Monday, September 11, 2017

Eagle Eyes c10s2

Claudius plans to get inside the house of the people's tribune Maemilius' household by posing as barber (which he actually is but no longer acknowledged as such), maybe he can get inside the senatrix Falernus house hold that way as well.

Paulla and Hostus plans to pose as sellers and decorators of festoons to be able to spy on the house of the senatrix Falernus. They also check prices for festoons to be able to tell prices to the Falernus household responsible and to know that they have enough money to buy the festoons they need until they get paid by Falernus' household.

When Hostus and Paulla returns to home that night after making all the plans and making preparations Hostus almost trips over a large box outside their apartment. They drag it inside and opens it (some effort is needed, it's sealed to be able to be transported. Inside is what looks like a simple but genuine greek vase. After all their greek vase scams they have learned at least something about how the genuine stuff usually looks and feels. Inside the vase is also a small papyrus with a short. "The person in question is graecophile. We assume this could come in handy". The note is very anonymous and the handwriting is very much like the halfway standardised handwriting scribes use. They guess this is a gift from The Eagle and that it could come in handy in making contact with and getting into the Falernus household.

Early in the morning they leave their only togas at the laundry. Claudius also leaves his barber tools for sharpening and polishing.

Hostus and Paulla also decide to stalk Falernus and her clientele after her patron reception of clients. Hostus follows her to a finer wine tavern where she sits down with her body slave, scribe and two body guards that stand guard in a somewhat discrete and relaxed but still obvious manner. She seems to be waiting for someone. Hostus has been standing on the other side of the street for a while, pretending to wait for someone, when a servant-like man comes jogging and rushes into the tavern directly to Falenernus' table a whispers things to her and she seems very surprised. The messenger gets a message back and rushes off and Paulla who has been waiting nearby follows him. He runs to another domus city house)and is gone inside a short while and then returns to the street and jogs off to yet another domus (Ligistinius' city house and is let in after some stressed clapping on the door. The messenger returns again and runs to a third domus (Manilius' city house) and is gone for a while. Paulla waits for a while but then she starts to feel uncomfortable hanging around in the same spot all the time and give up following the messenger further and returns to the tavern where she left Hostus.

After a while a rich citizen appears and meets up with Falernus. The arriving person presents himself as equites Livius and arrives with a scribe and a probable bodyguard. Falernus immediately starts to talk to Livius intensely. Hostus can't hear much but apparently someone has done something. One of the bodyguards seems unnecessarily interested in Hostus which should pass for just a plebeian waiting for someone. This makes Hostus draw the conclusion that they are talking about something important, maybe even secret.

Paulla walks up to Hostus who meets up with Paulla and the walk out of direct sight from the tavern and Hosuts and Paulla tells each other what has happened. Neither of the names is any of the most famous families. Paulla returns to the opposite side of the street of the taverna and continues to spy on Falernus and Livius which now seem to be discussing something. A few loose phrases reach her across the street. Several of the famous senators like Gaius Julius, Pompeius, Crassus, Cicero and Cato the elder is mentioned as is legions and "only one legion" and "playing hardball".

Claudius has been exercising and warming up his barber skills. He has a few customers among the neighbours but that doesn't pay well is only very basic haircuts. Now he wants to do some more advanced haircuts to be able to get into the finer households like Falernus and Maemilius.

Hostus spends some time around Forum romanum talking to people joining spontaneous conversions and gossiping. Seems like most of the names they have encountered lately is optimates or associated to optimates. The not so rich but still well off plebeians around Forum now also put very little faith in the patricians actually following the omen of the wolf on Forum. Most seem to think that the senate will hold their meeting, omen or not. He also manage to get a name of a senatrix that has approximately the same tax level as senatrix Falernus, senatrix Ofilius. Later on the day people suddenly start to talk about one and almost only one thing; Gaius Julius hasn't laid down his imperium (permissions and right to lead armed troops and punish criminals) to return to Rome as a regular senator. Instead he has crossed Rubicon, the border for the non-armed region around Rome which has been crossed by Roman troops during earlier civil wars and when Rome has had to defend the city itself agains Hannibal or the celts.

The characters throw some thoughts around and conclude that if Falernus is lying it's a favour she would only do for someone of higher status than her because it would be very uncommon if she would be a client to someone of lower status. They think that maybe it wasn't Falernus that noticed the wolf but someone else that doesn't want to disregard the omen but for some reason doesn't want to step forward themself, e g because they don't want it to be known that they were at the forum at that time. Since they only know about female members of the senate that has been at Forum that morning they assume that such a person would be a senatrix of higher status than senatrix Falernus. They guess that the archive a the senate could give them a list of female patricians of the same or higher tax level than Falernus, at least for pay.

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