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  #31  
Old Jan 20th, 2024, 11:20 AM
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Dianthe the Hetéra
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Dianthe the Hetéra
The stranger’s words draw the hetéra’s attention back to him. She has expected to use the man as a shield to hide behind, but it seems that he is willingly offering her a weapon as well. Her mind reflexively goes back to the conversation she had with Jorunn. How would you kill me?, he asked her. She replied that killing was not familiar to her and she was telling the truth. How fitting that the gods choose to immediately put her to the test.

Pondering the stranger’s words, she looks into his eyes. She doesn’t spot any malice or deceit there. The man is telling her only what he thinks is the proper solution to her problem. And he is right. If she hires two brawny men to take Abactemus captive, she has no doubt that they will succeed. She is certain that she has more than enough silver for them to meet her expectations.

The thought is tantalizing, but she eventually rejects it. She already has two brawny men waiting right now to spring the trap. Besides, denarii always leave a trail for others to follow. If Portia’s killer is as methodical as Levian or as ruthless as Jorunn, he will have no trouble tracking her down to her domus. Even if she is certain that her servants will protect her, she and the Eagles might become exposed. A rumor is the only thing in Rome that spreads faster than fire.

Her face lights up and her hand squeezes that of the kind stranger. It is only proper that she shows him gratitude.

"Offering good advice is the mark of a true friend and I thank you for it, the eldest and wisest of the Achaean kings who took part in the Trojan warwise Nestor. If you could tell me how and where such men can be contacted, I will be in your debt, though… I do not have the heart to go to them right now. Will you keep me company for a little bit longer? I would like to know more about my benefactor."

She no longer looks for Abactemus, for the man has disappeared beneath the Aemillian bridge. She trusts Jorunn to incapacitate him and Levian to make him talk. Even as she pictures the two of them waiting to pounce on the man, she realizes that something is bothering her. It takes several moments before the nature of her disquiet becomes apparent to her. The man’s legs! They are pale and scrawny, the legs of someone who is not used to manual labor or traveling. Possibly a man who sits behind a desk…

Could the one they are looking for be a man of letters?



 


 
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  #32  
Old Jan 20th, 2024, 11:59 PM
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Aemilian Bridge

Street level
left-aligned image
Porculus Crispus

A chill runs down the man's spine as the lady looks into his eyes. As lovely as her eyes may be, and as seductively as they may tug at his heart strings, there is a life behind them that he can only guess at; a life that does not seem to be satisfied by serving men only. But when she speaks, her words are honeyed and he overcomes his moment of doubt.

I'll gladly keep you company, he says, nevertheless a little put out as the prospect of guiding the lady, perhaps even supporting her on his arm, is laid to rest. As for the address... if we, I mean, if you go downstream and take the second alley to the left, just beyond the Sublician bridge, you will see the tavern, pubPopina Salvius. There, ask for the pretty one, obviously not his real nameBlandus and tell him that Porculus Crispus sent you. He will be able to help you.

After a moment of hesitation, he adds rather sheepishly, And so you know my name, though I can hardly claim to be a benefactor.

He fidgets unhappily for a short while, then haltingly says, Though the address I gave you is correct, I would advise you not to go there in person. Being a foreigner you may not be aware of Roman prejudices but women visiting such places are generally, hmmm, rather looked at , hmmmm, as ehmm, prostitutes. My earlier suggestion to guide you there was very unthinking, Wife of Hektor and famous for her virtue and fidelityAndromache, please accept my apologies.

A little flustered by his blunder and eager to dispel an uneasy silence, he adds: I deal in wines. That is how I come to know the less savoury places of Rome. They are great customers.


Down by the riverside
right-aligned image
Abactemus

Abactemus walks in a straight line towards a spot in the wall halfway between the bridge and the hiding place of Levian. But before he reaches his target, he is aware of a glint of light at the sewer exit. Rats! it must be these homeless folk again. he thinks, I better ....

Without wasting his time to finish his thought, he places his fingers in his mouth and lets out a loud whistle. Maybe it was nothing, he thinks, but better be safe then sorry.

He keeps his eye on the entrance of the sewer and so is not aware of jorunn approaching him. The sewer stays dark as before. Just the sun bouncing off some dirt, then, he thinks, as makes ready to continue towards the dead drop.

In response to the whistle, a muscular, heavy-set Nubian man comes down the stairs; surprisingly silent and agile for one his size. The rattle of carts over the bridge covering his soft steps.


 


The situation
aspects in play:
Zone 1: Street level. Present: Dianthe, a kind stranger
Crowded streets; A woman alone in the crowd[GM]; A flame for the lame[D], Rattling carts

Zone 2: Under the bridge. Present: A muscular, heavy-set Nubian
Quiet, too quiet

Zone 3: In the sewer. Present: Levian
Overpowering smell; In shadows I hide[boost][L]

Zone 4: In front of the dead drop. Present: jorunn, Abactemus

GM fate points: 3, 2

Last edited by Dworin; Jan 24th, 2024 at 11:02 AM.
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  #33  
Old Jan 23rd, 2024, 12:44 PM
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Dianthe the Hetéra
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Dianthe the Hetéra
Dianthe understands that to be called Andromache is meant as a compliment, a very generous one in fact if one considers the hetéra’s line of work, but a dark shadow passes over her fair face the moment she hears the kind man utter that name. The Trojan princess had to witness the lifeless body of her husband being dragged behind Achilles’ chariot before the walls of her city and was unable to prevent her baby boy from being thrown from these same high walls by the men who enslaved her. Though she doesn’t object to the man who betrayed her suffering the same fate as Hector, she knows that she will go mad if something ill is to befall her son.

The stranger notices the sudden change in the woman’s mood and is rightly baffled by it. Dianthe banishes the shadow and rewards him with her warm smile, but it is a little too late. There is now an invisible wall between the two, keeping them apart. Perhaps that is the reason she tests her injured foot, signaling her discomfort with a grimace, but managing to stand all the same. It seems that the time for exchanging pleasantries is over, something the man deeply resents.

"I shall keep your kind words and sage advice in my heart, my good Porculus Crispus she calls him prudent/wise as a complimentPrudens. When I was in need you rushed to my aid, assisting not an Andromache, but a an enslaved woman, taken first by Achilles, then by Agamemnon, before being finally returned to AchillesBriseis. May the gods watch over you and shower you with blessings for the good that you did me."

She touches him a final time, her hand softly caressing the skin of his arm, and she feels the slight tremble beneath her delicate fingers.

"Our paths may cross again", she says mysteriously, a Sibyl proclaiming a future the man desperately wants to come true. "I have a fondness for good wine and I can think of no better company to share it with than you. Farewell, my noble protector."

The hetéra limps away more elegantly than one might think possible, in a manner that makes her form appear all the more alluring, the soft fabric of her stola closely hugging her hips and legs. Dianthe knows that the eyes of the dealer, trader, merchantmercator are upon her and will remain so for as long as they are able to.

Dianthe is used to attracting the gazes of men. Nonetheless, she realizes that she is genuinely grateful for Porculus Crispus’ kindness. This is one of the reasons she has allied herself with the Coppers. Most of the commoners of Rome are base in their tastes and ideas, but there is a certain honesty in their baseness, a certain dignity. They don’t pretend to be better than they are. And sometimes, when highly polished, copper can even outshine gold. Like the good mercator did in her eyes.

With each passing moment, Dianthe moves more swiftly. There is no reason to pretend anymore. She knows that the ever-moving, faceless crowd of the Aemillian Bridge isn’t interested in whether she is in pain or not. She has seen the ebony-skinned man following Abactemus and wants to be nearby, in case she has to interfere.

Wouldn’t it be funny if she had to come to the rescue of two hardened veterans? She hopes it won’t be necessary, but one never knows. The gods are infamous for their strange sense of humor.



 


 
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  #34  
Old Jan 25th, 2024, 01:46 AM
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Levian
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Levian Osmanthus
Sweat beads on Levian's brow at the sound of Abactemus' whistling. The whistle is an icon, it represents an imbalance of information, and Levian finds himself on the losing side of it. That is neither a comfortable nor familiar sensation, and he moves to correct it immediately.

Levian withdraws into his thoughts to assess the possibilities of what the whistle could mean. The likeliest options is that it's a signal to an ally elsewhere in the vicinity. It could be a warning, or a request for help, or it could simply be part of the business for which Abactemus is visiting the dead drop today in the first place. In any case it would mean that Abactemus isn't here alone, some co-conspirator is present and will need to be considered from here on out.

The other possibility that comes to Levian's mind is that the whistle was designed to draw the attention of strangers. Perhaps Abactemus wants the attention of guards, civilians, or Levian himself. If that was the case, Jorunn would need to be more careful approaching. Levian doesn't consider this version of events likely. For one, it's hard to see down to the dead drop from above the bridge, for two it's noisy around so a whistle is unlikely to catch the ear of one who isn't listening for it, and third Abactemus is a spineless weasel of a man who wouldn't want the eyes of Rome on him if he could avoid it.

He concludes an accomplice is too likely a possibility to ignore. Which means that as Jorunn moves in to secure the objective, Levian needs to move to cover Jorunn's back against whoever else might be out there.

He skulks in the shadows until a moment when Abactemus' eyes are not on his hiding spot, and then he moves, jumping to clasp his fingers onto the edge of the riverbank wall, and pulls himself up. There's a pleasant sense of power in pulling oneself up like that, a rewarding physicality that Levian has missed since transitioning his focus from soldiering to spycraft. Once up, he moves to slip into the crowd as quietly as possible. It's important that he go unobserved by Abactemus, even if he draws the attention of those around him. He tries to maneuver to a place where he'll have a better view of the situation, and where he'll be able to intercept Abactemus if he makes a run for it up the stairs into the crowd. He also looks around for guards or soldiers. He hopes not only to find Abactemus' co-conspirator, but also to know who will respond if a physical confrontation breaks out in this space.


 



RPGX is giving me hell about the formatting to put my roll in this post. I have no idea why. I'm gonna roll in the OOC thread instead then.
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  #35  
Old Jan 27th, 2024, 09:58 PM
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jorunn will move to cosh abactemus out, and then roll on the nubian, blade coming out of its sheath "thats close enough friend" he says, pulling up his face mask over his mouth and nose. "if your wanting to die, feel free to meet it on the end of my blade. no one will miss you, and i doubt any court will hear you out, so why doncha just toodle back the way you came and get any legal thoughts out of your head"

Dice jorunn mars roll to cosh out abactemus:
4df+3 (-1, 0, -1, -1)+3 Total = 0


Dice reroll:
4df+3 (1, 0, 0, 0)+3 Total = 4
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Last edited by Hotshot lasgun; Jan 27th, 2024 at 10:01 PM.
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  #36  
Old Jan 28th, 2024, 09:45 AM
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Aemilian Bridge

Street level
left-aligned image
Porculus Crispus

Porculus Crispus looks after the hobbling woman for a second before shaking off his indolence. He has so many things to do today and so many customers to visit. What had he been thinking sitting here wasting his time with this lady, no matter how attractive she might be. Quickly he gets up as well and hurries on to the first customer on his list; the popina Salvius he had just discussed with the lady, as it happens to be. Idle thoughts of a chance encounter there flee from his mind when he does quick calculations on the amount of wine needed there, the profits to be made and his need to finally get the owner to settle his advances. That Dianthe is limping less and less is something he doesn't see as he himself is already on his way to the Sublician bridge.

Abactemus had been followed by a big Nubian man. Whether this man was with him or spying on him or even waiting for Abactemus to open the dead drop to steal whatever came out from there, it is impossible to tell. Fact is that when Abactemus went down the stairs, this Nubian hovered on the street, conspicuous by his inaction, just as Dianthe had felt herself earlier. While she is walking towards the river, Dianthe loses sight of the Nubian for a second when a group of boisterous men passes in between and subsequently he is gone. But as one man disappears from view, another returns. She sees Levian vault over the edge of the embankment. It does not seem that their plans had gone wrong; he looks in control -- excepting the soiled hem of his robe -- but all the same it may be a good thing that Dianthe has now made herself available.

Levian pushes himself up to streetlevel, unobserved by Abactemus who has all his attention fixed on the dead drop. Next to the bridge, not far from the place where Levian comes up, is the top of a heavy buttress. As if it is meant to be a viewing platform, it juts out towards the river, giving a good view of what happens down below. Leviancan see jorunn jump on Abactemus with a big muscular Nubian following him like a shadow. That must be the co-conspirator and though he was expecting to see him, he is much closer to jorunn than he might have hoped. If it turns out to be necessary, the jump down is a bit higher than a man's height and the landing tricky due to the embankment's uneven surface but with skill and using an opponent to break his fall, it should be possible.

On the street level, there doesn't seem to be anyone else with any interest in the riverside whatsoever though a few men are loitering at some distance, obviously hoping to do any menial job that might be coming their way. The uncertainty of their job and income is the price they pay for their freedom.


Down by the riverside
left-aligned image
Abactemus

right-aligned image
A big, muscular Nubian

Abactemus is moving fixedly towards a spot in the embankment; probably that is where the dead drop is. Indeed, there is a narrow opening through which potential hirers can slide a wax tablet with instructions and coins for Severus. There must be a mechanism to open this as well but without knowing the secret, it will be near impossible to find. Not waiting to learn this secret, Jorunn takes a swing to knock out the unsuspecting Abactemus. The man's spindly legs buckle under him and with a sigh he sinks to the ground. A quick check shows that he is still breathing. Good. The blow will give him a nasty headache but it wasn't too hard. It shouldn't interfere with his memory.

With cat-like grace, the Nubian slides from the stairs towards the dead-drop, making use of the shadows under the bridge. But as luck would have it, he kicks a heavy stone and, just when there is a lull in the rattle of wagons overhead and just after Abactemus has hit the ground, the stone lands in the river with a loud splash, drawing the attention to the man's approach. Startled, he freezes in place, drawing his arms up in defense.



 


The situation
aspects in play:
Zone 1: Street level. Present: Dianthe, Levian
Crowded streets; A woman alone in the crowd[GM]; A flame for the lame[D]; Ideal position[L][L]

Zone 2: Under the bridge. Present: A big, muscular Nubian
Quiet, too quiet

Zone 3: In the sewer. Present: nobody
Overpowering smell; In shadows I hide[boost][L]

Zone 4: In front of the dead drop. Present: jorunn, Abactemus

GM fate points: 3 2

Last edited by Dworin; Feb 1st, 2024 at 04:41 AM.
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  #37  
Old Jan 29th, 2024, 02:52 PM
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Dianthe the Hetéra
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Dianthe the Hetéra
Dianthe silently approaches Levian, slowly enough to allow her aromatic oil to reach his nostrils and make him aware of her presence. It wouldn’t do to be mistaken for an enemy and be welcomed with a dagger thrust in her belly.

She softly touches his arm as she takes her place beside him and imagines the short hair on the skin of his whole body to rise up in praise of her, like the sunflowers turn their faces to admire the passage of the sun god through the heavens. Her breath teases his neck as she leans forward, her gaze focused on what is happening below the bridge.

Jorunn has once more proved his skill and the sight of Abactemus lying senseless on the mud is a source of both satisfaction and pity for the hetéra. She isn’t fond of violence, not when a few chosen words might be able accomplish the same thing. Still, the Gaul is right on this occasion. The underbelly of a bridge is hardly the ideal place to have a conversation. Perhaps, when the Nubian too is no longer a threat, the time will come for words instead of deeds.

"Do you think that our friend is in need of assistance?", she asks innocently, while in reality she is inquiring whether it is Levian’s intention to help Jorunn in dealing with the dangerous-looking newcomer. Dianthe knows her fellow Eagle as a man who is hiding among shadows, always watching, but a part of her is curious and even excited to see him tested in battle. He is, after all, a veteran of many wars.

As she waits for Levian’s reply, she focuses on the Nubian. The man looks like one of the giants that were given birth by Gaia, standing at least a head taller than most people who dwell in Rome. His muscular arms glisten with sweat and his neck is as thick as that of a bull, but the hetéra isn’t particularly interested in his manly characteristics, impressive though they are in the eyes of any woman. create an advantage, see belowWhat the hetéra is looking for are signs that the man is a slave. If that is the case, she knows, she has a much better chance of cowing him, especially if she plays the role of a patrician’s wife, a mask she has worn many times.



 


 
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  #38  
Old Jan 30th, 2024, 03:40 PM
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Levian
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Levian Osmanthus
A frown steals its way onto Levian's face when Jorunn strikes Abactemus unconscious. He had been hoping they'd be able to walk him out of here... moving his unconscious body means needing to turn away lots of eyes. He begins to internally bemoan not taking the time to make a more concrete plan before the job. Then he remembers himself. He's not the soldier on the ground in this movement. It's not his place to question the judgement calls that get made in the moment. Jorunn is a pro. If he took out Abactemus, it was because that was the best way to finish the job.

When Dianthe approaches, Levian's gaze too is fixed on the action below the bridge. He doesn't want to intervene if he doesn't have to, so he holds his position where he'll continue to have a good view of events below. The Nubian's response to the knife is a good sign, he thinks.

"Not yet." he answers Dianthe "Jorunn may be able to handle it on his own. There's still a chance we can leave the Nubian alive, and alive means less cleanup." Internally, he notes to himself that the river makes cleanup here easier than elsewhere, but no cleanup is still best.

"And if we're leaving him alive, it's best that he see as few faces as possible."

Still, with Abactemus unconscious, there is a piece of help Jorunn will need.

"He'll need a distraction, to get the body out."

 



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Old Feb 4th, 2024, 09:45 AM
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Aemilian Bridge

Things are taking a turn
left-aligned image
Abactemus

right-aligned image
A big, muscular Nubian

The big, muscular man below them is most definitely a slave. No gladiator would be allowed to roam freely in this neighbourhood and no free man would dress as this man does. To Levian, used as he is to Rome and its cutoms, it is also clear that the man does not belong to a Roman household. It's hard to pinpoint but something in the way he wears his shirtcilicium tells him as much.

While Levian is speaking to Dianthe, they see the Nubian melting into the shadows underneath the bridge and reappearing a few times, his skin so dark it's not really visible, only hinted at by the sheen of sweat reflecting the sunlight. Then he suddenly freezes. Something must have happened while jorunn is still bent over Abactemus. Without losing a beat, jorunn bounces up, turning around to face the Nubian at the same time. His alertness and his reflexes are amazing and they reflect gladly that the man has decided to offer his services for the benefit of Rome.

But before jorunn can put to use the knife that has suddenly appeared in his hand, he staggers sideways. Part of the riverbank is collapsing, sending him sliding down the embankment. The Nubian does not hesitate a moment and aims a kick at the small of jorunn's back to push him into the river. Without solid ground beneath his feet, he can't oppose the kick and wildly windmilling he takes the only option open to him: rather than wasting time in a futile attempt to restore his balance he jumps into the river. The splash is barely audible where the other Eagles watch him but they see him go under once before spotting his head bobbing a few meter downstream. Jorunn tries to come ashore again where the stairs extend a few steps below the water level.

Without looking to see what happened to jorunn, the Nubian picks up Abactemus in his bulging arms. The man's head hangs limply over the slave's elbow; arms and legs are sticking out here and there. Knowing that his path to the stairs may now be cut off as the current would push jorunn there, he takes a step to the sewer recently vacated by Levian, hoisting Abactemus in a more comfortable position. Comfortable for the one carrying, that is. It looks rather unpleasant for the one being carried.

Near the stairs, jorunn is struggling against the strong current in the river, dragged down by his sodden clothes.


 


The situation
aspects in play:
Zone 1: Street level. Present: Dianthe, Levian
Crowded streets; A woman alone in the crowd[GM]; A flame for the lame[D]; rattling carts; Ideal position[L][L]; I know your place and so should you![D][D]

Zone 2: Under the bridge. Present: jorunn (in the water)
Quiet, too quiet; Splashing and thrashing

Zone 3: In the sewer. Present: nobody
Overpowering smell

Zone 4: In front of the dead drop. Present: Abactemus (knocked out) carried by A big, muscular Nubian
A human shield[GM]

GM fate points: 3 2

A huge muscular Nubian has three stress boxes: [ ][ ][ ] and Mars +3

Last edited by Dworin; Feb 10th, 2024 at 09:58 AM. Reason: typo
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  #40  
Old Feb 5th, 2024, 03:25 AM
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Levian
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Levian Osmanthus
Levian's mouth falls open as, with an unlucky crumbling of stone and a simple push, Jorunn plunges into the river. He hadn't even considered that the fight might end that way. Now there is little time to think. Already the Nubian is rapidly approaching the sewer. Levian breathes a heavy sigh. He had hoped to be able to conclude the business of the Sinistram without drawing his sword. As he has gotten up in years, he finds more and more that he has neither the energy nor the stomach for harsh physical confrontations.

But taking Abactemus for questioning is vital to carrying out the orders of the Senate, and Levian is nothing if not a servant of the Republic. He turns to address Dianthe, not even attempting to conceal his shock at the current situation.

"Now I think he needs assistance."

With a swift and practiced motion, Levian's gladius finds its way into his hand, to rest at his side. The blade is clean, sharp, and unblemished by even minor nicks and scratches. Clearly it hasn't been used in ages, but still receives regular upkeep. He steps up to the edge of the stone buttress overlooking the river, crouching to avoid being seen from below. He waits until the Nubian has just passed by him. Then he whispers back to Dianthe

"Cover my angles, if you can. I have to move now, or we'll lose him."

He leaps off the buttress down the side of the embankment and lands, knees bending sharply, behind the Nubian with a loud splash. And when the Nubian turns to see the source of the sound, Levian extends his knees, striking at the man's center with a sharp upward thrust of his gladius.

OOC Actions
I'm attacking with Mars!

I also think that jumping down here likely loses me my position aspect, so I'll spend both free invokes on this attack, and see if we can't stick some real harm to this guy right off the bat.

Dice Roll:
4df+6 (-1, 0, 1, 0)+6 Total = 6



 



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Old Feb 6th, 2024, 05:56 PM
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Dianthe the Hetéra
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Dianthe the Hetéra
Dianthe cannot suppress a gasp of surprise - and excitement - as she watches Levian descend upon the Nubian like Achilles - no, like Mars himself! She is tempted to simply stand there and watch the two men fight until the sand of the riverbank is colored a deep red by the ebony-skinned man’s gaping wounds. But logic prevails. She merely has to turn her head to watch her other companion, a trained assassin, fearless and skilled in dealing death, being carried away by the strong current of the Tiber. Fortuna is a fickle mistress and she is as likely to turn her back to Levian as she is to grace him with her smile. The hetéra hopes that her fellow Eagle will prevail, but she cannot take any chances. Too much is at stake, not least the veteran’s life.

Having made her decision, Dianthe strides resolutely towards the laborers waiting for someone who is willing and capable of hiring their services. Even as she walks, she transforms from being a hetéra into the wife or daughter of a patrician. It’s not only the way she modestly tucks in her hair beneath the cloakpalla and hides the fact that she isn’t wearing a stola, a garment strictly reserved for patrician matrons, by tightly wrapping the thick fabric around her body. Mostly, it is the expression of superiority on her face that makes her soft, womanly features turn into a collection of sharp angles and hard lines, the way she holds her back almost painfully straight, her hands that remain constantly hidden beneath the folds of her clothes for fear that they could by accident touch something as foul as a plebeian.

She doesn’t greet the men, who, seeing her approach, stand up straight and bow their heads in respect, hoping that they will make a good impression on her. She does, however, spend some time observing them, like a potential buyer checking the teeth of a horse or a slave. Time is of the essence, but she cannot give the impression that there is anything that seriously distresses someone like her or her disguise will crumble before the men’s eyes and they will realize that she is only acting.

All eyes stare at the ground, all but a pair belonging to a youth. This one is different from the rest. There is a certain light in his eyes, an intelligence one doesn’t usually see in laborers - or slaves. Yes, the young man is a slave, there can be no doubt about that. She sees it in the way he watches her - unobtrusively, so as not to provoke or insult her and yet without missing even the slightest move she makes.

"One of my slaves, a Nubian with the stature of Hercules, has been bringing shame to me and my domus lately", Dianthe announces imperiously without introducing herself. "Right at this moment he is attacking a trainer of gladiatorslanista whom my foolish slave believed would make him a famous gladiator. I fear he wants to kill the man and might had already done so, if not for the lanista’s bodyguard. I want you to deliver the unruly slave to me, alive if possible. He must be properly punished and a knife in the belly is too merciful a death for the likes of him."

The woman briefly looks for something beneath her palla, her moves confident and determined.

"You can find him beneath the bridge", she explains as she throws a heavy pouch full of sestersii to the ground between the men. The pouch bursts open and a few gleaming silver coins spill out of it. More than one laborer falls to his knees in the mud in order to collect them before anyone else can. "Enough for the wine of a full month, more if you do a good job and prove discreet about this incident." The woman addresses the laborers, but her gaze is focused on the young man. The hetéra knows how the rest will react, but he? Will he accept her offer?



 


 
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  #42  
Old Feb 10th, 2024, 01:39 PM
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The tousle-haired boy with plaintive brown eyes gives Dianthe a smile that might be knowing, or perhaps sad, or maybe even a trifle smitten. It is hard to discern which. He reshoulders his willow basket and calmly strides toward the hetéra, ignoring the coin-gathering frenzy. For one of such gangling appearance and obviously lowly station, the knobby-kneed youth walks with fluid grace.

He doesn't slow as he approaches Dianthe, but continues past her close by the left elbow. As he passes, he holds up his left hand in apparent greeting. But pressed between the thumb and palm is a small metal token of unmistakable design. The boy is an Eagle!

With arms outstretched for balance, Fidelis quickly shuffles down the steep embankment, running a few steps at the bottom before coming to a halt. Close by, the Nubian man stands with a body slung over his shoulder. A warrior with a gladius lunges at the Nubian, apparently going for the kill. The boy says wryly to himself, "The stout-hearted Levian, no doubt."

Beyond the combatants, someone else is thrashing about in the river, clearly about to be dragged under the rushing water.

He glances back to the melee and scratches his nose, then mutters, "Would only get in the way of that." Nonetheless he calls out to Levian, "You there! The Lady wishes him taken alive." Then he dashes to the river bank, and sees that the drowning man has little time to spare, but is well out of reach.

Casting about hurriedly, Fidelis observes with satisfaction that there is plenty of flotsam strewn on the bank or washing up on the shore that might be used to create a life-saving device. He drags a long, slender tree limb out from under a thin layer of mud, and smiles to see that it still has a few side branches near the thinner end. "Chestnut, if I'm any judge. Should hold nicely." This tattered remnant of fishing net would do well to give the man the maximum chance to grab on. And what stories could this leather belt tell, discarded behind a cypress shrub? No time to ponder that, but for sure it would lash the whole contraption together perfectly. Frowning in concentration, he produces a copper knife from his own belt and deftly trims away a few side twigs that are in the way of his intended design. Then he pokes a hole in the belt close enough to the buckle to allow him to pull it tight. At last, he drapes the net over the end of the branch and cinches the near edge around the main limb, hard.

With the parts of his makeshift rescue pole now secure, Fidelis reaches it out to the struggling jorunn, letting the netting hang down around the man's shoulders.

"Grab on, hurry!"






 


 
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Last edited by Yoshimi; Feb 10th, 2024 at 01:43 PM.
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Old Feb 11th, 2024, 05:43 AM
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Aemilian Bridge

On street level
right-aligned image
coins in the mud

A few young men dive at the silver rolling hither and thither but two, apparently with more brains and more initiative, collide as they try to grab the bag itself. The old leather tears in their clawing fingers and more coins spill into the mud with the men jumping about in the mud like frogs in a frying pan. It is a scene unworthy of Rome's lofty stature but little do these men care; it's more money then all they have seen in the year past put together.

As might perhaps have been expected, once the coins are all picked up, several make off with what they manages to grab, the words, enough for the wine of a full month, sufficient encouragement for them. They don't shun hard work, not them, they're honest fellows. But going up against a Nubian with the stature of Hercules is not their ambition.

One unpleasant fellow, too slow to fall to his knees, gets no more than a muddy boot on his fingers when he finally overcomes his inertia. Mulling over this unfairness, his thoughts stick on the lady's last words. More? She has more? and with his most charming grin, a grimace that would have scared a tavern wench, he offers her "You're all alone, lady? I could accompany you to your domus."

Three youths, more grateful than the others and mindful of god and goddess of honor and manlinessHonos and Virtus, run towards the stairs, following a young man carrying a willow basket. Ignoring him, they turn to where they see a big, muscular Nubian. That must be the slave the lady spoke of. Picking up sticks and stones, they make their way toward the pair of fighters.


Under the bridge
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jorunn in the Tiber

Despite all his thrashing and splashing, jorunn makes little progress towards the stone steps. Not used to swimming, and certainly not in heavy clothes, he panics, causing him to wear himself out. The last of the ships bringing goods upstream from Ostia has disappeared around a bend in the river and it may take a long time before other ships appear but then he hears someone shout at him to grab something.

Sputtering, his head going under again and again, he wildly swings his right arm towards the rod held at him. His wrist gets caught in the fishing net, causing his panic to increase further and he starts yanking the rod wildly, pulling it this way and that in an attempt to regain control. Fidelis will need all his strength to avoid being pulled into fast-flowing Tiber, not to mention pull up his catch.


Between the dead drop and the sewer entrance
left-aligned image
Abactemus

right-aligned image
A big, muscular Nubian

The Nubian hears a splash behind him and turns around in a reflex. The sudden force causes the body of poor Abactemus to swing loose from the Nubian's shoulder, his legs describing a wide arc around the man and kicking the point of Levian's gladius aside.

The pain in his foot momentarily wakes Abactemus and he stammers a surprised, hey, just while the sharp of Levian's gladius carves into the Nubian's biceps. Letting go of the man, who falls with a squishy sound in the mud near Levian's feet, the big man brings his left hand to the bleeding gash in his right arm. For a moment, it seems that he will go for Levian's throat but the sight of the grim legionary, armed and obviously capable of using his sword, is enough to change his mind. Baring his teeth, he lets out a howl of hatred and pain before turning around and running towards the sewer. Three young men storm past Levian from behind, chasing the Nubian.


 


The situation
aspects in play:
Zone 1: Street level. Present: Dianthe
Crowded streets; A woman alone in the crowd[GM]; A flame for the lame[D]; rattling carts; Ideal position[L][L]; I know your place and so should you![D][D]; An army of silver[D][D]

Zone 2: Under the bridge. Present: jorunn (in the water), Fidelis
Quiet, too quiet; Splashing and thrashing, Gaulish fishing rod[F]

Zone 3: In the sewer. Present: nobody
Overpowering smell

Zone 4: In front of the dead drop. Present: Abactemus (knocked out), lying in the mud. Levian. A big, muscular Nubian and three hirelings on their way to the sewer.
A human shield[GM]

GM fate points: 3, 2 1

A huge muscular Nubian has three stress boxes: [x[ ][ ] and Mars +3 and has left the scene.

Last edited by Dworin; Feb 11th, 2024 at 07:06 AM.
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Old Feb 11th, 2024, 10:52 PM
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"Wha!" Fidelis pitches forward onto his face, the cockiness he had felt at his invention knocked out of him along with the air in his lungs.

His arms burn with the shock of being nearly yanked from their sockets as he is dragged through the mud, gasping for breath and desperately trying to hold onto the chestnut branch. On the other end of the rescue pole, the struggling jorunn is carried by the current, his fingers clutching the fishing net in a death grip. The contraption is pulled relentlessly downstream with him, towing the lanky, bedraggled boy along the water's edge.

The miserable courier manages to raise his head in time to see that in about five seconds he will plunge headfirst into the torrent. In that strange intense focus one often gains in the face of inevitable disaster, Fidelis is bemused to notice a small black and purple butterfly alight on the chestnut branch just beyond his hands, flap its wings twice, then lift off and whirl away. "Huh? Oof!"'

For the second time in only a few seconds, the air is knocked out of the lad as his body crashes sidelong into a spreading willow shrub on the river bank, its drooping leaves trailing in the water. Fidelis is not notably strong, but he understands a thing or two about leverage. Digging deep to ignore the pain and focus on the life-or-death task before him, he flips onto his back and manages to brace the chestnut branch against the base of the shrub. He pulls hard on the base of the pole, and gasps in relief as he feels the other end start to give against the force of the current. Pressing himself against the shrub, he hauls the rescue pole hand over hand, until at last the Gaul is resting against the bank.

"Oh thank the gods. I think I'm going to be sick."




 


 
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Last edited by Yoshimi; Feb 11th, 2024 at 11:36 PM.
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  #45  
Old Feb 12th, 2024, 10:45 PM
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Levian
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Levian Osmanthus
Abactemus falls in the mud, and the Nubian flees towards the sewers. A few young men pursue him with sticks and stones. Levian is content to have won the skirmish quickly, and the prize for which he fought now lies at his feet. The Sinistram prefer that they not leave a trail of bodies, so Levian chooses not to pursue the Nubian and finish the job. He considers shouting after the man a threat not to tell this story to anybody, but decides against it. These laborers pursuing the Nubian hearing that threat would likely be more exposure than the slave's tale of being attacked by an old soldier.

Levian dips the tip of his gladius in the river, allowing most of the blood to wash away, before wiping the water on his cloak and returning the sword to its sheath. It will need to be cleaned properly later, but now is not the time. He heaves Abactemus up onto his left shoulder, and then moves back under the bridge. The Nubian's cry may have attracted attention from the street above, and Levian would like to be seen holding Abactemus by as few people as possible.

Once safely under the bridge, he takes stock of his surroundings, looking for a way to escape the riverbank with his prisoner without attracting too much attention. It is then that he notices the lanky messy-haired young slave who has pulled Jorunn from the river. This must have been the voice that called out to him to leave the Nubian alive as well. That makes him one of Dianthe's pawns, Levian concludes, and he moves over to where the boy and Jorunn rest by the riverbank.

With his right hand, Levian withdraws a pair of silver coins from a pouch at his side. His bribes are not as lavish as Dianthe's but they should still be enough to buy the silence of a slave boy. He raises one coin between two fingers, and addresses the boy

"For your trouble" he uses his thumb to push the second coin up between his fingers alongside the first "And for your silence."

He tosses his coins to the boy, and then looks to Jorunn, beside whom he kneels. He looks over the man in an attempt to assess his condition.

"Can you walk? We need a way out of here unobserved"

OOC Actions
I think this one is just RP for Levian and Fidelis meeting.


 



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