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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2002 5:09 pm
by Horatius Piscinus
In the ill lit taverna where shadows abound a sudden motion brings two men into the light. For a single moment they are recognized. Across the room another man leans forward, emerging from the shadows to reveal his presence. His dark eyes meet with Marius. A short nod of recognition is exchanged, before supple arms drag the man back into the shadows.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2002 10:34 pm
by Curio Agelastus
Curio smiled ironically at Locatus,
"Keep on trying? Aye, I do that a great deal. I'm very good at trying..."
Thus leaving the obvious self-deprecating comment unspoken.

Upon hearing Mus' financial remarks, Curio said urgently,
"Payments? Ah yes, I have some very good friends who can help with this problem. They live at a Domus called Aerarium..."
Curio's face relaxed into a grin - he would not really try to cheat his friends out of money.

He listened with amusement to Marius trying to obtain barbecued food.
"Mari, you are well aware that the people of Roma are not ones for such barbaric culinary customs."
Smirking, he then ordered the same.

Curio gave a start as Marius grabbed his arm.
"Mi Mari, there are very good reasons for you to be here. For one thing, you should meet these people. True, some are politicians. But even you and I know that some politicians genuinely care. That is true of these; they are all good people. There is no need to feel left out. Some of them have military experience - true, it was part of their political career, but it is a starting point for beginning conversations."

Curio's head turned suddenly, and he saw a man lean forward briefly. Marius saw him also, he and the newcomer exchanging nods of recognition. Curio too knew the man - but the last time they had met had been in his native Britannia. No doubt the man in the shadows had lost the symbol, the piece of jewellery that symbolised the eternal struggle between two balanced, opposing forces. After all, could that symbol ever have true significance for any other than Curio? None knew what it meant to him, and yet - ridiculously, surely - he hoped that the man had kept the symbol, that he remembered their last encounter, however brief it had been.

Mari sees Pisci.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 3:48 am
by Aldus Marius
It was a testament to the strength of their friendship that Marius Peregrinus allowed Scribonius Curio to talk him out of leaving before the arrival of dinner. Shortly after said arrival, Marius was very glad he hadn't left--for once in his travels, the cook had gotten the barbecued beef brisket right, and the result nearly swept the Wanderer off his feet. "Mi Curio," he said around a mouthful of beef, "I do believe this place has a future!" He smiled for only the second time that night, and the smile reached his eyes.

Those same eyes, however, did not fail to register a movement in the shadows: Was that Piscinus?? The face, only briefly seen, seemed to recognize him; Marius was about to hail him as a fellow raggedy-man and welcome him to the table...

But a stranger's arms emerged and seemed to drag Horatius Piscinus back into the shadows. Much disturbed by this, Marius put down his eating-utensils; excused himself to Curio; and, not without a Romano-Texan's regret, abandoned his feast to go see what had just happened to his friend...

PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 1:47 pm
by Horatius Piscinus

The Nubian's breath, warm and sweet, graced Horatius' chin. In the darkness, a glimmer of light caught upon Kallo's golden earrings, Egyptian headress, and glass-bead necklace, beneath the white ricinium that framed her face, her eyes shining upwards to him in a query. The elder man smiled at her concern. One did not pass in itinere these days without an escort. Kallo and her companion Sorina were travelling to Rome in order to visit the Temple of the Bona Dea, there to attain special herbs needed in the house of Domina Valeria. It was Horatius who was to provide protection for the two women as they travelled. Yet here, in a taberna on the road to Rome, it was comforting to have two such she-wolves to guard his back should they prove needed. Deeper in the shadows stood still another man whose wary eye stood guard.

On his many travels, whenever passing south, Horatius would always visit the domus of Valeria. She had come from an a noble family, their fortunes long spent, and she married to a brutal older man for convenience. It was Valeria's sons who Horatius had first met, hiding out in his gardens from the tyrrany of their father. One night the boys brought their young mother to their haven. There in a cold winter's rain Horatius found Valeria, bruised, scarred, and burned. He had taken in the three boys and their mother, defended them in the courts against their father's slander, provided them with an education and later mentored them in the army under his command. To Valeria Horatius gave a house he held in Capua. A modest place, yet suitable for an independent woman of her order. After a few years, through several trials, Horatius had gained for the boys their patrimony, and when their father died following one particularly vigorous exhortation by Horatius before the court, Valeria found herself to be a wealthy woman. The modest house in Capua soon grew into three suites. Valeria, still young, wealthy, well educated, provided a salon to entertain the very best of men. A second story of apartments was added for the many women she gathered to herself, refugees as she had once been, in a house of women. Then above, a third level was made, a small austere apartment and solarium set aside for Horatius as his own haven from the troubles of the world.

Returning from Britannia, Horatius had travelled around the urbs to visit his estates at Ferentium. Close enough he thought to travel the extra distance to Valeria's for a few days visit that was sure to relieve him of his northern chills. There Valeria entertained Horatius in deep conversation, privy as she was to the secrets of all distinguished viatores who passed her way. Then in her usual manner, "Would you be so kind, mi Marce..." she had said. It was no obligation to Horatius to visit yet another old acquaintance, the sacerdotus of Bona Dea on the Aventine. He was one of the few men that she would permit within the temple's confines. He had already arranged for precious herbs from Antioch to be delivered to his apartment at Valeria's, some intended for the Temple of the Bona Dea anyway. So Horatius had agreed to escort Sorina and Kallo on their journey.

Sorina first noticed the approach of the man from across the room. His broad soulders and many scars made him look threatening. Her golden mane began to rise, fire entered her hazel eyes, as her muscle grew taunt, ready to pounce upon Marius with her claws. But a large gentle hand fell upon her shoulder as Maximus leaned forward to whisper to Horatius, "It seems my former centurian would visit your table."

"Siste, viator!" Horatius said as he rose to greet Marius. "Et salve, mi commiles. I believe you already know Maximus. He served as optio ad spem ordinis under your command before his transfer to my tesserarii."

Sorina's eyes still burned, and now Kallo's dark eyes pierced Marius like drawn daggers, until scampering feet caught their attention, and furry heads nuzzled upon their laps. One look from Horatius sent the innkeeper scurrying with servants to bring another bench to his table. Another look by Horatius over Marius' shoulder fell upon the man who followed. Horatius reached into his sinus, extracted a medallion of oriental design that he then held in his palm as he greeted Curio. "Come," boomed Horatius, "won't you join us?"

Marius and Curio stood opposite Horatius, surveying his little party and uneasy to be seated with their backs to the crowded room.

Charge of the Dog Brigade

PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2002 12:48 am
by Aldus Marius
Marius' eyes went from alarm to kill-readiness to surprise to bemusement as he made his way across the room and gained a better understanding of Piscinus' situation. As he approached, he thought of two possible reasons why there might be a stranger's arms around his friend; either Piscinus was being held captive...or, as it turned out, he'd found some Very Good Company on the way over. (OOC: I really did come up with this option by myself, before Pisci's post <g>!) Ahh, that's my Piscinus, he thought, resourceful as always...

Once close enough to be sure that his friend was in no danger (and having automatically dismissed the two women as being of any hazard to himself), he extended his greeting: "Salve, amice bon'! I see you brought your own fun! Whoops--watch out for the doggies--Meinard you've met, and here's Bonni, and this little one is Curlisu. --Bonni, don't knock over the lady! --Meinard, it's okay...nobody needs to be bitten...yet," and he kept watch on the women until their eyes had softened and they'd gotten busy petting the pups. Hmph, he thought to himself, I'd always figgered them Egyptians for cat people.

Back to Pisci; "...and what brings you into this neck of the woods? Did Curio send you a tablet, too...?" They exchanged pleasantries, poked fun at each others' appearance, and did not fail to bring Marius' old Optio into the conversation (Maximus: "And what be ye doing here?"; Marius: "Haunting you, what's it look like??"; hearty laughter all around.) And then Curio drew up, and the bench arrived, and Marius saw it was going to be a long and pleasant meeting, and excused himself to fetch his hard-won barbecue dinner over to where he now planned to spend the evening...

PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2002 1:21 am
by Quintus Aurelius Orcus
Upon watching his fellow drinkers drink and talk he hears the door being opened by a old woman. Sokarus knows her by reputation. He watches her as she enters the taberna and goes to take a seat at the bar. She is in her seventies and was an born slave from Greek parents. As the others note Sokarus' interest in this woman, they think it is a kinky interest of some kind, which is on Mus' mind :wink: or that he knew her. They are to young to take these rumours seriously or probably never heard of it.
He never really met her but those who have heard of her tend to avoid her. The rumour goes around that she used to be a witch who was cursed or simply a woman who didn't forfill her religious obligations and got cursed. The reason why it has got Sokarus' attention is because he heard something about her lost son. At the age of 35 her son who she called Neibiros dissapeared from the face of the earth. Some say he was murdered and burned, others say his body was dumped in the sea. But Sokarus has heard that her son was in not a demon child nor a monster but supposed to be a child of a god. Sokarus approaches her with ease. He doesn't want to startle her. She has been an outcast of scoiety for quit some time but ever now and than she goes to the taberna looking for her son. Nobody knows why she does this since her son wasn't much of a drinker but more of a soldier type who south out adventure where ever he could when he wasn't forced to stay in the army.
He greets her but is ignored by Neibira. He ponders for a second while he look around. The attention of his friends are on him for the time being. She shuts him out and pushes him away from her while approaching her.
He hears laughter of men who are laughing with him and her. It annoys him that he doesn't get her to talk with him or that these three men are laughing at them. He follows her outside where he grabs her arm to stop her from walking away from him. She turn around to look at him.
'Look i don't know what your problem is, but i have a question and i don't want to ridicule you as others have done in the past.
Who was the father of Neibiros? The real father?'
'Why is it of any interest to you?' a moment of silence enters the conversation while Neibira ponders a bit and than says Sokarus' name.
Sokarus is surprised that she knew his name while he is sure she didn't knew this. Shocked and intrigued by her, he asks how she knew this.
'I know you through your reputation. You have the reputation of involving with occult matters. The reason why there weren't any charges brought against you is because some powerfull people are protecting you from it. Afterall, you do work for the collegium pontificium, don't you?' Even her voice sounds old and intimidating.
Sokarus doesn't really knows how to respond to this and is shocked to learn that others have shown interest but have taken it lightly and mocked her for what she told them. But she had to admit that Sokarus was seriously interested in what she had to say. She wants to talk about it but not on the streets. She wants him to go to her home tomorow morning when the sun is almost in its highest position. Sokarus agrees and returns to the taberna, only to find out that his talk with Neibira has got some people interested.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2002 7:58 pm
by Curio Agelastus
Curio stood opposite Horatius and his party, surveying the odd assortment of people. He was glad that some people had arrived who Marius could relate to. He heaved a sigh of relief when Horatius produced the symbol - Piscini was not the only one to possess such an amulet, but that did not reduce its significance.

However, despite his friendship with the newcomer, he was reluctant to leave his amici at the other table. Looking between them, he asked the jovial Piscinus,
"My friends can come also, can't they? You will find them good company, I am sure."

PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 11:48 am
by Horatius Piscinus

Marius and Maximus bantered back and forth sharing their memories. Poculi were raised in salute for each mention of a fallen comrade; spittle spat to the floor with every tribunus militum recalled. Marius brought up the name of one that Maximus remembered in particular, the son of an old senator sent out to perform his required time in the army. "Orce ita," said Maximus, "you mean the one who had brought his personal latrine all the way from Rome, in a litter no less, with slaves following him around all day carrying buckets of his piss." Maximus bent over with laughter, then roughly nudged Curio with a wink before continuing the story. "One day this pompous, perfumed little whelp of a junior officer goes up to Marius demanding that Marius find a place to set this litter-latrine away from the miliones gregari where he won't have to see them working, as though he were the flamenica Dialis herself. Marius stood very erect, very proper, but you could see him boil inside. So he told us to take this thing over to a copse of trees behind some bushes, and Marius kept telling us to inch it back further into the underbrush. Then he brought the whelp over for his approval of the site. Oh, that little delicae was pleased alright. That night we heard him go into his litter, addressing himself he was, 'Surge! Surge!' he was calling out. And he leaned back, when suddenly the bushes began to quiver, he's screaming, Marius had set the litter on the very edge of a precipice so the tribunus went tumbling down the side of this cliff, buckets of piss splattering on top of him..." Maximus could no longer contain himself, laughing and pounding on the table, then turned to Horatius to say, "Whatever happened to that young whelp?"
"I sent him on a fatigue party," said Horatius coldly. "We found his head stuck on a German framea about a week later."
A somber silence stilled the air as Maximus asked, "One of the numerii's, or theirs?"
Horatius replied with only a dark look, and then for tribunus Maecinus, too, there was given his salute in raised poculi.

Bonni had settled at Kallo's feet, Curlisu had managed to find a way into her lap, while Meinard was held back from Marius' meat by Sorena nipping at the dog's ears. The conviviality of the table was restored, although more subdued than before. Then Curio inquired of Horatius if his friends might join their table.
Horatius leaned slowly over to have a look. "It seems one of your friends has already found his entertainment for tonight."
The others turned to see Sokarus follow after an old woman from the taberna.
"Ita me di ament," said Horatius, "proconsul Mus is in your company, mi Curio? Sane, merget somno vinoque. And the other, dressed like a young Catalina in robe and without a tunica?"
Sorena looked up from Meinard long enough to stretch her neck in Scorpio's direction for a glimpse.
"We shall soon have to depart, business in Rome, but my table is always open. Bring over your friends, Curio." Then turning to Marius once more, "What's this about tablets? Were you summoned here, to a place like this?"

[OOC comment Maximus' story is true, only the names and setting has been changed to protect the guilty parties. The portable facility belonged to a full bird colonel, but it was a female 2nd Lt who ended up going over the edge.]

Walk like an Egyptian...

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 4:49 am
by Aldus Marius
OOC: Marius' dogs are...
    ...Maynard (Latinish 'Meinard'), Cairn Terrier (Scotland)
    ...Bonnie (Lat. 'Bonni'), Cattle Dog/Corgi mix (Australia, Wales)
    ...Curly Sue (L. 'Curlisu'), Chihuahua/Papillon cross (Mexico, France)

BIC: In answer to Piscinus' comment about tablets, Marius the Wanderer replied: "Aye, I was summoned here; it were quicker and easier than waiting for me to decide that this was where I next wanted to go. On Peregrinus, my buckskin, I can be here from anywhere in the Western Empire in twenty days; tack on another week if I have to ship out from Britain. On foot, or left to my own devices, I would seldom come to Rome. I think I do it sometimes only to renew my acquaintance with certain of the City's spirits...

"But send a tablet through the post and it will find me almost anywhere. Curio knows this, so he did--and it was delivered to me in a mountain hollow in northwestern Spain by my falcon. She knows to look out for that sort of thing, and that a big fat partridge awaits her if she shows me where it is. It's not an easy thing to teach a falcon how to recognize anything but game; but it has proven very, very worth the time I spent, and I have nothing but time these days."

There was not really a word for what Marius was, in the Latin language at least. But a later age might consider him a shaman; such were his gifts with animals, with influencing the weather, and such was his insight into the spirit-world, even of places one might think devoid of spirits. Lost creatures came to him, and lonely ones; and though he'd never conducted a formal ritual in his life, yet this strange man in his clean-but-ratty tunic under wolfskin cloak seemed to have the favor of at least some gods. How else to explain that he'd never been set upon in all his travels?

"I must say, Piscine," he continued, "your companion there seems to have a very strange taste in nibbles. D'you think you could get her to let go of my dog's ear...? Of all the dogs I have, Meinard is the least likely to accept being restrained in that manner...and I don't want anyone getting bit. 'Twould be a shame to mar such smooth flesh..." and he clicked his tongue.

No sooner had he done so when his cavalry mount, Peregrinus, stuck his head through the nearest opening and whinnied at his rider...

PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 6:36 pm
by Gnaeus Dionysius Draco
Scorpio, having listened attentively to the exchanges taking place and having greeted the new visitors who had entered the taberna - which was getting quite full - looked outside.

A lot of shadow in the streets. It was time again. He smiled wryly.

"Amici. I shall have to leave your company. I have urgent business to attend to."

After uttering these words with a graceful, ironic bow, Scorpio left the taberna.

Umbrae eternales...

PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 3:56 pm
by Publius Dionysius Mus
Publius Mus had followed the strange meeting and conversation at the other table... At least, it looked like a strange and obscure meeting from his points of view. He saw Curio and the soldier meet with the man in the shadow at the other end of the taberna. The other people at Mus' table also seemed to be carried away by the mysterrious meeting...

Then Mus got awoke from his staring, and decided it was time for him to fulfil his task. "Amici", he said, "I will have to leave you now, but only for a short while. I have to organise my businesses to complete the task that was set for me. I will return here as soon as possible, when everything has been taken care of. Valete bene!"

Then Mus rose to his feet and walked out of the door, still an example of Dignitas. He knew it wouldn't be long until he came back to meet both his old and new friends again.


PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 10:28 pm
by Q. C. Locatus Barbatus
When he saw Mus stumbling towards the door, Locatus stood up and accimpagnied him.

"Valete amici! the other tabernae won't visit themselves, I guess! Maybe we'll meet later again!"

going home

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2002 1:06 am
by Quintus Aurelius Orcus
Upon returning in the street of the tabernae Sokarus saw Mus departing followed by Locatus. He wasn't planning on returning to the tabernae but went in an alley close to the tabernae. He went home for the sole purpose of getting up early tomorrow. He was still drunk as Mus was.
Upon entering his home he said a prayer to Trivia and Pluto for safeguarding his return to his home. Than he went to bed. A big day was ahead of him as he was ordered to find out if the rumours were true. He knew that the only result he could go back with are negative; that the rumours are false. After all, who wants to aknoweledge the excistence of a man who is thought to be the son of a demon or a malevolent god. Surely the pontificium wouldn't recognize his report if he would come back with this. Thinking about his assignment as the scriba for a pontifex who needs a ground to fire him from his job, only makes him more sleepy. He slowly walks to his bed and fall on it. A couple of moments later he fel asleep. For him politics was the reason why he got in this mess in the first place. Now he must find a way out of this mess but that will be the problem he will be facing tomorrow alongside a huge hangover from the day before. His mind leaves him alone at least so that he can enjoy his sleep for so long it will last.

A Horse is a Horse...

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2002 11:30 pm
by Aldus Marius
When the horse Peregrinus stuck his head through the window, Marius excused himself from his friends. "Peregrinus is the finest cavalry mount Mother Roma ever bred," he declared. "He is entitled to his ideosyncracies. And chief among them is that, if I myself do not put him in the stall, he will not remain in it. I made the mistake today of handing him off to a stable-boy on my way in. Allow me time to rectify this." He grinned, winked; then went outside to meet the buckskin. They had a brief conversation, almost man-to-man; then Marius cupped the horse's cheek in one hand and led him off just as smoothly as if he'd used an actual bridle. The dogs forgot instantly about Egyptian cuddles and surged out after them.

One round-trip and a terrified stable-boy later (the Wanderer had spent quite some time reassuring and instructing the latter), Marius returned to the new tavern. He looked at Mus' table, now empty; a small sigh of relief escaped him--nothing against any of those gentlemen, but now he didn't have to feel so...outclassed. Then he rejoined Piscinus' gathering with a hearty whoop: "Heia!!! --Halali!!! Who's still here; what have I missed??"

PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2002 3:09 pm
by Horatius Piscinus
"Ain vero?" Piscinus said with a broad grin. But it was not upon the return of his amicus Marius that his eyes were directed. Piscinus stood reading a wax tablet, with Maximus looking over his shouldier and chuckling. Playfully Piscinus was tossing and catching what appeared to be a rock, as though it was a child's toy. To Marius inquiring face he then said, "It seems they found a certain Senator discinctus laid out with a large knot on his forehead. The lictor sent to purify the house found this."
Piscinus then tossed the rounded stone over to Marius. Turning it about in his fingers, Marius noticed the letters that had been inscribed into it, "CAPE HOC." Marius recognized it immediately. "The stone of a funditor."
"Ita," Piscinus said with a sly grin, "and for certain the senator did not receive it for chasing after the man's wife."
Maximus looked up from the tablet towards Marius. He too was wearing a broad grin, although it looked unaccustomed on his face. "The lictor asks for the aid of a decuria of cavalry to lift the senator out of the house. And what about this part where he asks what to do about the senator's dress of transparent chiffon?"
"He always spoke so highly of that butcher of Praeneste," Sorana offered.
"Then bury him in the grave of Metrobius where they both may be licked anemic by his shade."

Marius' face still wore confusion, uncertain as he was of his surroundings and of whom his friends spoke. He knew that the frumentarii that Piscinus once led did not gather grain for the legiones. Viatores, exploratores, and speculatores plied every trail beyond the empire's borders, their secrets gathered into the camps of frumentarii. An army of cartographers were always nearby, too. Travelers from every station in life were hosted by Rome's finest meretrices at Piscinus' expense. And here now, two meretrices from Campania travelled to Rome in his company. Before Marius could ponder further he was clapped across his shouldiers by Piscinus' arm.
"Your friends all seem to be leaving, Mari," said Piscinus. "We too have business elsewhere. Perhaps you would care to come along and keep Maximus company while he awaits us outside the Temple of the Bona Dea? Then afterwards I have a little task for you and Maximus. I want you to find a man named Neibiros"

PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2002 9:41 pm
by Curio Agelastus
Curio watched sadly as, one by one, his friends departed rather than accept Piscinus' invitation to his table. He accepted that they had business to attend to, however.

And then Piscine and Mari left, along with Piscine's odd entourage. Curio was left alone once more. He had been pleased to see his amici again, and he hoped they would return to the taverna, if only to report on their progress with their various tasks.

But Curio, too, had business. He had never found the courage to ask his friends for their help, but he had other things to attend to.

He took out his yinyang pendant, and stared at it. The good bartender began to worry about the man in the corner, simply staring at a small object in his palm for five minutes. The barkeep's worry did not lessen when Curio muttered bitterly, "I have worked all my life for you! Let me work for myself for a change..."

That said, he stalked out of the taverna, leaving the barkeep scratching his bald head in puzzlement. Curio had a lot of other business - but first, he had to go talk to a young woman of Punic blood...

"You want me to *what*...???"

PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2002 3:22 am
by Aldus Marius
[OOC: Marius has not yet left the tavern.]

Marius Peregrinus stood looking quizzically at his friend Horatius Piscinus. True, he did not know what the man was talking about; true also that he wasn't making much sense of optio Maximus' comments either. Fundamentally a reserved sort and inclined to mind his own business, Marius did not like being dragged into situations even when he understood them...let alone when he didn't.

He pondered for a while; then, finally, he said: "Who or what is a Neibiros...and why do I want one?"

It was an old inside joke, originally aimed at self-inflated celebrities of all stripes--political, gladiatorial, theatrical and otherwise. By asking "who or what is (an) X...?", he showed how little he was affected by mass popular culture--and of course burst the bubble, even if at a distance, of the named personage, who until then might have been certain that s/he/it was known to Absolutely Everybody Everywhere.

But as Marius' isolation increased, it got to be where he hadn't heard of any of the current Famous Names, and so the question became generic--just the Wanderer's way of saying "Who's that?", no irony intended at all.

So: "Who or what is a Neibiros"...and a request to be told why he, Marius, should make the fellow any part of his life. There were many other men in the City whom he'd rather take the time to look up...

He had thought to go from here to another taverna, one near the City gate where his horse was stabled. He had once been a regular there, even had his own room upstairs; a room with a balcony, from which he observed the comings and goings of a different group of friends. Good times he'd had, and much good-natured silliness; he had been considerably more outgoing back then. But most of those friends had proven false, in various painful ways, and now he was what a later age might call "gun-shy". Still, his pallet awaited him at the older taverna; he wanted to take his dogs and his barbecue, shinny up the stairs, and spend some time on the balcony contemplating his ghosts...

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2002 10:23 pm
by Horatius Piscinus
Marius pondered for a while; then, finally, he said: "Who or what is a Neibiros...and why do I want one?"

Marius watched as his friend's eyes grew distant. He had seen that look once before. Far to the north, beyond the imperial borders, Horatius had stood gazing one spring day into the horefrosted Hercynian forest. The air cold and silent engulfed him. The vast depths of Silvanus beckoned to him as the Sirens bid other men into ocean depths. For three months he had travelled east, never finding beast nor man, or an end to that forest. Then turning towards the Rhipaei montes, he came upon a land of broad rivers, that he travelled down to the Northern Ocean and found himself east of the Isle of Glaesaria. By late summer he had returned to Rome rivaling Julianus in the hoard of amber he had brought back from his travels. Now he aimlessly twisted an amber ring as he spoke.

"Mi amice," Piscinus said, as he led Marius off to one side. "No foe did Tritanus the gladiator fear. He trusted his skill and placed his fate in the hands of the gods. Yet he would sacrifice before the altars of Nemesis for fear that he would be undone by some treachery. Here in the city, what does it matter today that another senator should be found murdered in his own home? Senatores come and go. Intrigues betwixt senatores? An emperor's proscriptions? Jealous lover or disgruntled client? We both know that there are darker things out in the world than is found in any enemy's blade or any political intrigue."

Marius stood with his brow twisted in deeper queries as his friend seemed to speak only in riddles. "Neibiros. A man who has walked on paths unlike other men. Would you follow Aeneas into Hades? Then such a man who knew the balck arts, could he pass through the empire so unnoticed? I last heard of him among a company of Cretan funditores before he set sail and escaped beyond the Cimmerian Gates."

Horatius paused, returning his gaze to the funditor's stone. "Odd that such a man would leave evidence of his return with this. But return he has, or so I have heard. And if so, then it has not been without the aid of others. Maximus may use all my resources to search the city, but Neibiros is unlike other men. I must meet with others who are familiar with black arts to find some trace of Neibiros. Meanwhile I need someone else who would search in other places, one who is as wary of this city's haunts as though it were a foreign wilderness. You and Curio are such men. More important than finding Neibiros is learning who has recalled him and why. Whoever it is, he does not rely solely on black arts. He seeks rough men, strangers to this city, to act as his assassins. You, mi amice, is of a kind he wishes to employ, that is if he is a man. I suspect not."

Horatius then removed his ring and thrust it into Marius' palm. "Take this. The frumentarii will know you by it. Be wary, mi amice, for your blade will not safeguard you against all the dangers you may face."

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 8:44 pm
by Quintus Aurelius Orcus
The following day, Sokarus knocks on the door of Neibira's house. She opens the door and invite him in her house. Entering her house, he sees paintings of Neibiros on the walls. Looking at the paintings, he sees a handsome young man, in his twenties with long dark hair, dark eyes. The paintings reveal some scars that looked like came from a knife or another weapon. There are at least three of them. Sokarus wonders why anyone want to do this. He step up to the paintings as Neibira sees that it has cought his eye.
'Most people are drawn to it. I can't explain it myself. It was made by a friend of him named Arius.'
'It looked great. I don't think any artist can do the work he has done, even though it is simple to do.'
'Yes i know but i can't explain it nor for the fact that there is no artist going by the name of Arius.' Says Neibira while walking towards a chair.
'I think it has something mysterious, you might even say it has a mystical side to it.' Sokarus joins her. When he sits down, he asks her what is the truth about al these rumours.
'It depends on what you have heared, my boy?' She replies.
'I heared that he was a demon or that he was atleast the son of a demon.'
'You couldn't be more wrong my boy. Neibiros wasn't the son of a demon but of a god.' She kindly smiles but inside she hates it that her son is called a demon or the son of a demon.
Sokarus doesn't know what the think of what he has just heared. He can't believe his ears that Neibiros was the son of a god. It might explain his strenght and powers he might have had but not his what he have done.
'Tell me, if he was the son of a god, why did he commit these attrocities that made people wanted to hate him?' Sokarus asked it very seriously and she knows it. At the same time, he sees that she doesn't like that her son is being demonized. He can see it in her eyes that she is torn apart inside. Appearently all these years of bad talk has taking its toll on the poor woman. She looks at Sokarus and tells him that she can't be expected to justify what he has done. 'It wasn't his fault that he had to grow up as a slave and being treated as one. Part of the reason why he couldn't stand the wealthiest people was because some of them used him as a sex slave while in his teens. He was used by women and men alike. When they found out about what he could do, they wanted to bring him to court, accusing him of using magic to kill some of the men.'
'What happened to him?' Asks an curious Sokarus.
'He was accused of witchcraft and black magic as a tool to kill people. Therefore he was to be exiled. He was only 15 years old when he was exiled. I remember receiving letters of him, saying that he felt lonely and angry on the Roman nobility for destroying his life. It was shortly after that i received those paintings with the message that he has joined a underground cult.'
'Did you hear from him again?'
'Yes but i haven't seen him again. In his letters he says that he has seen me several times on the square buying food or walking through the city. But that it was impossible to see him. He has told me that there was another world beneath our own, more darker and dangerous than anything we know of.'
'What do you think he ment by that?' Asked Sokarus who was listening.
'I don't know. I can't really answer that. The only thing i knew is that he has sent me 5 more letters after that and than it was silent. I never heard of him again. And each letter contained what he has done but for its content i burned the letters. He was a good boy who was wronged by society. Sometimes in my dreams i see him. Than i hug him one last time before he goes away. You see, in my dreams i can say goodby to my son. It is like the gods sent me this dream to ease my mind.'
'Do you pray alot to them?'
'I pray on his behalf to Hecate. I made sacrifices to her so that she would be mercifull on my son.'
Sokarus thinks it is the best time to leave as he sees her getting moe depressed than before. He tries to calm her but knows he can never really calm her down. As he leaves her house, the gods are mercyful on her and free her from her suffering. Before he closes the door, he gets this strange feeling that something isn't right. He looks back at Neibira and doesn't see her move. Sokarus goes to her, letting the door stay open only to find out that she is dead. The gods were mercyfull on her by taking her away now. He let her sit in her chair and stands up. He walks away from her house and closes the door behind him. The onyl thing he can do now is to give her a good funeral that she deserves.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2002 4:28 am
by Aldus Marius
Marius turned the ring over and over in his hand, thinking. His eyes drifted for a moment to where Curio had been...

"Bene," he said finally, returning his gaze to Piscinus' face. "In the little time I've been here I have already been asked by a Consular to help find a missing heir; and now by my very good but dangerous friend to help find a sorcerer. Frankly, I'd rather have gone with Curio to tame his barbarian allies; I've at least had some experience in that. You, Pisce, desire a more private place to discuss this further. I desire a room reservation and a trip to the Baths, and most of all some settling-in time and some rest.

"I believe we may satisfy both our desires at another taverna-and-inn near the gate. You've met me there before, I think; a few years ago I had a cubbyhole upstairs with a balcony, and I would stay there for several months out of the year. The people I used to associate with there, Sulla, Fabius and the rest...they don't come around anymore, I'm told; and in their absence, the walls no longer have ears. I think we could adjourn to this place, if you are willing; for I shall certainly go there myself to think things over, and if I do you shan't see me before morning anyhow... So what do you say?"