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Closing Up Shop


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It's dusk, the air is beginning to cool down from the scorcher of today's weather. Of course, Bretta feels none of it. She's been standing on her feet from dawn until now cooking various fried meats resplendent with whatever cheap vegetables she could sauté for her master's food stall. "Food of Wolves," it was called. At this point, she feels like a grumpy wolf. One more bad move from anyone, and she just might snap her fangs at them. Multiple times, whether from young men and women looking to get a rise out of her or from the most well-meaning of grandmothers, her pointed canines have been brought up as a point of conversation. The taunting used to bother her at first, but she grew desensitized to it after a while. All she has to do to ward off many a harasser is to flash a large toothy smile, one which grew larger when she saw the taken-aback looks on their faces and the way their faces paled slightly. Felt good to be scary. Felt powerful.

The Dominus (who cares about those stupid titles, he'll be Lupus to her in her mind always) wanted her to close up shop with another employee. Or, should she say, slave. If she were a freedwoman, she'd have moved on from this joint long ago. But nope, the gods were evidently having fun when they decided the trajectory of her life, because they decided having her move from working in a spacious kitchen to a position as a much-maligned frycook at a street stall was hilarious. Point and laugh, why don't they. She'll build a ladder that reaches to the sky just so she can hit them with the metal edge of her spatula, consequences of divine assault and battery be damned. 

Food's almost gone, and she'd usually scrape them into a bin. Lupus already left, has long since taken away most of the money for safekeeping. He doesn't expect there to be as many customers, but the other slave can take orders and collect coins fine. Bretta can too. She knows she'll get a pittance for all of her efforts. All of this means she gets to lock up after-

the bell dings-

After this Juno-damned customer gets his fill and leaves. He takes his sweet time ordering, and by the time Bretta gets his order out, he's asking her if her hair is red everywhere. She does not have the time for this. "Leave, or you're not getting your change back," she says, voice icy. He raises an eyebrow. 

"Or else what? I'll have you know you're nothing more than a girl-slave. If you dare try it, I'll tell your dominus. And who knows what he'll do to you." The other slave doesn't lift a finger to help her. Typical men.

Bretta is ready to slap him silly until she spots a tough-looking woman passing by. Someone strong. Against what she wants, she decides to delay the customer and wait for help to arrive. If he's outnumbered, he'll be wiser with his words.

@Atrice

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It was late afternoon and Cynane was on her way out. Claudia was not planning to leave the palace tonight and as long as Cynane returned before her princess went to bed, all would be well. So she had a few hours to herself and wandered through Rome, considering to find a meal and a drink and just share it with herself, as she usually did. She wore her breeches and her knee-long blue tunica with a belt and proudly ignored anyone trying to catcall her. A woman in breeches! But that’s how she preferred it and if they dared to tell her she could not wear that… well, they better not try. She was not in the mood. She never was.

 As she was walking, she could smell nice meals from many thermopolia and had not decided where to find her dinner. But her pace slowed down, not because of the nice scent of food, but rather because of two people talking, clearly in a disagreement. Cynane looked at the thermopolia, where a nice looking red-haired young woman stood, attempting to tell a man to back off. She probably should not intervene. The young woman was a slave and her owner might flog her no matter what… but Cynane was not in the mood for just watching either.

 She approached the place and leaned against the wall just next to the opening, looking at them both, “Are you going to take your meal and leave, or do I have to wait longer for my turn?” She asked, looking at the man. So what if she wore a slave-tag too. She was looking him straight in the eyes and she was not afraid. Fuck the Romans, right? Any Roman but her mistress, of course. And a few others. But she could count them on one hand.

@Insignia

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The woman is taller than her. In breeches, too. A gladiatrix, perhaps? Bretta shakes the thoughts from her mind. Doesn't matter what she's wearing. Or what she does to eat at night. She's strong, stronger than Bretta, and she can make this jerk of a customer go away. People expect Bretta to be pretty. To smile and wave at all things good and bad. Probably why Lupus moved her to being frycook. Filling orders in the busiest part of the day had her ready to strangle a man or two. Customers could be outright demonic when they were hungry. 

Asshole customer keeps wanting more. "Give me the meal for free," he says. "I'll call your dominus for this," he says. His voice blurs like the whining of a mosquito. Complete pest. If she could pronounce Greek, she'd throw a proper restaurant's menu worth of insults at him. One. Two. Three. She counts the seconds as he keeps berating her for things she has no control over. Food's getting cold, mister. Grab it and go already. Time isn't moving any slower. Bretta crosses her arms, being sure to show her hands. A little plateau of thickened skin lies between the knuckles on her first and third fingers. Oil did it. 

The gamble works; the same woman comes in. Bretta feels oddly relieved. May as well stand tall. The man, after looking at both of them, decides to make everyone's day a little harder. "How about you shut up and let us finish this?" 

Bretta sighs. "Let's take this outside." But the man isn't moving.

@Atrice

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Cynane crossed her arms, just like the young woman behind the counter. Why did men never get it, when women didn't want them? Or to have anything to do with them? The redhead was clearly not having it with this guy, and yet he was persistent and didn't just leave. She could sympathize with the woman, she was a slave too and her red hair told Cynane, that she might not be Roman born. She was probably sick and tired of Roman men admiring her hair color. She'd seen Roman women who colored their hair or they would wear a wig, but a natural color like the one right here, that was rare. And very pretty. Sure she could see why the men were fascinated by it, but still, if the woman didn't want him... fuck men! Or rather, maybe not. Just beat them up. If only she didn't belong to an Imperial.

The man was annoyed by Cynane standing there, he wanted her to just shut up.

"How about your pay for your meal, so she won't get in trouble with her master, and then you leave. And let me have a meal." She said, her eyes blazing, "Nothing's for free in Rome. If you have such big troubles getting a woman, that you have to harass one to get her... there are brothels where you can pay for those too." Cynane said, lifting her chin. Why was she feeling so ready to stand up for the stranger behind the counter? Maybe it had just been a while since she had a chance to let out her anger at the Romans. And now she had a chance. She stared at him, unafraid. Daring him. This was not good. But she couldn't help it.

@Insignia

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The man glares at both Cynane and Bretta. The latter's eyes have a distinctly blank look to them, as if one were staring into the soul of a brick wall. "You heard what she said," Bretta says. "Take it and leave." She's grateful for the other woman's help. Doesn't hurt that she also looks strong, with the way her tunic highlights her powerful build, and could easily throw him into the path of an oncoming carriage. Thing is, it's incredibly annoying how much she looks like her mother. Orange-toned hair, blue eyes. She wishes she had none of it. She was born in Italia and knows a lot more about the way this city runs than most citizens. 

Something uncanny's been in the air about Bretta even from birth. She smiled with sharp teeth, walked and talked more like her father than her mother. Inherited his undecipherable gaze and his manner of placing his hands on his hips when something didn't go the way he thought it would. Growing up meant having a glass wall between her and him, and the benefits of the system built on reaping the labor of women. And this man, he's another one of those pitiful leeches who thinks all women owe him something. 

Cynane's words do something to him. Bretta's terse way of speaking is bad enough. But for Cynane to stand so proud and tall? It infuriates him. "You think I'd ever sleep with that pile of trash? Leave and let us settle everything."

Bretta, having had enough, walks around the counter, spatula still in hand. "If you're going to do nothing but yell, you might as well leave." Her voice is loud, the tone flat. Strange man, as she's dubbed him, answers with actions by shoving her.

@Atrice

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Sometimes it was maybe a tiny bit annoying, that it was so easy to rile her up. But on the other hand, it wasn't that often she had any chance to let out her anger. And she still felt so much of it. It would reflect so badly on the princess, if she got involved in fights, but she couldn't just leave the redhead to fend for herself. Then she'd be worse off next time Cynane came here again. No, she'd rather stick around and help out a fellow slave. She liked the way the other woman looked at the man, like she also knew how to keep her head high. Not all slaves dared that - and Cynane could admire it. The redhead suggested again the man left, but he didn't and Cynane gave her little speech, hoping that would send him off. But it didn't. Instead he gave her a look and called the redhead a pile of trash and told her to leave. But Cynane wasn't. The other did want him to leave and walked around the counter, suddenly threatening the man.

The man didn't respond to the redhead... not with words anyway. No, he shoved at her, right against the counter and Cynane inhaled a breath and went for him. Grabbing him by the neck from behind, her fingers squeezing into the sides of his neck, he stopped moving and whined.

"She told you to leave." Cynane said and with her other hand she grasped his arm and flung him around, away from the shop, sending him scrambling out onto the street. He didn't fall, but he stumbled. Cynane looked at the redhead, but tried to stand sideways, to keep an eye on the fucking Roman man. She hated his kind... "Are you alright?" She asked the woman then.

@Insignia

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One thing she learned from her mother, then from everyone else who cared, was a simple maxim: never let them see how much they hurt you. Bowing her head was something that had to be forced upon her, but she stands tall whenever she can. Even if she shouldn't. Her pride was her greatest strength and her greatest weakness. It allowed her to keep going for all of these years. It also separated her from all those she loved. 

Currently, she's debating jabbing the man in the throat, kicking him in the side, or slashing him with the sharpened edge of her spatula, bloodborne diseases be damned. Always so violent, her mother tutted. Not fitting for a little girl. Mama didn't get it. Bretta had to be tough and stand up for herself or else nobody would. Which is what brings her here, fingers tightening as she's abruptly shoved into the counter. 

And, expected yet unexpected, the blonde woman is there, all righteous fury and eager strength. Strong hands, Bretta muses. It gives her a morbid sense of joy to see Customer getting laid out. She doesn't bother giving him a proper name in her mind. They're all the same, anyway. 

Customer sputters and curses, but realizes he's going nowhere, and is most likely going to end up facedown in a gutter if the conflict continues to escalate. He walks away, muttering under his breath. Bretta's going to be in a world of trouble if Lupus catches word, but he's not here and therefore won't have to know about. She coughs a bit, but recovers her proper posture. "Yeah, yeah," she says. Waves off Cynane's concern. Voice stays monotone. "Thanks for the help with that rat." 

@Atrice

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It felt good to see the man walk off like that. He didn't feel like fighting with a woman... one who was obviously more experienced at fighting than he and also a woman unafraid to fight a man. Good thing they never got to chat much, so he didn't find out whom her mistress was. Even if she had an idea that she might be known in Rome, for she'd seen her name on the walls. She knew what it looked like, since she, as all slaves, had that tag around her neck. But the rest she couldn't read. No one ever bothered to teach a gladiatrix and no one ever bothered to teach a bodyguard either. No matter, she didn't need it. All she needed was her strength and the fact that people seemed to either be afraid of her or admire her. The Roman walking away now was afraid, now. And that pleased her.

But of course she was concerned for the redhead, hoping she was alright. She was and thanked Cynane for the help.

She let out a little laugh at the comment, "Rat... that's a good name for his kind." She said. Unafraid to speak her opinion to the other woman, since it seemed they agreed on a few things already... "I couldn't just ignore what was happening. I'm Cynane, by the way." She added with a smile to the other woman's face. She was very pretty too, she could see why the man would want her. Even if he called her a pile of trash. Which she clearly wasn't.

@Insignia

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Rome was full of filth. Loud noises, garbage (both living and dead), a complete breakdown of all things good. She supposes the city takes the natural course of action of too many men in one place, thinking they can carve out pieces of the world as they'd like. Rome is meant for them. One time, she tried to calculate how many people lived in her city block. Counted the number of households from the window and from the storefront, even snatched Lupus's prized abacus to perform the calculations. It grew to be too large for that simple abacus; she was rewarded with a switch across the back. Technically, she supposes she can read, if only in numbers. They simply fall in line for her, and she leads them along like eager children in her mind's eye. 

"He was a creepy one, but it happens." Lupus wasn't there to handle the transactions. Things always ran better when he was there. "Bretta." Roman women are supposed to be elegant and indirect. Key words being supposed to. She holds out a hand for Cynane to shake. "Cynane, huh? Didn't take you for a Greek." Bretta swears she's heard it being used by some of the people in her old master's house. Other woman seems closer to a Briton, though. Tall. Very strong. Eyes have a flare in them. 

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Cynane could easily agree with the idea of Rome being full of filth. Sure there were beautiful places here too, and the rare nice person, but mostly there were too many people in too little space, it got way too warm in the summer and even smelly too. Oh and Rome was packed with Romans. That was unfortunate. Not that she could do anything about it or even say anything about it, else she might be punished or something. So Cynane followed orders and did her duty, but no one could control her mind and it did wander. Especially when idiots like the man they just sent away, blocked her path. Oh she'd have loved to kick his balls or something, teach him a lesson. But hopefully he got it now. Meanwhile the redhead was grateful and called the man creepy.

"I know it happens. Even if it shouldn't." She replied and the other introduced herself by reaching out a hand, "Bretta." She said with a smile and shook her hand. Then rolled her eyes at the comment about her name, "I'm not. It's the name they gave to me. My parents named me Cinnia... I was born and raised in Britannia." Cynane explained, "But now I'm here. What about you? If you don't mind, maybe you'd serve me a meal while you tell me..." She suggested, because she was hungry and had planned to eat anyway. And Bretta seemed nice. Like-minded, even... not the worst new acquaintance to have in Rome, she thought.

@Insignia

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She was born in Campania, farther south than many of her fellow slaves. Born in Italia, raised in Italia, she speaks Latin with the best of them. Campania was different. Warmer all year around, less settled. Fresh fruit quelled her summer-driven thirst, and she used to run around and enjoy fresh air. Rolling countryside greeted her whenever she went outside to help with washing and whatnot. So beautiful, so sweet. She dreamt of diving into the seemingly endless pasture, plants unfurling like the waves of the ocean the master's house wasn't too far away from. Of course, she just had to fly too close to the sun and take the punishment. She doesn't understand why so many people put Rome up on a pedestal and treat it like something the gods themselves made. Who would willingly settle in a dingy place like this? 

Cynane's hand is warm and dry and callused. She lets it go. "Knew there was something else to your story. Cinnia fits you much better, anyway." This job has been her life for the past few years, and it'll continue to be until Lupus kicks the bucket or she gets sold, whichever happens first. Without thinking, Bretta walks around the back of the counter and rinses the spatula with water from a nearby bowl. "Born and bred in southern Italia. Mother was from Britannia, too." Meat's dropped into a pan, and it sizzles. "She wanted to come here as badly as you did," she deadpans.

@Atrice

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Cynane smiled, when Bretta complimented her name and thought it fit her better. It was nice to meet someone like-minded here in Rome, someone friendly like Bretta here... "Thank you." She replied and then she'd suggested being served a meal anyway and Bretta could tell more about herself too. She explained that she was born and bred here, but her mother was from Britannia. That made sense. She chuckled when Bretta said how badly her mother had wanted to come here.

"I don't think I've met anyone from Britannia in Rome, who came here willingly." She said, "I'm sorry that your mother was taken. But... had she not been, perhaps the Romans would have taken you anyway. In Britannia, they don't know the difference between yours and theirs." She added with a roll of her eyes and looked at the meat already sizzling in the pan, "That smells good." It wasn't every day she got to eat meat, it wasn't served to the slaves at the palace often. She'd come to view it as a luxury, since it had been at home anyway too. Hopefully the meal wouldn't be too expensive. Of course it might be worth it, since she suspected she'd gained more than a meal here today.

@Insignia

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Cinnia. The name feels foreign to Bretta. How ironic, considering she herself is part barbarian. Doesn't matter how well she speaks Latin. All people will see is a Briton. May as well embrace it for what it's worth. Bretta's never been the friendly and obedient type. She cannot understand why people will bend over backwards and turn themselves into weird crowd-pleasing machines in order to get a scrap of affection from their masters. They'll remain slaves and so will she, so what was the point of trying to help helpful to their owners? Luckily, she's glad to have found a kindred spirit in Cynane. Cynane? No, Cinnia. 

"Eh, I would've frozen to death in Britannia anyway. No use being sad over things that won't happen." Even if she could go back to Britannia proper and see her mother's homeland, she knows none of the language or customs. She'd be a sitting duck for the real Britons to have a laugh at. And besides, her blood runs cool from her father's side. All Romans have cold blood; it's why she gets cold so easily in the night and wraps her thin blanket around herself like some sort of odd dish.

"It'll taste even better." The food, as Lupus advertised, is popular for its flavor. As for the meat, the average palate can't discern that a significant portion of it isn't actual meat. Somehow, through trial and error, Lupus managed to create the recipe for a perfect mixture of ground meat with equally ground-up grains that allow the meat lump to keep its shape. When fried in meat grease, everything tastes good. Bretta decides to add some more seasoning than usual, both because Cinnia is nice and because it means she can stick it to Lupus (who probably won't notice the act of passive-aggression, but it's the intent that counts). She even plates it. 

@Atrice

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She hoped it had not been wrong of her to be so frank and tell Bretta about the Romans in Britannia - or rather, her opinion of them. How they didn't know the difference between yours and theirs up there. So they just took whatever they felt like. Fought the Briton tribes who, to begin with, welcomed the Romans, but then the Romans grew greedy and decided they wanted more than friendly gifts and mead. She inhaled a small breath by the thought. Oh if that Roman from before came back, she'd be happy to teach him a lesson about yours and mine. But he didn't and instead Bretta was cooking for her. Bretta said she'd freeze in Britannia though and Cynane chuckled.

"It's not cold and wet all the time you know. And it is much more green than Rome." She said and had then inhaled lovely scent of the meat. Bretta promised it would taste good too.

"I'm sure it will." She replied and watched as Bretta finished and put the dish on a plate for Cynane. She looked around for a place to sit and eat. This wasn't her usual place where she bought her food, "Do you know where to sit and eat?" 

@Insignia

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Bretta can be sharp when she wants to. Her smiles, her manners, her slicing words. But most else about her is blunt, like her way of walking through the streets with shoulders shifting, arms swinging. She was made fun of for it, of course. Those manners better suited an uncivilized lout, not a dainty house slave such as herself. And yet she keeps doing it. Men take control of her world like it is nothing to them. The most she can do is resist it in her own brutish way, whether by talking loudly or laughing bitterly, placing cups down on the counter a little too hard. 

"If it's hot and wet in the summers, never mind. Hair wouldn't like it." Indeed, her wavy locks had an annoying tendency to frizz apart during the summer and when it rained. She's not a particularly vain person (and, in fact, doesn't give a damn if her face has a blemish), but the frizz makes it difficult to tie her hair back when working. What a nuisance! "Green, huh? Wonder what kinda plants they have up north."

To answer Cynane's question, Bretta hoists two small stools from the back. They aren't meant for customers, only for when Lupus or one of the other slaves had to take a rest without leaving the thermopolium, but they'll do anyway. She places them down a proper distance away from the counter and gestures for Cinnia to sit. "This'll do?"

@Atrice

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Bretta kept thinking she'd not fit well in Britannia and Cynane wondered if she should just drop the subject. But she couldn't help but take a look at Bretta again, when she said her hair would not like hot and wet weather. She smiled, "It's different how it is. But your hair is... very pretty." She said and found herself feeling a little bit shy after she said it, realizing what she just said. Bretta did have very pretty hair. And she liked the fire in her eyes. She recalled that other woman Sosia, that she met a while ago. They'd ended up bathing together, lightly touching, but nothing more ever happened and she never saw her again. Thinking about the experience made her wonder what that would be like with Bretta. They seemed more like-minded at least. Maybe she would not be as cautious as Sosia had been.

Good thing the food was done and she needed to sit and eat, so she could busy her mind with thoughts of that instead. Bretta found two stools and set them down. Cynane smiled, "It will, thank you." She said and sat down. With the small knife she carried for purposes such as this, she began cutting pieces off the lump to eat with her fingers. She smiled again, looking up at Bretta, "You were right. You're a good cook, Bretta."

@Insignia

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What would it be like to have lived somewhere else her whole life? She has no idea how to answer that question, other than that she wished to return to a smaller town. Honestly, she really needs to start a garden or take up a craft other than cooking, to create something entirely her own. 

Cynane's comment feels like a spark hitting a pile of loose wool fibers. Bretta leans her chin on her hand and looks away, but it is clear to anyone that she has a small, pleased smile on her face. "You really think so, huh? Wait 'till summer comes." Indeed, during those times there will be little flyaway hairs everywhere, she knows it. No, this won't do, she chastizes herself. Even if the other woman is admittedly good-looking, Bretta knows only bad can come from it. At least she can pretend for a little while. 

She cooks everyday but rarely enjoys it. There are a few key moments, such as seeing a young child enjoy her food for the first time, yet most of her days are a dull drudgery of a time. Bretta glances back at Cynane. "Glad you like it," she answers, voice a little gruff to conceal what she is truly feeling.

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Bretta looked away when Cynane complimented her pretty hair and tried to make some excuse about it looking better - or rather worse - in the summer. She didn't see Bretta smile, but she could make out the way her cheeks turned up a bit, so she thought it might be a smile. Cynane couldn't help but smile too, glad she'd made someone else smile at her words. It felt nice. To not be angry for once, to just... do something good that made someone happy. She began eating though and naturally also complimented the nice meal she was having.

"I do like it. And I like the company too." Cynane added and had a thought then... "Are you free after you've finished your work? Because I am. And I wouldn't mind company the rest of my free time today." That's of course if Bretta's owner would let her leave like that. But maybe if it was with a former gladiatrix who'd keep her safe and promise to bring her back in one piece? Fucking Romans controlling them like that, as if they were dogs that should be kept on a leash or else they'd run away. Well they might run away anyway. If they dared.

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She fuels herself with anger every day. Anger over her current situation and at herself is what gets her out of bed in the morning. Hope is too far gone. The world is unfair, and anybody who says otherwise hasn't been stripped of its illusions yet. Safety does not exist, and neither does autonomy. Anger is a given, and so is betrayal. More so is failure. It is curious that Bretta, in this moment, isn't angry anymore. Maybe she'll turn sickly sweet like one of those poisoned honey cakes she'd heard about in a grapevine drama-story. 

Bretta wipes her hands on her apron and nods. "I'll be here longer. But if you don't mind, then stay." Lupus is relatively laidback when it comes to slow days like this, but he'd like it if Bretta could stay a bit longer until nightfall. The streets turn crueler then and Cynane looks strong. Yeah, it wouldn't hurt to have extra help. She should get up. she really should. But work makes her tired, and it's not worth standing up if there aren't any other customers. As she gazes ahead at the street, Bretta absentmindedly massages her wrist. 

@Atrice

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Bretta said she had to be here longer, but Cynane was very welcome to stay. She watched the other woman wipe her hands on an apron. Such a different life than what Cynane had - both before and what she had now. At the ludus it was rough and mostly men, hard training and practice every day, men with enough money buying her for the night and then there were of course the 'performances' in the arena. And then she'd been removed from the rough life there and into the tranquil palace life, where she had not come very close to a man for years, unless you counted Tirañes and that was different, because he wasn't trying to bed her. Claudia was a kind mistress, and while Cynane still wasn't happy about not being free, it could be worse. Bretta lived here, instead. Cooked for a living. But also a slave.

"I don't think I'll mind staying." She said and continued eating and watched Bretta, whose thoughts seemed to have gone elsewhere too. Silence fell for a bit, while Cynane also thought about the differences between them... and then she broke it... "How is it like, living in a place like this? Have you always been here?" Cynane wondered, curious to learn about Bretta and her life. It was always nice to make a new friend, someone who appeared likeminded. 

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Bretta tugs at a piece of her hair so it's not tied back as tightly. When night falls completely, she'll uncover it and give her scalp a chance to breathe. She'll also have to lock up before returning to sleep. She shares a room with a few other slaves. Not a lot of privacy, as expected. Sometimes she daydreams about having her own place. But she'd be lonely. No point. Other than the other slaves and Lupus's family, Bretta lacks connections to many others. Her life is fine, yet it's not the one she wanted. If only she didn't act so rashly and split apart her family. Stupid mistakes made in youth always last.

The coming night brings a cool breeze with it. Bretta closes her eyes for a moment and lets it wash those memories away. Cynane's question forces her to open them. "Not bad. Only been here a few years." May as well reveal more. "Last master was strict, but I had family with me." She sees Rufus in everything, from the little boy clutching his older sister's hand as she bought food in the morning to a young man with a flash of red hair. One time, she thought she saw him from far away, but it wasn't him when he turned to say hello. Stupid Bretta. Foolish Bretta. 

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Life as a slave in Rome was never what you wanted. At least not as far as Cynane knew. Even if you were born as a slave, didn't you hope to have another life someday? Slaves could be freed, after all. If they were lucky. Cynane and Bretta had not been so lucky, but their lives weren't over yet. For now though, it was nice to just sit here with what she felt was a likeminded woman. Silence fell, until Cynane broke it, wondering what it was like being a slave in a place like this. It must be very different from the life she'd had. She was never a regular house slave or anything close to it.

Bretta said it wasn't bad and she had been there a few years already. And she mentioned her last master who was strict.

"But you don't have family with you anymore?" Cynane said, feeling sorry for Bretta to have lost her family, "It's hard... losing those you grew up with." She'd lost her entire family too, when she was enslaved. She knew what it was like.

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What she wouldn't give for another life. Unfortunately, reality has a way of ruining her daydreams. With no target in mind, Bretta continues to idly watch the street. Fewer people by the hour, she notes. Most people have eaten already. Still, no reason to knock out the possibility of a nighttime rush. Schedules are always weird that way. Before dawn, she's up and getting everything ready. Past dusk or sometimes later, she finally gets to close down. Lupus told her she could take a different shift, but she didn't follow him up on it. If she doesn't work herself to the bone, she can't fall asleep. 

"They're probably still around, doing cooking or whatever. Who knew messing up a bigwig's supper would get you sold?" she says, letting out a harsh exhale of laughter. "Didn't make it that spicy." The world's a massive flood of beige and more beige. Bretta wipes at the corners of her eyes in hopes the bland colors will go away. They don't. Nothing bad ever goes away in Rome. "My fault for leaving them to the wolves, really."

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Bretta explained her family members were still around somewhere and it was her messing up that got her sold. She laughed about it though, didn't seem too sad about it and Cynane smirked, "Was it on purpose you did it though?" That was the interesting question here, because if it was, it meant Bretta was up to no good. And while Cynane usually showed off her best behavior as a slave in Rome, you couldn't take away her thoughts and dreams of freedom and what she'd do to the Romans who enslaved her and violated her. They might never be anything but dreams, but at least those were free and those were her own.

"I hope you'll find your family again someday. I don't think I ever will. I've spent almost half of my life here now. Haven't seen them since." Since she left Britannia, that was. And she didn't think she ever would. Not that it wouldn't be nice, but while she could hope for freedom someday, seeing her family was not part of that hope. It had been so long. Either they were in Britannia, free and alive, or they died in the battle, or the Romans had enslaved them and they were somewhere in the huge Roman empire and she'd never find them anyway. Her friends were her family instead.

@Insignia

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Her eyes lazily follow the trajectory of a small piece of scrap-cloth caught up in the breeze. Then, she returns to look at Cynane again, albeit not in her eyes but between them. A small 'keh' of laughter escapes. "He deserved it." What began as a small bout of teenage rebellion compounded upon itself until the inevitable had to happen. Wouldn't be fitting if the domine continued to hold a slave who did nothing but cause trouble. 

A tree without roots is bound to die. Bretta's a little more mobile than that, yet she feels the same way. She used to think she could make it on her own. Better to survive without loose ends to be responsible for. Look where it got her, making cheap food with no hope of breaking the monotony. Boredom is one of the worst things. She meets Bretta's eyes for a brief moment to evaluate her intentions, then looks away. "Not sure hope will do anything. But thanks."

@Atrice

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