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A Twist in Time.

Discussion in 'Mixed-genre & Uncategorized' started by MJK2431, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

    Zul'Zae'ju'Jin the Hugger Troll

    Kaeso opened his eyes and glanced as a male voice responded to his greeting and saw it was the one that had brought in the food and drink the night before. There was something about the man that was setting off his gut and he wasn't sure what it was yet. He knew however that there was much here that he would not know. This wasn't his home and he was but a stranger to the servants. A stranger that had been foisted upon them by the letter bearer. He noted a hesitancy in referring to him as a master though Kaeso didn't really feel it and there was no subserviant attitude to the man.

    He remained quiet for a moment before he turned to face the man properly. Kaeso wasn't someone who was mean to anyone less than himself. Not unless he had to be. He was about to say it was in his satchel but realised if he let the man rifle through it, he would find something none of them could know about. He frowned slightly before he cleared his throat, "I'll forward you the details later, Markus, but from what I was able to glance briefly at, you'll have enough to get what you need for the house."

    The soldier blinked when the woman suddenly appeared and spoke, giving out orders for the other. He smiled slightly with bemusement as he watched her leave. It was then he realised what she had said and internally he winced. Social parties were never something he found a strength in. He did not know any of the current gossip and he knew he would be the proverbial fish out of water.

    He looked back at Markus and raised a brow when he saw the man's lower jaw hang lower before beating a hasty retreat. Kaeso's gaze turned to where the slave had been looking and he realised why. She looked quite the picture and she looked dressed to impress. He offered her a smile and inclined his head to her.

    "Good morning. Me? Like a baby? How about you?"
    he asked feeling it wouldn't be quite so easy for her. All soldiers learned quickly to grab sleep quickly as soon as they could afford the time for it. He shook his head, "No... it would have been odd me returning in it anyway given the, uh, trip here," he stated, referring to the cover story more than the jump through a portal from the future. "And you don't have to. It comes out of my pay... If I go back to my job at all. Given what was said at that clerk's yesterday... I imagine I'll find out soon enough,"

    "Sides, I can only get most of it from the Quartermaster and my current one is somewhere in Britannia. I'll head to the Legion barracks up on the Quirinal... See what I can get for myself there but ah, men only, I'm afraid," he replied.

    "Seems they're already planning a welcome back home party..."
    he said peering the way the older woman had gone before looking back to Valeria, shifting his belt slightly.
  2. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    "Sleep was not fantastic if I'm honest. Almost broke a leg just trying to find the bed in the dark last night."

    Valerie's face dropped a little at his mention of only being able to get armor elsewhere. Most likely, the only means she had thought of thus far to at least try and pay him back for what was happening at the moment had failed and she now felt a little sheepish. She chewed on her bottom lip, blushing slightly at his mention of only the men being allowed in the barracks if he were to use that route to get his armor. "Only men? Right...I forgot that rules like that apply in this...ah...place." She looked around, saying softly "Care to walk in the gardens with me, or perhaps to the market? I feel myself quite in need of conversation after the dramatic events of last night. Aquila going to fetch water has been the first breath of freedom for me all morning. She was attempting to settle me in to my 'normal' life from the moment my eyes opened."

    Once they were outside, the girl stopping by the door to pull on a pair of leather sandals, she spoke again. "I don't remember if I told you this, but back in my time woman were as equal to men in the army. They stayed in the same barracks sometimes even. Used the same weaponary, ate the same food together. Dressed the same as well. Must be a strange thing to think about for you. Almost wish I'd learned to wield a sword or a gun when I could, now that I know I won't be able to." She chuckled sadly at the thought, brushing the plait the housekeeper had made over her shoulder. A thought dawned on her, the girl looking up with a little excitement. "If I can't get you your armor back, can I pay for a weapon for you to have in the meantime, even a small dagger? I remember how you clutched to your sword sheath when you first arrived back in my time...it was like your life depended on it. I guess from your perspective back then it did."

    She walked along the nearest path, brushing her fingers along a bougainvillea hedge. The gardens had been well kept during the families absence, weeds only just visible poking out between the cobblestones of the pathway. Valerie stopped at a tall fig tree near the path they had walked on the day before to get to the house, the gravel one which led to the nearest road. "A party? Seriously? I don't even know how to do my own hair or even dress myself beyond the abilities a small child has and now I'm going to need to entertain people I do not know. Hopefully Aquila will do most of the organizing. You'll be there, right?" She turned to him, the lapis lazuli pendants hanging on either side of her face swaying with the movement. Her eyes held a hopeful gaze, the girl at a loss for what she might do if she didn't have some sort of guide with her.
  3. Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

    Zul'Zae'ju'Jin the Hugger Troll

    He winced, "I'm glad you didn't." Broken bones were not a fun thing to have to wait through the healing. He quietly enjoyed the breeze coming in from the open aperture as he looked at her. He gained the feeling that seeing him get his armour was something she had been wanting to do. Kaeso gave her an apologetic look, "Sorry," he reached up, scratching the nape of his neck lightly before dropping his hand. From what Valerie was saying, 'Aquila' was already giving her no privacy. He winced, privacy was not a frequent thing in his society.

    "I'd like that... I could do with the exercise,"
    he nodded and turned, joining her by her side as they walked away from the nice breeze. He waited as she pulled her shoes on, "Well, you have been thrown into a deep end and I get the feeling she's the main house woman for this villa. She certainly sounds like she knows what to do, what she wants and how to get the work done..." he breathed.

    He kept to her pace as they headed into the garden and he noted how well tended it was. Nothing was out of place and he knew whoever had designed it had good taste. It was something else he could never have expected to see or have for himself at all. Not on what he earned. Whatever he earned per month went to savings, his father, booze and women when he was of a mood. He glanced at Valerie and listened to her speak, enjoying the cadence of her voice, "Really? Some things really change a lot..." he mused aloud.

    Looking at her, he realised there was a tinge of regret in her voice and he wondered how much of that involved not being able to fend off Hugo or his two thugs. He couldn't imagine not being able to defend himself but as her time had proved there were ways of getting round that. She soon brightened up and regaled him with of how he had appeared when they had first met. He gave a deep chuckle and rubbed his face as he grinned. He recalled his feelings from that day and nodded. The Centurion had felt incredibly threatened and the sword was the first port of call for a soldier's protection.

    "I've been exposed to two very different and threatening Britannia's... Though I am glad for the second even if it did give me a fright for my existence. I made a new friend instead that day instead of meeting a native's axe in my body," he nodded.

    He followed her, watching as her fingers played with purple flowers and smiled. It was a simple thing, a walk through greenery and flowers but he appreciated it much as he had when they had shared a walk through the park. The worry returned and he was equally sharing in the same fears.

    "I think it would be very remiss if I wasn't. I'm supposed to be your... hm... saviour after all. I don't plan on leaving you alone. The letter pretty much says that's my responsibility now... even if its meaning is rather ambiguous..." he frowned slightly before he moved to a stone bench and sat down.

    "Truth is you might have to save money on the weapon and get me something proper to wear. I... I'm in the same boat here. It's not a world I'm used to.. Parties, socialising... I do mine with the lads at the tavern or the rare occasion when an Officer pulls a function and even then that's filled with like minded people. The parties here are a lot more... political." He looked at her and smiled somehow unafraid to admit his fears to her. "Truth is, if given the choice of partying and fighting an enemy... I'd take the enemy."

    He smiled, "We shall brave it together, Valerie."
  4. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    The news that he would indeed be joining her for whatever occasion Aquila was putting together made Valerie feel a little more confident, the girl taking a seat beside him on the stone bench. The coolness of the rock contrasted with the warm breeze stirring around them, the female closing her eyes for a second and just taking it all in. The air here was cleaner and fresher than that back home. Things in this time were different, but she was doing her best to find as much as good as she could.

    "I don't know her very well, but I don't think Aquila is going to be taking it kindly the fact that you are now going to be...ah...looking after me. From all her doting on me, I think she's used to having a lot of say in what I do and don't do. That letter changes things, makes her responsibilities different. I don't think she likes that." She looked down to her toes, wriggling them slightly in the soft-worn leather sandals. "I don't mind though. I'd rather have you than her. She's basically a stranger to me. I guess though, my situation with her is not much different than yours was with me when you first arrive. I'm understanding first hand now how you must have felt...having someone watch out for you who knows more about what is supposed to be happening in that time than you do."

    Valerie chuckled at his mention of tavern visits being his ideas of socializing. She dragged in a breath through her nose at that, then said "You and I are the same in that regard. Except, we call them bars and pubs in my time. I think the fanciest party I've ever been to was a Christmas party at the university for the staff and postgraduates. What do you mean when you say they're political?" Her curiosity had piqued, the female straightening somewhat. She had become gifted at wording her sentences carefully around Shane and at work, but this sort of environment outside of discussions in the realm of science was different. She was not well-trained in the art of politics and making sure to play nice and not step on important people's toes.

    His promise to help her through it though relieved her, even if only a little. She placed a hand on his shoulder, smiling and said softly "I think having you there might be the only thing to make it bearable. At least if I mess up, I'll have someone to back me up." She removed her hand, standing and adding "If the party needs to be thrown as early as tomorrow, perhaps we should go back into town to find you something to wear? I think tomorrow will be spent preparing everything so we might not have the time. I get the feeling that party preparation takes much longer when you don't have catering services to do it for you like we have back in my time."


    Meanwhile, a small distance away, Aquila was wringing water out of the end of her tunic after spilling the old water from the jug she had been carrying. Persephone sat opposite her, leaning over the edge of the water fountain to carefully tip the opening of her own jug under the water's surface. "She's back? After four years? They God's must favor her dearly. My Master Cassius is going to be thrilled when he finds out. You said she plans to have the party tomorrow?" Aquila nodded her head quickly, copying the other slave in her technique to gather water from the fountain. "Yes, yes she is. I wish I could be there to see Cassius' face...I'd actually pay to get to see his son, Magnus' expression though when his father passes the news on to him. You know what the gossip was a few months before she left right?"

    Persephone tilted the jug up, looking at Aquila with wide eyes. "I did indeed! Will make for an interesting evening tomorrow. Very much so indeed." Aquila gave her friend a wry smile, whispering under her breath "What will make it more interesting is the presence of that Centurion. The letter, the one I told you about earlier which he brought with was rather wrought with ambiguity if I say so myself. God's only knows what might happen if Magnus still has the expectations he had four years ago. " The pair laughed together, Aquila standing and resting the jug under her shoulder. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow then...perhaps even tomorrow evening if Master Cassius requires some assistant to help him fetch him drinks until he's red in the face." Persephone rolled her eyes, standing too. "Don't remind me! I'll see you tomorrow though, my friend."

    Aquila made her way back to the villa, spotting Valeria and Kaeso under the tree. Her mouth twisted into a small lopsided grin. "It will be an interesting night indeed...."
  5. Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

    Zul'Zae'ju'Jin the Hugger Troll

    He listened and knew it was likely that he was going to have to speak with Aquila. He didn't want her to feel like he was replacing her. Far from it, he had no idea how to run a house hold. He had been away in the army for far too long to know how to do such an effort. No, he would need Aquila and he would need her to be on board with him.

    Kaeso looked at her and smiled, it had been strange to be cared and provided for in a strange place where the rules were different. She had cared for him in her time, knowing he did not know the first bit of how to behave or respond. He would be doing the same for her now.

    "I'm not leaving you to fend for yourself, Valerie. She might be a bit... hm, overbearing but she has her place. She seems to think you're who we're saying you are and that's a good thing. Last thing we need is someone questioning it. We need to make a friend of her and the others," he breathed out his concerns that someone would know and learn the truth.

    It was good to hear her laugh. It was refreshing in most ways and doubled as a reminded that he was not here alone with no one to turn to. He blinked and frowned, "Christmas?" he didn't know what that was but he figured it was some sort of important event.

    "Oh, the usual gossip... There's a lot of power play and manoeuvring involved. Life's simple for a soldier, we have the advantage of a routine, orders, meeting our enemy in the eye. In these parties, there's no sense of that. Take two Lanistas... they would attend a party with intent on trying to get their gladiators to be in the best fights. Usually they want to gain the prestige and honour of having the Primus. They have to vie for it with the one holding the games. Usually a magistrate of some kind or the emperor. It's a battle of wit and wordsmithing that I can't compete with,"

    Kaeso looked at her at the gentle touch and smiled, "We're in this together. Come what may." He would keep his word to that. His head rose when she stood and he nodded. He would be glad just to get away from the house for a while. It would have been a lot more appropriate for a tailor to have come to the house but it was all very stifling and he was likely going to be embarrassed enough about needing to get one for him let alone doing it in the house where the slaves would see him. He didn't care what they thought but it was the gossip they could be prone to.

    He rose and nodded, "It can take a fair while. I imagine Aquila will be something of a helping hand if you let her. I have no idea myself." He wished he could be a little more useful in that but they would have to take each day as it came for a little while yet at least. "Well, I'll just give Marcus what he needs and then we can set off," he smiled.
  6. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    She knew he was concerned about someone finding them out. It was a fear that was constantly at the back of her own mind. The only thing that really made things any better was that if something had to come out, she knew Kaeso would have her back. At least, she could only really hope for that. There was nothing else really she could do. "Christmas. It's a Christian holiday, although most people in my time don't really treat it as one. Just a day when people exchange gifts, eat good food and generally enjoy the company of loved ones. It's not something that will come about for some time in this world. I think it's one of the things I'm going to miss."

    He spoke next of the politics she might have to handle. The possible situations he proposed made her more worried about the party, the girl silently vowing to herself that she would think twice before opening her mouth and saying anything to anyone. "I'm not used to needing to compete in verbal conflicts in order to get what I want. If I have no father or husband to speak for me, does that still mean that I need to be the type of 'seen and not heard' woman? Or am I supposed to engage in conversation because I am now the Domina and the host of this party? I am unsure what sort of role females my age play in parties like this."

    Marcus toted down the road as they spoke and walked, the large man holding a hefty bag of rye flour over one shoulder while in his other arm he held a tall clay carafe used to hold wine. When he spotted the pair of them walking along, he quickened his pace to catch up with them. Aquila was not far off in the distance, taking a branch off of the main path to get to the house quicker while carrying the heavy water. Marcus unloaded his items, straightening and inclining his head towards Valerie first and then to Kaeso. "I have some flour for bread tonight and to bake tomorrow, my lady." He looked between the two of them and then back over his shoulder to see the direction they were headed in. "Are you heading into town? My, ah responsibility when you were younger was to escort you and ensure you did not carry anything heavy. Your father and mother usually had business to attend to during the day and Aquila needed to stay here to prepare meals and make sure the cleaning was done....if you wait a while for me to put these items down in the villa I can still do that."

    He looked in Kaeso's direction for a moment, his expression unreadable as he added "Although, perhaps you no longer need the assistance? Would you still wish me to accompany you?" He placed his hands on his hips, looking between Valerie and Kaeso to get their decision on the matter.
  7. Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

    Zul'Zae'ju'Jin the Hugger Troll

    A holiday... Well, that was good to know even if he did not know what it stood for or even realised that it was a holiday that had replaced that of a Roman holiday. She seemed regretful about it however and he gave an apologetic shrug in return. "I'm sorry... though there's a fair few Roman celebrations throughout our year that could take it's place. There's pretty much a festival each month," he replied hoping that would improve her mood a little knowing they would equally be something no other person of her time would have experienced. He supposed if they had tried to throw one in her time, it would be but pale reflection.

    "Uh," he muttered and reflected a moment as to her inquiry before shaking his head slightly, "I doubt it. You're the Domina... Women of high status usually have a political opinion to share. I don't know how well read up on my people's history you are of current events... but if you have that knowledge, it might help you survive the lion's den. Women can't hold fields of office... but if i know anything, they certainly speak through their man... often steering said husband from the shadow. House wise... you're its Domina and there's no Dominus to stand in your way."

    "I might bear responsibility for your care, but you're a woman grown and my friend. I can only advise you in that court," he said, not entirely comfortable with the command of the letter by her faux father, but it did mean they would not find themselves separated and in turn she would not be dumped into a deep end full of sharks.

    He heard footfalls that were quickening in pace behind them before slowing down. The soldier turned, slowing down to pause and let the man catch his breath. Marcus spoke and revealed his past role in the household when there had been a little girl running about to keep him occupied. If there was anyone they would need to get on their side and gain a trust of, it was the house staff. They might be slaves but Kaeso knew too damned well how loose lips from a household could ruin a man. He had seen it happen before. Others knew this and ran their house accordingly. Some rules through fear though it largely depended on the profession but most were often kind to their slaves.

    "It's up to my lady to decide... but I do not deny the added protection would be acceptable," he replied. It would make talking a lot more difficult but equally if people were running loose with rumours about the return of Corvinus' daughter, then he anticipated that it could stir old rivalries, jealousies or other malicious intent. He did not wish that upon his friend. he eyed Marcus over with a trained eye of one used to sizing up soldiers and noted that Marcus was a decent build. He looked strong and quick but there was nothing that immediately screamed military whereas Kaeso knew he did. He glanced to Valerie before peering back to Marcus.

    "If anything, we can sort out those funds along the way. Kill two birds with one stone, as it were," he added to show Marcus that he had not forgotten their prior conversation that morning.
  8. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    Valerie looked back and forth between Marcus and Kaeso before finding that Kaeso was going to leave the decision up to her. She mumbled about for a moment, her mouth opening and closing like a fish in water. You're the Domina. Act like it. Straighten your shoulders and make the decision confidently. Act as if it was Shane you were talking to...confident, but polite and humble. Valerie chided herself in her thoughts, although did as she had instructed herself to do. Her frame straightened, the girl looking at Marcus and replying with "Well, I may have lost my memories but I see no need to deprive you of a routine that the household seems to abide by. Your company would be welcome."

    Marcus' face blanked for a moment as she admitted to having lost her memories. The unveiled shock and strangely...disappointment and sadness passed over his face before his mostly emotionless expression returned. However, he did not comment on it. "Alright then. I'll be right back." He hurried along, dropping off the items he had been carrying at the house before returning them, taking the side just to the right but a little behind Valerie as they continued walking. Valerie, unused to needing to talk to someone over her shoulder, purposefully slowed her pace so that he was more in line with her and Kaeso. "Marcus, what place can we go to for buying clothes suitable of a welcome back party? I, um, don't quite remember my way around. Even if I did, I think Roma has changed while I've been away." Valerie walked with her arms in front of her, glancing at Kaeso with a small smile before looking back to Marcus.

    "My lady..." Valerie cringed at the title, covering it up by rolling her shoulders as if trying to loosen them up. "I think there is still a store that sells items imported from Egypt, Greece and Persia as well as jewelry, dyes and perfumed oils. It's located on the main street, I pass it on the way to purchase fruit and pottery when Aquila requests it." The three of them headed in that direction, Valerie not speeding up or slowing down to the point where Marcus would be out of place. The man did not seem uncomfortable by the position, but noticeably spent some of his time looking around as they travelled as well as keeping his hand at a certain position at his side. He spoke to Marcus, clearing his throat as they entered the main street Valerie and Kaeso had been on the day before. "Master, how would you wish to distribute the funds? Before, the Dominus would give me a weekly list and the required budget with which to purchase everything."

    A movement caught the man's eye, Marcus peering into a nearby alley before shaking his head and returning his attention to Kaeso. They approached the store, Valerie stopping on the steps leading inside before peering into the interior to ensure it was the correct place.
  9. Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

    Zul'Zae'ju'Jin the Hugger Troll

    Kaeso did not like adding to Valerie's problems in a world she did not understand but it would have looked odd for her to not have responded. He watched Marcus' face when she did finally respond and found the reaction curious. It made the Centurion wonder just how long Marcus had been with the family and how close he had been with the girl before her departure from the household. He nodded, "I'll, uh, go get the right scrolls for him. Won't be long," he nodded at Valerie and smiled before heading off for his room. He was true to his word and wasn't longer than a few minutes.

    It wasn't long before they were heading downhill towards the main shopping area, or rather what Kaeso assumed to be such. He had hardly stepped inside the city walls during his time as a youngster or as a soldier. Even then his clothing had been provided for by the army and even now his tunic was still more of that ilk than of anyone with worth.

    He kept pace with Valerie, and wasn't at all surprised when he found them dropping back to keep the other in line. He wasn't going to question it. Not every master kept their slaves behind them. Some were quite happily to have them alongside. As ever, he was maintaining a steady watch around them as they walked and talked. It was something ingrained in him to do now after so many years marching with the Legion. He listened as Marcus gave his reply and reached to scratch behind his ear.

    It felt strange to back into a civilian's world of markets and shopping and it some respect it was a little alien to him. However, it was one in his own time where he could understand people around him. That was a good thing at least. He glanced back to Marcus when the other addressed him again and he nodded, "I don't see reason to change it if it works for you, lad," he replied tilting his head slightly when Marcus seemed distracted by something. The store soon came upon them and Kaeso slowed his stride.

    The shop indeed had all the airs and graces of an exotic tailor's with rolls of cloth and other bits and bobs of the trade. The clerk looked up from his counter from where he was already serving someone and smiled.

    "Come in! Come in! Do have a look around! I won't be long!"
    The man greeted them heartily before turning back to his other customer. Kaeso noted his accent which marked him as a Greek. He smiled and waited for Valerie to go in ahead of them before he followed her, feeling uneasy about having clothes bought for him and clothes that he never would normally be found wearing. He hoped this Greek did simple fair in amongst his collection.
  10. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    Valerie entered the store, decadent scents from the imported wares making her feel a little light headed but in the best way possible. The shop keeper had an accent different to that of the other Roman's she had met, but couldn't place it considering she only had a basic grasp of Latin herself. She started at the front, itching to lay her hands on every single item in her view already. There were things she had only ever dreamed of seeing, those of which she had seen had usually been behind a glass case in a museum. Yet, here she was, experiencing the real thing in the real time it had existed.

    The girl stooped near one of the low tables, fingers carefully picking up what appeared to be a necklace. It was a leather thong, strung with small copper beads which had been engraved. Next, she thumbed the embossed surface of a glass bottle, the contents unknown to her until she brought it to her nose. Is that...lemon? She thought curiously, placing it back down carefully. Over her shoulder, she caught movement, seeing Marcus shuffling from foot to foot at the entrance of the shop. "Aren't you coming in?" She asked gently in confusion, the man looking up to meet her gaze. "I...I guess I could. Not all the shopkeepers take kindly to slaves being inside. I have been inside this one with you, but I didn't wish to overstep considering that you might not have remembered."

    Valerie moved on to the next item, tracing her fingers along a long roll of cloth which was a deep orange hue. It felt soft yet light, perfect for hot Roman weather. As nice as everything was, the girl was feeling more disconnected with her surroundings the more she looked around. There were pots of strange creams she had never seen before, strange pieces of material she assumed were clothing but had no idea how they even fitted on ones body. She was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed and out of her depth, whispering to Kaeso beside her "Do you know what any of this is for? I know Aquila used bottles like that one..." She pointed nimble fingers in the direction of a shelf lined with blue bottles that had long necks and small cork stoppers in the top before continuing, "...on my hair this morning. Otherwise, I'm lost. Do you think Marcus would know what Valeria....I mean, what I used to like? Would it be strange if my preferences have changed?"

    She picked up a long strand of beads, raising a brow curiously and looking at the item as if it was a snake. There were two metal hooks on the end, but not the type used to clasp a necklace closed. "I don't even know where to start with most of these things. I don't know how much help I'm going to be to you...good thing we can get Marcus' second opinion, just in case?" It was said more as a question than a statement, the girl putting the beads down when she noticed the clerk was finishing up with the other customer.
  11. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    (No rush, but is everything okay? Haven't heard from you in a while)
  12. Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

    Zul'Zae'ju'Jin the Hugger Troll

    Kaeso entered after her and let her browse at her own pace as he peered around feeling rather out of place. He was completely used to military garb which mainly consisted of a simple tunic, breeches and mail armour. He supposed that would change once he was back in armour, the Legions were slowly converting to the segmented armour that was coming into issue. Yet he would prefer that to the fanfare of togas and fancy tunics made from far more luxurious materials than the scratchy wool that took forever to break in. There had been a lot he had to adapt to recently and he had gotten used to the t-shirt and jeans only for the world to turn upside down again.

    He looked from the red fabric decorated with gold trim when Valerie spoke and he glanced towards the doorway to see Marcus hovering by the doorway. He smiled slightly and gestured for the man to enter before he looked back to Valerie. The Greek was still babbling away to his other customer, a woman dressed in reds and golds. She looked quite well to do and he would not be surprised if she was the wife of a Senator or other nobleman of note. Kaeso was still thinking about the contents of the letter and what it specified within and the potential for a meeting with the Emperor himself. He wasn't sure what unsettled him more.

    The Roman felt Valerie shift next to him and he looked towards her as she spoke and he ducked his head a little to hear better, looking towards the bottles when she referred to them. "Uh, some are tonics, various things... Sorry, I'm not too knowledgeable on the daily routine of women's making up..." he replied a little awkwardly. He didn't know his mother and he never had any mother figure in his life to be able to garner or witness that sort of information. "He might do. Have a feeling Aquila's the better one to have asked though..." he replied, looking towards Marcus who had edged towards them now that Valerie had raised the question towards him and at the Centurion's gesture. "Preferences always change so it might not be that odd for some things to change," he added, absently scratching his chest.

    Kaeso smiled as he watched her taking everything in. He wondered if he had been looking the same way when he was seeing new things for the first time that no other Roman could boast about seeing. Not that he could boast about cars or pizza, he wouldn't be believed at all if he tried. "Always useful... I imagine he would know what would be best to wear, wouldn't you, Marcus? Shouldn't think I'd need anything too fancy..." he looked back to the man inquiringly before peering as the woman who had been served headed for the doorway leaving the Greek merchant free to see to them. Kaeso turned his head as the man came over with a smile. The man was fairly short but stocky in his build with greying hair kept back with a thong.

    "Ah, welcome to my humble shop! I am Archelaus, a merchant of fine clothes, jewellery and other basic needs! How can I be of service to you today?"
    He spread a hand gesturing to the bolts of cloth, and other wares in the space of the room before peering back to them both. The man was far too happy for Kaeso's liking already.

    ((Sorry for the prolonged delay! My net died and I've also been struggling a little but all's good now. :D ))
  13. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    (No worries! Just glad to know you haven't vanished :) )

    Kaeso's response wasn't much help, the girl feeling a little perplexed at the large variety she needed to somehow sort through. However, her thoughts were disrupted by the arrival of the Greek merchant who greeted them with a cheery disposition. Valerie smiled warmly, assuming that she would need to be the one to address the man. While Kaeso and Marcus were both men, she was guessing that her rank as a noble woman meant that more than likely the merchant had been aiming his query of help at her. "Um....yes. We will be needing a few things for a gathering Aqui...sorry, a gathering that I am hosting tomorrow night. We'll need clothing for my, um, guardian-" She motioned to Kaeso over her shoulder, trying not to stumble on the title she had given him, "- and for myself."

    Valerie watched as the man looked over her and the companions she had brought with her, numerous thoughts running through his head as he thought about what she might need. Valerie interrupted his thinking, adding "I've been away for some time and am unfamiliar with the current trends among the other affluent families. Your guidance is going to be necessary."

    She watched as the man slowly nodded his head, then like a sprung trap launched himself at the nearest shelf containing a pile of fabrics. "Hmm...Red is very popular at the moment, but...I wonder...you're unmarried, yes?" Valerie fumbled on her words, muttering out a "Well, no I'm not as-" She was cut off though, the merchant continuing in his hurried bustling as he pulled down a forest-green coloured piece of fabric embroidered with silver. "Good. I have just the thing then. Something to suit your eyes I think and some new earrings I bought from a Persian fellow passing through..." He hurried over to another section of the store, placing a small box onto the folded cloth he had draped over his arm before he moved over to the shelf of bottles. "Any particular scents you enjoy? Would you like your toga cinched in? Any pins needed for your hair or new sandals?" The man looked back to Valerie, the girl's mouth opening and closing like a fish as she was bombarded with questions.

    Valerie looked between the two men, her eyes holding a small plea for help. Marcus intervened, his voice quietly speaking from behind her. "Jasmine. You used to always buy jasmine scented oils. As for the pins, I believe Aquila has a headpiece of your mother's tucked away on a high shelf which would suit that colour fabric....you used to try and wear it as a girl, but it was always to big for you." He suddenly looked sheepish, worried he had spoken out of turn. When Valerie did not stop him, he continued. His voice softened though, the man finishing his piece before turning his gaze to the ground. "It will fit you now, though. You've grown"

    Valerie turned back to the merchant, shrugging her shoulders and saying "I guess I'll go with Jasmine then." The Greek smiled widely, pulling one of the bottles Valerie had been looking at earlier and lastly placing a silver necklace studded with pale green quartz and gaia stones over the entire pile he had accumulated. The merchant lay the items on a nearby counter, then turned and looked at Marcus with his arms crossed over his chest. "So this will be all for the lady...and now for you, sir. Perhaps a burnt umber...it is a red, but not something too similar to what the other men have purchased recently." He grabbed a nearby toga which had been draped over a wooden stand, folding it up with practiced gestures. He handed the fabric to Kaeso, placing it into his hands. "Is this to your liking? Any jewelry sir? Maybe a ring? Even a pin for the toga?"
  14. Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

    Zul'Zae'ju'Jin the Hugger Troll

    Kaeso felt out of place in this place. He was so used to the regular life of the army with its daily routine and the fact everyone pretty much wore the same basic things that frivolity and touches of higher status were beyond his understanding. He came from a simple fishing village in Misenum and used to a father who also wasn't used to high status living and the clothes that came expected with such a lifestyle. He was sorry he couldn't be of more help and knew that Marcus was probably going to know more than he would. He hadn't been in Rome for so long, he was no longer aware of all the current trends. Any news he had gained back in Britannia was often months old, sometimes a year.

    He watched the merchant listen to Valerie as if hanging by every word she spoke. He couldn't blame that much, she had a voice that was easy to listen to and he knew he could not grow bored of it. As was usual with his kind, the Greek snapped open with words as if a damn released. Kaeso never understood where they stored all that energy for enterprise. The man questioned her marital status and then made him uneasy again. The letter had been ambiguous but also clear and poignant at the same time. That Kaeso found infuriating but he was concerned what it would mean for him. Especially once the Emperor was told and demanded to see them. He undoubtedly would if Corvinus was that much of a good friend with Claudius.

    The Greek seemed to have Valerie at a loss and Kaeso felt ashamed in a way that he could be no help. They were both saved by Marcus and Kaeso looked at him again wondering for how long the man had been with the family and how he had come to a slave's fate. He nodded slightly, he was grateful. Bringing Marcus along had been a fortunate thing. He turned back round as the other collected the items and then turned to him. Kaeso swallowed, this was new ground for him.

    The Roman watched as the Greek picked out a garment and presented it to him, pretty much with a gusto that spoke of demand to look at the item. He was used to that in the least. Merchants were spry and good at their trade, otherwise they did not last long. He looked the garment over before looking back. He was aware that his social status was of a lower grade to what Valerie now was. He was certainly higher than Marcus but others of Valeria's class would not see the soldier equally as their own. The colour and design were simple enough and that suited him.

    "No jewellery," it would be too frivolous and he wasn't keen either, "but a simple pin would suffice."

    "Are you sure? This would go with it rather well!"
    the merchant smiled turning to retrieve what looked like a silver necklace and cuffs. Kaeso frowned, they could never just leave it alone.

    Kaeso shook his head, "No. Thank you. This will do. And the pin," he intoned a little bluntly with internal knowledge he'd rather be facing a barbarian horde to dealing with this. The merchant tilted his head at Kaeso before he nodded, returning the silverware to where it was resting before and then retrieved a simple silvered pin, testing it against the colour of the fabric before he nodded and took both from Kaeso, adding it to the pile.

    "Hm... now, if that's everything... that comes to..."
    The merchant muttered beneath his breath as he calculated the total cost of everything selected, pointing with long fingers before he came out with the price. "Hm, yes, three hundred and seventy-five denarii altogether"
  15. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    Valerie stepped forward with her coin purse at the ready, fumbling a little with the leather tie before finally getting it open. She looked down at the currency that lay inside, suddenly paling when she realized she knew not what any of the faces or different sizes of the coins stood for. It had been easy enough opening her own wallet in her time when she knew what each slip of paper stood for, but here she was at a loss. She looked up at Kaeso, gulping quietly before carefully handing him the coin bag. "I'm going to peruse around one last time....perhaps you could pay for me in the meantime?" She put on a smile, a shaky one at that as she gathered the items into her arms.

    Marcus raised a brow curiously, stepping forward and taking all the items from her hands. "I'll carry those, m'lady. You need not hold anything, there is much to carry. Perhaps the clerk could put it in a satchel?" Valerie realized what she had done, probably seemingly against the norms at of the time, and her paleness was replaced with a blush. "Oh, yes, right. A satchel would be fine...I'll be outside." She dropped the last item into Marcus' waiting hands, ducking her head sheepishly as she walked towards the shop front door.

    Once reaching the exit she stopped, leaning against the frame with her arms crossing over her chest. Her hands rubbed at the bare skin there, the female breathing in deeply as she tried to settle herself again. Perhaps shopping was a bad idea....too much to try at once. She closed her eyes for a second, listening to the hustle and bustle of the street around her. If she imagined hard enough, it sounded almost like a busy day at the mall. The sound of footsteps behind her were an interruption, Valerie opening her eyes again and turning to see Marcus standing behind her. He held a satchel in the one hand, filled to the brim. She caste her eyes further, seeing Marcus with the merchant as he paid on her behalf.

    "M'lady....I mean, Valoria. Are you quite alright? You look a little unwell." Marcus' eyes had softened, the previously stoic man looking down at her with a worried expression. Valerie put on another smile, standing up straight rather than leaning against the door frame before answering. "I'm fine, thank you. Just a little tired I guess, still not completely rested after the journey here." Marcus nodded, seemingly not all too happy with the answer but accepting it nonetheless.

    She waited for Kaeso to return, then stepped out of the shop and back into the dusty heat of the street. Marcus took up his place at her side as before, this time with the satchel cast over his back. He cast an eye back to the alleyway he had glanced at before, narrowing his gaze before letting out a long breath of contemplation. He saw nothing this time, continuing on in his walk alongside his charge.
  16. Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

    Zul'Zae'ju'Jin the Hugger Troll

    Kaeso had a sudden wish to go find the nearest tavern and get get as drunk as possible if only to aid his mind with everything that was going on. It would be an easy thing to walk away and forget everything now that he was back in his time. However, he had a strong sense of duty and moral conduct. He could not in good consciousness leave Valerie in a world she did not entirely understand. She had taken care of him and thus he would for her. He smiled slightly and nodded, "All right." He got the feeling she wasn't aware what the coins were. He reached to scratch behind his ear after he took the coin purse, he was likely going to need to teach her a lot of things about his world. A lot more than he realised he would.

    He turned and nodded at the Greek merchant before he counted out the denarii and double counted just to make sure. It had been a long time since he had handled this much in one sitting before. The Merchant bowed his head after counting it again as was his people's custom. Greeks and Jews, ever the ones to make sure the coin was all present and accounted for.

    "Thank you for your custom, my friends! I do hope you come back if you need more wares in the future! If we do not have it in stock, we can always order it in for you! Do come again, gods be with you!"

    Kaeso cleared his throat and nodded, "We'll keep you in mind, thank you." He wasn't used to playing the niceties card all that often with merchants since they were always after profit. He was aware he could have just as smoothly asked Marcus to deal with the transaction and Marcus could very well have haggled the price down but Kaeso was not in the mood for hanging around. He still wanted sleep.

    He glanced as Valerie went outside and Marcus procured a satchel from the merchant who seemed content to give that out for free. No wonder, it had his name and the name of his establishment written on the front advertising his business. He snorted, Greeks were such crafty buggers. He secured the coin purse on his belt glad his figure alone would help deter any pickpockets they came across. It was a good neighbourhood but he was used to places like the Aventine and you could never be too careful.

    With a final nod to the merchant, he turned and headed out through the fabrics and bottles to step outside, glad for the sun on his skin. A true Italian, he was used to the sun and he loved its warm climbs. he remembered the coldness of Britannia only too well. It was good to be back in Rome.

    "All ready? Shall we head back then?" he queried only too happy to get back to some quiet air. he was used to a hub bub, barracks were seldom a tranquil setting but he appreciated moments of peace that came his way when they came. They were worth savouring between the long bouts of chaos of drilling, maintaining order and fighting the natives.

    He smiled at Valerie and they headed back up the hill back to what was now her villa. He stayed close just in case. Rome might be the Centurion's capitol but it wasn't really home for him. He would need to ask for some parchment later, he wanted to write to his father and make sure the veteran was okay. Misenum was always going to be his home and quite likely where he'd retire once he decided to hang up his boots.

    Kaeso glanced at Marcus then and frowned slightly. The man seemed to be rather watchful of their surroundings. Something the Centurion gave a distinct approval for but he did wonder at it. He looked back ahead and kept himself alert as well. After all, she would not be looking the part of a well-to-do noble if she was taking stock of her surroundings in a such a way. He could even though he was not in uniform
  17. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    The walk back to the villa seemed to take ages to Valerie, who was more than eager to separate herself from the busy streets and constant reminders that she was out of her depth. Every way she turned was another sight or sound that was unfamiliar to her and the continuous assault on her senses would have become overwhelming. However, they eventually reached incline of the hill and the loud volume of the crowds died away. By the time they entered into the open-air centre of the villa, Valerie was exhausted.

    Aquila greeted them almost instantly, walking through from another room which Valerie assumed to be the kitchen considering the apron she was wearing. "Glad to see you all back, I heard that you were busy in the market area! Supper is just about ready for you mistress and our guest." She left once more, Marcus going to join her in the kitchen to dump the purchased goods and get the woman's opinion on where everything needed to be put. It gave Valerie a chance to be alone with Kaeso, the female sitting on the stone ledge bordering the pond which sat in the centre of the peristyle.

    She let out a long exhale, fidgeting with the folds of her tunic while examining her dirty feet. "Are Aquila and Marcus allowed to eat with us or is that taboo?" The female rubbed at her temples, letting out another sigh while adding "I wish I could shower. Really missing modern plumping for the first time." Her words were meant to be said in jest, the female looking up to Kaeso with a slight smile cracking the corner of her lips. As if the gods had been listening in on Valerie's words, Aquila appeared with a tray of food and watered down wine and an aged smile playing across her features. Her words sounded like a god-send to the younger woman....but only at first.

    "I thought you might need a trip to the public baths tomorrow, so I washed some fresh linen for you to use after. I need to prepare food for tomorrow and so will be unable to go with you. Marcus or the Centurion can just show you the way and meet you after you're finished. Perhaps they could even cleanse themselves while they wait, which might be appropriate considering the event tomorrow evening." Valerie stood, trying to prevent the heat from crawling into her face as she thought over her words. Public baths? I forgot all about those... She followed Aquila to the triclinium, where she laid the food down on the centre table before leaving Kaeso and Valerie alone again. Valerei sat and ate, picking at the food in an absent-minded fashion. Only once they were alone again did she speak, the blush on her cheeks evident despite her best efforts.

    "Thanks for helping today with the money. I felt rather useless. Hopefully all the item will just tie together nicely and Aquila will know how to make use of all of them. I feel like I'm going to need a lot more help that I'm anticipating." She popped a grape into her mouth, then continued in a whisper. "I...I don't know how the baths work. I mean I've read about them before, but never actually had to use them. I'm just going to have to watch all the other woman and follow in their lead." She felt fatigued by the day's events, waiting for his response before pushing away the plate of food she had barely touched.
  18. Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

    Zul'Zae'ju'Jin the Hugger Troll

    Kaeso was used to a rough life and the walk was barely a dent on a man used to marching distances and maintaining his being in the midst of battle. Soldiers required such a stamina in order to help themselves survive and hope to grow old and get fat off their gratuities once they retired. Most never made that luxury and fewer of them were of rank. He was still happier however once they reached the safety of the villa. His world compared to her world was a bigger unknown for her. Pretty much as hers had been for him. Whilst he had advanced through technologies, she had gone quite the opposite. There were no mobiles here or tv boxes. Everything for her would be... backwards for her, or so he could assume.

    He looked at Aquila curiously wondering how well connected to a system she was to know that but perhaps she had simple assumed or estimated. Women could oftentimes be confusing to him and mother figures were even more so. He inclined his head in gratitude towards her and smiled, he could never say no to food. He had a healthy constitution most times and he could eat most out of their homes. He watched as Marcus toddled after the woman leaving them alone for a moment, for however brief that would be.

    Kaeso looked towards Valerie and tilted his head slightly. She looked shattered and dead on her feet for the most part. He suspected she was strongly wishing to be back in her own time and he could not blame her for that wish. The gods had been cruel to them both in what happened and that wretched man to have caught them and sent them back to his time but with an ultimatum. That was what was eating at his mind more than anything else. Given her cognomen, it was clear that the family was friendly with the Emperor and in turn he was suspecting of what that may lead to.

    "Slaves generally eat in their own time... not with the family or their guests," he returned gently, moving to join her though he did not sit down. He preferred standing, the at ease military stance more at keeping with his comfort levels. He looked at her and smiling as she spoke of showering. The invention he had briefly used whilst in her home had been something Kaeso had found to be marvellous. Showering standing up was something he had enjoyed immensely. Bathing was going to be entirely a new concept for her in his world he soon realised and he winced slightly.

    He turned his head as foot steps interrupted his thoughts and he looked as Aquila returned with food for them. The woman spoke and not for the first time did Kaeso pick up on her reticence to refer to him by name as opposed to his social class or simply as a guest. "I'll go with her. I could use a catch up on the grapevine as well as getting cleaned up," he returned, raising a hand to brush over his stubble as he followed Valerie and Aquila. He was not looking forward to that but there would be no escaping it. It did not seem that they had the facilities here to bathe in private as some households did. Kaeso absently wondered at whether her adopted family's accounts would be able to stand the cost of the luxury. Valerie would find that privacy was lot less governed than it seemed to have been in her time.

    Kaeso sat on one of the recliners which to him felt just as foreign as much as her sofa had been for him. It was just as comfortable, allowing them to eat lying down if they so wish but he was used to simpler furniture. It was an expense he could never had afforded on his salary. He remained sitting as opposed to lying down and he suspected that he was eating a lot more than she was.

    The man offered her a warm smile, one born of friendship and affection, "You're most welcome. I suspect Aquila has a handle on everything... but then it's her place to. Take it slow, you don't have to feel like you need to rush things. You have memory loss to fall back on if needs be," he gently reminded her and helped himself to a few more morsels from the platter of food before them. He listened as she whispered and nodded slowly and winced, "Unfortunately, I can't join you as to show you how. We have baths for men and baths for women. Normally, you'd have a personal slave go with you and they'd help with washing and the rest."
  19. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    She placed her head in her hands, massaging at her temples gently with her fingertips. The girl moaned softly, still feeling as if this was all a bad dream and that pretty soon she would open her eyes and be back in her warm bed in her apartment. Valerie listened carefully to what he had to say, encouraged by his reminder that she could rely on the fact that she was supposed to have memory loss, but it wasn't enough relief to remove the ball of knots building in her stomach.

    "I would never expect someone to help me wash. It would make me feel like a child again, to need to be supervised while I bathe. I'm almost thankful that Aquila is otherwise occupied and is not able to join me. I'm sure I'll figure it out....how hard can it be right? Just some hot water and mild mingling, I should be fine.
    " Her words were supposed to make her feel better, but they sounded unconvincing even from her own mouth.

    Valerie stood, bending over to tidy up the food that had been unpacked and placing it all back on the tray neatly. She then straightened, taking the tray with her and balancing it carefully on her hip by wedging it with her one hand before giving Kaeso a tired smile. "I'm going to be heading to bed, there's plenty I need to rest for before tomorrow."

    She waded through the house to deposit the tray in the room that looked like the kitchen to her, oblivious to the strange looks she received from Aquila who was unpacking fruit. Valerie walked off without seeing her, keeping her hand against the wall to help her guide her way towards the room she had stayed in the night before. Before long she was asleep, her mind going black to moment she closed her eyes.

    The next morning she awoke to a familiar routine of Aquila filling up the ceramin basin near her bed with water, the older woman draping material onto the foot of her bed before saying "There's some clean linen for you to use after the baths. I'll help you dress for the party when you return. Try not dawdle, I want a few hours to make sure your appearance is perfect before presenting you to the guests. I got a head start on some of the food last night and Marcus will take a trip down to the market today to get the rest of the items I need."

    With that said she left, returning only briefly to deposit a small tray of food and watered down wine before leaving again. Valerie made a face at the red liquid swirling around in the glass, not even touching it and instead opting to pick at the assortment of fruit. I miss coffee. I wonder how long it will be before I resign myself to getting a little drunk everyday in order to not dehydrate. She chuckled at her own joke, getting ready into much simpler clothing than what she had worn the day before.

    After mussing about with the toga and eventually getting it to a point where she felt it wouldn't fall off, she turned her attention to the new collection of glass bottles she had purchased the day before and those that were already sitting on the shelf. After some time deliberating on which one to choose, she sighed irritably and packed a random assortment of coloured glass vessels into an empty satchel.

    After collecting what she thought she would need at the bathes she exited her room, looking about for Kaeso. When she eventually found him she broke out in a small smile, finding that although she was not looking forward the unknowns of using a public bathes, she would at least have him nearby and ready to talk with once the ordeal was over. "I'm ready to go when you are." She said happily, joining him at his side as they headed off. "What I can remember from what I've read is that the bathes have lots of different rooms. Is there any particular one I start in, do I have to use all of them?"

    A sudden thought occured to her, the girl paling. "What if I see someone there? Some females who will be coming over tonight? What if I'm rude to them, or upset some societal expectation that needs to be upheld while...ah...bathing?" Her words were running on to each other with her worry, the female looking down to her feet as she flew through any possible scenarios she might encounter.
  20. Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

    Zul'Zae'ju'Jin the Hugger Troll

    Kaeso watched her with the concern of one who had gone through the unknown but he spoke of nothing to hurry her on. To do that would add to the burden and pressure upon her shoulders and to do such would be a dishonourable action on his part. All they had to go on was that they were in this, whatever or wherever it was, together and that neither of them were alone. Valerie was now a friend he considered equal in all things. An idea that he would never have considered before being pulled into the future.

    She spoke as he finished his mouthful of whatever small morsel he had swiped from the platter. He was too used to grabbing food that was far less luxurious to marvel at its taste or wonder and having tasted food from the future, it seemed even more dull. He offered what he hoped was a reassuring smile but he knew that his rugged face with its scars didn't always allow for that reflection. "You won't need to be there long, and there should be someone at hand to aid you if needed. The baths have that on site," his words alluded to the fact there would be a presence of slaves at the baths but knowing she was not keen on the idea of slavery, he chose to be less blunt than he would normally be.

    His frame shifted and stiffened more out of drilled in practices when she rose and as she gather the food items together and lifted the tray he had been about to try and correct her. It was not something the lady of the house would normally be seen doing but he stopped himself in the thought. perhaps it might prove to geive her some form of semblence of an old life, make it seem a little more normal for her and her 'supposed' memory loss and subsequent would be need to have pretended to not be one of the Nobilitas on their 'supposed' journey back from the savage lands of Britannia would allow for small acts to be had... even if they were thought peculiar. No, if Aquila had issue with it, she could damn well complain to him if she really wanted to. After all... the letter had pretty much alluded to that and expressed it. Even if Valerie hadn't seen the meaning behind the words, he sure had and he doubted it would have passed Aquila's scrutiny either.

    The soldier in him bowed his head courtiously towards her as would be expected from one of a lower social rank. "I can certainly agree with that, my lady. I hope you rest well, and have pleasant dreams," he said formally at first and then warmly thereafter. He might be a simple Centurion but he had come to know the picksnickety ways of those in political circles. Observation meant the difference in life or death and knew he had to be sure anyone eavesdropping didn't think there was anything untowards. Getting too familiar even at her request could be miscontrued and land them both in a stink he may not be able to save them from.

    A rising nervousness rose within the man as he watched her go, peering after the way she had gone as he absent-mindedly scratched at his chest. A good night's rest for tomorrow seemed impossible for them both, he mused with feeling. It was perhaps a lot worse for her despite having absentia to fall back on but equally it was going to be a party he would never have had an invite to before. He was concerned he would land his foot in it and resolved to not drink too much as to interfere with his ability to think and observe. No, he would need to see who was attending. His world had and would always be dog eat dog, a case of survivng against the odds and a life of adapt or die.

    He sighed deeply and shook his head before he glanced round and then trundled back to the room which he had been assigned. It was a little fancier than his cot back in his own tent but it still offered the spartan look. He sank on his cot after removing his boots and was soon sending them home after a while of solitary thinking.

    The next morning, he woke a little later after dawn than was usual for him. He realised he was still regaining much of the sleep he had lost in recent weeks. He looked towards the water basin only to find it filled with a cloth neatly folded next to it. He briefly checked his case, making sure everything inside was safe before hiding it away again. If any of the housestaff looked inside and found what was inside, there was going to be a field day.

    He washed, dried and tied his boots on after a few stretches to get himself into the mood for the day. A day of bathing, gossip and mingling, trying to pretend he even knew half of what was happening. He had no delusions that he wasn't going to be pressed for information about everything. How, why, where... All those questions were going to be launched at him and not for the first time had he wished he could trade it for being back in the frontlines.

    Kaeso moved towards where he thought he would easily be found after a small breakfast. He'd feast later, food was a good excuse as any to prolong his answers and aid his rising anxiety about the whole affair. He was stood to a relaxed stance, dressed simply in what little he had. He had enough coin to pay for what they would need and perhaps enough for a little street food afterwards but not enough to attract undue attention. He turned as he heard feet tread on stone and smiled as she moved to join him. It didn't matter what she was wearing, she was still very pretty. He turned, "My lady," he greeted before he gave a warm smile of bemusement and silently reached out to adjust her toga. It was something others would nitpick on if there had been no one to address it. He knew she could do without that in tow.

    The Centurion nodded when he was asked a question and spoke as he worked on correcting the look of her toga, "Yes. You start with the apodyterium, that's where you put your clothes. They'll provide the towel, and that's where we part ways too. You'll need to go to the tepidarium... it's just a warmed room, let's your body get used for the caldarium afterwards, which will be ratehr hot. It sweat your skin out. You'll then go on to the frigidarium which will cool and soothe you back down. You can opt for a massage, which I would recommend... Helps with the stress I find, but then my stress usually comes from bawling at rankers all day... However... given everything that's happened..."

    He dropped his arms back to his sides as he paused and looked at her, knowing this was all a lot of information to be taking in, "Or you can just go and sit down for a little while after you've cooled off and then you can get dressed again."

    Kaeso paused again to consider something before he smiled gently, "It's usually helps to have a personal sl', he hesitated before correcting himself, 'assistant' to help with the process... If you need the help, ask them for the service. I, well, you, have the coin for the need." He knew she might not wish to but the women would be available there regardless and it was their role in life. It was perhaps a better role than what most slaves had to endure, he supposed since baths were not brothels.

    She launched another question and he offered a smile to her, again hoping it came off as reassuring, "Smile, keep your head high. You're noblitas, not one of the common folk." He said simply, fully aware he was part of the common folk. "Say what you have to but don't feel like you ought to explain everything. That's your prerogative, Valerie. Remember, your memory is vague and it seems like your original namesake went missing quite young, so, I don't think you'll have to worry too much about them asking into that part..."

    "I wouldn't lie too much... be as honest as you can be without, well, you know..." he nodded before he half turned, "Shall we, my lady?" he asked, again conscious that there were ears all around them potentially looking to pick up on anything odd. Simply by turning up with the story of his mission had Aquila up in suspcious moves. He didn't really wish to poke the woman further.

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