b'46LISA E. BETZI dont know. Curio turned to Dryas. What can you tell me?Your father did not confide his plans to me, Master Curio. All I know is that one of Scaurus slaves brought a message yesterday asking your father to attend a meeting. The master seemed most agitated about it.Not surprising. Scaurus and Father were once partners but had fallen out years ago.Have they patched up their differences? Curio asked.Not that I am aware of, sir. I myself thought it most unusual.Suspicious, Id call it, Curio muttered. But wed better get to work.Livia steeled her stomach and reached for the sheet covering the body. Curio stopped her. Theres a lot of blood. Maybe you should let others handle it?Im not a little girl anymore. This is my job and I can face it. She jerked the sheet away but kept her eyes on Curios face. We both have unpleasant duties to face. Ill see to fathers body. You must inform his clientes.Curio blinked. Fathers clientes. Yes. Theyre my responsibil-ity now.WithfathersdeathCuriobecameheadofthehousehold, which meant he must now act aspatronus to Fathersclientes. They would soon arrive for their regular morning visit, a long-standing Roman tradition of mutual obligation where favors were sought and support promised. Curio would have to tell them the tragic news and accept their pledges to attend the funeral rites.I guess Ill have to face them. He headed for the atrium.When he was gone Livia made herself look at the body. So much blood, staining his torn tunic and matted in his graying hair. Her stomach churned and she looked away. Breathe.One breath. Two. Sweat beaded her brow as she fought to keep control of her churning stomach. She must not vomit. She'