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Saturnalia, 76 AD - set the night before Another Time Then

note: don't read this thread if blood/violence/people inflicting pain in others triggers you

Saturnalia was a great time for someone like Marcus Barbatius. He enjoyed it, because there were people everywhere, crowds… and they got drunk, the people of Rome. Acted out. Passed out in strange places. Forgot where they were or where they were going. And then he was there to be a good inhabitant of the city, making it seem as if he would help them. Right until they were alone with him. That’s when he opened the small leather bag he brought with him, that’s when he revealed a blade and that’s when they got hurt. That’s when he made them bleed.

 Tonight he’d left the slaves at home, behind locked doors, as always, while he hung the key in its string around his neck and then he went out to have his kind of fun. He’d found a drunken young man, who didn’t seem like he was anyone important, just an ordinary plebian or maybe even a freedman. He’d gotten lost form his friends and now he just wanted to go home. Marcus put an arm around him, led him through Rome, right until he looked into an empty courtyard far away from where the parties were in Rome. No one seemed to be there.

 The youth said he didn’t live here. This was the wrong place. But he had his back to Marcus and that’s when he made his move. Of course it was the wrong place. He’d pulled the youth close to him from behind. There was a table in a corner of the courtyard and Marcus behind the youth over that. The youth seemed to think Marcus wanted to fuck him and actually backed up against Marcus, but soon found out that was not the case at all. Oh he did pull up the man’s tunic, but only to reveal his back, where he dragged the knife over the spine, at first without pressure, and then it happened. The youth whined and winced when Marcus cut him, but he held on. The blood was streaming down over his backside, so beautiful, so red, so warm. Marcus wanted to touch it. But then the youth squirmed and scrambled and managed to get away. Not far though! Marcus followed, tried to knock him over. The youth began screaming!

 That was no good! Marcus caught him and clasped a hand over his mouth and the other he held against his cheek, “If you scream again, you’ll lose your tongue…” He hissed close to the man’s face. And then he froze, Marcus did. He heard movement behind him. Fuck! Little did he know the young woman appearing at the scene was not going to stop him.

@Insignia

 

Edited by Atrice
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Saturnalia was the greatest of celebrations, a can't-miss event. People were busy getting plastered on the streets or in their homes. Slaves became masters. The entire social order of things was upended. Even Father had managed to wipe that permanent mopey look off his face as he tasted the feast Mother and she had prepared. Dinner conversation was lively, for once. Sextus was off doing his own thing like always, had been for the past couple years, so it was just her, Quintus, and their parents. It felt normal. She felt normal. Maybe things should be topsy-turvy all the time. 

Mother always retired to bed at an early hour, and Father followed soon thereafter. Quintus left to socialize with a few friends; it turns out one of his acquaintances had a lot of pocket money and only a handful of friends to spend it, so the group went to his estate. She almost laughs just thinking about her brother returning home completely wasted. Best part is, he's in a completely different part of town for the entire night, meaning she's free to do as she pleases. 

Amatia wastes no time in changing her tunic to a dark grey one and covering her hair. What she's learned is that few things are pitch black at night, as counterintuitive as it may sound, and dark grey blends in much better. Her face is plain, and so is the spare knife she has tucked into her outfit. Like a thief in the night, Amatia slips away from the bakery onto the backstreets.

Which is when she hears somebody screaming and decides to investigate-no, decides to help. With a smile, she walks towards the two men. "Please don't stop on my account." Her right hand grasps her knife. "But let me have a go, at least."

@Atrice

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Marcus was in trouble now, wasn't he? Suddenly he and his young, male victim were not alone in the otherwise empty courtyard anymore. And the youth had been screaming. Someone had come to his aid. So Marcus would either kill the boy and make a run for it. Or kill the youth and then attack the other person too. But he didn't have much time to think and for the time being, he just froze. The youth tried to scramble away, but Marcus moved his hand from the youth's mouth and to his neck, adding pressure. The youth gasped for air. Marcus didn't let go.

Instead, he glanced over his shoulder at the person approaching. A young woman by the look and sound of it. And she told him to not stop, but she wanted to have a go too. What?

"Go away. Leave if you want to live, girl." Marcus hissed at her, unaware that she meant what she said. He wasn't used to people telling him to continue and wanting to join. It had to be a ruse. And so, she could be his other victim tonight.

@Insignia

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Amatia isn't so easily dissuaded. "I want to have a go. Simple as, right?" After assessing the young man trapped in this situation, she lets out a low whistle. "You're not half bad at choosing them. His blood looks quite..." she trails off. She can't stop herself from grinning. "I need a taste. Right now." Finally, somebody who has the same interests as her, even though more could be said for his efficiency. Perhaps it was for the best that his plan wasn't the best, for if the young man were already dead, his blood wouldn't be nearly as good. It's a real shame people with culinary tastes like her are outlawed. But she won't have to hide anymore around one other.

"I'm going to slice him now," she declares as she clutches her knife. "I had my eye on him earlier, but you beat me to it." With slow, deliberate steps, she walks around the two of them, being sure to leave enough leeway that Marcus couldn't slash her instead, and stops in front of the young man. "Good thing you're already muffled," she mutters as she advances. Years of practice slicing bread and dough have made her aim true. 

"Please let me try him. That Saturnalia food isn't very filling," she says to Marcus.

@Atrice

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The girl did not leave. No, she stayed and said she wanted to have a go at the man. What? Marcus was having a hard time processing this. She wanted to cut him? Really? Then she began commenting on the victim, said something about the look of his blood and she wanted a taste. A taste? Marcus didn't taste them. He just wanted to see it, to touch it, to make it come, the blood that is. He wanted to hurt them, make them bleed. That's all he wanted.

"A taste?" He said, surprised by that statement. But he didn't let go of the youth. He let off a bit of the pressure though, so he didn't strangle the victim. Then he couldn't hurt him and make him tremble with a blade, if he died another way. The girl came closer, said she would slice the victim and walked around them, so she stood on the youths other side. Marcus looked over his shoulder at the girl. He'd already cut the guy's backside, but the tunica he wore was back in place. Was she really interested in this? It was not a ruse? 

It was hard to believe. Were they going to be two... doing this, now? Were they going to... share this victim? He never shared with anyone before. Strange as it was, this was also interesting. Marcus looked at the youth again, met his eyes, still keeping the knife at his cheek, "If you scream again, you're dead. Blink twice if you understand." He said and the youth, trembling under his hand, blinked twice, too afraid now that he was trapped between two crazy people out to hurt him. 

"Good. I'll let you go. And you remove your tunica." Marcus wanted to see if the girl was for real. If the youth took of his tunica, the cut on his back would be visible. The blood would be visible too. Either she'd scream or faint or run away. Unless this was for real. Marcus let go and the youth didn't dare do anything else but what he was told. He stripped naked apart from the subligaculum he wore. Marcus waited.

@Insignia

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Amatia loves making new friends, but sometimes she has moments where she wants not only to befriend them, but to be them. The only way to really understand what makes somebody them is to explore the ties that bind. And what ties are stronger than blood? It runs through everyone, is what unites families. Before Albinus came along, she used to have a very strong crush on a girl who lived not too far from them. The girl's family moved away, but Amatia never forgot her, never forgot how much she wanted to understand her. She had angular features, just like the young man in front of Amatia. What a lovely coincidence.

"Yes, I'd very much like a taste. You cannot find good stock this often, you know." Amatia waves the victim into doing as Marcus tells him to. "Come on, it won't be too bad. Just a little sting." Her eyes jitter from left to right as she thinks of the perfect place for collection. The upper body should do. Slices on the back may be convenient, and the sight intensifies her grin, but it's common ground, just like where a slave gets flogged. That won't do at all. If she wants blood from the heart, she'll take it from the chest. She takes a breath, clears her mind, and strikes.

Years of practice cutting bread and dough have made her aim true. The strike is like that of a snake; in and out. The knife gleams as it carves a short yet deep wound into the young man's chest. Ignoring the man's muffled screams, Amatia swabs away some of the blood with an index finger, then pops her fingertip in her mouth. The young man tries backing away form her when she advances, but he has nowhere else to go. 

"See? Didn't hurt at all!"

@Atrice

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Marcus didn’t have a lot of friends at all. It was hard to make new friends, when so few understood what he enjoyed. He knew they’d not understand. Everyone seemed to think it was wrong to hurt people and to kill them, and he knew it was wrong too, but he couldn’t stop no matter what. He tried to justify it. Maybe he forgot this time though, but it was Saturnalia and Marcus just wanted to celebrate too.

 The girl confirmed she wanted to taste, talking about the young man as if he was cattle. She didn’t seem perplexed at all, when Marcus ordered him to undress and soon a half-naked youth stood between them. Clearly afraid. But also afraid he’d not survive the night, so he stayed quiet, for now. Wide eyes like a hunted deer. Pathetic, Marcus thought. He didn’t deserve better than this anyway. Meanwhile the girl took him in and then the blade was there, glistening in the faint light of the courtyard and she cut the young man’s chest. Marcus couldn’t help but feel his heart beat faster at the sight and sound of it, all while the youth whimpered and tried to not scream. Marcus moved in on him again from behind, clasping his hand over the youth’s mouth, he did not want anyone to interrupt him… or them… now.

 The girl touched the blood and then proceeded to actually taste it. She was more or less ignoring Marcus now, who was looking at the scene with equal amounts of surprise and interest. He took the youth to a wall then, propped him up with his back against it and touched the wound too. The youth whimpered as Marcus did it, but he didn't even look at the young man's face. The blood was warm on his fingers, fascinating. Marcus never tasted the blood of his victims before. It was odd. He smeared the blood between his fingers.

 Then he looked at the girl, “Do you want more?” He wanted to see her do it again. His body was tingling, his fingers too, he wanted to cut the youth again also. But he also wanted to see her. He’d never seen anyone act like she did before. And he wasn’t disgusted at all. More intrigued than anything else, really.

@Insignia

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One time when she was younger, Amatia ran into a small band of other girls. They were all either siblings or young wives of bakers, and they, like her, had a spark in their eyes and smiles on their faces. "Want to be friends?" they asked her. Amatia, of course, grinned and said "Sure!" Making friends always came easily to her. All she had to do was smile widely, keep her body language and voice upbeat, and nod with a few "uh-huh's" at proper intervals. Soon after, they found excuses to work near each other, and though their numbers have certainly thinned as time passed, Amatia knows more than dough keeps them together.

Even so, she felt out of place. After Lucius kicked the bucket, her baker friends kept looking at her with pity. "What a strong woman you are," they'd say. "If my brother died, I'd never be able to get over it." They meant and continue to mean well, but the words sank heavily in her stomach. Nonetheless, she took their praise, said something about how hard it was but that she and the rest of her family were getting along fine thank you very much, and continued working. If she told them what really happened, she'd expect nothing less than a band of vigiles at the door ready to sentence her. What false friends she had!

Enough of that. Amatia perks up when she hears the barber speak to her again. "Why not. I've been so long without that I've practically forgotten how good it tasted." With that, she makes one more strike, then another, then another. Blood tinges her fingers and the street. Every new sip is sweeter than the last. "You've simply got to get it from the front. Flavor is more true," she says, oblivious to the victim's agony.

@Atrice

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It was so strange, meeting a young woman like her. You'd never suspect she would do anything, if you saw her in the street, but right now, she was beautiful and fierce, as she stood there, tasting the blood. She didn't seem afraid of the scene at all, instead she had joined him and now that he'd almost stopped being too surprised, he wanted to explore this incident further. Find out about her. And what she would do. Not that Marcus ever believed in love, it was a silly thing, not real to him. But he could admire someone. Not that he ever really had done that, but right now, he felt he did. He propped the victim up against the wall, not taking care of the fact that the young man was naked and had now been cut several times. He whimpered, trembled, but had stopped fighting. He was so afraid. Meanwhile, Marcus enjoyed it. Asking the young woman if she would have more.

She said she would and it had been a long while since she last tasted it. And then she cut the youth several times more and tasted it again and again. Her fingers were red with the blood and then she said something about the taste. Marcus looked at the youth. It was so foreign to him, this idea, so new... but he also just wanted to cut the victim. So he did. One slash across the man's chest. He had several slashes now, blood running from the cuts down over his torso and towards his intimate parts. Marcus ran a finger over the blood from the latest cut and smeared between his fingers, with fascination, as always. Then he licked it. Tried to taste it. It had a very special taste, he couldn't place it. He wasn't sure if he liked it or not. But it was interesting.

"Don't try and run." He then hissed at the victim, before he turned his eyes from the maimed torso of the man for a moment, to look at his companion, "Do you have a name?" 

@Insignia

 

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If only people like her could live freely instead of skulking in the shadows! Something about her was always off, or so she'd heard Mother and Father arguing when she was younger. Life was liberating at night, when she was dressed in dark with her knife at the ready. It takes a special person to not flinch at the sight of blood or human suffering, or so Lucius had once told her. He flinched from her, in the end. Fear was a highly addictive substance, when it came from others. Right now, she was receiving enough to feed a lion. The knife strikes again, this time opening up the young man's right arm. Something about the musculature makes the taste more...lean, if she can put it into words. 

Blood tinges the places where her teeth meet each other, connecting like a fine strand of pearls. Wasn't the body so beautiful? To build a bridge or rampart, the separate parts must be united into one. People were built from a blueprint as well. Two arms, two legs. A simple yet unbelievably complicated one. Amatia forcefully grabs the young man's chin, keeping her fingers over his mouth. Her grin widens as she tilts his head this way and that before settling on a spot by his upper right cheek. The knife flashes once more. She licks it. "My name's..." She'd always wanted to be like Lucius. To become him. To gain power from right of birth. "Lucia. What's yours?"

@Atrice

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Marcus also often wished he could live out his desires more freely, but it wasn't so. He had always known that people looked down upon other people, who cut and maimed others. People, who murdered other people the way he did... they were somehow wrong. But for some reason, it was still right for others to sentence people to death and have them die in the arena or by crucifixion. But what he did was wrong, he knew that. He was not supposed to do it. Not even when it was justified. Maybe it wasn't tonight, but who cared by now? His victim tonight was already well maimed and afraid and the young woman he was with, was tasting his blood. Marcus had done it too, but wasn't sure it was something he'd keep on doing. But it interested him, that she did it. 

His young companion watched their victim too and then she grasped the young man's chin and grinned and cut his cheek. Marcus inhaled a breath by the sight of the fresh flowing blood. It was beautiful. Fascinating. And she was fascinating. He'd never met anyone so much like him before. So he asked her name and she claimed it was Lucia. Probably not right. People like them weren't going to give their real names to someone they barely knew...

"I'm Gaius." For some reason he still gave his brother's name, in case anyone asked. It was as common as Marcus. No one would know him.

He turned his head, hearing people walk by on the street outside the small courtyard... he looked at the victim and then at Lucia, "He needs to die, so he won't speak." Marcus said, but then moved closer, "Or I could just cut out his tongue..." That sometimes killed them too. If they fell over and drowned in their own blood. But then it wasn't his fault. He tilted his head. What would she want? 

@Insignia

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