of boring.

"And he does a lot of that, doesn't he? And of course he should, considering who he is." Marcus said and broke a piece from the bread to chew on, "But, you know, from that position it might take you a while to get up, brush the dust off yourself and get to him? And you didn't hear me coming, so you weren't really ready to get up and do all that, were you? I'll have to talk to Tiberius about that." Marcus said and looked up at Jason, who stood there, attentive to the current free Roman he had to serve. Since Tiberius wasn't making use of him, Marcus might as well do it.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

He'd landed himself squarely as the other's target, just for doing nothing at all for a few minutes. There was no right answer to Junius Silanus' questions that wouldn't get him into more trouble, and he had no idea, really, what sort of person he was when dealing with his slaves. Or other peoples' slaves - though he probably wouldn't want to upset Tiberius. There was a fair amount he could do with Jason that wouldn't upset Tiberius but would be varying degrees of uncomfortable for Jason, of course.

"I was listening in case he called, sir. And you walk very lightly." And you're wearing indoor slippers, you were walking on grass and not gravel and I could almost bet you did it deliberately.

He hadn't really ever been in trouble with Tiberius, not in the four years since he'd found himself being a birthday present for him. It would be a shame to be in trouble now, and for nothing very much - but if Marcus wanted to get him in trouble, there wasn't much Jason could do. He'd have to talk to Silvanus, privately, to find out more about Marcus Junius Silanus and how to stay out of trouble with him.

 

@Atrice

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

Marcus didn't want to upset Tiberius either, but he also wanted things to be done right and with the way he was raised, he believed he knew. Tiberius was a much more casual and laid-back kind of person, while Marcus could be more spontaneous and ready to jump on opportunities when he met them. Instead of waiting, he got right to them. Like now, where he had a lazy slave to deal with. Well at least Jason got him something to eat and drink and that was something. But he still needed a bit of scolding for being lazy just before. Now Jason claimed he was listening if Tiberius should call, and said that Marcus walked very lightly. 

Marcus arched a brow, walking very lightly? Really? He wasn't exactly the tiniest Roman and no matter what, you ought to hear it if you were lying straight on the ground and someone walked towards you. Or was it just Jason trying to making Marcus appear if he was the one in the wrong? Jason, a slave? Thinking he was right and Marcus was wrong here? Really? 

"I see, I didn't know that I walked that lightly." Marcus said downed a bit of the wine again, "And here I was, thinking slaves were meant to pay attention at all times, unless told otherwise. Did Tiberius tell you to go rest in the sun? And I really am surprised you didn't hear me. And I didn't see you. It's not like I expected someone to be lying on the ground here, when I walked across..." He looked up at Jason, wondering if he had any useful kind of answer for that. Or if he'd just dig his own grave.

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Shit. It felt as if he was walking across a newly-frozen lake in early winter, with every possibility that the ice would give way under his feet. Not a good feeling.

Junius Silanus hadn't been stamping around like a herd of horses, at least - and he was wearing his indoor shoes, not the thick-soled caligae of the Praetorians, or similar heavy footwear... but yes, he should have heard him, even so.

Was he trying to get Jason into trouble, or was he just exploiting the fact that Jason had pretty much left himself open to it - even though he would probably have been all right had it been Tiberius who'd found him, or called for him?

He tightened his hands where they were clasped in front of him, feeling his shoulders tighten too.

"No, sir. I am sorry; it won't happen again," he said, even though he didn't think the apology would mean much to the other man who might still choose to involve Tiberius and have Jason punished somehow for just... being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing nothing.

 

@Atrice

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

Marcus didn't consider himself the type of person who was mean to slaves. But he did consider himself above them, superior to them. And the fact that Jason tried to defend his actions by more or less saying Marcus was the one who did something wrong just before... that was not right. Jason shouldn't do that. Why would you speak to your superior like that? Well Marcus spoke his mind on it all and continued to eat, while looking at the slave, waiting to see what he had to say now.

There was a slight change in Jason's expression then, before he apologized for what happened and promised it wouldn't happen again.

"I'm sure it won't, you wouldn't want to be a disappointment to your owner, would you?" Marcus said, "But it's good you see your own mistake. That speaks for you, at least. As long as you don't slip up again, I won't tell Tiberius about it."

@Sharpie

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Owner. Oh, of course he'd be the sort to point out that Jason was owned. How very generous of him to remind him that he had about as much autonomy as a sandal. And it wasn't Tiberius that Jason felt he was disappointing, every day, but himself and his father. His father more than anyone, in fact.

He'd been born the son of a chief - well, the younger son of a chief, but still a son of the chief, who would have led men into battle if circumstances had required it, would have sat on the council of elders for his brother. Would have.

Fuck you. Sideways. He kept his eyes levelled at the other's tunic collar, keeping his thoughts off his face by sheer determination. I'll tell Tiberius myself, if I need to, I won't give you the satisfaction.

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."

 

@Atrice

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As though summoned by the thought, one word in a familiar voice floated on the wind from just nearby.

"Jason."

Tiberius never called loudly. He trusted his body slave to be near enough to hear him. And he always was.

@Atrice@Sharpie

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well this was going to be interesting, living in the same house as this slave. Marcus never really interacted with him before, but he had a feeling they'd cross paths again and so far, he was not very impressed with Jason. More the opposite really. Oh sure he'd done as told and all that, but he also tried to blame Marcus for his own misdeed when he was being lazy and that did not sit well with Marcus. But he promised to not slip up again. Well time would tell if he'd keep that promise. It might be fun to tease this slave, if Marcus was ever bored. And he often was.

He didn't bother with responding to the slave and kept on eating and was just taking a sip from his drink, when he heard Tiberius' voice, calling almost softly for Jason. What the fuck? Well it made sense now, why Jason would act like he did. Tiberius didn't really do much to control him, did he?

"He's here Tiberius." Marcus said out loud, his friend must be in a corridor or room nearby, "Come join us." 

@Sarah @Sharpie

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Jason." It wasn't a shout, it never was; he didn't think he'd ever heard his master raise his voice, in fact, and certainly not in anger or anything of that sort. It was enough to make him turn his head and take half a step in response before he registered that he was still here with Junius Silanus, which meant that he was caught between his master's summons and his master's friend.

"My master wants me," he said, probably entirely unnecessarily. Well, that is unless Junius Silanus was deaf - but he wouldn't be as attuned to Tiberius' summons as Jason was.

"He's here, Tiberius. Come join us."

Oh, for fuck's sake. Jason hadn't thought he was a complete idiot, though apparently he was wrong. Even a patrician didn't issue a summons to an Imperial prince!

 

@Sarah @Atrice

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When Tiberius called for Jason, he expected the slave to appear at his summons, and he always had. He didn't bother about where Jason went whilst Tiberius was concentrating on his studies or reading, only that he was available when he wanted him. And Jason always had been, until now.

"He's here, Tiberius. Come join us."

Tiberius looked up and frowned slightly. That was Marcus's voice. But the young prince wasn't the type to leave a mess in his wake.

"Why don't you join me, Marcus?" he replied evenly, "I have something here that I think will be of interest to you, and which we should discuss. After these scrolls have been cleared away." Which was why he wanted his body slave. "Jason, come here." There, that was plain enough, and his tone at the last request was firmer than usual. Whilst his friend was now a part of his household, he would not have his orders countermanded.

@Atrice@Sharpie

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marcus had only wanted his friend to join him for a bit to drink and a bite to eat, it was quite nice in this courtyard, even though the strange slave complained that he was wanted elsewhere. But Marcus suggested Tiberius joined them... yet Tiberius called back, saying Marcus should join him and he had something that might interest him. And then he more insistently called for Jason. 

Marcus gave Jason a look, but then stood and walked towards wherever Tiberius was. Jason might follow. Although he might speed up to run past Marcus. Marcus would not put it past the slave to continue his odd and slightly bad behavior.

"It was rather nice in the courtyard too though. Maybe later?" Marcus suggested with a smile as he'd found Tiberius.

@Sarah @Sharpie

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Tiberius' voice came again, more insistent this time. He had never had to call twice, ever. Jason didn't want to think what this meant for him, despite the fact that it wasn't his fault; no citizen liked the slave they were talking with to decide that someone else was a higher priority, even if they were.

"Jason. Come here."

"That's my master. And I am going to him," he said. We wouldn't want to disappoint him, now, would we.

He had barely taken a step when Junius Silanus fixed him with a look (that portended absolutely nothing good for the future) and stood, heading towards the room where Tiberius was. Jason could either fall in docilely behind him and look as if he preferred to attend him rather than Tiberius, or push past and look like some uppity slave who didn't know his place at the bottom of the shit-heap that was Roman society. Either way, he'd probably be in trouble with one or other of the young men.

He followed Junius Silanus, deciding he'd rather get in trouble with Tiberius who knew him (who owned him, as Silanus had pointed out so very generously earlier) and who he had never previously been in trouble, than with Junius Silanus who had every appearance of being one of those who liked to get slaves in trouble just for fun.

He was going to be very cautious around him until he was clear whether Silanus did it deliberately or not.

 

@Sarah @Atrice

Edited by Sharpie
Tags got duplicated
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tiberius, oblivious to what had been going on out in the courtyard, looked up as Marcus and Jason entered, his body slave a respectful step behind his friend.

It was rather nice in the courtyard too though. Maybe later?

So that was the problem. Marcus had been relaxing in the courtyard, and probably making use of Jason to fetch him things, and didn't want to move. Well, he might be glad he did, after this conversation. "If you like." Tiberius said mildly. "But I won't risk this scroll and it's what I want to show you." He indicated a papyrus in front of him that was yellowed slightly with age. He also had a wax tablet with copius notes.

There was a pile of other scrolls nearby, neat but not tightly re-rolled. "Jason, these needs to be sealed back up and returned to their libraries, as per their tags. They can go next time someone goes out." He instructed his personal slave, knowing that Jason knew his habits and would sort the scrolls to his liking before returning them to their owners.

@Atrice@Sharpie

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marcus had given Jason a look, when the other insisted on going to his master. Well of course he was going, now that Tiberius called twice and also wanted Marcus to come. So they did. Marcus made sure that Jason was not walking ahead of him, he was a slave and he should know his place was behind any proper free Roman.

 It didn’t take them long to reach the young Imperial, who looked up and Marcus explained how he’d just thought it was nice in the courtyard. Tiberius didn’t dismiss the idea of going there together, but then he spoke of some scroll and something to do for Jason. Apparently sealing scrolls and returning them to the libraries. He trusted Jason well enough to do that? But he said nothing to it, just waited for his turn.

 “What do you want to show me then? Now I’m curious…” Marcus said and tried to look at whatever Tiberius had on the table. His eyes still adjusting from the very light and bright courtyard to the slightly fainter light in here. Not much, but enough.

@Sarah @Sharpie

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Yes, Domine," Jason said quietly in reply to the quiet calm order, and turned to roll each scroll properly, being careful with them, and setting them aside into groups for each library they belonged to. He couldn't read, but it didn't take a genius to match symbols and each tag had what was probably a description of the individual scroll on one side and on the other the name of the library and a specific symbol; even the librarians recognised that not all slaves could read, and they wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to get their books back.

He glanced across at the pair from time to time, wondering just how it was that two such different people had met and become friends.

 

@Sarah @Atrice

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

What do you want to show me then? Now I’m curious…

Tiberius gave Marcus a knowing smile - not quite as pleased with himself as when he'd first shown him the Villa Sullusti, but in the same vein - and indicated the chair nearby. "Excellent, have a seat." He said, paying no further mind to Jason who was sorting the other scrolls as requested. Rather he spread the one in front of him out so that Marcus could read it too. It had the look of one of the many legal documents that the Empire churned out.

"You'll remember that I decided to move in here as there were complications with my inheritance." He said, by way of opening explanation, glancing at his friend. "I've been looking further into the relevant laws, and I've found some things that I think could be relevant to your situation as well." He revealed, checking his notes on his wax tablet. "Of course, I don't know the specifics of your family's situation so you'll have to tell me if any of it does apply, but I think it might." He rather hoped it would. If it did, and what he thought was correct, it might be the first step on helping Marcus gain his own independence. All that hinged on whether or not the laws that Tiberius had been researching actually applied in Marcus's case of course, and only he could know that. Well, he and his brother and perhaps his step mother.

"Your father died just before the purges, didn't he?" Tiberius asked.

@Atrice@Sharpie

Edited by Sarah
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jason thankfully returned to being quiet and doing what his master had told him to do, while Marcus had come closer to Tiberius to see what he was looking at. Tiberius invited him to have a seat and so he did, pulling a chair closer to where his friend sat. Tiberius then began speaking of inheritance and his own situation, but then also of Marcus' situation. Which was interesting! What had Tiberius uncovered? He was much more persistent in his studies than Marcus had ever been. 

"Yes, he died when I was very young. By a slave's hand." Marcus said, a hint of bitterness in his tone, because that's how it happened. Murdered by a treacherous slave. Not that he recalled any of it, but he knew that's how it happened and that his own brother - who had also been a child - had murdered the slave. He heard the stories. 

"Why do you ask?" He wondered, feeling as if Tiberius spoke in riddles.

@Sarah @Sharpie

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

He had all but vanished from the others' conscious thoughts as their conversation turned to something else, though of course he couldn't help overhearing what they were saying. He kept his eyes on his task and his hands moving even as he let the conversation wash over him.

"Your father died just before the purges, didn't he?" That was Tiberius' voice.

""Yes, he died when I was very young. By a slave's hand. Why do you ask?" And that was Junius Silanus; Jason could hear the note of bitterness in the words. It was an emotion he was all too familiar with himself, although he would not let either of the two citizens know that. Not that they would care, particularly. Tiberius was more likely to than Silanus... but his master was an odd bird and Jason still hadn't quite figured him out yet.

And if Junius Silanus' father had been murdered by a slave, well. That went a long way to explaining the whole interaction earlier - and it didn't take much guesswork to figure out what had happened to the rest of the slaves in that household. He was definitely going to treat Marcus Junius Silanus with an abundance of caution in the future!

 

@Sarah @Atrice

Edited by Sharpie
  • Like 2
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...