Houses of Rome

This is the Greatest Ludus, re-written for greater attention to historical detail and hopefully, greater depth. As with The Greatest Ludus, be aware this story delves into Rome's dark and seedy underbelly, where violence, bloodshed and sex wove together to form the Empire's dark side. Set during the Flavian Dynasty, two families will effectively go to war...


5. Brotherly Love?

A man denied pleasure is a man beyond frustration. Caius had hastily thrown on his tunic and toga and how it trailed behind him like an angry snake as he stomped away from the House of Crispina, back into Capua's main district. Vibius followed, not at all keen to give his younger brother a chance to unleash his fury, but bracing himself to face it anyway.

His cloak was back on, as he maintained the discretion he valued, and not for the first time he wished Caius would operate with the same values. Caius was nearly knocking over peasants and street merchants as he pushed his way into the crowds that always seemed to linger in Capua's markets, and he ignored the mutters of passersby as he continued toward his own home.

Vibius, after a brief time spent letting his brother work out his aggression, stepped up his pace, deciding not to delay the inevitable any further. Somehow, he would make Caius see sense.

"If you would halt your advance for a but a moment, and stop behaving like a petulant child..."

Caius spun around, toga flowing as he did. His face was contorted in fury. "You have no right to interfere with my life!"

Despite his own anger, Vibius did not respond with heated words. He took a moment, and looked in his brother's eyes. "I am on the path to becoming a senator of Rome Caius. Already I hold respected office in  Capua - a respect that can be harmed, perhaps irrevocably, should you continue to sully our family name."

"You think I do not know to be discrete? I do not brand our family name to every whore I fuck!"

Vibius sighed. "It only takes one to recognise your face and then your reputation and mine are soured."

Caius stepped closer to Vibius, until his face was right in the face of his older sibling. "What can you do to stop me?"

Vibius smiled, and it was not a pleasant sight. "I can ensure that the auction arranged for Nimr is rigged in your favour - or I can see to it he ends up in the hands of your greatest rivals. What would you prefer?"

A mixture of contrition and intrigue creased Caius' features. "You have procured Nimr?" He gulped slightly. Such a prize...

"Yes. At some coin, I might add, even given my maneuvers. You know what this means?"

"Nepos will be without his best, and his house will suffer for it." Caius smiled, his anger ebbing.

"Precisely. I trust however, that you will forgo jeopardising this arrangement with further indiscretions?" Vibius held his brother's gaze, until Caius looked away, clearly unhappy but resigned to Vibius' terms.

"Very well. I am indebted to you brother, for a gift such as Nimr."

"It is my pleasure, both for you, and to hasten the end of Nepos. Now come, let us toast this arrangement with wine."

Caius smiled. "This I find agreeable."

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