Tales of Ancient Rome

By: S. J. A. Turney

In a flood of relief, he rushed to the door and hammered repeatedly on it, hopping nervously from foot to foot, while he waited to be admitted. A moment later, Posco, the chief house slave opened the door, his eyes widening in disgust.

“Can we help you?”

“Posco… it’s me!”

The slave blinked and then stared at Fronto.

“Master Marcus?”

“Yes, now in the name of Venus Cloacina, will you let me in?”

The slave stood to one side and Fronto tried not to take personally the face the man made as he passed close by. Posco closed the door behind him.

“Would the master care to make his way to the bath and I shall find some clean clothes and a strigil?”

Fronto deflated and nodded.

“Thank you, Posco.”

“To remove the odour from your person would be a pleasure, sir.”

Fronto shot him an irritable glance and then rolled his eyes skyward as his sister turned the corner into the atrium.

“Gods, Marcus. What have you been doing? Swimming in sewers?”

“Faleria, you have no idea. I have had the morning from Tarterus, Hydra, Tisiphone and all.”

“Hydra, Tisiphone, and apparently poo.”

Fronto glared at his sister as she laughed past the hand that held her nose shut.

“Funny. Very funny. I’m going for a bath.”

“On our evening of debauchery, dear brother, did we perhaps lose another toga?”

Fronto nodded, grimacing.

“Going to have to borrow some more coin from mother to buy another.”

Faleria chuckled.

“She’s going to love that. You’ll have to get a move on, too. You need a good one.”

Fronto shook his head. “I’m not going anywhere for several days. I won’t need it. It can be packed away for the voyage.”

“I think not, Marcus” she said as she turned to walk away. “The day after tomorrow, the Vestalia begins. With no father around these days, you’ll have to escort her to the Vestal temple for the rites.”

Behind her, Posco rushed to try and catch the young master as he fainted. He was too late to prevent a nasty bump on the head but then, under all this mess, who would notice it.