A one minute commission I completed for a really nice guy on FA! Story as follows:
"My breath came heavy, and my armor felt as if it weighted thrice its normal amount.
They said I would be nervous.
All that separated me from my inaugural coliseum battle was the wrought iron bars. I could see the blood-stained torn battlefield from under my helm.
Sweat poured from my brow. Nervous. That, I was. No matter.
The crowd jeered as my name was called, a nobody Stallion representing a lowly house. i thought to myself, I'd defeat this so called Trojan Horse and claim the honor due to me!
The bars lowered, and i was thrust into the sunlight. I stood proud even as the crowd boo'd me. I was clearly not the favorite. No matter. My skill and honor will carry me to fame this day.
I laid eyes on my foe for the first time. Hardened, larger than me, a blond mane flowed from under his battle worn armors. I'd taken mares larger than him. He had a thick aura of arrogance around him; I joked to myself that if there were any more air in his head he'd float to the Gods above! He holds a beaten shield and a heavy mace.
Short range. No counter to mine. This would be easy. Charge at the legs, strike as he falls.
The horn sounds. I charge. I lower my pike and shield as my mentor taught me. Deflect. Parry. Thrust. Three moves to my win. I run.
He doesn't move, just stares at me with a glint of a smile. A target that does not move will make a quick death.
I see him snap his fingers. Immediately I feel a sting in my leg. I look down to my left calf...is that a dart?
My breath came heavy, and my armor felt as if it weighted thrice its normal amount. This time, it was not nervousness.
D-Damnit! Did someone shoot me from the crowd?! Was this deceit arranged!?
My run slowed, but I was determined.
I will win this! This cheating COWARD knows nothing of my honor and wit!
I am within striking distance. My pike feels heavier than ever.
I jab to his leg to throw off balance, knowing he would counter with a mace blow to my brow. I was ready, and I lifted my shield. There was no strength in my once proud shield arm. I lose my grip, my shield is thrown.
The damn poison...!
I roll away, I lift my pike to parry the incoming shield bash. The Trojan brushes it aside. He swings his mace downward, I roll forward. I throw a punch into his uncovered gut. I land the blow. I relish in his pain, yet he backhands me with his shield.
The sky is spinning now. I cannot hear the crowd.
I lie on my back, feigning unconsciousness. I will wait for him to advance, then end this nonsense with a pike to his chest.
He advances, i wait. He advances closer. I can see that smile wavering above me.
I strike. I gash his shoulder--damnit! I cannot see to strike true!
The mace swings to my helmet.
I remember nothing after that moment. I remembered nothing for the next two weeks, until I woke up in the infirmary.
~An excerpt from the journal of an anonymous gladiator