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04 September 2007 @ 01:58 pm
Date: Spring 51 BC
Characters: Elondriel, Cornelius Aelinanus
Summary: Mornings are always awkward after almost-sex, did your mama teach you nothin'?
Warnings: none
Status: In Progress.

He couldn't stop thinking about Cornelius. About.. what they had done. About Calidus and his strange emotions. Rome was, by far, made up of the strangest men Elondriel had ever encountered. And why did two have to pursue him this way?

Sighing, he made himself look busy as he wondered if Luna had made it alright. She was the strongest person he knew; she had to be fine. He knew she was.

..And that's when he spotted Cornelius coming down the way.

wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 06:13 pm (UTC)
He had the mother of all ailments: a headache. Certainly not something to write poetry about or beg the Gods' forgiveness - although Nicia would surely claimed he had finally incurred their wrath - but enough to make him refuse to attend to his duties, be they business or those of a father and husband.

In the late morning, when everyone was satisfactorily engaged, he decided to slip away, out of the villa, out of any chance encounter with Elondriel or Flavia. There were tenants who could be visited for something to do, although such people tended to be very nervous whenever he appeared.

It was, of course, while entertaining such plans that he stepped right into Elondriel's path.
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)
"Morning, Master," he said lowly when it looked as though Cornelius would not be leaving any time soon.

The gods must surely hate me...
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
The sound of the boy's voice was grating to the ears and Cornelius winced. Certainly some excess should be avoided after a certain age.

"Speak not so loud," he sighed, not having the heart to raise his voice in the command. "How are you faring? Much occupied?" The slave had complained about his talents being wasted in the household and yes, Cornelius had paid attention.
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
Elondriel raised his eyebrow at the man who supposedly did not care where he spent his evenings.... He apparently cared about much more than that.

"Much," he replied, a decibel or two lower for the man's obvious pain.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
"I'm glad to hear it," he smiled tightly, aware that wasting time with a slave was the very sort of thing Nicia and Flavia would consider a mark of weakness.

But it was within his rights to dispense a slave's tasks as he pleased.

"I will be going out for business. You are to accompany me."
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 07:29 pm (UTC)
He quashed the retort and simply nodded, feeling a little sick.

"What sort of business?" he asked, recalling the gambling debt collection as he ran a hand through his hair. It was almost long enough to tie back.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC)
So curious, so inquisitive, especially for one who'd recently paid for his disobedience.

"You will see," he nodded. "Do what you can so as not to inconvenience the others and join me in the atrium when you are finished so that we may go."
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
"I am quite done here," he said, a bit too quickly but it was the truth nonetheless. He had finished a good time ago... He was curious. Despite it all, he still wanted to know more about this strange race.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)
Certainly so eager too.

"Very well," Cornelius acquiesced, his tone even and patient. They would not speak of the previous night's events. There was no need, Elondriel was simply a slave performing his duties.

He did not wait for the boy to follow as they emerged into the streets of Rome, trusting that if he had returned on his own after escaping once, going missing now would hardly be a cause for fear.
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 07:42 pm (UTC)
He noted the lack of Nicia this time and was doubly intrigued. If the man thought he would return just because he had before... Well, then that would be a logical assumption, really. Didn't make it true, though he followed without a thought.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
Rome was a city built on social class and democracy, or so Tiberius would tell him. As far as he could see, Rome was a crowded little place where you had to watch your purse and neck.

"Be warned," he added over his shoulder, noting the boy's interest in their surroundings. "If you leave again, I don't suggest coming back." It was all the threat Cornelius would make; it was all he could bear to do to acknowledge the boy's previous tentative. As far as he saw, it was a matter that had been resolved.
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC)
"Wouldn't think of it," he snapped back immediately, surprised at Cornelius' words and yet.. he couldn't leave that one untouched. As far as he was concerned, it was still quite an open matter.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC)
"Good," Cornelius replied, suppressing a smile. "I'm glad to hear it."

He wasn't as naive as to think a beating had rid Elondriel of his dreams of freedom, but there could be no use in pressing the matter.
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
He had meant...He shrugged. Did it really matter? He doubted it.

"Where are we headed?" he asked after a moment of silence. Elondriel did not much like the idea of being alone with his thoughts just now.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
Brushing past the bustle of the busiest streets, Cornelius crossed into the plaza. "To visit property of mine."
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
I'm property of yours, he thought crossly, following after the man, hopelessly distracted by the city and its occupants.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
They navigated the marketplace with some difficulty, eventually having to pass close to the slave traders to escape the crowds. Cornelius made the effort to keep silent as they passed the cages, darting only disinterested, casual looks around him.

"Germanic stock, very good!" called one of the traders, whip hitting wooden bars to wake the merchandise.
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
He twitched visibly before he could catch himself, memories of being torn from his men taking hold like wounds reopened. Taking a deep breath, he pushed the thoughts aside and willed his feet to carry on. At least there was one man in his troupe who deserved his fate... Arcturus. He thought back on how Luna and he used to plot his death, snorting softly beneath the noise of the crowds.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
At long last they made it into the alleys near the temple of Juno, where the only crowds were formed of religious throngs.

He darted a look behind him, amused to find the boy following. He'd almost expected him to flee.

Almost wished him to.
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
The way religion was practiced was as curious as the rest of this civilization. Supposedly the leaders of the known world.. Elondriel looked at each one of their faces, trying to imagine them in Ceasar's place. But no other man on the planet could surely be as cruel, as evil. And certainly no woman.

"What does one pray to this god for?" he asked Cornelius, studying the statue by the temple, never too awkward to ask a question of a fellow man.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 09:17 pm (UTC)
Cornelius followed the boy's eyes to the statue, slowing his pace. They were not expected.

"Juno Regina, mother and sister to all gods in Olympus." He gazed upon the carved stone, armed and wearing a goatskin cloak. She looked not unlike his wife. "She leads brides into marriage, women into childbirth and children into light."
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 09:20 pm (UTC)
Careful to hide his emotion this time about, he nodded, taking a step towards the building.

"That sounds pleasant," he said flatly, tone indifferent.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
"Insofar as a jealous mistress and ruler can be pleasant," Cornelius agreed, certain that his own wife had cursed him in the name of Juno multiple times since her exile. "We may go in, if you wish."
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 09:29 pm (UTC)
He arched an eyebrow in the other man's direction, but nodded, leading the way into the structure. He noted that it was unlike anything he had ever seen before. Marble stairs and slick stone walls and people bowed at the knee at every corner.

His breath caught at the sight, and he moved forward to kneel by in a small, unoccupied space, forgetting for the moment that Cornelius was with him.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC)
Elondriel never ceased to surprise him. Cornelius followed but remained standing, unimpressed and unabashed in the temple. He mistrusted all women and so their divine counterpart.

"If it's forgiveness you seek, Juno will not be the one to offer it," he commented, voice low not because of their surroundings - he had committed worse blasphemy than this - but because the slave's expression demanded it. "Then again, if you're cursing me or Rome, you may be in the right place."
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 09:41 pm (UTC)
Elondriel jumped slightly, the words reminding him of Cornelius' presence.

"Neither, I can assure you." Although the latter was sounding appealing...
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Then he was simply cowed by principle of divine retribution, perhaps. Either way, Cornelius could not relate.

"Come, this is a place for women." While not entirely true, he had no wish to loiter in public with a slave; especially one he still desired. It was impolite.
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 09:49 pm (UTC)
He glanced about, seeing a few men praying though the temple was mostly full of women.

"Are you not religious?" he asked, making no move to displace himself from the temple floor.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
"Religion and worship have never served me particularly well." A tight smile. "Nicia believes it's because my heart is not sincere. On the other hand, my son, who favors reason above all else, would have me forgo the deities completely."
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
He nodded, frowning, shifting to sit cross-legged now. After a beat, he patted the stone beside him.

"It might serve you well," he said quietly, bowing his head once more.
wearing_horns on September 4th, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)
He regarded him quietly for a long moment.

"It might," he agreed, making no move to sit but not insisting that they should leave either. If Elondriel was bent on understanding Rome, prayer could not go amiss. "Were you very religious before the war?"
kultas_second on September 4th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
He eyed the older man, defensive of his only tie to home.

"The war did not affect my faith."
wearing_horns on September 5th, 2007 12:07 am (UTC)
"No, nor the defeat, it seems," Cornelius observed. "I find it strange that you should pray to our gods when you find our ways so despicable." It was a low blow but one he could no longer contain.
kultas_second on September 5th, 2007 12:29 am (UTC)
He.. didn't find them so much despicable as...

"I've told you; I find your ways intriguing." It was weak at very best.
wearing_horns on September 5th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
"Another word for something you believe to be sinful," Cornelius dismissed his retort, folding his arms over his chest.

"We should go. Have you had your fill of 'our ways'?"
kultas_second on September 5th, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
He vowed to remember the goddess Juno for later; he would pray for Luna.

Standing up with a begrudging sigh, he nodded once, running a hand back through his hair and slowly making his way through the crowd to the exit.
wearing_horns on September 5th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
It was in the street again that Cornelius recalled why he did not like Rome and its people. Beggars came forth to all who emerged, assuming a heavy heart also meant a heavy purse. Many, he knew, came armed to increase their chances and it was in times he like these that he wished for Nicia.

"Another sample of our Roman ways, Elondriel," he threw at his slave, "are you impressed?"
kultas_second on September 5th, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
"Very," he shot back, laughing, giving the beggar nearest him a dark look and taking a defensive stance. The poor man didn't realize he meddled with one of the finest of Lord Kulta's army, which was, of course, the finest army in all the land.
wearing_horns on September 8th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
Well, at least Elondriel was enjoying himself, Cornelius observed, noticing the boy's stature and build as if for the first time. He wasn't frail enough to be desirable in a whore house and his morals were too strict for becoming a thug. But maybe some other place would suit him better than that of household slave.

Idle thoughts, of course, and he pushed by the beggars crowding the exit with a firm hand on his purse. "Even the heavens must have their warts," he sighed, brushing his toga clean of their stench.