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...

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1. Dawn

The sun slowly began its ascent to the middle of the sky with a faint red glow announcing her arrival, that gradually became more insistent as she rose, becoming not only brighter, but as she cleared the hills and slopes that crept down the valley, became hotter as well. Flowers began to bloom under her warmth, and some of that light began to flicker and twinkle as it met with the branches and leaves of the trees that were growing up the side of the villa. White, well-washed walls reflected the light away, and anyone looking at the villa as the sun rose higher and grew stronger might have had no choice but to look away, such was the dazzling sight.

The valley itself held not only the beauty of various flowers, with reds and blues and yellows and everything in between flowering nicely by this point, but the scent of the flowers carried in the gentle westerly breeze that was coming in. Sweet smells of summer offered comfort to those who wanted it.

Unfortunately for Titus Norbanus Nepos, the rising sun was something he could not pause to enjoy, not at the moment. The heat of the sun was filtering in through the open windows, brushing up upon his face and reminding him that he needed to be up and active. There was much work to be done.

With a yawn, and a stretch, Titus roused himself from the comfort of his bed, pushing away his side of the soft satin sheet that he sometimes wrapped himself in if the summer nights should turn a little cold. He glanced to his still-sleeping wife, and wondered how Etruscilla could still sleep - she always chose the side of any bed that was closer to the portal or window - she liked the cool air at night and the glow of the sun during the evening and morning. Her auburn hair caught the sun and seemed for a moment to shine from within - she was facing toward him, and her gentle, round face always looked so full of love, that he could weep in thanks for such a woman. As always during the summer months, Etruscilla slept only in what the gods had given her - generous gifts of beauty. She would deny it (she always did), but to Titus, she was the perfect embodiment of the female form - a shapely, curvaceous body, and he could see just how beautiful she was, even despite the sheet she was wrapped up in. Despite the business he had to attend to, Titus could feel the familiar stirring in his loins, and sighed. Even were she awake, Titus would not be able to indulge his desires, for lack of time.

Wrapping himself in a thin white robe that he kept beside the bed, Titus walked softly to the adjoining baths. The cool waters had already been poured into the atrium's pool, prepared by servants a little time earlier. Shedding his robe, Titus stepped into the waters and moved swiftly until they were waist height, embracing the initial shock of the cold to get it over with quickly.

After another warm night, the waters felt good. They punched through the lingering fog of fatigue and invigorated him. He ducked his head under, letting the water slice through his short brown hair, and when he came up, he allowed himself a small smile. Though today promised to be long, he would face it with the optimism that he traditionally faced every day with.

"You look especially delectable this morning dear husband."

Titus span around, startled by the familiar, playful voice. Etruscilla had moved so gracefully that he had no inkling she was standing by the edge of the pool until she had spoke - and she was still wearing only the skin the gods had given her.

"My own view is especially pleasing." He replied, his voice low.

"It is a pity you must leave so soon." She began to step into the water, gasping at the cold, and as she sunk deeper, goosebumps rose on her skin. Her beautiful brown eyes remained trained firmly on her husband's blue eyes as the tips of her well-rounded breasts also stiffened. The earlier stirring in Titus' loins returned with a vengeance.

"It is indeed, especially when the morning is filled with so many glorious sights."

Small waves broke against Titus' stomach as Etruscilla pushed through the waters toward him. "Had I awoke with you still in our bed you would most definitely be late to attend to your errands."

The promise of such carnal activities only hastened Titus' arousal. She reached him, and wrapped her arms around him, pressing her naked frame against his. "You may yet still be late." A kiss, and the brushing of her bosom against his chest, and Titus knew, despite everything he needed to do, that he had been completely, and utterly, seduced.

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