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|Sultry Evening (standard:other, 753 words)|
|Author: kendall thomas||Added: Jul 25 2004||Views/Reads: 5539/0||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A beautiful woman intrigues a gladiator.|
Sultry Evening by Will . I had just finished a meal of gruel and watered-down wine in the mess hall with my fellow gladiators when I stepped out under the portico. I was heading toward the armory to pick up my weapons for the morning practice when I saw her. She was seated in the bleachers on the second story of the compound where spectators would sit in order to watch us going through our daily training routine. Usually these spectators were of noble class. Bored dilettantes seeking an amusement. Or, more likely, influential men looking to stock their own private cadre of fighters with the best looking prospects. Or gamblers studying the field for future wagers in the arena. Women of noble birth came too, looking for gladiators to appease their sexual appetites. But it was too early in the day for such women. They would be at the baths being pampered by their retinue of slaves and masseuses. But this woman didn't have their elaborate hair-dos or arrogant mannerisms. She was dressed in a plain white tunic, her dark hair was simply cut with bangs across the forehead. Her blue eyes marked her, perhaps, of Gallic origin. Caesar had recently won a skirmish, west of the Rhine, against a tribe of such and brought back many captives slated for the salt mines or the arena. Perhaps, if she was a slave, she had been sent by her mistress to pick a gladiator for an evening's sultry romp. Whatever, she was very beautiful. I couldn't keep my eyes off her and received several harsh rebukes from my trainer when I failed to get through or block some routine parries and thrusts of my opponent. And several times I felt the sting of his whip. Lunch was a crust of bread, dried fish and more watery wine. During rest period, a boy, no more than thirteen, brought me a wood tablet from the woman but refused to tell me who she was. I opened it and read the message neatly inscribed in wax. ‘Meet me at the inn of Drusus Norbanus. One who adores you.' I smiled. Obviously she was another of my many fans. And why not? I was one of Rome's greatest gladiators with fifteen victories and as handsome as a Greek god. Just another woman looking for a roll in the hay. But this time I would be looking forward to the evening. Better a peasant girl who was beautiful beyond description than some of the pigs of noble birth I was forced to service. The evening was sultry, fittingly so, for the woman I was going to meet promised to be sultry too. The lanista allowed me out of the compound since I was not a slave or criminal but a freeborn man who had volunteered for the arena. In ten years I had earned a fortune in gold and silver and would soon be able to retire to a villa in the countryside with a dozen slaves to cater to my every whim. Perhaps I would buy the pretty, young thing I was meeting to be one of them. The proprietor of the inn knew me. I was a regular customer and had met numerous women for sex in the upper rooms. He nodded with a smile toward a door in the rear that led upstairs. She was there waiting for me on a couch with a thick mattress. I was grinning as I started to pull off my tunic, but she stopped me with a motion of her hand. “I didn't ask you here for that.” “Then for what?” I asked puzzled and a little angry thinking that maybe she was just some silly thing playing a girlish joke. “For this,” she said and shoved a dagger into my gut. As I stumbled back against the wall and slid to the floor my question was unspoken but there on my face no doubt, for she said: “A week ago Caesar ordered the execution of prisoners of war along with their families. I watched from the upper levels of the arena while you killed my father, my mother and my two little brothers with your sword. You cut their heads off and held them up to the crowd while laughing and clowning. I was spared from their fate because of my beauty. A wealthy senator bought me . . .” She went on babbling, but I couldn't hear her anymore for the roar of the crowd. Then nothing. Tweet
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