A futuristic Greco-Roman World. Female Champion flips the world upside down.
They screamed her name, Diana. They called it louder than any of the others. At the end of every night it was her arm that was raised by the mediator, who only dared enter after her blood cooled. They would chant for her, they would holler for her, some would throw flowers to the center, the bouquets would hit the iron bars, petals broke on impact, and they would spill down onto her, and her opponent. The Bishop would applaud lightly and nod in approval, but her eyes would be on the fallen. The young girl who’s body was cooling as Death wrapped her arms around the soul, lifting it out of this cage, out of this arena, and out of this world. Diana would listen, past the mob, she would listen for the sound of a mother’s heart breaking, a father’s stifling sob, a younger sibling who would scream in fury, for her blood, Diana’s blood. It was to remember what she had done. The mob glorified the sport, but the family reminded her that this was murder.
This one lay so still, she was pale, and had thin stringy hair, that was loose and had spent most of the time sticking to her face and blinding her in crucial moments. Diana ended it quickly. The young girl hardly put up a fight, she tried to hit Diana a few times, but they were weak strikes, and then she returned to blocking herself for the remaining time. It wasn’t long before Diana was straddling the young girl’s chest. Her arms crossed and a fist on each side of her neck. She leaned forward pressing her weight on the girl’s throat. She cried as she died, and she prayed.
Religion was not allowed in the city. The Bishop had burnt all books that were apart of the outside world. He had killed anyone who practiced anything other than bowing at the Bishop’s own feet. He claimed to be the creator, the master, and the finisher. It was common knowledge to die in his good graces was to promise an eternity in peace. Naturally, he had his pick of women; when he wanted Carthage’s greatest warrior as one of his wives, Diana had refused him. He offered her her freedom.
“So I can become one of the five?” she had turned her back on him, “Freed of the Cage, only to chained to you? I rather have someone kill me in the arena.”
He dared not strike her, Diana did not fear death, and therefore would not hesitate to retaliate. Instead he had been torturing her since, sending young girls for her to kill and tear apart, if she refused, they would both die. The mob demanded death. Death kept them happy, but what they weren’t wise enough to realize was that death kept them under his control.
Diana allowed herself to be escorted out of the cage. She was lead out of the arena by Militia members. Men who served the Bishop faithfully. They served as his protection in the walls, they kept the mob well behaved. Diana’s own brother, Apollo, served him; but he was an exterior member. He worked on the outside of the walls, he dealt with neighboring tribes, and helped protect the gatherers who supplied Carthage with its lavish and extravagant life style.
As she exited the arena the people chanted for her, singing the song of their small nation. She rarely looked up. Diana put on the show within the cage, but once she was out she was no longer performing for them, or for the Bishop. She was lead down the tunnels where many of the Condemned were chained and in waiting for their bout. Men against men, and women against women. Diana was a Condemned. Yet she had become so popular among the people that she did not reside in a cell. She wasn’t even frowned down upon as one. She lived outside the underground arena, she lived in a small villa in town. Where she had freedom to roam unchained, and a Fille, Basil, who would serve her until either one of them lost their lives. Each victory brought her immense wealth, yet she rarely kept any of it.
As always, she had to pay homage. She nodded at her exit and the three men escorting her, headed down a hallway that lead out. Diana entered the Trainer’s Chambers, where if wounded she would lay and be treated, they also brought the dead here for the family to mourn. This young girl’s family was already in the room. A mother, a father, and a small brother trembled among one another. The girl’s body lay on the table; eyes tucked shut so she could sleep at last. Diana walked forward, entering the poorly lit room. The buzz from the hanging light above them was the only noise, aside from the little brother’s heaving chest.
The brother looked up as she enter, his little eyes were sharp, and pierced her own. Accusing the correct culprit.
“You wish to hit me?” She asked the boy, “Do it.”
She opened her palms to him, inviting him to strike her. The mother of the child and mother of the fallen, shook her head and pulled her son close, he tucked his chin to his chest and buried his crunched face into his mother’s dress.
“He meant nothing by his looks, he is just a child,” the mother kept her eyes low. She returned to face her daughter.
“So was she. If it will help him, allow him to strike me,”
“That wont help anything at all, you won a great victory. You should be struck for nothing” The mother assured her, the whites of her eyes were red from mourning. The father was struggling more so to keep his obligations to the games.
Duty and honor were high among the people of Carthage. Diana lowered her own hands and head, “Your daughter, she prayed before she went; to what gods?”
“The Bishop is the only god, it surely was to him,” dutifully the mother bowed her head once more toward Diana.
“I am sorry for your loss,” Diana walked closer to the body, she saw the father tighten in her peripherals, “I am so sorry I did this.”
“It was a mercy, how you finished her, we are honored by such a great warrior’s presence.” The mother reassured her once more.
Diana hovered a hand over the face of the young girl.
“Whatever gods she prayed to, I hope they lift her far from this place-”
“Enough,” the father finally broke his silence. His wife’s hand was quickly on his chest, grasping at his shirt, tugging it desperately for his silence, “you have done enough.”
A man who speaks through tears is one to heed. Diana’s eyes met his, he lowered his own gaze.
“What had she done, to earn her the title of Condemned?” a last question she asked every family she went to see.
“A man form the Militia grew fond of her, but another had her heart, when the man from the Militia killed her betrothed, she still refused to be with him,” the mother now looked Diana in the eyes, “it’s high treason you know, to insult anyone who serves the Bishop.”
“Your family will receive the proceeds from this bout,” she returned the gaze, “I am no servant.”