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Marius moves on...

Postby Aldus Marius on Fri Jan 03, 2003 11:58 pm

The silence that followed Marius' perfectly-reasonable offer was deafening. He wondered for a moment whether, given his social ineptitude, there were something about the proposal which his friend had found offensive. The thought was easily dismissed; he and Piscinus were, as Pisci liked to put it, welcome to each others' piles of rags--evoking the days, hard ones to be sure, when said piles of rags were all they had to sleep on. Both men had since graduated to proper beds, or in Marius' case a sleeping mat; but their habit of pooling their resources, however small, persisted, and neither man was going to let the other descend wholly into abject poverty.

Marius waited what he thought was a reasonable time; then he slowly handed Piscinus back his ring. "I have not decided on your proposal, not yet," he explained; "but I need time and space to think about it, and I'd rather not carry someone else's valuables in my belt-pouch while I do. I go, now. If anyone needs me or would just like to visit, I'll be rooming at the Papillae Lupae--you remember the place? Do come see me tomorrow if you can, and if you see Curio, tell him he's invited too. Heh--I might even be in better shape to meet those bigwigs of his after a bath and some shut-eye. Just remember: Anything is possible...but not all things are equally likely."

With that cryptic utterance (a habit he'd been falling into since he'd begun living alone on the periphery of civilization), the Wanderer hoisted his luggage and made his departure, his canine companions trotting gaily at his heels.
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Tue Jan 07, 2003 9:57 pm

In the early hours of the morning, Curio returned disconsolately to the taverna. He had been to the slums to see the Punic girl, the one who Scorpio had noticed, the one who Curio was determined would notice him. Having been turned down, he reflected that he should be used to it by now - in addition, he had learned some very colourful Punic expletives.

He went and talked to the innkeeper, "Salve mi Cato - is there anything I missed?"
Cato of that renowned gens Cornelia replied, "Only two things, Curio. Firstly, you were expected some time ago at - the Papillae Lupae? And secondly, someone arrived a few hours after you left - this is for you."
He handed Curio a small tablet with some scratchy writing on.

Curio read the writing, and rolled his eyes cynically -
"Well, this just gets more fun every minute." He then told Cato,
"Amice, please tell any who come this way that I have urgent business - I will be back soon, hopefully. In addition, ask them to drop in on the Confabulatorium on the 21st at 8PM in the time of the isle of Britannia; perhaps we can talk there, for it has been a while since I spoke thus to them."

With those words, Curio took his famous quarterstaff, and ventured onto the roads.
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:19 pm

Scorpio sat real still at the edge of a rather unimportant road that connected Rome to one of the surrounding villages which was doomed to be absorbed sooner or later by the great urban monster that was throwing out its unstoppable tentacles like a beautiful, beautiful disease. He looked at the road, winding up the hills towards the City. Yes, thé City. For even though it was often an ugly, coarse and unpleasant place, it was the beating heart of the Republic and his life.

He thought of the conversations in the taberna earlier, yesterday, of the grizzled Marius and the jolly toper Locatus. And of course Curio. Well yes, he may have been right, Scorpio thought, Punic girls are the sweetest. They have an air of strength in their submissiveness which those bratty Greek girls don't have. But then again. Those little Greek vixens tend to be naughtier still.

Nay, momma said, young Gnae, you must respect women. Don't behave like those boorish farmers. Bear your Etruscan heritage with pride.
Pride. Pride. What the hell was pride? It was pride that had caused all this misery. His brother had been dragged off after a brawl in which he was barely involved and had been forced to join the empire. He would have never admitted it, but he loved him dearly. Of course sometimes good ol' Tarq was despondent, gloomy and unsympathetic, but going to the army? He didn't deserve it, and it didn't befit him. And how to get him out?

Perhaps Marius would find the right words to say. But he wouldn't want to get Tarq out. On the countrary. Scorpio was afraid Marius might drag him in as well. And he wanted to do other things; to write! Ah yes.

And whaddeyeknow, there was Curio.

"Aye you Roman brute, quo vadis?" Scorpio cheerily - casting away his appearance of pensiveness and standing up, his cloak waving in the wind like a bird getting up out of its nest - shouted to the figure coming down the road.
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In the Wolf's Lair

Postby Aldus Marius on Thu Jan 09, 2003 4:55 am

Later that evening, all settled in, Marius stood in his quarters, leaning against a post. Like the rest of the building, the construction on this floor was all of wood; it was actually a kind of attic, quite snug, but still high enough for an average-sized Roman male to stand erect. There was a low bedframe, on which the Wanderer had unrolled his mat; a bench for guests ran the length of the innermost wall. But its signal feature was the big window with balcony not too far from the bed. Balconies were rare in Rome to begin with, and almost unheard-of in the poorer districts. Yet here one was, in a place where a fellow was lucky to have a flowerbox. Light came in through it, and air, and at night the most splendid views of the sky... For this reason above all, Marius loved the place. It was the closest he could get in a town to camping out-of-doors.

Once more within reach of Nature, Marius tried to clear his head of the afternoon's events. What was it about the encounters in the new taverna that had so unsettled him? Was it just too many people, after a life spent mainly in solitude? Was it his friends each wanting something of him right off the bat? Was it having to make small talk (a skill he'd never possessed in quantity, and was now allowing to rust away even faster than most of his social graces)?

Or was it the way he'd felt when the Consular was there: that people must think he was odd--a madman, a beggar, a beast--and not really a Roman?

He had certainly not been living a Roman life, of late. For quite a few years now he had dwelt in the most desolate parts of the remotest Province, the land called Britannia. He had put on native garb, native customs, and all the most colorful parts of the native language. He had travelled to the lands of the Picts, beyond the boundaries of Empire, and learnt much from the shamans there. He had come to think that the natives' way of looking at things made a lot more sense than his experiences in the Legions. Indeed, it was only through the shamans' eyes that he'd been able to make sense of his army days at all. The new outlook had been healing, to the extent a broken, but still-willing, soldier could be healed; and he had discovered other strengths, and another kind of service.

No wonder he felt more than a bit of culture-shock when he came into a town... There was so much to dust off, so much to remember, from the other, the Roman, half of his being. For most of the time, Marius belonged to the moors, to the heather...and to the Wolf...
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun Jan 19, 2003 12:35 am

At yet another evening at the taberna Sokarus run into Marius. They sit down and drink while chatting over the events that led up to the moment they saw eachother. Sokarus talks over his meeting with Neibira and how it ended in her death. Marius makes a joke about this, saying that he had exhausted her to death which Sokarus didn't find amusing. He looked rather angry but not furious. Sokarus wasn't in a mood for jokes ever since he got fired for not doing his job right. In his report to the pontifices he stated that Neibiros was everything Neibira said to be. Appearently Sokarus had evidence stating that in parts of the empire where Neibiros supposdly has been, are legends to be found around a man who was supernatural in origin but still half human; a halfgod. But the pontifices didn't want to hear about. They canceled his research and fired him. Through the evening, a drunk Sokarus has caught the interest of not only Marius but everyone in the taberna. But not all the people where just interested in what he had to say. Two man approached Sokarus and started stabbing him in the back. This caused panic among the listeners who ran away in fear. Marius himself thought it was wiser to duck than to fight at this point. The two men stabbed Sokarus repeatedly 7 to 8 times until he fell onto the floor. Sokarus was dead. The assassins ran away, leaving a taberna full of frightened and people. A dead Sokarus with his face against the ground hasn't been touched by the people. Blood is dripping from the wounds, creating some kind of stream flowing gently and calmly towards the door.
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Tue Jan 21, 2003 11:49 pm

Curio strode down the road, recognising that he would soon have to stop to camp. Despite his proximity to Roma, he anticipated another day's travel before he reached it. His mouth curled slightly as he remembered the events back in Britannia, and he looked at the ground as he always did when travelling.

Thus it was a complete surprise when Draco called to him. He looked up, and moved his hand to the centre of his staff. He then twirled it round, wondering if he truly had been followed this far. Draco moved closer, and Curio saw who it was. He grinned, and used his staff to walk with once more.

"Sorry, amice, I have already been attacked outside Londinium and Massilia. I have had to be alert - difficult when I always have my head in the clouds, as you may have noticed from my awareness just now."

In response to Draco's question, he answered,
"I was sent a letter sealed with the same symbol that's on my pendant. To the few I give a pendant to, I ask them to send such a letter should they ever need me urgently. I took this to mean that they were in danger, so I hurried to Britannia, where the sender, Titus Sertorius Albinus, lives. It turns out that a raid was recently launched on Londinium by a very small band of Picts - no more than 50 in the entire group - who were driven away by the Roman garrison. Perplexed by how far south they were, Albinus took some of our other amici north to pursue the retreating Picts."

Curio paused, closely watching Draco's reaction, before continuing,
"Albinus raided the camp of the Picts at night, quickly killing most of them - Albinus is a professional to put most legionaries to shame, even if he is Britannic in fighting style, like myself - and he discovered something very interesting in the camp. He found a chest of Egyptian gold coin in there, with no papers explaining how it came to be with the Picts, or why the Picts had come south in the first place; maybe it was to obtain the chest. Albinus then sent to me, knowing that I had operations in Rome that I needed finance for. As for the rest... Well, no one knows where the gold comes from, so who are we to return it to? Much better to use it for worthy causes. I have some of it with me."

Draco's eyes widened, but Curio's eyes were sad as he warned,
"I may not be safest travelling companion. These Picts are very well-organised - both my would-be assassins, outside Londinium and Massilia, had sketchy portraits of me. I've never been a target for assassination before, so I'm certain its related to this. However, at least the money will be good for financing Piscinus' and Mus' searches. I could be really ambitious and use the money to attempt to urbanise Marius!"

Curio grinned, but the mirth did not touch his eyes.

"So, Amice, where are you headed?"
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Shaman in the City

Postby Aldus Marius on Sat Jan 25, 2003 12:08 am

By the time he came downstairs the next morning, Marius was all but unrecognizeable. He had indeed taken himself to the Baths the night before, and thence to a tonsor; and if he did not know how to act like a Roman-of-Rome, yet he still remembered how to dress like one: a clean, belted white tunic that he'd brought with him (and taken *very* good care of), with the narrow stripe over each shoulder that announced his membership in the Equestrian class; the Legion's retirement benefits had done that much for him). Over this he'd draped what he called a "visitor's cloak"; it was Centurion-red, handsomely (if Celtic-ly) clasped, but in much better shape than the waterproofed, battered sagum he slept under and the wolfskin he wore for travelling. He carried his old vine-staff, now doubling as a walking-stick. On his feet were the only shoes he'd ever known--the good, sturdy caligae the Legions had issued to him. He'd never owned a proper toga, and wondered if the cloak would be as acceptable in Roma Mater as it was in all but the stuffiest Provincial capitals. He certainly hoped so, for he had things to check on...and people to visit.

His first stop, after getting dressed, was on the ground floor of the inn where he was staying. There was a courtyard out in the back; and sheltered against the rear wall was a tarp-covered bundle of something that might be mistaken for lumber, but was not. Marius knew what it was. He crossed the courtyard, crouched next to the pile and carefully lifted one corner of the oiled canvas that protected it. He inspected the contents for rust or rot, finding neither. The innkeeper passed by, and exchanged with him a knowing glance; Marius answered with a wink. Covering the stack again, he arose and made his way out of the inn to check on his horse.

Peregrinus was fine, and had already been fed and groomed. The stableboy was just coming 'round to exercise him. As Marius had explained everything the night before, the boy did not doubt that it was okay to do this; once Marius had stabled the horse, Pere' was more than willing to go along with whatever routine was usual for the place. But Marius--no one else--had to stable him; this quirk, far from being an inconvenience, the Wanderer actually regarded as an asset. The Picts were a wise folk, true--but they were outrageous horse-thieves, and they liked Roman cavalry mounts better than anything else. If anyone were to steal Peregrinus, the horse would simply refuse to stay stolen; profound misery would ensue at his destination...and Marius would hear all about the adventure the next morning, "straight from the horse's mouth", and enjoy a good laugh as Pere' reunited himself with his master.

Satisfied that the horse was getting as good care as he himself, Marius sorted out his in-town itinerary as he made his way out to the street. First thing, of course, would have to be some breakfast; because he'd slept in, he could not count on being fed as part of the crack-of-dawn social rounds that were part-and-parcel of life in the City. The bakeries might still have a few honey-cakes left, if the schoolchildren hadn't scarfed them all; if honeycakes were out, he could visit a caupona for what his Texican troops had taught him to call "empanadas", the bread foldovers stuffed with hot meat. He would need to visit the Temple of Mars Ultor while he was here--best if he wore his wolf-cloak for that one; and for a man with no real home, he was uncommonly devoted to Vesta, and She had seen to it that he'd been able to make a home wherever he happened to drop his gear for the night. He and Diana had an understanding, both being creatures of the moon, the hound and the hunt. The various City Lares would each get a visit. Sadly, his own ancestral tomb and gods were off-limits; the bones of the great Gaius Marius had been scattered by his archenemy Sulla, and nobody who wanted to pay his respects would know where to do it... Marius hoped that the gifts of the Pictish shamans would help him to mend this old, old wound. He certainly intended to try.

As to those social rounds...amazingly enough, Lucius Marius Peregrinus had a patron, and said patron lived in the City. Mari's first order of business after breakfast would have to be to go see this man. And he wondered how he would explain this to his friends; for, while his old (and treacherous) friends knew all about his relationship to Marcus Cassius Iulianus, his current friends only knew the name...and loathed it...
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Jan 25, 2003 1:24 pm

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:"Sorry, amice, I have already been attacked outside Londinium and Massilia. I have had to be alert - difficult when I always have my head in the clouds, as you may have noticed from my awareness just now."


"I see. Well. I do understand that someone outside the City wearing this type of cloak may cause some fear. Actually I like it," Draco said, after which he laughed in a make-believe evil manner.
"But anyway, amice," he then said, "what brings you here?"

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:"I was sent a letter sealed with the same symbol that's on my pendant. To the few I give a pendant to, I ask them to send such a letter should they ever need me urgently. I took this to mean that they were in danger, so I hurried to Britannia, where the sender, Titus Sertorius Albinus, lives. It turns out that a raid was recently launched on Londinium by a very small band of Picts - no more than 50 in the entire group - who were driven away by the Roman garrison. Perplexed by how far south they were, Albinus took some of our other amici north to pursue the retreating Picts."


"Hurried to Britannia? That's not close. But do go on."

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:"Albinus raided the camp of the Picts at night, quickly killing most of them - Albinus is a professional to put most legionaries to shame, even if he is Britannic in fighting style, like myself - and he discovered something very interesting in the camp. He found a chest of Egyptian gold coin in there, with no papers explaining how it came to be with the Picts, or why the Picts had come south in the first place; maybe it was to obtain the chest. Albinus then sent to me, knowing that I had operations in Rome that I needed finance for. As for the rest... Well, no one knows where the gold comes from, so who are we to return it to? Much better to use it for worthy causes. I have some of it with me."

Draco's eyes widened, but Curio's eyes were sad as he warned,
"I may not be safest travelling companion. These Picts are very well-organised - both my would-be assassins, outside Londinium and Massilia, had sketchy portraits of me. I've never been a target for assassination before, so I'm certain its related to this. However, at least the money will be good for financing Piscinus' and Mus' searches. I could be really ambitious and use the money to attempt to urbanise Marius!"


"Possibly, yes."
Draco remained silent for a while, staring at the horizon and the distant city, his thoughts drifting off to far off Britannia, Picts and mercenaries. It was no wonder that Curio had gotten into trouble. Ever since he was a child he had always encountered this sort of situations but each time he seemed to escape by sheer luck or by some miraculous event. Draco felt he himself did not possess such luck, and was wondering if he would become a somewhat bitter veteran later on such as Marius, or one of those fearful, fat and weak aristocrats who wasted their time on this forsaken planet doing nothing except eating, drinking and visiting an occasional prostitute.
"Well, it's a lot of gold indeed. Theoretically I could strangle you right here and take that gold you're carrying for myself."
He looked at Curio gloomily and then burst out in laughter.
"But you know I won't do it. That's why you told me, right."

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:Curio grinned, but the mirth did not touch his eyes. "So, Amice, where are you headed?"


"Currently nowhere, really. I had just come here to think of some things. My brother - Tarquinius, you know him - has recently joined the armed forces. That's why I was a little silent back at the taberna and that's also why I've come to seek solitude here. I really see no way of getting him out of that dreadful place - wherever he may be! Last thing I heard is that some ambitious general is taking them to Germania or Britannia. In any case not a very friendly place."
He paused for a while.
"Bloodshed and glory. There's nothing glorious about fighting. On the other hand, my ancestors, had they put up a better fight, might still be around controlling their own confederation."
He looked at the City.
"But, well, that's the past now. I'm ready to join any plan or mission, really. My teacher stopped teaching a few months back and my father is currently off sailing with his merchants, which leaves little to do for me but remain here and think. My mother is deadly afraid that I'll wind up fighting in some dark forest one day myself. But I trust it won't come this far."
But then again, he thought, neither did Tarquinius.
"So mi Curio, what's the plan?"
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sat Jan 25, 2003 10:58 pm

As Draco mentioned in a gloomy voice that he could strangle Curio and take the gold, Curio's hand tightened unconsciously on his quarterstaff, and he looked piercingly at Draco, remembering the same sight that accompanied him as he went to sleep each night, the sight that had led him to adopt the cause that he had.

Draco laughed, and Curio relaxed, scolding himself that Draco of all people could be trusted.

Draco spoke of his brother's whereabouts, and Curio's eyes widened, and he said urgently, "No, amice! Your frater cannot be going to Britannia! My people are never truly tamed, and they will not allow an intrusion on their private affairs! You must find out if they are going to Britannia - if they are, Albinus will not allow it. Despite his slight Romanisation, he is a headstrong man, and he will not allow a challenge to the people of Britannia. And you know what that would lead to?"
Curio was sure that Draco realised what it would mean - if the Romans gained the advantage, Curio's good friend Albinus would fight to the death to stop them, and if the Britons had the advantage, Tarquinius would be unlikely to survive the resulting massacre.

Curio did not comment on Draco's words about war, having been in too many battles himself - even if they were on a small scale - to disagree with Draco.

"The plan? Well, I must return to Roma and speak to our amici about the best way to use this gold. And I ask you this favour - please find out whether your brother is headed to Germania or Britannia. After that, I go where I am carried - I long ago gave up trying to have an effect on this odd life, so I now I do whatever it seems must be done at the time. If you are agreeable, then our first destination is Roma!"
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Jan 26, 2003 12:19 pm

"Bene! Let us go!" :)
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Thu Feb 06, 2003 9:41 pm

Curio walked in silence, making no attempt to start a conversation. He and Draco made their way through the dark alleys of Roma, both keeping an eye out for anyone one lurking in the shadows.

Eventually, they found the taverna, and entered, looking about for anyone they knew. No one. As Curio had explained when they began their journey that morning, they would wait for someone to join them - they had much to talk about with everyone.
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A Disappointment, and the Backup Plan

Postby Aldus Marius on Sun Feb 23, 2003 12:51 am

Upon his arrival at Cassius Iulianus' house, Marius sensed something was amiss. The ianitor leaned lazily in the porticus, as if he hadn't had much to do in a while; there was not the usual bustle of a Consular's servants going in and out on errands. The old veteran was just beginning to wonder what had happened to his patron when the nomenclator emerged, recognized him, and handed him a note. With typical Cassian wry humor it read:

"Most esteemed Mari Peregrine: Clients from half a province away warned me you were coming, so I've hied myself off to Baiae. The house is yours for as long as you need it; only try not to bite the heads off too many of my clients, and please don't ride your horse in the atrium like you did last time--those shoes were hell on the tilework.

"All the best--Cassi.

"(Post scriptum: How many dogs *do* you have now, anyways?)"


Of course Marius Peregrine was going to have nothing to do with living in a Great Man's house. He knew not how to take care of such a place, and did not care to have servants around him to do such things for him. Nor did he like having to receive the Consular's clients for him; some of them were not fond of Marius, and he did not wish to deal with these men even long enough to tell them that the master wasn't in. Inevitably such news would be turned by the rumor mill into Evidence of a Grand Conspiracy; Marius had had his fill of that game long ago, it had not played out to his advantage, and he had no intention of participating again.

As he studied the note, his brow creased again: Cassius had gone to Baiae...? How had he gotten access to the place? The last time Mari had been down that way, M Cassius Iulianus was persona non grata there, and had been for a couple of years. Or was Cassi just having him on...? Where was Cassi now, really?

Remembering his surroundings, Marius folded the note and tucked it into his belt-pouch (a 'barbarian' accessory he had come to find indispensable). He looked quizzically at the ianitor and nomenclator and said, "I'll...think about it." Then, as casually and non-Conspiratorially as he could, he turned on one heel and set off back down the hill. His destination: a new-ish taverna that, he knew, served delicious barbecue...
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OOC: He's here

Postby Aldus Marius on Sat Mar 01, 2003 5:21 am

OOC: We can assume Marius has entered the taverna and greeted/been greeted by the other characters therein. Next...?

Bridging the gap is...
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Mar 01, 2003 6:11 pm

Sokarus awakens in the limbo, somewhere between Earth and the afterlife. Its a dark and cold place. He can't see anything, yet he hear all sorth of things. Out of nowhere light chases the shadows away as Sokarus can now see that he is in a barren land. To a modern day man, it might look like a scene from a post nuclear war. No trees, no life. Its a terrifying thought to be the last person on Earth but than again Sokarus reminds himself he's not on Earth anymore. He's dead.
He hears a noise from behind and turn around to see a man standing in front of him. 'Who are you?' Sokarus asks nicely to the man.
'Don't you recognize me? I'm the man you are looking for or should i say were looking for. You are dead now.'
'I know i'm dead. I felt it.'
'If you loved the way you died, you are certainly going to love this. Your ass is mine, i owe you now. Pluto has giving you to me as a reward for my services to him.'
'What?' Sokarus is stunned and doesn't really know what to say except for what and why. Neibiros amuzes himself with Sokarus.
'I lied. Pluto didn't gave you to me. I wanted you to do something for me.'
'What can i do? I'm dead.'
'Not really. You see i'm lonely and what i want is some company: not your company. You are to damn boring for me. I want a woman. Bring me a woman and maybe you can go to paradise.'
'Hmm don't take this the wrong way but how is that helping me?'
'Do you know where you were supposed to go?'
'No i don't.'
'I do and believe me when i say sending you to paradise would be an improvement. Now go.'
Sokarus walks away from Neibiros not fully understanding how he is going to forfill the assignment but still. He must do what he is told or he can forget paradise. As Sokarus walks out of sight, two men approaches Neibiros. It are the same men who killed Sokarus. They approach Neibiros. Neibiros turns around and says: "nice job boys. Thank you for killing him.'
'Why did he need to dy?' One of the men ask.
'He was to close exposing my presence to the public and i don't want that. I hate being the centre of attention. I prefer the night instead of the day if you know what i mean.' Neibiros obviously refers to the fact that he hates being in the centre of attention and will do anything to not be in it.
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Mon Mar 03, 2003 12:26 am

Curio looked up as Marius entered the taverna, the slight widening of his eyes being the only sign of his surprise.
"Mi Mari! Over here! I like the new look, amice..."

Embarassed by his outburst, Curio turned back to the table, embarking upon an intense study of the knots in the wood.

After the niceties had been exchanged, Curio asked abruptly, "Mari, how would you like to be urbanised?"
At Marius' puzzled and alarmed look, Curio continued, "No, I suppose not."
Curio explained the situation, and then exclaimed,
"Well we have to find something to do with this gold. I left plenty with Albinus to help fund operations in Britannia, but I have some here also. Now we all know that my life wouldn't be changed at all by the acquisition of a fortune equal to that of Croesus, Crassus and Atticus combined..."
Curio paused briefly, confused by the look that Draco gave him. It was wryly amused, but Curio was certain that there was something in the eyes - if he didn't know better, Curio would have sworn there was a hint of bitterness there. Shrugging, he continued,
"Our good barkeep Cato has sent to find out just where Tarquinius is headed. And then, lacking anything else to do, I suggest we venture either to Britannia or Germania. Perhaps it's something your younger brother Tiberius might be interested in? But then, if his tutor's anything like ours was, he won't allow Tiberius to take the time off. So, what do you all think?"

At the mention of his name, Cato looked up and came over to the table, saying in an uncharacteristically quiet voice, "I have some bad news for you. I had hoped to wait until you were all here, but it seems unlikely that will happen. It was the other night, you see..."

And thus the three companions learned of the death of Sokarus.
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Marius among Friends

Postby Aldus Marius on Sun Mar 09, 2003 12:58 am

> "Mari, how would you like to be urbanised?"

Marius Peregrine's eyes grew wide in mock horror. "Tu-ne iocationem facis, vero??" he replied--"You're kidding, right??" Then he grinned crookedly, letting his friends know that he was not actually apalled at the suggestion. "Heia, that might actually help. I had hoped to get in on your Civilizing-the-Barbari program, but I suppose I must begin by being a bit more Civilized myself. Only promise me that you won't try to make me into another $#!+-slick Sulla, and you'll have my cooperation for as long as you need to complete the task. Deal...?" (and he winked).

"Now, your partner here...Draco? Scorpio?--I'm dreadful with names--anyhow, he seems a decent-enough sort, and if he likes you he's gonna love me...I'd like to get to know him a bit. If nothing else, we'll each at least add to the other's stock of stories..."

He allowed himself to be interrupted by the approach of the bartender's son, who was evidently filling in for as-yet-unhired waiters. He ordered an empanada, and was just starting to explain what it was when the lad assured him that they were popular caupona fare hereabouts, only going under a different name. Once he'd brought Marius' Cream Soda, the Wanderer could be called truly settled in.


> And thus the three companions learned of the death of Sokarus.

The name meant nothing to Marius. But his mind was spinning about Picts and gold; were they 'his' Picts, the ones he had lived with after retiring from the Legions? Or was Blackbird Fhain, as the clan was known, far enough North to be safe from all that?
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Mar 09, 2003 4:43 pm

Draco had followed most conversations and gestures of his friends in a pensive silence. Sometimes he just pondered on the beauty of the shades of temples, how they cast their shadows over the people walking through it - obliviously - almost eating them up and transforming them into something deeper. Maybe it was just the partial darkness of a shadow that consoled him, maybe it was.

No. Deep down, it was something else, something that he knew very well but didn't much believe in. There was no Latin word for it, nor was there a word in the sacred Etruscan language that could capture the true meaning of what lurked under the skin of the Dionysii, generation after generation.

"Cneve!" a boy from another Etruscan family had shouted to him, "you are a monster!"
It had made a profound and lasting impact.
There was nothing wrong with his appearance. In fact, some were even attracted to his slightly exotic behaviour and his busy way of speaking, whenever he chose to speak. He liked that, of course, just like any youth his age did.

With a bang he came back into the real world.

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:"Well we have to find something to do with this gold. I left plenty with Albinus to help fund operations in Britannia, but I have some here also. Now we all know that my life wouldn't be changed at all by the acquisition of a fortune equal to that of Croesus, Crassus and Atticus combined..."
Curio paused briefly, confused by the look that Draco gave him. It was wryly amused, but Curio was certain that there was something in the eyes - if he didn't know better, Curio would have sworn there was a hint of bitterness there.


(thinking) Why this appetite for gold? Without friends and relatives, gold is worthless. And gold won't buy you friends. A thin smile came across Draco's lips. Well, whatever made Curio happy. Draco was filthy rich already.

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:"Our good barkeep Cato has sent to find out just where Tarquinius is headed. And then, lacking anything else to do, I suggest we venture either to Britannia or Germania. Perhaps it's something your younger brother Tiberius might be interested in? But then, if his tutor's anything like ours was, he won't allow Tiberius to take the time off. So, what do you all think?"


"I'm sorry, but I can't let Tiberius get involved in this, unless he wishes to himself. Oh, we surely could persuade him, but I think hell will await me - my mother - if I drag him into this. I'm pretty okay with going to Britannia. After all, Germania will only be a slight detour and we could ask around in Gallia where the legions are heading as soon as Cato has more information."

Marius wrote:"Now, your partner here...Draco? Scorpio?--I'm dreadful with names--anyhow, he seems a decent-enough sort, and if he likes you he's gonna love me...I'd like to get to know him a bit. If nothing else, we'll each at least add to the other's stock of stories..."


Draco smiled.
"Bene. I am not shy around strangers." ;)

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:And thus the three companions learned of the death of Sokarus.


Death was a common thing in Rome. Too common, perhaps.
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Our Lord of Perpetual Forgetfulness

Postby Aldus Marius on Tue Mar 18, 2003 1:10 am

> "Now, your partner here...Draco? Scorpio?...I'd like to get to know him a bit..."

No sooner had he spoken these words than Marius became convinced that he already did know the lad--and rather well, too. Perhaps it was the bitter (or disappointed?) look in Draco's eyes; Mari felt sure it was a rebuke... Oh, then they must have known each other very well, once upon a time! But now his shattered memory was so weak as to be almost nonexistent. This would not be the first time it had robbed him of a good friend. Just because his brain was so full of everything that had happened in his life since the last time he and Draco had seen each other... No! He would not allow this to happen again. But how to explain to the young man, who already showed signs of being offended...?

"Draco... I keep thinking I should call you 'Mi Draco' and that I know you from before. Before..." He trailed off, momentarily at a loss for words. Then, with an uncharacteristic gentleness: "I don't often beg, amice. But I wish to beg your forgiveness for not recognizing you as well and as quickly as I ought. I think we must have been friends, maybe even close friends, and I would like for that to continue.

"But so much has changed for me, and in me, that I am surprised you recognize me any better than I do you. How long ago did we meet, Draco? Five years ago? Ten? My good man, if it's been more than a few, then I have changed even more than you. I doubt I am the same Marius that you knew, however long ago it might have been. I scarce recognize myself, these days; and that's not always a bad thing. The Legions required me to be pretty ugly at times...

"On the other hand, I miss my drawings...my books...other things in me that have been extinguished. Some days I think I have forgotten most of my earlier life because if I remembered it too well I would go mad. Other days I think I am mad already, and that the madness has taken my past from me. And every once in a while I think that I have been alone and in survival mode for so long that perhaps that is all I can know anymore.

"And yet... The nightmares have stopped. I don't get blackouts anymore either. I know there are great chunks of me missing, but I do my best with what mind I have left. I've lived with Picts--did you know I'd been living with the Picts, since maybe a year after I retired? A tiny tribe of 'em in way-the-heck-North Scotland. Don't get mixed up in Roman affairs, we don't. Heh heh--imagine Marius the Spaniard in a cold, misty place like that! For years. And I still love my puppy-dogs, but you know that; you met most of 'em yesterday... Say, what'd you think of old Peregrinus last night, looking me up so's I could stable him properly...?"

And Marius nattered on in this fashion, stopping once in a while for Draco to respond; there was a certain nervousness evident in the pacing of his speech, but his face and tone were suffused with the desire to reconnect with this young man who had obviously meant quite a bit to Mari at one time, and therefore--by his personal code of honor--still did and always would...
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Tue Mar 18, 2003 10:20 pm

Curio sat back, listening to Draco and Marius talk, acknowledging Draco's refusal to let his brother get involved with nothing more than a nod. He studied Draco's face, going the whole range of emotions as Marius slowly came to recognise him. As they began to talk, Curio stayed out of the conversation, wanting to allow the two to get to know each other all over again.

And then the messenger came - a young man, perhaps only a couple of years older than Curio. Curio got up and left the table, going to greet the messenger heartily, saying,
"Merius Strabo! What news of my amice's frater?" Merius said just one word, and that too quietly for anyone else to hear. Curio's face darkened, and his hands clenched into fists, as they always did when he was worried.
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Re: Our Lord of Perpetual Forgetfulness

Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Apr 05, 2003 10:29 pm

Marius Peregrine wrote:"Draco... I keep thinking I should call you 'Mi Draco' and that I know you from before. Before..." He trailed off, momentarily at a loss for words. Then, with an uncharacteristic gentleness: "I don't often beg, amice. But I wish to beg your forgiveness for not recognizing you as well and as quickly as I ought. I think we must have been friends, maybe even close friends, and I would like for that to continue.


Draco smirked.
"Glad you recognise me. However, I think you may also be referring to my father. People frequently mix us up. Really it was not until yesterday that we first met. But my father used to be a friend of yours."

Draco's last words trailed off. His father had just disappeared. Just like that. And Draco thought he knew why. Filling in this sudden, unexpected gap of silence, was Marius talking again. Probably he was interpreting Draco's odd look as a look of offence. But it was none of the sort.

Marius Peregrine wrote:"But so much has changed for me, and in me, that I am surprised you recognize me any better than I do you. How long ago did we meet, Draco? Five years ago? Ten? My good man, if it's been more than a few, then I have changed even more than you. I doubt I am the same Marius that you knew, however long ago it might have been. I scarce recognize myself, these days; and that's not always a bad thing. The Legions required me to be pretty ugly at times...

On the other hand, I miss my drawings...my books...other things in me that have been extinguished. Some days I think I have forgotten most of my earlier life because if I remembered it too well I would go mad. Other days I think I am mad already, and that the madness has taken my past from me. And every once in a while I think that I have been alone and in survival mode for so long that perhaps that is all I can know anymore.


"Don't feel embarrassed about it," Draco replied to Marius, "But again, I do really think you mean my father."

Much has changed for me just the same, he thought. Yes, Tarquinius on the move, dad gone... Mom was going ballistic at home. Etruscan women.

Marius Peregrine wrote:"And yet... The nightmares have stopped. I don't get blackouts anymore either. I know there are great chunks of me missing, but I do my best with what mind I have left. I've lived with Picts--did you know I'd been living with the Picts, since maybe a year after I retired? A tiny tribe of 'em in way-the-heck-North Scotland. Don't get mixed up in Roman affairs, we don't. Heh heh--imagine Marius the Spaniard in a cold, misty place like that! For years. And I still love my puppy-dogs, but you know that; you met most of 'em yesterday... Say, what'd you think of old Peregrinus last night, looking me up so's I could stable him properly...?"

And Marius nattered on in this fashion, stopping once in a while for Draco to respond; there was a certain nervousness evident in the pacing of his speech, but his face and tone were suffused with the desire to reconnect with this young man who had obviously meant quite a bit to Mari at one time, and therefore--by his personal code of honor--still did and always would...


"Mi Mari," Draco said, not letting his bleak thoughts come to the surface or letting them cloud his countenance, "I now see why my father was so fond of you. It would be an honour for us if you joined us on our little mission to Britannia. We could always use help from an experienced veteran and it's always nicer to travel with people you are somehow connected to rather than strangers."

"I must warn you, however, that I am not entirely like my father. I am of lesser principles and don't have the patience he had. Perhaps that's just my age, I don't know. We both have our bouts of unreasonability," - he grinned - "but they usually don't last long. A good temper runs in the family. We are both fighters."

---**----

He then stopped talking to see Curio brooding over something.

"What's up, Curio?" he asked.
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