A Gladiator's Tale

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Well this was a grade for Geography Class about around November. i'm in like 6th grade so like this is great for my age. It's 10 and a half pages in all 12 font.  I got a really good grade for this. The assignment was to write about a gladiator, citizen, or animal and how they revovled around the old Roman Colliseum in about three forths of a page.



A Gladiators Tale( The caption is much bigger, It's the title)

   Thomas stared bleakly as the sun set. It had arrays of colors but it really didn’t interest him, he just wanted to pass the time. Being in the countryside of Spain it never yielded any unexpected happenings. Everything that did happen was always known. So there, Thomas lay, across the grassy fields, looking straight for the horizon. When finally darkness covered the land he got up, brushed him off, and then walked off home.

   As he strode through the darkness Thomas kept his mind preoccupied. Only thinking of the possibilities of leaving the boring old town of Sarries Ville, where he currently lived. When he finally came home to the village, and onto the dirt path, it was already an hour past sunset.  Rearing corners around the dark lit makeshift buildings, Thomas rushed quickly to home. He was late for dinner; his mother was intolerant of that. So as he neared home, Thomas already realized he would probably be punished.

   When he got to the wooden door at the front of his family’s house Thomas peaked through the window. He knew his father was home, being in the Royal Army he was mostly at the Capitol. For these special occasions, when Thomas’s father did get leave, the family stayed close to the village areas.  His mother would be there too, always vigilante, always sharp. He called her Dagger because she could graze you happily or cut you in exasperation.

   Putting his left hand onto the front door doorknob, Thomas turned it. The door, unlocked, opened as he pushed it inwards into the house. Immediately Thomas could feel the light dancing across his face, flickering to his right or his left as the light winds from outside rushed in. Turning and hastily closing the door he had just entered from, Thomas could smell the broth and bread made fresh just a little while before dinner.

   There was one thing that he feared. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up immediately. It was as if he had censored himself to the two pairs of eyes staring at his back, just waiting for him to turn around. Rolling his eyes and taking a deep breath Thomas turned. Immediately a wild barrage of questions hit him straight across his face.

“Thomas Lee Jamison… Where have you been!? Why are you so late? So help me god, if you were doing something to the crops I’ll have dad kill you for me!” Thomas’s mother screamed at close to her loudest voice, not wanting to stir the neighbors nearby.

   Anxiously, Thomas glanced over to his father. His father slightly smiled and let out a laugh. Thomas knew that his dad considered it funny, always one step behind his mother, following and not leading.  Looking at his mother again Thomas slowly whispered with his head down.” I was at the fields watching the sunset.”

   Still angry his mother couldn’t hear him, her face becoming red.” Speak up! Now!” Annoyed Thomas looked up at her and glared at her.

   “I was at the fields Mom! Why do you ask me all these questions, I’m not a criminal. Leave me alone, for heaven’s sake I’m 19, I don’t need to be shepherded around.”

   His mother didn’t even move. Pointing to his room, Thomas’s mother clenched her teeth. He knew what she wanted him to do. No dinner for him tonight. Stepping heavily to his room, Thomas slammed the door behind him and went to bed.

    It had only been a couple of hours before Thomas was rustled from his bed. He could hear horse gallops, his father rumbling outside. Immediately Thomas became alert. Jumping out of bed he pulled on his nightshirt. Opening his door Thomas walked out. Glancing around he saw the houses front door opened. Walking to the front door Thomas walked out into the dirt path. There he beheld a gruesome sight.

      Fires were rumbling through the edge of the village. The men in Sarries Ville were all outside. Weapons in hand they were battling off some bandits.  Even with that the village men were losing.  The mongrels were swift, killing them with a couple of blows. Thomas was even more horrified when he saw his father, on the frontline.

   There he witnessed his own flesh and blood murdered. Slashed through the chest with a spear and then beheaded with one swift sword stroke. Thomas fell to his knees. He knew he couldn’t give up just yet, he still had his mother.

    Getting up Thomas ran as fast as he could, sprinting through his house to his mother, who was still laying in bed, waiting for her husband. Looking at her with a sad face he picked her arm up and pulled her off the bed. Pulling her all the way to the front door Thomas looked back only once, and he gave her a warning.

   “Dad’s dead, you’re alive. Go tell the capitol about this attack…go now! You know there’s a stallion behind the house; you know how to ride a horse. Simply gallop away, don’t look back. Go!”

   With that he pushed her off towards the side of the house which would lead her towards the small stable where his father’s horse was. Not even glancing to see if she listened to him, Thomas saw the battle was over. The bandits trapping and binding the few remaining men continued on to burning the houses. Lighting them on fire with torches, and simply moving on, not bothering to look at the destruction they brought.

    Within moments a horse riding bandit came towards Thomas. Turning on his heel out of fear Thomas started to run. His attempt was feeble though. The horse easily out did him and the bandit punched him in the back of the head, knocking him unconscious.

   When Thomas awoke yet again everything was blurry. He bobbed his head from side to side as he listened to the conversation between two men standing over him.

   “Aye sir...We could sell him to the Gladiators for some quick cash? He’ll be mint condition once he awakes. Plus, since we’re selling everyone else we captured as slaves or Gladiators we might not need to keep this overgrown buffoon. We are going a little out of the away to sell him but we might be able to afford it.“

   Then Thomas felt a thick pain in his side. One man had kicked him in the ribs, probably breaking it. Groaning Thomas was pulled into a caged horseback drawn wagon. He knew this for he was only able to see little glimpses. He could feel blood seeping from the back of his head from the blunt force from the bandits’ simple strike.

   When Thomas awoke again he was in a cell on top of an uncomfortable stone bed. Still woozy and with a light headache Thomas stood and walked over to the bars which stopped him from leaving. He looked at the other cells, each one with a man waiting for something. Standing for hours Thomas did other entertaining things to pass the time. Luckily he was taken out of his cell later along in the day with, of course, the other cell mates. There they were taken out and into the daylight. The sun hit their bodies, increasing their sweating habits.

They individually were put into one line. Thomas on the end of what seemed to be nineteen men stood straight up. He had heard about places like these. People were taken and then sold or brought to a camp. This camp trained them for the Coliseum. Where gladiators fought. Some called this the hole before hell. Others called it Gladiator School. Thomas liked the second first, being under his circumstances.

As the men, all in their primes, stood tall a man emerged from underneath arches. He strode to the prisoners, as if they didn’t have anything else to do, which they didn’t. When he reached in front of the row of men he walked up and down the row, eyeing each one, making sure they were fit to fight.

Then he returned to the middle of the row and started to speak in a loud, educated voice.

   “Alright, you all have been sold to us here. You are presumed slaves until proven wrong. That means we have control of you. Since you are all slaves now turned to pre-Gladiators you are acquired to know what you’re doing. After all it’s for the show and not for the gruesome defeat of your worthless bodies. For the next week you’ll be training. It’s a short time basically because many are killed every day inside those arches. As long as you have basic training we are alright with you dying. Now that you know about why you’re here our veteran Gladiator here will teach you the ropes, using you as examples. Enjoy ….If you don’t die.”

With that he turned his back and walked off back into the arches. Not once looking back at the nineteen or so men that lives were condemned to certain death. Thomas gulped for a moment, he wasn’t the youngest of everyone but he still felt weak compared to the rest of the group. When the veteran finally walked over to the group he studied them again. This time he looked for flaws. “To weak…… To Strong…Oddly shaped.” That continued for the next twenty minutes. When he came to Thomas he held picked up his arms and had him hold in the air. “You might actually be good at this… Hopefully you survive the first test.”

Then he picked one man out from the group. Moving his chosen example to the middle of the sand, dirt floor he started to talk. Motioning his hands to the pin points of taking someone down without being hit.

“Starters, I’m Addis, your new teacher. Alright, there’s exactly three points you want to hit. First, strike the armpit. Stab something there and the person will lose so much blood they can’t fight you and could die. Next the stomach, they’ll grab it in pain and you can swiftly take them out. For the third you want to hit the face, without a weapon or with it try feverishly to break the nose. This will cause watery eyes, immense pain, and your opponent is considered handicap. I’ll show you right now.”

Then Addis looked to his example. In quick succession he punched him in the stomach. Immediately the man grabbed his stomach. Quickly Addis hit him in the face, breaking his nose. Without another moment the man fell on the floor.

“As I told you one before. This is what happens when you perform these moves. Adding the underarm blow equals one instant kill. So let’s keep moving.”

For the next couple of weeks Thomas and the other Gladiators-to-be, trained ferociously. Learning techniques and how to fight with various weapons they all became good. Only two men didn’t make it. They couldn’t perform physically like everyone else. Naturally one day, they just vanished. No one dared to ask and no one wanted to know. They feared to be killed. So silence enveloped the whole week while they learned.

                                                                                                              

When that week was over the group was assessed one last time. They were set out to fight against each other. The last I’ve remaining would be sent straight to the coliseum, given a good meal and the others would be brought later and given stale bread and water. This way they knew to perform better than others. After some brawling Thomas was one of the five remaining people. He was lucky. Barely making it after being wacked on the head by a fist. He survived it though still remembering how it didn’t hurt like the bandits strike. Even though he prevailed one thing stayed on his mind, his mother. Did she tell the Spaniards or was she labeled a lunatic.

Since he hadn’t been found Thomas guessed that she hadn’t been credible or proven correct and her pleas simply pushed aside.  Thomas didn’t have to be anxious about traveling to the Coliseum. Immediately after the five gladiators were sent horse caged to the Roman city. It only took awhile shorter than expected, as if they had only been less than a miles away from the city.

When they reached there they were taken through arches like any spectator would enter. That was until they were thrust into a room. From there they walked down a flight of steps. Immediately Thomas smelled the vicious animals and the human sweat from others inside. Thesis and Urination made someone want to vomit, for the Gladiators there, they simply, were used to the odors.

That was when Thomas was finally separated from the four others. He was put into his own cell and given meat, water, and one side of fresh fruits. The meat looked great. It was slightly cooked; with partial red hues, showing but Thomas was still grateful for it. Everything else was the same. Fruits were, as said, fresh, water was, water, that was basically it.

Looking around Thomas could see the greedy eyes of other prisoners, licking their lips and trying to reach inside the bars. Without fear, Thomas ignored them, munching on every piece of meat in his meal absorbing the savory juices within, leaving only the untenable fat on his plate. Gulping his cup of water down, eagerly Thomas grabbed the plate of fruits. Two oranges, ten grapes, and one mango covered it.

  Thomas started with the mango. Sticking his hand in the side he pulled off the outer layer of it and then chewed on the watery, yellow part. He was fiendishly in heaven.  Thomas hadn’t eaten that great in weeks. The travel to Spain he had been unconscious, while at Gladiator Camp he went only on small rations.

Here he was treated like a king. Something not considered normal in the life of a Gladiator. Thomas continued eating, popping the grapes in his mouth all at one time, chomping on them while the tasty water covered his mouth.  Each time he wandered his eyes to stare at the cells across from his. Each one holding a hungry soul inside. Thomas still had a heart, so he took the two last fruits, his oranges, and rolled them to the only cell close to him.

  This was right across. As the two hit the bottom of the steel bars, two hands reached out and clenched both strongly before pulling them in. Throwing the plate near his cell Thomas lay on his stone bed and closed his eyes, slowly falling asleep, even with the ferocious screaming of exotic animals and the moans of near death Gladiators. He knew his life would remain hard, even if it didn’t seem like it would be right now.

  It was the next morning when Tomas awoke.  The Roman soldiers banged so the steel cages with their swords.  Everyone jumped out of bed immediately, even Thomas.  He had learned that, while in Gladiator camp, when someone banged on your cage you were to fight in the coliseum’s daily events. 

  Thomas gripped his stomach in fear as these soldiers banged on his cage, peaking in to make sure he was already awake.  Thomas was taught not to fear things, but here, where you can hear the gruesome tales, moaning and roaring of animals, you can’t just brush it off.

  Without hesitation Thomas readied himself, stretching his muscles, doing push-ups.  The short time he had quickly passed by, and when the guards came Thomas was breaking sweat.  Glancing behind the soldiers, Thomas saw no one behind them. 

  “Looks like I’m the first or maybe only show today”, Thomas whispered to himself as the two soldiers opened his cage door with a adequately small, metal key.  Thomas knew the drill.  Walking out of the cage he was slowly brought to the levy.  Once he got onto it Thomas was thrown three items.  Thomas firstly observed the light brown leather mail which covered his feet. Quickly grabbing it Thomas lifted the armor over his head and dropped it unto his shoulders.  Fitting it to rap around his body size, Thomas bent over and reached for his equipment. Before grabbing either one he pondered on whether just fighting with his fists.

   Even though that didn’t work well, even worse if they had weapons, Thomas decided to just use what was given to him. The remaining items were a wooden shield and a dulled out sword. Picking up the shield Thomas strapped it to his right arm. With his left he grabbed the dull sword. It was almost useless.  Slightly rusted, to the point of dark brown Thomas couldn’t believe its condition. Even with that he knew that there had to be a way to fight with the weapon, to bend it to his will and no others.

   Slowly, as he was levied up to the ground level of the coliseum, Thomas thought about the combinations in strikes that would work the best. He knew slashing wouldn’t work. Dulled meant not sharp edge, it would barely break skin, so he would have to bash and chop things in order to work.  Those were the only favorable equations Thomas could think of as the levy stopped and sunlight hit him.

The blistering heat hit him like a slap to the face. As he squinted his eyes Thomas could hear the immense roars and yells from the spectators. Most were plebeians, somewhere wealthy patricians, then there was the currently Roman leader. Titus, he sometimes watched these fights and enjoyed the death of others. That’s why Thomas didn’t want to fight in front of the man. Either way he would have to if he was picked. So, butterflies in his stomach, and the roars from the onlookers Thomas sprinted out of the tunnel and into the battlefield. What he saw wasn’t just sand, there were already Gladiators fighting. They were fighting off some lions and just beyond Thomas could see two chariots getting ready to tow in and kill the weakened men.

Without hesitation Thomas ran across the battlefield, catching the eyes of some spectators as he did. When he reached the small group of Gladiators they barely looked at him, only paying attention on staying alive. Jumping in formation with everyone else Thomas’s eyes wandered around. In his group there were exactly ten men. Spread out alone and like sitting ducks where other soldiers, about four in all. They all had their backs facing each other.  That wouldn’t be enough though. Seeing this, the pack of lions, licking their lips and roaring, surrounded them. Each man rotated, taking a single sidesteps in a boxed shape.

Even though they had their eyes on every beast they would vastly outnumbered. They soon were attacked. First one lion jumped in the air strategically. Immediately soldier put his spear up towards it , but below him, on the ground, on all fours, was another lion, quickly jumping low and gnawing on the man’s leg. Instantly he cried out, the pain overwhelmed him and he fell sideways onto the floor. In a minute he was fish food, quickly sliced until his body became limp. The lions kept moving though.  With only three men left and six lions, the small group of Gladiators was cornered. Amazingly the spectators just roared in laughter and shouts. Thomas couldn’t stand to bear the sight. He turned and only heard the screams of agony as the rest of the group was laid to waste, sliced by sharp claws and teeth.

“Turn around, don’t fear, those oversized cat’s smell fear. Don’t show one sign and don’t SMELL like it either. “Thomas turned around to see a tall man holding his arm. His gaze burned into the soul of Thomas, the man was determined.  Before long the man started talking again.” Mind my manners; Juni Marquez is the name… No times to tell stories though, just stay alive and close to the group and you won’t die.”

Taking that as a word of advice Thomas nodded and looked onwards. The lions were closing in fast, already sprinting like lightning to the line of Gladiators. This time the line of slave men didn’t fall for the others mistakes. They quickly maneuvered through it. It was simple. When the lion jumped into the air, one fighter would slash it while another came from below and slashed the other.  The lions were poached alive, being stabbed through the hides of their fur.

Only one remained. It crowed, its head down as it was surrounded. Without penance the group sliced and stabbed at the animal, causing blood to erupt all over its body. The sand ran red with the lions blood as it fell on its side.  The show wasn’t over; quickly the chariots were let free. The rider, galloped while, in the back, was an archer. Facing their backs to these giant wooden things most of the group were hit. Arrows lodged into their bodies, slowly dying of incredible pain and trauma.

   Thomas luckily wasn’t hit, only from Juni, who blocked off an arrow, protecting them both. Both men turned their whole body around. They raised their shields and charged along with the other two remaining men. Thomas quickly put himself into action. Running beside the chariot Thomas blocked himself as a incoming arrow hit the shield, stopping dead and clinging onto the wood.

Lowering his shield Thomas quickly held his sword like a throwing spear. As the chariot raced by Thomas threw it at the wheel. Luckily it hit between two jagged holes. As the wheel turned it broke the wood and the chariot fell sideways, throwing the chariot rider and archer onto the sand. Running over to the two figures laying on the ground, Thomas grabbed the archer by the neck. Rapping his other hand around the archer’s head Thomas quickly pulled in opposite directions. This caused a crack in the archer’s head, who had been wiggling and struggling to break free. When he crack happened the man’s body fell limp and Thomas dropped him onto the floor.

Adrenaline pumping, Thomas ran over to the other man who was sitting down. With his foot Thomas rammed it into the rider’s temple. Quickly the rider’s body flew to the opposite direction and, like the other, stood still. Grabbing a small knife from the rider’s body Thomas held it in his hands. He was to late though; Juni had taken out the one other chariot and were rapping things up.  The two men who had been fighting with Juni and Thomas had died, being taken out by the moving death weapons.

Standing tall Thomas could hear the applauses from the spectators. Walking over to Juni the two gathered into the middle. Patting him on the back Thomas took deep breaths.

“Ah… we actually survived. God helped us here.” He said laughing.

Juni looked at him and replied.” I don’t believe in God, he’s the reason why I’m here. I believe in luck…. That’s all I believe in.” Thomas just stared, the man didn’t believe in the lord, surprising just a hint, some found god in places like these, others only found madness. Juni was in the middle, not on either side.

With the show over Thomas and Juni were escorted back to their cells, both satisfied at being alive and not being dragged off the Coliseum sands while motionless. Thrown into his cell Thomas ripped his armor off and handed it to the guards. Even they were astounded by his bravery and skill. One man spoke to him, but only for a moment, pausing and making sure no one caught him.

“ Great job… most fall in their first fight. Well trained.”With that the two soldiers left and Thomas was alone in his cell, wondering when he would get the taste of blood splattered across his tasteless lips.

2 YEARS LATER

It had been two years since Thomas’s first fight. Since then he had prevailed through all the trials. All the downs and ups, the crowds that gathered respected him. Through those same years he had made a good friend out of Juni, the both always fighting side by side on the battlefield. Thomas knew after his last fight, where King Titus would be presenting himself, Thomas could get freedom. Finally he could go home, find his mother, and then return back to the open fields. He longed for those boring fields, no fear of death, nothing keeping you from being you, no bloodthirsty animals gnawing and biting at you. Nothing was the same.

The last fight of his life. Thomas was ready. He stayed up the whole night, anxious with the different possibilities of living. When finally, the guards clanged on his steel cage Thomas leaped up and put his hand through the cage. Catching their attention they quickly opened the cage and let him out. Eager Thomas stretched his muscles while he walked. Taking stops with the guards as they gathered Juni and several other men.

Looking towards Juni he let out a bellowed roar of encouragement. “Finally, I get a chance at freedom. You get a chance too. I know what I’m going to do when I am freed. First thing, I’m never coming back to this hell hole.”

Juni laughed, holding his sides in disbelief. “I’ve never seen someone so happy. Don’t want to again, it’s too funny.” With that they were taken onto the levies. Grabbing weapons Thomas ended up with his leather armor, which he’d grown use to. Plus a knife and spear. When he was ready, along with the others, everyone was pulled up into the loud coliseum. The same roars continued like always. Thomas had been given instructions, with everyone else, on how to greet the king. When they were informed well enough the men pulled out into the middle of the sand filled ground. Raising their spears above their heads they all roared. “All hail Titus!” When Titus motioned for them to silence they all did. Then a scribe pronounced the proceedings. One fight, ten Gladiators against fifteen soldiers and fifteen lions. Every man for themselves, he yelled. With that the show commenced. The gates were opened and the lions ran out, the soldiers slowly stalked, wanting to get the leftovers.

Acting on his trained instinct Thomas moved to the front of the line and engaged. Taking two lions on by himself, Thomas stabbed the first one through the head. The second was luckier. It got one clean slash into Thomas’s thigh. Only thinking about freedom, Thomas ignored the indulging pain, continuing on and kicking the ferocious animal in the front leg, breaking it. Seeing it kneel Thomas gave no mercy, stabbing the pole through its snout and out its chin shaped feature. Looking around quickly Thomas saw already, the bodies of Gladiators littering the floor.

Four had perished and the lions were dwindling on being finished up. Only Thomas, Juni, and eight other men were left. Putting team effort and finishing up the lions like daisy picking Thomas readied for the soldiers who were getting closer.

“I got these three, you all take the rest!” Thomas roared above the cheers, and moved on to three soldiers, bunched together. Quickly he pulled out his knife. As the three noticed him they accessed quickly. One against three didn’t favor Thomas but he knew trained soldiers underestimated Gladiator skills. As they charged towards him Thomas threw his spear to one, it hit the man through the chest and the soldier flew back.

  The other two neared Thomas, surrounding him. Undaunted, Thomas ran over to one. Engaging in quick combat Thomas started, punching the man in the ribs. Like in training that soldier grabbed his abdomen. Ripping the helmet off the man Thomas pulled his left hand back. Knife in his right Thomas punched the man in the face, breaking the targets nose quickly. Quickly Thomas stabbed the broken soldier through the neck, as he did, blood splattered onto his face. The blood covered the bottom of his lip and sprayed down to his neck.

   Thomas didn’t have time to react to the other man. When he turned around he was struck instantly in the face. Hitting his jaw blood flew from Thomas’s mouth as he fell to the sandy floor beneath him. Catching himself again Thomas looked up. Wiping the blood running down his chin, Thomas could see his assailant. Instead of just staying there, frozen, Thomas rolled out of the way as a sword came slashing down. Then he grabbed his dagger, now lying in the sand, and threw it at the helmet covered soldier.

    With an instant stroke of luck Thomas’s dagger went through a little hole, which was supposed to help the soldier see. Instead it had been the man’s downfall, going through the metal, going through the eye and piercing the man’s brain. Rolling again to not get squashed by the falling man Thomas stood up. Three men all around him, each one dead. Grabbing his dagger Thomas wrenched it from the brain it had been attached to.

  Looking over Thomas could smell the blood littering the field. He’d gotten used to it for the last two years; it was the same almost every day. Looking over to Juni, Thomas eyes widened. The man was surrounded by four men, and nearing were two chariots, which had just shown up. Wanting to protect his friend Thomas instantly threw his dagger. It stroke true. Hitting a man in the back who was facing opposite of Thomas. Running to another man Thomas jumped in the air, hitting the man with his left foot. This caused the soldier to fall on his face in the dirt. Jumping on top of the man Thomas held his head in the sand, smothering him.

Grabbing the man’s weapon, a spear, Thomas lifted himself off the ground and looked around. Juni was handling one man, while another sprinted behind him. Gripping the spear Thomas threw it in the air. Piercing the air Thomas could hear the weapon swishing until it hit the man in the lower ribs, causing him to move in an uncomfortable way.

Thomas looked satisfied, dusting his hands off, he watched as Juni finished off the last man. Smiling for a moment, Thomas’s face changed almost instantly. There behind Juni, arising from the dust, was a chariot, another was coming from Juni’s right. Screaming and hollering Thomas ran towards Juni, weaponless he knew he wasn’t of much use, which was if he didn’t get a weapon.

When he reached Juni, Thomas pushed him out of the way and grabbed his sword. Turning around the chariots were even closer, ready to kill. Unable to watch both, Thomas didn’t see an archer shoot an arrow towards him. With no way to dodge it and not even knowing it was coming, the arrow pierced him in the leg. Falling unto his knee Thomas’s chance of surviving was useless. With one last bit of strength he threw Juni’s sword over to the chariot which had yielded the arrow. To late though, as he did this the chariot was nearing and after he threw it a sharp point ran across his leg, slicing it clean off. He got his revenge though; the chariot’s wheel broke unexpectedly and flipped over, killing the people on it. Looking over to the other chariot Thomas closed his eyes. He would be killed; he knew that, having only one leg couldn’t get you far. When he opened his eyes up again to see if he was dreaming Thomas was run over. The chariots horses stomping on his body, and then the wooden chariot pounding over the bruises. Thomas was dead, lying across the ground, his legacy destroyed. Still the roars and yells from the coliseum continued. His leg lay farther away from his body. He was dead, his story lost in the fringes of humanity. Game over for one more Gladiator.