Thrust on the Gladiator’s Sword
Copyright August 2012, Sofia Bane
Smash-clang! Smash-clang! Sweat poured down my face as I caught my opponent’s heavy metal broadsword at every blow, but I never gained enough of an advantage to strike a blow of my own. My bowels were liquid and I could scarcely feel my feet beneath me, but I literally fought for my life.
The gladiatorial games were an imaginative if sick form of capital punishment. I was a military deserter, having turned back before we faced the barbarian Gauls. Upon being caught, I was promised I’d see my share of blood in the arena if not on the battlefield. So this – I barely avoided a wild stab to the face – was my death sentence.
My footwork was amateur, and I wielded the sword and shield as a novice would, or a weakling. We wore only a loincloth and sandals, and mine were loose and heavy with perspiration. Blood rushed in my ears too loudly for me to hear the roar of the crowd.
“Treasonous pigfucker,” my opponent snarled at me as I deflected another of his blows. “Die already!”