View Full Version : The Life of a Gladiator

05-14-2012, 01:56 PM
My attempt at a fan fiction. Comments and criticism greatly appreciated.

Chapter 1

The first thing his senses registered when he woke up was the smell.

Gagging, James pulled himself up to a sitting position and cupped his mouth the best he could, looking around blearily. He’d been brought to this slave block a few weeks ago and then apparently been led and left to rot with a couple hundred other pathetic excuses for people in an underground dungeon. The room was still dim, with only a single torch by the door to give illumination. Miserable clumps of people were scattered throughout the room, many shivering as the wind periodically blew through cracks in the stonework. Squinting, James wondered if he’d missed the daily ration of gruel passed out to the slaves for their meals. A squat dunder noticed James’s awakening and shambled over.

“Oy, you’re finally up manling. Thought you’d sleep forever like one of those trugs over in the mountains.” Gamling was an old dunder, small for his kind, meaning he barely came up to James’s waist when standing. Despite being only 3 feet tall however, Gamling weighed nearly 270 pounds, a fact the dunder attributed proudly to his upbringing in one of the mines in the northern dunderen kingdoms. The two had struck a friendship shortly after James was captured and James was heartily thankful for their relationship. He couldn’t count the times another slave had come to steal his food, only to sneak away upon seeing the presence of the dunder.

James stretched. “Well, there’s nothing else to do in this place besides getting high off dung and sweat. Any idea when our next meal is?”

Gamling grinned and produced a bowl of porridge from underneath his rags. “Had a feeling you’d say that longlegs. What would you do without me, eh?”

James took the bowl but before he could start eating, the door burst open and a slaver dressed in chainmail swaggered into the dark room. He carried a whip tipped with flint in his left and a small hammer in his right. James had never seen him before, but then again, the whole two or three weeks they’d been cooped up here, their jailers had been different nearly every day. Slaves nearby cringed, shying away from the man as if he bore a contagious disease. The man grinned, revealing blackened teeth and discolored gums. “Time for you lucky fools to go on the slave block. I’d say to wash up, but it’d be a waste of effort, so line up and get going,” he bellowed.

James dropped his bowl sullenly and joined the line of cowed men and women lining up to get out. The slaver lounged against the doorway, leering and occasionally cracking his whip at the passing people as they left the room. As he was getting close to the exit, an emaciated elaar a few feet ahead of him suddenly turned and slammed a sharpened piece of stone against the slaver’s head—or at least he tried to. Casually dodging the desperate attack, the man slammed his hammer against the elaar’s head and knocked the slave unceremoniously against the ground. Yawning, the slaver then proceeded to pulp the elaar into a grisly mess of crushed bone and flattened muscle until the slave stopped moving.

James watched transfixed while the slaver visited casual brutality upon the elaar. “We should do something. Rush him, or—“

“Don’t be stupid manling. One hammer’s not gonna do anything against all the other guards around this place except get everyone killed. Just keep your head low, and do as you’re told.” The dunder’s voice was unnaturally subdued as he walked past the bleeding pile of gristle by the doorway. James couldn’t keep himself from glancing at the elaar as he walked out. I’m not gonna die, I’m not gonna die, I’m not gonna…


Another slaver led the slaves aboveground to a raised wooden platform where the slaves stood, blinking eyes at the sunlight after having lived in darkness for so long like bats. James tried to make sense of his surroundings through tearing eyes. There was a huge parade ground of some sort before them which didn’t make any sense. Who would honor slaves with a parade? Looking further off, James saw a wooden palisade surrounding the field, upon which grim-faced men with bows patrolled. A giant gate stood there as well, heavy enough that James doubted that the combined strength of all the slaves on the block could shove it open. The young slave shuddered. Gamling had been right. Any attempt at a riot from the slaves, and this place would turn into a killing ground. As if to underscore his realization, a spite a scant two feet away howled, apparently unable or unwilling to wait for whatever the gods had in store for him and jumped off the platform. He landed and was only able to take three steps before four arrows found him, two in his chest, one in his leg, and the last in his eye. A pair of slavers appeared and dragged the corpse away, leaving a trail of dark blood on the dusty earth in front of the platform.

James turned in despair to Gamling. “We’re all going to end up like that, aren’t we?”

The stout dunder shrugged, although James could tell he was fighting the same hopelessness James felt. “Speak for yourself longlegs. I’m planning to get out of this mess.”

James didn’t bother asking him how. It was nothing but bluster, and both the man and the dunder knew it.

A roar went up from beyond the gate, and the twin portals slowly creaked open. The slave auction was about to begin.

Alba Kebab
05-28-2012, 06:50 PM
*first bit of constructive criticism*
You might wanna reconsider the name "James" considering the setting...:p

07-19-2012, 03:37 AM
the name james seams abit to out of place in the setting other than that i have 1 request...


10-31-2012, 03:21 PM
Sorry for the long delay, the last few months were consumed with finishing college and studying for the GRE, so I wasn't able to play for awhile. W/o further ado, here's chapter 2. As always, comments and criticism are greatly appreciated.

Chapter 2
After four hours of frenzied bidding, James had finally been sold. His head throbbed after the riot of noise and colors he had endured; his eyes and ears had become accustomed to fearful murmuring and torchlight, and merely keeping his eyes open in the bright sunlight pained him.

After his eyes had finally managed to adjust however, he peered shyly and fearfully at the woman who had bought him. She was dressed in black silk, but her clothes were men’s clothing, not the dresses the women in his village had worn. She was shorter than him, only a little over five feet tall and her hair was cut short, like a man’s hair. An intricate tattoo branded the left side of her face, and as they walked, James noticed that she didn’t walk so much as march. Was she a soldier perhaps? Some famed general looking for a slave to dispose of the garbage?

“If you have something to say, say it meat.” James flinched. He thought he had been discreet and had to swallow twice before words would come out of his mouth. Hesitantly, he asked, “Milady, what…why did you buy me? What am I going to be used for?”

“I’m not a lady new fish. I’m a soldier of the Sarthis household, so if you’re going to call me anything, sir or ma’am will do. As for your use,” the woman paused and eyed him disdainfully, “you’ll find out when we arrive.”

James nearly opened his mouth to ask another question when he noticed the woman’s hand resting on the pommel of a longsword hanging at her side. Perhaps it was only a habit of hers. Perhaps she was tired of a dirty slave asking questions. James decided not to find out.

It was a long walk through the capital of the Great Realm and despite himself, James often found his attention wandering as he traveled down the bustling main street. There, a merchant hawked his enchanted wares, beaming an oily smile towards nearby passersby. A few paces past him, a strange creature with six legs and the head of a tiger roared angrily from inside an iron cage. One intersection later, there was a scantily clad woman dancing to the coins and catcalls of a small audience; over there, two men arguing about the prices of trade goods. For James who had never left his village before, everything around him was an extraordinary sight.

“Wake up meat. And wipe that drool off your lip if you know what’s best for you.”

With a start, James realized they had arrived at a huge manor, enclosed by a stone wall two heads above a normal man’s height. Hastily, he tried to wipe his face as they entered; he had not realized he had been so enraptured by the city. As he walked down a stone path to the main house in the manor, he couldn’t help noticing the armored guards patrolling the grounds. His companion noticed his interest and said, “There used to be trouble with Jimmy the Squid in the past. No problems ever since Jimmy got arrested, but the master doesn’t like taking chances.”

Before James could ask what a squid was—and what kind of name was Jimmy?—the woman opened the double doors at the front of the main house. She led him through hallways adorned with rich tapestries and suits of menacing armor to a large study. There, seated at a lacquered mahogany desk sat a man dressed in dark blue robes. The woman saluted then gestured James to step forward.

The study was cramped, but in a way that spoke of neatness and order rather than being a slovenly mess. Scrolls lay next to aged books on shelves that stood around the room. A black suit of spiked armor stood on a stand, holding a giant zweihander with the point down between its feet. Trophies and heads of animals James couldn’t even guess at were displayed on the walls above the bookshelves. Despite all this strange wonder, James couldn’t tear his attention from the man sitting at the desk.

The man was dressed in robes of blue cotton and wore several sparkling rings on his fingers. Despite his obvious wealth however, his looks were only average with short black hair and a normal frame. There was nothing interesting about the man at all except his eyes, which were filled with an intensity that made James feel like he was standing in front of a ravenous beast rather than a man.

The man smiled. “Thank you Katrina. This is the new slave the Trainer picked out?”

The woman—Katrina, James supposed—nodded. “He gives apologies for not being here and states that he had urgent matters to attend to at the stable.”

“More likely he couldn’t wait to run off and prepare some sort of hellish training for the gladiators,” the man snorted. “Still, I suppose I should be thankful for his dedication. You, boy, what’s your name?”

“James, uh, milord.”

The man made a face. “Such a plain name…do you know who I am boy?” James shook his head. “I am Vyncul, lord of the Sarthis noble family. I also happen to own the Ophidium stable. Starting today, you will be one of my gladiators there. You will train for me, fight for me, and you will die for me. If you fight well, you will win your freedom. If you don’t, you’ll be lucky to be sold back to the slavers. But enough of this business talk,” Vyncul said with a grin, “I’d like to hear about you. How did you become a slave?”

This man was a noble? “Uh, well, I’m from a poor family, milord. I was a blacksmith’s son. We got into money trouble, and uh, I was sold to the slavers to pay off our debt, milord.”

“Well, that explains the muscles. Good eyes too, intelligent ones…” James shifted uneasily. He didn’t like being looked at like a horse for sale, although he supposed he had better get used to it. “Katrina, take him to the stable and tell the Trainer to fit him out as a gladiator under the patronage of the god of war. Make him a sword and boarder –that’s what they call it nowadays, yes?—and see how he does. If he does well, Sarthis can do well betting on him, the crowds never think shield-users will win.”

Vyncul stared at James. “Your new name is Lodis—far catchier than James, yes?—and I expect great things from you.” The lord smiled coldly. “Good luck in the Pit.”

10-31-2012, 09:46 PM
Small bit of critisism, there is no dwarven kingdom in PoW, Dwarves are called dunders ;D

10-31-2012, 10:18 PM
+1 to that, but ignoring that little faux pas, it reads pretty well :)

I'm looking forward to more, but am content to wait. I know how long it can take to write something you're happy with.

11-01-2012, 12:48 PM
We don't know that there aren't any dunderen kingdoms. In the coming soon section, one of the sneak previews is "The Great Realm and Bordering Empires world map" after all. :P Good point about the "dwarven" slip up tho, fixed it. Nice to know that you guys like it so far :)

11-04-2012, 10:43 PM
Chapter 3

Lodis had been thrown into training as soon as he had arrived, lifting weights and sparring with his stablemates. Once, the Trainer had taken him to a huge underground track and made him run until his legs had given out and he could barely walk back to the stable. Lodis had lived in Ophidium for less than two weeks, and now he was about to have his first fight in the arena.

The gladiator scratched his neck in nervous irritation. The tip of his stable tattoo peeked out on his neck. Every stable supposedly had their own way of monitoring and controlling their gladiators to make sure they didn’t riot or escape. Some he heard cast spells on their fighters to shackle their will. Others simply brutalized them until their was no will to resist, nothing left but bloodlust and obedience. Vyncul had chosen to brand each of his gladiators with the tattoo of a black serpent. Supposedly, the noble could use the tattoo to know where each of his gladiators were and if needed, kill them. The thought made Lodis scratch at his neck again. The image encircled his torso and neck, but the only part he could reach was his unarmored neck.

Trying to quiet his thoughts, Lodis stood up and tried to limber up. He had never worn armor before and he still had trouble adjusting to its weight. His arms and legs were clad in mail while his torso was protected with a leather cuirass. The Trainer claimed the leather was enchanted to make him stronger, faster, and more cunning, but Lodis wasn’t sure if the old man had been telling the truth, or if he had simply been trying to raise his morale.

The door to the preparation room opened and the arena Enforcer, armored from head to toe in bronze plate, entered and motioned for Lodis to follow. Swallowing, the young fighter picked up his mace and shield and hefted them experimentally. Despite the two weeks of intense training, he still had difficulty reconciling the different weight on each arm. The shield was heavier than the mace and whenever he had swung his weapon, his shield kept trying to pull him off balance. He had been told he would grow accustomed with time but this reassurance did nothing calm his nerves right now. Hesitantly, he followed the Enforcer out into the arena.


A tidal wave of noise washed over him as he stepped into the sandy coliseum. The place had been built to allow thousands to bear witness to the holiest form of worship to the Blood Gods, and although only a fraction was here today, hundreds of throats still cried out in anticipation and frenzy. Discarded and broken weapons littered the sands, and everything was permeated with the smell of blood and sweat.

Lodis blinked and noticed the man standing at the opposite end of the arena. He was armored similarly, but wielded a falchion in each hand. Noticing Lodis’s inspection, the fighter gave him a malicious smile.

The Enforcer marched into the middle of the arena, then looked at each of the gladiators. Nodding slightly, he raised his right arm high then made a chopping motion, and Lodis’s opponent charged.

Hefting his shield, Lodis ran to meet him, and they clashed in a crash of steel.


Vyncul watched with interest as his newest acquisition began to brawl with his opponent. In the blood-maddened world of gladiatorial combat, there were many promising fighters whose minds had crumbled beneath the unforgiving pressure of survival. Most of those never recovered their courage and spent their remaining days being chopping blocks for new gladiators. Vyncul usually didn’t misjudge the mettle of his fighters, but there had been exceptions. In the seat next to him, Katrina leaned forward. She had been his adjutant from his time in the 37th legion, and served him efficiently and faithfully throughout his long career. As a reward, when he had retired and the gods had blessed him with youth, he had requested that she gain the blessing as well. It had required a hefty portion of his wealth, but it had been done. The gladiator stable had been his inspiration, but she was responsible for keeping the fighters fed and supplied. As such, Vyncul supposed she felt responsible in ensuring they did well.

Turning his attention back to the fight, the nobleman scowled. The two warriors had exchanged blows for only a minute, but it was plain that Lodis was coming off the worse in these exchanges. His balance was off, and he was always a moment late in returning to guard stance after a swing. His opponent, a gladiator trained in the Theatric school if Vyncul was any judge, was taking the opportunities to wear him down while taking little damage himself, dodging increasingly frantic swings while slowly bleeding Lodis to death.

Lodis lunged forward and threw a gigantic blow with his mace that smashed the Theatric’s shoulder and elicited a howl of pain. Lodis quickly returned to guard position, but slipped on a rusty blade and fell to the ground. Vyncul groaned in disappointment. Although in pain, Lodis’s opponent was still lucid enough to descend upon Lodis with a flurry of strikes, each barely parried by the downed gladiator. One slash snuck through, then another. A thrust to the thigh, a cut to the tendon in the arm. Vyncul shook his head in disgust and rose from his seat. Katrina looked up in surprise. “Where are you going, sir?”

“Back to the manor. The outcome of this fight is all but decided.”


Lodis felt weak. He could barely muster enough strength to cover his body with his shield, but that left his legs open, and his enemy was viciously exploiting that fact. He tried to stand up but was kicked down again and frantically swung his mace again. His opponent parried then smashed his falchion into his elbow. Lodis screamed and dropped his weapon. He knew then that he was going to die.

“Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me. Please don’t…” Lodis realized that he was pleading for mercy, but he couldn’t stop. He felt so cold and heavy. The pain was lessening, and he realized with dread that he was dying. A final kick and his shield was torn from his arm and sent flying. Lodis looked up in dull dread and saw the other fighter standing over him, grinning. The man raised his blade up and brought it down.

Out of nowhere, a bronze gauntlet batted the descending blade aside. Incensed, the fighter hissed and lunged at Lodis again, but the Enforcer took a step and backhanded the man several feet through the air. The Theatric scrambled to his feet with murderous eyes, but when his eyes met the gaze of the Enforcer’s featureless helmet, he subsided. The Enforcer gestured for arena slaves to drag Lodis away. As Lodis watched, the Enforcer then walked to the side of Lodis’s opponent and raised the fighter’s right arm high. A roar of cheers and applause cascaded on Lodis’s ears as he was dragged from the arena, and the young fighter closed his eyes, trying to blot out the world. Fear and shame overwhelmed his mind, and he surrendered to the pain wracking his body and passed out.

Red Terror
11-05-2012, 03:35 AM
My compliments. Now I feel obliged to start work on my own chapter Three already.

11-05-2012, 09:07 AM
Thanks haha, I'm looking forward to reading your story :)

11-05-2012, 03:28 PM
very nice write up mate :)

11-07-2012, 09:42 PM
Long chapter this time. C&C greatly appreciated like always!

Chapter 4

Hyunmi was pretty, if one was into athletic women, and her shoulder-length black hair was glossy. She took meticulous care of her looks, and rumor had it that she had managed to cut a deal with a priest so that no matter what harm or illness she suffered, no scars would be left on her body. In a different life, Lodis would have enjoyed ogling her.

Unfortunately, Hyunmi was the Ophidium stable’s second senior most gladiator. She was a berserker fighting in the Legends division and expected to progress to the next bracket in the very near future. She was currently ranked the number one Rage gladiator in that division with over two hundred wins to her name.

Most importantly, at the moment, she was furious with Lodis.

“A bloody disgrace! You have the height and the weight advantage, and you end up begging for your life from some no-name fighter from some no-name stable!?” Lodis backed up as Hyunmi advanced on him. Normally, he wouldn’t have been intimidated by a woman a full foot and a half shorter than him but the look on Hyunmi’s face would have made a starving lion pause. “YOU PATHETIC PIECE OF TRASH! How did you even get in this stable?! If Vyncul had any sense, you’d be thrown out and given to the bloody brothels! Maybe you’ll have more success there!”

Lodis tried to speak, but Hyunmi lashed out with a kick and sent him sprawling. “You’d better shape up, or by the gods, I’ll kill you myself! Don’t you dare besmirch Ophidium’s name again!” The woman stormed away, leaving Lodis sprawled on the floor in his room.


“How’s your head?”

Lodis looked up from putting on his armor and groaned inwardly. Macha and Tsukuyomi were standing above him, grinning.

Macha was an elaar, and nearly matched Lodis’s height despite being almost a hundred pounds lighter. Her eyes perpetually flashed with mischief, and she had a penchant for the dramatic, which showed in her fighting style through her nonstop feints and acrobatic moves. In contrast, Tsukuyomi was a gladiator who utilized minimal movement, preferring measured, decisive strikes with her greatsword over mad flurries. At six feet tall, she was nearly a foot shorter than Lodis, but she had more strength than him, a fact she proudly attested to her upbringing in one of the barbarian tribes that lurked along the borders of the Great Realm. She rarely spoke, but when she did, her words were usually dry and sarcastic. Despite the differences between the two women, Macha and Tsukuyomi were inseparable and often could be found sparring with each other.

“Hyunmi’s got a mean kick, eh?” Macha chuckled, staring at the bruise on Lodis’s cheek. “Well, can’t really blame her. I’ve never seen a worse debut fight than yours.”

Tsukuyomi nodded somberly. “Bad business that. I’ve had five challenges since then. All from new fighters who thought I’d be just like you.”

“Hey, at least you won all of your fights. I got challenged by a Trug from the Deadmoon stable. That huge hammer he has hurts! Had to go to the temple to get my ribs healed up.” The elaar shuddered in mock recall. “When do you think you’re going to be let go? Packed your bags yet?”

“I haven’t—“

“Nah, I’m just kidding new fish. You won’t get kicked out yet. Vyncul likes to wait through a couple fights, doesn’t like to waste his money. He’ll probably decide after your third or fourth fight, isn’t that right Tsuki?” The human woman nodded sagely. Smiling smugly, Macha leaned closer to Lodis conspiratorially. “Better be careful though, kid. You never know when a stable owner gives up hope on a fighter and just gets rid of him, yeah? I hear the temples are looking for fighters the stables don’t want anymore. They need more eunuchs to take care of the heavy lifting and dirty work.” Laughing, the two women left the armory, leaving the young man alone with his thoughts.

11-07-2012, 09:42 PM

The Trainer, embarrassed at Lodis’s performance, had stepped up his training program, and the fighter was sore from all the sparring and running he had done. At least it was night now. After he’d taken off his armor, he could retire to his room and sleep. He wouldn’t have to endure the constant jibes and taunts from Macha and Tsukuyomi. He wouldn’t have to ignore Hyunmi’s murderous glares from across the training hall. Sometimes Lodis wondered he wouldn’t have been better off trying to make a break for it that day in the slave market. Being dead seemed positively delightful compared to the hell he was stuck in, training without end, enduring the scorn of his stablemates. Hell, even if he died in a pit fight, he’d just be resurrected to fight and die again. It was torture.

Bleakly, Lodis sat down on a bench near the weights. The stable slaves looked at him curiously as they walked here and there, cleaning up blood and sweat off the floor and repairing broken training dummies. Lodis ignored them and stared sullenly at the sparring pit. The pit was in the center of the room and was deep enough so that even he couldn’t climb out without using the step ladders stacked against the wall. It was a circular depression about thirty feet wide, large enough to allow maneuver, but small enough that it forced conflict. It reminded him of the coliseum. It reminded him of his shame and failure. He had lost a fight that he should have had the advantage in, and had done so in a spectacularly embarrassing fashion. He’d almost died, would have died if not for the Enforcer’s intervention.

“Who are you?”

Startled out of his brooding, Lodis looked up to see a man inspecting him thoughtfully. He was clad in plate armor and a glaive rested casually on his right shoulder. His left arm carried his helm, and Lodis realized that the man was nearly identical to him in height, perhaps a little taller. Scars branded the man’s face and short black hair rested on his scalp. There was an intensity to the man’s gaze that reminded Lodis of Vyncul’s eyes. The thought of the stable owner threatened to push the fighter back into his glum mood.

“I asked you a question.”

Lodis shook his head wearily. “I should be the one asking you that. I’ve never seen you in the stable before. How’d you get past the guards?”

The man cocked his head. “You’re the new fighter Hyunmi was complaining about.” There was surprise in his voice. “You’re different from what I expected.”

Lodis was too tired take offense. “Yeah, I’m the new kid. Lost my first fight in embarrassing fashion, begged for mercy, all that stuff. Just a coward living in the pits.”

The scarred man regarded him for a moment. He had a bearing that reminded Lodis of Katrina. Perhaps he was a soldier of Sarthis, curious to see the shame of Ophidium. The man nodded towards the sparring pit. “Spar with me.”


“Just do it.”

“Go to hell.” It was probably unwise to antagonize this man if he was one of Vyncul’s soldiers, but Lodis was too tired and miserable to care. Bad enough he had to endure the scorn of his stablemates day in and day out. He wasn’t about to indulge a random soldier’s whim and he wasn’t going to provide any more amusement.

“I said,” the soldier grabbed Lodis and threw him off the bench, “to get in the pit.”

Confused, Lodis rose only to be shoved in the direction of the sparring pit. He turned and glared at the man, who calmly returned it. Fine then. One round of sparring. He’d go embarrass himself and then he would sleep. Lodis snorted. If he was really lucky, the man might put him out of his misery. The young fighter waved over a stable slave to lower a ladder into the pit.

The two men descended into the small arena, and Lodis turned and assumed a guard position. The other man needed no invitation and swung his glaive. Contemptuously, Lodis leaned back and dodged the strike then prepared to rush in—only to leap back in surprise when the glaive suddenly reversed its swing and nearly took his head off. “Arrogance leads a fighter to underestimate his opponent,” the soldier said calmly, following up with two more strikes at the head and a sweep that Lodis barely read. “Keep your feet. A fighter off his legs is a fighter about to lose them.” Lodis barely heard the words, the sound almost consumed by the ringing of nonstop parries as he barely got his guard in place for each blow. All the while, the soldier kept speaking with no sign of effort or exertion. “Every pit fighter is a slave, but you cannot show compassion in the pit, not while you fight. A man without the intent to kill cannot prevail against a man who embraces that intent. You must have no pity when you fight.”

A flurry of blows drove the young gladiator back and around the edge of the pit, the scarred man’s words never pausing. “Space is everything. You must learn the space your opponent is comfortable in and then you must drag him out of it. If your opponent revels in close quarters, you must keep him at bay. If he prefers long range, look for a way to close the distance.” A glancing blow to the head knocked Lodis off balance and nearly toppled him. “A fighter who is pulled into a fight he isn’t familiar with will either rise to the occasion or choke in despair. Most do the latter and become pitiful, panicking animals. Have no remorse when this happens and strike them down.” Lodis tried to step into the man so he could use his shorter mace but that whirling glaive was everywhere, threatening a deadly blow every place Lodis tried to go in.

Grimacing, Lodis raised his shield and bulled in, only for his opponent to snap his leg up and kick the shield. The armored foot slammed through the bottom half of the shield and smashed into Lodis’s thigh, stopping his momentum and knocking him off balance, sending the young fighter sprawling. He turned over quickly and barely got his shield into position to block a titanic blow that nearly numbed his arm. “Without balance, there is no technique in the world that will save you from death. Physical balance requires a sure footing, mental balance a sound mind.” Despite fighting for his life, these words knifed to Lodis’s core. “Berserkers try to ignore fear, suppressing it with rage and bloodlust. Theatrics revel in it, seeking to prove their mastery over it and inflict it upon the enemy through deceit and showmanship.” A series of smashing strikes forced Lodis to roll to his left and he found himself staring at the pit wall. He was out of room. He threw a frantic swing with his mace and tried to stand, only to be kicked back down again, desperately hiding behind his shield as another series of blows rang down. “As a warrior, you will do neither. True warriors use fear as a tool to sharpen their minds and speed their movements. Properly channeled, fear will take you to heights you never thought possible. Become controlled by fear, and you will die. It is a fine line.” Lodis could barely lift his arms to block. There was only one way out. He gritted his teeth and abruptly dropped his mace arm and surged to his feet. The glaive crashed into his shoulder, spinning him and causing him to cry out with pain, but he was finally on his feet. He could finally fight back. Lodis turned around and something smashed into his head, toppling him yet again. Groggily, he peered up at the soldier. Was the man smiling? “Once you can master and control your fear, it will cease to become your enemy and become a staunch ally. Remember. No pity. No remorse. No fear.” Lodis passed out.


He woke up to find one of the slaves over him, tending to his wounds. Realizing he was awake, the slave grinned at him. “Not bad, gladiator. You put on a decent fight in there. Pull that off in the arena and you’ll be fine.” He noticed Lodis’s concerned look at his shoulder. “Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it looks. It’ll heal up in no time. The blow to the head was only a concussion, you’ll get over that quickly too.”

Lodis blinked in confusion. “What just happened? Who was that man?”

“That was Kolodis, senior most fighter in the Ophidium stable. He was Vyncul’s first fighter. He’s been away on a contract the last few weeks. Doesn’t usually talk that much, come to think of it. Maybe he saw something in you. Well, I’m off to get some sleep. Only a few hours till dawn.” The slave stood up, then noticed Lodis hadn't moved. “Fighter? You should get some rest.”

Lodis nodded slowly. “I will.” Appeased, the slave scurried off, leaving Lodis lying on the floor, alone with his thoughts.

11-07-2012, 10:43 PM
i really like that writeup. nice balance between dialogue and actions made me get a movie snippet in my mind :)

11-08-2012, 08:47 AM
Yeah, that was the type of feel I was trying to go for, glad you liked it :)

11-15-2012, 03:28 PM
Short chapter this time

Chapter 5

“Not to complain, but I’ve been wondering for awhile,” Lodis stared at his breakfast uneasily, “what is it?”

Macha and Tsukuyomi looked at each other in confusion. Hyunmi paused in scarfing down her food and glared at Lodis in annoyance. Kolodis merely kept eating.

“I mean, it doesn’t taste like chicken or pork, and the texture is wrong for beef. So what is it?”

“It’s meat, you idiot. It’s food. That’s all you need to know.” Apparently satisfied, the petite berserker went back to finishing her food. Lodis sighed. Hyunmi was still furious with him for his poor performance during his debut match. It wouldn’t be wise to annoy her any more, but Lodis was a bit uneasy eating some unknown meat. It tasted great and gave him more energy than anything he’d eaten back before he was a gladiator, but it didn’t look like the meat from any animal he knew of.

The thought reminded him of his life before he was a slave. He’d been close friends with the butcher’s daughter, and they’d often spent time together when he’d finished his work in his father’s forge. What was her name? Gods, he couldn’t even remember what she looked like. His past life felt like dim memories taken from another man now. It seemed as if he had lived the gladiator’s life forever. Lodis snorted. An arrogant thought for a pit fighter who’d only had one fight.

Tsukuyomi shrugged, bringing Lodis out of his reverie. “Dunno. It’s from Fat Louie’s Chop Shop. No one knows what it is.”

“Some say,” Macha leaned forward conspiratorially, “that Louie goes out and hunts dragon hatchlings and brings back their meat to sell. Others say we eat the slain remains of his kinsmen. However, I’ve heard from reliable sources what the meat truly is.”

“What’s that?”

“Gladiators who ask where the meat comes from.” The elaar dissolved into laughter and Tsukuyomi grinned. A faint smile flitted across Kolodis’s face and even Hyunmi couldn’t resist laughing. Lodis found himself chuckling, despite the fun being made at his expense. Macha was a born prankster, and couldn’t resist practical jokes and teasing any more than the sun could resist rising up into the sky.

“I’m glad to see all of you are enjoying yourselves.” Katrina marched into the barracks where the fighters were eating. She looked exactly the same as the day she had picked up Lodis from the slave market, dressed in black silk with her back ramrod straight, her eyes looking coldly and contemptuously around the room. Apparently satisfied, although by what Lodis couldn’t imagine, she passed out several scrolls of parchment. “Your next assignments. Kolodis, your first match in the Blood Games is in a week. Tsukuyomi, you’ll have a match in three days. It will determine whether you move up to the next bracket, so train hard. Both of you will report to the Trainer at once.” Nodding, the two left the barracks to enter the adjoining training hall.

“Hyunmi, I’ve picked up a contract for you. There are strange occurrences going on near the Wicked Tomb, north of the Borderlands. The client is concerned about possible danger to his assets in the area and is currently waiting in a tavern by one of the lesser temples. The directions are in the map I’ve given you, make sure you get more information before leaving the city.” Hyunmi made a grimace but didn’t protest.

“Macha, Lodis, I’ve picked up a joint contract for the two of you. Apparently a spite and a trug have been causing trouble in a village by the Wraith Moors. The authorities can’t be bothered to send men down there and have posted bounty contracts for the pair of them. I’ve secured exclusive rights for you two to kill the two for a week’s time. After that, you’ll be competing with other bounty hunters, so I would advise you to make it quick.” Noticing the expression on Lodis’s face, Katrina asked curtly, “is there a problem?”

“It’ll take us several days to reach this village. We won’t be able to reach it without adequate supplies. Also, the two targets aren't always in the village. They spend a lot of time by various trails as highwaymen, so there’s no assurance that they’ll be there when we get there.”

Macha looked at the young fighter curiously. “How do you know all this?”

“Well,” Lodis said numbly, “that’d be because I grew up there.”

12-01-2012, 08:43 PM
This latest chapter is proving a bit difficult to write. Hopefully I'll still b able to post by next thursday

12-01-2012, 09:35 PM
Good stuff Kolidis....too bad i can't get this whole story on paper so i can read it in it's entirety in my throne room er...uh...my bathroom:rolleyes: lol...I like it so far man, keep it coming.

12-02-2012, 05:31 PM
Thanks for the encouragement sevenseas :)

12-07-2012, 03:52 PM
Finally, chapter 6. Sorry for the wait.

Chapter 6

It’d been three days since they’d left the capitol. All the while, Macha had pestered Lodis with questions about the place where he’d grown up. How large was the village? Did many travelers come through? What crops did they grow? Were there children there? How many young women? Were they pretty? The last question had made Lodis snort.

“What’s the matter, elaar? You going to steal a husband from one of them?”

Macha was completely unabashed. “Aw, come on little boy. Everyone likes to have some sport once in awhile. Besides,” a sly grin surfaced on her face, “I’m a Theatric. We always want to be the center of attention.”

Bemused, the man shook his head. He wondered if all elaar were as narcissistic and easygoing as Macha was. He’d heard rumors about their arrogance and grace, but nowhere in those stories did an elaar have anything resembling Macha’s…playfulness.

Macha stiffened. “Is that the place?” Lodis nodded. It’d been awhile since he’d been home, and he was struck for the first time by the difference between it and the capital city. Wooden huts sprawled in a disorderly fashion throughout the area. Goats wandered aimlessly over the dusty paths in the village, nimbly stepping around cow dung and piles of cracked firewood. There were few people that can be seen, most preferring to take shelter in their dwellings from the hot noon sun. One of them turned, wiping her sweating brow absently, then stiffened upon seeing the two heavily armed warriors.

“James? James, is that you?” the woman asked in disbelief.

Macha looked at Lodis in confusion. “She talking to you?” He nodded slowly. He was astonished that he’d been recognized in his plate armor: he was a completely different person than when he’d been taken away. He tried to dredge up the woman’s name.

“Rebecca, it’s been a long time. What’re you doing here? I thought you’d be on the farm helping to bring in the harvest.”

“That’s what I should ask you! Zarha, Matthias, look, James is back! The village hasn’t been the same with you gone! You wouldn’t believe…” Lodis tried to get a word in, but words poured out from Rebecca like water flooding through a broken dam. “…and the potter has finally gotten married to that old widow by the river, can you believe it? I can’t believe you’ve finally come back! ”

“Yes, it’s all rather unreal.” Although not compared to being forced to fight for your life every other day. “Anyway, I’m sure you’re busy, so I’ll let you get to it. I’m just gonna drop by my pare—”

“Oh no, we’re not busy at all! I’m sure you want to see Cyria after all this time, you must have missed her terribly!”

“No, I don’t—”

“It’s no trouble! Come, come, we’ll get a celebration organized in no time! There’s no need to worry about any inconvenience!” She went on and Lodis hid a frown. His memories as a normal peasant were faded now, dulled by the acid of time and intense physical training, but he didn’t recollect Rebecca being this talkative before.

“Hey, woman.” The silky smooth voice cut off Rebecca mid-sentence as Macha stepped forward. Lodis had almost forgotten she was there. “What are you trying to hide?” The woman paled.

“Why, I never…who is this rude woman James? And why are her ears pointed?”

“I’m an elaar, you ignorant simpleton. Moreover, Lodis and I are here on business, so as much as you amuse me,” Macha looked at the farmwoman as if looking at a particularly dense imbecile, “you’re hiding something, and I don’t like surprises. Now say something useful, or I’ll have to converse with you in a more direct method. Where are Bargan the Spite and Gmrak the Trug?”

Rebecca shook her head frantically. “An elaar? You can’t be an elaar, everyone knows that they live on the other side of the Realm. They’re fair-spoken folk, but cunning, and can steal your soul with a song! Someone rude like you couldn’t possibly be—“

“Rebecca,” Lodis interrupted, “my companion speaks the truth. We’re here on business and are hunting for Bargan and Gmrak. All the same,” he glanced sidelong at Macha, “I’d like to visit my parents shortly while I can. I won’t be able to stay and I’d like to see them before I go.” He tried to speak as calmly as he could, but the woman looked at him with…was that dread in her eyes? Why? He and Macha weren’t going to hurt them.

The farmwoman gave a cough. “Ah, well, erm, those two are…James, you grew up in this town. You should know that no good comes of messing with them. You’re a nice boy, James,” Macha snorted in amusement, “so, I don’t want to see you get killed tangling with those two. They’re out right now anyways, no idea when they’d be back. It’s best if you leave now before they come back. None of us will say anything about you, don’t you worry.”

“My parents—“

“They’re out right now, went to Taran’s Ferry to sell some of their ironwork.” Rebecca’s eyes kept shifting away from Lodis’s gaze. “You know how long their business trips—“

Macha grabbed the dumpy woman and whipped her kris out, stopping with the edge just short of cutting her throat. “No more lies,” the gladiator said as the human woman mewled in distress. “What are you hiding, and why?”

“Macha! Let her go!” Without even realizing it, Lodis had his axe ready in his right hand. He didn’t know what he would do with it. He couldn’t let Macha kill an innocent villager, but he didn’t want to fight the elaar either. Aside from getting turned into a bleeding mess, he didn’t want to fight someone he’d lived, eaten, and trained with for several months.

“This woman’s hiding something, kid. Maybe she forgot where she put her bloody silverware. Maybe this village is being held hostage by the two we came here to hunt. Maybe our prey has a whole bloody gang. I don’t know, and what a person doesn’t know will kill her. Now be a good boy, and let your senior do the talking from here.”

Lodis’s grip tightened. What do I do? “I won’t ask you again, Macha. Don’t do this.” Macha gave him a grin that was all the more chilling for its casual bloodlust.

“Think you can take me, little boy?”

12-10-2012, 12:22 AM
Thanks for the next chapter! :)

12-10-2012, 03:50 AM
ooooh...mo:eek:re please

12-12-2012, 09:59 AM
Thanks for the encouragement guys! I'll try to get the next chapter released before the end of the week

12-21-2012, 05:35 PM
I'd like to apologize for the delay in getting the next chapter out, it's turning out to be a lot more difficult to write than I thought it would be. -_- The good news is that the following chapter should b easier to write, so hopefully I'll be able to release both at the same time.

01-29-2013, 10:28 AM
All right, so I've got some bad news. Currently I'm studying for the cset, which is a test I need to take in order to get into education. Pretty much I'm trying to relearn everything I've ever learned in middle and high school in two months, meaning I've barely gotten any work done on the story. As such, it has been temporarily been put on hold. To those of you who have been waiting for the next chapter, I apologize for the delay.

03-09-2013, 04:19 PM
K, so I'm less busy now, so I should b able to start up work on this again. I'll try to get the next chapter up as soon as possible

12-13-2013, 03:36 PM
No more chapters :(