The dark horse—the one they call the Lion of Arras—strikes a horrendous blow. The champion's gladius sunflashes as it flips into the dirt. It sticks there point down, like the cross over a grave. Deathly silence fills the arena. The gladiator does not wait for the emperor's approval. He sees only the champion and his long march of victories, a sea of blood over which he has sailed to become the best. With a flash of his sword, he opens his jugular. The arterial spray does a curvet on the sand. The iron laurel passes from one champion to the next. The Lion of Arras has become the new king of the arena, crowned in blood.
This thread is for ideas featuring gladiators, gladiatorial combat and the arena. Feel free to PM me with questions or your own ideas.The Patrician
You play the part of a noblewoman who has taken it upon herself to ruin and humiliate a certain gladiator for slaying one of your favored champions, or perhaps for some greater and more personal slight. You wait until he has fought a particularly grueling match to spring your trap. As he kneels in the blood of his victim, the gate of skulls opens and two spearmen emerge to finish him. You paid the slave's owner a massive fortune—a teocalli of silver ingots, a throne of jade, a ruby the size of a roc's egg—to set this death trap. Only such a fortune could have convinced him to sacrifice a gladiator who had brought his arena so much fame. To press the point, your banners unfurl on every column of the arena, so the gladiator knows that it is by your hand that he is slain. But as he rises from the sand and takes hold of his sword, there is only a grin of satisfaction, of derision. After a brief and terrible combat, he slays your spearmen, taking another wound in the process.
That is when the gate of skulls open and a massive lion emerges. Hungry and enraged, it leaps upon the gladiator and tries to rip his throat out with its massive jaws. The gladiator wrestles, desperately, and manages to choke the beast out. If not for his iron cuisses, his femoral artery would have been severed, by the lion's claws. His armor streams with blood. The audience looks on with awe as the beast sprawls into the sand, and he once again stands triumphant. The gate of the skulls stands shut. The people roar their favor, throwing coins, flowers, garments. They chant his name as he looks directly at you from the arena floor. Your plot has failed.
Later, you become the target of a political enemy—one of the hated rivals of your family, who has learned of an assassin you hired to kill his footman. At the villa of a foreign prince, he springs a trap. A letter from the prince invites you to a private rendezvous in a lower chamber. You enter in darkness, and a gate slams shut behind you. Only then, when the torches are lit, do you realize that you are in the dungeon, and you are not alone. The gladiator stands across from you.