Rumors Continue and Orphans Need Safety

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Rumors Continue and Orphans Need Safety

Post by AngryScientist77 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:38 pm

The weather has temporarily warmed, but the nights are still very cold. News (mostly propaganda/"fake news") has reached the city of a victory on the northern frontier. The Roman Rhine flotilla (fleet) has won a minor battle. The military is eager to spread news of the victory in order to distract people from the multiple recent losses; so the government and the wealthy have obliged by making a big deal out of this fairly minor victory. A small but fancy parade is scheduled for later in the day (perhaps a chance for pick pocketing?). A chariot race and a low-budget, mostly (but not entirely) non-lethal gladiatorial game is scheduled for the day (in one of the older, smaller amphitheaters -- the new one is not yet constructed). Of great interest to the homeless orphans is the fact that these events include free bread for those that want it -- not a full meal, just some bread. The "fake news" from the war and the minor celebrations have only slightly distracted the large busy city. As always, rumors continue. The rumors of politicians' sex lives have partially replaced the rumors of murder, children, and rewards -- but these scary rumors have not gone away. As a result, the orphans must seek new shelters and if possible, strong alliances. Whom can they trust? Where can they go?

[Before posting, please read / re-read the posts in the "Compitalia" thread. Then please write one or more posts that continue the story for your orphan and the orphans in your alliance (if he/she has one).]

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Re: Rumors Continue and Orphans Need Safety

Post by Thuoris Lepidus » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:59 am

Lupus stood at the edge of the construction site with a pile of flatbreads in his hands. He was standing there, looking at Aeneas who was trying to convince the master to let the boys wor for him. Lupus saw a whip in the master's hand. All memories of his enslavement came flooding back and he got a panic attack.

Lupus stuffed the flatbreads into his sack and ran to the corner of a two-story building. He tried as hard as possible to forget about his past but it was impossible. "I'm TEN YEARS OLD and I'm WHINING LIKE A BABY. Come on Lupus, be a man," he thought to himself. Lupus stood up, walked to the construction site and started to work.

The work was tedious. Carrying stones around the construction site was not easy, but he worked and worked. At the end of the day, he was exausted, but happy. Finally he could help the society he lived in.

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Re: Rumors Continue and Orphans Need Safety

Post by Sarah Karimi » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:34 am

“Oh thank God! You’re okay! Amulius did you hear the rumors? We have to hide! I can’t let you be caught. What are we going to to? What if the other kids turn you in? I just can’t think it, I’m so scared Amulius. Why do you smell like garbage?” She spoke so quickly, her words running together as all the emotion from the days poured out. After calming down a bit, they say and caught each other up on their days, eating the honey cakes Cassia had stolen.

After a long talk, decisions were made. “Okay, so we will stay in the city. So we can listen to the rumors and stay ahead of the soldiers. To keep you safe.” Cassia glanced at her only friend. “Tomorrow we will go to the chariot race and get some free bread. There will be lots of people there … maybe we can pick pocket them? I’m not very good at it. Oh! I can offer a distraction and you can do it? Maybe. I know you said stealing isn’t good. We should keep a low profile. And we have the money that you just took, that will last a while if we are careful. Amulius, it’s to risky! The higher patrols will be looking for orphans stealing at the event tomorrow, we can’t risk it. Not with the bounty on your head!”.

They decided to go and watch the races and fights, but promised not to steal. Finally, they laid down in the back alley to sleep. Cassia reached out for Amulius’ hand, still scared he could be taken away at any moment.
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Re: Rumors Continue and Orphans Need Safety

Post by AngryScientist77 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:03 pm

Aeneas was relieved when his friends agreed to try working at the construction site. As unskilled laborers, carrying rocks and debris (in order to help clear the work site) was one of the only things that they could do. Looking around, Aeneas saw that a few of the oldest children had a small degree of true responsibility, not much, but some. With their experience, they knew which things should be transported first and how things should be stacked in order to reduce the number of trips that the children had to make. That realization gave Aeneas hope that this job could actually last and that experience could be rewarded.

Early in the morning, Aeneas got very close to the edge of slippery, dangerous ledge. Before his feet could slip on the dust and cause him and his load of trash to fall, the scary looking man snapped the whip just inches from the edge of the ledge. The sound startled Aeneas, and he suddenly paused, carefully he continued down with his load of debris. Then around mid-day, he got close to the same ledge. This time it was different. The whip snapped again just beyond the ledge, then the man screamed, "BOY! You there! BOY!" The man then scrambled up to where Aeneas stood. The man then struck Aeneas several times. It hurt, but Aeneas had been beaten MUCH worse as a slave. The man then turned and yelled at the other staring children, "YOU could have fallen! You could have broken a leg or even died! STAY! AWAY! FROM! THE! EDGE!" Then the man climbed back down to where he could watch the the entire area in which "his boys" were working.

Aeneas touched the bruises. They hurt, and they would hurt for some time, but they would heal. Aeneas was first angry, very angry, but then he realized that the man had been right about the danger of the edge and that the man was sending warning to all of the children, not just to himself. Aeneas was then further surprised that the man had left him alone to contemplate the situation rather than hitting him further for failing to immediately return to work. Aeneas looked around, most of the other children had returned to work. A few watched him, and the man watched him. Aeneas resolved to work hard and to avoid the dangerous ledge.

At that moment a child, a little taller than himself, came over and helped him up. Aeneas stared into the "boys" eyes and discovered that the "boy," was actually a girl. She had dressed as a boy. Aeneas he had meant several orphan girls and many homeless women who did this. Aeneas was young, and he did not completely understand, but he partially understood -- girls and women were less likely to be given the chance to earn money at physically demanding jobs (like the construction/deconstruction site in which he currently sat) but perhaps more importantly, girls and women were more likely to be targets of predators than boys and men. Smiling, Aeneas took her hand and and stood up.

Throughout it all, Lupus worked beside him. Lupus was clearly very scared. After the "lesson," Aeneas walked over to Lupus and found that Lupus was more upset by the event than he himself was. Lupus did not have a tablet, and Aeneas could only write a few words anyway. Aeneas hugged his best friend and wrote "good" in the dirt. The scary looking man screamed, "Get back to work!" The boys looked at the mans eyes. The man was obviously in a position of power and obviously had the ability to hurt them, but his eyes were sane. Aeneas tapped the word "good" and the boys returned to work.

At the end of the day, the child laborers all got in a line. The man had a bag of coins. Each child waited his (or her) turn. ["Her turn" is in () because the girls were generally pretending to be boys in order to get the job and in order to increase their safety.] The man gave slightly more to the oldest, largest, most experienced children and slightly less to the smallest, least experienced children. Aeneas and Lupus took their coins. As small children with little experience, their collection of coins was very small indeed, but they truly did have coins. They had hoped for more, but they were still happy. They had labored without certainty, and when the day ended, they had enough coins for two or three days worth of extremely minimal meals. If the baker would continue to give them special discount prices on bread, then working this way would solve their problems with hunger --- at least for a while. Rubbing one of his bruises, Aeneas wondered whether this improvement in their lives was simply luck, a blessing of the Roman gods, or if perhaps his prayer to the god of the fish-symbol-people had actually helped.

With the work day done, and exhaustion setting in, Aeneas and Lupus headed out into the city to get some food and then to return to the temporary, marginal safety of the temporary shelter that Lupus had found for them. They both knew that sooner or later they would have to make an alliance with other orphans or some adults. Physical exhaustion brought sleep to both boys, but before it did, Aeneas wondered whom they could trust.

Some of the other orphans were cripples or fake cripples that sat in special groups, herded, "protected," and "not robbed" by dangerous adults. Aeneas had heard rumors that some of the children in these groups had been injured by their own "protectors" in order make them more pitiable so that alms givers would give more money to the children (and thus to their "protectors"). Aeneas decided that he would rather be beaten and/or become a slave again before joining one of those groups.

Most of the rest of the orphans living rough on the streets were members of criminal gangs. Aeneas did not want to join one of these groups, but if he (and Lupus and Denys?) did not, then sooner or later one of these groups would force the issue by demanding that they join or leave their part of the city.

Then he thought of the violent boy and the girl that left with him. Aeneas had been terribly scared by those two. Although the violence might have been more than was necessary, it had ensured the safety of his best friend Lupus. Aeneas thought that if himself, Lupus, Denys, Amulius, Cassia, and perhaps a few others (such as the boy Loiz that he had briefly met earlier) could join together, then perhaps they could make their own safe group. Perhaps, if enough of them could join together, then the gangs wouldn't hurt them? With that hope, Aeneas fell into a deep sleep.

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Re: Rumors Continue and Orphans Need Safety

Post by Inferno33 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:13 pm

Loiz plan seemed to not work, "probably the wrong girl anyway," he thought. Loiz then slinked back into the alleyways to avoid the crowd. As he wondered through the many alleyways he came across a wolf pup looking for something or someone. He remembered the early days when his father would talk about these animals called 'dogs', seeing only a few before being sold away. He beckoned the poor pup whispering to it, "Don't be afraid, I won't hurt you. At that moment he remember he had the small amount of food he was going to share with the girl, so Loiz pulled out the food and offered it to the dog. "Here, have a bite, I can help you find what your looking for," he asked, and for some reason, the small dog seemed to understand him, meaning it had some training. So as the pup ate, Loiz decided to try and find its owner, knowing trying to raising another thing is too hard. So he got the pup to follow him and went off to find the owner. If they couldn't find them before nightfall he could always bring the pup back to his little alleyway home.

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Re: Rumors Continue and Orphans Need Safety

Post by Bodhi » Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:15 pm

"Tomorrow we shall go to the market early. I must sell some of the wares and I need you to help me!"

That was the last thing he had heard his aunt say to him. Things had been rough for his new family after his mother had passed. Their already difficult lives became considerably harder when the aunt had to take him in.

"Pssst! You awake?", asked his cousin Mera, as she lay on a rag beside him. Bodhi hadn't been sleeping at all lately. Every night would bring with it his mother's memories, her warm smile, her reassuring lullabies. He had been a lively child, but not anymore.

"What is it Mera? Why are you up?", said a somewhat lost Bodhi. Mera had grown fond of him almost instantly. After all, her mother would be away all day trying to earn a decent meal and she would be just washing and cleaning what little they had to call home. Bodhi was a welcome change.

"No Bodhi. It is going to be just you. Mater is not selling any wares tomorrow. She doesn't have anything left to sell?", she said.

Confused, he looked at Mera and saw concern and fear in the girl's expression. Something wasn't right.

"I overheard mater and pater speaking just before dinner. They were saying that you are a burden. They said they could sell you for some coin. Bodhi, I am worried", whispered the 12 year old. She had been the kindest in his new found family. What she had just said, robbed the 7 year old of any sleep that he was going to get tonight.

"What? No! She is mater's sister. She wouldn't do that!", he argued nervously.

"Bodhi. I think you are going to the slave market tomorrow with mater. I have heard nothing but terrible things of the slaves in the capital. You have to leave. Tonight!", she stressed as she looked into Bodhi's anxious eyes. Just a few weeks ago, he had lost the only person he had ever cared about. And now this. It was all happening too fast for him.

"You will not be a slave like me. You will write a better story for yourself. The gods will guide you.", she had said to him in her final moments.

And here he is, on the brink of being sold to a slaver by his own blood. The thought filled him with fear, anger and disgust all together.

"Here you go", his sister's words pulled him back into the present. She was handing him a coin and her blanket. She looked sad. Maybe she was the only one here who cares.
"Take the road south along the pond. Stay that course. You will reach the capital by morning. I wish I could do more Bodhi. You must leave. Now!", she said, carefully so as to not wake her parents.

His mind was a haze. He had lost his home, his family and something told him the worst was yet to come. He looked at Mera with damp eyes and said,"I don't know where I will go. But I will remember you." He wiped a tear rolling off his left cheek, got up, hid the coin under his clothes, wrapped the blanket around his lanky body and just started walking away from the shabby hut.
This was the first time he truly felt alone and it scared him. Two weeks back he wouldn't have imagined that he would be alone and wandering the world by himself. The cold night made him sadder as he walked the path Mera told him about.

"Get out of the way kid!", he heard a man yell at him, as a huge cart filled with corn rushed towards him. He side stepped just in time as the horses pulled the cart past him. Pulling himself together, he walked a little more to reach the vast capital, which would now be his new home. He beheld the city with his tiny dreamy eyes, remembering the stories he had heard from his mother. It was indeed a glorious sight. He decided to venture deeper, to explore. He was exhausted, his legs begged for rest. The cold had drained him of his energy. In all honesty, he was terrified. Loneliness and hunger were new too him. He would eventually realise, that they would be his first friends in this new life.

He was now just a tiny orphan roaming the crowded streets of Rome, in search of food and safety. He saw a bakery swarming with people. He wondered if he could beg the baker for some food. He approached the shop and as he walked slowly, a strong hand shoved him aside with enough strength to put him down by the side of the street. Apparently, an important person was walking the street and his slaves were clearing the way. He took a look at his bruised elbow. It made him angry. He dusted off his already dirty clothes and was just about to continue towards the bakery, when he saw them.

He noticed another kid his age. He had been the first boy Bodhi had seen on the streets, otherwise filled with adults from all walks of life. The kid had hair like Bodhi had never seen on a human before. It was ginger and quite noticeable. He had with him a very adorable puppy. They seemed to be aimlessly wandering the street too. He wondered if he should go and talk to him. He thought that maybe, he should find friends here, at least one. It may help him survive through this better. They could give him an idea about the city and maybe, help him find a way to earn some meals. He was famished and exhausted, but he decided to follow the two new subjects of interest. He kept a safe distance and followed them carefully, as they entered an alley. They came to a stop and the kid started to pet the puppy. Bodhi took a deep breath and nervously approaches them. The boy notices him walking towards them.

"My name is Bodhi. I am new here. I just arrived today. I don't know anyone here. Can I be your friend?", he smiled awkwardly at the pair, as he mumbled out some words he could think of to start the conversation. His mind wasn't thinking clearly with all the hunger and fatigue, but he tried his best to maintain composure.

The kid looked at the puppy and carefully studied Bodhi. He had a straight face and confident air about him. As he opened his mouth, Bodhi's eyes widened ever so slightly, waiting for the strangers first words to him.
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Re: Rumors Continue and Orphans Need Safety

Post by AngryScientist77 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:41 pm

Aeneas and Lupus were exhausted from working in the construction site where they had carried rocks and debris all day for a small amount of money. Through out the day, they thought of Denys. The previous morning, Denys had left to find food and money on his own while Lupus and Aeneas. They had not seen Denys since.

After work, Lupus and Aeneas headed toward the bakery in order to buy some bread at the promised "special price for honest boys." When they left the bakery, they still had slightly more than half of their money; it left them enough for a bite of fish, or vegetables, or fruit, or cheese -- if they were careful, they could buy what they needed for a balanced, healthy supper and have the leftovers for breakfast before work the next morning.

Before walking very far, they came across two boys and Apollo (Deny's wolf-pup). The two new boys had clearly only just met each other, so Aeneas figured it was unlikely that they would team up against him and Lupus. Lupus and Aeneas didn't trust the new boys, but Apollo appeared to trust them. Lupus and the two new boys struggled to communicate with Lupus; they took turns drawing a few basic words in the dust. Eventually Aeneas gave up and lead the new boys to the bakery. At first the baker was very wary, but when he saw that the boys were intent on paying for more bread rather than begging, he eagerly sold them some bread. It was a little stale, but the price was really good. Craving something more than bread, they sought out a thermopolia (a Roman fast food vendor). Aeneas started to lie and hide the last of his tiny coins, but then his eye began to twitch as he thought of the family that literally gave him food off of their own plates. Blinking rapidly to keep the sadness away, he thrust forward the last of his tiny copper coins and gave all that he had to the purchase of a piece of fish and some olives.

The boys followed Lupus back to a place that the criminal gangs probably wouldn't bother with. Then they shared the food and slept as well as they could -- their tired muscles helped them sleep, but the knowledge of their vulnerability in such a place made them nervous and restless.

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Re: Rumors Continue and Orphans Need Safety

Post by Rex Ciphra » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:41 am

Cassia talks so much when she's worried, thought Amulius. He slightly smiled, he still wasn't used to someone actually caring about him. They shared honey cakes that Cassia had stolen, Amulius was surprised that she actually managed to steal. They discussed for what seemed like ages about their next steps. They had to lie low, at least until all these rumors died down. As Cassia began to ramble about the chariot race tomorrow, Amulius began to feel guilty, because of him, they had to sneak around like criminals. He wished that they could live a more normal life. He promised her not to steal at the events tomorrow and they laid down to sleep. Cassia grabbed his hand and held on tightly until she feel asleep.

Once he was sure she was sound asleep, Amulius slipped out of her grip. He had decided he would steal one more time. He kissed her forehead and ran into the dark streets. He would be back within two hours and she wouldn't even have noticed he was gone.

Amulius woke up before Cassia. He sat up and waited for her to wake up. He was excited to see how she would react to his presents. As she began to stir, he held up his finds from the night before, a child's dress and sandals. Cassia opened her eyes and gasped.

"So we can blend in better for the games, let's pretend we're not homeless orphans for a day," smiled Amulius.
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Re: Rumors Continue and Orphans Need Safety

Post by Inferno33 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:46 am

Loiz looked at the kid that ran up to him. "Ya, sure, my name is Loiz. I'm not from here, like you, but you seem nice." The boy needed someone with him, Loiz knew it, he looked ragged and tired.

Before he could lead the boy the alley home another group found them. They had one boy who looked native, the other though was too tan. The tan boy couldn't speak, Bodhi and Loiz tried to write some basic words, but neither of them could write well, So the native boy stopped them and led them to a bakery. The baker seemed to know the boy and gave him a generous price. With the bread they finally stopped at a thermopolia, just like the one he worked at, to use the last of the coins for some meat and vegetables.

The tan boy brought them all to a safer part of the city to eat. Rome was massive, much bigger then his old home or even Londinium, with many places for a orphan to hid or call home. But it was late and they needed to sleep, even if fear and worry meant it wasn't the best.

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Re: Rumors Continue and Orphans Need Safety

Post by Bodhi » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:48 am

The sun had set quickly over the horizon as the air grew colder. Silence had crept into the streets slowly, as the people withdrew hurriedly into shelter from the biting cold breeze. The dim candle light trickling out from under the uneven doors of tiny mud huts felt oddly satisfying yet filled him with sadness at the same time. It reminded him of home. Bodhi wondered how his aunt would have responded to find him missing the next morning. He wondered what Mera might have told them about the missing blanket. He wondered if the aunt would come looking, if not for her nephew, then maybe for the thief who stole her one of the two blankets. He was grateful to Mera, for her kindness, to gift him freedom and save him from certain misery in the shackles of slavery. He wondered if he could return her favor some day.

"You should get some sleep Bodhi. Tomorrow is going to be a long day.", Lois said to him quietly without opening his eyes. The puppy snuggled between Bodhi and Lois, like a fur ball, taking warmth from both the boys' ragged blankets. Apollo, his name was. How ironical it was, to be named after the Sun himself, then to find warmth among the poor orphans who roamed the streets unnoticed, lost to the shadows. To be fair, Apollo was like a ray of light, bringing just a little happiness with his ever wagging tail and happy puppy face.

It was Bodhi's first day in Rome. First day living alone. First day on the streets. First day living with strangers. So many firsts for one day. The Gods had been kind to him. Or was it Mater? Was it her who crossed his path with these kind souls?
"I will always protect you, my child. You will not go through what I have.", he remembered her hushed words right after she kissed his forehead gently. Tears rolled down his cold cheeks and he curled up under the blanket, trying to imagine Mater's lap. He felt blessed. The boy, Lois, had been his first friend in this strange city. He had met two other boys, one of which was mute. Aeneas and Lupus. Bodhi had tried hard along with Lois, to communicate with Lupus, but it hadn't been much help. Aeneas had taken them around as he bought some food at the baker's and then a little fish and olives later. Lupus and Aeneas seemed to be well versed with the geography of the streets. Bodhi had a lot to learn.
As the night had set in, the boys had followed Lupus to the place where they all now slept. They all had split the food equally and though it wasn't much, their hearts were full with what little entered their bellies and the subtle joy of making new friends. Bodhi knew that he would have to look for a means to earn something. He wasn't going to become a burden to his friends and sure as hell wasn't about to starve. He had been given a new life, a new opportunity. He must make Mater proud. He clenched his fists tight as a cold swish of air entered his ear and sent a chill through him. Slowly with the rhythmic sound of the crickets, Bodhi slipped into slumber, safe with his friends, his new family.
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