Every day I live in fear that my love, Maximus of the tiger scar, will be thrown into the horror that is the Coliseum against a man who matches him inch for inch in strength and brutal mentality towards fighting. I met him when my Uncle Julius, Julius Caesar, asked me to go to market to get him a new horse. I bumped into him, and there we have it instant fire. We meet every night in the square, if only to see each other. I do not know how many times the guard in the Gladiator School has been knocked out, as it is the only way for Maximus to escape and only', he knows the way here He is a bestiarius or a gladiator who fights animals but one never knows when the tides will turn. One day, my uncle took me in arm, and told me to come watch the fights in the coliseum.
"We are putting the scar-faced gladiator against the tall staunch one. A truly even match, as both may perish!'
"Can we not pin the tall staunch gladiator against the short one? There will be much more blood I am sure."
"No, come now Issus, you know that the short one was slaughtered last week.'
And on those happy words, I was led to the coliseum to watch my love die
Maximus was thrown in to the ring by five, struggling centurions, as he has a lot of brute strength. I thought, as soon as I saw the challenger that Maximus had to face. If I saw him killed, my heart would shatter!
"Julius?" I asked, "Please, I hate to admit this, but I love Maximus!'
"YOU WHAT!?" He yelled furious because I was in love with a gladiator. Me, a girl in line to marry one of his sons.
"1 love him, I have loved him for the past year in secret"
"Issus!" he screamed, "You know why I picked you for my favorite son! Why if the other Romans find out you know what will happen to you?"
"I will be disowned and taken out of the royal family. I know! Just please, please let him go... I love him."
"Fine, be so as it may, I will make sure the people forget Maximus. Just, I will…" Julius ordered that Maximus be replaced by the last lion in the cellar. Maximus walked out, and when I saw him being unshackled in the square. I ran up to him. He held me close and kissed me, and l kissed him back.
"I won your freedom, and I do not have to marry Brutis."
"How?" he asked, pulling me closer. His hard chest bore no clothing, as he was only freed moments ago. It was his badge of honor his chest was. It told other gladiators that if they wanted to beat him, they had to come get some of him first.
"Issus, you must really love me."
"I do, otherwise you would have to fight Tiberius, and you know he is undefeated."
"If it meant I was free after I fought him, and I could be with you… I would stop at nothing to beat him."
"You would be killed Maximus! It is pride that gets gladiators killed!"
"Do not fret my love. I am here now."
And so, I walked him into the palace. Brutis was not happy to see a gladiator with me, and he ordered a guard take him away, but I conceded, telling them that he was with me, and as long as that was so, they were not to lay a hand on him. Brutis sniffed angrily, and walked away.
"Listen not to him, he is only bitter."
"He has a heart of stone." Maximus sighed.
"I will not disagree with you there my love."
At dinner, Maximus was overwhelmed that we ate so much. I only ate what I wanted, and let the men gorge themselves.
"Julius, slow down before you hack up your stomach."
Babbling with a drunken drawl, he laughed, and then went on eating. Maximus pulled me to the side after he finished his food and we went to the east balcony.
"Oh take off the top part of your toga. I can tell it bothers you."
"Does it bother you my Issus?"
"No, but I can tell you do not like it."
"Julius does not like me." Maximus stated, the word Julius tainted with discomfort. Most commoners would call him "Emperor Caesar" and I call him Uncle Julius, but Maximus was no commoner anymore. He was the courtier of the princess.
"He does not like many people, except women."
"And you? Do you have many suitors?"
"I suppose. But I do not love them like I love you."
"Good, it is nice to know that a girl like you, who could have men kissing her feet with the snap of her fingers, only wants to love a lowly gladiator."
"You were a valiant fighter, and you won my heart." I replied. He reached back, and unwrapped the top part of his toga, and tucked it under the lower skirt. He leaned against the stone of the balcony, and in the moonlight, I could see his scars.
"I never noticed them before now." I whispered, fingering over one on his arm.
"Well, those are from the dame tiger that clawed my face, and these," he explained, turning over his strong arms, "are from multiple lions and bears, and the one on my right leg, that is from a rhinoceros."
"Rhinoceros. What a funny word! Those Greeks sure did like their funny words like Hippopotamus and such."
"My cousin is Greek, I am no Roman you know, I was captured in Northern Greece when I was seventeen. I was part of a rebellion."
"Maybe that is why Julius does not want us together." I wondered. He pulled me into his arms, and kissed me, then led me to my room. I rested my head on one of my pillows, and he laid down behind me, his huge arms around my waist. I turned my head, and kissed him, then turned around completely to kiss him again. His hold on me tightened, and we locked ourselves together.
"Issus!" Julius screamed, glaring at me in the dim light the lantern cast on my face. I looked down, and Maximus was holding the bottom edge of my dress.
"Julius, oh no… I am sorry."
"No, the gladiator should be sorry, what were you thinking on? Making love with… with him?"
"I would have him over Brutis!" I exclaimed. Maximus let go of me, and I stood to face my uncle. "Just because my father DIED does not make you my father!"
"It does if his words mean anything to you!"
His words cut deep like a broken knife. My father had told Julius, on his death bed, to take care of me, and he had done so. Still, he acted as if I was an item, and my item was not for anyone Julius did not choose for me.
"I do not love Brutis, I love Maximus."
"You will love Brutis after I kill your gladiator." Julius snarled. I looked back and forth between Maximus and Julius, and then went to Maximus, who held me gently.
"I will never love Brutis… And if you kill Maximus, you will have to kill me to."
"Issus, listen to yourself, you do not really love this… this… rebel? Do you?"
"I do, and I swear it on my very on funeral pyre."
Maximus eyed me carefully, he knew how dangerously close I was getting to being disowned.
"I should sentence you to death for this, but alas," he sighed, waving me off "I can not. You are still of royal blood, and if a drop of it went to waste, well, to Pluto with it! We would be dead!" he ran his large hand through his brownish hair and gave me a weak smile. "Be so as it may, I will let him live."