Why? Because the first time I participated in the Lucky 7 Meme about a month ago, I was never actually tagged by anyone, I just did it on my own.
What? He wasn't tagged? He wasn't tagged! Fake! Fraud! He's a witch! Burn him!
Please don't burn me at the stake (I weigh much more than a duck). I was new to this whole blogging thing and just wanted to fit in.
This time I was tagged by the lovely Veronica Sicoe at Building Character.
We all know the rules by now so let's get to it. Last time I posted 7 paragraphs from page 77 of my epic fantasy WIP "Sol of a Gladiator". This time I'm posting the first 7 paragraphs from my first fight scene. Enjoy!
The Coliseum throbbed.
It was as if the massive structure had a pulse, a pulse with a name. The thousands of spectators that packed the stands had enjoyed the earlier carnage but it was now time for the main events; time for the champion fighters to emerge from the bowels of the coliseum to be pitted against man or beast. The sandy floor was already stained with the blood of the fallen and the throng chanted the name of the one that they would have add to it.
Sol, Sol, Sol.
Slow and steady, almost somber like a funeral march the name repeated. Amplified by the deep stone bowl of the coliseum, the sound was deafening. Blocks away babies awoke crying in their cribs as the surrounding city shook with it. Down in the lowest dungeons carved into the living stone beneath the coliseum, fighters stirred in their bunks. The animal handlers backed away from the massive cages, whips cracking, trying to subdue the beasts driven mad by the sound. Ladies of society high in their shaded luxury boxes covered their ears while casting disparaging looks down upon those from whom the chant sounded, but still it continued.
In the whole of it there was only one that was oblivious to the throb. Crouched in the dark at the foot of the gate between the coliseum floor and one of the many tunnels that lead to the dungeons, the gladiator himself was too deeply immersed in concentration to give any heed to the din. It likely would have been lost on him anyway. After all, for the thousands who chanted his name, this was all a spectacle of pleasurable entertainment. For him it was a matter of survival.
The armor clad figure rested on bended knee in the dirt awaiting the opening of the gate. The two guards standing a dozen paces behind him had given him no weapon this time so he held his empty hands clasped on his thigh. His head was bowed and eyes shut tight as he contemplated the first crucial moments after the gates opening.
It was true that Sol was strong, but there were stronger. He was fast, but there were faster. There were those that were smarter or even better trained for combat, although not many. Sol was a successful fighter for a number of reasons but one thing stood out, adaptability. He had the uncanny ability to take in a situation at a glance, decide what tools were available to him, and act without hesitation. It was something you couldn’t teach and few had it.
Sol knew from experience that the first few moments after the gate opened were the most crucial of the fight. Many questions had to be answered and answered fast. Man or beast? How many? Armed with what? What’s the available cover? These questions and more had to be answered, answered well, and usually answered at a dead run to have a chance at staying alive. Each time he emerged from the tunnels he faced a new challenge. The lone rule of the coliseum was that the crowd got what the crowd wanted. And since the crowd demanded novelty the promoters went to great lengths to satisfy.
Exotic animals were brought in from the far corners of the constantly expanding Empire. Many times they were pumped full of stimulants or narcotics before entering the arena making them crazed and unpredictable. Elaborate battle scenarios played out complete with detailed props and scenery. With a different horror awaiting him each time the gate opened, a fighter could take nothing for granted. Every appearance had to be approached with an open mind so as not to be caught off guard.