"The Romans are strong. But so am I."
Saba liked this girl. She was from the other side of the empire and beyond, and was a strange barbarian warrior woman, but she was interesting, and sort of exciting. She hoped they would get to train together.
"Not normally wooden. I usually have a shield, too."
Saba scrunched up her face, thinking.
"I don't think I like the idea of shield. Two swords, maybe? Aren't two swords better than shield?"
"Good job. He was right - you are a good fighter."
Saba grinned. It was flattering to hear the warrior girl say that she was a good fighter. Even if she had been defeated by the Romans, she was probably raised to fight, while Saba had been raised to work in a household and shut her mouth. And yet, here they both were, and Saba was not a pile of broken bones and bruises yet. Some war goddess must have loved her very much.
"I was captured after a battle. Was injured, else I wouldn't have been."
Saba smirked. The girl still had her pride. "Must have been some battle." She nodded at the wooden instruments "Is that how you fight? With sword?"
"Yes, Britannia. How did a house slave come here?"
It was a fair question. Out of the two of them, Annis had the easier reason to be here: she fought the Romans, she lost, she was taken as a slave, and brought to the Ludus to fight for entertainment. As a woman, it was unlikely she'd be killed soon in the arena, unless she got reckless, or some special event came up. Still, she was here and it made sense. Thessala, on the other hand...
"People broke into the house. I fought them off. Master decided I am better at hitting things than cooking, and he knows I would bite him if he tried to fuck me, so. He sent me here."
Annis agreed to take a break, which was just as good, because Saba had a stitch in her side and she was ready to stop. Fighting took still, but it also took endurance, the kind she did not have as a house slave. They walked over to the water buckets together.
"You are a good fighter, even if you are new. Where are you from?"
"Thrace" Saba knelt down, splashing some water on her face, then changing her mind as she just dunked her head into the water. She came up sputtering and shaking water from her long dark hair. "I was house slave before this. You?... Let me guess, Britannia?"
Now that her opponent was properly awake and probably pissed, Saba threw herself into the duel. As both of them got more comfortable with the situation, the backdrop of the Ludus seemed to fade, with the life facts of slavery with it, and all that remained was the rising challenge to defeat the other woman in front of her. Annis was a formidable opponent; jokes aside, she had years of experience on Saba in terms of handling weapons. In short order they were both sweating, scratched and bruised, covered in sand, with heir hair loose. Saba eventually stepped back after getting hit on the arm again, catching her breath and holding up her hands.
"Alright, stop? Take a break?"
Her attack landed, and Saba felt pleased with herself. The blonde might have been some warrior woman, but so far she did not seem invincible.
"Yes. I fought Romans. But now I am here."
So, she lost. She fought Romans, and lost. Why else would she be here as a slave? Saba smirked as she looked her over. "Looks like the Romans won, no?"
The next swing definitely had more force in it. Saba brought her sword up to block, but her sword was knocked aside, and Annis' hit landed on her shoulder, sending her stumbling back. "Ow!" She regained her footing, lunging into another attack. This time she was determined to land a hit.
The blonde sidestepped her strike, and countered, tapping her on the arm. Saba stepped back, raising her sword, considering her options. She was up against someone who had fought many times. This was training, not an actual fight. She was here to learn, but even so, she did not want to come off as some awkward beginner, facing a hardener warrior.
"Saba." It was her name, but once she was a gladiatrix, she would have to pick another one for the arena. "You are some kind of warrior, yes?"
Saba lunged again, this time trying to distract her opponent with a false swing before she changed directions. She was not exact or fast enough, but at least she was enthusiastic...
They must have been the same age. Give or take a few months. The blonde looked like she had just been dragged from the far edges of the empire, but then again, so was Saba. They both had accents. They were both slaves given to the Ludus to fight. The blonde held the wooden sword with ease, and her chin up. Was she one of those barbarian women who fought?
"Many time. You?"
"Not many times. But I like trying." Saba grinned, deciding to hold the sword in her left. She aimed a strike at her opponent, testing the waters "What's your name?"
Saba had been at the Ludus for a whole of two days, but she was already thinking of it as her new home. At first, she was sad that her new dominus loaned her out of the household, but once she learned for what purpose, she could not help but thank her gods for showing her the way. Here, she got to wield weapons. Wooden ones, for now, sure, but she'd get the real thing in the arena. Here, she could be wild, and fierce, and loud. And she got to hit and stab things.
Saba walked around the training yard, watching the others. Such an assortment of weapons and styles! She'd already been told gladiatrices did not have the same set forms as the male gladiators did. She'd have to figure out her own style. Today, they had some new arrivals too; the doctore ordered Saba to pair up with one of them, handing wooden swords to both. Saba weighed the wooden sword with one hand, then the other; it felt comfortable either way. She looked over at her opponent, a blonde woman who seemed a little apprehensive.
"So. We fight? Have you fought before?"
"At least you're not in the mines. Or in a brothel."
Thessala drank to that. In either of those places she would have already murdered someone, or been killed off herself. At least in the arena killing was allowed. It worked wonders for letting off anger and nervous energy. She was not sure what she would have done in a more peaceful setting.
"A henchwoman. Of course that would be an improvement, since right now you're doing it for free. I think I'll come back and spar with you another time. If you'll have it, of course. It's fun, fighting someone who actually knows what they're doing. You may be a slave, Thessala, but you're also an admirable woman."
"And you are quite the interesting man." Thessala smiled back "You are welcome to spar any time. Maybe they will let us face off in the arena one day. Wouldn't that be as show?"