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"build me a prison of your memories"

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Sep. 22nd, 2011 | 11:09 am

Title: build me a prison of your memories
Fandom: The Eagle.
Characters: Marcus&Esca.
Word Count: 4114.
Rating: 12
Summary: This is not Esca’s world. Marcus/Esca.
Warnings: some non-graphic/mentioned violence.
Notes: Written for the Fanmedia Challenge over on ninth_eagle, based on the image of the aqueduct. Loosely related to breathe for me. ♥

build me a prison of your memories

Construction spiders out across the backbone of Britannia.

When Marcus glances up from his horse’s bridle, thick with the dust of a day’s riding, he sees Esca, silhouetted against the burnt sky, and there’s a warm little flutter in his stomach, a flutter that whispers things he doesn’t like to think about, not ever. For half a second, he can’t look away, captivated by the blackness of Esca’s lines against the setting sun, but then Caius snorts, pushes his nose insistently against his shoulder. Marcus winds his fingers through the stallion’s mane, knots the reins to a gnarled, windswept treebranch – and then he steps away, traces Esca’s light boottreads in the bent grassblades and swept-away soil, follows him up the ridge. He doesn’t look up at the figure with hunched shoulders, dark and brooding against the pink-orange blazon of sundown, and there’s the quietest whisper of wind that curls around his fingertips.

The land is folded, here, roiling up and down in great, heaving sweeps. The fields are rough and green, darkly verdant copses dotting the horizon, and, here and there, the earth itself is exposed in the vicious rents of agriculture. Marcus knows this: they’ve been riding for days, now, running errands for the Calleva fort, to and from Londinium with papers and medals and notifications. If Esca resents being message-boy, he doesn’t show it – but as the setting sun finally casts his sharp features in illumination, there’s a blankness in his expression.

“Esca,” he says, quietly.

Esca shifts. “Marcus,” he answers, too easily.

Grass slopes away beneath their feet. They stand on the lip of a broad, flat plain, and the sky is so big, so brilliant, pressing down on them as if Atlas is forgetting his place. The call of nightbirds echoes in the air – early-bird owls, out before their time. Marcus can feel the faintest bite of encroaching winter, but not yet, not yet – and the skyline is broken, marred.

Esca’s breath shudders in the calm, and for the first time Marcus notes that his fingers are wrapped around his forearms, digging deep, bruising.

“Lucius mentioned the building works,” Marcus says, “last night. Said they were ahead of schedule, that it’d be finished before winter comes. He sounded proud.”

Esca’s gaze is dark as the night that edges down through the stripes of sunset. “My congratulations to the workcrews,” he says, and his voice is so flat, so empty.

The aqueduct rakes the world in half. It’s majestic, soaring up against the lividity of the sky in pale arches, piled atop one another with all the artistry and perfection of his people; it commands the skyline, towers over the half-wild land below. Scaffolding crawls up its side: it’s too far away to see whether there are still men hard at work, this deep into the evening, but Marcus can imagine they’ll be pushed until it’s too dark to see. For the glory of the empire; for the glory of Rome.

The sun is setting, settling down into the stables beyond the horizon.

Esca stirs, and for a moment, Marcus thinks he might be about to speak, but he doesn’t say a word. He turns, pads down the slope, returns to the horses and their camp for the night. Marcus doesn’t watch him go. Instead, he keeps his eyes on the skyline, on that behemoth of technology, that blazon of progress, because he can see Esca whenever he wants to, but this

There’s a warmth that grips his belly in firelit fingers.

As the light fades, Esca is quiet. He tends the fire, hands Marcus a handful of half-scorched meat. Marcus doesn’t make an attempt at conversation; he’s not a fool. He can feel the rigidity in Esca’s shoulders, hear the anger in the levelness of his breathing.

They sleep side by side, as always, the horses snuffling in their sleep, and the stars swirl overhead. Tonight, they’re separated by so much more than just the thickness of wool.

The road home takes them beneath the aqueduct’s might, little more than a dirt track. The talk of working men is a rumble in the background, further along, and Marcus’ skin feels tight, because there’s the reverence, yes, the memory of his people and his emperor, but he hears Esca’s silence; it prickles along his temples. Usually, Esca is quiet; today, he is deathly hushed.

The aqueduct’s shadow patterns itself across the ground, sharp-edged under the cloudless sky.

The dirt track widens to a trodden path widens to a road, close-packed and straight. This is the road that takes them back to Calleva, the road they tread so often, nowadays – and it’s the road that, all that time ago, took them half the way to the north, spat them out beyond the wall to pain and betrayal. The horses’ hooves are sharp on the ground, and the animals might be almost-tired from days on the road, but they’ve been frustrated by the winding paths and the slowness of the journey; they want to run, and Marcus half-smiles as he feels Caius tugging forwards.

They gallop, in the end, eating up the miles.

Esca pulls ahead, crouched low over his dun’s neck, mane flicking cheeks. Marcus can’t see his face, now, but he doesn’t think he needs to; the aqueduct shrinks away behind them. Breath catches in his throat, and he doesn’t know if it’s the speed or the wind or the knowledge that everything’s not okay. It’s a thought that curdles in his heart. He understands, of course he does, but he doesn’t want to think about it, the space between.

Under the race of Caius’ gallop, Marcus feels his hands shake.

Esca’s a handful of heartbeats ahead, and when he slows, it jolts in Marcus’ reality, bright as lightning. He twists his hand through Caius’ reins, pulls him back, and they slow to a trot together, side by side, maybe united. Esca looks over, and his gaze is as sharp as ever – but darker, colder. “If we keep going after it gets dark,” he says, “we’ll make Calleva today.”

Abruptly, Marcus doesn’t want to make Calleva.

“No,” he says, and feels Caius’ muscles flex and release between his thighs. “It’ll be too late, by then – don’t want to wake my uncle. Or Sassticca; she wouldn’t be happy.” He looks away from Esca, watches the road ahead. “There’s nothing urgent in Lucius’ messages. We’ll go easy.”

Marcus isn’t looking, but there’s something almost like satisfaction that flickers in Esca’s eyes; guilty satisfaction, thick and heavy and dark. He says nothing, and they ride slower, now. Esca doesn’t pull ahead; Marcus doesn’t fall behind.

As dusk eats up the daylight, they make camp just off the road, in a sheltered clearing. Marcus squats in the centre of the loose oval of trees, flint in hand, and won’t think about Esca, standing half in the darkness, rubbing a palm across the velvet softness of Caius’ nose. He strikes sparks in the gloom; they catch; he cradles the fire, ushers it into alertness. He doesn’t feel Esca’s gaze on him, peering between the trees. Flame licks at his fingers; he hisses.

“No meat,” Esca says, and pads half-silently back into the clearing. “Bread and cheese at the bottom of my pack, somewhere.”

Marcus quirks a lopsided smile. He leans back from the fledgling fire, dips into his own bag; a couple of tiny, smooth-skinned apples hide themselves in his big palm. “And these,” he says, and watches Esca’s lips crinkle his sardonic smile. He tosses one across the clearing, and Esca catches it, unerring, eats half of its flesh in one bite. Marcus sets his gently to one side; it smells sweet and light.

Esca drops to his haunches, crouches across the fire to Marcus. His gaze is enraptured by the flames, and he reaches out, nudges a snapped-off branch into a better position, takes another bite of the apple – and Marcus doesn’t like to think that he can’t look away as Esca licks juice from his fingers. Another crunching mouthful, and Esca flicks the core into the bushes, into the darkness, and licks his thumb, slowly.

Marcus thinks he might be staring. Esca meets his gaze, heavy and quiet.

Neither of them looks away.

Aquila is out when they get back. Sassticca takes one look and them and shepherds them both into the kitchen, sits them down, feeds them, a thick plate of stew and bread and flavour that Marcus can’t get enough of. He’s hungry, they both are – but Esca is quiet, again, and he eats slowly, even as Marcus sets to it and digs in hard. Sassticca bustles around them, fills them in on gossip and information: Manlius from the fort is seeing a local girl, apparently, if ‘seeing’ is the right term (Marcus can guess what Sassticca means by that), and one of the butchers from the market was caught by Stephanos selling rancid meat, painting it with fresh blood to make it seem more appealing. The sounds of home.

Marcus chews, and nods, and thinks that sometimes, he misses this place. He cleans his bowl and leans back in his chair, feet crossed at the ankles, and feels the warmth of the oven bathing on the back of his neck. Esca finishes, and excuses himself. Sassticca keeps going, thinks nothing of it – but Marcus feels a tension in his shoulders. Things aren’t okay, and he doesn’t know what to do about it. He never does.

In the afternoon, he goes to the fort, hands over Londinium’s bundle of papers and orders. He doesn’t think about how he feels strange doing it alone, doesn’t think about why he hasn’t seen Esca since Sassticca dismissed him from her kitchen. Marcus thinks about the aqueduct, raking the blue sky into shards of colour, pale and naked in its newness.

Once, a long time ago, Esca spat in his face, because you are Roman.

Marcus lingers in Calleva, watches the world go by, lets Caius whinny at a young filly in the horsemarket while the traders aren’t watching. There’s a whorl of Briton traders clustered in the market, stalls a little too close together, and Marcus watches a young man, tattoos gleaming fresh up his neck and down his arm. Esca’s never said, but Marcus thinks he might understand those markings: they whisper i am more and i am man. Sometimes, when he thinks Marcus isn’t paying attention, Esca traces his tattoos with something that might almost be memory. The Briton in Calleva’s market is laughing as he flirts with a girl, a Roman girl, a Roman girl with golden leaves pinned in her hair, and Marcus can’t see Esca’s darkness in the way the almost-boy’s fingertips trace patterns on the backs of her hands.

He winds his fingers into Caius’ mane, and the stallion switches his attention from doe-eyed filly to quiet-eyed master. He pushes his nose into Marcus’ palm; his ears are flat against his skull.

“Will he be there when I get back?” Marcus asks, softly.

Caius’ eyes are soft, but he offers no answer.

The light is dimming when Marcus returns to the villa. He pays his uncle a visit, and thinks that, somehow, Aquila looks old, bent over his books with wax tablet scraped thin beside him. Marcus retrieves a forgotten stylus from the floor and replaces it on the desk, and doesn’t stay long. He’s tired, now, and looking forward to sleeping in a bed rather than a half-gathered mound of heather.

Sometimes, up at the fort, they say he’s gone soft. Marcus has no idea. Esca knows, though—the soldiers still look at his clipped ear before they see his face, so he hears more than anyone thinks—but he never tells.

In the corridor, Stephanos bundles an armful of blankets into Marcus’ grasp. “Starting to get cold,” he says, scarf already swathed around his skinny neck. “Wrap yourself up, Marcus. Esca, too.” The slave’s footsteps are muffled by his soft shoes, and Marcus carries the blankets to his room, piles them on the chest in the corner. When they set off, ten days ago, he left a heap of furs at the foot of his bed; now, they’re laid out neatly across the frame, tucked into neatness and warmth – and Esca’s perched on the end of the bed, fingers knotted together, features picked out by the candle guttering on the bedside.

“Marcus,” Esca says.

Marcus plucks a blanket from the heap, tosses it to Esca. “From Stephanos,” he says. “Cold’s coming.”

Esca gathers the fabric together, folds it neatly in his lap. He runs his fingers through its creases, and then says, “There’s word in town that they’re enlarging the fort.”

Marcus wants to sit, to rest, to lie down on his own bed, heavy with furs and comfort, but the quietness in Esca’s eyes keeps him frozen where he is. “Claudius mentioned something along those lines,” he says carefully. “Troop redistribution; there’s not enough room. And maybe not just for the fort – the town, too. There’s plenty of land around; they’re thinking of expanding northward, maybe working on the baths, too.”

At that, something sparks in Esca’s eyes. “For the glory of Rome?” he says, and his voice is so flat.

There’s a tightness in Marcus’ stomach, in his throat, and it’s not sorrow or confusion or loneliness, not anymore; he’s angry, now, angry and frustrated. “Everything is,” he answers shortly, because they’ve lived together for so long, now, how does Esca still not get it? – and the aqueduct rises in his memory, in his mind’s eye, bright against the acid blue of his imagination, and how can that be anything but beautiful?

Abruptly, Marcus realises that his breaths are coming fast and hard.

Esca goes, silent as a cat. He leaves the folded blanket on the floor, at the foot of Marcus’ bed.

Sassticca chivvies him out of bed in the morning, and Marcus is surprised with himself. It’s been a long time since he kept sleeping after daybreak, a long time since the sunlight whispering in through the lakeside doors didn’t jerk him rudely out of dreaming. For half a breath, he wonders if he’s changed, if he’s lost whatever touch he had – but then the moment passes, and he hears birds singing outside.

He dresses, and eats. He helps muck out the stables, and then he swims in the lake, stroke after stroke, and doesn’t think.

Esca’s gone. But that’s okay.

There’s an apple tree, in the garden, tucked away behind an ugly discus-thrower that Marcus knows his uncle likes to pretend isn’t there. It’s an ancient thing, bending under the weight of its own boughs, but still laden with fruit, sweet and small and ponderous. Aquila hands Marcus a basket with a smile. They go out together, and pick apples. Before long, Aquila has to sit—Marcus doesn’t reflect on how, really, he’s not the only one who’s changed; his uncle is getting old—and he perches on the garden’s stone seat and watches, occasionally offering advice: that one, up there, at the top – no, marcus, not that one, the one to the left… yes, that one, well done, you can listen to instructions, clever boy.

Marcus fills both baskets to overflowing, half-listening to the murmur of his uncle’s chatter. His hands are sticky with sweetness, and he sucks it off his palm, doesn’t think about Esca’s flirtation with his fingertips.

He doesn’t hear Esca get back, but Esca hears him, hears his quiet chuckle at Aquila’s snootiness towards Herodotus’ account of the battle at Salamis, hears it and looks over, down the garden, sees Marcus with apples in his hands and his back arched against the sky, thinks about the arch of an aqueduct and the drip of blood from his nose and how, really, they’re nothing more than the same thing – but Marcus knows none of this.

Esca goes inside; Marcus keeps picking apples.

Sassticca crows when the baskets are delivered into her loving care. She promises that they will be the centrepiece of the evening meal, and Marcus has no doubt that she’ll make good on her word.

He catches a glimpse, first, out the window, a glimpse of someone, small and wiry and filthy, crouched by the lakeside. For a moment, it doesn’t register, and he continues to lick seeping apples from his skin – but then he pauses, and looks out again. He’s not worried, not really—this is Calleva, thick with Rome and her power—but he’s surprised; who’d come here? – but then, of course, the answer is obvious. Marcus stands in the doorway, on the edge, and just watches, for a while. His arms are crossed across his chest, like he’s protecting himself.

Esca kneels at the water’s edge, and Marcus thinks his hands might be dripping crimson. He sees Esca press a hand to his nose, and the hunch of his shoulders speaks of pain, of hurt. Marcus shifts, but doesn’t leave the shelter of the villa, and he watches as Esca takes his hand away from his face bloody. His hair is a mess, spiked with sweat, and as he tugs his shirt over his head, revealing the yellow-purple beginnings of a sprawl of bruises across his back, Marcus thinks of the first time he saw him, defiant in the sandy sprawl of the arena.

Esca cleans himself, and Marcus can’t see, but he can imagine the crimson swirl in the clear waters, sharp as pale stone against blue sky.

The air is colder, today.

Esca stands, and when he turns, his gaze snaps straight to Marcus. For a moment, he doesn’t move, doesn’t say a word, and if Marcus were closer he’d see the shock in his eyes, shock with a whisper of what might almost be vulnerability – but then his jaw tightens, and shutters fall behind his eyes. Marcus doesn’t see that; all he sees is Esca tilt his chin upwards in an echo of his gladiatorial defiance and stalk forward, water dripping in his hair. He looks straight through Marcus.

In the doorway, on the cusp between the world and the villa’s warmth, Marcus catches Esca’s arm – and he knows his grip is too tight, too hard, but he can’t quite bring himself to care. Esca’s lip is split; one of his eyes is swollen shut. “What did you do?” he says, low and dark.

Esca is sharp as a knife, and his lip curls. “Has it been that long since you fought a man?” he hisses. “Have you become so idle you’ve forgotten what it is to conquer?” – and he jerks free, pulls himself away from Marcus’ touch.

Marcus’ jaw is tight; his every muscle is clenched. “Do you want me to be sorry?” he bites. “Do you want me to regret being Roman? Being who I am? Are you sorry for your people, your customs? Should I be?”

Esca is quiet, just for a moment. His neck is alive with tendons and the ravage of a heady pulse, and he turns, faces Marcus, so close, nearly nose-to-nose. He is still for a pair of heavy breaths, suddenly panting through Marcus’ chest, and then he moves, his hands gripping fingertips and nails into the fabric of Marcus’ tunic. Marcus can feel the shake of Esca’s hands – and then Esca kisses him—basium—but there’s no anger there, no rage. It’s gentle, almost, but Esca’s tongue tastes of blood.

Inexplicably, Marcus thinks, home.

“I want you,” Esca says, “to be sorry.”

He releases Marcus, steps back, leaves. He doesn’t look back.

Marcus stays outside, for a while, stays numbly watching the world. There’s a peacefulness in the ripples brushing the lake’s surface, and he watches them span outwards, knows that it’s calm beneath, in the depths. Sometimes, when he swims, he feels fish brush against his legs, feels fragments of weed circle themselves around his ankles – but that’s life, there, the way of things. Now, there’s blood in that water, suffusing out into barely more than air.

Esca’s footsteps fade, too.

With half an ear, Marcus hears voices, after a while, one so very angry. He recognises it: Flavius, from the fort, young and hotheaded and so arrogantly Roman it’ll kill him, one day. Flavius is raging, voice tight and high, counterpointed against Aquila’s soft deepness – and Marcus understands, of course he does. He stirs himself, turns away from the quiet of the world.

In the courtyard, voice level, he says, “Flavius.”

Flavius stops, mid-tirade. His cheeks are flushed, and there’s not enough chill in the air to do that, not yet. “Aquila,” he says, shortly, and then, “Keep a leash on your dog, Commander.” He spits Marcus’ rank like it’s a slur, cinaedus instead of centurio. “You see this?” And he points to the side of his face, to the faintest beginnings of a bruise snaking down his cheek. No split lip; no darkening eyes; no purpling back, Marcus would be willing to bet. “That Briton of yours did this, Aquila – assaulted a Roman officer without provocation; wanton violence. You should send him back to the arena you got him from, let him die there. He’s savage.”

Marcus feels cold. “I’ll take that under consideration,” he says flatly.

Flavius is ushered out, in the end, guided to the gate by a wary Marcipor.

Aquila’s expression is tired. “Fix this, Marcus,” he says softly. “It can’t go on.”

Marcus crosses his arms across his chest, studies the stripped apple tree at the bottom of the garden. He thinks about the blankness in Esca’s eyes, striped in firelight.

Night falls.

Calleva is shaded in darkness, and the villa even more so – there are no lamps shining out of windows, no fires smouldering in the hearth. Even the wind has quieted; the trees are still, autumn leaves ghostly in the blackness. Aquila is asleep, his household with him, but Marcus lies awake, lakeside doors flung open despite the encroaching chill. His skin feels tight, hairs straining against the almost-cold; his fingers are absently wound into the furs that are doing a poor job of keeping him warm.

There’s a light outside, flickering against the ether. It’s been there a while, maybe—Marcus isn’t counting the passing of time, not yet—but he’s only just registered it. Slowly, he sits up, furs crooked over his knees, and peers into the night.

Firelight whispers its burnt orange touch over the lake.

Marcus rises, quiet and calm. He has no idea what he’s doing. He doesn’t dress, even though he has clothes laid out for tomorrow all ready: instead, he wraps himself in furs, knotting them around his waist, and then he pads outside barefoot, his feet imprinting in the cool soil. Esca doesn’t look up from the fire, flickering so close to the rippled edge of the lake it’s almost like it’s floating. Marcus sits, and some part of his mind thinks that he should probably care that he’s naked, that there’s nothing but fur between him and the world, between him and Esca – but he doesn’t.

He says, “Esca.”

Esca looks up, through the flames. His eyes are feverbright, and his lip is split again, crimson and dripping. “Marcus,” he answers.

Marcus thinks about the aqueduct, seared into so-blue skies, and about the dance of rich firelight across Esca’s clipped ear. One and the same, perhaps. “I won’t make you stay,” he says, softly.

Esca’s expression doesn’t change, but Marcus thinks there might be something different in the way he holds himself, something stronger, something weaker. “Everything you do,” he says, slowly, “is for your Rome. Everything.” His eyes burn. “Your Rome took away my life. And now I run errands for the people who crush my land beneath stone and mortar.”

Marcus never thought.

Esca plucks a stick from the ground beside him, rearranges the lay of the logs in his fire. He doesn’t look at Marcus, not now, and the burn of the flames reflects in his glassy eyes. “You,” he says, hesitantly, like it’s a thought he doesn’t want to think, “are my Rome.” He looks up, jaw set, meets Marcus’ gaze with fiery eyes. “You are the reason that, no matter how much I hate your Rome and your people and your endless building—” And he stops sharply, pauses, licks his lips and shivers, almost. Esca says, low and level and so very true, “You are the reason I will never leave.”

Marcus thinks, basium. Marcus thinks, esca.

They stay by the whispering lake until the fire burns itself into ashes and they are left in darkness.

The aqueduct soars in the darkness and waits to be finished.


link | put ink to paper? |

Comments {32}


from: piscaria
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 11:51 am (UTC)

This was lovely. You have some very nice prose in here. I enjoyed the tension between Marcus and Esca, but also the quiet, domestic moments of Aquila's household: the apple tree and Sasstica's chatter.

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from: vixys
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)

Thank you. ♥

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from: ladytiferet
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 11:59 am (UTC)

It's always both painful but beautiful and beautiful but painful with you :)

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from: vixys
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)

Is that a bad thing? ;D ♥

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from: poziomeczka
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC)

she said you made them suffer.


you made them hurt so so so so pretty ♥

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from: vixys
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)

Only a little bit of suffering, though - I mean, it could be a lot worse. :D Merci beaucoup. ♥♥

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from: mcicioni
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC)

Moving and gracefully written. I absolutely love the way you wove the aqueduct into the story, the way it rises between Marcus and Esca, the way it's there even after the two men have come together. I love the hesitant rhythm of your sentences, giving shape to the hesitant flow of emotions.

Many thanks ♥

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from: vixys
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)

Moving and gracefully written Thank you. ♥

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from: destina
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 06:46 pm (UTC)


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from: vixys
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)

Thank you! ♥

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from: coeurdesoleil
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)

Every time you post a new fic, I feel like it is Christmas and my birthday and the last day before a vacation and all good things all at once.

This was incredibly tense and achy, but also so so wonderful that it made me tear up. I also love how quiet and understated this story is - how much is being left unsaid or expressed through the gorgeous symbolism of the aqueduct (border and bridge, menace and hope, Roman strength and the fragility of things unfinished...). I loved this so so so much.

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from: vixys
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)

In an ideal world, it would be Christmas and your birthday and the last day of school every day. Alas, all I can do is write. :D Thank you. ♥♥

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(Deleted comment)


from: vixys
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)

That's the thing with aqueducts, amphitheatres, all these kind of majestic, fantastic structures, I think - they're for show as much as they're for purpose. In this case, that means, unfortunately, just the icing on the oppression-cake. Idk, they're complicated things, as always.

But thank you. ♥

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from: bassino
date: Sep. 22nd, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC)

Things are never easy between Marcus and Esca, isn't it! But, I'm a hopeless romantic who likes to think that eventually love conquers all.!!

This is really BEAUTIFUL, I Loved it! Thanks for sharing. <3

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from: vixys
date: Sep. 23rd, 2011 12:31 am (UTC)

Thank you! ♥

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from: stellarsara
date: Sep. 23rd, 2011 01:23 am (UTC)

Can I just say that I love the way your brain works? We give you a picture of a squeeky-clean bathtub, and you see a dead body in it. A picture of a stone archway; you see "You are my Rome." Fucking brilliant.

mind = blown, as usual.

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from: vixys
date: Sep. 23rd, 2011 08:54 am (UTC)

Hey hey hey, you're making me sound weird. ;D Thank you! ♥

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from: riventhorn
date: Sep. 23rd, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)

To be honest, I often skim over descriptions, but in this, I wanted to read EVERY WORD because it was just so evocative. Every scene, I could feel it and see it so well. Beautiful language. And I also loved how you explored the conflict between them--a conflict that I don't think would magically disappear after they get back. I think Marcus would still be very much a Roman and Esca would still be bitter about what Rome was doing. Loved it!

You show great courage in the arena! ;)

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from: vixys
date: Sep. 23rd, 2011 08:57 am (UTC)

I'm a big fan of a hugely rich, evocative paragraph of description - although that might just be the narcissicist in me... I could feel it and see it so well Thank you. ♥♥

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from: ideserveyou
date: Sep. 23rd, 2011 07:59 am (UTC)

This is fabulous - beautifully written with not a word wasted. It really points up the deep cultural divide between them and how strong their love must be, to hold them together despite that profound difference.

Esca 'thinks about the arch of an aqueduct and the drip of blood from his nose and how, really, they’re nothing more than the same thing – but Marcus knows none of this.'

That really sums up what a hard job it is for him, to make Marcus understand...

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from: vixys
date: Sep. 23rd, 2011 08:58 am (UTC)

Marcus, bless him, can be a tad dense at times - but that's the privilege of the conqueror, isn't it?: not to realise quite what he's done. Thank you. ♥

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take it away, saxophone sheep!

from: citruses
date: Sep. 24th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)

I loved this, especially the twin comparisons of the aqueduct to Esca's bleeding nose and clipped ear, the way Esca's was a resigned statement and Marcus's a realisation. Inspired use of the prompt, but more than that, a wonderful story full of detail and feeling. I want to roll around in your writing style! ♥

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from: vixys
date: Sep. 25th, 2011 11:33 am (UTC)

I want to roll around in your writing style! Thank you! :D ♥

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