For me, the best moment of the game came immediately after the first course. My father (who has been glaring at me from across the room, making me *very* nervous since my lack of desire to dictate seating arrangements ended up with the only available seat for Rutger being next to me) comes over and sits next to me.
"There was a man sitting next to you. The gladiator."
Okay, I figure he knows everything and we're both decapitated before the second course. I point out that seating was accidental and he'd just ended up there. Dad asks me if I spoke with Rutger and what I think of him, if he's honest. I say he's straightforward and has little taste for politics, and he thinks that people should act according to their station. (I left out that, when Rutger had said something disparaging of women during dinner, he had assured me sotto voce that his apology to me would be long and *very* sincere.) Dad leaves, apparently satisfied.
Rutger is seated in a position of relative honor for the remainder of the meal. After the final course, he is informed by Cassius Aurelius that he's actually been considered by the emperor as a potential successor. Rutger comes to me and tells me this, and we start thinking that this *might* just turn out better than either of us expected. Of course, at this point, Dad comes up, dismisses Rutger, and rapes me in the back room.
The kicker to all of this? Aaron/Gaius *never* even had a *clue* that Rutger & I were boinking each other. Total serendipity.
Oh, and having my lover be the elder brother of the guy who killed my husband was a nice touch. I'm kinda glad Mom didn't get her way with him (thanks to Cassius Aurelius.)
On the social side, I got a lot of mileage out of my elaboration of Herod's last gift of the elephant taking a major dump in the street right after the emperor left.
-- Rachel Heslin
Page updated 7/28/99, Scott Martin