Senex wins 13 gold from his fight, and is able to gain a skill. Asiaticus wins 7 gold, despite the loss. The host of the games was clearly generous, no doubt someone trying to gain political favour.
The crowd was whipped into a frenzy with the Asiaticus and Sotion fight. This put them in the right mood for the fight between Bion and Murena. The winner gained the right to challenge for the Primus Palus. Bion was the favourite and came out strong against Murena, and for the first half of the fight he dominated Murena. Then something happened, Murena got two strong blows against Bion who never recovered and ended up losing. However, the crowd enjoyed the fight and spared Bion.
In gambling news, Asiaticus received his 12 gold in winnings for picking Bion to lose. The Syrian “bookmaker” (not sure what the latin term is here), when handing over the winnings, remarked “Yours is a strange ludus. You should let me in on the scam – both you and Quadratus betting on your own Bion to lose! Let me know what’s going down next time, and I’ll make it worth your while with gold!”. The bookmaker, whose name is Samasu, left with a wink.
Overall, Senex has 10 gold, and Asiaticus has 30 gold.
It was a sombre mood at the ludus, as results were mixed, some wins, and some losses. “Useless fools!” screamed Quadratus to the gathered ludus, “We’ll have to rent you out to turnip farmers soon!”
Since Bion (and most other gladiators from the ludus are injured) Quadratus approaches Senex in private. He has purchased some special merchandise and needs someone to collect the package, and will pay 2 gold for its safe delivery, along with favourable treatment. Senex will have to travel alone in the evening (with a concealed gladius) through the jostling streets of Leptis Magna to pick up the package from a shady trader in a back alley. “Mind you” warns Quadratus “any funny business and you will live to regret it!”. Does Senex;
- Refuse the task.
- Collect the package (a tied up leather pouch containing something soft) and deliver it back to Quadratus as instructed.
- Collect the package and untie it to see what it is before delivering it back to Quadratus.
- Once in town, seize the chance for escape and run away.
- Collect the package and then linger in town a little longer (which is a very rare treat) and with his 10 gold, spend some on wine, women and song!
So many choices, so little time ... !
Senex has acquired the "Attack" skill.
He is happy to accept the assignment from Quadratus, not thinking too much about what it could mean. The temptations of a night away from the school however are great, despite Quadratus's threat. So, after uneventfully collecting the package and stowing it securely in a pouch tied to his waist under his tunic, he finds himself outside the "House of the Rising Sun" in the red light district of Leptis. As usual there are several alluring sirens waiting outside to "welcome" passers-by like Senex, (just like the bars at Pattaya) and he doesn't take much persuading to enter...
I'll be interested to see where this is going. I have a theory about what Q is up to. Good that Samasu has reappeared, I had a suspicious thought that he might turn out to be Androcles! Will you be unveiling Macer too?
There are a few characters I want to bring back, but depends on how the story flows. I’ve been trying to focus more on mundane ludus happenings.
Anyway, on with the story…..
Clearly distracted by the House of the Rising Sun or “Domus Solis Ortum” in latin, Senex entered after being coaxed in by the beautiful Flaviana. What happened next is mostly lost to the memory of Senex, except that woke he while up while being dragged by armoured guards of Androcles back to the ludus. 6 gold of his missing (he only has 4 left now), and the leather pouch was untied and emptied.
“Dullard!” screamed Quadratus, “It was a simple task!” “Do you not think I was having you watched? There was nothing of value in the pouch, it was a test! Half rations for the rest of the week!” Senex was thrown into the compound by the laughing guards. Once again Rufus the dog was well fed. Though the pain of Quadratus’s anger, his sore head, and the hunger was somewhat lessened by Senex having some fond memories of Flaviana….
The gladiators were worked hard over the coming weeks as Bion and Asiaticus recovered. The frequency of games were increasing as the empire was in turmoil. It was rumoured that Lucius Clodius Macer, the Legatus of the Legio III Augusta had renounced allegiance to Nero and was marching upon Carthage to seize control of the province. The upcoming games were to be held in honour of Pax, the goddess of peace, in some vain hope that disaster could be forestalled.
Senex is up against Bogud, who has 1 skill.
Asiaticus is up against Kassandros, who has 2 skills.
Special Conditions: During Senex’s fight, shuffle 10 normal playing cards (numbered 1 to 10, ace being a one). Draw one card after Senex rolls for AP. If the 7 card is drawn, reduce Senex’s AP roll by 2, as he is temporarily distracted when he spots Flaviana in the crowd. So this should happen at some random point in the first 10 turns.
Hmm, I had not picked to "test of reliability" scenario, though it is obvious in retrospect.
The day of the Pax Games duly arrived and Senex and Asiaticus took their places in the starting lineup. Here is how it all worked out ...
FIGHT 1: SENEX v BOGUD
Bogud's prowess was immediately on display. He rapidly approached Senex and let loose a deadly slingshot at six hexes range, causing 4 damage to Senex (taking him to "wounded" status). Another deadly hit in quick succession knocked Senex down and he lost his shield (double 5 special event), although he was able to recover it almost at once.
I turned the "Flaviana" card at about this time, but she was not spotted.
After that though, Bogud's luck or skill, whatever, seemed to desert him. He accumulated some fatigues, although not enough to worry him yet with that Strength score, but then he miscued a shot and tripped himself up (double 3 special event). Senex scored 6AP next move and was able to get in a side hex attack on the floored Bogud - causing 9 wounds, taking him to 1 remaining strength and 2 fatigues (exhausted).
Bogud was able to stand up but Senex had no difficulty causing another 3 wounds, forcing the Numidian to concede. His modified "appeal to the crowd" score was 8, so he was - barely - granted Missio. Crowd opinion is that Bogud stuffed up by staying a little too close to Senex, he should have kept more distance and attacked Senexes flanks. Easy for the armchair experts of course.
SENEX - lost 4/8, Vincit
BOGUD - lost 12/10, Missio
FIGHT 2: ASIATICUS v KASSANDROS
Asiaticus entered the arena with a Strength of 7, and the 'Dodge' (+1 defence roll) skill, while Kassandros started with 9, and the 'Reflexes' (+1 AP) and 'Dodge' skills.
Kassandros scored first blood, causing one wound to Asiaticus with his sica. Asiaticus's response was hapless, he lost his sword. Kassandros caused another wound in exploiting this, but Asiaticus kept backing away, preventing more damage at the cost of temporarily abandoning his weapon. After a few moves he was able to make a run for it past Kassandros, and recovered the sword.
The next phase of the game saw many attacks, but little in the way of results as both fighters built up fatigues. In the end though, Kassandros was able to score a big hit on Asiaticus to take his Strength to 0. The crowd was happy to spare him (modified roll 13), as he had both inflicted and suffered wounds today. Looks like another trip to the hospital though. Quadratus won't like this.
ASIATICUS: lost 7/7, Missio
KASSANDROS: lost 1/9, Vincit
It seems my fighters are developing personalities: Senex the unlikely achiever, Asiaticus the perennial uninspiring dull under-achiever. Tune up A in secret and there could be money to be made from mug punters, I reckon.