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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Apr 05, 2003 11:13 pm

A bright flash lights up the place and blinded me for a second or so. At first I didn't knew where he was, but it soon came to me. I was at the Taverna again. But something was wrong with what I was seeing. I saw the same people on the day I got killed, communicating and behaving in the same way on the day I died. The sun was at the same peak around the time I died. I realized I was standing in the centre of the taverna. It looks like I'm back on Earth or isn't this Earth. Like usually, I crave for ale, so I go to the bartender. As soon as I turn to walk to the bartender, I see his old friend Marius. To me, he acts like nothing happened. Maybe Dis Pater and the other Gods erased my death and only I can remembers what happened. If this is the case why does everything looks like before i died? Why are my murderes sitting not so far from Marius? Should i be alarmed of the fact my possible murderers are present? Or shouldn't I? I think i must deal with this as cautious as one can be. I walk over to Marius to greet him. I sit down next to him and as we start to talk, it becomes clear that I'm in a kind of post death time, where I relive everything upt to my death again. But why? If this is the case; why me? I didn't do anything wrong? I don't deserve this to relive my death? Nobody should experience this. Marius doesn't seem to notice i'm getting more nervous which only add to my suspicion that I will relive my death and that there is nothing i can do to stop it. As we talk further i notice that my soon to be muderers are standing up and walking towards me. Now i know for sure i will "relive" my death again. A normal person would stand up and run away. Why can't i do that? Why can't i talk about this to Marius? I need some help, but from who? I need to get out of here before i do again. The murderers walk up to Sokarus and stab him... again several times until he drops on the ground again. I'm dead again. If this is my afterlife: who did i angered to deserve this?If this is for forever: i hope that i will reincarnate, because this sucks.
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And Another Thing...

Postby Aldus Marius on Thu Apr 10, 2003 2:44 am

> Draco smirked. "Glad you recognise me. However, I think you may also be referring to my father..."

Goodness!, Marius thought. And where had he been all the time that 'his' Draco had been raising this fine young man?
> "...But my father used to be a friend of yours."

Marius didn't give his mind enough credit sometimes. Like now, for instance--he almost immediately seized upon the younger Draco's use of the past tense and came instantly to full alert. "Used to be...??" he stammered. "Have he and I had a falling-out that I was not aware of, or has something become of him...?"

> "Mi Mari...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 have tried very hard to forget my experiences as a veteran," Marius said solemnly. "Peace has not been kind to me. However," he added, brightening, "I scarcely need an excuse to go to Britannia! Most of my friends are there, and Meinard prefers the climate.

"You're sure it is to Britannia we're headed, aren't you...? Because someone here mentioned Germania, and I'll be damned if I'm 'wandering' into those forests again...they don't like me."

Marius' friends might have thought it peculiar that he would speak of a forest (as opposed to its inhabitants) 'not liking him'; but for the Wanderer himself, a hostile genius loci was nothing to be trifled with...


> "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."

"Fighting is overrated," Marius replied. "Any healthy schoolkid can fight. Wisdom, on the other hand, is a thing mostly gained at great expense...but I've a notion we're going to need it before we figure out where your frater is, young Draco...and why he's been drafted into the Legions when we haven't had a draft for forty years. Somebody's commander's gonna hear from me about this...!" and his voice subsided into a menacing growl...
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Tue Apr 22, 2003 9:26 pm

Curio walked over to the table, grasping a scroll from Merius, just in time to hear Marius talk of the wisdom it would take to rescue Draco's frater, and he said grimly, "And mine." At the shocked looks of his companions, he commented, "When I get my hands on that lad I'm gonna hang out to dry whatever remains your frater's comrades have left, Draco."

"Having heard - possibly from Albinus, whose sources are almost as extensive as Cato's - of the coming of the Romans to attempt to civilise my countrymen once more, he is, at the tender age of 17, trying to oppose them. He has already raised a small band, and is trying to be the Briton answer to Cicero; he was always more charismatic than his ugly older brother. And so he will try and force a confrontation between his small force, and whoever is in command of this army that has recruited Tarquinius."

"So, amici, I go to Britannia to rescue our fratres, and, if possible, try and stop a war that will achieve nothing and cost many lives. Draco, Marius, will you accompany me? I leave this minute - I have never been a materialistic person, and I have my notorious quarterstaff; would that it were as powerful as those few people who have heard of my exploits believe."
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Wait a Minute...

Postby Aldus Marius on Sun May 04, 2003 4:56 am

"Give me a day, mi Curio," Marius pleaded. "I have come a very long way to make certain pilgrimages, and now we are talking about heading back where I came from. Besides, is it not a good thing to pay one's respects to the Gods before setting off for something risky...? One day. Whatever the situation up North is today, it'll still be there tomorrow, nonne?"

Cassius had not been home--that much couldn't be helped. But Vesta would get Her visit, as would Diana--the only two "women" in his life. And Mars Ultor, Mars the Avenger, Mars of the Lost Eagles: on a mission like this one, He might prove most important of all.

Marius had never mentioned his search for his ancestral tomb to anybody. He was beginning to get too old for these quests; he'd come to town thinking this might be his last visit, unless someone brought him on a wagon or in a litter. A wagon was good only on a road, and litters were slow and expensive. So his last hope of finding his forefathers' bones was fading with each drip of his companions' imaginary water-clock. They knew not what they asked of him. But, as always in a question of Duty, he would sacrifice...
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Thu May 08, 2003 5:16 pm

"Allright," Draco said, "I think we should leave as soon as we can but not right now. I have to make some preparations first."

He greeted everyone in the taberna and then went home, cloaked in dark, brooding thoughts.

To Britannia. How long would it take? And of course Tarquinius had not only been drafted because of this stupid fight. There was much more than that to it, and Draco hoped that his superiors would never find out. Heck, he didn't even know of Tarq himself knew of this terrible secret. There are many terrible things, Sophokles wrote, but nothing as terrible as man. Draco smiled without joy at this thought as he crossed the streets and greeted a few acquaintances.

Family matters. How he wished he could just detach himself from it, get himself a lavish villa somewhere in the Po valley and live there in goddamn peace forever. Curio was perhaps more adventurous than he was. Draco now was an adventurer more by necessity. And then there was Marius, strange old legionairy. He seemed nice though, and his father had talked about Marius in high praise. A reliable character and a good ally. Draco had forgotten why things went wrong between them.

He entered the domus. A wave of coolness swept across his body, and a very welcoming one at that.
"Domine Draco, iam domo?" old Philo asked.
"Ita, Anchises." He always called him Anchises but had no time to make any more jokes a part from that.
"Ubi est mater?"
"Nescio."
Draco rolled his eyes and wandered through the domus. Why did Philo never knew where the others were? Silly old man.
Anankè was in the atrium, on her way inside with two heavy amphorae. Draco paused under the shade of a column and looked at her. He didn't like asking her information. Anything you asked her seemed to hurt her pride, and actually before she came into the domus he had never thought of the fact that servi labour all day and get no pay. They get respect if they're lucky.
His irritation with Philo, who had now gone from the porta and was probably somewhere in the garden or sent on an errand by Tiberius - Tiberius and Philo were very fond of one another; they were like children, although Tiberius already wore his toga virilis and Philo was long past the age of a senex - ; that irritation ceased as he watched Anankè go. So gracious. Tall, too, for a woman. Thracian descent, the man had said. Draco frowned.
He passed through the impluvium.
"Anankè?" he asked. She turned around and looked at him patiently.
"Yes?" she asked. They spoke Greek.
"Do you know where mètèr is?"
"She isn't here. She will be back around the cena. Rufus and some other guests are coming tonight."
"I see."
"Does something trouble you?" she asked, with the amphorae still on her shoulders. It was the first time she ever asked him that question.
"No. Yes. Yes. That whole situation with Tarquinius."
She nodded, as if disappointed with his answer, and then quietely walked away.
Strange girl.

Draco went to his room. Xenophon was waiting for him. Boring old Xenophon.
"Xenophon, you boring old man, I wonder why I should be reading you. It's a wonder you've survived these centuries. I'll be dammed if future generations still have to read you," he silentely muttered.
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Fri May 09, 2003 12:59 pm

Curio's face fell slightly as his comrades pleaded more time to ready themselves; he was always eager to be doing something, rather than shuffling his few possessions around his small room. As Marius and Draco left, Curio went to talk to the good barkeep Cato,

"Amice, could you send to me as soon as Draco and Marius arrive? I'll be here as quickly as possible."
Cato grinned, and promised he would.

Curio left, and, instead of visiting his somewhat neglected house, he went to another taverna that he knew well, and hoped that the one he sought would be there. He entered, and a change came over Curio. He walked with a straight back, and he now carried his quarterstaff confidently, sending out that subtle aura that every warrior recognised meant that he knew how to handle his weapon. He aggressively pushed his way through the thick crowd, a start contrast to the calm patrons of Cato's taverna.

Curio made his way to the darkest corner, and spoke to a filthy middle-aged man.
"I need some supplies. I need food to last us until Massilia, and I want a ship booked from there to get us to Britannia."
The man nodded, and asked, "Why not Ostia?"
Curio explained, "There are few ships from Ostia to Britannia, and those that there are sail but rarely. I've already checked with Ostia. Massilia seems the next best option."
The man accepted this explanation, and said,
"You know what the price is, don't you?"
Curio nodded, and handed over some of the gold that had been sent from Britannia. It was ironic, he considered; the gold he had just parted with had come all the way from Britannia simply to pay his way to get there again.
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Marius' Whereabouts

Postby Aldus Marius on Thu May 29, 2003 7:14 pm

Marius, in the game, is on his way to various temples.

** Marius, in RL, is taking a crash course in Roman Sacred Spaces from the most worthy Piscinus. As ever with such an instructor, he is suffering a grand mal case of Information Overload. He will return to play once the lessons are assimilated...or he is assimilated by them. ** >({|;-)

Patientia vobiscum,
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Tue Jun 10, 2003 7:45 pm

Draco didn't take part in the feast organised at his house that night. Why should he? How could he be rejoicing while Tarq was still missing? Well, not that his mother was actually having fun. She had promised to invite them a long time ago. Rufus was actually a quite enjoyable man. He had served for some time in the army but lost a leg in battle with some Germanic tribe. Of course ever since he'd become rather useless to the legions' pursuits and as such he now had time to devote himself to the finer things in life. At least he wasn't complaining all the time about his handicap. In fact he frequently made jokes about it himself. His "someone stole my leg! someone's on the run with my leg!" had become a legendary quote already in the villa Dionysia.

Draco sat in the gardens by the small fishpond and the fountain. Some noise from the domus reached his ears: plates, food, bursts of laughter and voices. He hated Rufus' wife and their bratty, spoiled kids. Momma Iunia was very proud that their Lucius was reading Homeros and could cite from his works. Then by special request the sullen lad would then stand up and cite Homeric Greek with such a terrible, terrible accent that Draco silently prayed the sprite of Homeros would rise from the grave and drag him to the depths of the Tartaros. Alas, as if little Lucius was an instrument of tormenting powers greater than himself and his parents, he would usually not stop until five minutes. Of course his mistakes were both abundant and embarrassing. And then Titus. The Pupini's golden boy. Was going to become lawyer. Great one, like Cicero.
Draco grinned and relished for a moment in the thought that they might just as well nail this young Cicero to the rostrum now to prevent him from wreaking havoc upon Rome.

As he thought and moved his legs in the water, thumping almost soundlessly against the marble of the pond, he stared into the black waters, partially lit by the multitude of stars. He came here often to relax and to think about various things.
In some way he envied the kind of life his friends he'd seen today led at the taberna. Mus, Locatus, Lupus... What would they be doing now? Drinking at the "Aratum"? Or having lavish banquets? Locatus might actually be down at the slums. He was pursuing a political career and had a sense of adventure. Perhaps he'd like to join the quest to Britannia.

Draco should tell his mother about his thoughts to go to Britannia. He had nothing to do here anyway. Pater had bequeathed them a fortune so great that he could vegetate all his life without moving an inch and still everything would be paid.
And the slaves had to work all day. Perhaps it was their fate. Perhaps it wasn't.
When would they leave, actually? He was bound to see Marius and Curio again tomorrow, and then he'd know. Perhaps he should inform them about... No. Later. Much later.

He was pulled away from the starry skies and the black water as he suddenly heard someone coming from the domus.
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Fri Jun 20, 2003 9:48 pm

Curio made his way out of the taverna, weaving his way through the streets in the quarter of Roma that, occasionally, he thought he was more at home in.
He made his way to a much finer part, and the houses seamlessly became finer, their architecture more ostentatious. Curio, a populare at heart, and a radical one, decided it was here that the problems of the Eternal City lay. The rich rarely made a contribution to ease the suffering of the Capite Censi unless it assisted their political career. A comment made by a particularly obnoxious acquantaince came to mind, making Curio smile sardonically - "I cannot understand why, when the so-called poor are hungry, they do not just send one of the slaves out to buy food."
Another thought came, and Curio grinned ferally, shocking a passer-by, as he realised that he had, as yet, no plans to distribute his gold to aid the poor.
But then, Curio considered, most of his money went to fund operations to help people anyway, in one way or another. He wondered what the reactions of his friends - one an aristocrat who was Roman born and bred, even if his blood was older, and one whose life had been the legions - would be if he told them where some of his money had gone in the past.

He arrived at Draco's domus, and heard far more noise than would normally be heard at a rich household. He walked into the front room, and was immediately met by one of the many slaves of the Dionysians.
"Marcus Scribonius? You are here to meet master Gnaeus, yes?"
Curio nodded, amused that they still remembered him even though he hadn't studied with Draco's tutor in years. The slave took him through the dining room, where children, who Curio had never gotten on with, were creating the usual havoc. One was trying to recite Homer, in an accent that reminded Curio somewhat of the native officials in Cisalpine Gaul. Another was talking loudly, apparently trying to disrupt the confidence of the first. Hurriedly following the slave after acknowledging the greetings of the Dionysian familia, Curio walked into the garden, where Draco sat by the fishpond, brooding.
Curio slapped Draco on the back, saying facetiously, "Amice, I think the Thinker's posture was thus." This said, Curio emulated the famous Greek statue.
"So, what bothers you?"
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Tue Jun 24, 2003 9:31 pm

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote: Curio slapped Draco on the back, saying facetiously, "Amice, I think the Thinker's posture was thus." This said, Curio emulated the famous Greek statue.


Draco frowned and looked at Curio with disbelief.
"I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. What statue are you referring to?" (note to Curio: the Thinker was made by Rodin the 19th century :lol:)

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:"So, what bothers you?"


"Well, I hadn't expected you to come here but you pop in at the right time. That party back there is boring as Hades. I've already told you the horror stories about these Pupinii multiple times, I believe."
He paused for a moment and then went on, still staring into the black waters.
"You might think that I'm sitting here pondering about Tarquinius. But he'll probably be fine now. He's never fought a battle in his life but I'm sure that he'll manage. However, what I am thinking about right now is... this!"
"I can't quite explain. Look, you see this domain. It's a beautiful villa, if I may say it so. To have acquired full Roman citizenship for an Etruscan-Greek family is a good thing, and I'm proud of that. I've got almost everything I want here. That's why I'm a little afraid to leave. Years ago my pater left, too. In a huff. He left us a very unconvincing letter about his ideals betrayed and that he no longer wished to endanger us with his presence. Yeah, he was politically dangerous, but still... It was so weird. And I see the parallels, you see? Mother and Tiberius seem to think that our connections will solve things for us and that Tarquinius will be returned to us soon. But they know and I know that it won't be so easy. I feel like I'm repeating pater's trick all over, and at the same time I know it's not true."
Draco felt that Curio probably wasn't really understanding what he was blabbering about. He rose to his feet and looked at his travelling companion to be.
"Don't worry however. I'll be there at Ostia. I just have to fetch me some weapons. I know a good arms dealer thanks to Locatus, one Brutus who is rumoured to have travelled to Germania and have set up trade with the local tribes."

Suddenly Draco heard sounds coming from the bushes. A cough.
"Qui ibi?" he demanded rather harshely and then heard footsteps running away fast. Too dark to go after the person. He must have run into the house.
"Perhaps it was Tiberius," Draco mumbled.
Or one of the servants? But why would he be spied upon in his own house, for Iuppiter's sake?
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Wed Aug 06, 2003 11:46 pm

As Draco looked at him in puzzlement, Curio mumbled, "Statue? There was one, was there not? Oh, never mind. Where did a statue come into it?"

Draco looked at Curio suspiciously, and Curio hastily changed the subject, "What bothers you?"

Curio listened carefully as Draco told his story, straining to hear some of the words. At the end, he tried to comfort Draco, "You are not your father. You may be similar, but that doesn't mean you have to share his actions."

In reply to Draco's comment about weapon dealers, Curio said, trying to think despite his drink-clouded mind, "What, you have not got any yourself? How do you defend yourself against attack on strange roads?"

Instead of replying, Draco turned away, calling to the night, "Qui ibi?"

After Draco turned back despondently, Curio said, "I only came over to... to tell you that everything is prepared for our trip. Now, I feel quite tired. I need to go home, and rest."
At this, Curio remembered the mood Draco was in, and the company he would be forced to keep if Curio left. "Will you be good with that, amice? I wouldn't leave you here with the Pupinii, but you may have noticed, I need to sleep this off."
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Wed Aug 20, 2003 2:33 pm

Marcus Scribonius Curio wrote:At this, Curio remembered the mood Draco was in, and the company he would be forced to keep if Curio left. "Will you be good with that, amice? I wouldn't leave you here with the Pupinii, but you may have noticed, I need to sleep this off."


"Not a problem, go ahead. I'll go find a good weapons merchant tomorrow then. I never really worry about weapons because we used to have an ancient blade here at our house but it's gone a bit rusty. Plus, Tarquinius took it with him.
But anyhow, I wish you a good night then!"

After this, the two friends departed and Draco went back into the house.
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OT, but still RP

Postby Aldus Marius on Wed Aug 27, 2003 11:46 pm

Avete amici...

While the world awaits Marius' next post (I know, I flatter myself greatly!), I thought I'd share this little gem of a scene from a game called Might of Rome. This PBEM RP was inspired by the movie Gladiator (weren't we all, at the time??), but quickly took its own course. I was permitted to play a tentful of Legionaries. One of them was Petronius, a former chariot-racer who'd decided to try something safer for a living...so joined the army. He's still used to being treated like a celebrity; this keeps him in constant trouble with the command structure, for which reason he is now on more or less permanent Latrine duty. He is the opposite of an immunis; if there's going to be trouble in his cohort, Petro will be in it.

Now for the actual scene; a squad of Praetorians is harrassing a Patrician's daughter, and yes, they do make house calls...


[Petronius]
It was Petro's turn to exercise the Commander's stallion Maximus, and he could think of no better way to simulate battlefield chaos than by charging the animal down the highways and byways of the crowded City at breakneck speed. One particularly hairpin turn brought him, though he knew it not, to the House of Perpetua, where there seemed to be a little excitement already...

Petro could see inside the house just well enough to observe the table get smashed, the servants scattering...and one of them nancy-boy Praetorians swaggering around like a bigshot. His eyes went red at the same time as the horse's; he drew his spatha [cavalry longsword], charged Maximus into the atrium of the house (what the hey, he wasn't making the damage any worse!), and, yelling obscenities he'd picked up on the Rhine frontier, let the stallion have his head...

...Afterwards, in the Praetor Urbanus' office, he had to explain in triplicate why a Legionary smelling of latrine-water, astride a black hellhorse who seemed to breathe fire, had managed to reduce a whole squad of Praetorians to just so many grease-spots on Vibia Perpetua's mosaic tile floor. The head of the big ugly one was still dangling from Maximus' harness; the horse had single-hoofedly 'extracted' Petro from jail, had been protecting him ever since, and now no one could get near enough to either of them to remove the Praetorian's head.

"So," said the Praetor wearily (this wasn't in his jurisdiction; Petro would have to be remanded to his unit for trial and punishment under military law...): "You mind telling me what all that was about, young soldier...?"

"He insulted my tentmate's gal," Petronius replied; and, in a rare (for him) exercise of discretion, said not another word until he was back in camp scrubbing latrines again.



If you'd like to see more of these, let me know and I'll set up a separate "Storyteller's Nook" topic for them. >({|:-)
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Back to You, Mari...

Postby Aldus Marius on Fri Sep 12, 2003 2:05 am

We Now Return to Our Regularly-Scheduled RP...

Marius sat astride his horse outside the new Taverna the next morning. It was very early, even more so for the retired soldier, who had clean given up on early rising...unless he was travelling. The mists of early autumn played about him, alternately revealing and obscuring his silhouette, and dew clung to his wolf-skin; he looked indeed every inch the mystery that he was, most places. But there was no obscuring the wall-to-wall readiness of the man; packed, bedrolled, and saddlebagged, his two larger dogs milling around the hooves of his mount, little Curli-Su peeking out from a custom-made sling, he looked ready to depart on a moment's notice--with or without his friends.

It was hard on him, this business about his ancestor's bones. Few people in Rome, and no man outside of it, could tell him where that graverobber Sulla (Sulla! he thought, and spat on the cobbles) had taken Gaius Marius' bones from, before he scattered them to the Four Winds. With his new shamanic teaching, he had harbored a small hope that the Four Winds Themselves would be able to tell him. But now he was leaving Rome, not two full days after having arrived, and with no chance at all to pursue what few leads he had...and he wasn't getting any younger, and he was going to the almost-literal Ends of the Earth, and what were the odds he would ever make it back here?

...All because he could not turn down a friend in need of any kind of help he could give. Army matter...ask Marius. Pet or livestock issue...see Marius. Bureaucracy getting in the way...get Marius. (He didn't know why this last one, as his people skills were minimal; his idea of negotiations tended to consist of threatening to rip the pen-pusher's head off his shoulders and spit down the hole...) He cursed his obliging nature now, even as he surrendered to it; and wondered how many other opportunities to achieve something for himself he had let pass in a life of service; and if anyone who knew him had been standing close by, they would have seen a new hardness, the bitterness he had fought for so long, put steel in his eyes...
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sun Sep 14, 2003 10:04 pm

A young man darted past Marius as he sat astride his horse, taking no notice of the veteran warrior. Perhaps half an hour afterwards, Curio walked into view, his staff in hand, a cloak drawn against the autumn cold.
"Gods, mi Mari, you keep early hours." Curio complained by way of greeting.

Walking inside, he asked the barkeep,
"Mi Cato, do you ever sleep? No, I'm grateful, I really am... I did, after all, ask you to send for me, whatever time it was... I just hoped for more than a few hours sleep. Anyway, my thanks, amice." Shaking Cato's hand in farewell, Curio walked back outside again, to speak with Marius and await Draco's arrival.
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Early to Rise...

Postby Aldus Marius on Wed Sep 17, 2003 1:05 am

> "Gods, mi Mari, you keep early hours." Curio complained by way of greeting.

Marius crooked a grin. "These are your hours, not mine, O Curio," he reminded the younger man, "and nothing but a promise to a friend would have made me leave my cozy little garret before sunrise." He leaned forward playfully on his horse: "But perhaps it only seems early for you because you were up partying all night at Great Mens' houses...?" It was only a guess; but he had always possessed a most uncanny sense of the probable, and his time in Pictland had only amplified the gift...
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Sep 20, 2003 9:48 pm

Who rises early catches the bird.

Yuck.

Draco hated proverbs as much as he hated mornings. In this respect, he was definitely a rich kid. He realised that the servants were already up for four hours or more when he rose and ate, but today he had chosen to rise with them at this ungodly hour and he complained. Actually he just tried to justify his bad mood in the morning.

He carefully packed his bags. Clean clothes, capes, a lantern, some tools - you never knew what it was good for - and lots of money. He had to go down the market to find a good weapon, too. There were none at the house. The night before he had prepared a note for his mother. It had been a daunting task to do and certainly not one he felt comfortable about. He just hoped she would understand. The very idea of upsetting his mother actually made his eyes a bit wet, especially if he considered that she had looked after him so well and would miss him.

With a deliberate sway, as if to convince himself there was no turning back now, he swung his luggage on his shoulder and stepped out of his room. Perikles and Ariosto were carrying something through the atrium, their backs turned to him. Draco would miss them too.

---

Moments later, he was out on the marketplace, trying to find a good weapon. Almost tucked away in the shadows of a narrow street adjacent to the market he found a stand that sold all types of odd weapons. As he looked over them, he heard a voice saying, in Latin so thick you could cut through it, "Can I help you sir?"
"Uh?"
He looked up. The surprise was not the question nor the accent but the fact that it was a girl who asked it. He had never expected a woman to sell arms but then again he had never expected women to fight in the harena yet they did. Rome had fallen to the barbarii a long time ago.
"I'm basically just looking for a good blade."
She wore a dusty cape and an ordinary tunic. Her face seemed to be covered by a veil. If she had spoken with a different voice Draco might have mistaken her for a lady of the red light district - certainly she had the figure for it - but there was a tone in her voice that spoke of more class than that.
"A blade eh? Are you Etruscan?"
Draco was startled.
"Why. Yes. How did you know?"
"Etruscans usually look for blades. Romans will look for daggers, perhaps short gladii or stuff like that. Greeks want everything that's long."
"Gauls like blades too."
"You don't look like a Gaul."
Draco grinned. His eye fell on a neat-looking, long broadsword that looked fairly straightforward in design. He liked it but it might be difficult to tuck it away in his luggage. Still, solutions could be found.
"How much for that one?"

---

A wee bit poorer and his luggage a wee bit heavier, Draco arrived at the Taverna. Marius was present. He looked like a statue. Actually he even looked a bit funny but Draco decided not to confront him with this indignant fact.
"Ave Mari!" he shouted cheerily. With more cheer than he felt.

---
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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Sun Sep 21, 2003 3:10 am

Lar vialis, tuam fidem, but is this Marius I see so readily taking his leave for yet another journey? As well I might suspect.” Then mockingly adding in a little spell for Marius’ safety, “Iam, Iam, cito, cito…

Marius, greatly encumbered by his menagerie, Curly Sue yiping, slowly turned to see Marcus Horatius approach.

Ave, Mari,” said Marcus, his two fingers extended in formal gesture to call for his attention. “No need to reply, mi amice. I have heard you travel the northern routes. Would if I could travel along, but already I am detained here in the city, and now I am distracted far to the east. Already my brother’s son has followed the eagles along the Euphrates, and with him the sons of my wife’s sisters, too. Now, though, my very youngest has also joined the legions, and no less is now among the frumentarii as well as was his father and his father’s father. Ill tidings, he now learns the Arab’s tongue, to walk among them as we once traversed distant lands to gather news for our legions. And still more an ill omen too, this day has come to me, for when this morning I retired to my piscina to read what correspondence had come, I found some rodent had feasted there in the night, all my fish lay across my garden paths, flayed open, their heads torn from their scaley bodies, as though a column lay sprawled on desert trails, stript of their armor. Iuppiter omen avertat!

“But to other thoughts now, mi Mari.” Horatius continued, speaking more to himself than taking notice of Marius, “I have heard you will travel with young Britannicus. Quod faxis deos velim fortunare. May I inquire if your journey shall therefore pass through Clausentum? Of course you will. Then may I ask a favor of you? I wish you to deliver this package to our old friend. His dies natalis is late next month you know. Nothing of importance, a few Saetabian sudarii, virgin cartae, and a fine volumen, its frontes smoothed to a sheen by pumice, the coruna of its umbilicus hand turned, with matching membrana and lora rubra. No redivivis rudis for Vado. Tell him to write another liber worthy of the Augustea regia I have sent for him to pen it on.

“Oh, and this too.” Horatius held out a purse of gold coins. “Give this to that old pirate, Ericius. His ship should be anchored upstream from Clausentum, or otherwise cruising the waters of Britannia. He was to deliver a selection of Maronean, Clazomenae, and of course Vado’s favored Falerian. Tell that scoundrel, too, I have received yet another message from our amicus Salix, via Columbia. This however is for you.” Marcus drew a miniature scroll from his sinus. On it was the new consul’s seal. “Should you run into any difficulty with the nabobs along the way, you are hereby recommissioned into the frumentarii, (the consul is an old rival , but also an old friend). If anyone ask, you are on a special mission, for him Deus tecum, amice.

Then without another word Marcus Horatius turned to leave, stopping as he noticed Marius’ spittle lying on the ground. “Old thoughts once more, Mari?” Without further gesture towards Marius, Horatius spat upon the ground, too. “Di tibi dent, quidquid, scrofula, mereris.” As suddenly as he had appeared Horatius had gone once more unseen, still lost in his own thoughts.
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Almost Gone?

Postby Aldus Marius on Tue Sep 23, 2003 12:40 am

Curio had disappeared into the Taverna without answering Marius' playful query about his evening habits. Old Piscinus had come, pressed a few packages into Marius' hands, muttered things even spookier than Mari's own sometimes cryptic statements, and gone again without even awaiting a reply.

That left Draco, just arrived, evidently, from a weaponsmith's booth. The sight of him with a hefty broadsword strapped to his pack-mule was enough to entice Mari to dismount and approach the man.

"Hei there, amice, been off to the smithy, have ye? --An' ye didna even invite your veteran friend, who might've been able to tell ye what ye were lookin' at." Then, dropping the pretend accent, he had Draco stand more-or-less at attention for a weapons inspection. "Not bad," he said, studying the blade; with Draco's permission he hefted it a bit: "Very nice, in fact. I can think of only one thing the matter with it: It's almost as long as its bearer. What were you thinking you were going to do with a thing like that? Wouldn't a good Roman shortsword have been a bit easier to manage...?

"...Ah, well. Glad you showed up, amice, though like everybody else you seem to have a lot on your mind. Perhaps we'll feel better after breakfast.", and, ordering his dogs to guard Draco's luggage (the horse Peregrinus could take care of himself), he followed Curio's footsteps into the Taverna.
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Re: Almost Gone?

Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Tue Sep 23, 2003 1:27 pm

Marius Peregrinus wrote:"Hei there, amice, been off to the smithy, have ye? --An' ye didna even invite your veteran friend, who might've been able to tell ye what ye were lookin' at."


"Well it wasn't a smith really I went to. A real smith would probably cost me more and although I'm not really short on money I don't want to start spending too much."

Marius Peregrinus wrote:"Not bad," he said, studying the blade; with Draco's permission he hefted it a bit: "Very nice, in fact. I can think of only one thing the matter with it: It's almost as long as its bearer. What were you thinking you were going to do with a thing like that? Wouldn't a good Roman shortsword have been a bit easier to manage...?


Draco grinned a bit.
"Probably, yes. But broadswords have always been more my deal. We had one at home I used to practise with but it's gone since Tarquinius took it with him. I'm quite sure my skills don't match yours but the blade is more to frighten off thieves or bandits. I don't necessarily want to engage in combat with it."

Marius Peregrinus wrote:"...Ah, well. Glad you showed up, amice, though like everybody else you seem to have a lot on your mind. Perhaps we'll feel better after breakfast."


"Agreed."

Soon after, the three travelling companions all sat in the Taverna.
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