An Uneasy Alliance
|I had been awake for some time watching
the grey dawn
lighten. Sleep had evaded me for most of the night,
and the young lives I had wasted in the arena weighed
heavily on my soul, but a sudden revelation had jerked
me fully awake, and now Morphius had finally deserted
me. In that half-waking state, the events of that
day, and our subsequent fight for freedom took on
monstrous proportions in my tortured mind. What right
had I to cut short their young lives so that I should
At one point we had found the corpses of the girls we
had slaughtered. Each face stared up at me
accusingly. Their cruel wounds, open and festering
screamed their outrage. But it struck me now, that
one was missing. There should have been five, for
five had tasted my steel, but there were only four.
Fully awake, I realised that there were probably
perfectly reasonable explanations for this. Maybe she
was still in the cell. Perhaps the surgeons had got
to her in time and were even now, bringing her back
from the dead. Either way, I was sure she could be no
threat. After all, she would have been badly wounded,
and I had left none for whom their wounds would not,
at best, have left her incapacitated for life.
Behind me my accomplices, Karelia the Briton and
Gudrun the German, still slept as I brooded.
Karelia's beautiful blond hair cascaded over the
pillow of bracken. She still wore her chain breast
armour over a white tunic that covered her body and
her strong thighs. Beside her, Gudrun lay on her
side, her arm gently resting on the shoulders of her
comrade. Her flame red hair caught the dawn sun, and
in the early light her nakedness under the leather
halter top and short kilt, seemed to glow. They might
have been two more corpses, had it not been for the
gentle rise and fall of their breasts.
So many dead, yet I still lived. Why should I worry
about a missing Gladiatrix either way. If she did come
to wreak her revenge on me, would I not welcome death?
I made up my mind. I would leave them now. I may have
owed them my life, but to me it was worthless. Best to
go while they slept.
As I stood, however, Karelia stirred, her eyes
fluttering open. I looked at her, and held my hand up
in farewell, then turned to go.
"You go?" I heard her say, her Britannic accent thick.
Then more urgently. "No, you one of us!"
Gudrun was awake now and on her feet. She ran to
"Where do you go Antiope?"
I gave no answer and made to pass, but she stopped me.
"You can't go. Karelia need you. I need you."
"Stand aside, Mistress, or you'll feel my steel in
She was visibly shocked as I half drew my sword, then
her expression turned to one of bitterness.
"Is this how you repay the blood debt you owe?"
I made no reply, but waited patiently. Finally she
"Very well then," she muttered, "but you die without
I smiled. She really did not understand.
I had not got far when I heard the scream. I stopped
in my tracks. There was a blood debt, and the
remnants of my sense of honour still remained. I
should go to their aid. More enticing, however, was
the prospect of meeting sweet death at the hands of
whoever caused the scream.
I ran back sword drawn. I felt a pang of unexpected
regret on seeing Karelia lying motionless on the
ground, her tunic around her waist, exposing the
whiteness of her full buttocks.. The poor girl must
obviously have been taken unawares, for I knew that
she would have sold her life dearly if she had the
There was no time to see to her, for Gudrun was
fighting for her life against the screaming
raven-haired demon who now held Karelia's sword. I
recognised her. She was the missing Gladiatrix. She
should have been dead, but now she fought with a
ferocity and energy that sent a shiver down my spine.
Surely, no mortal being could sustain such a wound and
fight like this.
The girl was naked, except for a heavy studded belt
which supported a strip of cloth between her legs, and
for the swirling blue whorls which her body was
painted with. Her breasts jerked as she slashed at her
Gudrun had at least managed to retrieve her sword in
time, but, skilled swordswoman though she was, she was
getting beaten back by her opponents pure ferocity. I
ran towards them, but I realised that I would not make
it in time to make a difference.
Slash slash! It seemed that the sword was only a
hairsbreadth from splitting Gudrun wide open, and
suddenly Gudrun's sword was spinning uselessly into
the grass. The girl forced Gudrun back, her sword at
"Know this," said the girl, her face showing all the
cruel pleasure of the anticipated kill. "The servants
of Streeth cannot be killed, and the souls of those
who try are cursed for eternity!"
Gudruns eyes widened in a horror which transcended
simple fear of death. Her urine spattered on the
ground from beneath her kilt.
"P. p..please!" she stammered, "spare me! I am yours
to do with what you will."
"Hah!" said the girl, "you are not so proud now! Not
so merciless! Would you have spared me if I'd
Gudrun emitted an involuntary sob, and I felt sorry
that I had to witness her humiliation this way. But
the exchange had given me the time I needed. I was
behind the girl now, my sword ready. My eye took in
her blue painted back and the delicately flexing
muscle of her thigh.
The girl readied for her strike, but it was my sword
that grated against bone. My blade that cut through
artery and lung. My hand that felt the tremulous
kissing of her hearts palpitations transmitted down
She stiffened, full lips opening in a gurgling scream
that was stifled by bubbling pink blood. Her left
breast moved as if it had a life of its own, then
bulged grotesquely as my sword point erupted just
below her nipple. Blood trickled angrily over blue
I withdrew the sword as she fell, and her eyes were
already staring into eternity as she hit the ground.
Another life extinguished. Another beautiful body
that would never know love again, if it ever had. Her
black hair curled from her head like fleeing snakes,
and her body twitched with random muscle spasms. The
cloth clung intimately to her sex, glistening with her
The blood debt was paid, at least to Gudrun and
Karelia. They had saved my life, unaware of the scant
regard I held for it, and now I had saved theirs.
I turned to Gudrun, who still stood with her eyes
closed, full lips trembling, her hands on her breasts.
"And you can stop that!" I said, slapping down one
gently squeezing hand.
Her eyes flashed open. "You owe us nothing now," she
said carefully. "So go to your fate as you wish."
I turned to go, but then caught sight of Karelia, who
lay on the ground moaning. My heart missed a beat. I
knew that such blows can destroy a keen mind, and
despite myself I would have hated that for the
beautiful Karelia. A quick check showed a bloody
bruise on the back of her skull.
"You're losing your touch!" I said, hiding my fear as
she opened her eyes. She smiled back weakly.
"Gudrun, we need water!" I said.
I tore a piece of Karelia's tunic and soaked it in the
water Gudrun brought, pressing it against Karelia's
wound. Gudrun stood behind me watching.
"You be true Amazon, after all," she said, resting a
hand on my shoulder.
"I am no Amazon," I muttered, "and you do me no
service in calling me one!"
Karelia looked at me, suspicion clouding her eyes.
"Why you say that? Your name..."
"Was given to me by my mother who held a stupid
romantic view of Amazons - as you do - until she met
them." Tears came to my eyes unexpectedly, like a
Roman ambush. "They killed her, in a brutal cowardly
fashion, leaving the womb that bore me in the dust for
vultures to chew on!"
Karelia glanced at Gudrun.
"You know of the Amazons? We thought they were a
I shook my head. "They exist, but they are cowards.
They live for cruelty without honour!"
I heard Gudrun hiss, and draw her sword behind me.
"You dare to speak ill of the servants of our
I spun round, drawing my own sword.
"I speak ill of what I know. You only know stupid
Gudrun screamed, and lunged at me, but her attack was
inspired more by rage than skill, and I parried
easily, narrowly missing her breast with my counter
I was aware of Karelia, standing uncertainly. For an
instant I feared she would join in, but her code of
honour prevented her. If I slew Gudrun, I had no doubt
that she would then try to avenge her, but for the
moment it was one on one.
Gudrun followed through with a more professional
attack, which nevertheless would have left my
womanhood ruined had it succeeded. I stepped back,
quickly retaliating as her sword swished past me,
driving the point of my sword directly at her eyes.
She was not confused by the attack, as I had hoped,
ducking low and thrusting upwards.
We fought, this way, sweat breaking on our bodies, for
some while, neither of us falling into the traps laid
by the other. Nevertheless as we tired, our reactions
slowed, and eventually, bodies heaving with exertion,
we were just slashing wildly, hoping for a hit.
Finally, she stumbled, falling back. She didn't have
the energy to rise, and lay there, her body heaving as
she struggled for breath.
I raised my sword to plunge it into her open
vulnerable body, but I too was tired. I also had no
heart to kill her after such a fight.
I fell to my knees, dropping my sword, then flopped
forward in the grass beside her, my arm resting across
her open breasts. I felt her nipples swell against my
contact. Her perfume invaded my nostrils, and I was
consumed with hunger for her.
I crushed my desire, still uncertain of Karelia, and
unsure whether she would plunge her sword into my back
if I tried to touch her comrade - her lover. This is
not the way I would have died.
I rolled over quickly to find my concern justified.
Karelia's sword was at my throat.
"You fight well, but it seems you are our enemy and
cannot be trusted!"
I closed my eyes, waiting for sweet death at Karelia's
hands. She would still my heart and with it my
"No, Karelia." It was Gudrun who spoke, who pulled me,
once more, from the brink of eternal rest. "If she
knows how to find the Amazons, then she can lead us to
Karelia hesitated, then lowered her sword. There was a
glimmer of relief in her eyes.
"It will do you no good!" I said.
"Why not? Are we not sisters?" Karelia sneered the
"Sisters, may be," I said, "but if you are not virgins
they will feed your entrails to the dogs! Only the
pure of body can become Amazon."
Karelia stared at me for a moment, then looked away.
"I do not believe you!" said Gudrun, rising. "We must
at least try to find them. Will you help us?"
I shrugged. "Why not. At least I yearn for death."
"Then let us leave this place now, before the Romans
"Hold," said Gudrun, looking at the body of the fallen
Gladiatrix anxiously. "This servant of Streeth. I
know a little of them."
She walked over to the body and loosened the belt.
Beneath it, covering the terrible wound which she had
sustained in the arena, was a strip of material whose
colours seemed to waver and glow. She removed it and
as she did so, the half-healed wound opened up again,
and dark viscous blood flowed over her groin.
"We may need," said Gudrun placing it in her pouch,
"but now we bury the body deep. Her mistress must not
I rolled my eyes at her display of superstition, but
Karelia was already digging.
After we had completed the burial we prepared
ourselves to travel East. Karelia and Gudrun girded
their swords and collected their meagre belongings.
After escaping from the arena, I had nothing but my
kilt, and felt ill-prepared. I would have wanted the
scale armour of my native Scythia, but there was no
likelihood that I would find any here. I would have to
Will continue in chapter 2...