Signing Away My Life

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Signing Away My Life

Post  Kaeso Mucius Sophus on Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:08 pm

Kaeso looked over the wax tablet the fat and lazy bureaucrat handed him. The first thing he realized was that the wax tablet was partially melting because the sun over Rome was baking every poor citizen, rich and poor alike. The second thing he realized was that he was all together too bored, tired, and sweaty to read the long terms of agreement to his military service. He simply stared at it for awhile, the proscribed five minutes that was needed showing he "understood" what he was signing. He in reality had no clue what he was signing, but didn't care.

All he cared about was his future on the battlefield. He was going to be wearing sharp iron and steel armor. He was going to be out there in the fray of battle killing Etruscans, Persians, Egyptians, and even Hyperboreans if the rumors were to be believed. He was signing up for the Legion of Rome. As he carved his name into the wax tablet, sealing the deal between the state and himself. The clerk handed him his paltry pay of 1000 denarii for a years service. He didn't care, he wasn't in this for the money...he was in this for the glory and the political career that awaited him once he finished his military service. His step-father had practically secured him a aedileship when he was done, which would launch him into the serious political arena where his connections to the aristocracy and his popularity with the Roman people could launch him eventually into a proconsulship or even if he dared think of it....a consulship. His ambition grew as he took the denarii and walked around the line,

He spread his hands to welcome the applause as he felt himself elevated to consulship in his day dreams, when a random person slugged him the gut, the random man's hand made a crunching noise as it broke against his armor like skin. He let out a yelp and Kaeso looked down, snapped out of his reverie by the man's ineffectual blow.

"Why hello there" Kaeso said cheerfully.

He slugged the man in the gut which doubled the man over.

"Have a good day" he said as he strolled onward.

Though he had a particular feeling he was being watched.
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Re: Signing Away My Life

Post  Seraphina Xante on Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:26 am

As Seraphina closed the door behind her she still heard her mother shout some last minute instructions at her but she wasn’t listening any more. All her mom had asked her to do was go to the market to buy some supplies and she was acting as if Seraphina had never been to the market on her own before, giving her exact instruction on how to get there, where the merchants were that sold the required supplies and the constant phrase ‘don’t get lost’. She turned the corner and let out a deep breath, she never got lost, well almost never, not in her opinion at least. It was more like finding more interesting things to occupy herself with, getting distracted was not the same thing as getting lost. And she would prove that to her mother today, she would go to the market and buy the supplies, Seraphina ran over the items on her shopping list again in her mind to make sure she wouldn’t forget anything as she rounded a corner onto a much busier street.

The forum was busy as usual, buzzing with activity but not entirely packed, that would most likely change as soon as Seraphina reached the market though. She should be keeping her mind on her goal and not get distracted but instead she was looking around as usual taking in the interesting and yet sometimes strange happenings in the streets of Rome. She smiled a little when she saw a young man not much older than her lift his hand up in the air as if receiving a standing ovation. Her gaze moved to the line he just stepped out of and the wax tablets that were presented to every male in the line and realized it was the sign up for military service. ‘Another one who thinks he’s going to find eternal glory in the military.’ Seraphina had to admit that she didn’t know much about politics, all she knew was that she had heard her father mention far less names of people than the number of soldiers in the military so the chance of fame and glory seemed pretty small to her.

Her eyes moved back to the young man just in time to see someone walk up to him to punch him in the stomach. She had expected him to double over from the impact of the punch but instead it was the other man who let out a shriek of pain and was now holding his hand close to his chest. Without realizing it Seraphina had slowed her pace and was now standing still to watch the rest of the encounter play out.
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Re: Signing Away My Life

Post  Kaeso Mucius Sophus on Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:14 pm

Kaeso looked behind him and saw a girl looking at him. He was particularly used to women giggling when he looked at them but not sure of what to do when they looked at him. He just went with his first instinct and gave a mocking bow, as if he were preforming in the theater....though his father would most certainly strike him dead if he were ever caught on stage. He was after all the son of a well respected man, not some pleb who needed to work for a living. He gave his toga a tug with his hands to air it out and he stepped towards the girl.

“Hey” he said smiling as he approached.

“Are you lost?” he asked

He shrugged and adjusted his toga again, it still didn’t fit right even after having received it last year with “becoming a man” as his father said. He felt like it was going to fall off him anytime he moved wrong, which made his usually graceful steps awkward at best and downright drunken at worst.

“Or are you going to sign up for the legion?” he smirked knowing full well females couldn’t join the legion.
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Re: Signing Away My Life

Post  Seraphina Xante on Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:26 pm

Seraphina hadn’t expected the boy to turn around and when he looked at her she quickly diverted her gaze and let it drift through the street in the hopes that he wouldn’t notice that she’d been looking at him. Her mother had always told her that it was rude to stare at people, and it wasn’t like she was intentionally staring at them, sometimes they just stood out from the general boring Roman crowd so much that she felt like she had no choice but to look at them a little bit more closely.

She quickly glanced at the boy to see if her actions had helped the situation but saw him make a rather preposterous bow in her direction, apparently not. She just got the thought in her head that now might be a good time to start walking again and avoid further embarrassment when the boy came over to her.

Seraphina gave him a bit of a cautious smile, still kind of embarrassed by the whole staring incident. “Hi” She shook her head at his question and shook it more fiercely when he suggested she might have secretly been wanting to sign up for the legion “Oh no, certainly not. I’ll leave it up to you boy to poke each other with sharp objects. I’m just on my way to the market.” she pointed at the empty basket that she was carrying. As he started tugging on his toga she chuckled lightly “You seem to be in need for a good tailor though.”
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Re: Signing Away My Life

Post  Kaeso Mucius Sophus on Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:14 pm

Kaeso chuckled “its my step-father’s toga….he doesn’t want it altered….claims it’ll help me try to fill his shoes and remind me to be ‘greater than I am’. He’s abit of an old timer, aristocrat and runs with the politicians crowd. I run security for him on his way to meetings, his enemies often hire thugs or mobs to try and stop him from making it to session.”

He made a face and shook his head derisively at her comment about the military. He was bound for glory, not for some pointy stick adventure game like he played with in his youth. He had long forsaken the wooden practice sword of his childhood for the tempered steel of his father’s birthright. He was far from offended though, taking it as a mild joke, and responded in kind.

“And pointy sticks? Please…the gladius is the most lethal weapon in the world right now…its about four feet of the best metals available to Rome, heated and forged in a blaze so hot that Hephaestus himself would break a sweat! I wouldn’t be caught dead with a sissy spear or arrows.” He smirked

“Those are your pointed sticks”

He adjusted his toga again, and swept his arm through the crowd.

“Surely such a girl as yourself would need some protection while shopping?” his expression grew a bit somber

“Rome isn’t nearly as safe as it used to be….”
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Re: Signing Away My Life

Post  Seraphina Xante on Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:28 pm

Seraphina looked at the tall boy in front of her and wondered how much ‘greater’ those shoes would be. He was taller and more muscular that most of the scrawny boys that were still in line, the ones that never held a sword in their lives and signed up merely for the paltry so they could feel their families, or who’s families made them do it for that reason. She just nodded when the boy mentioned his stepfather’s profession, yes she had met a couple of the people her father worked with and they were all the same, stuck up, ancient and just plain boring. Naturally her father made her respect these old and so called wise men who ran the city so she always did and kept her opinions to herself, a woman’s opinion wasn’t particularly valued anyways. “That’s quite a responsibility to have, I guess he is going to miss you then as soon as they assign you a legion.”

She pushed back the upcoming chuckles when he praised his gladius but had to admit that she had seldom heard someone speak of his weapon with such love. “Yes, I’ll admit that your gladius looks a whole lot more deadly than a pointy stick.” She smirked a little bit and added “It’s still a sharp pointy object though.”

She looked at the crowd in bewilderment for a moment before she caught the meaning of his words, they were below him and he was expecting to lead them into battle.

The boy made a fair point when he commented on the shopping. Rome wasn’t like their mansion near the sea where is was generally safe. For a moment she wondered why her father hadn’t forced her to walk around with a guard yet when she realized that her father didn’t know about most of her wanderings.

She weighted her options. If the word got to her father she at least had a legitimate reason to be out and he surely wouldn’t mind her going to the market with the son of one of the men he worked with especially if he had offered it for her protection. On top of that he was offering and not forcing her to go with him.

So she offered him a smile “I’d appreciate that.” Then she saw his expression darken a bit “I don’t know much about that, I only came to Rome a few years ago. Until that time I lived in Ostia. I’m Seraphina by the way, Seraphina Xante.” And she waited patiently for him to lead the way to the market.
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Re: Signing Away My Life

Post  Kaeso Mucius Sophus on Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:18 am

“I guess, the responsibility doesn’t really bother me, the worst that can happen is that I die.” He smiled

“And my step-dad won’t really miss me I think, He’s the one pushing me to sign up for this….plus I’m not going anywhere. I’m being stationed outside of Rome to help fight the ‘enemy’.”

He looked around, fidgeting, wanting to get moving.

“Any time, its improper for a noble lady to be alone in the city, so many people these days have no respect for our kind. Lets get going, walk with me.” He asked as he motioned with his head.

As he walked, the bustle of the city streets started to part a little for them. He had a reputation for his strength and very few people wanted to accidentally end up with broken bones, as he had often found that his strength broke normal people’s bones like balsa wood.

“Well Seraphina, my name is Kaeso, Kaeso Sophus but you can call me Gaius if you like. I’ve been called both for so long I respond to either.”
He stopped in front of a series of food carts.

“So what exactly did you need to buy today?”
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Re: Signing Away My Life

Post  Seraphina Xante on Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:49 am

Seraphina was surprised by how casually he talked about death even though she knew that most men found it an honor to die in battle. Apparently dying while protecting a family member who hired you as a body guard was glorious as well.

She had never been taught anything about how the army works or battle in general, basically anything that wasn’t ladylike so she was quite confused by his words. “How come you already know where you are stationed? You signed up just moments ago.”

Once again she was unsure of what his words meant. She knew it was unladylike to ask questions about politics, then again it was unladylike to ask questions about the army as well and she had asked those already. She nodded and started walking towards the market with him. It didn’t take long for her curiosity to get the better of her. “What did you mean with that people these days have no respect for our kind? How are these days different from other days?”

Seraphina vaguely noticed the crowd parting for them but she was too absorbed in Kaeso’s answers to really pay much attention to it.

She gave him a bright smile “ Well it’s nice to meet you Kaeso. Gaius? That doesn’t sound much like your name.

She ran over the list in her head again. Fruits, vegetables, flower, bread, eggs and honey. She did a quick count to make sure she had everything and then told Kaeso the list. She looked around to see where she could find these things and pointed at a small bakery a couple of stalls down the street “That’s where we usually get our bread”
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Re: Signing Away My Life

Post  Kaeso Mucius Sophus on Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:21 am

“Okay, so I don’t ‘officially’ know where I’m stationed but unofficially my father has military contacts, and has put in the word for me. I’m kind of exactly the type of person they want for this special assignment. It’s glory without War unfortunately, just battle for now. I’m going to be thrown together with a few other ‘special’ soldiers and if we can work together….hopefully the countryside will be a little safer for everyone.”

He wasn’t sure how much he was supposed to tell anyone about the mission his dad had given him. There were monsters, legitimate monsters roaming the country side and threatening to destroy trade and even invade the city. He wanted to brag about how he was going to be slaying monsters but he knew that women had a penchant for gossip and he didn’t have any reason to think this one was any different than any other at the moment. She was nice enough, and probably smart enough to know what was supposed to be and not supposed to be said but still….they were in the market. This was no place to be speaking secrets where any person could be overhearing them. He was woken from his internal reverie by her next question.

“Our kind? Well the patricians…the noble families.” He smiled “What else would you think?”

“The noble families have always been respected as the most honorable families in the city, since it was supposedly our ancestors that kicked the tyrant out of the city, and freed the people from his cruel rule. I think less respect for the noble families is terrible, since we are obviously deserving of their respect….though part of me does see that some noble families are very…ignoble…and shameful.”
“Kaeso is my given name, but many just call me Gaius because its easier and less exotic. More Roman. Even if I don’t look Roman, I can at least still have a Roman name.”

He noticed her smile and was taken by surprise at the genuine quality of it. Many of the girls he had met before were all sneaky, always acting, and playing politics for their father. Only interested in getting married to a successful man, little more than glorified whores in Kaeso’s opinion but this one was different. She had an innocent quality, and an air of uncaring at the same time like she thought she was invincible or at the very least didn’t consider the possibility she could be hurt. She was either very brave…or very naïve. Either way it was a cool drink of water compared to other company he had kept, what little of it his father allowed at least.

He followed her over to the bakery cart and stood guard, glaring out into the crowd of hungry and poor people, watching for the slightest sign of trouble. Of course there probably wouldn’t be an attack now, but there was no substitute for vigilance.
“What does your father do in the city?” he asked idly, still looking around, hand on the hilt of his sword.
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Re: Signing Away My Life

Post  Seraphina Xante on Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:42 pm

She shook her head lightly, smiling. Contact, contact, contacts, it seemed to be the main form of trade around here. Then again, she would be quite happy about that in a couple of years since her father had similar plans for her brother’s future. She still listened carefully to the rest of his words though and the special soldiers piqued her interest, or rather her curiosity. She kind of played her next words as a tease because she felt he might perceive it as an insult if she asked him seriously, but she was listening carefully as he answered. “And what kind of qualities do these special types have? Other than experiencing a blow to the stomach as a mere stroke of a feather of course.”

His reply made her feel a little stupid. Yes, she knew that he meant the patricians, but she had only been in Rome for three years and she hadn’t noticed any severe changes during that time. “Nothing” she said a little ashamed “I just, I don’t know much about Rome and… I haven’t really seen any severe changes since we moved here, I… I just heard my father’s stories while growing up”

Seraphina nodded at his explanation, she had indeed heard the story about the tyrant and his cruel rule many times growing up as well as how the noble families freed the people. “I didn’t know that the respect for the noble families had faltered. Why did that happen?” She got a little uncomfortable when Kaeso mentioned the ignoble and shameful behavior of some of the noble families since she knew that some considered the marriage of a Roman and a Greek as shameful. And she still didn’t know what people would think of her if they ever found out what she could do. She softly cleared her throat and continued. “Err, what do you mean by that? I mean, what kind of behavior would be ignoble and shameful?”

Kaeso was right, he did look more exotic and less roman than pretty much any other person around then, but then again, so did Seraphina. It was kind of the reason why she preferred to call his Kaeso rather than Gaius. “So if you’re roman than why didn’t your parents just give you a roman name? Seems to me like that would have solved the problem quite easily.”

As Seraphina looked for some good bread she thought about their conversation. Why had he asked her about what else she would think when she referred to ‘our kind’. Did he know anything about her? Had she let anything slip or perhaps not been careful enough and had anyone seen her manipulate water? No, it was probably nothing. Or had he referred to both of them looking different from the standard roman? Sure they both looked more exotic but that was it. Or was it? She though back to the punch in the stomach he received that should have doubled him over but hadn’t affected him at all, instead he had returned his attackers’ favor with hardly any effort and a lot more effectively. Had he been suggesting he was like her? No that wasn’t possible, her exotic looks came from her mother’s side, the Greek side. She just got more of it than her brother did, that was why they looked so different.

After she paid the merchant for the bread and a small bag of flower they moved on to a stall a little further down for fruits and vegetables. Kaeso’s question pulled her out of her thoughts and she looked around at him. “He currently represents my grandfather in the senate. My father is actually a merchant from Ostia, he owns at least half of the ships there, but when my grandfather fell ill three years ago we came here so my father could stand in for him. He still owns the fleet and we go to Ostia occasionally to check up on it, but he has put my uncle in charge of overlooking the local activities in Ostia for now.”
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Re: Signing Away My Life

Post  Kaeso Mucius Sophus on Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:26 am

“Oh…that?” he chuckled

“Any soldier can do that with enough sit ups and some basic discipline.” He smiled

“If you don’t let your enemy see you respond to pain, it frightens them.” He grabbed a sword off the cart of a nearby blacksmith.

“The people their looking for can do things like this” he closed his eyes to concentrate.
He plunged his mind down through his throat, through his stomach and into his core where the beating pulsing red energy waited for him. He surrounded his consciousness in it and drew it back up to his arms. He opened his eyes and in one swift motion bent the iron sword, and twisted, snapping it as if it were a branch. He smiled and held the two pieces aloft for the market to see. Claps ensued and whistles of approval. He looked at the blacksmith and smirked

“Sorry about the mess, my father will pay you for it.” He placed the two pieces on the table

“Just show him these and keep your mouth shut.”

As the crowd dispersed he turned to her and said

“The city has changed, people like us are accepted now…and by us I mean people who don’t look Roman. In the old days, we’d be despised etc, but now we represent some sort of racial diversity, and with that comes….the un-Romanness and crime. So in a way we’re a symptom….or so my dad says. I’m not sure I believe all that racial purity stuff.”

“My parents gave me a Roman name, Kaeso is a Roman name….its just an exotic one…given to aliens and other such people. I have some issues with my father….but lets just say he doesn’t view me as purely Roman.”

He listened to her story about her family’s merchant history. She was either brave or naïve, luckily he wasn’t as judgemental as some of the aristocracy who looked down on people who had to work for part of their lives. He was just glad to have someone who wasn’t trying to out maneuver him, and as far as he had observed, this girl wasn’t the least interested in politics. She was a good person. He smiled.

“Well sounds like you guys got a major upgrade in social status. Just do yourself a favor and don’t go around saying that unless you trust the person because hearing stuff like that could turn the nobles against your family and you seem nice enough so it would be a shame to see it happen to you. Come on, lets get some more of your shopping done. I gotta stop by the blacksmith on our way back and pay for some new armor for myself before I head out there to fight in the country side.”
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Re: Signing Away My Life

Post  Seraphina Xante on Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:51 pm

Seraphina nodded at Kaeso’s words. She didn’t say anything but part of her doubted that any soldier was able to shake off a blow like that, she sure hadn’t seen anyone do it before but then again, she didn’t hang out with soldiers a lot either. The responding to pain part seemed to make sense though.

She looked had him questioning when he grabbed a sword of a blacksmith’s cart. He already had a gladius, why would he grab another one? She watched as he grabbed the sword with both hands, more curious than questioning now. Her eyes flickered up to his concentrated face for a moment before settling on the sword again just in time to see it snap into two pieces.

As the sword shattered Seraphina quickly lifted up her free arm to protect her eyes, a smart move since she felt some of the smaller pieces of shrapnel scratch her arm not even a moment later. They had been standing too close together when the sword broke. She quickly put her arms down again and brushed some other small pieces off her dress in that movement. She then joined in with the crowd and game him an appreciative applause, not as exaggerated as the two girls at the other side of the street but friendly, just like her smile. “Well, no one can deny that that was something special. So you can take a hit without showing pain and you’re several times stronger than the average roman. And I’m guessing on top of that there is courage.”

As he turned around Seraphina did a quick scan of the arm she had used to shield herself. It didn’t look bad, just some minor scrapes, nothing that wouldn’t heal in the water. She just had to find a way to cover it up until she was alone. She moved the handle of her basket to that arm so nobody would see it when she was picking out groceries and paying the merchants.

She nodded at his words wondering why his father would say such things about his own son. After all, it would affect him and the rest of his family as well if his son was looked down upon. Personally Seraphina had always enjoyed looking different from the standard roman. She didn’t notice how her exotic looks turned peoples’ heads everywhere she went; Staring boys, gossiping hating girls, grown-ups having positive as well as negative opinions about her looks and heritage. She didn’t pay attention to it since it didn’t particularly interest her. “Well there’s still enough of us around to stand out in a crowd though. Or at least within the circles of the noble families, perhaps the poor parts of Rome are more diverse, I wouldn’t know, I don’t go there.” Okay so that wasn’t entirely true, she had ended up there once or twice during her wanderings but she hadn’t felt the slightest bit comfortable there and had since made a conscious effort not to end up there again.

Seraphina was just wondering why a father would give a child a name that alienates him even more that his looks already did when Kaeso mentioned the issues and she decided to drop the subject since she felt she had come upon something a little too personal. “ohh, I see…” Her response didn’t seem sufficient though and she felt that the silence she left was kind of uncomfortable all of a sudden. “I’m sorry about asking, I didn’t mean to intrude...”

Okay so she was just making a million rookie mistakes right now it seemed. She had never not been able to mention her father’s merchant profession to her friends in Ostia, but then again that was Ostia. Perhaps Rome worked differently and she apparently had no clue about when to keep her mouth shut. Seraphina made a quick mental note not to mention her father’s merchant’s past any more to anyone around here. Luckily Kaeso didn’t seem to judge her because of it and she returned his smile. “I’m sorry. Politics is a new concept to me and my father keeps me as far away from it as well as his senate duties as possible. The rules in this place just seem so different from Ostia.”

She nodded and smiled “I’m almost done” She turned around again to pay the merchant, then moved on to another stall for some eggs and honey which she found quite quickly. After she had paid the woman she turned to Kaeso again and said “alright I’m done” Her smile was a little uncertain. She was enjoying his company but she wasn’t sure of the end of her shopping trip meant that both of them went their own ways again or if they would continue on with his errands together.
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