Last little morsel before the entire draft chapter is posted (hopefully very soon). ❤ Allerix and Gaius in Gaius’s master chamber, with Delia flitting about….
“Delia, fetch me my frock!” Gaius shouted in his normal voice before winking at Alle. “I’ve selected an alluring blue gown with a fringed woolen shawl for the occasion. There’s a bitter chill sweeping down from the hills today. Autumn is losing her battle with winged Boreas.”
Delia gracefully raced into the room, the long garment folded carefully over her forearm. After she helped Gaius put on the cumbersome costume, she ran out of the room again only to return moments later with an enormous wig of carefully arranged stacks of black curls adorned with delicate bronze hairpins. Gaius sat on his stool as she placed the monstrous tower on his head, tucking his errant strands of auburn hair under the contraption and retouching his garish cosmetics. When she was finished, Gaius asked Alle, “How do I look, Alexandros?”
“Such a flatterer. Delia, tell Varius we are ready. And tell him to bring a heavy cloak for our dear boy here.”
“Yes, Dominus.” She nodded with an amused smile and left the chamber.
“Varius, sir?” Alle asked.
Pointing to his chest with his thumb, Gaius replied, “Aspasia is a lady of means. She does not travel through the streets of Rome to the circus without an armed bodyguard. And Varius always enjoys donning a costume. He’s assembled the clothing and face disguise to mimic a hired German brute. It’s bloody marvelous. Aspasia calls him Vangio. Unfortunately he can’t imitate a proper barbaric accent, so Vangio is a mute.”
“Can I be someone else, sir?” Allerix wondered.
Delia handed Gaius the smaller mirror. When he nodded his approval, she departed once again. Rising from his chair, Gaius moved closer and cupped Alle’s chin, lifting his face. “And who would you like to be, my dear Alle?”
“A free man.”
Gaius stepped back, his single bizarre eyebrow knotted in thought until his pursed lips relaxed into an amused grin. “You could be Aspasia’s nephew, Kallias, newly arrived in the city for a short holiday with your indulgent auntie.” Brushing Alle’s lower lip with his thumb pad, he asked, “But are you a convincing actor? Can you play your part in this charade, Allerix?”
Allerix smiled. “Yes, Dominus. I can.”