Sextus Tiberius Valentinianus

When in public

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Autumn 1.png

Date.png19th August, 952

Location.pngMinrathous, Lady Morgana's Estate

Characters.pngMarcella, Sextus

Players.png@Claire, @Darth Phillious

Requirements.png1x1

Links.pngAn introduction to nightmare

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"Very well, mother" Sextus frowned as they were walking past the guards. "Oh, don't you give me that look" lady Celestia insisted in a low voice, "I know your profession is what it is, but that does not mean you have to spend your entire life under the curse of loneliness" his mother insisted and glanced at her husband, as for help. Eugenius Harrus Valentinianus was walking along with his wife, hand by hand, as Sextus was a few steps ahead of them. He chose not to participate in this quarrel. They had been on it for years, after all.

"And what of your father's name?" she kept on, almost whispering. "What of his seat? Is it to be inherited by no one?" she said, looking around as if scanning. "Ah, there. Sextus, look. Not like that! Discreetly" Sextus sighed and turned his gaze to the woman his mother was showing him. "Very beautiful" he said as they were showing their invitations, "what of it?"

Celestia shook her head as they entered Lady Morgana's estate and then looked at her son in a very familiar manner. Sextus, of course, knew what she was about to say. "Open your eyes while we're here" they both said and Sextus grinned. "Go, meet a woman, for Maker's sake. You need to marry at some point" Celestia urged him but she was interrupted before long. "Oh, greetings Julianus" Eugenius said to the Magister and the entire family stopped there so they could speak to this man.

Sextus put his best smile on and entertained the subject. It was only one goddamn night. It would eventually pass.

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Opulently Gothic: Royal Black Royal Black is another continual crowd-pleaser, with their beautiful laser-cut designs, distinctive point of view, and unique detailing. Collection pieces may feature bright colors, metallics, and even pastels, but the result aesthetic is always touched with the essence of a fairy tale evil queen, in the most awesome way possible.: "Are you sure there was not a skirt to go with that Marcella, dear?" Her grandmother asked for the tenth time, at least. The redhead merely smiled back at Licinia and shook her head. For the tenth time again her grandfather grumbled, "These dress makers these days..."

Marcella had tried to get out of this engagement several times but both grandparents were determined to show her off. She had left the Circle, was Harrowed and supposedly starting her own business, so they insisted she needed to make her own contacts.

"Can't rely on me forever Marcella." Her grandfather had told her. "And it's not as if you can rely on those Naevius much either." He would always grumble. Marcella had learned long ago to accept the disappointment Augustus had in regards to his son-in-law. Ever since her mother had died her maternal grandparents had taken an active and sometimes imposing role in her life and the life of her sister, but she knew why. They missed Cornelia and of the two of them Marcella looked the most like her mother. Even now they parented her and she let them because it was the kinder thing to do.

What she wished was for this event to be over quickly, not least because in about ten heartbeats the Sabbatus would meet up with the Valentinianus...

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Sextus always had a smile about him, when meeting Magisters and such. Inside, he was grinning, of course, for none of them were aware of the information he was truly gathering on their part at the time. After all, having his mind on potential information useful to the Shades did save him the boredom. There were a few notable people with whom he could talk history of course, but they were not many and not easy to find. Carried away by his thoughts as he was, he turned his head only when he heard his father greeting yet another of his "friends".

Sextus readied himself to do so too, though he was in for a surprise. There was a wide grin on his lips as he met with the Sabbatus family. And there she was. His apprentice. As beautiful as ever. Sextus bowed his head as the custom was and greeted Augustus Sabbatus.

Eugenius smiled at the man. "Greetings Augustus, my ladies" he bowed. His voice was rather calm and there was a great resemblance with Sextus even though the Shade had inherited his colours from his mother. "You remember, my dear Celestia, my wife and my son... Sextus Tiberius?" he said and Sextus faked a smile.

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"Of course, of course!" Augustus replied, casting a quick look at the only son of Eugenius. "He teaches at the Circle, does he not?" The Sabbatus magister asked, though they all knew full well that everyone knew this is Sextus. Her grandfather was clearly drawing attention to a profession he thought was beneath the son of someone like Eugenius but he was not going to dwell on it and make it more of a thing. Instead he introduced his wife, Licinia and then took his grand-daughter's hand and with a beaming smile introduced her to the Valentinianus.

"And this is my youngest granddaughter, Marcella." It was the hardest thing in the world to not look at Sextus and for it to be obvious that she knew him, so instead she did as her grandfather did and flicked her gaze to him before bowing to one of the wealthiest and most influential magisters in the Imperium.

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Eugenius, of course, understood where Augustus was getting at but retained his smile."Yes, he does" he simply said and then focused his gaze on Augustus' youngest granddaughter. "Oh, but what a beauty, Augustus" Celestia was quick to say, her eyes on the girl. "May you live long and prosper, child" she wished her well and then looked at Sextus, whom was smilling. "I do, Magister Sabbatus" Sextus muttered, his eyes on the older man. "In fact I remember your granddaughter" for it had to be mentioned as not to draw suspicions, "She has been in one of my classes, at the Circle. Long ago, of course" She was Harrowed now and it was not like History was a fundamental lesson in the Circle. If you asked Sextus, it should be. There were so many unknowledgeable idiots in Tevinter!

"Did Megara not join you tonight?" Celestia asked, talking to Licinia.

 

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From what Marcella recalled she had not liked his classes at the Circle. Not much had changed with his lessons in the Shades either. She wished he hadn't brought it up but since he had Marcella felt the need to retort. If she had not then her grandfather would have thought it very odd indeed.

"Forgive me, but I do not remember you. Either your lessons were extremely boring or I did not bother turning up to them often." She had already sensed that neither her grandparents or his parents thought he should be teaching, and she knew for a fact that he was the only heir to his father's magister seat, so it made sense that they would laugh at her taunt rather than feel offended by it.

"Well, as we can see, Celestia, we intended tonight to be all about Marcella." Licinia put a hand on her granddaughter's shoulder and smiled, clearly proud or how outspoken she was. Augustus might have smiled for a moment but he also would not have Eugenius offended.

"She is still young and hasn't quite learned to whom she should curb her silver tongue." It was both a compliment to Eugenius as well as Marcella, honouring and apologising to the more senior magister but giving Marcella the gift of a silver tongue - because of her barb.

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"Oh nothing to worry about" Sextus smiled kindly but there was this flicker in his eyes and the shadow of a grin. "She was not rather good at history either. It is not for everyone I suppose" he was quick to say. "It is the problem with children today. Educating themselves only in matters of magic and ending up being uneducated as people, as individuals, as beings in general" Eugenius looked at his son for this was his usual manner when engaging in such small talks. Unfortunately! It was something like the personna of Sextus outside of the Shades - though it very much originated in his true beliefs and passion for history. It was the only thing Sextus enjoyed in such pathetic gatherings. His family name was very grand in the Imperium and he could get away with being spoilt and rude whenever he felt he needed to.

Sextus grinned and slightly bowed his head at Augustus.

"Well" Celestia interrupted them all, her kind voice trying to get pass this awkward moment,  "...girl" she stopped the servant with the drinks and urged everyone to get one.

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The slave was quick to distribute drinks amongst all, but Augustus took a flute from her and gave it to Licinia himself. Marcella was proud of the way her grandfather always attended his wife's needs even though she was quite independent! Once she had wanted to only marry if she could have that sort of relationship. Now all Marcella desired was to have less pain today than she had yesterday. It was a simple desire and one not often sated. The reason for that stood across from her, smug little smile on his spoilt face.

Not that Marcella was bitter. She admittedly had been bad at most subjects, Shade magic had been the only thing she had shown any talent in. This Sextus knew well enough, but neither of them were hardly going to point that out. What irked her the most was being called a child and it was something she could not readdress, not without looking like a child! So she stood alongside her family with a flute of wine in hand, waiting for whatever toast they decided to spout about.

Truly this party could not finish quickly enough. Marcella needed to get away from this as quickly as possible.

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"To our Houses" Eugenius toasted, and then they all drank. The following minute Morgana appeared and thanked everybody for joining the gala, she announced that a dance was to take place and more food and drinks were on their way. Eugenius returned his attention to Licinia. "How is your brother, my lady?" he asked, concern on his face. "I heard that he was not feeling well these past months" the Magisterium was like a small world of its own. Sextus despised almost most members in it and he was so glad that Festus had found him when he had.

In silence, he listened to his Father's conversation, glancing at Marcella from time to time. Was she uncomfortable? He'd be amused if she was.

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It was a dire situation indeed when Marcella looked to the ballroom for reprieve, but she did not see anyone she knew - she had lost contact with most from the Circle already and no Shades she could call on (but Sextus!) were in sight. Since she was desiring to be away from him and his family she thought her position quite ironic.

There was one way she knew how to break up this little conversation and she resisted grinning when she thought of it. Like the mischievous woman she would always be she gained her grandmother's attention while Augustus spoke and she asked, "I thought you were looking forward to the dancing?" And Marcella pointed to the happy couples waltzing to the beautiful music the magistra had provided. Licinia looked longingly at the ballroom and when there was a break in the conversation she said, "Augustus, you promised me a dance, did you not?"

Marcella waited for the inevitable to unfold, and started looked behind her for a potential partner. She knew that some had come to the gathered elders to ask her but fools as they were they were too cowardly to interrupt either magister. Now though her grandfather should go looking for someone for Marcella for he would not leave her alone while he and Licinia danced! So she would draw his attention to a favourable partner and finally get herself gone from Sextus presence.

Even Marcella knew this was a lot of effort to get gone, but she was finding it increasingly more difficult not to look at him. He looked handsome tonight, and for once they were not in the confines of their usual roles. Tonight they had to act as the altus children they were.

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Celestia did not need to remind Eugenius of dancing. They used to dance at home too, and dine together, and share almost anything. As thus the elder man held his wife's hand but before leaving, he looked at Sextus and the Shade winked at him. It was at that moment when Sextus looked at Marcella, dead straight, and smiled a vibrant smile at her. "My lady..." he said extending his hand, "will you do me the honor?" it was the only rational thing to do, to not offend both families and Sextus was rather enjoying seeing Marcella like this. It was the most fun he'd had in years, in such a gathering.

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Fortunately no one saw the face she made when Sextus invited her to dance, but instead she showed them the smile she used at all such gatherings, though usually it was to refuse such invitations. This was not one she could avoid though so she put up with her grandmother excitedly pushing her towards him and she watched as their parents and grandparents made their way to the dance floor.

She said not a word while following, though when the first dance was done she would be gone, she knew her grandparents would be expecting her to make contacts and were intent on leaving her to her own devices. That meant Marcella was going to find some quiet balcony and sip wine while waiting for the party to come to an end.

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"That is a very nice dress" he praised her, as if still playing the game of altus. "If not rather revealing for such a lady as yourself?" he continued as they were dancing, even though she was not speaking. "Are you hoping to seduce someone tonight then?" he grinned, dancing like old the couples around them. Sextus had received the education and Altus boy should receive and that meant, of course, a lot of dancing. He was good at it and he knew it. However, this was not the first time he was dancing with Marcella.

"You have improved" he commented.

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It seemed she was not going to get through even one dance in silence, Marcella tongue was too sharp to keep in her mouth for too long. She had improved, inevitably, after that night she had made sure she got better. It seemed he inspired that in her a lot.

"A lady such as myself needs to realise what is in fashion..." She countered, and Marcella was a part of that society now, she had not choice but to know what to wear. It meant that his hand was touching exposed skin as they danced, but Marcella ignored it lest she get too distracted.

"There is no-one here to seduce." She answered, then her eyes caught his gaze and she smirked and said, "Not anyone I have not already succeeded with.

Now that should shut him up.

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Ouch. That had stung. Sextus narrowed his eyes but remained silent. Marcella had always had a sharp tongue and she knew when to use it. However, after a few moments passed, he realized he could not let that go."Oh, so you count a one-time thing as a success? Can someone be seduced by just one night?" he raised his eyebrow then continued with "Does that meant that you consider yourself seduced by any man you sleep with?" he said that in a lower voice, with grin, for they both knew to whom he was referring to and it wasn't Sextus.

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It seemed she had hit a nerve. Not only did he shut up for a short while but he brought up him. Marcella pulled a little to try to walk off but he held her too tightly. She was grateful for that in the end, she was far too impetuous at times and it would have been a scene to leave Sextus alone in the middle of a dance. Yet neither did she wish to continue this charade.

"That depends on what you consider seduction." She hissed back. "It is easy to return to someone you feel nothing for." She added. "Much harder to do so when you have been seduced." Marcella thought it about time to call his bluff.

"Not all of us can keep to arrangements I suppose... Some of us have no capacity to separate sex and feelings." At that she managed a smile, for she felt she had accomplished that. Had Incursio not proven that?

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At that he did not spoke. Instead he frowned and looked away.  When the song ended, he bowed as the custom was and accompanied her to her grandparents. Searching around, he found his, still dancing and Sextus thought this was the perfect moment to have a drink. In the meanwhile, he searched for Vittoria. If she was there, he could at least find some fun company for the evening. For Marcella had proven to be too much for him.

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She should have been happy that he had deposited her with her grandparents but instead she felt... somewhat rejected. Again. It was a stupid feeling and she knew it, so she quashed it, reminding herself that she had learned to compartmentalise. She had her closet to hide in. So she did as bidden by her family and introduced herself to those in the slaver business. It was actually a venture that had been put on hold somewhat while she took on a dangerous mission, but she had not stopped working on it. Between Caius, the Shades and this company she had very little time do anything social.

After at least an hour of talking about slaves Marcella needed to retreat. So she went looking for the balcony she had craved, using her shade powers to move past guards and into parts of the residence that she ought not be in. If there was one thing Marcella could never resist it was being in places she ought not be.

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Sextus had not found Vittoria, but a scholar he recognized from the Circle and they had been chatting for quite some time. She was not an expert in history, but she was a knowledgeable woman and could maintain an educated conversation. Sextus found himself talking about the evolution of the Qunari and how Tevinter could take that into consideration in the future. It was as he was talking that he glimpsed at Marcella walking in the same balcony he was now. There were only the three of them so Sextus went on about the Qunari until the lady excused herself to get a drink. Pehraps he had bore her to death. He could not tell. Slowly, he walked to Marcella and stopped next to her, enjoying the view. "Having fun?" he asked, in a rather serious manner.

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Instead of answering his question she asked, "Found someone to make that all important arrangement with?" Marcella was in no mood to argue with him, so she moved away so he could return to his preferred company. One thing she realised, just because she was his apprentice did not mean that she had to like him.

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He laughed, shaking his head and following her. "Don't act like a child, it does not suit you" he said and looked at her. If this was what it was going to be from now on, he'd better do something about it. She needed to get past this. "Ah, she is not coming back" he muttered, "I believe she got bored of me" he laughed at that for he had truly enjoyed talking about the Qunari and did not really care if she had liked it or not. "Oh, cheer up, for Maker's sake. You're ruining an otherwise perfect evening" he teased, "We had wine, we danced, we bickered at each other but pretended to be fine when with others. Almost like proper married people in Tevinter" he shook his head and looked at her.

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"First of all, it is insulting to assume that any antagonism I display is either because of my age or my gender!" Marcella was entirely sick of his references to her age. She had been old enough to send on missions, old enough to apprentice and old enough to fuck! That meant she was not a child nor acting like one.

"Second of all, she didn't find you boring." This she was not so willing to reveal but she was trying to prove she was not a child after all. "I saw her earlier, she has a bit of an addiction. She did not leave to get a drink." Truly, it was annoying to admit that the woman was probably quite attracted to him, body and mind.

"Finally..." And she stopped, and checked they were alone. "You are not the only one who gets frustrated." Actually that was the hardest thing to admit. Sextus had needed a release in the midst of the harsh training from Festus. Marcella on the other hand was finding she needed to feel something other than pain on a daily basis. It was why she had burst out laughing in their last training session. She needed to feel something else... Anything else.

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"Oh?" he said, entirely ignoring what she had said about the woman for this was the tactical thing to do, "You find my training difficult?" he raised his eyebrow, "Perhaps I shall lend you to Festus for a day. See how frustrated you'll get then" truth be told, he was doing the exact same things his master used to do to him at her age. "And if you get frustrated, you should certainly do something about it" he laughed a little. For some reason, he found it easier and easier to joke about this, though he knew deep down that it was an obvious defence. "I did it recently. It helped" he smirked widely.

"You know this has to stop. Snapping at me or disobeying me" he lowered his voice, "Both end up in pain and bad decisions" she was his apprentice and she had to do as she was bid. This was the Shade's way, or so Sextus liked to believe.

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"So like any good Tevinter wife I must not disagree or disobey?" Marcella figured since he had used the same metaphor she was game to use it too. What she she say about the pain and his training though? She accepted it. She wanted it. Yet that did not make it any easier to bare. Neither did she think there was anything wrong with becoming frustrated.

"You are my trainer, I see you more than anyone, any free time I have I spend working with you." He often accused her of not having her priorities straight, but Marcella vehemently disagreed. "As it should be. As I want it to be." And she did, she truly did. "However, that makes it rather difficult to do something about it. As you yourself admitted." And before he could throw sand in her face about a certain cultist she said, "And no, fucking that traitor does not relax me. In fact, it's making things worse."

She was about to explain herself when she heard guards coming down the other corridor. Quickly she dashed into a nearby room, hiding in the darkness. She would not breath again until they were gone. Even if Sextus was allowed anywhere he liked Marcella most assuredly was not. He was the son of a powerful magister, but she was the granddaughter of a lesser magister...

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Sextus remained calm, casually drinking his wine. When the guards passed by him and went to check, he smiled a charming smile their way. "You are not supposed to be here" they said, "Excuse me, gentlemen" Sextus was quick to reply. "I simply needed some time alone and fresh air. I had a terrible headache" he explained and then the guards asked for him to leave. "That's alright, he's with me" a voice was heard from behind the guards and the woman who was accompanying him earlier returned with a drink in her hand. "Ah, excuse us madam" the guards said and left them alone. Sextus briefly looked when Marcella was hiding. "Who are you again?" Sextus teased the woman, for he most certainly had either not understood her name. "Lady Morgana's niece" she explained, "Different surname and we are so many. It is only natural you couldn't say" well, Sextus was only aware of her sons and their names were hard enough to remember, let alone all Morgana's nieces. He used his mind for storing important information after all.

"So, you were saying... the Qunari?" she smiiled at him. And Sextus knew then and there that he had to leave. Somehow...

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