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 We Who Are About To Die

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Leviticastform
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PostSubject: We Who Are About To Die   Sun May 23, 2010 12:48 am

Okay, so this is a thread to post creative type stuff. I'm game. Right now I am working on a book that involves gladiators. I will elaborate more on the plot in my next post, but right now I am looking for feedback from any and all who are willing to offer it. Thank you in advance and without any further delay the prolouge for We Who Are About To Die....


Prologue

Anticipation. That was what filled every part of Valentino’s body as he stood in the darkness of a tunnel. He looked down to the armor that only scarcely covered his toned muscles. His eyes darted from latch to latch making sure every one was secure. He smirked slightly when he found each one firmly fastened. His eyes then went to his hands. In his right hand he held a battle worn shield, and in his left he held a gladius, the weapon of the gladiator. He cut a series of arcs through the air as he reacquainted himself with the balance of the blade. His smirk became a smile as he felt his arm and hand become one with the sword. He knelt down and picked his helmet up off the ground and tucked it under his arm. As he stood up once more he heard the opening notes of the music that told him that he was next. With a smile on his face Valentino stepped forward in to the light at the end of the tunnel.

As he stepped out into the sunlight of the arena the roar of the crowd echoed in his ears. Thousands of people rose to their feet as he stepped out bare footed into the sand of the place where he was about to do battle. He pointed his sword skyward which only caused the already frenzied crowd to cheer even louder. His tanned muscles glistened in the sun as did his green eyes, in fact the only part of him that didn’t seem to radiate with the anger that boiled inside of him was his black hair. He tucked his sword away in its sheath as he stepped forward towards the spot in the arena which was directly in front of the Emperor, Nero. He smirked at the man who sat there in his posh throne watching with great interest, and nodded to him. Emperor Nero nodded in return as the music began signifying the arrival of Valentino’s opponent. Valentino placed his helmet on his head and focused his eyes through the openings in the front of the steel.

His opponent stepped on to the sand as the roar of the crowd filled Valentino’s ears once again. His opponent was a mountain of a man, his muscles swollen with killing power. The man’s face was crisscrossed with scars from several battles already faced and his brown eyes burned with a determination for many more yet to come. His shaved head was decorated with but one adornment, a simple metal headband; otherwise his armor resembled Valentino’s in every way except for the wear.

Valentino’s opponent stepped beside him and cast his gaze up to the Emperor. Both men slammed their fist into their chest as their bodies went rigid. ”We who are about to die salute you!” Both men’s voices rang sharp and true as they paid their respects to the Emperor who waved to the crowd and then returned his eyes to them. The two men nodded and turned back to face one another. Each nodded knowing what was to come, and knowing furthermore that only one of them would walk away from it.

Valentino felt every muscle in his body tense as he walked back towards where he entered the arena. Once he reached the opening of the tunnel he turned and faced his opponent. He took his gladius and pointed it towards his opponent and nodded which gained an enthusiastic cheer from the crowd. His opponent simply scowled as he tightened his grip around the handle of his own gladius. After a few silent moments or tension Valentino rushed forward towards his opponent prepared to end this quickly. His opponent however had other ideas. Planting his foot in the sand the larger man leaned forward and stuck his shield out to absorb the brunt of Valentino’s fury. Seeing this Valentino shifted his posture and led with his shield rather than his gladius. The two combatants’ shields met with a thunderous clang that was only barely heard over the already rabid crowd. The two men struggled hard, trying to gain position over the other. Valentino felt his knees buckle as the man on the other side of his shield pressed down into him with his weight. Grunting a bit Valentino tried to adjust to compensate but the other man’s weight and strength was just too much to fight back against. Surprisingly, Valentino grinned in spite of this. As the other man continued to press down with his weight advantage Valentino snapped out with his leg and caught the bigger man squarely in the ankle. The man’s ankle shifted backwards so hard and audible crack could be heard by Valentino. The massive figure of the man collapsed face first into the sand as his ankle refused to hold his weight upright any longer. Valentino stepped backwards, barely avoiding being struck by the crashing behemoth. As the man lying in front of him tried to struggle back to his feet Valentino stood there for a moment soaking in the crowd’s adulation of him. A smirk came across Valentino’s face as he flipped the gladius in his hand so that the tip pointed downward.

His eyes went from the hulking brute in front of him to Nero who held his arm out in front of him, his fist balled save for a thumb that stuck out to the side. The crowd went in to an absolute frenzy as they awaited Nero’s decision. As Valentino watched the Emperor with baited breath that breath was suddenly taken from him as his the top of his opponent’s shield collided violently with the bottom of his jaw.

Valentino stumbled backwards as the hand that held his gladius instinctively went up to his mouth to catch the blood that now flowed freely from it. The crowd’s reaction this was extraordinarily loud. Valentino spit a mouthful of blood on to the sand as he watched his opponent try his best to rise to his feet. The larger man tried his best to stand despite the fact that his ankle refused to hold his mass, so instead he propped himself up on his shield. Valentino felt his jaw tighten as he shook his head. His opponent began to hobble towards him with his awkward shield crutch, his sword at the ready.

Valentino spit another mouthful of blood on to the sand before returning his sight to Nero, whose arm was still extended outward. Only this time his thumb was up. Valentino smirked as he turned back to face his opponent who was still slowly approaching him. Valentino pointed his gladius towards the larger man causing the man to stop in his tracks and glare at Valentino.

Valentino began to run. The sand ground beneath his feet as they pounded against the surface of the arena, the roar of the crowd all but disappeared replaced by the sound of his own pounding heart. His eyes narrowed as he saw his opponent become closer and closer to him. His arm stiffened as he leapt forward towards the larger man, as the point of his gladius cleared the path in front of him. Valentino’s aim was right on target as the tip of the gladius touched the surface of the larger man’s throat before pushing through to the softer places that lie inside of it. The blade continued to push through as blood rushed around it, until eventually the tip of the blade punched straight through the larger man’s spinal cord. Valentino’s momentum continued forward bringing his opponent towards the sand below his now dead feet. Moments later the large man’s carcass crashed into the sand as the tip of Valentino’s gladius embedded it’s self in the sand below.

Valentino sat there crouched near his fallen opponent as his senses returned to normal his heart still
pounding from the moment of the kill. His ears were immediately greeted with the deafening roar of the crowd as they made their appreciation for what they had just witnessed known. He reached up and took his helmet off and sat it in the sand next to him, then slowly stood.

The crowd continued their thunderous ovation as Valentino scanned over them until his gaze rested on Nero. Nero stood and clapped as a smirk formed on his face. Valentino simply nodded before turning back to the crowd. He lifted his gladius up in victory as the crowd continued to roar their approval. As he lowered his weapon Valentino slowly turned towards the fallen form of his opponent and began to walk toward it.

He stood there for a moment looking down at the body in front of him, the eyes had already glazed over and blood was pooling all around. Valentino knelt down and grabbed hold of the head and slowly pulled of the metal band it had been wearing. He held it in his hand for a moment looking at it as it gleamed in the sun and smirked. He raised it up above his head as the crowd continued to cheer. He then reached over and grabbed his helmet and tucked it under his arm. He stood up to his full height and took one last look to the crowd who was still screaming themselves hoarse before stepping back into the darkness of his entrance tunnel.


Last edited by Leviticus on Sun May 23, 2010 5:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Gabriel Crow



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PostSubject: Re: We Who Are About To Die   Sun May 23, 2010 3:18 pm

Here's your first critique.

Separate paragraphs. It makes it easier to read. One long paragraph hurts the eyes and makes the reader think it goes on forever. Short, crisp sentences and separated paragraphs are the first thing you should use. I didn't even bother to read the story because of this blunder. After you've fixed it, I'll read it and give you a proper critique on your skills.
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Leviticastform
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PostSubject: Re: We Who Are About To Die   Sun May 23, 2010 5:36 pm

The above posted has been edited. I broke it up a little bit for you sir. Thank you very much Mister Crow for taking the time to look at this and I am eagerly awaiting what you have to say about the story it's self once you read it. I would also like to state that I am very much looking forward to working with you once I am offically signed on here in FMW (Soon I hope). Thanks again sir.
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Gabriel Crow



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PostSubject: Re: We Who Are About To Die   Tue May 25, 2010 6:49 pm

I would have to say the story is good as a starting point.

Here's questions that could be answered in a longer work:

Why is Valentino a slave fighting in the arena?

How did he become such a skilled gladiator and who taught him?

Since this is set during the reign of Nero, could you use Valentino as a character study of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire?

Just some food for thought. You have a generally good approach to writing action, which is something most writers have issues with. There's a strong fluidity to your writing style that you can enhance, making the fight almost lyrical and brutal at the same time.
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