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01 September 2007 @ 08:23 am
Date: Spring 51 BC
Characters: Cornelius Aelianus, Nerida
Summary: Nicia planted the seed now Cornelius is intrigued about a certain daughter of his.
Warnings: none
Status: Complete.
Open to the household

She had her mother's looks and that alone did not bode well for her, he decided. To succeed in Flavia's employ you needed some sort of brains, if not unwavering loyalty. She was too young to display such feelings, but perhaps only felt them that much more acutely. Cornelius tired quickly of silent observation and turned to the slaves populating his rooms.

"Leave us," he ordered, encouraging the girl to continue her work arranging that... boy's things. She did not seem uneasy in his presence, perhaps that was what Flavia preferred in her. "May we talk?"
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 06:34 am (UTC)
She straightened a collection of scrolls and then straightened, light eyes meeting Cornelius's slowly.

"What you wish to speak of, dominus?" she asked quietly.
wearing_horns on September 1st, 2007 06:36 am (UTC)
She was beautiful, like her mother, but she was cautious in a way the older woman had not been.

"Of yourself," he smiled tightly, taking a stroll about the room and settling in a high backed chair close to the window. "We have not known each other in many years, Nerida."
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 06:42 am (UTC)
She had followed, but remained standing taking in his words.

"I do not remember much from before," she admitted. "I remember leaving and how the baby would not be quiet."

Nerida winced lightly, realizing that it wasn't the best direction to take the conversation and started again.

"I was not aware of the truth until Mother took ill. I'm not sure what to think of it."
wearing_horns on September 1st, 2007 06:50 am (UTC)
"The truth?" He arched an eyebrow, ignoring her mention on Flavia's brat. It wasn't something he wished to dwell on for too long. "And what truth might that be?"

He motioned for her to sit, but only because it hurt his neck to look up at her like that. It was, ultimately, her choice.
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 06:56 am (UTC)
Nerida froze for a moment, a flash of doubt cutting through her and leaving her torn between backing away and sitting. She took a breath. Her mother would not have lied and Nicia believed it as well.

She sat, meeting his eyes again.

"That you are my father," she stated firmly.
wearing_horns on September 1st, 2007 07:01 am (UTC)
"Ah," he smiled, watching her cautiously. How clever was she? How shrewd? "Do you believe it?"

Naturally, she would believe her mother, but her mother was now gone. Nerida was alone in the world, his daughter or not.

Flavia had kept her alive and well. That was confusing enough.
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 07:10 am (UTC)
"She would not have lied to me," Nerida replied with a nod. "Nicia also believes it."

She knew from the way he and Nicia acted that they had known each other for a long time, and certainly, if the man had any doubts of his own Nicia's opinion might help settle them.
wearing_horns on September 1st, 2007 07:16 am (UTC)
"Does he indeed?" Cornelius' smile was self-satisfied. His servant was interested in the girl, how interesting. He hadn't expressed such avid curiosity in another being in years.

"I'm not surprised. You've become a fine woman, why stay in my wife's home?"
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 07:23 am (UTC)
Because it was safer.

"It was all I had known," she replied, instead. "With my mother gone, part of me felt as if I should make up for it."

Some of it was true at least.
wearing_horns on September 1st, 2007 07:27 am (UTC)
"You took a risk. If you are my daughter, your mistress might have resented you for it." Especially since I threw her out for having a child by another man.

"Women," he chuckled, "I shall never understand the instincts that govern you." Or the plans they made for surely Flavia had a purpose in keeping the girl.
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 07:35 am (UTC)
She kept her hands on her knees, resisting the urge to let anger curl them into her fists. Her mistress had sent her strange looks before but Nerida had never felt outright resentment from her until hearing her tone at their arrival.

"It would seem more prudent to be resentful of a son than a daughter," she replied swiftly.
wearing_horns on September 1st, 2007 07:39 am (UTC)
His laugh was cut short. "More prudent, yes, but when has my wife ever been prudent?" Her pregnancy, her very return was a bold move on her part. "Prudence, I believe, bores her."

But Flavia was not what he wished to discuss with the girl. "And yet you've returned with her to your childhood home. Do you find it much changed? Do you remember it as it used to be at all?"
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)
She closed her eyes briefly, digging through memories. "Hallways. Being outside in the grass. Crying. Babies, not me," she clarified, blushing.

She paused. "It isn't the worst place in the world," she replied, parroting Elondriel's word with a smile. "I find it most pleasant when people don't rush about. Or when there are few people around at all."
wearing_horns on September 1st, 2007 07:49 am (UTC)
"I fear silence won't be the norm for a while yet. My wife plans a party for herself," he explained, betraying no pretense of enthusiasm. "You will be required to help with the arrangements, I'm sure."
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)
Nerida fought back a grimace. "I will do as my mistress asks of me," she replied. "Will all hands be on duty?"

She could scarcely imagine Elondriel at a party. Surely, with his...personality it wouldn't be wise to have him around. Even if it would be sure to make something highly amusing happen.
wearing_horns on September 1st, 2007 07:59 am (UTC)
"Everyone will have some duties to fulfill, certainly," he replied guardedly. Elondriel was not a subject he wished to discuss or even entertain privately.

"I would like you to observe the ways of our guests. These are uncertain times and a pair of sharp eyes might prove helpful." He did not go so far as to say he wanted her to be aware of the small subtleties of his class. It wouldn't have been appropriate.
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 08:06 am (UTC)
She hastily smothered a grin, pursing her lips and nodding. Then sobered at his next words.

"I will do my best," she replied.

She paused searching for a topic other than herself.

"Your son is very interested in politics. I have never heard a boy talk so much about it."

Though, she really had only known young Cornelius, so it wasn't entirely fair.
wearing_horns on September 1st, 2007 08:12 am (UTC)
"Tiberius is a clever boy," he replied with a proud smile. The boy was the apple in his eye, the only and mos precious achievement in his life. "He has a firm perspective of his future." His expression darkened. If Tiberius was anything like his father, he wouldn't shy from a pretty face.

"You will be careful, I trust?" He watched her cautiously. "There are sins of which no sacrifice will absolve you."
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 08:19 am (UTC)
Nerida felt the blood drain from her face, wave of nausea crashing over her.

"Never," she quietly. "I would never--" Instigate? Agree? Let him?

The answer to the first two was indubitably No. But the last, seemed to depend on how it should happen. That was not something she wished to think on. Nerida swallowed, and pushed back the other thoughts that had risen at the idea.

"I would avoid such a thing at all costs," she stated.
wearing_horns on September 1st, 2007 08:22 am (UTC)
"Good, then we will have no cause for argument." He hoped the girl would be smart about this and come to him should need arise. He could deal with Tiberius and make the boy understand. If need rose.

"In the meantime, I have no qualms about you and Nicia, as long as he remembers his place. You are my daughter, after all."
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 08:28 am (UTC)
Relief swept over her only to be stopped by confusion. Oh. The man was joking. She hoped he had been joking.

"I do not find myself overly interested in men," Nerida replied with a quirk of her lips. "I would not worry."

She was decidedly not interested in men at all. Unless they could prove themselves truly worthy somehow.
wearing_horns on September 1st, 2007 08:50 am (UTC)
"Not your mother's daughter then," he threw lightly, rolling his shoulders in a shrug. "As long as you're careful not to slight anyone, your life is your own." She was not a slave, she was her own property. And she was his daughter. What a strangely amusing combination.

"Very well, you may return to your duties."
nerida_nymph on September 1st, 2007 08:54 am (UTC)
Nerida avoided the comment, the only visible sign of it hitting a nerve the slight tightening of her lip.

"Thank you, dominus," she replied rising with a nod.

That done with, Nerida headed out of the room in search of something else to do.