Jump to content

Walking In The Air


Wulfric
 Share

Recommended Posts

Late March, 77AD

It had been a while, since he’d been back here last time. He had actually come back a few weeks after Charis had come to see him at the market. And he’d had time to think the whole thing over a few times. He still didn’t quite grasp how such a sweet and kind girl could turn into the opposite over such a short span of time. She’d been so nice and friendly when he met her at his father’s domus. She even said she took his advice for Peregrinus and sleeping habits. But then she came to him at his job at the marketplace and told him to leave Rome and not come back. Few had treated him nicely here in Rome. Most seemed to misunderstand him or simply just not understand him at all. There was nothing for him here. Or, not much.

 He had tried to not give up too easily. He had told Charis the truth about why he was here, just like he told his father. Why would they not believe him? But he said to his father after that dinner party, that he’d be back and so he kept his promise, at least to begin with. He was stubborn. His mother had sometimes said that he inherited that from his father. He never saw that before… but now that he knew that Wulfstan was not his father, he understood. He had come back to his actual father’s house quite a few times, knocking on the door and walking inside. This was his father’s house. He was not just yet another visitor here, so why should he wait outside? Yet every time he was met by a slave and eventually asked to leave, because the Dominus was not at home.

 That had happened quite a few times over the next few months. Antonia was apparently never at home either, so he'd never met his half-sister. And if Charis was there with Peregrinus, she stayed out of the way. Eventually he stopped coming. Charis was right. He clearly wasn’t wanted. Not by anyone but his half-brother Teutus it seemed. At least they got along. Time went by… and now springtime was coming and he had always planned he’d return to Germania when next spring came. That time was now. He had finished with the warehouse at the marketplace and had told the landlord of the insula he lived in, that he was leaving very soon. 

And now, he showed up in front of his father’s house one last time. To tell that he was leaving. He didn’t expect them to be sad that he had to leave. He wasn’t sure what he expected. But it felt right to tell them. So there he was, outside the house, pulling himself together to knock on that door. Why didn’t he just do it? It felt so… final, somehow, to do it. Rome had not always treated him nicely, but still, it wasn't easy to just say goodbye, was it? Once he left, he wasn't sure he'd ever come back, after all. He might not see any of the people he met here, again. Wulfric sighed and leaned against a wall opposite the front door to his father’s domus.

(( OPEN THREAD FOR ANYONE ))

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

It had been months since she'd shown up at Tertius's door to announce her freedom. Months since he'd welcomed her in and they'd had their conversation. It had gone far better than she'd feared, and their friendship seemed to be working well. Tertius had his world, she had hers, and occasionally they crossed. In fact, when Teutus had something to send his father, she'd offered to take it herself. It was enjoyable to say hello occasionally, and she didn't need more than that. The fact that her yellow linen chiton and blue palla spoke of the spring in the air, and her fibulae were brightly polished meant nothing, of course.

As she walked up the street, she noticed a young man leaning against the wall opposite the Domus that was Tertius's. He might be resting or lingering with greater intent, but as she drew closer, Varinia noticed that his gaze often focused on that particular door, then moved away. Hmm. If he had business with Tertius, surely the man would just knock. She knew little about his work, but did know that it involved the law, and the untangling of legal matters. Might someone who didn't feel well done by seek some sort of revenge? Or could the man be a thief, casing the house? Or perhaps he was simply tired and had to look somewhere.

There was one way to find out, and the woman who was everyone's mother and general busybody knew just how to do it.

"Good morning." Varinia said with a smile as she approached. "Are you alright?" She added, a touch of concern in her tone.

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He had hoped that his Roman family had wanted him. When his mother had spoken of Tertius, he had not sounded like the man that Wulfric met. One who was complicated and confusing, one who would act coldly towards his own son. And judging by what Teutus had told him, things were not that much better between him and their father. Well at least Tertius didn't close his door to Teutus, at least he wanted Teutus in his life. Wulfric was well aware now that he'd been ignored on purpose. All the times he came to the house and his father was never at home, his sister wasn't there either and he could not speak to Charis. So he could not even see his youngest brother, Peregrinus. His entire Roman family, with the exception of Teutus, were ignoring him. But he still felt it right to tell them he was leaving. Give them maybe one last chance to redeem themselves. If they would or could.

But it felt very final to knock on that door and tell them he was leaving. So he was pulling himself together, going over the words in his head again and again, as he stood there opposite the front door, thinking, watching it from time to time. He had barely noticed the dark-haired woman until she was approaching him and speaking to him. She had a kind smile and kind eyes. And kindness was in her words too.

"Greetings... I am good." He replied, his Latin had improved greatly, but it was still not perfect and he had an obvious accent. It was nice of her to be concerned for a stranger though, and nice with a distraction from his thoughts too, "You are kind, being concerned. But I am good." He said and looked over at the domus, "You know people who are live here?" Meaning if she knew people who lived on this street, but he wasn't sure if she got the meaning. Maybe she did. And maybe she knew something that could help him.

@Sarah

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He had an accent, that much was obvious from his first words. And his Latin was fluent but not polished. He was a foreigner, or at least had been born elsewhere. Like herself, though after the majority of her lifetime spent in Rome, Varinia's accent had disappeared. It only made her wonder more what the man was doing here. But he seemed friendly enough. Of course, that could change in a moment, but she was determined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

You know people who are live here?

She followed his gaze for a moment. Definitely Tertius's domus. Varinia felt a little shiver down her spine as her suspicions seemed to be confirmed. This man was loitering outside Tertius's house. "I do." She said cautiously. "Do you?"

Who was he? And why, of the whole of Rome and the Empire, was he here?

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was odd, Wulfric almost felt he'd seen her before. Or kind of seen her before. Maybe he'd met someone related to her? But he wasn't sure. She stayed around though, seeming concerned for him and willing to help, should he need help. Wulfric was fine really, except for the fact that he could not seem to pull himself together to knock on that door again. He had been dismissed so many times that he was quite sure it was deliberate, but still, he wanted to tell them he was leaving. Maybe then his father would finally believe him when he said, that he wanted nothing more but a family. That was the reason he came to Rome. He didn't know why people kept thinking otherwise. 

He asked the woman if she knew people around here and she looked around, seeming to follow his gaze. She knew where he was looking. Did she know his father? She confirmed thats he knew people in the street and naturally wondered the same.

"I do also. Or, I almost know people here." He said, "I know people there." He nodded to his father's house across the street, "But, I am not sure it is good. I make sense?" He didn't know if he made any sense at all to her, or if she'd just think him mad or something, for the way he spoke and how it was almost riddles he spoke. But he felt he could not be more clear with someone he didn't know so well.

@Sarah

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do also. Or, I almost know people here.

It was an odd response. Then he amended his words, trying to explain. I am not sure it is good. He knew Tertius, or someone in Tertius's household, but perhaps didn't get on with them? Or wasn't welcome? She wasn't sure, but she had a feeling it was something like that. How did this clearly foreign man know someone in Tertius's household? Unless it was Charis; but she had a very different accent.

Then he turned to look at the door again and the sun caught the line of his jaw, his nose, his cheekbone, and Varinia felt the hair on the back of her neck rise. She'd seen that profile before; not just in her erstwhile lover, but in her son. Could this be? Tertius had served in the provinces, Germania if she'd heard right, but she had no real concept of where that was or what Germanic peoples were like. She studied his profile, trying to tell herself she was imagining the resemblance, but she could still see it. He was a few years younger than Teutus, but with a shave and a haircut, could easily be his brother.

"It's Tertius, isn't it?" She asked bluntly.

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was an odd response to her question back at him, and he understood why it wouldn't make much sense to her. It didn't make much sense to him either. But how did you ask if someone random on a street knew your father, when you didn't even know the person you talked to? She seemed nice though, probably around his mothers age too he thought. He missed Frieda sometimes, she was a very kind and calm woman. This one almost reminded him of his mother, actually. But he didn't know her. Instead he went on, speaking in riddles it seemed, about how he didn't know if it was good he knew people here. The woman looked at him and didn't say anything for a brief moment and he thought she might move on, because he sounded like an idiot. But then she suddenly asked if he was talking about Tertius.

Wulfric blinked and looked at her, "It is him. His house is there." He nodded towards it and then looked at the woman again, a bit surprised that she guessed so easily whom he was talking about. It had to mean she knew Tertius too... "You know him well?" 

@Sarah

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know him well?

She did. Or she had. She thought she did, but was Tertius still the man she had known? Of that she wasn't certain. He'd certainly been welcoming when she went to visit him, and she felt that they understood each other, but then her son would say something and she'd wonder. And now, suddenly, she was looking at another young man who, in the right light, could have been brother to her son. 

"I do." She said at last. "I've known him for many years." Though not over the most recent of those years. She hoped that they were now able to bridge that gap at least somewhat. But what was this young man to him? Only one way to find out. "Tertius is father to my son, and I'm wondering whether it's only my imagination that thinks you look an awful lot like him as well?" 

Please, she silently begged the Gods, let this be a nephew or something. A cousin. Secundus's long lost brat. Not Tertius's; not again. Let him have been able to keep it under his tunic, just for once. Not for her sake, but for his.

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The woman he spoke to confirmed that she knew Tertius well. Wulfric looked at her. Was she another lover his father had? It seemed, by now, that he'd had several. Wulfric's mother, Peregrinus' mother, Teutus' mother... and then he had also had a wife once, Wulfric knew that. He had a half-sister in this house that he'd never met, because Tertius would not allow it to happen. Wulfric would like to meet Antonia though, but his father made it all very difficult. The woman said she'd known Tertius for years, which kind of confirmed his suspicions. She didn't appear to be a slave though, she didn't wear the tag so many slaves wore here in Rome. As if they were pets or something. Romans were weird sometimes. Before he could say more, she said that Tertius was indeed father to her son. So she'd been his lover too. And now she also recognized how familiar Wulfric looked, that he might also be a son to Tertius.

"He is my father." Wulfric dared to say, now she'd told that Tertius had fathered a son with her too. Unaware that he knew her son, he wondered how many other siblings he had in Rome that he never heard about or met.

"How old is your son? I hope... you do not mind... that he has another son. He is difficult." That was to put it mildly, that Tertius was difficult. But he really hoped this woman would not turn him away and just tell him to leave Rome, the way Charis had suddenly done. They'd gotten along fine at first. But then she suddenly thought it best that he left. Rome had given him many disappointments. It was good that he was leaving soon.

@Sarah

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He is my father.

Just like that, her fears were confirmed. Yet somehow she'd already known the answer. Once she'd seen the light outline his features, she'd known, even if she hadn't wanted to.

"My son is... twenty-seven years now." She said, after a moment's thought. How was it that her little boy was that old? Fully a man grown. But he was, and she was proud of him. "His name is Teutus. Tertius may have mentioned him?" She suggested. The man had said that he knew Tertius, at least that's what she thought he'd said, though she wasn't sure that something hadn't been lost in translation.

He is difficult.

There it was again. Teutus insisted that his father was difficult to deal with. Alexius had said the same. Now this young man. "I've not found him to be difficult." She admitted. "But perhaps... perhaps I have not wanted something from him that he did not feel he could give." She suspected that might have been what strained things between Teutus and his father. Teutus had wanted to be his heir, Tertius had probably wanted the same. But then he'd found that legally he couldn't do it. She suspected that was what had happened. "My name is Varinia." She told the young man. "I was a slave in his father's household." She explained. "Now I am free." And she was very glad of it.

"I'd be lying if I said I'm not annoyed at him for having yet another child outside of his household, but I'm not annoyed at you." She offered him a motherly smile as evidence of this. "I only wonder why you're waiting outside his door." What was he waiting for? Tertius to come out? Or the courage to go in?

@Atrice

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She seemed surprised that Wulfric was Tertius' son, but it was just easier to say it right away Wulfric thought, now that they had determined they both knew Tertius. She explained about her own son and at first, Wulfric didn't know better, but then she mentioned her son's name. That caused him to smile and he nodded at her words, "I know Teutus... he is good. We will do trade together." He said, because that's more or less what they decided last year and Wulfric did enjoy spending time with Teutus. His only family member in Rome who actually cared to talk to him. He was glad, at least, that this woman had not mothered yet another son to Tertius, but one he already knew instead. 

He hoped she was not offended when he so outright said that he thought Tertius was difficult. The woman did not find Tertius difficult, but then said something about wanting things he couldn't give. Wulfric wasn't sure that made sense. All he had wanted was a father; family. Why could Tertius not give him that? She introduced herself then, saying she'd been a slave in Tertius' household, but now she was free. She talked much, didn't she? Because she left no pause for him to introduce himself too, instead she was annoyed at Tertius now for having Wulfric as his son. And she wondered why Wulfric was here.

"He did not know he have me. I am Wulfric of the Chatti, prince to my people. In Germania. He knew my mother only there." Wulfric explained, surprised that he was almost defending his father here, the father that wanted nothing to do with him. But it was true, he could not be blamed for Wulfric's birth, since he had not known Frieda had been with child when they parted ways. And while he was apparently defending his father, he was pleasantly ignoring having to explain why he was here, outside Tertius' door.

"He, my father... does no wish seeing me. I am sent away from house, many times." He said, looking over at the door. It still irritated him, that he could not get through to his father. Could not make him understand he didn't want more than family... "But now, I will leave Rome soon. I wish to make it known." 

@Sarah

  • Sad 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

So this was the Wulfric that Teutus had told her about.

Perhaps Varinia was talking too quickly, but her mind was going at the speed of a bird, thinking about the implications on their rather odd extended family of Tertius having yet another illegitimate son, made somehow much more real now that she'd met him. Surely not every Roman male fathered bastards across the Empire? Or maybe they did and she just didn't know. Perhaps it was best to focus just on their family, rather than contemplating the enormous, unfathomable void that was Romans being weird.

He did not know he have me.

So presumably the arrival of this young man - Wulfric of the Chatti - had been a complete surprise to Tertius, and Varinia recalled Teutus's suggestion that his father - their father - did not like surprises. But he had been stationed in Germania, and Wulfric confirmed that was where Tertius had 'known' his mother. So presumably he'd left before Wulfric had been born, or indeed before Tertius could even hear that he'd been conceived.

And then the young man across from her came to the crunch. Tertius didn't want to know him. Her heart sank. On the one hand she could understand him not wanting any further complications in his life; on the other she felt deeply for the young man who'd clearly come halfway across the Empire to see his father. And having come all this way and been refused, Wulfric was planning to leave.

"I'm sorry." She said quietly, not knowing what else to say. "I know that under Roman law, he doesn't have to acknowledge you as his, and that there are legal implications if he does. That might be why he sent you away." She said it as gently as she could. Then she turned a frank gaze on him. "But you're welcome to visit with Teutus and I, whenever you like." OK, that was assuming that Teutus would get along with his half-brother, with wasn't a given, but he hadn't said he'd disliked him when they'd met. But Wulfric had already said he was leaving.

@Atrice

Edited by Sarah
Teutus told Varinia about Wulfric in a thread with an earlier timestamp
  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wulfric still did not quite understand why no one would really believe him here in Rome. The only person who had treated him with a bit of kindness was his half-brother Teutus and this was apparently Teutus' mother. No wonder she was nice to speak to too, although she seemed worried, or perhaps more concerned. She had a kind face though and kind eyes. Wulfric could see that Teutus looked like both his father and his mother. Just like Wulfric had taken a bit from both sides too. Funny, that some people would look mostly like just one parent. Like his sister Hilda, who seemed to resemble his mother a lot as she grew into a woman. But he'd not seen her for years. Maybe he would soon. Once he came home.

He explained to Varinia how things were, that his father hadn't known he had another son in Germania and that apparently, his father did not wish to know him. Varinia spoke quietly and kindly, when she said she was sorry for how things had gone. She tried to explain why Tertius would send Wulfric away and he sighed, "But I am not asking that. I am only asking knowing him. But he will not." And even the only person who had at first been kind to him here, Charis, had also turned him away. He'd never forget his discussion with her, behind his working place at the market. Where she said it might be best if he just left Rome. She wanted him gone too. That had stung. Wulfric was not so easily angered, but when it happened, it stung deeply. Like that had done. Not something he'd soon forget.

But Varinia was kind. Saying he could visit Teutus and her if he wanted to, "Maybe I will, before I am leaving." Wulfric said with a small smile to her, "You are kind woman, Varinia. And your son, kind too." He added and then looked at Tertius' house, "You think I shall try, go and knock? Or no?" 

@Sarah

  • Sad 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

But I am not asking that. I am only asking knowing him. But he will not.

Varinia's heart broke for the poor young man who only wanted to know his father. She looked down for a moment, full lips pressed together into a thin line. She didn't have an answer for him. She of course would have embraced any and all of her children, but she wasn't younger brother in a family with a precarious heir situation. "I'm sorry." She said simply. "I wish I could make him want to know you." But she didn't have that power. Probably no one did.

Then she remembered something that her son had told her. "Teutus said that he went to a dinner with Tertius and yourself?" So at some point at least Tertius had met with his other son? Having said that, Teutus also said that he'd given his father an earful. Varinia felt a chill as the thought occurred to her that perhaps what Teutus had said had turned Tertius off the idea of another son. But she didn't know, she wasn't there. She could only hope that hadn't been the case.

She smiled up at him faintly as he called her kind. Varinia just did what she could for those who needed it, and Wulfric seemed to need it.

You think I shall try, go and knock? Or no?

Varinia didn't know, and she wished she did. But she thought about what he'd said before. "It's up to you Wulfric, but if he wouldn't see you before he probably won't see you now." She had to admit. "But I will go with you, if you want to try." She told him. Perhaps her presence might help get Tertius's attention. "I guess your other option is to write him a letter." She suggested, wondering whether Tertius might respond better when he had time to think about it.

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wulfric saw her downcast glance after he explained that his father would simply not know him. He didn’t ask for her pity, maybe her sympathy, but she owed him nothing. She was Teutus’ mother and he’d understand if she wouldn’t include him in the family too – yet it seemed that she would. She was very kind. How did a man like his father, who to him seemed so cold and merciless, surround himself with so many kind people? It was such a contrast, really, to the man himself. His coldness made everyone else appear friendly to Wulfric. 

Varinia then said she felt sorry for him and wished she could make Tertius want to know him. Wulfric nodded, that was kind of her. But before he could thank her for her kind thoughts, she went on, apparently she heard about the dinner with Tertius, Teutus and Wulfric too. And Charis.

 “Yes, he did so. This is where I meet Teutus. I think he was surprised meeting me also. Our father had not told him, I was there. But he is nice, Teutus.” Wulfric never had a brother before, so it was nice having one in Rome. At least he got someone then. Just not what he came for.

 He told Varinia how kind she was, for inviting him to see her and Teutus and then he mused out loud whether he should go and knock or no. Of course it was up to him. But Varinia didn’t think he’d succeed this time either. Then she suggested writing a letter.

 “Yes, maybe that is good idea. I think you are right. He will not see me.” He said with a sigh, “I think there are people in Rome, who help write letters? I know letters, little Roman writing, but not much. Enough.” He had been living here for 1½ years after all, and he’d been working. He had to learn something in order to do the work he’d done. But he did not think he knew enough to be able to write a proper letter.

@Sarah

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Varinia couldn't help but wonder what had happened at that dinner. After all, to have Wulfric at dinner implied some degree of acceptance by Tertius; but apparently now he wouldn't see him. A little chill past through her as she hoped that it wasn't something that Teutus had said; her own son had told her that he'd voiced some hard truths to his father. Had that turned Tertius off the idea of yet another illegitimate son? At least he made nice children. She still felt that Tertius was a good man, if one walking a difficult path, and he seemed to have good taste in women. 

A letter was the only other way that Varinia could think of for Wulfric to get through to Tertius. She didn't know who else in his household might be able to read, but chances were that Tertius would read it himself. Surely that was better than knocking on his door and being sent away. There were people who wrote things down for others for coin, but another idea presented itself. "Teutus can write." She volunteered; it was a source of pride for her. His father had taught him to read and write and figure numbers, all valuable skills. "I'm sure he'd help you write a letter to Tertius." At least, she was reasonably sure. "And I can help you with the words." Being that she seemed to actually get along with their father. 

"Why don't you have cena with us, this evening?" She suggested. Surely Teutus wouldn't object?

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If only Wulfric could write properly in Roman letters, but he could not. Where he came from, they didn't write a lot at all. They had symbols they could write with, but they would mostly carve them into things and mostly just to use as a trademark. This guy made this thing and so on. Names and places and things. They didn't write letters like they did in Rome. Or anything else really. He'd learned a bit, enough to function in his job, but writing a letter to his father sounded important. He'd need help. Varinia said that Teutus could write. Of course he could, that made sense. He grew up here and with an important man like Tertius as his father. Varinia suggested Teutus helped Wulfric write the letter, together with her even. He wondered if it was too private a thing to have their help for, but on the other hand, then gossip wouldn't run wild if someone else learned about this whole ordeal.

Before he could reply though, Varinia was inviting him to dinner... he looked at her, surprised... "If it is alright, if it is no problem." Wulfric replied, "I do not wish trouble on you." He added with a smile, Varinia was too kind, why was she like this, and his brother too, when his father was so different?

"Also, help with letter will be nice." He then added, "Thank you, Varinia. I will owe you." 

@Sarah

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Varinia smiled warmly. "Of course it's alright." She assured him, more than ready to feed any wayward soul. "Else I wouldn't have suggested it. Besides, Tertius isn't the only family you have in Rome." And even if he didn't find the father he was looking for - something Teutus could commiserate on - perhaps he might find the brother he hadn't looked for. And a step-mum, but she was anyone's mum for a sestercius"I know that Teutus would welcome you." She added, almost conspiritorially. "He mentioned to me that he'd met you already, I just didn't know what you looked like." Now she did. And, having found him, she wasn't just going to let Wulfric go without making it clear that he was welcome and wanted in their household. 

She'd had a note from Teutus to take to Tertius, which was why she was here in the first place; she enjoyed saying the occasional brief hello to Tertius and sometimes played courier. Nothing to press on his time, but something to maintain the friendship she wanted to foster there. But she could take it tomorrow, perhaps along with Wulfric's letter, and perhaps that might even give her an opportunity to learn Tertius's thoughts on his other son. She'd have to see what she could manage. 

Right now she had a somewhat troubled young man to support. "Come with me, I was just about to head home via the nearby thermopolia." To find something for dinner. "Teutus shouldn't be long from his warehouse either." She assured him. Then they could all have a meal together. 

@Atrice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She was very kind to consider him family so soon. He was only related to her because his father had slept with her and that meant that her son was his half-brother. He liked his half-brother Teutus though, the only brother he might ever have a relation to, it seemed. He had not seen Peregrinus since last year and still felt bad for him. And for the fact that he could not remove the boy and his mother from Rome and bring them to Germania. But when he was never even able to see them, how was he going to arrange all that? He wasn't, it seemed. Varinia however, she was a different sort. Very kind and friendly, offering him dinner and everything.

"You are right. Teutus is my brother. And you... are family too." He replied, happy to have gained family. What would he call her? His aunt? Maybe that was easiest, because his mother was still alive and she'd not be his step-mother, that wasn't right either. 

Then Varinia offered that he could come with her home right away, after a stop at a thermopolia. Wulfric nodded, "If this is your wish." He said politely and glanced at the domus in front of them once more, "You have no business here, now?" Just to be sure he wasn't taking up her time from her actual reason for being here.

@Sarah

  • Like 1
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...