View Full Version : The Underbelly

09-12-2014, 09:30 PM
This is a piece of fiction about my Gladiator 'Barbitus' and a trip into the Underbelly at the behest of his Master.

Chapter 1

The animal lust for violence lingers. The heartbeat that pounds the hardest in the inner ear. That far away, slow feeling, as the ground rushes to meet you, as every facial muscle of the shit smeared cannibal contorts, as he realises the moment of triumph, the moment when fighting for his life becomes his next meal. Everything begins to wash out and that fight for survival becomes obselete. What is it all for anyway? And then the muscles remember before the lights go out, the muscles, the reflexes, all of that training, that brutal training, comes into its own.

The triumph was short lived as the stumbling fall turned into a controlled duck and roll, the notched cleaver ringing soundly on slimy stone. Sound hit him like a blast, time sped up and the stench followed. Without thinking, he was swinging the gnawed femur, splintered end first, introducing it vertically into the flesheaters brain. Teeth cracked and splintered as the foul denizen of the Underbelly bit down in terminal spasms of agony and fell limp as a ragdoll.

"Move" Something inside of him said. Instinct. Experience. "On your feet! Keep moving!" It saved his life. The fight was far from finished and another Flesheater had circled back around, limping, but still very much in the fight, the rotten shaft of his spear grazing the torn leather of Barbitus' side. His fist caught it just below the head as his would be killer sought to draw it back, faster for all his manic desire to feast. The cannibal had no time to consider what had just happened, the act followed with a crowd-pleasing backwards elbow, rewarded by the soft crunch of cartilage and the spatter of blood up the back of his arm. In his peripheral vision, Barbitus could see his companions entrenched in similar frenzied combat, Lychasta, his Master's newest acquisition, trading blows with two of her own opponents. But she was not his concern, she would live or die by her own merit. Any less was a grave insult to the War trained Elaar.

There were only seconds to muse for the wounded Flesheater was not so easily cowed. He leapt, blinded by the broken nose and the blood, driven by insanity and hunger. It gave him the edge and Barbitus fell back against the cold, wretched, stone of the walkway, his head bouncing inches from the frothy brown current of human waste that flowed through this tunnel. The Flesheater leered nastily, hands seeking purchase around the thick, muscle-corded neck of the gladiator-slave. Foam flecked lips peeled back with relish. He was trying to force Barbitus' head into the muck, drown him no less. For what seemed a longer moment than neccessary, the two locked eyes and the slave-gladiator's callused hands wrapped around the forearms of the frenzied cannibal. Inch by inch the grip around his neck was lessened, the fury of his opponent only redoubling but ultimately it was in impotence. With a final surge of effort, he pulled the disgusting creature towards him for a resounding headbutt, mashing whatever remained of the unfortunate Flesheasters nose to pulp and cracking his skull. The blow was repeated. Again. And again. Until its grip lessened to nothing and it was tossed aside, dead, or wishing it was.

The battle by now was over. a half dozen dead Flesheaters decorating what had been their hovel. Proud trophies of previous meals hanging from the walls, plastered there with faeces and dried ligament. Lychasta seemed to be having trouble retrieving the head of her flail from the ribs of her last opponent, the weapon finally returning with a gout of viscera and blood. "Are you still living, human?" she asked with a thin spread of her lips, what passed for humour or even affection. "Are you still second best?" he retorted, eyes flashing, a rather more generous smile of famiiarity as he retrieved his own weapons. The fighting had devolved, for him at least, into something that would better please a Rage-trained slave. His preference had gone out the window early into the ambush, but adapting was a crucial part of survival. "The wind of fortune is fickle. I will have my time," she answered, as cryptic as ever. Barbitus had other interests by this point, no longer listening or bantering, the adrenalin rush of battle exiting his body, leaving behind the multitude of pains and realities. "Healer!" he bellowed. "Attend me!"