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 Personal Logs: Aricles

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PostSubject: Personal Logs: Aricles   Thu May 03, 2018 10:25 am

Blood and Sand
The Lessons of Your New Doctore




Biird: The house of Quintis Oranius Salonious nestled in the foothills, living in the shade of the Emperor's villa, yet rested upon its own magnificent hillside. Though his villa was grand and opulent, it was not within the walled community of the greater noble houses. This was not for his want of living there, but the threatening landscape of a dead drop from a single side of the training yard made location far more suited to taming of wild beasts and men than pretty marble walls standing a constant reminder of what would lay beyond. Instead, the drop showcased all the world beyond, right down to the glittering sea, and a gladiator could stand at the edge of his world and admire all that he was free from, enslaved too, the god of and still remember that his mortal coil could be snuffed out on the rocks below. While all the members and slave to the house could see the view, only a gladiator would be able to appreciate the true complexity that it showcased.

In the many hours that the newest Gifted purchase slept away, the other slaves and would be gladiators were introduced to their new home. The house slaves were given appropriate robes and instructed in their manner of address and duties, which were simple enough -- always be ready to receive and order and always work quickly and silently unless addressed for response. They would remain in the company of senior slave for weeks until either assigned solely to a patron of the house or a singular task. Lucilia had purchased a slave solely for her own use. One of her former found freedom in death. Having gone quietly in her sleep, she may have been the envy of many a slave, despite being older than the ludus and having been privy to a number of horrendous acts. The Twins didn't deal in personal slaves and there may have been whispers that they both, Quintis and Lucilia, were afraid to give them any after a few had disappeared from reality leaving behind only telling signs of blood in the boys beds on their walls. Their explanations of the deeds had been menacing smirks and Quintis had no desire to beat straight answers out of his boys.

Octavia, however, was a completely different affair. The emotions Quintis held for his eldest child and daughter were as complex as the view he afforded all those within his walls. She was the first, and births were said to be blessings from the gods. In truth, the girl was, as with her birth swiftly came victories in the arena, the luck of masterful purchases and the rising notary of his house and growing legacy. All of this, still was often eclipsed by her gender and her willful nature. There were times when Octavia surmised had she been born after the twins, the relationship she shared with her father would have been vastly different. Perhaps, even she might have been different, but she was often pulled from such thoughts, such longing for consequential love, by the reality of her situation... and a swift backhand from the man in question. After returning from the market, she kept this reality close at heart and hand. The man was both reeling form his fine purchase but also teetering on the edge of rage of having it stolen from him by his own daughter. She had laid claim to the creature in full view of many, including other lanista's and gossipy hens of noble birth which meant snaking the creature from her would be problematic and not without it's own ill-favored gossip. Whether she had done this purposely or the gods had favored her in that moment didn't really matter to him. What mattered was, saving face and ensuring that no matter who the creature bowed too it was in honor of the house of Salonious.

Octavia waited until the moon had risen well into the night sky, having spent her day close at her mother's side and deep within her own duties in order to both calm her father and lower his guard -- literally, before attempting to venture down into the ludus. Her own guards, which she treated very well, feigned ignorance to her leaving her room and only one left his post to escort her down and they would rotate routinely checking on her while she remained below. Having had no appetite for her supper, which her mother explained away has a turned stomach now settling on the matters of the day, Octavia had her personal attendant wrap the food in burlap and leave it in some quiet place in her room. This, she took with her as she entered the bowels of her own home, the ludus. The ludus was the lower half of the villa accessed through a small store room for wine and affects in abundance, and beyond the quarters of the guards and the slaves. It was a catacomb of cells, a small bathhouse and dining area that led out into the sandy training yard. The only other room of note was that of the medicus, which is where Octavia was headed. At this hour the medicus would be sleeping soundly on his cot in small room adjoining his place of work, more than likely high on his own supply. He was a quirky man, thin and frail looking, but lively. His wild eyes were the color of walnuts and his long brown hair was constantly in disarray. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy his job but more so finding new blends of herbs that solved a various strange ailments and new ways of stitching the often grievous wounds of the gladiators.

As suspected, Octavia found her champion laying on a slab, his arms and legs fastened with chains that came up from the floor but allowed him to sit up and swing his legs over one side or the other if he wished. The collar around his neck was imbued with magic and herbs from the students and masters living in The Aura, that constantly worked to sap him of the "power" or "ability" to become that monstrous wolf. If he were left with any abnormal strength while not in the wolf form, a tenth of that power would be sapped as well. You know, just to keep him manageable but entertaining. There was a stillness to the room as Octavia entered, save the rhythmic snoring of the medicus from behind a thick wooden door. No one had bothered to try and wrap his lower half in the traditional cloth, so he lay on the slab with just one thrown over his more interesting parts. Having seen many shapes and sizes of men, Octavia was not so taken with that ... at the moment. Though her eyes, like sapphires illuminated by the flicker of fire light, roamed his full form, what really interested her were the visions of his bones and muscles shifting from one form to the next. Right now he was just a man. He was dusty and grimy which only served to highlight each of the many curves and dips of flesh stretched around muscle, or the way his jaw stood straight and rigid and strong. He had long feet and muscled calves and thighs. His fingers were long and tacked with many cuts and scars. Placing the burlap on the table beside his slab, amidst a pitcher of water, a cup and many bowls of herbs, Octavia approached slowly, her steps only heard by the gods themselves; a trait her father despised. Her fingertips, clean and soft, drifted along that angular jawline and slowly rounded his ear into that pelt of silky soft white hair.

"A beast, so far removed from the man." She spoke quietly into the still air around them.


Nomad: Sleep was never a reprieve from the true torments of ones mind. The dream state only allowed that which haunted you most to find more, creative methods to torture the soul of their choosing. Few creature's knew this better than the Beast of Barin or Aricles as a handful knew him, though even those few dwindled down to less after the Blood Moon Massacre. Now he was just property and blood entertainment for the masses. While asleep he was barely more than a chew toy for the monster he never could understand or control. It was a battle he never spoke of when awake and a fight he forever waged within his own mind though over the years he had gotten a little better at it. This in turn brought it's own problems for when the beast was lose he took extra delight in destroying anything the man got close to as retaliation for whatever slight the human had caused the beast within the unconscious world he thought he ruled.

It had been a couple of days since Aricles had been in human form, because of this his muscles twitched and flexed as if little shocks surged through his body as muscles flexed and settled back into their 'normal state'. Now he lay chained to a new slab though just as comfortable as all the rest he had called his own. The exhaustion of a Blood Moon would weight heavy on Aricles for the next week as his mind tried to regain  some semblance of humanity and he tried to push the wolf down into it's den. It was not always easy and the man's temper was always at it's worst when he awoke following such an incident. It was often a time previous owners tossed him straight into a pit to fight for his ferocity almost matched the wolves but it was far more entertaining to the masses for their was more of the victims left to identify and he was easier to subdue. Well, easier, but not easy. Anything can be easier than a seven foot twenty two thousand pound wolf.

Even while unconscious, the mans ear twitched whenever someone or something passed close to where he lay. It was just another sign that calling him  human even when he took up ones appearance was a misconception, he was a whole lot more or less then that if you asked any previous house that held his chains. Even his nose twitched when a scent started to grow stronger, lids fluttering slightly though overall the wall of muscle that was his body remained deathly still. Everything that he was doing Aricles had no knowledge of, it was instinct and nothing more than that. Even while sleeping one had to always be conscious of their surroundings, human or animal.

Deep within his mind however, things were not so peaceful as Aricles would have preferred them to be. No, instead he was once again in a very familiar pit with a starless sky and a circular wall of flames he is never able to pass. The ground beneath his bare feet to some may seem like sand but Aricles knew that the reality, if you could call it that, was far more grim. This material was the ground up bones of people and creatures killed by the wolf. It started out as dirt with a small patch of this whitish grey sand, but over the last decade the pits floor no longer showed any dirt. It was the one place Aricles hated the most but it was the one place he always found himself after a Blood Moon change. The wolf circling him with a large grin tugging on it's massive maw. The beast always taunted the man and as much as Aricles fought back there was no beating this monster. This might have been inside Aricles mind but it was the Wolf's world and he was akin to a God in this realm. No matter how many times he was devoured Aricles always awoke moments later back in the center of the arena. The pain was so real it was a wonder that his conscious mind was not driven mad. Only the Gods knew of this humans torment, but you think the gods really cared about one single humans suffering? The idea alone was one of the only things that made Aricles laugh.

In the beginning he begged, pleaded with those very Gods to save him from his nightmare. To Barin who made the original packed with Aricles Great Great Grand Father for favor in a battle that would either make their family incredibly power or destroy them. The deal was, the first born boy would be struck with this curse yet for the next number of generations all his line saw were daughters, that was until Aricles was cursed with life. Since his first change and learning about his curse, Aricles called to Barin, the God of War to aid him, revoke his curse or help him in some shape or form but all Aricles ever said he received was a ghost like laughter he heard upon the wind. Ten years of unanswered prayers drove the, now feared gladiator to despise not only Barin but every God that sat in the heavens for not one ever came to his aid. So in this world Aricles was truly alone for the Gods cared nothing for him and the humans saw him as nothing more than property. Often he had contemplated ending his own existence but a part of him would not give any of them the satisfaction of seeing him weak and it was that single thought that staved the madness from his mind and curved his drive to live and defy any odd thrown his way.

Just as the beast was rearing up to take another chunk from the bloodied and bleeding man, Aricles consciousness was pulled from the wolf's realm to that of the real world. Something brushed his hair and with a reflex faster than one would thing a person of his size could manage Aricles' hand shot up and gripped the wrist of whoever touched him. Never once did he think it was someone of noble birth for they never touched him so softly, at least not unless they wanted him for some other, more private, entertainment. So when his lids cracked open and his crimson glowing eyes began to focus he was taken back to see a girl, no, a woman beside his bed. Still he held her very slender wrist that he was lucky he had not snapped when gripping it for a long moment until finally he released her with a deep and extremely animalistic growl rumbling within his massive chest and rested his chained hands back upon his stomach once more. Slowly his lids closed though he fought the urge to pass out once again, not wishing to go back to that pit where he could hear the Wolf howl for him. It would still be a couple days before he could rest and have enough control over his dreams to avoid that place, but even still he was never fully free of the beast. This girl beside him though seemed so little of a threat that Aricles actually had closed his eyes without even a second thought to her presence beside him still.

When he would be awake enough to consider this one factor alone he would very much find it extremely odd that he relaxed so much when someone was so close, even a noble, or rather especially a noble. At least gladiators only attacked you if you offended for they fought enough in an arena for others entertainment it was rare they did it amongst themselves when there was nothing to gain but a lashing. Though who knew, maybe he's new owners brood was a more violent sort. Only time would tell.


Biird: As her fingers roamed his flesh and the unusual texture of his snow colored hair, Octavia's eyes watched his nostrils flair and his ears twitch, his eyes moving rapidly under fluttering lids. Signs of an internal struggle. The man was not outwardly injured though his body bore many signs of the survival of grievous wounds long healed. Despite the war torn scars, he was otherwise carved from marble like statue of a great hero; made to look beautiful and fearsome all at the same time. What was truly fearsome was the speed a man practically in a coma could move in. Octavia inhaled sharply to feel his long fingers coiled around her wrist, his chains rattling to life and causing quite a racket within the otherwise quiet room. Her lips were parted, eyes blinking as he own opened and peered at her with that same look of bewilderment he had in the market place. It seemed it would take more than a few hours of rest before he fully returned from whatever deep, dark place in his own mind he had been forced to while the beast roamed free. The daughter of the house placed her free hand on his chest and murmured, "Still."

His eyes fluttered but closed again. Leaning over, her parted lips released the soft, warm breeze of her breath onto his earlobe. His raw scent, like earth and stone, filled her nostrils. As it had been in the market place, Octavia's eyes seemed to glaze over. The reality of the world around her faded away into something much different, something deep within the man before her. His profile was a shadowed outline to a dark world. "You yet lie still and safe. Control stands yours once more. The moon has gone and the man rises." It was almost as if her words were not her own. How could she know of the moon's control of his shift? How could she be so sure that the beast was not the man? How could she be certain that the man was not as unforgiving? The questions would go unanswered saved to say that Octavia felt it deep within her soul. What "it" was remained to be seen.

The words had only just left her lips, when the medicus came stumbling out of his quarters, rubbing at sleep heavy eyes. He blinked rapidly, rushing to the slab where the new gladiator lay and nearly went headlong into his mistress. As she rose to her full height, which was not much, the medicus doubled back and stood up as well. "Domina." He said in his groggy voice. "My mistress, you must be careful with this one. So close you are." He chuckled then. "You give no pause for danger."

Pushing her own dark brown hair behind one ear, she smiled. "No danger lies in a sleeping man." That was a lie. His grip on her wrist had been hearty. With just a bit more strength into the deed she would have been cradling broken bones. The medicus had not been privy to the act so there was no need to further gossip of monstrous man.

Chuckling, the medicus looked around the room. Briefly a frown formed on his sagging features, but as his head turned back to his Domina it was gone. He wouldn't comment on the fact that she had no guards with her or the late hour. They had long passed those tutted talks about her activities. Instead he checked the chains on the new creature. Finding them uncompromised, he moved to the opposite side of the slab and pulled up a stool, but not too near. "There is nothing you can do for him, Domina. He yet requires more rest, a trait, I am sure, your father will see beaten from him."

The medicus was right. If he took too long to recover from his changes, her father's training would take a gruesome turn. He had a few Gifted in his stable of entertainment and if their ability wasn't able to be called upon at his whim, well, he had ways of insuring it was. Octavia's eyes returned to the sleeping man's face. Save for her wide eyes, dark blue in the light, she was void of any immediately discernible reaction to the subject brought on by the medicus. The world of gladiators had been her world all her life, the only world she knew. His treatment here would depend entirely on his disposition once awake and that was something she could not stop or shield him from.

She stayed a while longer, speaking quietly with the medicus and giving him the food she'd brought for her sleeping beast. He did not seem like he would awake before she would need to return to her quarters and as thin as the medicus was he was never not hungry. After the third guard rotation to check on her, Octavia returned to her room with mere hours before the sun rose on another day. Just as she was getting settled into her bed, the house began to stir with the movement of slaves rising to prepare the house for the rise of their owners. No one would disturb her but a warm bath would be waiting when she decided to rise. Sleep was more like a nap because she didn't want to miss seeing the beast lined up with the rest of the new recruits, because broken by his own mind or not, her father would have him dragged out as he would not be making his speech twice.



Nomad: The words spoken around the sleeping giant of a man fell on a deaf ear. They were hardly more than a hazed murmur in the wake of the wolf's howl and demand of blood. Still the titans lids fluttered as unseen eyes darted left and right, scanning for a predator some would never see if the gods blessed them with such fortune. Though the very thought of the Gods caused Aricles to growl even in his sleep as his unconscious form circled the flaming arena with bone white sands. The beast upon the far side licking it's tongue across dripping fangs. It would be another night of blood, death and blind pain before the sun beckoned the cursed male from his ever present nightmare.

It seemed like days had passed before lids cracked open, though not by choice as a rough and callus hand pulled the muscle bound figure from his slab. Growls and groans rumbled through his chest as his body hit the dirt and a sharp tongue ordered him to stand. Shaking his head to clear as much sleep and pain as he could Aricles rose to his feet, arms still chained but no longer to the wall and his feet released. The more he rose the more the individual that did the waking took a step back. When at his full height of 6'5ft, Aricles was an intimidating sight even to a seasoned gladiator, of which this individual was not. Just an errand boy thinking himself better than the other slaves for a simple a thing as a robe for clothing and not a cloth about his waist. Swallowing hard, courage was summoned though very little came as shaky words left a trembling lip.

"Y-You are to rise, the Dominus speaks."

The man-boy fled when his message was delivered and was chased by a low growl from within the room. Aricles was well versed in the life of a slave and a gladiator and though he might despise his existence, his willingness to defy the gods out shun even that. Raising his hands to his head he brushed the ashen white strands of fur like hair from his eyes and back along his scalp. A deep intake of air ripe with the scent of blood, piss, dirt and sweet was all too familiar as it flooded his senses. The door was once again shadowed by two more figures, these just as timid as the last but with far more reason. Two slave girls entered with a basin of water, a cloth and the other with oil and a shaving knife. Exhaling and clearing his lungs Aricles lifted his arms above his head, one of the girls removing the loose cloth from his waist and proceeded to wash the dirt and sweat from him. No Dominus wished to address filth and if that is what was about to happen then Aricles would be cleaned and shaven as much as possible.  Not to the standard of a noble but enough to make him look somewhat human. The oil used to smooth the skin and allow the blade to move every ounce of hair from his body, the sides and back of his hair also cut extremely short. But when the girl moved to try and shorten the hair atop his head she was met with another growl that was becoming an all too common means of communication. The girl almost fell from the step she used to reach his head but Aricles caught her before she hit the ground.

The last of the oil Aricles used himself to keep hair from his face and with that the girls left the small room, leaving behind a new cloth for him to wrap himself. Using his hands as best he could while still bound together at the wrist, Aricles wound the brown leather cloth around himself and through his thighs to keep all required personage, secured. The last, a lighter leather shade draped about his waist and hung to his knees upon one side. On his feet he wrapped sandals, not of any good quality but enough to protect feet from jagged stone while training. With that the man was ready and stepped foot through door and into another round of bloodshed.

Beyond said door was a short corridor and at it's end the rising sun beckoned his approach. Stepping out onto the stage that would be his training center for as long as the Gods allowed him to return from the arena, Aricles' crimson red eyes blinked as they adjusted to the mornings glare. When pupils adjusted a brow rose and for once Aricles found himself intrigued with what he beheld. The Ludus was located right at the edge of a cliff with one wall missing yet a barrier of escape more sturdy than any fortification. Stepping to it's edge, the titan of a gladiator looked down the sheer drop to a ground that was covered with a morning mist. Raising his head he looked out onto a freedom he never would gain even if shackle was removed and papers granted for he carried a chain no other could understand.



Biird: While the gladiators were roused form their sleep and the servants in the house set the balcony to receive their masters, Quintis diligently attended to the ravenous needs of his wife. Ever a good man of timing, he allowed his wife to collapse unto their shared bed in pleasure just as the sun began to creep its rays across their marbled floors. The man took a brief reprieve, just long enough to kiss his wife, before rising and allowing the slaves to sponge away the stains of their grand ol' time, then dress him. As cloth was being placed over is body, his wife, still dizzy with pleasure, rose and began to bathe and dress as well. They shared colors of light blue with trims of cold and under colors of white and beige. Lucilia crowned her mass of woven braids and curls with sprigs of baby breath and clutches blue hydrangea. Her daughter would be dressed similarly and their sons as well. It was important for the family to show solidarity and unification at all times, especially when addressing 'lessors'.

The twins were already on the balcony, playing their favorite game of latrunculi. Each was dressed in the same heather blue as their father, the golden trim of their toga causing the rich, sun kiss tone of their skin and the equally vibrant bright blonde curls atop their heads to stand strong against strong features. They rose simultaneously, even though Augustus had his back to his parents, to greet the patrons of the house when they appeared on the balcony. Lucilia, however aloof she was, was always loving, tendering kissing their curls. Quintis offered little more than a nod of acknowledgement and a scowl at the absence of his eldest. The girl, silent as an answer from the gods, appeared behind him, her hands meekly folded in front of her. The delicate blue dress that wrapped around her slim curves and bunched in flattering places mirrored that of her mother. The flowers in her hair were darker than that of her mother, for she shared the same glossy brown-black hair as her father. Her arrival appeared to have risen the hairs on the back of her father's neck, causing him to turn and narrow his eyes at her. She watched his fingers flex with the urge to strike her for all too common silent appearance but instead turned back to the balcony. The girl moved beside her brothers where she could have a clear view of the training grounds below and be clearly viewed.

Members of the brotherhood were already training because by now the sun had more than half crested the horizon. The newest purchases, including her own were lined along the far wall by the gates, all with their wrists chained in front of them. Then their Doctore appeared from beneath the villa and onto the stands. He was a tall, lean man who's heritage couldn't immediately be identified. His eyes, the dark green of emeralds, were slanted and narrow by nature, and ever watchful. His skin was polished cherry wood and he worn his thick black hair in shoulder length dread locks. The whip in his hand kept every man under his tutelage which in disciplinary reach at all times; his accuracy was deadly. "Attend!" Came his booming voice over the clash of practice weapons and the seasoned men moved with purpose to form neat lines before the balcony. Doctore then motioned for the guards to bring the new recruits to a line in front of the already branded men. "Attend." the man repeated. "Your Dominus speaks."

All of the new recruits who had not been deep within the land of nightmares the night before had been versed in the ways of the house. The last of the group would be left to have the teachings passed down from the other slaves or be doomed to learn his place and his mannerisms the hard way. Since he had been purchased from one slave owner to another, Quintis had little doubt that he would be lacking knowledge in address and manner. He pressed his hands to the heavy wood banister and looked down at the men he owned with those dark blue eyes. "The house of Salonius welcomes you. In the coming weeks you will train hard. Those that do not fall to heat and exhaustion will be put to the test and receive the brand of the house of Salonius and rise as titans on the sands of the arena. Heed the words of your new Doctore and you will see yourself well cared for. For as you rise in the arena, so to do you elevate the house of Salonius and the house of Salonius will reward you well." As if to punctuate his statement, the branded men roared the name of their patron house in unison. Quintis lifted his hand to silence them and smirked. "Back to training." He turned his back then, motioning for his sons to follow him, and leaving the balcony.

Lucilia turned and went back into the house followed dutifully by her attending slaves, but Octavia remained. Many of the gladiators nodded and smiled up at her before returning to their training and she returned the gestures. Slowly her eyes shifted over to the beast with the snow white hair. He still a man this morning, standing tall amongst the newest recruits and not looking nearly as bewildered as the night before. Though anxious to see how he would fare in his training an empty stomach required attention first. Lowering herself to a lounge while the new recruits were unshackle and paired off for training, a tray of fruit and cheese was put before her to fill an empty stomach, with sweet wine and water to wash it down. The sound of clashing swords and shields was a comforting and familiar noise that by noonday sun would be replaced with loud jesting and clattering of men eating and giving each other hell. For now, though, they would train hard, rotating routines to keep them sharp and test every portion of their will and physical strength.

_____________________________

Flintlock: Lycares hadn't been able to sleep the night before the new recruits arrived. He never was able to. Something gnawed at his gut whenever he heard the news that new recruits would be coming in. Was it an anger? It was at first, sure, but that slowly died away into resignation? Was it fear for the new recruits? That may be it. Or was it shame that he had become so accustomed to the life before him? That was most likely it, if he were being honest with himself. He didn't want for there to be new recruits. He knew that a third of them would be dead before the year ended. Not everyone was fit to be a gladiator, after all. The other two thirds would be broken down and rebuilt as killing machines for others' entertainment. It wasn't a life he wished on everyone. Alas, he was realistic. There was nothing he could do to change the situation, so he accepted it. Anywho, he was feeling the effects of the sleepless night right now. Lycares dodge under a swing from one of his fellow gladiators, a veteran named Friadnes. The vet quickly followed up with a kick aimed at the younger man's midsection. It was only his gift that allowed him to hop backwards, out of the range of the older man's legs. Regaining his bearings, he twirled his practice sword before lunging forward. He struck again and again, the practice blade twirling and stabbing through the air in a hard press against the vet's defense. Just as his defense was about to fail, Lycares sensed, he heard the booming voice of the Doctore, causing the gladiator to stop mid-swing. Dropping his sword to his side, his chest rising and falling in huffed breaths, he immediately, as well as all the other training men, moved into the proper formation. Lycares was somewhere near the back, the practice sword plunged into the dirt between him and the next gladiator, his back straight and tall and his hands clasped behind it. His grey eyes began to roam over the new recruits as his Dominus addressed them. None of them particularly caught his eye, save for one. The one all of his colleagues had been gossiping about. The Beast, they had taken to calling him. Lycares was brought of his thoughts by the sound of his colleagues roaring the name of their patron house in unison. He quickly did so as well before returning his attention back to the new one. He was every bit as intense as they described him to be, standing over the men that surrounded him in the line. Lycares' head tilted slightly to the side as he regarded the man's hair. An interesting color. Perhaps it was a side effect of him being Gifted. He was broken out of his thoughts by the sound of his Dominus wrapping up and dismissing them to resume training. Lycares moved his gaze from his fellow Gifted to the daughter of his Dominus, Octavia. He gave her one of his small rare smiles before turning and yanking his sword out of the dirt. Time to resume training.


Nomad
: It was a speech like every other, all of them building the pompous name of the house up to be something so grand and special that all should revere just hearing it on spoken tongue. To Aricles it choked and parched the throat for he knew all it was designed to do was instill a will to fight for your master, a false sense of pride that one could take in their existence. Behind every Dominus was a greed for gold that the blood paid to obtain was never enough. A wife that always wanted more, her greed almost matching her husband's and though Aricles knew nothing of his new owners he doubted what he spoke of did not ring true to their being. Though crimson eyes peered up at the man as silence fell his tongue and his back the last they saw as his departure came, keen ears were deaf to the ramblings that fell from tongue. Hands flexed as wrists bound to his waist and the itching of another brand removed with fire stung at his arm now covered in cloth that seeped with blood. The wound would not take long to heal, faster than even Aricles would appreciate for the faster he mended from any wound the faster he would be set to task of earning more coin. It was a blessing and a curse just like his very existence. Lowered blood hues glanced at the previous stock of gladiators that were well into their morning routine as was very evident by the sheen of sweet upon them all. Each of them had eyes sizing up the latest additions but all took their time to regard Aricles. Another annoyance. Though his reputation always preceded him none ever believed it until witness by their own eye. Especially gladiators who possessed egos even the Gods would bare notice if not for their standing as slaves. All of them wanted to test themselves against the so called 'Beast' and it was a coming bout that Aricles would rather avoid when not explicitly required too. On another note, within the Ludus their challenges were almost always done through spoken tongue as no real Gladiator would spill the blood of another if it did not benefit them and it rarely ever did outside the arena.


Biird: It took only a flicker of her eyes bopping from one familiar face to another before Octavia's eyes feel on Lycares. He was hers too, though she'd never had the occasion to claim him outright as she had with the newest once. They were close, though. That was perhaps because he had come to them as a boy and risen to the rank of a powerful gladiator at a young age while many of the others came as men with little time for a girl's dangerous wandering around brutes. Octavia finished up her breakfast and rose from the lounge with a strawberry perched in her fingers, the end was tipped with honey. Moving toward the balcony, she rested one arm across it and leaned over, watching as the brothers went back to training. The newest ones were moved back to the far away to have their shackles removed and Doctore took to the sands once more. His whip was wrapped and held in one hand as he walked the line examining the new wares. He could already tell which ones were not going to last and which were going to be trouble and which had already resigned themselves to the only glory afforded to slaves. There were ten of them and if five survived it would be a lot. The scrawny ones were sent to haul wooden pillars while he decided who to pair with who. Stopping in front of the white haired one, Doctore didn't need to look away from his face to notice the healing of old brands. "Lycares, pair with this one." At the sound of this, Octavia threw the green petals of the finished strawberry down onto the sand and pushed off the banister. Gladiators faced many dangers in the arena, none ever knew when the crowd would call for death and be appeased, but to pit Lycares against such and unpredictable newbie was madness. "Doctore." The man turned and looked up at Octavia's face. Even from a distance he understand her worry and simply waited awaited her command. Her fingers flexed on the banister as she looked between her Rising Sun and Beast. The silence drew the attention of others. Finally, a smile broke her features. "Apologies, Doctore, send a slave with a list of your needs before I forget to command." The man nodded at her recovery. To counter his command would be to counter a command of her father when it came to the gladiators and any leniency she showed to too much of to any of them would only see them hurt more.


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PostSubject: Re: Personal Logs: Aricles   Sat May 26, 2018 1:52 pm

Beyond The Ludas

A Confusing Domina Has Her Perks




Biird: Gladiators rise with the sun. A good Doctore rises before his pupils. The Doctore of House Salonius was good. He was very good. Stern, chiseled face the first visage every man trained under his hand would see before even the rays of the morning sun broke the horizon. It was not an encouraging face by any means but one of sheer determination, a mindset to be mirrored by all men under his whip. Many mornings the cracking of that very whip was the alarm that stirred Octavia from her bed. She came to the day with a head full of lingering dreams; dreams wrought with the feel of fur and the heavy breathing of a beast. A relaxing yawn stretched her jaw as she sat up on her cushioned bed with a stretch. The ever present body of her personal attendant was at her side because Octavia slept nude and required, at the very least, thin silks to cover her form as she moved to the bath. It wasn't uncommon to come upon another member of her household in the bath and Octavia suspected that was one of the many things that shaped her way of thinking. Her father was a formidable man with a decent build for his age. Her mother was beautiful in and out of clothes. Her brothers garnered similar reactions as the Prince of Corviana; because they were fearsome and a touch frightening, all the giggles stayed behind their backs, but they were beautiful to behold. That said, it took more than a delicious body to sway Octavia's attention. Besides, she spent her day surround by creatures crafted by the gods for war and blood which left the girl as more of the hunter than the hunted. Speaking of the hunter and the hunted, Octavia found herself on the balcony overlooking the ludus after her bath. Wearing emerald, patterned silks gathered around her body in the traditional fashion of accentuating her bosom and hips and belted to further draw notice to her chest, the daughter of the house watched quietly as the men took to their training partners and the sands. Before the distraction of her thoughts could come onto the sands however, the girl turned and retreated into the ludus making herself indispensable to her mother. But the noon-day sun had reached it peek and still the idea that plagued her dreams and her waking moments had not faded. The gods were with her, drawing her parents to matters in town which they set to with warnings of a late evening. As she intended to do, her brother's disappeared shortly after, leaving Octavia alone in the villa contemplating staying or going. She required one thing regardless of her decision and sent a guard to fetch him. "Aricles. To the baths. You are summoned."

Nomad: If the sounds of bodies moving about at the morns first light was not enough to stir a man, the crack of a whip definitely snapped one from any lingering dreams that held strong to a waking mind. It was something Aricles was very use too but before even the slaves, the gladiators and possibly the Doctore himself, Aricles was upon the sands with a massive column of wood across his shoulders and walking in a very evident circle from the disturbed around beneath his feet. Just how long the titan had been at such a task no one knew but as the Doctore's whip cracked Aricles dropped the beam of wood. The man's broad chest rose and fell unnervingly steady for even if he had been walking no more than 10 minutes it would still take a toll that was not showing save for the sheen of sweat upon uncovered skin. The man's mind was a mystery and a dangerous ground to thread even in sleep so it was rare that Aricles got a proper nights rest. If not for his unique disposition he would have collapsed into an open grave years before, yet his resistance to deaths embrace was never something his owners ever cursed, others perhaps but never those that held his chains. Not straight away anyway. As the mornings training came and went, Aricles was taking water when he received his summons. It was not his place to question, only do as commanded and so following said instructions he excused himself from the sands to the bathhouse and with the aid of slaves who were not normally present he was made a little more presentable than he was use too which only meant someone important wished his company for more than just a word. Brushing his hair back, Aricles fixed the cloth about his waist and a new, well not exactly new but new to him, robe around his shoulders to cover his bare torso. Following the slave to the main house, he was announced to the Lady Octavia to whom he bowed his head and spoke in his usual gruff tone with a linger growl he could never control. "Domina."

Biird: Octavia paced in the greeting room near the front of the villa. Her heart was ticking a touch faster than usual and her mind was racing. Stay or go? Which would be safer? He was hers damnit, why was she so worried? Because she knew her father. No matter. A flicker of a moment before he appeared, casting the room in the darkness of his shadow, Octavia resolved to leave the villa. She turned to him, dropping her thumb from her lips and smiled. "You look as a commoner. Good." Her guard frowned. Octavia on shenanigans was like the shimmer of air on an over heated day. She looked up to the man, her smile changing slightly while he gave her a steady gaze with his deep brown eyes. Finally, he sighed and her smiled widened. "Come." She said to Aricles, holding out her hand and turning to the doors of the villa. The guards at the doors look almost visibly pained to open the door, after all, if she went down, they all did, but they did things like this for her all the time. The air outside the villa was more arid, a mark of earth that had not seen rain in the necessary length of time. Two guards, a personal attendant and her new gladiator in tow, the Lady of House Salonius made her way into town. It wasn't until they reached the base of the Emperor's hill that she released Aricles' hand and drew her attendant closer. The girl was a few years younger, quiet but always on point. The girls walked nearly side by side, but the slave stayed a shadow behind the shoulder of her Domina, never forgetting her place, even if her master were kind. After all, all had to contend with the true master of house Salonius for such infractions. The guards walked behind Aricles, pinning him between the body slave and themselves. They did not exit through the main gates of the noble district, there would be too much traffic and thus too many around to gossip. Instead the passing of coin allowed them through a side gate reserved for the switching of guards. This path would extend their distance from the city considerably but it was for the best. Before the outskirts of the city, Octavia stopped and turned to Aricles. She motioned for him to bend to her height then drew the folds of his shawl over his downy soft white hair and allowed the cowl to fall over his forehead creating a shadow over his features. "There we are."

Nomad: Though Aricles was well versed in hiding the struggle that always engulfed his mind from others with a stoic and normally unchanging gaze bar the shift to a frown or snarl should anyone get a little too close. But the words that fell from the girl had his brow raise. A commoner? There was little he knew about this female but there was a glint in her eye that almost made him wary of what was to come. Still, as always, it was not his place to question just what his Domina wished of him, he would do it regardless if it was degrading, dangerous or even cost him his life, though the latter would definitely give more pause than anything else. Moving with her, her tiny hand in his and the small retinue that always stayed near her, they exited the house and ventured towards the city. This was definitely giving Aricles more reason to want to voice his opinion on the current venture but it would not have made a difference, or so he thought. When she released his hand he followed behind her, well able to see where he was going above the heads of almost everyone around him. The guards behind him made the wolf within laugh and even mock their presence for if Aricles wished to leave, well, it would take a lot more than these two to stop him and for once the man agreed with the beast. Luckily for them however he had nothing to his name, at least as a gladiator he was fed, had a bed and even the option to earn his own coin for the one thing in life he could do. Survive and kill. Another stop had him bending forward and a cowl pulled over his head masking his abnormal hair, something he was more use too that anything else. One house that held his collar despised his hair color and always had his head bound. When he was not fighting they even sometimes had him blind folded for they feared even to fall under his crimson gaze enticed the wolf to the surface much faster. Fools. It never mattered when Aricles told them the truth of his transformation, superstition was a disease and it was one he was tired of fighting. Closing his eyes as she adjusted the cloth about his head, he stood tall again and merely accepted that perhaps she too was not fond of his coloring. Such was the life of a slave. Their feelings never mattered to those that considered them their betters.

Biird: His perpetually frowning or scowling face didn't bother her in the least. In fact that shadow of growl that edged each of his words made her skin tingle. Though she was constantly aware of the beast watching her from just behind those bold red eyes, that didn't stop her from breaking the touch barrier with him regularly. On the upside, he didn't seem to mind, though Octavia wondered if the man were simply more trained than the beast. It was good that he was not resistant to his collar but she craved for him to understand that her interest in him stemmed beyond ownership and even beyond the gentle heart she held for all under her thumb. Just how far, she didn't know. The girl wasn't falling, not yet, but her toes were off the edge of the precipice. Cupping his jaw in her hand, her thumb passed over his cheek a few times before she turned and lead the little troop into the city. It was a bustling place, filled with vendors and shoppers alike, noble and common. One always had to be weary of the small children running through the heavy crowds and disappearing down narrow alleys. The dark haired Domina stopped to pet a goat and its kids but was shortly shooed away by the farmer to which she laughed and practically hopped away. Perusing slowly through the streets, Octavia was obviously in no hurry and really looking for nothing. Near the center of town, though closer to the slum side, she slipped into a small tavern and took up a table in the where she could have a clear view of the rest of the room, but she was also near a side exit to her left and the bar to her right. Her attendant and the two guards pulled up stools at the bar and Octavia patted the chair beside her for Aricles to join her. Moments later, a man arrived at the table with a healthy grin on his wide features. He regarded her with a chuckle and rocked back on his heels, jutting out his great big belly, held up by thing legs. "What would you have today, Domina?" "All that is fresh!" Octavia said with a clap of her hands. "And meat, lots of meat!" He laughed again, "Of course my best wine. For your company?" "Even more so!" She said. The man shook his head with a smile and turned away from them a few coins in his hand now.

Nomad: Beneath the hood an almost glowing gaze regarded each face that passed the little group as they made their way through the crowd. Upon his cheek Aricles still felt the lingering warmth of Octavia's touch and even though he was doing his best to ignore it his mind would not allow it so easily. That coupled with the laughing howl of the wolf and the teasing jibs that revolved around no one giving a shit about him, not caring for a monster, he was simply there to make them all money and just like every other house did in the past when the beast got free he would be sold off yet again. Gritting his teeth Aricles cursed the wolf silently but he knew it was true, no place ever held onto him when his worth was overtaken by the cost of damages and keeping him. This house would be no different. After a small trek and struggling to pass through a crowd that Octavia seemed to glide through, shooing a few street children that clung to the abnormally large man's cloak, they found themselves at the entrance to a tavern. For a moment Aricles stayed still, not entering until one of the guards hit him in the back, not hard but enough to move a normal person forward. Naturally enough however, Aricles did not budge but instead turned his cloaked gaze back at the man who took a half step backward and shifted his chin forward telling him in no verbal words to move inside. Still Aricles did not move until he finally sighed and ventured within. Taverns were rarely empty and this was no exception. Following once again where directed, Aricles found himself upon a seat alone at a table with Octavia. His cloaked gaze still looking around the room but keeping a conscious note to not allow the cowl to fall. When the barkeep arrived and Octavia made her order, for the second time in a single day his brow rose in surprise. She had ordered him food? Food that normal people ate, free people? "Your father will not be pleased, Domina." They were his first words spoken without enticement even though they were low and barely above a whisper so no one else in the room would hear him bar Octavia herself. A part of Aricles knew she did not care for the repercussions of her actions though for there was a defiant glint in her eye that Aricles had noted from the very beginning.

Biird: Octavia glazed over Aricles' sage words of warning, idly chipping at a loose splinter on the table. His words were a soft whisper no louder then when the gods give advice so it was easy to pretend she hadn't heard him at all. After a moment, letting his words pass "unheard", her head bobbed up, the loose curls in her hair moving around her small face, her eyes shining dark in the flickering light of torches and a small candle on the table. Of course, that light in her eyes was the source of her mischief. When she looked up she could see the beast watching her like a lion in a cage planning to kill the one that had entrapped them. He must have had more of a beef with her than any of the other masters prior to her, after all, she had forced a change on him. Not matter. Though she did wonder about his change and how much control he had over it. That was a subject she wanted to broach but chose to gain a bit of his trust first. Plying him with food wasn't her idea of earning his trust, but it would grease the wheels for come comfortable conversation if she were lucky. "The villa lacks the amount of provisions I think would fill your belly, so here we are." Her hand raised, adjusting his cowl. "After wins in the arena it will become more difficult to conceal you." She said absently, lowering her hand. The man returned with wine and large loaf of warm, fresh bread. He didn't say anything, only poured the cups full and departed. Out of the corner of her eye, Octavia could see her guards and servant sipping from cups and chattering amongst themselves. Lifting the wine to her lips, she pushed the bread in front of Aricles. Her lips parted then closed. Warning him not to fill up on that seemed a waste of a warning. She would wait until he had some meat ripped between his canines to press him with questions.

Nomad: The smell of food mixed with the scent of ale had Aricles' stomach growling almost as loud as the beast within when he was close enough to Octavia to devour her. It was extremely rare for a gladiator to be out amongst the normal people and almost be treated like one, sitting down to eat as if one were free and allowed to do as they pleased. In all his years Aricles never could recall a moment like this. It was not his first time within a city but he was normally wearing far more chains, far less covered or on his way to a pit to do some less that reputable fighting for his owner. Even though she covered his head Aricles did feel a pit of appreciation for his Domina, though he did not let this cloud his mind to the fact she was still his owner and he would no doubt be reminded of this fact countless times in the future. Gazing at her as she adjusted his hood, he tried to see her agenda deep within those kind yet mischievous eyes but he failed too. A part of him did not know if he found this comforting or unsettling but he had little time to contemplate such thoughts when the food arrived upon their table. It took a modicum of restraint to not grab a fist full of bread and devour it there and then, his hands gripping at the cloth upon his legs. When the drinks poured and Octavia passed the bread bowl too him, Aricles took a loaf  and he did not wait for another moment before he took a rather large bite from the warm bread. A very audible growl of appreciation rolled through him, so loud that it drew the attention of some closer patrons but at this moment he was blind to anyone around him. Gripping the jug rather than the cup that had been poured for him, which looked like a normal mug within his grasp, Aricles took a deep gulp of the spiced liquid to wash down the bread that dried his mouth. This food, though not completely unfamiliar to his palet, had been missing from his lips for so long he had forgotten just how good something as basic as not stale bread could be. Another piece of bread was ripped into his mouth followed by the last remnants and another gulp of his drink. Though he wished he could savor such a meal he was far too hungry to control his urge at this moment.

Biird: He wouldn't find anything of suspicion in her eyes. The girl was more or less and open book, her shenanigans worn on her sleeve. If he were looking to find what she sought to gain from allowing him to be out and about and buying him a meal, hints of a need to know him and the wonderment of the beast behinds his own eyes, would be the brighter flickering light in those sapphire orbs. Octavia crossed one leg over another as Aricles took half the warm and flaky loaf in a single bit. Though she was always dainty and petite in his ravenous company she seemed more so, sipping her wine and watching him with a smile. Cup in one hand, the other on the bench behind her, allowing her to lean back and gaze at him as he ate, she noted the loud growl like many of the others around them. Laughing, her hand came to rest on the back of his, pushing the bread to his mouth gently. "Again." She chirped. "Are you able to do that without the need of sustenance?" It was a chuckled nonchalant question. The sound coming from her gladiator drew the attention of her guards as well, lacing their faces with worry an expression a lot of people wore around Octavia. One which always was rewarded with her usual flippant smile. This moment was no different. She lowered her cup to her knee, her top leg swinging idly as she mulled over all the questions floating around her head. It left her with a dreamy look in her eyes as she watched him. This time, the person to approach their table was a young girl. She had a long tray of cheese and fruit and dried meat which she set on the center of the table. Her appearance caused Octavia to sit up and touch the girl's hand lightly with her fingertips. "Meat pie." The girl frowned. "They are day old, Domina." Octavia waved a hand. "Warm them. More wine and mead for this one." The girl nodded. Her eyes hadn't come off of Aricles during the entire conversation. She was undressing him. Octavia let her have a moment before clearing her throat and waving the girl away. Once again she pushed the tray toward him, slipping a silver of cheese off the tray.

Nomad: The man's consumption of food only slowed when he was tasked with deciphering just what Octavia was talking about. Again? Do what again? In Aricles mind he had not even noticed he had growled when food first touched his lips so when it was spoken of he had no way of replicating it. Taking another piece of bread offered though, his mind was still mulling over her query as he bit into the loaf but they were interrupted by a girl joining them with more food. A selection of different assortments that looked almost too good to eat, yet with the frame of mind Aricles was currently in, if the table gained anymore crumbs upon it's surface he would consume that also. Taking a fistful of the fruit he devoured them and followed it with he dried meats. Even though he was taking fist fulls at a time, they were always individual produce, wanting to taste everything, recall it all and savor it for he doubted such an occasion would ever come again. The little girl beside them was merely a shade in the corner of Aricles' vision and was quickly blocked entirely as the jug came up to his lips again and he finished the last of the contents with another familiar growl, again completely unbeknownst to himself. After a number of mouthfuls, Aricles slowed his eating to final look at Octavia and ponder what it was she wished to know. "Why are we here, Domina?" A bold question for if this is where Octavia wished to be then he had no reason to know anything further. But there was more to their little outing and for once Aricles wished to know. Never having mead before was probably playing towards his loosened tongue though.

Biird: Content with watching him devour food, oddly, one morsel at a time, a silence stretched between and filled with the soft merriment of the room. The sound of laughter and drinking games rose over their quiet table. Even the chatter of their company at the bar became a little louder. When the girl brought back the meat pies, wine and mead, she paused to take the empty jug and allowed herself to drink him in once more. Octavia's eyes drifted between the two. He was oblivious. Food was far more important and captivating at the moment. Tilting her head, the realization made Octavia wonder if this was a temporary disconnect from obvious interest of women or something more. "Huh." The sound came softly from her before she shooed the girl back. The pies were size of Costco-sized muffins. They were a day old and warmed over but stuffed with thick gravy, vegetables of the season and stew beef. Taking one, the other three were pushed to her living vacuum. As her spoon pierced the top of the pie, his question filled her ears and broke the silence between them. "To eat, of course." The contents of the pie slipped between her lips as if too punctuate her response but that familiar flickering of something devious was in her eyes again and curling her lips. Once the morsel had been swallowed however, the spoon moved to signal to his form. "I thought perhaps you would be more willing to part lips with tales of the past over a full belly. Was I wrong?"

Nomad: Upon the girl's return, Aricles took the new jug of mead and cleaned it of most of it's contents once again. Regardless of the reasons they were here, which he was sure he'd find out soon, he was not going to pass up any opportunity to make the most of his vague freedom. Washing down the taste of dried meats and fruit, the next course looked even better and it seemed there was hardly a dent put in the mans appetite. Taking one of the pies when offered in his hand, he bit into the crumbling pastry only to have his mouth flooded with a taste he could not even describe. The growl had gotten so loud now that some patrons had even sought refuge at a table further away. A noticeable circle of space forming about the two. When one pie had been completely consumed, another on it's way to meet the same fate, Aricles paused at Octavia's return to his own question. Stories about his past. Not many really cared about where he had come from, only what he could do for them and it was something he actually appreciated. There was little of his past Aricles wished to relive and for the first time since starting his voyage through the taverns culinary closet, he placed the meat pie back on the table and sat a little straighter, taking the jug of mead  and drinking the rest of its contents. Even the mans mood sobered from the slight elation he was experiencing while eating fine foods for the first time. "What of my past do you wish to know, Domina?" Again it was back to owner and slave, if she wished to know something he would tell her, not because he wanted too but because he was required too. Although, a part of him did not mind opening to her a little even if he was still very wary of this girl that offered a form of olive branch. Perhaps she was someone he could in fact talk to about certain things he always kept hidden.

Biird: He was guzzling food, funneling it down his throat as if he thought it would disappear before he could without knowing knowing his mistress would never allow that. Outside of the ludus she was in full command of him and everything he came in touch with. In and outside the ludus she strove to provide them with as much freedom as she could. The pause in his motions rolled quickly into his former reserved state and it made her uncomfortable, forming a knot in her stomach. The discomfort would flicker across her features but for the most part she kept a look of thoughtful whimsy on her face. He clearly didn't want to talk about his past. If she couldn't get a few happy tales of his childhood there was little chance of getting him to open up about the beast inside too. Besides, how was she going to explain her ability to see the thing? It would seem they both needed more time to warm to this madness. Moving the half eaten pie back to him, Octavia waved the question away. "I've changed my mind. I prefer watching you eat." She said flippantly, filling her mouth with a bit of her own pie and giving him a smile. As if to help clear the awkwardness, the original servant returned with a freshly roasted leg of lamb. The slab was big enough for two, but Octavia pushed the meat toward Aricles and handed over his empty jug of mead. "My friend will be switching to water." More coin slipped into the man's hand, taking care of the orders of her other companions as well. Even though the man looked uneasy due to the sounds the man was making, sounds that were putting the others in his tavern on edge, coin soothed that worry as it did for many things. It didn't soothe the worry for her guards, however. They were more than ready to leave the tavern. Lucky for them, Octavia surmised it wouldn't take long for Aricles to finish off his food and they could be off again.

Nomad: As quickly as the topic was broached Octavia had dismissed it again which only made Aricles more curious about this girl. There was definitely something different about her for he knew if she really wanted to know something she would press until it was revealed but instead she withdrew. Was it to save the obvious discomfort he was vibrantly displaying, or perhaps she had just changed her mind. Reading people was not exactly one of Aricles specialties, killing them more his line of expertise. The follow up, preferring to watch him eat, this was less odd for he had been made do acts in front of others for their entertainment that was not solely subjected to the arena and blood letting. Taking the meat pie back in his hand, the use of knives or forks always left to the more sophisticated of society he finished it along with the last remaining one and any remnants of the fruit, bread and cheeses, lasting downing the jug of water that had been offered. It was clean, fresh and most of all cool. A far cry from the warm water they were given in the ludas after a days training. Sure they tried to keep it cold in the shade but they were not going out of their way to make sure of that. Leaning back in his seat, fixing his hood to make sure he remained covered, he glanced towards the guards that were really not liking the situation and even less the distance they were away from Aricles and Octavia. Not that he could blame them for they knew nothing of Aricles other than he was a slave, a gladiator and a killer. Such things tended to paint a pretty clear picture of someone that could not be trusted, slaves were barely seen as human and Aricles, well, he was viewed even less than a beast. Turning back to Octavia, Aricles offered her a nodded bow. "Thank you, Domina, for the meal." Sitting straight again he simply waited for the next venture his Domina wished to thread upon.

Biird: As predicted it didn't take long for him to finish the food. The Salonius girl even managed to get a few morsels of her own while he ate. Once he was done she rose from her seat prompting her guards and attendant to do the same. With a nod to the proprietor, Octavia wandered out of the tavern and back into the warm sun of the day. It had only passed noon by perhaps an hour so it was still warm enough for her next adventure. Although, the days in the city near the hill of the Emperor were getting longer and warmer and dryer. The need for rain was beginning to be noticed by the masses. With water still flowing freely there was no need for panic just yet. Smoothing down her skirt, Octavia hipped off the small step from the tavern to the street and wandered toward the outskirts of the city. Just as before, the woman didn't seem to be in any sort of rush. She stopped to help child fix his play sword, to hear a new dirty joke from the town drunk, and admire wares from this stall or that, but eventually the small party found themselves seated on benches in front of a curtained stage. To her left, Octavia had her persona attendant and to her right she brought Aricles to sit down beside her. They were at the back of the small audience of benches, but her guards were on the row behind them. When they sat, Octavia turned to Aricles and fixed his cowl once more. Her hands drifted aimlessly over his feature as she watched him almost absently before they lowered into one of his hands. "This folly tells the tale of Humilius, the man who thought he was the sent by the gods to be the speaker for the Emperor. A bumbling fool." She patted his hand, hoping the slapstick and hijinks would bring even the shadow of a smile to his face. The girl and her guards and attendant had seen the play three times already and still found it quite funny.

Nomad: Moving silently as he could, Aricles passed through the mass of bodies that went about their daily routines. Everything they did seemed so rushed and as if if they missed a single moment in the day their lives would fall apart. For once the giant actually thought himself fortunate for his day consisted of little more than training, eating and sleeping in preparation for the arena. Granted none of their lives were ever actually in danger, unlike his own. Shadowed features kept a close eye on the girl as she lead the small group through the streets. Surprisingly Aricles found himself wanting her safety as much as the guards and the idea of the consequences should she be hurt and he did nothing did not concern him in the least. For once he was doing it purely because he desired too. Now finding himself in another strange situation, a seat before a curtain and Octavia once more fixing a cowl that really was not going anywhere but he found no wish to voice such things, merely listening to her as she spoke. Crimson eyes flared at the mere mention of the Gods but otherwise he remained stoic and upright. It would hardly be a secret that most cursed by the Gods hated them, not all of course but the list had Aricles name very close to the top. This story though seemed to be a comedy from the chuckle of the guards as they spoke between each other at a retelling of what was to come. Glancing towards the curtain when Octavia fell silent and the voice of another figure came from the stage. There were very very few reasons Aricles found to laugh in this life, perhaps the unfortunate events of another may provide such a reaction. Wishing such a thing could be true he seemed to relax and open to the idea of being entertained rather than the entertainment for once. "The Gods hand in ones life rarely plays in that persons favor." Aricles words were barely above a whisper and mostly drowned out by a crowd that cheered for the speaker as he introduced the first act.

Biird: His muttered words didn't go unheard by Octavia but her only reply was a light pat of his hand. The narrator of the play gave a brief introduction detailing the scene to come of young Humilius living within the shop of stone carver who specialized in the visages of the various gods. Details were given that the boy was not the seed of the man he called father, but instead that of the slave he kept close at hand, a man that set his son adrift during a raid of his village and sold himself into slavery to the stone carver in order to stay close to his child. The unaware Humilius fancied himself a great carver and in truth his abilities were acceptable. On this day, the opening of the play, a woman would wander into the shop that would change his life. The bumbling stone carver struggled to impress the beautiful young woman and nearly destroyed several carvings within his own shop in an attempt to impress her. His clumsiness draw great laughs from the crowd, the sound peaking when he broke a very important part off the fertility god and attempted to hide it in his mouth. The scenes carried on as such, with the overly confident Humilius finding himself in folly after folly with his loyal slave at hand. When the pair were set upon by bandits and a simple slip of unsteady earth was interpreted as protection from the gods themselves, Humilius set out to bring his "gifts" to the Emperor. At the conclusion of his half cocked pitched to his father the slave, and an unsteady wagon prepared for travel, the curtains came to a close for intermission. At this point the sides of many an audience member were hurting. One of the guards got up to find wine and water while Octavia turned to Aricles to gauge his reaction.

Nomad: Arms folded across a broad and well muscled chest as Aricles watched the situation unfold on the stage before him. For the most part he found himself trying to make sense of most of the acts that were taking place instead of settling back completely and just enjoying it for what it was, comedy. The laughter of the crowd echoed to the point those on the stage were forced to shout to make themselves heard and Octavia and the small group of theirs were no exception. They were all very much enthralled with the pure shenanigans of Humilius and truth be told even Aricles, under his cowl had smiled at a few of the acts. Even once a cough shook his form, or maybe it was a laugh. It was pretty hard to tell when they all sounded deep and almost like a growl. A few times Aricles found himself watching the crowd and envying some of them which kept his mood somber. They had the option to come here whenever they wished, to be entertained and laugh so freely. Even some slaves were granted this freedom. Not gladiators however, they were the entertainment for these exact people when their mood changed to a need for laughter to a craving for bloodshed. The envy quickly died to irritation and as the first intermission fell Aricles was back on his default setting of stoic, though perhaps a little lighter in mood for he could not deny that he was enjoying himself. "He would not survive long in the arena." A joke? Perhaps. It was even enough to tug a smile at the corner of the titans lips but it quickly faded as easily as it was born.

Biird: Whether is words were a joke or not, Octavia laughed, wholeheartedly. She found it funny, but then again she had a morbid sense of humor. "Would he not?" She said with a smile, stretching out her hand to touch his thigh near the back of his knee, "A little bumble here." She jabbed her finger just below his navel, "A fumble here." Then into the side of his neck where it met his broad shoulders. "A bit of a stumble here and you and your elk are done for." She finished with another hearty laugh. A scene of a small foolish man in the arena lurching to pick up a weapon and barely missing a spear that impaled another danced in her mind. Of course, she would never wish for any of her men to die upon the sands and many had already, but the scene hurt no one and would likely never come to pass. The guard returned with water for Aricles and her attendant, and wine for Octavia and themselves, a cup full each. He plopped happily back down on the bench with a thanks from the woman he was sworn to protect and went back to his conversation with his comrade. The girl in their company, who had been timid and quiet all their shared lives had been more so in the presence of Aricles but now seemed to relax a bit watching her Domina poke and prod at the man with no fear. She too had caught the shadow of the smile. Octavia patted Aricles knee, watching his face for the beast. As far as she could tell he had been very quiet in their little afternoon outing.

Nomad: Octavia's laugh actually caught Aricles by surprise. How loud and seemingly genuine it was caused a similar tug on the corner of his lip to return. The idea that he made her laugh actually lifted the gladiators spirit to the point it would be something he would possibly strive for in the future. When she started to poke at him with a slender finger however had his brow raised. The jabs were barely felt as they pressed against knitted muscle that was almost like a hide armor wrapped about him always. When her laugh returned he had to wonder, was she crazy? Probably not given the pension for blood shed and violence was almost required by one who would dwell within a ludas be they gladiator or Dominus. Taking the cup of water, there was a bare hint of disappointment within his throat that it was not mead again but that ship had sailed unfortunately yet he was glad he had the chance to try it at all. Taking a drink of the cool liquid Aricles turned back to the stage and awaited the second act. For once he actually felt part of the crowd and it was something he would treasure, regardless if he would be punished later for whatever slight his exit from the ludas would cause someone high than himself. For now, he would not think of such a think and bringing the cup to his lips again, a pause was given. "Thank you, Domina." And he drank once more.

Biird: Seeing that soft tug of his lip, Octavia reached up and caressed his cheek. Perhaps the beast was sleeping. If she could arrange moments for him when the animal within was not active that would be her goal. Her hand removed from his face when she took the goblet of wine and sipped it. His thanks was met with a wide smile and a nod. Soon the curtains pulled again and Humilius was back to his awkwardness and missteps. His simpleton rambling and ineptitude did not impress the Emperor, however, especially after a misinterpretation of the stars lead to a great loss in battle. Determined to prove the stargazer a fraud, the right hand of the Emperor suggested he join the men on the front and provide council from the ground. Another battle loss, and Humilius found himself hidden away under the bodies of other only to escape to another land in exile for the remainder of his days. The play closed with the man, considerably older now, herding sheep in some unknown land, his dutiful father and slave by his side. That is, until, he mistook the sound of heavy wind through the trees as the voice of the gods. The wind frightened his flock leaving a single lamb astray and when Humilius went to fetch the creature that sound of wind drew his attention so quickly, so eager to answer the gods, that he slipped and went over the edge of a cliff. The curtains closed. Applause erupted. Octavia's hand slipped into that of Aricles as she rose. "A lovely outing." Was all she said as she directed them back to the ludas in the light of the setting sun.
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