The Arena

By Cladius Maximus

Snow capped mountains reached up into the clouds, seeming to pierce the heavens. Green fields were at their base and forests spread on both sides of the green pasture. A man on a horse could be seen galloping in the distance, quickly. He stopped a moment, turning to look over the scenery. He gave a click of his heals and
Baagmk opened his eyes and squinted as he tried to make something out of the darkness around him. He tried to sit up but winced at a pain in his back. He looked around him, somewhat dazed and groggily rubbed his forehead and wiped the sweat away with both hands running down his face. His eyes focused and he looked around him and noticed walls to all sides and a simple door in front of him with a small opening at the top. He slowly stood, stumbling to his feet and made his way to the door and was surprised to see his hands bound in chains. Suddenly, a click came from the door and an armed guard strode in, followed by a middle-aged man. Baagmk looked over the guard but focused his attention on the middle-aged man. He was tall and thin, with an olive skin color. He had slightly graying hair and wore a fine toga with elaborate jewelry around his neck. The man grinned and started to speak, Ah, my Parcine friend. I am glad I came upon you. He then began to grasp Baagmks biceps and thighs, looking over him as if inspecting livestock. The man nodded with a smile and said, You are as fit as an ox and will do well. Baagmk looked on the man without much of an expression on his face. You are now a gladiator slave, and you are now my property. You duty is none other but to give the people of Iridine a spectacle, a good time. You will stand before them and look up as the cheer and jaunt you and a simple word will decide if you shall live or die. No longer does Ereal have control over your destiny, the audience chooses yours and that is how it shall be until the day you find a trident in your belly.
The man walked out the door followed by the guard, and another click sounded as the door shut behind them. Baagmk dropped to his knees and began to sulk, but the tears would not come.
Come on then, fight me. Stated the man. Baagmk made a lunge, which was easily diverted. As the man went to stab back Baagmk was able to roll to safety and jump to his feet, bringing his wooden gladius to bear at the man chest. The man blocked it a grinned. One! He shouted, and Baagmk was lead to a line where he was given a gladius and an elaborately crafted helmet. He wore the helmet and wielded his gladius when suddenly the gates opened and the line of men rushed forward.
The crowd let out a loud shout as the gladiators rushed onto the sand covered pit. Baagmk and the other men looked up in amazement at the spectacle before him. The stonewalls rose high above him, all filled with people cheering and shouting. He twisted and turned around, looking at everything around him, gazing into the distance, studying the structure intently. His eyes diverted to a man who stood and the crowd silenced. The Senator Gaius Hillitus is pleased to give you, a fight to the death between these barbarians. Their ferocity and skill are known throughout the Blackroots and will be seen in this very arena! Betting is now closed, gladiators, die with honor! With that the crowd let out a roar and the gates sealed shut. Baagmk quickly looked around him and noticed a man rushing at him with a trident. He quickly sidestepped and slashed, cutting the mans arm. He quickly ducked as another gladiator slashed at him. He then jabbed forward and shoved his gladius into the mans stomach. The man let out a moan and Baagmk ripped his sword up and out, cutting the man in half to the delight of the crowd. Before he could turn, a blow to his helmet stunned him and he fell forward. He quickly rolled to see another gladiator bringing his shield down at him. He rolled and the shield caught nothing but dust. He rolled again, avoiding the jab by the shield-wielding gladiator. He then kicked out his leg, sweeping the man down. Baagmk jumped up and rushed at the man, who lifted his shield and blocked Baagmks blow. Baagmk jumped to the side quickly, avoiding a low slash and brought his gladius down to bear on the mans neck, severing the head. The crowd let out a roar that could be heard throughout the city. Baagmk looked around quickly and saw a man rushing at him. Baagmk tried to jump but felt the gladius slice into his shin, which began to spurt blood to the delight of the crowd. Baagmk fell and the other gladiator placed his foot onto Baagmks chest. The man stopped to his surprise and Baagmk moved his eyes to the crowd quickly. The crowd let out a roar as the man lifted his gladius and sent it down.
The horseman stopped a moment, turning to look over the scenery. He gave a click of his heals and began to ride towards a small forest to the west of the plains. He saw a children playing and a few women talking. The horseman leaped from his horse and one of the women embraced him, whispering, Welcome home Baagmk, into his ear.

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