How to Host a Murder: Roman Ruins
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an excerpt from the Annals of Tacitius:
"The Reign of Licentius Caesar"
...The sudden demise of the greatly beloved Disgustus Caesar could have thrown the Empire into chaos, had this wise ruler not had the foresight to plan an orderly succession. His will attested unequivocally to the character and ability of his chosen heir - his son, Licentius Caesar. Unlike his father at his accession, Licentius had not yet served as a senator, an administrator, or a military commander. In fact, about the only thing Licentius had accomplished thus far had been finishing grammar school - and even that substantially late. But Disgustus was known to be a shrewd judge of character, and Rome was reassured by his unqualified affirmation of Licentius' suitability, as expressed in his will. As he worked to gain the support and cooperation of the various aspects of the Roman power structure, Licentius depended on the talents of his life-long friend, the poet, Flabbius Corpus. Flabbius was best known for his popular works, collected in the Writ of Flabbius Corpus. Eager to enjoy the respect of posterity, as well as the esteem of the populace, Flabbius gathered material for an epic history of the reign of Licentius...
Licentius Caesar, Rotunda Immaculata, Maximus Testosterus, Cleptopatra, Bogus Fortunatus, Flotilla Submergia, Harangus Adnauseum, Mercedes Accelleratti.
As ruler of the known world, Licentius Caesar walks proudly in the noble tradition of his late father, Disgustus Caesar. When Disgustus died unexpectedly several years ago after eating some tainted shellfish, the youthful but determined Licentius managed to put aside the cloak of grief that weighed heavily on him and took on the mantle of leadership. Since that tumultuous day, Caesar has made great efforts to bring together the military, the temple, the senate, and business interests in new and unique ways. As a devoted friend of poet Flabbius Corpus, Licentius Caesar also demonstrates an undying interest in the arts. He considers the arts an essential complement to the rigors of statecraft and international relations. His current international relation is a particular Queen of the Nile.
Costume Suggestion: Purple cloth draped over a tunic. Laurel leaf crown.
The fate of the Roman empire lies in the able services of Vestal Virgins, such as Rotunda Immaculata. The Vestals keep the eternal fires burning, thus ensuring the safety of Roman ships, the strength of Roman legions, and the success of Roman government. Rotunda comes from a prominent family, as all Vestals do, and she was chosen for her honored position at the tender age of 8. Now she is a beautiful but demure young woman looking forward to many, many more years as a humble servant of the empire.
Costume Suggestion: Tunic with robe, veil and scepter.
Maximus is a renowned military commander - a master of warfare. His battles against the Gauls are already becoming legend. He has little use for such intellectual conceits as trickery and delicate subterfuge, but instead has built his reputation on bold, head-on attacks. With Mars, the god of war, fighting on his side, his armies crash through enemy ranks like a massive fist, flattening everything in sight. He is proud, with a no-nonsense personality, rugged good looks and a truly intimidating physique.
Costume Suggestion: Orange tunic with armor breastplate and centurion helmet.
Cleptopatra, Queen of the Nile, embodies all of the mystery and extravagance of Egypt - the richest land in the Roman empire. Mesmerizing in her beauty, she is beloved by the Egyptian people, who believe that she lives on a higher plane of existence than their Roman masters. Cleptopatra's solid-gold barge is a common sight in the harbor of Rome, for she visits the Eternal City regularly to forge new political relationships and alliances... and she has developed a rather steamy romantic alliance with Licentius Caesar. Cleptopatra is well-acquainted with Flabbius Corpus, who makes frequent visits to Egypt and has even contributed to its rich culture.
Costume Suggestion: Cleopatra hairstyle with Egyptian makeup, jewelry and long, brightly colored slinky gown or tunic, and a gold crown.
The enigmatic, and intense Bogus Fortunatus rose from the ranks of a mysterious priestly order, and honed his skill at predicting the future by examining animal intestines. But his life was changed forever when he composed the surprising hit song, Happy Entrails to You which catapulted him into the public eye. Shortly thereafter his accurate prediction of the destruction of Atlantis propelled Bogus to fame throughout the empire. Within a year his numerous fanatical followers elected him supreme priest of an immensely popular chain of temples dedicated to the worship of Disgustus Caesar, and the shellfish that destroyed him. This Cult of The Blue Oyster has become all the rage in the empire, as people try to recapture the good old days before Licentius' ascension to the throne. Now Bogus dines with emperors and reads livestock intestines for Rome's elite.
Costume Suggestion: Toga with tunic and shawl on head.
Flotilla claims to be the only face that can truly launch a thousand ships (although that face has seen better days). In fact, she became the prosperous owner of a large, flourishing shipping operation when her husband's ship tragically fell off the edge of the earth two years ago. Her many ships (including the Titanicus, the Lucitanius, and the Poseidon) carry all-important grain throughout the Empire. In fact, her fleet has sometimes been called "the jugular vein carrying the lifeblood of the Roman empire." Respected by all, Flotilla is statuesque, regal in bearing and has a keen business mind. A mature woman, yes, but still in her prime. She is also the next-door neighbor of the poet, Flabbius Corpus.
Costume Suggestion: Long, regal, sophisticated tunic with jewelry.
Harangus is the epitome of a successful senator. He is a multifaceted man - part politician and part philosopher, but all Roman. As a military tribune, years ago, he stormed the shores of Normandy. . . and conquered the Normans. Harangus owns a considerable amount of land in and around Rome, but he does not crave wealth and property. He holds closely to Stoic philosophy, maintaining complete control over his emotions and eliminating all wants and desires. If given the opportunity, he will expound on the virtues of Stoicism for days on end, as he did in his now-infamous, three-day oration, "It's my party, and I'll be Stoic if I want to."
Costume Suggestion: Toga with a purple border worn over a tunic.
Mercedes is Flabbius Corpus' ravishing wife. Not since Paris fell for Helen of Troy has one woman made such an impact on one man. She is the driving force and inspiration behind the great poet's work. Friends call her a "daughter of Bacchus" (the god of revelry), for she loves the fast, wild life and throws lavish parties at every opportunity. She can often be seen tearing around in her four horse-powered chariot. Mercedes is a free-spirit with strong opinions and a flighty personality. She has also been gifted by all the muses - particularly the muse of interior decorating. Her home is a gallery of fabulous objects from all corners of the empire, including several priceless sculptures.
Costume Suggestion: Long, glamorous black tunic accented with a lot of jewelry.