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On the trail


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(After Crime Scene Investigations)

It was early morning, but Azarion had not slept much. He had work to do. He had to train, and make better gear, and work with the horses, because by the gods he was not going to lose to the same Red dipshit twice. Or ever.

He started the morning by dunking his head in a bucket of water, and now he was wide awake, motivated by sheer rage. He had lost the Equirria race to the Red charioteer, and that grin was burned into his mind. He also felt like he had been shaken and broken, which was not far from the truth after an intense race like that. He had some new scrapes and bruises. He'd live. His pride might not.

He was on his way across the courtyard to the stables when he noticed his cousin walking in.

@Sharpie

 

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Jason had news. Sort of. Not good news, but news. Things were back to a bit more of an even keel between him and his master, and he had managed to snag an errand or two to run in the city which gave him the excuse of being out already to ask if it was all right for him to see his cousin.

Said cousin seemed to be attempting to learn how to set things on fire from the heat of his glare... Azarion had always scowled loudly and today it was deafening.

"Who ate your breakfast for you?" he asked, finding a clean bit of wall to lean against out of the way, where his pale yellow tunic wouldn't pick up too much grime, though he tucked his brown cloak between his shoulder and the brickwork. Just in case.

 

@Chevi

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Tiranes had a habit of showing up whenever he had the time, with bits of news from here and there. He also, more often than not, carried news from the investigation, whenever there was something to share. Azarion stopped his marching and took a turn to join his cousin by the wall. He frowned at the question and made some rude signs. Lost to a Red. He didn't remember seeing an imperial at the Equirria, so Tiranes had probably not seen the race either.

@Sharpie

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"Oh. I see." Yeah, that'd put Azarion into a foul temper all right. "He must've cheated - anyway, you'll win next time."

He didn't have a lucky talisman he could give his cousin - the horse bead he'd handed over on his first visit here would have to do until he could find something else.

He'd have to find out what team his master supported, although his own support was with the Whites for obvious reasons.

"At least there is a next time. I've got news... though it's not all good." And if Azarion was about to incinerate things now, he's probably spontaneously combust in a moment. Which would be interesting but not really what Jason wanted to see. He hoped there was a bucket of water nearby, just in case.

"Were you going to see to the horses?"

 

@Chevi

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"Oh. I see. He must've cheated - anyway, you'll win next time."

Azarion made a determined gesture. Damn right I will. Or he would die trying. But probably still bring the Red down along with him. Technically, the othe charioteer had not cheated. Which made it all the more annoying.

"At least there is a next time. I've got news... though it's not all good. Were you going to see to the horses?"

Azarion arched an eyebrow. News, and he was not even pretending that it was good news. Oh, gods, what now? Azarion shrugged impatiently. The horses could definitely wait.

@Sharpie

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"Well, this bastard attacked another girl, a plebeian. She's all right, someone else came along to distract the bastard." Jason had been speaking quietly in Sarmatian; nobody else needed to know about the crazed killer on the loose. He took a breath. "This person wasn't so lucky, though. He managed to get himself killed. And there's going to be the biggest stink ever about because the bastard bagged himself a senator." That wasn't all, but he paused to see how Azarion would take that - judging by his earlier scowl he was about ready to commit murder himself. Did the Romans burn criminals, he wondered. Because Azarion would probably light him on fire just from the scowl - Jason was rather surprised he was still in one piece himself, if there truth were known.

 

@Chevi

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"Well, this bastard attacked another girl, a plebeian. She's all right, someone else came along to distract the bastard."

The bastard, obviously, being the killer they had been chasing. The man who killed Safinia. And he had attacked again. Another plebeian girl. Azarion's eyes darkened and he frowned. He would have been swearing, and as things stood, he did it with his hands. Dammit.

She was alright, though. She was saved. Someone came along... Safinia had not been so lucky.

"This person wasn't so lucky, though. He managed to get himself killed. And there's going to be the biggest stink ever about because the bastard bagged himself a senator." 

Azarion's jaw dropped at that last piece of news. That was... new.

He killed a chief?! No sign for senator, but it was close enough.

@Sharpie

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"Yes." Jason nodded, his expression grim. "I don't suppose you know the name Lucius Sempronius Atratinus?"

Jason hadn't heard it before that evening, so he wasn't one of his master's coterie or linked in any other way to the Imperial Family that he knew of. The body had been that of a man in his late thirties or early forties, probably not someone who had been a consul though perhaps one who would have been consul in the next few years if he hadn't run into a maniac with a knife and a death wish.

"We had another meeting - Alexius, that patrician vigile and the Greek medicus - and we think that he lives in the Aventine somewhere and works on the Esquiline, or the other way round. Most of these happened in those two places with some between the Forum and the Aventine." He gave his cousin a frank yet apologetic look. "We don't know why he was here by the Circus - I don't suppose you have any ideas about that?"

 

@Chevi

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"Yes. I don't suppose you know the name Lucius Sempronius Atratinus?"

Azarion shook his head. Should I? He had nothing to do with senators. It sounded like the man was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"We had another meeting - Alexius, that patrician vigile and the Greek medicus - and we think that he lives in the Aventine somewhere and works on the Esquiline, or the other way round. Most of these happened in those two places with some between the Forum and the Aventine. We don't know why he was here by the Circus - I don't suppose you have any ideas about that?"

Another meeting. Azarion frowned. He didn't like being left out, although to be fair, he also could not contribute much. He waved off Tiranes' question. Maybe he followed the girl. There was no sign for Safinia's name. They are looking for him now? Are you?

@Sharpie

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"Yes, we're looking for him now. I am as much as I can, anyway - I can't get away that much, after all." Azarion knew that, of course. "Oh - one of the places he goes to, or went to, is a brothel somewhere in the Porta Absidata, called the Elysium. The girls there might know who it is, the Greek medicus went to see if he could talk to any of them. We'll find him."

If there were any justice in Rome, they'd let Azarion have a bow, and arrows, and turn the bastard into a pincushion and let him bleed to death. Slowly, and painfully.

He looked at his cousin in concern. "How are you - apart from some idiot Red winning... That wasn't the riding race, was it? I heard rumours about some White using stirrups. I mean, I guess they meant stirrups, they don't have the right word. And I'm pretty sure that would be you, and I can't see you losing when you're riding properly."

 

@Chevi

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They would find him. Azarion hated it that he couldn't do more. The man knew his face, and he couldn't really go around asking questions anyway, could he? But he hated waiting around anyway. He just hoped Tiranes would let him know when the man was caught. So he could personally kill him.

"How are you - apart from some idiot Red winning... That wasn't the riding race, was it? I heard rumours about some White using stirrups. I mean, I guess they meant stirrups, they don't have the right word. And I'm pretty sure that would be you, and I can't see you losing when you're riding properly."

Azarion smirked at his cousin and nodded. I won that one. The Roman's didn't even have a word for the stirrups, and they had been to snobbish for decades to adopt them. But at least the race was fun. The Red will lose next time. He's proud. There was no sign for cocky, but Tiranes would understand.

@Sharpie

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"Well, it just goes to show that the Romans aren't as good as they like to think they are," Jason replied with a grin. "Dragging chariots around - stupid game, if you ask me. Though at least it means you get to be with horses."

Jason had so nearly messed up his own chance the first time Tiberius had offered it to him. Too eager, after too long without being anywhere near them...

"I wish I'd been able to see that race," he said. It would have meant a lot to have been able to see his cousin riding again, properly, the way they had both done since their youngest days. "And I bet he's not so good with horses as you are, you'll beat him in the future. Especially if you figure out his weaknesses as a horseman."

 

@Chevi

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