She was quite pleased that she managed to avoid Thessla’s attack at her and wanted to be attacked again. And well, she’d heard the name Pluto mentioned before and she knew it was a Roman god, but that’s about all she knew. It wasn’t like any new slave was trained in Roman mythology and worship. Slaves were just slaves. Thessala seemed surprised with the question, wondering where Rana came from.
“Germania.” She said simply, “Two winters ago.” She added, while the other paused and considered how to attack. And then it came, faster than the first time and for some reason, she made the same move! Rana managed to jump back again, but Thessala came closer and swung the sword at Rana’s sides. She fought to defend herself, but Thessala’s plan worked and Rana ended up with her back against the wall.
“Enough!” She said, didn’t want Thessala to beat her up now she had the chance. She was certainly quite fierce! And Rana would have to not just leap backwards to escape and cheat, she would have to be more creative next time.
“How am I doing?” She asked, hoping the other would step away and give her some space, so that they could start over.
Rana thought about it, when the other woman said that she should pretend to be fighting for her life. Rana had never fought very much in the past, but if there was one thing she could do, it was cheating… making people believe something else, than what was actually happening. How else could she have hidden the affair she had with her brother’s wife for years, and she snuck out of the house with stolen goods without anyone seeing that. And those were just a few examples. So she didn’t know how to fight yet. But she knew other things.
She didn’t reply to Thessala, but weighed the wooden sword in her hand and then she had decided to let the other woman attack her first. She had an idea. Dishonesty of course worked best if you knew someone, and she didn’t know Thessala that well yet, but she could see that she thought she was high and mighty and the best. And maybe she was. So she had confidence in her own moves and obviously lacked confidence in Rana. See, that could be useful.
Thessala sighed and lunged forwards towards Rana, who stood ready in what she assumed was a good position. But when the other came at her, Rana leapt backwards. Thessala’s sword only tapped the tip of Rana’s sword instead of her wrist. That would have hurt, had the other hit her, but she didn’t. Rana smiled slightly; her move worked.
“Again.” She said and tilted her head, “Who is Pluto?” Rana asked and stood ready for Thessala to come at her again.
She absolutely did not see why Thessala had to hit her like that. They were supposed to train, not start an actual fight here. Was she trying to upset Rana or something? She had a temper sometimes, but usually she could control that temper. The trouble with her was more… well… trouble. Sometimes she wasn’t very predictable, not even to herself. Right now though, she stood her ground and Thessala explained why she did what she did.
She just said you’d get hit a lot in the arena and only if you were good, you wouldn’t die. Rana stared at the sword at her feet, while Thessala said nothing was personal. And now she would have Rana attack her.
Rana narrowed her eyes, “I am not learn… moves… first? No skill, just fight?” She’d seen men train at army outposts and she knew they had actual training and knew how to wield the sword and that there were certain moves. And such skills might improve her chances so she’d not die. And she would really prefer that. Rana did pick up the sword now. It was a wooden sword, not all that heavy. She looked at Thessala, not trusting her now. She cheated her once, she might do it again. She probably would.
“You attack me first.” She then said, deciding she would prefer learning how to defend herself, if it had to be this way. She might be more bruised and beaten by the end of the day. But then she’d know what she was up against.
The other woman didn’t comment more on Rana’s name, and then she finished eating her food and stood. She was as ready as she’d ever be, to learn how to fight and how to make a good ‘show’ as she called it. Thessala rolled her eyes and then began walking. Rana followed, while the other said some offending stuff to her, but that rolled off her mostly by now. People offended you constantly when you were a slave. Then Thessala called her a frog again.
“I am not frog.” She said on the way, but the other continued walking until she reached the training weapons. Rana thought Thessala might pick swords for them, but then she suddenly turned around and punched Rana straight in the face. She yelled and stumbled and fell, caught off guard by that sudden attack and she stared up at Thessala with a bloody lip.
“Why?!” She asked and tried to get on her feet, “This not training. This…” What should she call it? Why the fuck did Thessala do that? What did Rana do to deserve such a hit when she wasn’t even ready? She was speechless, didn’t know what to say. This was definitely not expected!
Rana was her name and she knew it fit her. She had always made trouble and when she stole her brothers things and even revealed she’d ‘stolen’ his wife, it somehow made sense that her brother would give her this new name. It was the name she’d gone by the last few years now and it was hers. Even if she shouldn’t be proud of it, she liked it.
And she still didn’t know how Thessala was a name you could use in a show. The other just said it was and how she was a witch in the arena. And she explained how the ‘show’ worked for her, but Rana still didn’t get it. She supposed she’d find out. Then Thessala explained what Rana was in Latin – sounded like it was a frog.
“Ran in my language is steal… so thief.” She knew that word! She’d heard it more than once, also after she became a slave, although she’d never stolen from her master. Anybody else though… but that was another story for another time.
Thessala then asked if she ever held a weapon before and Rana shrugged, “I held knife. But only for work. Never fight.” She never had to before, after all. She smiled again then, “But you teach me fight. Now.” She added, ate the last spoonful of the sad porridge and got up, waiting for Thessala to show her how to fight.
The gladiatrix laughed and Rana wasn’t sure why. She didn’t see why it was wrong to smile at strangers; most people liked a slave that wasn’t in a sour or gloomy mood. Plus she was curious about what she’d do now and hoped she would do well. Both to please those people that were superior to her here at the ludus, but also to please the crowd and gain that fame. Now she even introduced herself to the other, who actually hadn’t left yet. Rana ate a bit more of her breakfast why the other commented on Rana’s name and introduced herself.
“Rana was given to me. Not birth name, not choose name. Is who I am.” Rana explained the best she could in her still broken Latin, “Thessala nice name. It part of your… show?” How could a name be a part of a show?
Why should she look scared or confused? She was certain that she could learn to fight, she was still young after all and she knew she was easy on the eyes. And that’s apparently all you needed to be good at this. She enjoyed the idea of gaining some attention and fame and glory, and that’s what she’d strive for. If this woman before her could teach her how, Rana would be a willing and good student. But wouldn’t the other eat first?
The other woman just smirked though and picked up a bun from the table, claiming she could both eat and fight at the same time.
“I am sure. I not have many experience fight yet. But you teach me.” Rana said with a smile, still hoping the other would sit with her, “I am Rana.”
Rana didn’t know so many of the rules of the house just yet. Other than that she had to work hard to become strong and train hard to become a good gladiatrix. So that she could win fights and win the crowd. If she gained attention, things could become quite good for her. Luckily, Rana loved attracting and gaining attention, so she wanted to train hard and fight well. She didn’t know yet that half the reason gladiatrixes were popular, was not for their fighting skills, but because the Romans enjoyed seeing half-naked women fighting each other. They would even pay for it. So far though, Rana didn’t know that.
She was now watching the woman she’d seen training, and who’d been quite good. Her hair was a bit messy this morning and she had a certain smile, but the doctore stopped her and the woman looked over her shoulder at Rana. So she didn’t even know until now, that she would be training Rana? Then the gladiatrix walked over to Rana, who looked up at her while she finished chewing on her food.
“I will. You not having any?” She wondered, her Latin still somewhat broken, but it had improved a lot since she’d been sold. Considering that before she was sold by her brother, she didn’t know any Latin at all. And now she thought you’d need a full stomach if you wanted to work hard and train well? That’s what she’d always been told… that you can’t do proper work on an empty stomach. Plus it would be nice if the other would join her here.
Rana was new… well she knew that. There weren’t a lot of gladiatrixes here and their sleeping quarters were apart from the gladiators. But the training grounds were the same and she’d heard that some of the best gladiatrixes actually earned a lot of respect among the male ones too. Rana had never seen a gladiator fight in her life. She came from Germania and she had travelled Europe, mostly bound to her slave trader one way or the other. And then she arrived in Rome, which was truly as glorious as she had expected. But since she was a slave, she didn’t get to see the temples or the beautiful villas a lot. She just saw this ludus, so far.
And she wasn’t even ready for the arena yet. She had to be trained, had to learn the proper techniques and had to build up some muscle. The first few days had been spent on the latter. She had been lifting what appeared to be logs from trees, although she could not lift the heavy ones yet. And she had been watching the more experienced female fighters in their training. It seemed rough, but Rana felt it was nothing she couldn’t handle. She wanted to do well, after all. She wanted to earn fame and glory, as she’d heard you could. If that’s all she was here for, then by gods that’s what she would do.
Today the doctore had informed her she would start learning some of the basic techniques from one of the experienced gladiatrixes. In fact she would be learning from the champion – if there was a champion among the women, that’s the one Rana would learn from. She had to learn from the best, the doctore thought.
And so Rana had woken and now she sat by one of the long tables, taking her breakfast porridge. So far she ate alone. She didn’t know anyone here. But she looked at the other females and tried to guess which one was the best. She thought it was the slender dark-haired one, the one with the captivating blue eyes. Rana had seen her train with the others and she certainly did seem to know what she was doing. Now Rana followed the woman with her gaze, as she appeared in the gladiator’s eating area and she almost forgot to eat her own porridge.
20 | January, 54 AD | Slave | Gladiator | Homosexual | Original | Alycia Debnam-Carey
Rana was not born a warrior, nor was she born a slave. She grew up free most of her life, but she has always been curious and determined and quite the troublemaker. She does not always mean to make trouble, but at home her opinions were often strange and she’d do things she shouldn’t do. Like sleeping with her brother’s wife, stealing and other things. Now she’s in Rome as a slave and here she has been told that her skills as a troublemaker will be useful in the arena. She has also always strived for attention and that desire has not lessened either, over the years. She quite likes to be noticed! Rana is still curious about what life is giving her and she is quite open-minded too. She has heard that the gladiatrixes can be paid well and be quite famous, having better lives than most slaves, and she’s decided to strive for that. No matter the cost. She is here to live and live she will… dammit!
Rana is somewhat tall for a woman, standing just about 5’5” in height. She has striking green eyes and smooth, long and dark brown hair. Her skin is tanned after years of travelling and it will probably stay that way, now she’s a gladiator. She is often dressed up in darker colors and for fights in the arena she will also be given a war-paint, to make her appear even more fierce. She embraces everything that is given to her, as long as it makes people notice her. When she is not fighting or wearing clothes fit for training, she wears lighter brown and grey colors.
Siblings: Helvi (sister, 24) and Erwin (26)
Rana was born on a cold winters day in Southern Germania. Back then she wasn’t called Rana – she had another name, but she has put that behind her now. She had an older sister and an older brother; Rana was the youngest of the tree. She knew early on that her lot in life was to be married off, and that her match might be less fancy than what her older sister would get. She was the kind of girl who wanted more though and she did what she could to make herself noticed. Many times she was put in her place by both her father and her brother, they didn’t like her being so outspoken and making trouble. But she couldn’t help it. Being the youngest and a girl meant she mattered less than her siblings.
Rana’s older brother, Erwin, became a merchant and when she was fourteen and he was twenty, he decided to go and make some acquaintances among the Romans. And it was decided that Rana would go with him, because her chances of finding a good husband far away would be better… and maybe marrying her off to someone would form a good alliance. In a village not far from the Roman border, her brother quickly found himself a wife – Gerta - and Rana would live with them. His wife was a few years younger than he was, but that did not matter. Rana’s brother would however often leave and not come back in weeks, because he was trading, and that left Rana and Gerta home alone. The two young women grew close – closer than they should have. Sharing a bed on cold nights brought them close together and in secret, they became lovers.
Years passed in the village and when she was 18 years old, her brother told her he’d found a husband for her. Rana did not like the idea of no longer being with Gerta and she also didn’t like the idea of having a husband. She decided to run away, across the border, because she had also heard that Romans were more open when it came to whom you could love and sleep with. She could however not convince Gerta to run away with her; Gerta had two small children now and she could not live her children behind. But Rana couldn’t stay. She did not want to marry. So one night, Rana packed a sack of good things. She also took some of the valuable hides and amber, which she knew the Romans liked. She thought she could use that on the other side of the border. She left the village at night when her brother was away trading and she made it to the border and across. However, of course she ran into her brother in the first town she found.
Her brother quickly found out she had stolen from him and he wouldn’t take her back to the village. Rana said all sorts of things to him; everything that she’d been keeping inside for years, came out. She even confessed the affair with his wife and that did it. Her brother renamed her Rana, because ‘ran’ meant ‘stealing’. Her brother wouldn’t have anything to do with her; and if she was so eager to escape to Rome, to Rome she would go. He sold her as a slave to the Romans and that’s the last she saw of him. The slave trader took the young woman in, and for years they travelled the continent, where the slave trader would buy and sell slaves on the way. Further down south, an imperial client of a place called the Ludus Magnus in Rome, met the slave trader and he took thought Rana looked rather interesting - and the stories he heard about her were also thrilling. While she had not been a bad slave to her slave trader or tried to run away, she was known for doing odd things and mischief sometimes. She was twenty when she entered Rome and was brought to something called a ludus. Now she knew a little Latin, but it would turn out that wasn’t the most important thing to be able to do. Apparently Rana was to become a female gladiator, fighting for her life and the pleasure of the Romans. She learned fast what it was; the first morning in her new home, she was cleaned up and then the hard training would begin.
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