Gladiators And Senators

Gladiators And Senators

9 mins 21.1K 9 mins 21.1K

The sun glinted off of Ravenna’s hair. It was a hot day. And even though she loved gladiator training, today it didn’t help her mood. She ran across the length of the field and hoisted herself upon the roof of the stables nearby. She threw down her shield and plopped down upon the roof.

“Ravenna Foxstar! I order you to come down this very instant; in the name of the Roman Senate!” Pius yelled at her from the ground. 

Ravenna rolled her eyes and retorted back, “First of all Pius, the Senate will not even heed to you. You are so drunk most of the time that they will think you still are. And secondly, there is no way in hell that I am coming back down to train with you.”

Pius was her trainer. He was her ticket to be a gladiator. He was a burly man but huge hulking muscles from years of toiling in the mines. He had been a Senate guard before he was made to overlook the slaves in the mines of the Roman Empire. It had been a petty fight between him and a senate assistant over a mug of beer that had given him a direct path to the mines for 15 years. Now, he taught her how to fight – like a gladiator.

Ever since Ravenna had been a wee baby, her father had taken her to the gladiator fights in the Colosseum. He too had been a Senate guard before he died giving chase to an infiltrator.  Ravenna despised him for going after the infiltrator/assassin. After all, there were so many other guards who could have done it. But she still loved him for giving her a purpose in her small insignificant life. He had planted the spark that had blossomed into a love for swordplay.

“Like I said, you are not going to be able to survive up there forever; and I have no plans of leaving you until your 13 rounds are over.” Pius said. Ravenna stuck her tongue out but still slid down. “I don’t ever recall you saying that to me, Pius.” She said. This time it was his turn to roll his eyes. She picked up her shield and set off at a leisurely pace until Pius yelled at her to get moving.

“Gaah!” Ravenna plopped down on the wet mud of river Tiberis next to Fane. “Hey bugger. How was your day?” he said. Fane and she had been friend for longer than anyone could remember. With his typical roman blonde hair and blue eyes, they could not have looked more different. Ravenna had chocolate colour hair and mulberry eyes with a strong jaw and a long, lean body. Fane was 16 while Ravenna was 15- just short of being a maiden. He worked under the apprenticeship of Senator Junius. While Ravenna’s dad took her to the Colosseum, Fane’s dad used to take him to the Dictator meetings until he was old enough to be noticed. And while Ravenna wanted to be a gladiator, Fane wanted to be a Dictator. And not just any small one, he wanted to be the greatest there had been in the history of Rome. “It was horrible!” she replied back. Fane just smiled and listened to her rant about Pius. “How was your day? You haven’t said one thing about it. What’s the matter bugger kin?” Ravenna asked back.

At this question, Fane looked up from where he was inspecting some weeds in the river and looked at her with a long face. “The voting for my being part of the Senate was held today. The senate was divided and the Dictator vetoed against it.” Ravenna could do nothing but watch as tears slid down his cheeks.  “It was my last chance.”

“That’s crazy! Of course you can ask them to vote again. You just need to wait. It will be hard for them to turn you down once you are not the youngest Senate member to ever be allowed in. Even the great Julius Caesar won’t be able to veto against you without losing half his councilmen. Everybody knows that you are bloody brilliant and know how the whole thing works!” she exclaimed.

Shocked silence followed his next words.

“Councilman Junius has freed me of my apprenticeship. I have no way to see the Senate proceedings again.”

 

“Well, I am surprised. You never train with that much ferocity.” Pius was standing next to Ravenna as she cut down dummies after dummies with her sword. Last night had been terribly hard on her. It had taken all the might of Ravenna’s mother to ensure that she did not go to the councilman and demand that he take back Fane or else she would cut him up into itty bitty pieces.

“Fane was denied.” She answered back. Pius sighed and went off to the next gladiator-in-training.

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Months went by as Ravenna became a Gladiator after much fighting in the senate and a huge tip to some important councilmen. Fane withdrew from her as much as he could. He would often mutter to himself and do calculations in the middle of a conversation and then walk away.

Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus, and Marcus Junius Brutus, three of the most influential senators in the senate caused a lot of trouble in Rome by staging anti-Julius Caesar protests. These were pretty common except for the fact that the amount of protesters were so many that the streets would get jammed for hours as protestors tried to hustle through the markets, screaming their protests. The dictator chose to ignore them and continued to rule from his seat of power in the senate.

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It was on the Ides of March, or March 15 in 44 BC that things happened. Ravenna was walking down to the market for eggs when she noticed a huge crowd surrounding the Theatre of Pompey, where the greatest plays of Rome were enacted. Pushing through the crowd, she beheld, with a horror, a circle of senators holding up a beaten Julius Caesar. His robe was bloodied and his elm circlet that he always wore on his head had been crushed on the ground. Ravenna’s eyes searched for a lean boy with large blue eyes and curly blonde hair in the crowd, when she beheld him and recoiled at the sight of him. He was standing with the senators around Julius Caesar. Gone were the large round eyes, replaced with shrewd and narrowed eyes. Gone was his bent posture, replaced with a regal one, like he was a ruler. Ravenna looked with a horror impossible to explain as Julius Caesar was brought down and Fane stepped up to take his Dictator medal. Everything clicked into place in Ravenna’s mind. He was behind this. Fane, the boy she had loved as a brother, had planned this. And her loved for him was driven out with cold hatred and anguish. She watched with tears sliding down her cheeks as he picked the medallion up and held it for the crowd to see.

He could not have planned that. He was just a little boy. But then cold reason replaced all her emotions. No, he was no boy. He was a cunning and shrewd man. He was filled with hatred over a missed chance. And he had taken revenge. Fane had watched as a man was brought down for his benefit. He had shed no tears. He had smiled; he had relished the feel of being the youngest dictator in history.

Until his eyes fell on her; and as cold realization at what he had done dawned upon him, Ravenna could no longer hold herself back. With an inhuman cry, she leapt at him, meaning to beat him to death. How could he have done such a thing? She wove through the guards with nimble feet and lunged at him with her hands outstretched. But she could no longer harm him. A guard shot her in her right calf and she went down, leaving nothing but four fingernail marks across the side of his throat. She watched as he panicked and dropped the medallion. She watched as Decimus Junius Brutus picked it up and slung it across his throat. Ravenna watched as Fane, who had been kneeling beside her, realized what had happened and had lunged at Decimus, only to be flicked aside by the guards. And with that, she faded into the darkness.

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“Look, she’s awake!”

Ravenna opened her eyes to the ceiling of her room and her mother’s head at the egde of her vision. More heads popped into her vision and as her eyes focused, she could see that it was Pius and Mala, her healer before she fainted again.

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“I am sorry. I didn’t know what I was thinking. I- I was out of my mind!”

Ravenna was sitting in her bed with Fane standing at the doorway. Tears ran down his face as he turned her face away from him.

“You knew exactly what you were doing. You had been planning it for months.”

“Please understand Ravenna!” he exclaimed.

Ravenna lost it. She screamed back at him. “Understand what, you fool? You killed him! You! What do you expect me to understand! You brought him down with no regrets. You were too thirsty for power! Weren’t you?” tears ran down her face and all she could feel was hatred. But I subsided as she saw his face. “I never planned it. I walked in on their meeting by mistake and they forced me. They said it was either this or death. They promised me. They promised that I would be the ruler. I am ruined now. No one will take me now. I have nothing left to do.”

Ravenna calmed down. Maybe it was wrong that he did it. It was. But he felt the guilt. He felt it like a hammer. Every time she closed his eyes, he felt it hammer upon his spine. And maybe that was a worthy punishment for him. But Ravenna understood. She knew what it was like to feel guilt like that. The life of a gladiator was not easy. And she knew that he would go mad, truly mad if no one cared about him. And so, Ravenna took a deep breath and she looked at him fully and told him to sit down and listen to her. She still hated him. But he needed help. And she would be the one to start. It would be a long time before she would be able to care for him. But she needed to do this. Because somewhere inside, was her Fane- a lanky little boy with large eyes and curly blonde hair.

 


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