This story is set in Rome, during the height of their reign.

Lady Zoe Shannon, now sixteen, stood in the busy streets as she walked around with her years allowance. Her father was an important guard to the Commander General of the Major armies and has been in court with the Emperor a few times.

And she had helped her father with chores, thus the coins in her purse now. She wore a white stola and a soft pink wide scarf like garment called a palla as a hood to keep from the harsh sun.

She was looking at the softest silks when loud screaming reached her ears, it was just the slave traders. Zoe glanced over and saw a flash or the brightest gold and had to investigate.

As she pushed through the many people wishing to buy slaves for different things, all the way from labors to whores. It was common knowledge that people were sold. But they were just slaves, how they felt about this was not really relevant.

She watched people cry as they were sold, but she waited for the flash of gold again. And then….Him.

He was strong, a laborer or a soldier who was capture after battle, she didn't know which. He wore only loins and all his muscles bunched as he stood on the block, people already bidding on him.

"One hundred gold coins!" The words left her mouth quickly as she waved her hands. The man looked up and stared at her with the bluest eyes. Her breath left her and she began quivering. Why was she acting like this from his stare?

"Two hundred gold coins!" A man, fat and in elegant clothes, oh no, Zoe knew this man. He was the owner and runner of the gladiator fights and the areana.

"Three hundred," She called, her brows furrowed. She waited for someone to out bid her, but none spoke. When she was awarded the man, she ran up to exchange the money and was given the ropes to him. "Come."

He followed her as she led him towards her home, stopping abruptly. Oh Gods of Olympus, Zoe just bought a person, who she needed to clothe now, and feed….why did she do this?

She led him to a seamstress and dressed him, watching as the man was adorned in a simple white tunic. He was silent the entire time as she led him to her extravagant home. Her sister, Maddy husband, a royal guard named Marcus, and son lived in the home next to Zoe's and often visited the Shannon family.

She sighed as she walked in, telling the guards that her new slave was safe. She took the shackles off him and stepped back.

He stared at her for a moment, his eyes intense, and she felt like he was looking at her, really looking as no one has looked at her before.

"I am free?" The voice was deep, but sweet.

"No, I am your owner, but fear not, I will not harm you." She smiled softly, pulling of her palla to reveal her gently curling hair and waving around. "This is my home, you are welcome here." He didn't let his gaze slip from her.

"Are you a goddess?" It was not dripping with sarcasm or anything, but an honest question.

"No, I am the daughter of an Commanding General's guard and associate general to the great Commander Taylor." She was blushing, no one ever asked if she was a goddess or not.

"What will you have me do, Mistress?" He squared his shoulders, looking rather large to her small frame. He was probably taller than her father by a foot.

"Um," Biting her lip she looked around, "keep me company, you are my personal slave now, so, tell me about yourself." She sat down on one of the sofas in the courtyard, watching him as he stood.

"My name is Sam, I am sixteen, and I am a slave." Well she learned some things about him.

"I see Sam, any family?" She asked without thought, and watched his face become dark and his brows furrow.

"My parents were killed during the battle when I was captured, and my sister, she is sneaky, escaped the day of our capture." He looked at his hands. "I am a soldier, of the Elite Thurons of Quadi." She sat up to this, the Thurons were much like the Spartans of Greece, fighting was their life.

And he was in the elites, which meant he was better than good he was born to kill, liked to torture their prisoners too. Great Gods, what type of man did she buy?

"And do you….like to fight?" He nodded, as she dabbed at her forehead with her palla.

"Do you need water?" He looked around for a pitcher and a cup to give her.

"At the stairs, yes." She watched him retrieve the water for her, and offered him water once she was done with it. "Are you hungry?" He nodded to this and she rose to lead him to a food hall, but grabbed his hand. Shadows were coming down the hall of their stone house. "My parents don't know about you, hide in my rooms!" She ran down the halls, leading him to the area she was talking about.

It was two rooms, a bed room and an area for her to get ready in the morning and evening. She commanded him to stay as she left, having to go to dinner, it had been a long day.

She greeted her family, her mother, the royal doctor, her father, her sister and her husband and son, and her brother and his wife and daughter. Yes Zoe of the Shannon household was not married.

"Zoe, so glad you're here, we have news that another suitor is coming…" Her mother was always so happy, but honestly suitors bored her to death, so she pretended to sound enthusiastic. As talk continued into different things, Zoe tried to find a moment to tell her parents of the slave she bought. Of Sam.

It wasn't until after dinner that everything went wrong though.

The Commander had visited, his wife and second son with him. Alicia Taylor was a beauty from a land where the women were taught to fight as well as the men. It was said that she married the Commander because he was the first person to ever beat her in a fight. And he also married her after they became the closest of allies and fought together for many years.

Friends first, spouses second.

But their son Valessu, or Val as everyone called him, was lesser built then his father, though still strong and about to join the military.

Zoe and Val were close friends, not anything more than that, she could tell him anything and him likewise. But just as she got everyone on the subject of slaves, they rushed in.

A small mob…not even, a group of maybe fifteen badly armed men with no military background stormed the house before the guards could stop them, and started towards the two families.

Just as they seemed to get close, James, Marcus, the Commander and his family were already ready to fight, but a flash darted from the door near them and took out a man. Sam grabbed his sword and sliced off another's head, snarling at the action.

Three men tried to run, but one was grabbed by the throat as Sam slashed his blade back and forth with one hand, killing the two. He lifted the other and stabbed him though.

It was strange watching the big muscle man move so gracefully, painting the walls and ground with blood. He sliced and cut, even braking necks until all were dead or dying. Zoe looked around to see Marcus and the Taylors looking over the scene.

Her sister and sister in law hugging their children to their breasts as Sam turned around.

He was spectacular, red painting his face and clothes, but his brilliant blue eyes glowed against his slightly tanned skin, his blond hair still a golden halo.

He noted how everyone was still tense, but his eyes found hers. Bowing he kneeled. "Mistress." Zoe couldn't refuse the tone of his voice, like he was asking permission to move, to breath.

Stepping away from her family, she approached him and he offered her the sword. Taking it, she threw it away and petted his head. "You did good Sam." She praised.

"Thank you Mistress." He didn't move until she gave him permission.

"Zoe, who is this?" Her father asked loudly, eyes still assessing the boy.

"Well, um, this is my slave that I bought earlier today." She had no idea how angry they all were with her.

Shall I continue?