Cassia Recovers and a Demand for Rent

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Cassia Recovers and a Demand for Rent

Post by AngryScientist77 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:20 pm

Most of the orphans gathered around Cassia and Amulius. Eventually it became clear to them that Amulius had NOT hurt Cassia as some had expected. Discovering that she was sick and confused rather than injured, they did not know what to do. Eventually they decided to return as a group to the main demolition site where some of them had been working and pick out an abandoned structure or two that they could share while they tried to care for Cassia. While searching for a place, they found that they were far from alone. When they examined a structure that looked perfect for their needs, a teenage boy (holding a board with a nail in it) appeared and said that the place was taken – but that they could “rent” it, if they had the money. When they moved to the next structure, he said the same things. So the orphans moved away and the teenage eventually stopped following, but the orphans understood that they would see him again. The orphans eventually settled on a tiny empty building that had already been partially dismantled. Enough of it remained to keep them dry if it were to rain. The fact that it had already been partially dismantled meant that the demolition crews (for which some of the orphans worked) would complete the job in a few days. The orphans laid Cassia in the warmest, driest, safest part of the half-dismantled, tiny building and then did what little they could to care for her and what little they could to make her comfortable.

When Cassia awoke two days later, she was surrounded. Nearly all of the other orphans were there with her. She spoke, “A-a-mulius,” touched him, and said “friend.” In her confusion and exhaustion she didn’t notice that the other orphans were unaware of her words and actions – at a glance they appeared quiet and safe. Outside the ruined building was a group of boys that Cassia could not see from her place on the floor in the back. The group contained the teenage boy (perhaps 16 years old) that had demanded “rent” two days before, a boy about 14, and two boys that were about 8 or 9 or 10 (about the same size as the orphans). Looking closer, it appeared that the 14 year old and the smallest one might actually be girls dressed as boys (many girls and women living on the streets did that for both convenience and safety).
The teenager was once again demanding “rent” and holding a board with a nail in it.

In the time that the orphans had been together they had developed a vague, unofficial structure. Aeneas had "found" (or rather had been found by) the baker who consistently sold them bread at a deep discount and he been the one to suggest that some of the orphans get jobs at the main demolition site (that would later be the construction site for the new amphitheater). Because of these two things, he had become a "leader" when it came to certain issues, but it was clear that they did not wish to have him as an over-all leader and that he did he seek that role -- everyone (including himself) knew that he was too small and that he lacked experience as a fighter. So when the teenage boy demanded "rent," the orphans looked back and forth between Aeneas and Amulius and each other wondering who might take action or recommend action first. In addition to dealing with the physical threat from the teenage boy, the orphans were deciding their fate as a team and their roles within that team -- and if they could even work together as a team.

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Re: Cassia Recovers and a Demand for Rent

Post by AngryScientist77 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:44 pm

Aeneas continued to look around, counting the number of children and coins available. Aeneas thought of Cassia and didn't want a fight, but he also concluded that what little they had for coins would probably not satisfy the teenager, and that those coins were needed for food (especially with Cassia sick and unable to work or steal). Aeneas also feared that giving in might just make the demands continue, but fighting could cause someone to be seriously injured or even killed (especially if the teenager had more friends nearby). Gripped with uncertainty and indecision, Aeneas looked to the others and hoped that one of them had an answer.

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Re: Cassia Recovers and a Demand for Rent

Post by Sarah » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:55 pm

Cassia worried. She was finally feeling better, still unsure of what had happened. Still she worried about her future. The teenage boys demanding “rent”. She knew they couldn’t give in to the demands. First, they would want money. Then food. The who knows what. She didn’t want to be put in that situation. Clearly, they couldn’t fight. They just wanted to survive!

“hey guys, I have an idea”. Cassia told the orphans in the group. “What if we challenge them to a fight or a game or something? Something we’re good at. We could challenge them and if we win, they will leave us alone, if they win, we will meet their rent demands?” She waited to hear their thoughts.
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Re: Cassia Recovers and a Demand for Rent

Post by Rex Ciphra » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:07 pm

Amulius pondered Cassia's idea. He didn't think a fight would be a good idea, Amulius was only able to take down the adults by catching them by surprise. He looked at the other orphans and became certain that this group would be no good at taking on a group of teenagers that were in better shape than them. Maybe if they had some of the tools from the demolition crews... He shook his head, more killings would just bring more attention to themselves.

What games could they excel at then? Amulius couldn't think of anything he was particularly good at, or at least not that he could make a game out of. Could a game be made out of stealing or surviving? Would the teenagers be better?

"I have another idea, although it might be much riskier... I'm sure that these guys must have seen the Janus murders and the handwriting. Maybe we can scare them off with my handwriting of Janus? Although it could just backfire and make the adults realize that the Janus murderer is still out here. But if not that, then we'll have to come up with a game, we definitely don't stand a chance in a fight. Can any of you think of a game that we could beat them at?"
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Re: Cassia Recovers and a Demand for Rent

Post by Bodhi » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:40 am

Bodhi was huddled among the new group of children he had met, of which one was sick. Her name was Cassia. She had been sleeping for some hours now. Her friend Amulius seemed to be quite a controversial figure. He noticed Lois and Aeneas to be afraid of the boy, until Cassia woke up and mumbled something. He heard the word ''friend' as she spoke weakly. She was sitting upright now, clearly trying to regain her bearing. He wanted to do something so he could help her feel better, but there was nothing consequential that he could come up with. As for himself, he was feeling safer now, among his friends. The earlier sight of the dead boy had shook him up and made him an anxious wreck. He had said Lois what he had seen. Lois had patted Bodhi on the back and assured him that they were safe and sound.
'As long as we stick together, we will have the Gods on our side.' , Lois had told him with an air of certainty that brought a mild feeling of hope and promise.
Anyhow, there appeared to be a new problem at hand. The place they had found to shelter Cassia was taken by a group of teenagers. And they were being followed by one of them who was holding a board, demanding rent. Bodhi wondered if the teenagers were just trying to survive too, or maybe they were just bullying weaker kids into doing their bidding, thus making them goons. He had been bullied once, when he was living with mater. She had taught him to be courageous and think before dealing with such people. He heard Amulius say something about threatening them with Janus killer identity. Bodhi thought that was a bad idea, because they might create more problems for him and his friends if they thought that there was a killer among them. They could ask for more money to keep their identities a secret.
Something struck his mind. He knew that if the teenagers too were trying to just survive, then maybe there could be an understanding. He remembered Aeneas mentioning that all of them could find work at the demolition site. Amulius was saying something about a game. Bodhi spoke next.
'I have another idea. They say they want money. But what if we could offer to share something else. What if we offer to work with them and share a bit of whatever we can make everyday? It may sound like too much, but we stand a chance to make more friends and also live together without a fight. We could offer to share some food. We make them our friends.'
He saw Lois look at him in a surprised manner, maybe because it was the first time he had spoken so much since they have met. Their journey had just begun.
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Re: Cassia Recovers and a Demand for Rent

Post by Inferno33 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:16 pm

Apollo curled up at Loiz's feet as he thought about Amulius' and Aeneas' Ideas. The group's situation was troublesome, the girl, Cassia had just woken from her illness and with the teens demanding rent, they couldn't just get out of there. Fighting would only lead to them being injured and out of money, there where no skills that any of them had that could be used to beat them at any games.

Loiz had been surprised by Bodi's sudden spark of genies. The boy had little skills on his own, not like Loiz had anymore than he did. But Bodi look up to him, and Loiz had to fill that role for him, even it he need to fake it for him.

"I think Aeneas and Bodi are right, we need to work for them if were ever going to work off the "rent", but we can't get too friendly with those people, lest we get pulled into their group or become tools, we should find some more hidden place to avoid them."

Saying his suggestion brought a mixture of memories from the past, not all bad, some unsettling. But Loiz knew too much about being a tool for someone else, and guessing about the rest of the group, they would to.

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Re: Cassia Recovers and a Demand for Rent

Post by AngryScientist77 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 2:16 pm

Aeneas continued to look around. The other orphans continued to murmur among themselves. The teenage boy with the weapon was clearly getting impatient; the more impatient he got, the more unreasonable he would be. Quick action was required. The other orphans had thought of a few ideas, Amulius had suggested trying to scare or surprise them by writing "Janus" in the dirt. One of the other orphans had suggested that they all give the teenage boy food and money each day as an alternative to giving him food and money each day; Aeneas wasn't sure how that was an alternative. Normally, Aeneas would have looked to Cassia for ideas in this type of situation, but she was still sick and lying in the back of the shelter. In desperation Aeneas scratched "Janus" in the dirt and pointed in the general direction of Amulius.

The gang members looked at the word Aeneas had written and then followed his finger. The 14 year-old's eyes went passed Amulius and found Lupus in the middle of the group, and excitedly (but not angrily) shouted out, "Hey, look! It's that Egyptian boy you told us about!" (Once she spoke, it was clear that she was a girl dressed as a boy.) With that, the 16 year-old boy slightly lowered his weapon as his facial expression changed from one of aggression to one of pleasant surprise. With that he studied the group once more. With a penetrating stare he poke to Aeneas and Amulius, "Are you being kind to Lupus?"

Amulius was shocked by this sudden turn of events and by Aeneas's (possibly treasonous?) actions. Aeneas stuttered, "Yes, Lupus is my best friend."

The 16 year-old then fully lowered his weapon and said, "That's good then." He breathed and spoke again, "Since you are friends of Lupus, I'll make you special deal." He then stated that they could rent the shelter for a trifle (about enough for one small, bad meal) per day and that they could pay at the end of each day instead of having to pay immediately. The orphans agreed to this "deal."

Once the agreement was reached, the gang members stared silently at the group and the group stared back. After an indeterminable amount of time, the youngest gang member (also a girl dressed as a boy) asked, "Can I pet your puppy?" Naturally, the orphans agreed. After a few minutes the gang members walked away, leaving much more than memories and an agreement for rent. They left the orphans with a mystery -- how did they know Lupus and why did that justify special treatment? They also left the orphans with a deep distrust among themselves. Aeneas's actions had saved the group from theft, a fight, and possibly even death. Even though he had saved them, all of the other orphans were deeply concerned about whether or not they could trust him. Cassia was especially torn by these mixed feelings.

Over the next couple of days Cassia regained her strength and the gang came by to collect the trifle that had been agreed upon. The two groups seldom spoke, but the youngest gang member petted the puppy each time.

On the third day, Aeneas fell and broke his leg while working at the demolition site. The mean-acting man had called for other adults. Together they set and braced Aeneas's leg. The mean-acting man then yelled and screamed with spit flying from his mouth about safety and how such careless children would not get paid since they hadn't actually complete any work. With that, he knelt beside Aeneas, yelled at him, "I TOLD you to STAY AWAY FROM THAT LEDGE! I will NOT pay you!" but he simultaneously stuck a week's pay into a fold of the Aeneas's clothes. A week's pay for an orphan wasn't much, but it was enough for food for a while IF someone would take care of him during that time.

The thought of having to take care of Aeneas for the next two months while his leg healed was not a burden that most of the other orphans were very interested in -- especially since he might (or might not) be a traitor. Aeneas asked the other orphans to take him to the baker, with the hope that perhaps the baker and his family would take care of him. This idea was warmly received by the other orphans.

With reluctance the baker took Aeneas into his home. Aeneas offered all of his coins to the baker. The baker counted them out carefully. He set two of the smallest coins aside and stated that those were for today's food. He then looked to Aeneas and asked, "If you stay here, you will have to work and earn your food -- even with a bad leg." To this, Aeneas said, "Yes sir," with a tear of joy in eyes. The baker's son then whispered to his father, "To the least of you, you do unto me;" to which the baker whispered back, "Yes, before he was beheaded, Paul insisted that this was one of the GREAT teachings." The baker then turned his attention back to Aeneas, "If you are willing to work, and if you trust me, then perhaps you could give the rest of these coins to your friends who worked so hard to bring you here?" Aeneas agreed and said a painful good bye.

Over the next few weeks, Aeneas saw the orphans a few more times when they came to buy bread, but in time they stopped coming. He assumed that it was because they didn't trust him, but it might also have been because they were jealous that he no longer lived on the cold dangerous streets like they did. Although Aenea's life had taken him away from the other orphans, he thought about them often (especially his mute friend Lupus). Eventually, when he learned to pray, he asked God to bless and protect them.

As the weeks turned into months, Aeneas's leg very nearly healed. He spent the rest of his life walking with a limp, and the limp in turn caused pain throughout his body. At first he had been a slow learner due to having very little prior experience in a kitchen, but he had been eager to work to earn both his food and the trust of this family. As he grew older he eventually became a great baker. In time, his favorite dish was two small pieces of fish and 5 tiny little loaves of bread. He seldom explained his deep feelings about "The Way" or his time on the streets, but when making, selling, sharing, or eating this dish he would always sniffle a little and tell everyone around about the importance of sharing and the importance of caring for each other.

Approximately two thousand years later, a distant decedent, bearing his name and traveling in a spaceship to Mars, would dismantle his meal and set two frozen fish sticks and 5 little pieces of bread together on the edge of his plate and then stare at them in contemplation. When his fellow astronauts would ask him about this, he would explain, "This is a very old family tradition, we do this to remind ourselves of the importance of sharing."

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