Here’s a tidbit from a fun scene featuring Max, Bryaxis, Allerix, and Simon.
Raw and unedited. No plot spoilers.
“Did you pack that blue tunic I’d given you back at the villa?” Max asked.
Alle trotted to keep up. “Yes.”
Max glanced down at Allerix’s soiled shoes. “You’ll need proper sandals. Simon’s new pair should fit your heathen feet.”
“What!” Simon squeaked.
Max stopped and grabbed both boys by the collars of their tunics, lifting them up on their toes. “Listen to me. We’re guests here at the estate of the virtuous Marcia Servilia, for shit’s sake. She is our most beloved Domina, the Commander’s wife! I won’t tolerate any horseshit antics from either of you. Understand?”
They both closed their mouths and nodded.
After a quick but rigorous scrub in the warm bath, Allerix sat naked on a stool while Max shaved his face smooth. “Remove every bit of grime from under his nails, Simon. A cupbearer’s hands must be immaculate.”
Max scraped the razor’s blade across the thick, black stubble covering Alle’s jaw and neck. When he’d finished, he swathed Allerix in a clean woolen mantle and led him back to the storage room, Simon jogging alongside them.
“Welcome home, friends. Time for our feast!” Bryaxis bowed with a dramatic swirl of his arm and gestured to the wooden chairs pushed up against one another to mimic dining couches. “You, Maximus, will play the head of the household for our extempore etiquette class. Simon, you’ll sit here as our esteemed guest.”