Love In Pompeii

(Part 1 from 2)

*** When I took (and flunked) Latin in my freshmen year at high school, we studied a textbook that had sort of a “Roman soap opera”, which took place before the Vesuvius eruption. Studying the lifestyle and culture of the people of Pompeii is what inspired this. A lot of this is probably inaccurate, but I hope you enjoy.

Pompeii, 79 AD:

“Tell me, are you a slave?” Arcadias asked, sitting on the bed in the small chamber of the brothel. However, the stone bench with a flimsy cushion could barely be called that. The woman he was speaking to was standing in the corner with her back to him, slowly undressing and finger-combing her dirty-blonde hair.

“Excuse me?” she asked, turning to him.

Arcadias sighed, hearing the answer in the form of her accent and the pain in her voice. Reaching into the small bag hanging from his belt, he drew a few silver coins and stood up, handing them to the slave girl. “If they ask, you were perfect. But I won’t force you to do this, I can’t in good conscience make a young woman be with yet another man she doesn’t know and doesn’t love.”

He stepped out into the hall, leaving the bewildered woman behind. To the surrounding sounds of flesh against flesh, men grunting in selfish satisfaction, and women feinting gasps and moans of consensual pleasure, Arcadias maneuvered his way through the brothel and stepped outside and into the street of the glorious city of Pompeii. He was twenty-two years old with medium height for a man of his age and the shadow of a beard and short wavy hair. He had moved to Pompeii several years ago, having been disowned by his family and now forced to rely on his wits when he used to have his father’s wealth to fall back on.

He preferred it this way, being on his own, as he had learned enough from his father about the rules of business to get a foothold in Pompeii the day he had arrived, not to mention that he crafty enough to know how to get what he wanted. Now that he was on his own, he could truly test his skills in the real world and earn a living for himself. With what money he had and his well-acquired skill in gambling, he had managed to win possession of a trading company that worked in the local harbor, ensuring a steady and very respectable income. To anyone else, this would be a true blessing from the gods, but to Arcadias, it was just a way to make a living.

He was done with work earlier than usual this day, all of his ships having yet to return from their deliveries or to bring goods to Pompeii. Now he had nothing to do and was merely wandering around the city, trying to think of something that would occupy his time. In truth, this was a daily trial for him, as even with his business and prodigious wealth, he loathed Pompeii and the Roman Empire in general, but it was only in this culture that he knew how to live. It held the customs that he had grown up in and knew. True, for someone who had a talent for making money, a busy city like Pompeii was like the most fertile of fields in the possession of an expert farmer, but not when the main consumer of the people’s wealth sickened him.

Having reached the pier, Arcadias watched as a ship entered the harbor and was tied up to the dock.

“Hail Arcadias Clemens Lucian, the new wealth of Pompeii! I am Syphax, an ally of those with money to spend!” a man hollered, stepping down from his ship and raising his hand to Arcadias.

With bright, colorful robes and a tradesman’s mustache, Arcadias already knew what the man was selling.

“It seems you know me, well before you say anything, I’m telling you here and now that I’m not interested.”

“How can you say that? Everyone who sits upon the golden throne of their riches needs slaves! Who will clean your elegant house, cook your nightly feasts, and satisfy you long into the night?”

“I don’t believe in slavery, and if you know me enough to call out my name without having ever met me, then you should know that there is nothing you have that I am interested in.”

“Spoken by someone who has not properly enjoyed the efficiency of a good and obedient slave. Please, at least see what I have to offer before you turn your back on this humble merchant. Bring them out!” Syphax pleaded with a fake smile, before shouting out to his men still aboard the ship.

Bound in chains with rags for clothes, several people were shuffled out onto the pier and forced into a line by the sailors working under Syphax.

“These slaves are from the Gaelic lands that the legions have conquered, and barbaric as they may be, they at least are able to understand human speech and will work themselves to death if you ask them to. They are perfect, the best tools brought to you solely by the best merchant!”

Arcadias looked down the line, feeling his stomach twisting itself into knots. There was nothing he hated more than slavery, it sickened him to see human beings being bought, sold, and used like lifeless objects. No matter where he went, slavery was still an unstoppable economic force and essentially a cultural law, though that wasn’t to say he didn’t fight back against it. The reason why his family had disowned him in the first place was because he had freed all of the slaves in the Lucian household, essentially costing the family a small fortune.

Arcadias walked slowly down the line, wishing he had enough money to buy them all their freedom. They were all so miserable, all light and hope drained from their eyes and their bodies covered in scars and bruises. But looking ahead, he was brought to an abrupt stop. At the end of the line was a young woman with skin that looked like marble and long jet-black hair that hid her downcast face. He walked over and stood in front of her, but she did not acknowledge him. He slowly reached out and wrapped his fingers around one of her delicate hands, causing her to look up at Arcadias and leave him breathless.

She was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen in his entire life. Every detail of her face was flawless, from the slender bone structure of her cheeks to her pale but perfectly shaded complexion, which lacked even a single freckle or flaw. Her most prominent feature were her blue eyes, which were the shade of the ocean on a perfect summer day. She was more gorgeous than the goddess Athena, and not even the finest artists in Rome would be able to replicate her beauty on a canvas. He knew at that moment that he could not take even a single step from that spot if she wasn’t by his side.

“What’s your name? Do you understand me?”

“Ella. Yes sir, I understand,” she whispered.

Arcadias turned to Syphax and pulled a handful of gold coins out of the small bag hanging from his belt. “Syphax, here. Set her free,” he said, causing Ella and Syphax to look at him with disbelief.

“Are you saying that you’re buying her?” the merchant asked.

“No, I’m paying for her freedom. As of now, she is a feed slave and a citizen of Pompeii.”

Syphax shrugged and walked over, giving the order for one of his sailors to unlock Ella’s shackles, letting them fall to the floor and reveal the bruises and welts on her wrists.

“Ella, my name is Arcadias. I humbly ask that you may stay with me in my home as my honored guest. You won’t be a slave or servant, but a free woman, my equal.”

Ella looked back down at the ground and Arcadias realized that tears were rolling down her face, her trembling shoulders shaking the liquid pearls from her lashes.

“Don’t worry, it’s—” His words were halted as Ella rushed over and wrapped her arms around his neck, crying on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, it’s ok,” Arcadias murmured as he embraced her slender frame.

***

Ella gazed in amazement at the beauty of Pompeii, of stone buildings and paved streets. Arcadias was waiting for her to be comfortable before asking about where she had come from, but just from the look on her face, he knew that her homeland trailed behind the Roman Empire in architecture, beauty, and civil engineering.

“We should get you some new clothes. You deserve more than these rags,” Arcadias said with a comforting smile as they walked down the street.

“Thank you, master,” Ella said softly.


He put his hand on her shoulder and she looked at him innocent eyes.

“Ella, you are free now. I’m not your master, just your friend.”

“Regardless of my freedom, you paid for me and that makes me your property. Until I have worked off my debt to you, you are my master. Besides, being a slave is all I know. I’ve lived my whole life as property. I’ve always addressed someone as my Master of Mistress.”

Arcadias cocked his head to one side as he analyzed her tone. There was no sadness or dread in her voice. Instead, there was nervousness. She wasn’t dreading the situation; she was nervous, almost as if it were too good to be true.

“Just answer me one thing: Are you doing this out of forced obligation, or do you honestly want to repay you’re debt?”

“I want to repay my debt to you.”

“Very well, whatever makes you happy. But if I can’t convince you that I am not your master and you are not a slave, at least believe me when I say that I want to take care of you and make you happy.”

“Yes, Master. I will,” she said, not only humbly, but gratefully.

***

Walking through Pompeii, Arcadias watched as Ella slowly warmed up more and more. With each step she took and each word she murmured with her cherubic voice, the nervousness and fear in her eyes was removed like the drying dew in the rising sun, and a gentle, hesitant smile ever so slowly was etched onto her lips. Glad to see her unwinding, he grasped her hand when they reached a large clothing stand, owned by a dozing merchant and stocked with fabrics of all types and colors, as well as sandals of all sizes.

“I want to most elegant and comfortable clothes for this young woman, as well as a pair of sandals,” Arcadias said, holding up a gold coin.

***

Passing through the main entry hall, they entered the atrium of Arcadias’s home, a high-class domus, won in a dice game. The house was built as two joining rings, one smaller than the other, like an 8. In the center of the room was a sunken pool of water, collected from the rain that fell through the open skylight above, creating the smaller ring. The last inhabitant had removed his art and furniture, but could not take away the frescos painted into the plaster when the house was built, coloring the walls with scenes of nature and Roman life. Arcadias had stocked the room with a few couches and tables, simply to take up some empty space. Along the sides of the atrium were entrances to the bedrooms, kitchen, and dining room, all with sheets of the fabric hanging in the doorways, and across from the entrance was the tablinum, the study for the master of the household, situated in the very center of the home between the two rings. On either side of the study were hallways leading to the second ring, situated around a courtyard and garden.

As they stepped into the atrium of Arcadias’s home, Ella gazed in amazement.

“Welcome to my home, and it is yours too for as long as you like.” Arcadias said as he walked over to the couch and put down the clothes he had bought for her.

He looked back at Ella. Once again, she seemed quite nervous. It was obvious she had never lived in a good home.

“Hey, how about we see if those clothes fit?” Arcadias asked, trying to lighten the mood.

Ella smiled and walked over to the pile of clothes on the couch. With absolutely no hesitation, she grasped the collar of her dress and pulled it open, revealing her breasts. They were large for a malnourished girl like her, but not so large that Arcadias had noticed them before. His brain took control of his body before his manhood could and he rushed over and put his hands on her shoulders.

“Ella, are you sure you wouldn’t be more comfortable changing in the guest room?”

As Arcadias spoke the words, he could almost feel his phallus reaching up and smacking him in the back of the head for talking.

“What do you mean?” she asked, completely unaware of the situation.

“I just think it would be more proper if I weren’t here when you undressed.”

His brain was tearing itself apart as his sense of manners fought his sexual urges.

“It’s ok, my sexy body belongs to you, Master,” she murmured with a look of peace on her face.

As Arcadias sat down in a nearby chair, Ella continued to pull her dress off her shoulders, fully exposing her round breasts. She shook her hips from side to side as she pulled the fabric down her slender waist. His eyes were fixed on every curve of her body and every inch of her naked flesh. He could barely keep his jaw from hanging open.

She kept her thighs pressed against each other, hiding her flower from him, but allowing him to see just the slightest patch of pubic hairs. Common sense told him that she did it out of instinct or habit, but Arcadias was beginning to suspect that it was actually a tease. Once she pushed it down to her knees, she let it go, and it fell down to her ankles. As she stood back up, she ran her fingertips up the side of her smooth thigh.

By now, Arcadias’s cock was so hard that he could have used it as a mace and smashed through a legionnaire’s shield. He had to keep the bulge in his pants hidden, wishing he was wearing a toga over his street clothes. Ella turned to him, finally giving him a good view of her gates of paradise. The lips as soft as flower petals, and the wet pink interior was just barely visible. Standing naked before him, Ella looked at her master with a very nervous but happy expression on her face, her pale cheeks now red in embarrassment.

“Master, I just want to thank you again for everything you’ve done for me. No one has ever been so kind to me,” she murmured.

The amount of sweet and gentle emotion in her voice overwhelmed Arcadias’s throbbing sexual drive, and replaced it with a deep caring for her. She seemed like a pup in the rain, and he just had the urge to wrap his arms around her and hold her close.

“You’re welcome, Ella,” he whispered with a warm smile.

Ella smiled and turned around. She bent down to pick up a yellow dress and Arcadias got a view of her rear that the gods would envy.

***

Arcadias watched Ella dress and undress half-a-dozen times as she tried on all of the outfits he had bought her, and frankly, her body is even more beautiful than her face. A few times, she would stop and cry for a few moments, but her tears were of pure joy. Once she had gone through everything, Arcadias stood up and stretched. It was the late afternoon.

“I’m going to stop by the bathhouse while the sun is still up. Your room is right behind you, please make yourself at home. I’ll be back soon, then I’ll prepare us some dinner.”

‘I’m going to need a cold bath,’ he thought to himself as he walked through the door.

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