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- Besançon, France
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You know these stories you never had enough willpower to make something from, but they still haunt you, and specifically when you have more important things to deal with?
I've had this with this story that I called Rome -original, I know. It was my first mature story ever, born in my second year of higher education back when I had my nose burried in ancient history and ancient languages. Strangely enough, I imagined the story as an animated series for adults.
The story revolves around the latifundia (a gigantic house with an associated farmland) of Caius Curiatius.
Caius, whose real name is Aldric, is a man in his late thirties. Son of the Chief of the Warini tribes (German populations), he was taken hostage in Rome (a common method which would be used to guarantee alliances) at the age of sixteen and adopted by Publius Curiatius, Roman patrician who has a natural son ten years younger than Caius. A laconic character, Caius seems to enjoy nothing but war and the quiet of his home in the countryside. A senator himself, and an outstanding tactician, he feels conflicted between his duties toward Rome, in the name of which he would happily die, and a feeling that he doesn't belong. Treated as a war hero by his soldiers and as a barbarian by the elite, he seems generally unhappy.
He is betrothed to Lucilla Flavonius, but not out of love, only as a sign of friendship between the gens Curiatia and the gens Flavonia. Lucilla is in her early thirties, and already a widower. Her late husband left her wealthy and free. Famous for her debauchery, she has the power to build or destroy reputations, which she does at her whim. Lucilla's status should have allowed her to marry someone much more important than an adopted German... yet, she is sterile. She thus had a choice: either marrying an old man who already had descendants, or marrying someone who could not turn the offer down. Hated and despised by Caius who sees in her everything he is desperatly trying to avoid, Lucilla still finds Ciaus and his famous episodes of anger amusing enough. Both are more than happy to postpone their wedding, Caius because he can't stand to be alone in a room with Lucilla, and Lucilla because she is well aware that once married, she'll be losing her freedom and find herself at the hands of a man who loathes her.
Andrinoos is Caius' most trusted slave. Former greek mercenary who gambled and lost his freedom to pirates, homosexual with an acrid sense of humour, Andrinoos takes pride in having "raped men and killed their wives". Excellent wrestler though he appears slender, and expert at brawls, he shares with his master both a liking for sports and exercising and a deep animosity for Lucilla who repeatedly threatens him with selling him as soon as she marries Caius. Unimpressed, Andrinoos still makes fun of her. He knows Caius better than anyone else and though his attitude can often be considered disrespectful, he is loyal to him. When leaving his comical attitudes and his joking tone, Andrinoos can be properly scary and appears to have connections with the underworld. Caius's roman brother, Marcus, nicknamed the strange duet formed by Caius and Andrinoos "the bear and the wolf" and sometimes suggests the two of them have been involved in acts of torture on a few occasions during military campaigns.
Disrupting the fragile balance of Caius' unsatisfying life, comes the young Karissa. Captured during a raid on Moesia, living in the hope she will succeed to find her little brother, she is obsessed with freedom. Being a curvy greek beauty with heavy breasts and a beautiful face can be somewhat tricky when enslaved, and through various tricks which often involved covering herself in mud or faking being sick from a number of STDs, she managed not to be sold to a brothel or to any kind of pervert and was instead placed in a cheap bunch of half-dying field workers which Caius' steward bought for half its original price. Not being able to keep up with the difficult work in the agricola, Karissa passed out on her first day of work, just as Caius came back from the senate to his property and, seeing a slave collapse from afar, demanded that Andrinoos checks if there was any sort of epidemy beginning. Upon realizing that the slave was an absolutely stunning young thing who spoke Greek and had no clue about farming, but knew a great deal of epic poems and ballads, Andrinoos decided to have her work inside the house, in the hope she would distract their master... Which Karissa will manage beyond his craziest expectations. Rebellious to her status of slave, unsubmissive and unimpressed by Caius' famous episodes of destructive rage which she compares to the tantrums of her ten-year-old brother, Karissa indeed becomes an infuriating yet lovely companion and revives the warrior's blood in Caius' veins. Jealous of her youth, and displeased to see that the young girl seemingly managed to both tame the bear and make friend with the wolf, Lucilla foresees an affair is bound to happen between the adopted roman and his slave. Worried as to what will happen of her - and her money- if ever the two conceive a child, Lucilla is determined to get rid of the slave...
The sketches feature Karissa and Aldric/Caius
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