A morsel from the second novella in the Dominus Calendar Series, August and March. Unedited and subject to change. Have a great day! ❤️
We’re going back in time with this story to AD 100, seven years before the exclusive slave auction at Decius’s estate. Max is Gaius’s favorite pleasure slave, and Gaius has already come to rely on Maximus for all sorts of duties, both in and outside of his master chamber.
As he wove his way through the crowd while making sure not to lose sight of Callidora racing ahead in her bright, light blue dress, Max nearly bumped into a pole supporting the canvas awning over the bar of a snack shop. He dodged it and followed Calli around another corner to a narrower side street. Although this street was less cramped with people, the air was heavier and stunk of rotting vegetables and sewage.
Max wouldn’t be here at all, running through a smelly back alley in a merchants’ district of Neapolis if Dominus hadn’t ordered him to accompany Calli to the markets. Dom’s Greek whore did as she pleased, collecting and storing all sorts of noxious plants, foul liquids, and pieces of deformed creatures in cupboards in the back of a storage room down the corridor from her bedroom. Dominus either didn’t care or he pretended not to notice her bizarre habits.
Some days, Dom treated Calli as if she were a priestess instead of a duplicitous, dangerous witch. To Max’s frustration, his master seemed blind to the woman’s sorcery.
Another turn around another corner in this maze of city blocks, and they stepped onto yet another packed street. When he drew within an arm’s length of Callidora, he grabbed her left shoulder, pulling her to an awkward stop.
As she protested, pulling against his grasp, Max demanded between breaths, “Slow down, I said!”
She freed herself and spat back, “You are not my master, Ethiopian.”
“I am not, thank the fucking heavens. Unfortunately, Dominus ordered me to protect you during this ridiculous shopping expedition.”
“Protect me? I managed perfectly fine on my own before you arrived last year. Either walk apace or stay behind, Maximus.”
Wiping his sweaty brow, he asked with exasperation, “Where, by all the gods, are we going?”
“To purchase a fresh batch of Corsican fire salamanders, of course!” After glancing around, she lowered her voice and added, “I’ve learned my supplier has a few, rare juveniles for sale. The babies are more poisonous than the adults, you know.”