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October, 74 AD He had promised to come and spar with Thessala. And while there were some promises he sometimes had problems with keeping – like promising to be true to a wife, once – there were others he could definitely keep. Now of course he wasn’t married to Oriana, but he still knew she’d be very hurt if he betrayed her trust. They had a proper talk about it recently and at least now she was prepared though, wasn’t she? Although of course he’d do what he could to not hurt her. He wanted to make her happy, for as long as he could. But he also needed to do what made him feel good. And fighting always made him feel good. At least fighting wasn’t being unfaithful, right? He’d enjoyed fighting ever since he learned it and now it had been a long while since he’d had a fight with another gladiator. Alright, so this one was female and so what? It wouldn’t be a first, for him. And she’d proved that she could fight very well, he’d seen her in the arena. It was rare that gladiatrixes actually got to kill one another, they were just there to entertain, but that didn’t mean they didn’t put in a lot of effort in their fights. Thessala certainly did. He hadn't dressed up today so much, as he knew he'd probably work up a sweat. Hopefully at least! He wore his short breeches and a dark brown tunica and some of his armor too, although not the full set, as it was too heavy and warm for this. He didn't own any gladiator armor anymore, after all, and that was usually made for fights like these. As he entered the ludus, it was kind of a strange feeling, but he shook it off. He couldn’t use such feelings for anything right now. He’d sent word to the lanista that he’d come and spar with Thessala for a fee. After he’d had a chat with the doctore – and given him a little bribe, so that he could take Thessala out for a drink after – Alexius went looking for Thessala. She was training with another gladiatrix and he smiled, leaning against the wall for a moment, watching her. That woman, she really was impressive, and not just her looks and her moves, but her entire expression. When the training match was finished and Thessala would turn his way, he waved at her with a playful grin, “Thessala! I hope you’re not too tired yet.” @Chevi
Was it strange, that he now almost enjoyed going to see gladiator games in the arena? Alexius used to be the one standing there. The crowd had cheered for him once, he had won so many times that they named him a champion. He had a reputation for killing and surviving, for putting on a good show and entertaining the crowd. And sometimes in the nights, he could be found entertaining men or women at the local taverns, when he went out to have a little fun of his own. Either they were brawls or a good lay. Or both. But everything had changed since then and Alexius had too. He was a freedman and although he sometimes had considered returning the life of a gladiator, he hadn’t done it yet and now he had an actual job and a lovely mistress to care about. Was he falling in love? He wasn’t sure. But he knew he cared for her for more than just sex. He enjoyed spending time with her. And he grew jealous by the thought of her marrying someone else… even though he assumed it would happen anyway. It wasn’t exactly the easiest relationship he had ever been in, but he admired her and how could he not? Alexius enjoyed more or less any woman who’d enjoy him, even the sweet and innocent damsels in distress... but he had always had a certain liking for strong and independent women. His first love, Achillia, had been such a woman. He hadn't seen her in years, but how could he forget such a gorgeous gladiatrix who could fend for herself? Nowadays, there were still gladriatices. And he'd seen them and there was one especially who’d caught his gaze. Her name was Thessala and he’d not seen anyone like her in years! Man could she swing a blade and smirk afterwards with blood sprayed over her face in the most stunning way… he was curious about what she was like as a person and had decided he would meet her. Just because... well, he could! Alexius still had contacts in the world of gladiators and ludii, so one day after a fight in the arena, he was allowed back into the old and dark corridors underneath the arena. He only had to pay a few coins to be allowed, and it was more for show than anything else. Thessala would have been shown to a room of her own, probably unaware of whom she would meet. Gladiators and their female counterparts were often sold to wealthy romans for fun – he’d been through all of that too, once. But that wasn’t why he would meet her. He simply wanted to meet a gladiatrix who knew what she was doing. The guard led him to the right door and unlocked it for him and Alexius was allowed in. There was a faint light in the room and he glanced around, wondering which corner she was hiding in. And by the gods, he hoped they'd paid attention to what he said and had not put her in chains. He never liked that. He doubted she did. @Chevi
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. @Chevi