Honour above All.

                   From the notebook of Michael's mind...

My heart begins to beat faster as I make my way to the front of a large iron gate. My grip on my sword is so tight that my and beigns to bleed a little. But it's nothing. I merely shrug it off, ignoring the pain and regarding it as a mere annoyance. I must not show any signs of pain or fatigue before the battle starts. Otherwise I am a dead man.

Suddenly the gate creaks open, the sound of metal grinding on metal. I cover my eyes with my arm as the light begins to seep through, piercing the darkness. The roar of the crwod is beyond anything I have ever endured, causing me to wince and cover my ears. I shrug it off before stepping into the arena, walking at a steady pace with my head held high. The crowd cheers as I make my way towards the center of the arena, the second gate grinding open as well. I squint, to try and get a better look at my opponent.

"All hail Senator Septimus!"

I turn my head away from the advancing warrior and gaze up at the royal box. Standing there are two heavily armed legionnares, three men, two woman and a small child. The center man is an old one but he stands proud and energetic like a man in his prime. The Senator gazes down and glances from me to my opponent who's made his way besides me. I blink twice, staring at "his" feminine body. No man was that skinny.

"The challenger hailing from Tarnuntum, Waleryjan!" The crowd begins to boo at the challenger, his emotion and facial expression hidden in his helmet and strangely large chest plate. I stare again at his breastplate which sems to be oddly bumped.

"And the reigning champion, hailing from the highlands of the north, Urlan!" The crowd erupts into cheers as I raise my sword into the air. I give them a forced smile before turning to my opponent.

"Fight me fairly gladiator!" I challenge the warrior. "Remove your helmet and chest place as I have!" Of course no man has ever taken my terms, instead choosing to fight me donned in full armour. I rasie my eyebrow as the man begins to untighten his chestplate. As it hits the ground I gasp, seeing not a man's chest but a woman's. "Your..."

The woman takes her helmet off, exposing her slender face and long hair tied by string. She glares at me with her bright sky blue eyes before unsheathing her two blades. "Your eyes not deceive you Gaul. I am a woman not a man."

"Those that are about to die we salute you!" The senator yells. The crowd erupts into chaos again as a gong rings, signaling the start of the match. The woman roars at me before charging, her swords arched beside her. I respond quickly, dodging a slash and parrying another.

"Just because i am a woman doesn't mean you should treat me any less!" She snaps as she drives her knee into my chest. I cough from the impact but quickly regain my momentum in time to dodge another slash. I back away quickly then lower my blade.

"It is not in my honour to fight you woman." She merely yells in frusteration as the crowd cheers. She charges again but this time I'm ready. I dodge her first swing before gripping her wrist tightly with my free hand. She yelps in pain before dropping her sword. My blade connects with hers, pinning into the ground as I pull her close.

"Let me go!" She cries. She tries to struggle but I merely hang on tighter, staring at her face. She looks not even nineteen years of age, seven or six years younger than me. Suddenly she notices me staring and blushes. Some of the crowd boo as she looks away, still trying to escape. 

"Do you wish to earn your freedom warrior?" I ask her. She stops struggling for a moment before continueing her escape. I place one leg behind her and push hard, bringing both of us to the ground. "Do you want your freedom!" I yell again.

She tries to escape, her face red with exaustion. She stops struggling and then galres back at me. "Yes...I long for my freedom champion. Unlike you I have no intention to stay in this blasted arena." Her breathing begins to go heavy as the crowd begins to grow restless. I take no notice of this and draw her hand near my sword.

"When I give you the signal you must plunge this blade into my body. I will lose control of your hands and then you will end my reign, career and earn your freedom with one swing of your blade." She stares at me with a shocked and horrified expression. "N...n..no I can't." I lean foreward, trying to crush her so she will be forced to kill me.

"I cannot kill you Waleryjan. You are a woman and my honour forbids me from taking your life. Also-" I lean very close to her face, my nose brushing against it. "I can't bring myself to kill such a beautiful young woman." She blushes furiously at this comment, her breathing getting heavier but in turn more strained. Suddenly the gates open and three legionnares march towards us.

"A kill must be made gladiators," the senator yells. "Otherwise the soldiers shall take you both!" I turn back to the girl. We've already run out of time. But I will not have a young woman's blood shed because of my hesitation.

"What are you-" Waleryjan is interrupted as  press my lips unto hers, her eyes opening wide and arm insictively springing up. I make no sound as I continue to kiss her, even with a blade plunged into my side. I break free and rise up in pain, roaring at the sky. "No!" Waleryjan cries in horror.

I look down at her and smile one last time. "My honour shall take place above all...even above death itself."   

           Falls down and begins to sleep after a job well done



The End

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