Gladiatrix Diana: Chapter 1
The opening chapter in the tale of Diana -- a gladiatrix of Hera, planet of bloodthirsty Amazons!
Avoid, unless you be a fan of shlocky sword and sandal combat.
CHAPTER 1 : THE CHAMBER OF CORPSES
Diana barely saw her opponent through the slits in her visor. Night had fallen. Torches fluttered around the perimeter of the arena, casting a tenuous light. The harsh jolt that shot up her shield arm left her in no doubt of her attacker's power. The mob roared in anticipation of bloodshed.
The other woman fought under the name of Tanya. Unlike Diana, she wore no helmet. A leggy blonde from the Northern provinces, she was unusually beautiful for a peasant girl. Her pale blue eyes, however, were those of a seasoned killer. Her long hair spun and whirled as she danced around the brunette, seeking an opening. Few doubted that she would take real pleasure in making a kill.
Both women fought topless, but otherwise were well protected by ornate polished armor. Most eyes were glued to their breasts, which bounced freely as the fighters danced and whirled. Lewd jeers rang out, echoing in the large stone amphitheater. Many bets had clearly been laid on the outcome, and passions were high.
In the stands above were crowded several thousand citizens of Cellula. A modest settlement, its greatest building by far was the gladiatorial arena. The tiers were narrow and steep, lending the stadium a claustrophobic atmosphere. The fighters could see the expressions on the faces of the audience above: bloodlust, desire, fear, loathing, delight...and in a few, envy.
Diana gave the watching louts little thought as she concentrated on her craft. She ducked to avoid a sudden thrust, counter-attacked, and moved forward. Her supporters screamed in delight as the helmeted gladiatrix advanced. Tanya was slowly backing into the wall.
"Kill the bitch!" shrieked a dark skinned concubine in the seats above them. Diana wondered how long the stupid slut would last with a sword in her hand.
Tanya moved suddenly, lunging left. Diana followed, seeking to keep the blonde pressed to the wall where she would be easy prey. In an instant Tanya reversed direction, rolled to the ground and recovered her footing with the grace of a dancing girl. She was free from the trap, and moved swiftly to press her advantage. Diana barely had time to turn, catching Tanya's blade with her own with only a moment to spare.
She cursed her helmet and the fool who designed it. It was nigh impossible to see through the fine mesh of the face panel. One day it would surely get her killed. Sword arm numb, she deflected another attack with her shield, and once more engaged the taller gladiatrix in the center of the arena. Tanya seemed to have the upper hand. Her confidence showed in her sword work, as her weapon flickered in the torchlight, her five long years in the arena now evident.
Those in the crowd who hadn't placed money on either fighter seemed to sense the outcome, and cheered their champion. "Tanya! Tanya! Tanya!" they boomed in unison. Diana's blood ran cold - no fighter wants to hear the sound of her opponent's name shake the ground. Her sword felt like a dead weight in her hand. Her breasts heaved, saturated in sweat, as she stood her ground like a cornered tiger. Knowledgeable spectators cheered in approval of her bravery.
When the blow came, it was blindingly fast. Tanya's sword point sliced past Diana's shield, sinking into the segments between her stomach armor. Diana screamed as blood spurted from her side, dropped her sword and let her shield slide slowly from her grip. Tanya stepped back, a look of triumph on her beautiful but cold face. Her lip curled in a cruel smile as she considered the most satisfying way to finish her opponent.
The crowd were on their feet, all leaning forward to view the kill. Even gamblers who had lost their stakes seemed not to care, apparently more fascinated with the death agony of the vanquished woman.
Diana sank to her knees. She grunted as she grasped the wound in her side. A rivulet of blood trickled down her firm thigh. She arched her back, presenting herself to Tanya as a proud gladiatrix should. She gave no sign of fear, and didn't beg for mercy. Many in the stands applauded the sight. Coarser souls grunted in delight at the doomed gladiatrices bare breasts, slick with sweat and oil.
Tanya moved behind Diana and grabbed her helmet by the crest, pulling her head back gently. The brunette's throat was fully exposed. The victrix saluted the mob and placed her blade's point inside the helmet, directly under Diana's jaw.
Tanya thrust - a small, hard motion. Diana gurgled loudly, buckling in agony. A large spurt of blood shot forth as the blade drove inwards. Her breasts quivered as her body jerked, the blood splattering them in one large burst. Diana seemed transfixed, frozen in torment, unable to scream her pain to the arena. The spectators behind Diana had to content themselves with the sight of her clenched buttocks, and her choked cry.
Finally she fell limp. Tanya withdrew her sword and released her grip on Diana's helmet. The vanquished girl flopped forward onto the sand, face first. The mob cheered and clapped as Tanya saluted all four sides. She placed one foot on Diana's bare ass and raised both arms in triumph, panting hard.
Tanya's nipples were as hard as diamonds as the mob roared her name. She thought of her distant home in the hills, of her desperate childhood, and realised that she had been blessed by the Goddesses. She ached for carnal release - her natural reaction to triumph.
Tanya strutted from the arena as four slavegirls ran in with a stretcher. They wore skimpy black tunics that exposed full cleavages and long legs. Ornate masks covered their upper faces, making all look like strange jungle animals. They bundled Diana's body onto the stretcher and carried her away to the mortuary deep in the bowels of the amphitheater.
Many unlucky gamblers in the stands let their anger show. "Serve the bloody bitch right!" "I hope she's burning in hell now..." and "At least she died in pain." floated down to the blood soaked sands. They soon calmed down as the next pair emerged for their duel: a Nubian with skin as dark as coal, naked but for a tiny shred of cloth around her loins. She carried a short trident but no net. Her opponent was a redhead, pale skinned with small breasts. She was just as naked as the black gladiatrix, but carried two swords.
The amazons stood in the center of the stadium and saluted the mob. Their shrill battle cry broke the silence. "Hail! We who are about to die salute you!" Diana was soon forgotten as the new pair squared off.
The slavegirls bore their stretcher through the familiar torchlit tunnels. They approached a large oak door, already open, and carried the dead girl inside. The chamber was long and narrow, dimly lit by small candles along the wall. On the floor were eleven bodies, each one a gladiatrix slain that evening. The bodies had been dumped unceremoniously, and lay in tangled heaps, arms and legs askew. The room reeked of blood, sweat and fear. The slavegirls tossed their cargo in the nearest space available and left without speaking a word.
Diana lay next to a Nubian. The black gladiatrices breasts were splattered with blood, as was her stomach - the hallmarks of a slow death. Nearby lay a tall tattooed brunette, her curled hair matted with blood, sweat and sand. Her lifeless eyes stared past the door into a world lost to her forever. Further away a blonde - her right hand missing, severed in an already forgotten duel; it lay unnoticed in the arena above. Most of these women had died because they deserved to - they were mere criminals, prisoners of war, or delinquents. A few were volunteers, driven to the arena by debts or the desire for glory - but who instead found shameful defeat. None would mourn them, save the owners who had trained and fed them at great expense.
After a few minutes the door opened and the slavegirls entered with another corpse. The redhead was dumped next to Diana. She had been no match for the Nubian's trident. Three bloody wounds across her chest had sent her to the underworld. Her green eyes were half lidded - but still showed remnant traces of horror. The last thing this woman saw was the triumphant snarl of her killer - followed by pain, pain, pain - then nothingness.
"She didn't last long..." muttered one of the girls.
"Few of 'em do." replied another.
"Shut up!" hissed the leader of the group. "We could all be flogged for talking, you stupid cows!" Admonished, they disappeared into the gloom of the tunnels.
The eerie calm of the mortuary was shaken every few minutes by the sounds of the spectators. Their cheers and roars penetrated to the depths of the stadium. The door opened, and another vanquished fighter was cast to the floor, landing with sickening thumps. As the hours passed, the room filled. By the end of the night's games over forty cadavers were sprawled over the tiles. The four slavegirls were soaked with blood, and deposited the last body on the ground with deep, tired sighs. Finally the door was shut, and the stadium slowly fell silent. The room was as still as a crypt as the candles began to sputter. Only minutes of light remained.
Diana grunted, lifting herself onto an elbow. She slipped off her helmet, tearing away the blood filled bladder that had been strapped under her chin, and the one under her belt. The pig's blood had congealed into a nasty dry cake.
She was a strikingly attractive woman, even at thirty three years. Her dark hair hung just past her shoulders, framing a face that was angular but feminine. Her eyes were bright and piercing, her nose pert, her mouth curled easily into a smile. Amazingly, she still had all of her teeth. She did not look like a veteran fighter, a blessing that had served her well. For fifteen long years she had fought as a gladiatrix. Countless were those who had fallen to her blade.
Diana looked around at the bodies. She recognized several from their moments in the waiting area before the tournament. Unlike her, their deaths had been very real. She wondered how they had died - had they shown courage and defiance as a gladiatrix should - or had they trembled in shameful fear. Far too many fighters disgraced themselves than in former years...a sad omen for the times.
Diana only had moments to spare before the candles went out. She grasped her sword firmly, and lay down to wait. As she feared, she was soon in total darkness. She waited. And waited. Soon, fear came over her. Blood dripped from a nearby gladiatrix onto the tiles. Plop. Plop. Plop. Diana fought her desire to race towards the exit and attempt to flee the ghastly chamber.
"Why, why, WHY - didn't I bring a candle?" she hissed to herself. "Stupid..."
She could not tell how much time had passed before the door rattled. The chamber illuminated dimly as a hooded figure entered, carrying a small lamp. Diana watched through a half open eye. She dared not speak, but held her blade ready at her side in case of trouble.
"Diana?" whispered the hooded figure. "Hurry up - there's not much time!"
"Here." replied the brunette, slowly rising to her feet. Every part of her ached. "I NEVER want to do this again."
The blonde girl smirked. "Well then, don't go making so many enemies - then you won't have to fake your own death again." she muttered. "Don't forget your helmet!"
"Got it." Diana replied sheepishly. "I can't believe we got away with this."
"We're not in the clear yet."
Tanya glanced over the fallen women. She caught sight of the redhead, noticing the three wounds across her chest. "That one had no business in the arena." she said, nodding toward the corpse. "As crap a gladiatrix as I've ever seen." She kicked it. "f***ing amateur."
"Dammit Tanya, stop doing that. It's bad luck."
"Luck? No such thing." The blonde spat, her spittle landing on the face of a wide eyed brunette. "We make our own luck. Come on, we don't have much time. Just the sentries to pay off now. You cost me three months of winnings - and you owe me." She kicked a severed head to one side.
"I'll never forget this, Tanya." Diana replied.
"f***ing right you won't. You're supposed to be the responsible one, not me. I can't believe you picked a fight with a Magistrate, daft cow. Here - Put this cloak on - don't want anyone recognizing you!"
They moved stealthily, although all the slaves had long since departed. Diana followed Tanya down corridors, and up several flights of stairs until they reached the gatehouse. From there, bribes paid to sullen guards, a short span to the main thoroughfare, and the open road beyond the city walls. Another throw of the dice...maybe Fate would be kinder this time.
"Where to now? We can't stay here any longer..." Diana whispered, as Tanya grasped her empty purse. She grimaced at the cost of the escape.
"I've never been to Mantissa. I hear it's not as foul as most places." the blonde said.
"Mantissa. Yes," Diana replied. "Plenty of work there for girls like us."
"That's what worries me." Tanya hissed - ignoring Diana's sullen reaction. "Now, how in Hell do we get there?"