Fighting Arena of Andaris
A break of walking, and the crooning and senseless wailing was left far behind him, Woe felt increasingly comfortable in his own sphere. Yet there was no time for idleness, he was about his master's work. The Arena was holding it's seasonal bouts a day earlier than they usually did. The cause for this change of schedule wasn't entirely understood to Woe, but he speculated they were waiting for a relative lull from the usual blizzard and freezing conditions of Cylus. So when the opportunity for a snow-free day came, they seized upon it.
Erastus had sent Woe there in order to suss out possible prospects, healthy slaves that could be turned into assets for Erastus' operation in Low-Town. Woe pulled his wool cloak around him as a nasty gust of wind blew around the arena. He waited for a moment before the entrance, and then proceeded ahead.
Inside, he could hear the cheers of the crowd from even where he stood. Somehow they'd be muffled by the windy conditions outside. Yet their feet stomped against the stones and timbers lining the stands, just as their voices rose above the walls and down into the galleries beneath.
Woe showed the man his ticket, which ensured he'd have a decent view of the slaves fighting for their lives. He also handed him several, weighted jute scarves. Three red, and three blue. The purpose being that one would throw a weighted scarf at the slave they wished to purchase, and the red one delineated one with whom a lusty audience member wished to arrange carnal relations. Woe had no time or inclinations for such liaisons, so he handed the red scarves back. He was only here to acquire worthy flesh for his former master.
The inside of the arena, though it had an open roof, was remarkably well heated. A testament to Rynmeran engineering perhaps, the consequence of being seated in a packed house, or else just plain luck. Woe wasn't one to question it.
He watched as the arena workers worked their system of pulleys, unleashing the beasts that were hidden behind cages. Here, they drove out captive bears and wolves, whipping them into a frenzy so that they'd be good an angry, ready to devour the poor hapless condemned men and women.
Sure enough, the trainers left the grounds, fending off their beasts with lashes from their whips. Then came the condemned through the central platform, which was swiftly risen until they were able to hop down from the dais.
Woe watched carefully, wondering if any of these prisoners would be able to fight off the animals with their bare hands. There were about three quarters of a dozen prisoners there, and all but two or three of them fell into chaos as the beasts descended on them. Between snarls and flashes of teeth and claws, half of their number went down in a time frame that seemed to disappoint the crowd. Woe smirked, mildly entertained at the tactics of the men and women who were now so far below him. It wasn't too long ago that he had shared their lot. But that time was past. Hew as a real person now.
Unfortunately, even the braver among the prisoners proved little match for the beasts. And so the floor of the arena was turned into a bloody abattoir. There was a short intermission of about twelve bits, during which the beasts were lured back toward their cages. Of course the trainers had trouble with some of the beasts, who had yet to finish their feast. These were swiftly rounded up by the wicked crack of a whip, and then sent back through the tunnels.
Soon after that display, the real games began. Women and men alike lifted their voices to greet the combatants. Here, slave and professional gladiator were regarded almost as equals. All the crowd hailed them, led by whichever duke, king or nobleman was sponsoring the event. Of course, ostensibly every event was dedicated to the King, but paid for by one enterprising merchant, prince, or other interest group with money. Whoever spent their coin to sponsor the game was given an honorable mention, but as always all praised the King for this finest of entertainments and blood sports.
Woe watched as the men and women fighters filed out of their respective stables, aligning themselves in a makeshift formation. Here, the Lost Stars troop was to fight against the Plank Company. The names didn't exactly conjure much in the way of inspiration or the imagination. However, they were descriptive enough that one couldn't mistake their specialties. The Plank Company consisted mainly of men wielding clubs, shields, and spears, while the Lost Stars wielded flails and spiked maces. Simple enough to distinguish one from the other.
The Announcer called the match to commence shortly, and Woe watched with rapt attention as the melee began.
He watched as the Lost Stars, surprisingly took the initiative. Woe would've thought the shield-bearers to exercise more boldness in the attack, yet these flail-wielding warriors wasted little time in splitting off into two separate but smaller units. This forced the shields into a wedge formation, which compromised their mobility.
A dozen against a dozen, Woe counted. Several lucky spear strikes from behind the shield wall took out two Lost Stars, but not before they struck the shields in front of them down in a fit of desperation.
Soon enough, all fell to chaos, and the groups split off into individual melee faceoffs with each other.
Woe kept his eyes peeled for any of the warriors who might catch his ex-master's interest. There was one particularly tall and brawny, mace-wielding star. A Lotharro by the look and build of him. Woe's mouth twisted at the sight of him. Too many of his kind about these days, and yet he wouldn't turn his nose up at a potential asset for his master. It brought Woe some amusement that if he took home a Lotharro, he might make a cuckhold out of Erastus. It was for that reason that Erastus tended to castrate his Lotharren slaves. He didn't care much about whether someone was getting his wife pregnant, so long as through plausible deniability he could claim the child was his. He couldn't do as much if the child that was born of his wife was a Lotharro.
The fighting went on a good half break, before the Lotharren stood above the rest of the vanquished, with a few other Lost Stars. Woe was swift to throw his blue scarf at the large man, several of them. The rest of the slavers in his stall grumbled, that he'd so swiftly picked the Lotharren, yet protocol dictated that the slave go to the first to mark him. As long as he could pay his master.
Bits later, Woe was walking down toward the event manager, who beckoned him over.
"Master Erastus wishes the Lotharren to join his household..."
Woe said to him, handing over a heavy purse of golden nels. Given his cheap garb, it was plainly obvious that the nel didn't come from Woe himself. But the managers here at the Arena knew him, and knew of his connectio to Erastus.
"Very well, tell Erastus he can expect his beast to arrive in about ten trials. We'll remove him from the games in the meantime..."
Woe nodded toward him, and turned to begin his exit. He didn't give two more thoughts toward the fate of the Lotharro, who'd likely be a eunuch in a tentrial.