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April, 77AD

Longinus grumbled and rolled his eyes as his big, hulking Dacian went to fetch the ball and toss it back to his dominus. "You've just got to get used to catching with your left, it takes practice." He grinned before one of his female house slaves, Chione (so named because all she talked about was the snow in Gaul), joined in; "You should put as much effort into Trigon as you do your preening, then maybe you'd be good at it." Granted, standing in the gardens of a grand domus in Rome and learning a Greek game was probably an odd turn of events for the once-Dacian warrior but he was taking his frequent losses with vaguely good humour. 

When he'd collected the stray ball, Longinus, Chione and he began again - tossing two balls in quick succession amongst them. Yet again it ended with Celsus getting one to the chest and one to the thigh. Longinus snorted in amusement, even as the big man stomped over the flowers to retrieve one of the strays. His gardener would have his ear for that but the paterfamilias didn't care, since a boy he'd long thought that flowers were there to get ruined whether by the seasons or some misadventures. It was usually the latter in his case.

Gearing up to start again, just as Longinus deftly caught one ball with one hand, his long-suffering secretary Vitus appeared with an irritated expression, stopping the game in its tracks and resulting in Longinus getting thumped in the chest. Much to Celsus' satisfaction. "Domine, I really wished you had told me that we had a new arrival today..." Longinus grinned and abandoning all pre-text of the game, threw the hard ball back at Celsus who dodged it with a surprisingly nimble dart. "We all wish for a lot of things. He's here?" Vitus nodded with an exasperated sigh. "In your tablinum, domine." Nodding, he chucked the ball in Vitus' direction with a self-satisfied grin. "You can swap in for me." And choosing to ignore the moans of protest, strode into the tablinum to see a tall figure waiting for him. 

He couldn't quite recall how long he'd owned the man - that was the way with his flock of gladiators that he sponsored, but he'd always enjoyed his fights and he'd been a good purchase. Right up until that fight. Never one to be squeamish (how could he be after three tours in Britannia?) Longinus nonetheless winced at the memory of what the man's body had endured. How he was still alive was beyond him. "Amatus." He grinned and clapped the man on the back as he walked round the desk to take his seat. He paused with a frown. "How's the leg?" Tact was never his strong suit.

 

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It was quite possibly a miracle sent from the gods, but somehow Amatus had managed to survive his... ordeal. It left him battered, permanently scarred in the way all gladiators feared. It dared to be said that he was left a shadow of his former self. A limping, aching shadow that somehow had to figure life out again. Initially, he knew that things would never be the same, but he didn't expect the new norm to be so challenging or his shoulder wound to be as damaging as it was. The man didn't realize just how badly he'd taken for granted being able to use his dominant hand without issue or being able to move quickly on his feet. It was a case of he didn't know what he had until it was gone. Despite the difficulties and how mentally (let alone physically) taxing they were, he was still grateful that the medicus had managed to not only managed to save him but also got him walking again. It took months of effort, but neither person involved gave up, even if at times Amatus was very tempted to.

Thanks to those efforts, Amatus found himself within the tablinum of his dominus, awaiting the presence of the man of the hour. A new life was ahead of him, one that would hopefully not bring forth any additional broken bones or stab wounds, but one could never be certain. Naturally, his damaged arm thought that it would be the perfect time to annoy him with the prickly sensation of pins and needles, which was only slight managed by him closing and opening his fist repeatedly. The action was halted when he heard the sound of footsteps, and a look behind him revealed that Longinus had come to join him. "Dominus," he greeted in return, sounding a bit surprised by the clap to the back. Any feelings of surprise or positivity washed away as his attention was brought to his leg. Visibly, he kept his weight leaned onto his right to prevent the previously mangled left from becoming fatigued, but visually speaking it didn't look as bad as it certainly could have. Theodorus really was a miracle worker.

Unable to keep himself from sighing, Amatus ran his better hand through his hair as he offered up a shrug. "I can walk on it at least," he answered honestly. Being able to walk was the best case scenario. He had figured from the beginning that a complete recovery was out of the question. "That Theodorus is either a miracle worker or a magician," he added, the slight chuckle he made coming out of his nose as more of a huff unintentionally. Then again, it took a good amount of pain to make the miracle work so a huff might have actually been accurate no matter how unintended it was.

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Longinus snorted in amusement and nodded at the statement. "He is. Can't say I've had the pleasure of meeting him but I thought you were a goner." He admitted candidly with a little shrug. "I've seen men take far worse injuries and been left a mangled mess. The Gods were smiling on you." He said, as if he genuinely believed it. They were fickle beings his Gods, and whether Amatus' were Roman or he'd retained his own, he imagined it was the same no matter what. 

"You were an excellent investment, and I thought..." He said with a sigh, "You deserved better than your fates had I left you there so...welcome to your new life." He'd always had a soft spot for the runts; little Metella found on a hillside, scarred Attis, even big hulking Celsus with his gentle giant persona. Amatus was another, newer addition to his collection. "I run my household fairly, work hard and you'll be treated with respect. If you're not, talk to me." But very few of his slaves came to him with squabbles. "What did you do? Before your days in the arena?" He asked, curious. He really should have thought what to do with the man before he bought him. 

 

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"Meeting him the way I did wasn't exactly a pleasure," Amatus admitted with the slightest of chuckles. It was never a pleasure to have to be tended to by the medicus, let alone in the way Amatus had required the final time. There was nothing like being on death's doorstep and being pushed even closer to the edge by painful, albeit necessary, medical procedures. The gods really had been smiling on him, for they let him pass out during the worst of it. In reality, they'd continued to smile on him even up to that very day, even if it didn't seem like they were when he was in the arena that fateful hour. He wasn't necessarily the most religious of fellows, but he remembered what his mother taught him back in Belgica, and some of it even aligned with what the Romans around him believed. Whoever they really were, they'd had mercy on him... not unlike the dominus seated before him.

It wasn't news to Amatus' ears, but to hear it come directly from Longinus' mouth as opposed to a messenger was an entirely different experience, and it hit the man as if it were brand new to him. He was being spared from a death sentence. Surely he would have died if he'd been made to fight again. His efforts at saving himself the last time would have been for naught. Instead his dominus was saving him from such a fate and gratitude overflowed from him. "Thank you, truly. I will serve you well," he sincerely vowed with a bow of his head. The question as to what he did before had his nose briefly scrunching, his more reliable hand coming up to run through his hair. "Ah, well... I was a guard. Not exactly fit for that now, though, unless you don't want a very good one." A limping guard with full use of only one arm wasn't exactly a capable guard, after all, no matter how tall or daunting in appearance.

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Longinus merely nodded with a slight smile at the thanks, and shrugged. He shouldn't be so soft, he was sure of that his friends would lament yet another stray that he adopted, but beneath the gruffness and irreverence...and cold brutality he exerted in times of war, Longinus had a relatively soft heart. And a keen eye for strategy, and having a man like Amatus under his wing would pay off in the end he was sure.

Grinning, he shook his head, "No, I 'spose not and I have no need for a guard." He shook his head and then bounded up to his feet. He could handle himself more  than admirably and even if his station caused issues that a pleb took offence to, his big hulking Dacian Celsus was often in tow. Instead, he jerked his head so that Amatus should follow him. "I'll give you a tour," Really his slaves should have done it but they were mostly otherwise occupied and he had nothing better to do. "We were just in my office, I don't think there's any work for you to do in there unless..." He glanced over his shoulder, "Can you read? Write?" 

 

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All things considered, Amatus was a lucky individual. How many people would have chosen to give him a new lease on life as opposed to sending him back into the arena for one more cash grab? Not too many. Fighting for his life, both during the match and on the operating table, had been worth it in the end. If only he could have known that back then. The recovery fight would have been at least a little bit easier knowing that he wasn't healing in order to shed more blood, others' or his. He'd had more than enough of that and he was eager for something new, no matter how menial it might end up being.

At least the all too obvious revelation that Amatus would be no use as a guard wasn't any kind of disappointment. Longinus had no use for a guard, capable or otherwise. The man once again surprised his slave, this time by saying that he would give the lesser a tour. Nodding, Amatus began to follow as requested, the hitch in his gait clear as day. He'd gotten to the point where he was used to it. It was his arm that was the real problem. "I can read some." One of the other guards back in the day was a learned man who had simply fallen on difficult times. He and Amatus had hit it off and in their spare time he taught the younger man a thing or two. He wouldn't be able to understand complex texts, but he could make it through the average scroll just fine. "I probably can't write anymore..." he admitted, sounding a bit downtrodden over that fact. His gaze dropped down to his write hand as he wiggled his fingers a bit, being reminded of the pins and needles that still plagued him all the way up to his shoulder. No, he likely wouldn't be able to write. Holding something so small as a writing utensil for such a task would aggravate the damaged nerves, he assumed. If he could even hold something like that at all without unwillingly dropping it. As for using his left? It wouldn't be legible most likely. Sighing quietly, he dejectedly shook his head, more to himself than to Longinus.

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Longinus' brows rose in surprise and he glanced back over his shoulder at the man. Few freepeople could read let alone slaves, but that was useful and valuable. He nodded, eyes narrowed, running through the mental list of things he could get Amatus to do. The writing comment prompted a small smile of sympathy of Longinus and a shrug. "You never know. Saw a man with his right arm cleaved straight off by a British axe, was writing on a tablet with his left the next month." He grinned. 

But that did beg the question of what he'd use Amatus for. No need to have him as a guard or a sparring partner like Celsus, he had Attis as his bodyslave and Vitus as his secretary, even pregnant Metella was already engaged with his daughter...he blinked, a thought occurring to him. But...before he had a chance to pose it he ducked his head through a curtain and gestured for Amatus to follow him. "Slaves dormitories." He gestured to the two rooms leading off from the kitchens. They were comfortable, with individual cots but were clearly segregated by sex judging by the curious, frowning slaves peering at the two men who had entered their sanctuary. 

"Did you have kids?" He asked, returning to his idea as he shuffled out of the slave room and into the gardens where the game was still going on.

 

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Amatus knew that he had been fortunate to cross paths with the man who helped him learn how to read. Not many freepeople got the chance to learn, let alone a slave whose work only involved reading people to figure out who might be a threat and who could be disregarded. It wasn't a tool that had come in handy to him, but it was one that he was proud to have nevertheless. If this situation was any proof, he could never know what might come up in life. He just might come upon a chance to use that hidden skill someday. He didn't have any confidence in being able to write again, though Longinus did offer up some hope. Apparently, he'd seen a man lose his right arm to an axe yet he was writing with his left by the next month. Eyebrows raising, he glanced down at his left hand, moving the fingers on it in a similar way to what he'd done with the right. "Hmm..." Maybe he didn't need to be so pessimistic.

Following Longinus past the curtain, Amatus was met by both curiosity and frowns. Giving something of an awkward wave, he commented under his breath,"I take it that room isn't the one I'll be staying in?" It didn't take much thought to realize the rooms were segregated. The looks alone were enough to figure that out. Walking out of the room, he raised a brow at Longinus' question. "No," he answered simply with a shake of his head, his gaze soon trailing around the gardens. "Never really thought about it..." More accurately, he'd never had the chance to. When he was younger, he always swore he would be a better father than his own father. That wouldn't have been a hard task to accomplish, though.

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If Longinus had used past  tense, he didn't notice it. Did you have kids, not do you. Because slaves, plucked from their homes, no longer had ownership over their kin and any child born into slavery whilst Amatus was a gladiator hadn't come with him - ergo, he couldn't have kids at present. It turned out he didn't have them in the past either. He wrinkled his nose, his plan falling apart. 

He watched the game with mild interest. As predicted, despite his earlier grumbling, Vitus was as competitive as anybody and fully invested now in lobbing the balls at such an angle that Celsus and Chione had no hope of catching them. The small smirk on his face didn't go unnoticed either. Longinus gestured at the three; "Vitus is my secretary, Celsus is..." He narrowed his eyes, "My sparring partner, and Chione works in the kitchens." He didn't have as many slaves as most of his class but he had enough that they always seemed to be underfoot. "I don't know where Attis is, you'll meet him - he's my bodyslave. He's got...something going on with my daughters nurse Metella." He explained, that was probably where Attis was - no doubt giving his partner as much of a headache as he himself got from the man. "Metella's with child, and my daughter, Cassia, is eleven now. Full of energy." he chuckled, "Do you have any interest in working with children?" Obviously not as a bodyslave or guard, but as an amusement for Cassia. She had taken a keen interest in the games. He wasn't asking as if Amatus had a choice in the matter, but he'd rather not shove a man who was useless with children with his daughter.

 

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The game up ahead took Amatus' thoughts off of what might have been if the fates didn't play out like they had. What the three people were doing looked peculiar to him. He'd never seen anything like it before and he found himself attempting to figure it out. Obviously one of the points was to catch the balls, which one of the players was making it difficult for the others to do. There seemed to be a method to it, too. A method he knew he wouldn't be capable of doing himself. Not with his right hand, anyways, or at least not successfully. An attempt could possibly be made, but it surely would be a failed attempt. He seemed content to watch, even chuckling softly as one of the balls went flying past the hulking one despite the guy's best efforts at catching it.

Amatus' attention returned to the dominus as he began to explain who was who amongst the players. One was a secretary, one was a sparring partner (perhaps the most obvious out of the three positions), and one worked in the kitchens. There were more to be introduced, even though they weren't present for the peculiar game. Attis, Metella, and Cassia, the latter who seemed to become the topic of the conversation even if indirectly. Nodding, he hoped he would remember the names of everyone, but he wasn't too concerned about it. Longinus' next question made him raise an eyebrow. Did he have any interest in working with children? "Well... I imagine children are much easier to get along with than other gladiators," he thought out loud with a little chuckle,"It would be a nice change of pace. It's been... gods, I can't even remember when the last time I interacted with a child was, though." In other words, he had no idea how he would do in such a job, but he figured there would never be a dull moment and he wasn't used to having dull moments to boredly get through so why not? Children tended to be more pleasant than adults... right?

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"Cassia's a good girl." He mused aloud with more fondness than one might expect. "Very similar to her late mother, in most respects." Which was to be expected as Longinus himself had been absent for most of her childhood and Antonia had had a...forceful personality to say the least. His daughter was, at least, warmed up to him now and spent more time being the hellion he was at her age than moping in her room or glaring daggers at him as he passed. Things had settled into a state of normalcy which was a welcome reprieve from the turbulence of previous years. 

"And it's domine, when you speak to me." He added with a glance to the man next to him. Very rarely did Longinus assert his authority so visibly but he was the master of the house and better that his newest addition understood the rules. Otherwise he might end up in an Attis-swearing-at-him situation and he had infinitely more patience for his trusted bodyslave than a new ex-Gladiator.

"I'm not expecting you to dress her or go shopping." He chuckled as his eyes followed the ball being tossed amongst his staff, "But her companion, with Metella. She needs somebody to keep an eye on her and as Metella's pregnancy progresses I doubt she'll be able to be there all the time." he shrugged, "And when you're not with her, I expect you to pick up household duties. Cleaning, tidying, organising, helping out." He glanced across at Amatus, "This is an opportunity. Don't waste it." 

 

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Amatus didn't doubt that Cassia was a good girl like her father said, though even if he did he wouldn't have vocalized it. That wouldn't have been a wise move. Nodding almost solemnly, he did wonder what her mother's story was. No amount of curiosity would prompt him to ask about the woman. Even though his mind was clearly overloaded by everything to the point that he had slipped up on the formalities, he knew just how bad of a move that would have been. Gladiators tended to be able to pick up on bad moves even if they were retired. If he managed to survive long enough, he figured he would learn what had happened to the woman. He just might learn more about the stories within the walls of the domus than he'd prefer to know.

Amatus looked back to Longinus, his eyes widening slightly. Oops. Bringing a hand up to run through his hair (a nervous tic of his... and an anxious tic, but that was less applicable to the current situation), he cleared his throat a bit. "Domine... right. Sorry," he sputtered in an attempt to cover his ass. If anything, at least Domine had the patience to correct him without any sort of punishment the first time around. Returning his gaze to the game, he released the quietest of sighs. This new life was going to be an adjustment, but he was determined to not blow it. He didn't literally fight for his life for nothing.

The companion of an eleven year old girl. If somebody in the past had asked Amatus where he seen himself in the years to come, he definitely wouldn't have answered them with that. Would anyone expect a man the height of a mountain with combat skills (rendered useless, but still) to one day fill the role of a young girl's companion? It was almost humorous to think about, but he didn't mind the thought of it. Going from fighting and killing to keeping a young human company and making sure she stayed out of trouble... it was the change of pace he'd been hoping for really. As for what he was expected to do when he wasn't with Cassia? He assumed he could handle it without issue so long as he favored his left hand instead of his previously better one. Looking back to Longinus and unintentionally meeting his gaze, he nodded. "I appreciate it, domine—" he wasn't going to make that mistake again "—I won't waste it. I'll serve you and the little domina well." No harm in reiterating what he'd said in the man's office, right?

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Longinus smiled. "Excellent." He clapped the man on the back and looked again out at the game. "She's out at the moment, visiting some friend or another." he wrinkled his nose trying to remember the girls name but it had escaped him, as with most things with his daughter, "But I'll get Metella to introduce you later." He watched the game with itching fingers, wanting to join back in. The life of a man who had forged his reputation and career in the military and was now stuck in Rome meant he often had a yearning for practical fun. Anything to keep the paperwork off his desk and political schmoozing out of his domus. 

But he'd agreed to give the man a tour and instead jerked his head for him to follow him; gesturing to rooms as they passed them; "The triclinium, where we eat. I eat." He corrected himself. Obviously it wasn't for slaves unless it was for Saturnalia. The thought occurred to him though and he frowned, pausing in the room. "I don't actually remember where you're from." He had a host of gladiators that he sponsored - some he'd picked up personally like Annis, others he bought out of boredom or to impress his late wife or colleagues. They hailed from all over the Empire and a few came from beyond its reach entirely. "Remind me?" 

 

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Amatus breathed a quiet sigh of relief after Longinus clapped him on the back. At least he hadn't dug himself too deep of a hole by forgetting the formalities. It was a mistake he was determined to never make again. As he learned that his charge was out visiting a friend, he found himself clenching and unclenching his right fingers again in an attempt to chase away the pesky pins and needles that didn't want to leave him alone. He'd meet her later from the sounds of things, though. Nodding, he replied,"I look forward to it, domine." In reality, he really was curious to meet the girl. He had no clue what her mother was like so he didn't really know what she would be like. He hoped she wouldn't make him chase her around much or anything like that... he wasn't exactly built for chasing anymore.

The tour picked back up and Amatus did his best to make mental notes of the places they passed by, though something told him he might be prone to getting lost for a little while. He was given a bit more time to take the triclinium in, for Longinus paused within it in order to have Amatus remind him of where the slave was from. "Gallia Belgica," he answered, hoping it wouldn't lead to him thinking too much about his original home... that wasn't what he needed at the moment. "Far North, domine." The slave trade, not to mention the trader of luxurious goods, had taken him on quite the journey Southward.

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"Gallia Belgica." Longinus repeated with a nod. He knew where it was, "I passed through on the way to Britannia. I think," He frowned, trying to dredge up memories which seemed so far away, just out of reach, "We got the boat from there. Gesoriacum, I think - it was a town on the coast." Most of the rest of the land had been nondescript countryside to him, nothing special. 

"Your Latin's good." He commented as he steered them out of the triclinium through into the corridor that housed his room, and that of his daughter and mother. He had an entire second floor for his home but  there was little point opening it up given that the place only housed himself, his daughter and his mother. One day, long ago, he had anticipated it would house a whole brood of children - enough that he could form some sort of sport team out of them all...but the fates had decided differently for him. Or Longinus' own inability to stay in one place and father children had, at the very least.

Rounding a corner back towards the tablinum he very nearly ran straight into Attis and had to pull himself up short, blinking. At least the dog was nowhere to be found. "Ah! Forever underfoot. Attis, meet Amatus, Amatus this is my bodyslave. We're in the middle of a tour." He gave Attis a smirk. "Anything you think I should show our latest addition? He'll be helping out Metella with Cassia." 

 

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Attis had not expected to be very nearly run down, especially by the master, who (so he thought) had been contained tidily in the tablinum.

Apparently not.

"Jupiter's bloody thunderbolts, Domine!" he exclaimed, taking a hasty step backwards and bumping the wall. He was going to have to get someone to fringe all the master's tunics with coins so he could hear Longinus coming in future!

The more halting steps behind Longinus turned out to be made by another slave, this one holding himself somewhat awkwardly, as if he'd been injured.

"I don't know what you've shown him already," he said, recovering from the surprise and regaining his equilibrium. He leaned to look around the master, straightening up with a confused frown. "Are you planning on having him teach Cassia to fight, Domine?"

Metella was going to have serious doubts about the master's mental state when she found she was being replaced by a male gladiator. Her face would be worth seeing and Attis decided he was going to be there to see it.

 

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Nodding, Amatus thought back to the scenery of his homeland. He'd never seen a coastline until the travels forced upon him by the slave trader and those related "adventures" were Southward. "I couldn't see a wave anywhere around my hometown, but that does ring a bell, domine," he thought out loud, brows furrowing slightly,"I must have heard of the place at some point..." That was the only logical conclusion. He knew he'd never seen it for himself. Bringing his attention to the world around him as opposed to the land in his memory, he glanced around as he walked along behind his master, though his eyes soon returned to the man in surprise as he offered up a compliment. "T-Thank you," he sputtered a bit, sounding as surprised as he looked. His Latin had developed out of necessity; life would have been much harder on him if he didn't get a good grasp on the language as quick as possible. His native tongue existed only in a slight accent that occasionally flared up on trickier words.

Amatus had just gone back to taking in the sights when the tour came to an abrupt halt. The one good thing about limping was that he was trailing behind Longinus, which meant that he was able to stop before he even had the chance of bumping into the man. The same couldn't be said for Longinus and the unknown person he'd collided with. Eyes widening, he looked around Longinus to take in the sight of the new person who he soon learned was Attis, the master's bodyslave. He offered up a nod of greeting, though his brows soon furrowed slightly at the man's next comment. Even though he had no desire to ever fight again, it was still something of a sore subject that he was incapable of doing so. It wasn't like losing mobility was ever a welcomed thing.

Glancing towards Longinus, Amatus sighed quietly, muttering,"I'm not much use when it comes to that..." His gaze dropped down to his leg for a moment before it shifted to his right hand, which he proceeded to squeeze closed for a moment before he slightly winced at the bit of discomfort the action caused. Sighing even quieter than before, he shook his head and looked back towards the two men, shifting more of his weight to his right leg and resting the toe of his left foot against the floor to give it a break.

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Longinus smirked as Attis backed away and smoothed out his own tunica as if nothing at all had happened. That smirk turned into a laugh at his exclamation and he held up his hands defensively; "I'd rather she knew how to throw off a man than not." He shrugged. He knew what Roman men were like, after all. Status and class had little to do with his peers ability to keep their tackle in their subligaculum. 

He glanced over his shoulder at Amatus at the man's sigh and shook his head. "I'm joking, I'm not expecting you to teach her to fight." Obviously, "Just as a companion." He glanced across to Attis with a narrowed gaze, "And yes, yes I'll find a girl to do the things that Metella needs to do with her. Womanly duties and all that." He chuckled and then smirked at his bodyslave. "What do you reckon she'll make of him?" He jerked his thumb to the man behind him.

 

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Posted (edited)

"Who, Metella or Cassia, Domine?" 'She' could mean the cat's mother as far as Attis was concerned, but was more likely refer to either the young mistress or Attis' better half. He should probably have listed Cassia first but oh well.

"It's different, Cassia will love being the only one among her friends to have a gladiator. Maybe it'll start a fashion?" First a battle dog (in Rugam) and now her very own tame gladiator. Even injured, he could probably teach her the rudiments of how to defend herself - such a shame they lived in a society where that might be needed.

He leaned to look around Longinus apologetically.

"I could show him the rest of the house if you'd like, Domine?" he suggested, straightening up again. There were good and bad points to being shown around by the master rather than one of the slaves, and Longinus surely had paperwork he ought to get back to - or get back to pretending he cared about, or something.

 

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Knowing how to defend oneself was a skill every person should have, especially a woman in Amatus' opinion. Unfortunately for the girl's case in that matter, he didn't see himself as capable of teaching her anything. Unless limping or dropping a weapon unwillingly and randomly had suddenly become useful tactics. Maybe they'd come into fashion in his time since being hauled out of the arena a broken, bloodied mess. His sarcasm really had grown dull lately... "Oh... of course." Longinus had a sense of humor and the slave's inability to sense that left him a little bit embarrassed, though he did his best to hide it. "Jokes were few and far between at the ludus, domine," he attempted to explain himself, complete with a slightly awkward chuckle, as he ran his better hand through his hair.

Amatus fell back into silence as the dominus spoke to his bodyslave and vice versa, though he did raise a brow at one of Attis' lines. Start a fashion? At first the whole idea was a bit insulting, but there had to be other gladiators out there who felt the same way he did about their lot in life (or, in his case, previous lot in life). Maybe such a trend wouldn't be that bad. It would bail more people out of the life. Designer gladiators, the predecessor of designer doodles. Attis' offer of taking over the tour brought a better version of Amatus' sarcasm to the forefront of his mind and before he could stop his tongue it came rolling off of it in his own attempt at some good-natured humor,"You won't walk into anything else if you do take over, will you? I'd like to see the rest of the house, not the physician's place." The corners of his lips curled up in a smirk. Maybe he should have bit his tongue, but he thought it was funny!

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Longinus offered a good natured grin and a shrug. "I have a fairly informal house." That was one word for it; eccentric was another. If he thought hard about it he would have considered that the fact he often bantered with his slaves made it more difficult for them. In a house where there was only very strict roles and responsibilities, a slave could adapt to it. Yet in Longinus' house there were moments of levity but also lines that couldn't be crossed - not even with a dominus as relaxed as Longinus. Attis knew that all to well given his several month long exile to Titus' house for the bird flipping incident. 

And then Amatus made a joke and Longinus blinked, momentarily surprised. Before he grinned from ear to ear and let out a garrulous laugh, slapping his newest acquisition on the shoulder and jabbing a finger in Attis' general direction. "I like him already. And if he puts you in your place, all the better." Still grinning, he waved a hand, "Attis will show you around - I have work to do before my secretary murders me. Find him a bedroll, and introduce him to Metella, won't you?" He asked his body slave.

TAG: @Sharpie @Mobius
 

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"I like him too, Domine," Attis said, aiming a wink at the new slave. "I'm pretty sure I can give as good as I get."

He hadn't yet met the slave who could put him in his place - he knew his place intimately, after all, especially after that unscheduled stay at Sulpicius Rufus'. Though that reminded him of the Dacian, Zia, who'd come the closest Attis had ever known to actually matching him in the battle of wits, apart from Longinus himself, and Metella.

"We wouldn't want Vitus to murder you, Domine - life would be so boring without you in it," he said. "Bedroll, Metella and Cassia it is. And have you had anything to eat since you arrived?" he added, stepping sideways to actually be able to see the other man without Longinus in the way.

 

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"I have a fairly informal house." Amatus hadn't been in the house in question for very long, but he already had the feeling that it wasn't the usual tightly run ship. Not in the regular definition of a tightly run ship anyways. In a way, it made him feel more relaxed and at ease. The Ludus had been the absolute definition of a tightly run ship and it had been stressful to say the least. There were things he knew he would have to keep on top of here (like not forgetting to properly address the dominus), but it was nice to know that he wouldn't have to worry about every single thing being perfectly perfect. In other words, he could breathe. Without worrying about inhaling and exhaling the wrong way. He could even crack a joke here and there, as evident by how his "testing the water" joke went over. To be honest, he hadn't expected to get such a laugh out of Longinus, but it was the kind of reaction that he needed to put his mind further at ease. He'd been worried that he wouldn't be able to survive there, but now those worries were being put to bed. Some of them anyways. He still had to see how he would manage with the girl, who would probably only be an eighth of his size.

At least the two guys liked him, admittedly even, and one of those guys' opinions was very important. That particular guy could have him shipped back to be used as some kind of spectacle between matches if he felt like it. Nodding to Longinus as the tour was officially turned over to Attis, he replied,"Thank you, Domine." For everything, though he kept it at a simple thank you. Looking towards Attis, he allowed himself to crack a smirk. "Fantastic." From the sound of his voice, he might as well have said "challenge accepted."

Bedroll. Metella. Cassia. They had a game plan at least. One that might even involve food if Amatus answered in the right way. Shaking his head, he provided that answer,"No, I haven't. Not even this morning, actually. Guess the Ludus didn't want to waste one more meal on me." He chuckled, but he felt like there was probably some truth to that statement.

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"Kitchen, bedroll, Metella, Cassia it is," Attis said, taking the implied dismissal. "Let's go find you something to eat before you end up fainting, we don't want to make the place look untidy, do we?"

Longinus could manage that all on his own and didn't need help, after all,  as Attis knew all too well from experience.

The kitchen was back past the slave dormitories and towards the back of the house, tucked away out of sight of the family areas. Attis grinned at Marta, who was busy chopping herbs.

"This is Marta, our cook. She'll make sure you don't go hungry and if you treat her right there might be a treat or two." He gestured at the limping ex-gladiator. "This is Amatus, who's been sent here to look after Cassia for his sins."

He found a loaf of bread, tore a chunk or two off and poured a cup of watered-down lora. "That'll keep you going for a bit, at least until cena." He pused plate and cup across the table to the newcomer and dropped onto the bench next to him. "If you've got any questions, now's a good time for them," he added.

 

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Kitchen. Bedroll. Metella. Cassia. Amatus was a fan of the new order of things. Admittedly, he'd been so preoccupied with the goings on of the day that he hadn't even noticed the grumbling and growling in his stomach. Now that it had been brought to his attention, though, it was hard for it to not be at the forefront of his mind. "Ah, yes, may the gods forbid my body from cluttering up the floor," he replied in sarcastic jest, a fitting smirk slightly curling up the corners of his lips.

Limping along, Amatus ended up in the kitchen meeting another new person. Marta the cook, who apparently might slip him a treat or two if he treated her right. He raised a brow in response to Attis' use of the word sins, but he said nothing about it. Nodding to the cook, he offered up a smile and a simple,"Nice to meet you." Taking a seat at the table, he sighed quite heavily. He never really realized just how great it felt to get weight off of his leg until he actually sat down and did so. Attis soon came over with something for the failed (though technically victorious) gladiator to eat and drink, to which Amatus nodded his gratitude.

Taking a drink from the cup, Amatus pondered the topic of questions. Once he set the cup down, he wondered,"Well, what will I need to know to survive here?" It was a pretty broad question, but a necessary one. A tour didn't do much to inform him of the ins and outs of the place or how the ship was run. Before Attis could give an answer to that question, Amatus brought up another one,"And what will I need to know about Cassia to stay on her—" and thus Longinus' "—good side?" Apparently, for that conversation he was a fan of broad questions.

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