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Passing the Baton [Octavius Alexander]
Late December, 62 AD

It was a nippy day, with wind buffeting the awnings and the sky partially covered by clouds, yet the masses still showed up, filling a little over a third of the stadium and cheering rowdily. Such was the miserable every day lives of the common man, that not even Corus and Coelus could drive them all into their homes. Of course, Rome did not know winters like the northernmost provinces did, storms that blotted out the sun and blanketed the earth with feet of snow that one had to dig a path through. That was not to say that the chill that day did not seep into one’s tunic and cling to the skin. The poor wretches in the top seats were exposed the most, shivering in the wind. It was the bastards below, in the stadium, that had it worst, and possessed all the more reason and drive to fight harder so as not to let their opponents knock them into the water.

The triremes floated slowly towards each other. The gladiators scurrying across the decks and shimmying up the lines were a comparatively disorderly lot compared to the order and precision to be found on a real war galley. It was, nonetheless, entertaining, of which they served their purposes. The public had little chance to glimpse a real naval battle and so swallowed the pantomime of theater without any but the occasional veteran having much of a critical eye for details. Even then, no one expected reality; it was blood they sought, cracking masts and burning wood. Soon, as the mock battle accelerated and climaxed, none would be disappointed, not even the consul who was enjoying the show just as much as the rest.

He sat in a private box, warm in his cloak, and having a few slaves in attendance. The box had been reserved, prepared for expected company with spiced wine, roasted meats, dried fruits, cooked snails in oil and garlic, and all manner of finger foods. A few pillows had been brought out to cushion the seats, and near them were propped a few portable braziers which coals provided a small perimeter of warmth. For the moment, he was alone, yet waiting for his companion whom had yet to show. He was not worried, however; Octavius Flavius Alexander did not seem the sort to publicly snub another, nor when there was no reason to.

Only a few days had passed since the last regular senate session of the year, and the announcements of Ursus’ and Octavius’ subsequent promotions. Caesar’s brother was quite a few years younger than Sextus, and their paths subsequently had no reason to cross until now. Since the war’s end late in the summer, the now former Dux Asiae could be seen fleetingly in the imperial palace, or else on the coattails of his ruling brother, who seemed to have need of his counsel regularly. Shacking up in the palace with his wife most nights, Ursus consequently had exchanged a few brief words with the younger senator on several occasions before, but nothing substantial yet. It was time to change that, to get a good look at the man who would succeed him as junior consul in but a short time.

Ursus took a slow drink of wine, watching as two of the ships pulled up alongside each other. Planks were crossed, and one crew invaded the deck of another, gladii slashing. The invitation had been sent and accepted a day prior. Calm, the consul waited while enjoying the last flavors of what had been his year.
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Octavius has received a message of a meeting between Sextus Papirius Crassus Urus, who would be the previous Consul and was an extended member of his family. Married to Claudia Livia who had been the one time daughter by marriage (and affection) of his sister, and who is niece was currently under the care of. Other than past moments of running into each other and exchanging pleasantries, he had not spoken to him for any considerable length of time. He had heard mixed things about the man, and his reputation. A part of him had always wondered whether the union between him and Livia had been one of convenience, a love match, or if there had been the force of the terror of Clemens. There no need to reject the invitation, in fact, he was curious of him and sent back a message to tell him that he accepted the invite. 

There were several men asking him for meetings, invitations to parties, all men seeking to discover more about his background. Most importantly, they wished to know more about what plans Quintus had for the future.

There had been a time when he found entertainment in games, even found himself admiring the skill needed in order for the combat. However, after years of warfare, he began to see it as something of his childhood when things were more peaceful. How many faces did he no longer see around Rome? Darius ... Junus.... his friends and family of old. Occasionally even now he would see them, and he would wonder whether this had all been a dream. And he would wake up in his bed in his parent's home to hear his father's and mother's voices while they bickered about one thing or another. 

Octavius pulled his clothing around him briefly to keep out the cold. He saw Sextus as he sat in a private booth, nothing was surprising given the rank of the two men. As he approached he noticed the heat from the coals, the variety of food present, and entertainment provided. 

"Salve Sextus, I hope this day finds you well." He greeted with a smile, offered his hand for a handshake and should his companion shake his hand. He would find the grip strong, firm without being crushing and his other shoulder clasped in a greeting.
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^^ Created by Katie! xD
“Ah! Octavius Flavius! Salve!” Sextus stood with a grin upon noting the younger senator’s arrival. He moved immediately to receive the other, accepting his hand and clasping his shoulder in turn with a hearty chuckle, grip firm. He paused for just an instance, catching the other’s eye so as to respond to his greeting. “More better than worse,” he said with a wry glint in his eye. Then, slapping the man across the shoulders, he made a swooping gesture. “Come! Sit! You’ve arrived just in time to witness the slaughter!” In the arena below, the clanking of steel and cries of combat rang up from the ships’ decks.

Sextus sat, allowing Octavius to claim the vacant space next to him, cushioned and prepared for his companion, and waved back their guards to allow them some modicum of privacy, who stood at a respectful yet reasonable distance. He reached for a juicy morsel, fingers dripping with grease as he sucked a snail from its shell. “Eat,” he insisted, wiping his chin with the back of his mouth. “There’s no need for palace propriety.” He watched the other, curious to see just how the young Alexander would conduct himself, and so as to discern just what sort of man he would reveal himself to be. “The baser pleasures do not limit themselves to just campaigns, do they not?” He half-smirked, testing the degree of patrician nobility by which Octavius abides, or whether he was one more at ease with the rank and file roughness that Ursus so infamously embraces.
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