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I have no memory of returning from Tarentum where twenty three met her fate at my hands. In my room at the gladiatorial school, I wept with sorrow from the depths of my heart.
A key turned in the lock on my door and I sat up wiping my wet eyes. It was number eight. Her face was grim and on the verge of tears.
Those who fell that dreadful afternoon were our friends and comrades. We mourned their loss.
“She was the best among us,” number eight said in a sad voice referring to twenty three.
“I loved her,” I cried despairingly, gazing into number eight’s moist eyes.
“I know,” she said with deep sympathy.
It was no secret that I shared an intimate relationship with twenty three.
I fell into number eights arms and sobbed with gut wrenching emotion. My heart was breaking and beyond repair.
Images of twenty three’s blood spattered body lying on the arena floor flooded my mind; day and night, sleeping and waking. I felt hollow inside as though a huge part of me was missing and tears flowed in an unbroken procession down my cheeks for hours on end.
I angrily cursed myself for not having the courage to die with twenty three and beat my fists against the stone walls in total frustration for my weakness.
The matron informed me that I was excused from training indefinitely and I remained in my room, too consumed with grief over my loss.
Number eight would visit me after the evening meal, bringing some food, wine and comforting hugs. Her kindness to me evolved into a deep friendship.
Over time as my grief lessened, it was replaced with a terrible loneliness. I would recall happier memories of twenty three but they were no less painful.
As I gradually eased into the daily routine, I realized that I had lost my will to fight and was simply going through the motions. If it continued, I was washed up as a gladiator.
After a lackluster practice session, I was told that my presence was required in the matron’s office. When I arrived, number eight was there also.
In a few brusque words, the matron informed us that we had been sold to a different gladiatorial school and to gather our belongings for immediate transfer.
Under the cover of darkness and a six guard escort, we were marched to our new home. It was a scant three blocks and in the shadow of the Coliseum.
As we stood before the director of the school, He was regarding us coolly.
“You will retain your present designations, number eight and number eleven,” He stated dryly.
A male assistant was writing whatever the director said on a roll of paper.
“Both of you have been assigned to the dormitory without door locks,” he stated.
As the director went over our list of privileges, number eight and I looked at each other with surprise. The rules of our new school were less restrictive.
“Guard, take them to the bath,” The director barked.
As we marched down a corridor and long set of stairs, I was intrigued by the decorations on the walls. The bath was very large and not as drafty as the one at the old school.
After bathing, we were taken to an adjacent room where a yawning physician was waiting to examine us.
“…excellent muscle tone, very firm, appears to be in excellent health,” he said in tired voice as he examined me.
“Do you eat figs?” he asked me in a clear voice.
I looked at him with a confused expression. The physician at the old school never asked us anything.
“You may answer,” he said nicely.
“Yes,” I stated.
“Try to limit yourself to two a day otherwise you may experience bowel problems,” he said with concern.
As the guard marched us to the dormitory, I noticed that the corridors were unusually quiet until I realized the late hour.
My room was similar to my old one except the bedding was nicer. Because of my new surroundings, thoughts of twenty three were not dominating my mind.
Meals were at comparable times but the quality was better. There was a camaraderie among the gladiators that was missing at my previous school. Some had seen me fight in the arena and welcomed me with open arms.
As my training took center stage once more, I pondered what I should do. Twenty three had sacrificed her life for me. If I was to go on living, I owed it to her to do my best. With that in mind, I resolved to excel in the arena.
With my days completely occupied, my nights were filled with loneliness and despair. I desperately longed for twenty three and often cried myself to sleep.
“If I could just hold you again,” I yearned in the silence of my mind.
But, the devastating reality that she was gone would settle in and I would weep with heart rending sadness. One night, my lamentation was too loud and number eight, who lived in the room next to mine, quietly opened my door.
When I saw it was number eight, I hung my head with shame for my weakness.
“I am sorry to disturb you,” I said with humility.
“There is no shame in sorrow,” she said with poker oyna deep pity for me and her eyes filled with tears.
Number eight sat next to me and took me in her arms.
“You loved her very much?” she stated like a question and a fact.
I nodded my head as my answer. Still holding me, number eight gazed at me.
“I desire to stay with you and comfort you,” she said with emotion.
In the reassuring embrace of number eight’s arms, I found some solace from the grief that consumed me.
Number eight was a frequent visitor often staying the night. Her body was smaller than mine and fit snugly against me. She was like a younger sister and clung to me as we slept.
Sometimes, I woke sobbing loudly from the agonizing parade of dreams about twenty three but number eight would patiently try to soothe me until I went back to sleep.
When I was informed of my upcoming appearance in the Coliseum, it had been four months since I had fought causing the death of my beloved twenty three.
Number eight was scheduled as well and asked for my help in preparation of her bout. We trained in the late afternoons and she was a willing and talented pupil.
As we walked through the tunnel that connected to the sub basement corridors of the Coliseum, I was nervous but resolved to stay alive in honor of twenty three’s memory. My opponent was a skilled Roman with an aggressive style like my own.
Several times, I was on the verge of an advantage but she fought back with skill and determination. Our match was declared a draw and I inwardly sighed with relief.
Back in the confines of the school, the warm scented waters of the bath were refreshing almost healing. Number eight smiled at me while she received a well earned rubdown. She fought a very tough opponent to a draw.
Number eight was a full head shorter than me and while she had brown hair, her pale white skin reminded me of Blanka’s. I remembered that she told me she was captured in a place called Brittania.
Number eight’s sisterly companionship was a constant source of comfort to me. Her attractive face would light up when she smiled or laughed. Sometimes it was hard for her to concentrate on her training because she had a fun loving and warm nature.
At night, number eight would lie with me in bed and talk in a carefree manner about the gossip circulating around the school. She had been sold into slavery a mere two years ago and spoke very good Latin.
“Can you teach me to speak like you?” I asked shyly one evening.
For a moment, number eight had a confused look but grasped the intent of my question. She confessed that she had an ear for languages and picked them up rather easily.
“You fought bravely,” she said in the dialect of my people.
I looked at number eight with a stunned expression.
“You see,” she stated in Latin as proof of her gift.
Number eight’s usually sunny demeanor changed.
“I would have made a much better house slave than a gladiator,” she said thoughtfully.
“You fight well,” I stated with honesty.
“I don’t have the temperament to be a gladiator,” she said with a melancholy expression.
“Will you teach me proper Latin?” I asked again.
“Hmm…I guess so,” she said teasingly.
We playfully wrestled on my bed with me getting the upper hand. I lightly rubbed my cheek against her cheek as a sign of my affection.
Although life was less restrictive at our new school, the training in our fight discipline was no less rigorous. The long intervals between combat were filled with repetitious exercises and assisting with the training of newcomers.
One afternoon, it was announced that everyone in the school would be fighting at the games honoring the founding of the City of Rome.
At the banquet on the eve of the games, a Roman woman of considerable means took more than a passing interest in me. She was seated across from me dressed in fine fabrics and exuded a very rich smell. Her beauty was luminous and I thought that she must be married to a Senator.
“Gladiator, I would like the pleasure of your company at my villa,” she said more like a demand than a request.
While I was under no obligation to accept, I nodded my head in agreement. Acceptance of a proposal made by an outsider was at the discretion of the gladiator. Sometimes a sum of money was offered as an incentive.
Before her untimely demise, twenty three was a popular gladiator in the arena and received invitations from men and women. She strictly preferred women and always inquired about the type of activity that was planned. If it was something that she disliked, she was free to decline the invitation.
In the past, I was the guest of several different ladies and their appetite for the female body knew no bounds. While she discussed the financial arrangements for my safe return with the school director, I gathered my winter cloak for the journey.
Many gladiators formed relationships or bonds with Roman men and women that lasted until they canlı poker oyna were killed in the arena or granted their freedom.
Sometimes the union of a male and a female resulted in the birth of a child. Although a gladiator was a slave, the child was born as a freeman or freewoman.
Instead of the usual horse cart, I was allowed to ride on her chariot. She had no driver and was a skilled charioteer; most unusual for a woman of the Roman gentry. Her villa was on a hillside with a spectacular view of the city.
I followed her to the bath and stood still as she removed my tunic. I was fascinated by the Roman obsession with bathing which was a very important function in their lives. Although I enjoyed the daily baths at the school, it did take a while for me to appreciate it.
The bath was lined with the most exquisite marble of extraordinary graining and coloring. The wonderfully scented water was very pleasing to the senses.
As I sat naked on a marble seat in the warm water of the bath, she slowly peeled away her garments to reveal a lovely body with good muscle tone.
“You don’t talk very much,” she said in an observant way.
“No ma’am,” I answered using the formal Latin word.
“You may call me Octavia,” she stated in a calm voice.
With a porcelain ladle, Octavia poured the water from the bath over my shoulders and back. On the side of the bath were different oils in small jars warming over a fire. She rubbed some of the aromatic oil into my skin with tenderness.
“You have a superb body,” she said with passion in her voice.
Although I was grateful for Octavia’s compliment, I thought of my body as man like and not feminine at all.
Octavia’s skilled hands manipulated the bumps on my chest with extraordinary delicacy. Then, her mouth suckled them with the urgency and unrelenting need of a baby. Incredible sensations pulsed in my body and I panted breathlessly.
With my body seated on the edge of the bath, I leaned slightly backward giving Octavia easier access to my center. Her proficient tongue licked with a ferocious hunger that had me gasping and moaning. I cried out as intense feelings surged through my body.
Octavia’s full bosom appealed to me and I caressed the mounds with gentleness. I mimicked her style by sucking the hard bulging ends ravenously and she cried out many times.
Octavia’s pale white loins were fragrantly perfumed with oils that reminded me of spices. I wanted to please her but she craved my center and I surrendered to her enormously talented tongue.
As I rested from Octavia’s onslaught, she confided in me about her desire to fight in the Coliseum. She currently employed a gladiator who had earned his freedom in the arena, as her trainer.
In order for a Roman woman to train at the gladiatorial school and fight in the arena, she was required to rescind her citizenship and all the privileges that went with it. In essence, she agreed to become a slave for the “privilege” of fighting as a gladiator.
Octavia neither sought my opinion or advice on the matter and I offered none. I was permitted to sleep on a sofa in the bath until the guards from the gladiatorial school arrived to take me back.
In the pale light of a winter dawn, I was escorted back to the school. As I lined up with the rest of the women for the morning roll call, number eight was looking at my index finger adorned with a small gold ring, a gift from Octavia.
An hour before I was to report for the games, number eight’s face appeared in my door.
“The Roman lady must be very rich to give such a precious gift,” she said smiling and raced into my room.
With a childlike innocence and curiosity, number eight asked to try on the ring. When she had it on her middle finger, it fit just right. She held it every which way and admired the shiny beauty.
Number eight’s pure delight made my empty heart fill with love for her. Her friendship meant much more to me than a ring, no matter how expensive.
“It is yours,” I stated with emotion.
Number eight looked at me with a wide eyed expression of shock.
“Oh no, I can’t take it. It is your present,” she declared and took the ring off her finger.
“You have been like a sister to me, I want you to have it,” I stated with heart felt sincerity and refused to take it back.
“You think of me as a sister?” she asked in a cracking voice.
“Yes, a very dear sister,” I said with wet eyes unable to control my emotions.
Number eight flew into my arms and wept on my shoulder. She expressed her gratitude by playfully nuzzling against my neck and hugging me with all her strength several times. She pulled back a little and looked at me with concern.
“What will you say to your rich lady?” she asked with a serious face.
“I will tell her I lost it,” I answered with assurance and her face brightened with happiness.
In the equipment room of the Coliseum, I learned my opponent was a wily trident and net fighter. As we stood on the lifting internet casino device awaiting our entrance to the games, I noticed that she was a tall dark skinned women like twenty three.
After we saluted the Imperial box and commenced fighting, I mentally thanked twenty three for her valuable instruction on the various techniques used when fighting the different combat styles.
This was one of the few times when I decided patience was better suited than brawn. As I circled defensively, she thrust her trident while swinging her net at my feet. Several times her trident glanced off my defensive armor but when she tangled my feet, I ferociously hacked at the net freeing myself.
She was accurate with the trident and nicked my unprotected arm several times. As I was blocking her thrusts, I noticed that the wood shaft was thinner than the spears the Roman soldiers used against my people.
When she lunged straight at me, I sidestepped and delivered a vicious blow that broke the shaft of her trident in half. She looked funny holding a much shorter version.
She surprised me by throwing the trident like a spear and as it glanced on my shield it struck the outer portion of my unprotected shoulder. Luckily, the wounds weren’t serious and with only a net as a weapon, she was at a distinct disadvantage.
However, my opponent was a very skilled fighter and managed to relieve me of my shield using her net. Quickly, she cast her net at my sword arm and successfully tied it up.
Now it became a test of strength and my anger grew with each yank on the net pulling us closer together. With the savagery that epitomized my warrior style with my people, I pulled with enormous force until she was within arms length.
When I tried to wield my sword, she grabbed the hilt over my hand and tried to wrest it from me. It was her fatal mistake. I ripped the sword from her grasp and struck the side of her neck. With blood squirting furiously, she fell to the arena floor and died.
When I looked down at her still body, I was saddened by her demise. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a lone gladiator charging, hoping to catch me by surprise. This was highly irregular and despite the referee’s efforts to stop her, she kept coming.
Immediately, I assumed a defensive posture. The gladiator’s forward momentum took her past me and as she went by, I delivered a blow that sliced through her side.
As she lay on the arena floor, a puddle of blood grew very quickly and soon after, she died from her injury. When I stood on the lowering device for the descent into the Coliseum sub basement, I was told that the first gladiator I killed was her companion.
The burden of two more deaths weighed heavily on my mind. In the warm waters of the bath I sat for a long time contemplating the series of events that brought me to the gladiatorial school.
Number eight was sitting on my bed with a kindly expression but my mood was somber. She knew that while I enjoyed the combat, I detested the killing
Number eight was lucky. In her two years of gladiatorial combat, she had yet to kill an opponent.
“How many have you slain in the arena?” she asked with empathy.
In my three and a half years as a gladiator and fifteen combats in the arena, I had killed five women including twenty three. A minuscule number when I thought of the amount of Roman’s I slew as a warrior for my people.
But, three and a half years is a very long time by gladiatorial standards to compete in the arena. Though it varied widely among the gladiatorial schools, a gladiator in his/her fourth year could expect to earn their freedom.
“You can win your freedom soon,” she said happily.
Many times I thought about winning my freedom but what would I do and where would I go. Although I liked the accolades and cheers from the spectators, I would never willingly train someone to become a gladiator.
From my fifteenth year, all I knew was killing and combat. But, taking the life of someone I had no quarrel with, troubled me to my core.
“I would rather be a soldier in the Roman army than fight in the Coliseum,” I said with a weary voice.
I gave a sad looking number eight a weak smile.
“Were you a warrior with your people?” I curiously asked her.
“Yes, many women fought against the Roman’s. In my village, better than the men,” she stated with pride and a beaming face.
As I sat with number eight, I realized that I knew little about her. Seasoned gladiators often warned newcomers on the danger of becoming friends or intimate companions with fellow gladiators. It was one of the reasons why gladiators were assigned a number instead of a proper name.
“You may have to face that person in the arena someday,” I recalled the trainer at my old school telling us one day during practice.
For some, me being a prime example, it was unavoidable. While, for others it was easy to repress that part of themselves.
But, I was curious about number eight and asked about her people.
“In my village a woman was the leader as was the way with many villages in my homeland. We were a proud people and refused to live under Roman rule in the province they called Brittania. We lived in the north but often the soldiers came to fight us.
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