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Rana

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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

Edited by Atrice
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Posted (edited)

Sex was explicitly forbidden to gladiatrices at the ludus - that is, with men. No one wanted their prime champions to suddenly get with child. The upside? Rules about sex between women were mostly up for interpretation, and if the doctore liked you, he could be... somewhat flexible about them. Case in point: Thessala entering the dining hall of the ludus with bed-messy hair, and the look on her face reminiscent of a cat that had just licked out all the cream from the jar. As long as she was on time in the morning, she could arrive straight from bed. 

The satisfied look, however, did not last long. Thessala was intercepted in the doorway by the doctore, a short conversation ensued (which was clearly not to her liking), and a new girl was pointed out. Thessala looked over, eyes narrowing, but gave the doctore a short, dutiful nod. Her day had just had a turn for the worse. 

She walked over to the girl. She was very new, no defined muscles yet, but looked promising under the metaphorical baby fat. Of course, she did not need to know that. Muscles were the least part of the art. 

"You. I'm training you today. Finish your porrige and meet me outside." 

@Atrice

Edited by Chevi
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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.

@Chevi

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The girl did not look scared, or confused, or any of the dozens of other things newcomers tended to exhibit when arriving to the ludus, except maybe curiosity. She had an accent, but who didn't, really. It's not like the ludus was full of purebred Roman citizens. Thessala kept her accent for performance purposes. Roman men had a hard-on for barbarian women. 

"I will. You not having any?" 

Thessala smirked, picking up a freshly baked bun from the table. 

"I can eat and fight you at the same time, don't worry." 

@Atrice

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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.”

@Chevi

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Gods be merciful, this girl was greener than grass. Thessala sighed as the newcomer smiled at her. She was either fresh off the boat, or a special kind of foolish, smiling at complete strangers like that.

“I am sure. I not have many experience fight yet. But you teach me. I am Rana.”

Thessala arched an eyebrow, and let out a little snort of laughter.

"Did you choose that for yourself, or is that your birth name? Either way, you might want to change it, unless it is going to be a part of your show." she noted, taking a bite from the bread "I'm Thessala. At least that's what I'm called now."

Green as a frog, apparently.

@Atrice

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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?

@Chevi

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“Rana was given to me. Not birth name, not choose name. Is who I am.”

If it was not given and not kept, then it was not who she was. Yet. It must have been a slave name, Thessala thought idly, not really caring enough to ask about the details.

“Thessala nice name. It part of your… show?”

"You bet it is" Thessala grinned. "I'm a downright witch in the arena. If there is anything men like to see more than two attractive women fighting is two attractive women who are also crazy."

That was not first-day stuff, though. First, the girl would have to learn to handle a sword, and other weapons. She could muse about her character later on.

"Rana in Latin, it's a water animal. Green, jumps, it goes croak?" she added, for clarification. The girl might as well be in on the joke about her given name. "You can worry about that later. Now, have you held a weapon before?"

@Atrice

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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.

@Chevi

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“Ran in my language is steal… so thief.” 

Thessala tilted her head. She was named thief, and she was alright with it? Well, that sounded like the most interesting story she did not want to hear. Maybe it was the reason why the girl ended up as a slave in the first place. 

“I held knife. But only for work. Never fight. But you teach me fight. Now.” 

She was determined, that had to count for something. It would have, with most people. Thessala just rolled her eyes.

"Eager, are we?" she smirked, turning on her heel and walking out to the training field. "From where in the Hyperborean ass end of nowhere did they drag you here anyway? Or did you come by your own will, little frog?"

Thessala walked up to the racks where the wooden swords and other training weapons were lined up. She took a look at them, considering options for a moment, then, as Rana caught up behind her, she turned around, and threw a hard punch right at her face.

Might as well get straight down to work.

@Atrice

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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!

@Chevi

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There was a spray of blood that made Thessala's hand feel warm and sticky as Rana's lip burst under the punch. She shook her fingers out, wiping the back of her hand on her tunic. A little blood never hurt anyone. 

“Why?! This not training. This…”

"This is what happens in the arena. You get hit." Thessala noted, taking up two wooden swords, and tossing one to the ground at Rana's feet. "You will get hit a lot. You will have bruises, broken bones, and if you are not good, you will die." she shrugged. Honestly, female gladiators died a lot less often than the men, mostly because their fights were a different kind of show. But that did not mean a death did not make the perfect ending every once in a while. "None of it is personal, unless you make it so. And if you make it personal... well. You get bruises, broken bones, and if you are not good, you die." she repeated the last part with a smirk. Gladiators had enemies for show, but only the stupid ones made real ones behind the scenes.

"Come on. Attack me."

@Atrice

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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.

@Chevi

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The new girl looked angry at the punch. She would learn in time. And if she didn't, that was on her. Thessala did not give a shit either way. Right now she looked like a puppy that got kicked. Did she think she was here to make friends? Green little frog.

“I am not learn… moves… first? No skill, just fight?” 

"I need to see what I am working with. Pretend you are fighting for your life. You will be, eventually." wooden swords were safe, but they hurt well enough when someone did not know how to defend herself. There was no better way to learn than by actually doing things. Rana, however, looked at her warily and did not move forward.

“You attack me first.” 

"Oh, for Pluto's sake" Thessala sighed, and then swiftly lunged forward, aiming a hit with the point of the wooden sword at the wrist of Rana's sword hand. It was a sharp tap, aimed to be painful enough to make the girl drop the sword that she was not holding very well to begin with.

@Atrice

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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.

@Chevi

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Thessala aimed a hit at the girl's wrist, and Rana jumped back, just out of reach. Well, at least her reflexes were not bad. If she could react this fast, maybe she had more than two seconds of a future in the arena. Even if it only lasted till someone chased her down. She seemed pleased with herself at not getting hit, which annoyed Thessala.

“Again. Who is Pluto?”

"What?" she blinked, pausing before her next attack "Where did you say they got you from again?..."

If the girl worshipped different gods, and didn't even know the Roman ones, she had to have come a long way. Thessala considered her next attack before she moved forward again, quicker this time, aiming the same king of tap at Rana's wrist... followed up by coming in closer and swinging for her sides a couple more times without letting up. Little frog could only keep jumping out of the way until her back hit a wall, after all...

@Atrice

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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.

@Chevi

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