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  1. #1
    Stable Servant Kolodis's Avatar
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    The Life of a Gladiator

    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.
    Last edited by Kolodis; 11-09-2012 at 10:04 AM.

  2. #2
    Elite Master Alba Kebab's Avatar
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    *first bit of constructive criticism*
    You might wanna reconsider the name "James" considering the setting...

  3. #3
    the name james seams abit to out of place in the setting other than that i have 1 request...


    MORE!!!!!(please)

  4. #4
    Stable Servant Kolodis's Avatar
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    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.”

  5. #5
    Legendary Master Prinny's Avatar
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    Small bit of critisism, there is no dwarven kingdom in PoW, Dwarves are called dunders ;D

  6. #6
    Pit Master Apoca1ypse's Avatar
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    +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.
    Do you want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and to hear the lamentation of their women? Then follow the link below!

    >>Player Guide Compendium<<

    Stable: Team Win
    Official Team Song: Dethklok - Face Fisted
    Gladiators on Note: Ahhnold, Bruce Iee, Duke Nukem, Bruce Willis, Wargh, Kharn

    Quote Originally Posted by Nate View Post
    P.S. Apoc is still a ninja!

  7. #7
    Stable Servant Kolodis's Avatar
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    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

  8. #8
    Stable Servant Kolodis's Avatar
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    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.

  9. #9
    My compliments. Now I feel obliged to start work on my own chapter Three already.

  10. #10
    Stable Servant Kolodis's Avatar
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    Thanks haha, I'm looking forward to reading your story

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