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(The day after Reading, Writing and Arithmetic)

 

The Porticus Liviae was one of those places where, eventually, you'd see every Senator and rich equite in Rome, and their wives twice, which meant that there were a lot of very high-class shops and stalls (so it was somewhere Teutus was interested in for perfectly good business reasons). It was also one of those places that had cheaper more functional shops and stalls selling more everyday items at more everyday prices, because of its location on the lower slopes of the Esquiline. There was no need to drag Jannus further afield to the Emporium Magnum or anywhere else, not with the Porticus Liviae (and the senators' wives!) right on their doorstep, so to speak.

His mother was busy weaving, and didn't need Jannus or him underfoot, and he didn't have a shipment due until the next week, so this was the perfect opportunity to take Jannus shopping. He'd made a promise and was going to keep it, after all. Even a promise to buy something small was a promise worth keeping, in Teutus' opinion. And as they were going shopping anyway, he'd made a list of other things they might look for, for the home. (And if he saw anything his mother might like, he wasn't above spending a bit of money on her; she deserved all the good things, after all.)

"First things first, though," he said to Jannus, diverting to a familiar shop in the arcade. He'd been here numerous times on errands for his father when he was still Tertius' secretary and had a friendship of sorts with the proprietor. "I promised to get you a wax tablet and stylus for your own, didn't I?"

 

@Insignia

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Being at the shops had always intrigued Jannus. Seeing the sheer amount of items held in each stall amazed him. Back when he was a child and told to wait, he'd stand where he was to simply count the number of things on each shelf. When he became older, he sorted them into different categories. Furniture stores had chairs and couches. Stationery had different sizes of wax tablets, lengths of scrolls, types of inks. Perhaps in another life, he'd have a career as an artisan. Symmetry was beautiful and would be an important enough reason for him to continue making furniture or stoneware; odd numbers made everything a perfect set. One in the middle, the others flanking on the sides.

The Porticus Liviae is upscale. Or at least, more so than the typical markets he frequents. As he trails behind Teutus, he silently observes the clientele who come and go from it. Some are better dressed, with people like him following after. He could say quite a few things about his relatively new circumstances, but he cannot deny that Teutus is by far more earnest than the other masters he's had. The writing session the two had yesterday attested to that. It is with this knowledge that Jannus answers with a slight smile. "You did, domine."

@Sharpie

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"If there's one thing I want you to know - and I've probably said this before - I will do my best to keep any promise I make," Teutus said. Doubtless Jannus would eventually learn why that was, but right now was not the time to be spilling secrets, especially when they concerned his own father.

"This is going to be yours, I want you to have one in a size you'll find comfortable to use," he said, and asked the shopkeeper to show a selection of two- and three-leaved tablets in different sizes. They were all plain wooden ones, but this was a high-quality shop and therefore the wooden surrounds of all those on display had a good finish, smooth to the touch and not warped in any way.

Jannus was a quiet, serious sort of slave, careful not to give offence, or to do anything that might offend. Traits that Teutus had seen in others - and had probably shown himself - but that he wasn't used to seeing from the outside. That slight smile didn't go unnoticed, and hoped that as they grew more used to one another, that Jannus would smile more often, at least in private.

 

@Insignia

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