Houses of Rome

This is the Greatest Ludus, re-written for greater attention to historical detail and hopefully, greater depth. As with The Greatest Ludus, be aware this story delves into Rome's dark and seedy underbelly, where violence, bloodshed and sex wove together to form the Empire's dark side. Set during the Flavian Dynasty, two families will effectively go to war...


6. Boots to Fill

Savage sweeps of sword, shield and netting were the sights that welcomed Titus as he stepped out onto the sands of the training grounds. Small grains swept their way under his sandals but he ignored the irritant and watched as Nimr comfortably took on two opponents, a sword in each hand, not content to merely deflect their blows but moving so deftly as to avoid several completely. He would side-step, slide, and move with such grace that, for a moment, anyone watching would think he was a dancer. His swords span around as though extensions of his arms, and clattered against the shields of his foes.

Nor was Nimr relying only upon his swords. As the first of his opponents came forward again (a young man, somewhat thin, with long, messy black hair, Appius maybe?), he kicked up the sands, and Appius cried out as rough particles of dust got into his eyes. He staggered, and could do nothing to avoid a crunching kick to the stomach. The second man, a slightly stockier offering, looked to have more intelligence about him, and his much shorter brown hair did not get in the way of his face (unlike Appius - Nepos knew Nimr would make reference to that). He had chosen to wear weathered training leather as well, providing a greater degree of protection than Appius' unarmoured state. Nor was he being drawn into one-on-one combat with Nimr.

His feet shuffled the sand and his eyes never left the Tiger, but he snarled at Appius to get up and ready his shield. Once the other man was back on his feet, he urged them to move together, and swung a sword at Nimr's chest, whilst thrusting his shield at the Tiger's face.

Appius though, moved slower. His sword moved in a harsher, less natural motion, and even as the first attack did manage to unsettle Nimr ever so slightly, the supporting strike was nowhere near as potent, and Nimr pushed away the second man, letting Appius' momentum carry him past and clubbing him on the back of the neck with his sword. Appius stumbled and fell, getting a mouthful of sand for his troubles.

The second gladiator had not left the picture however, and in the split second that Nimr was striking Appius, kicked out, catching Nimr hard in the stomach. Nimr grunted, took a step, and deflected the downward strike from the sword that followed, Shield followed sword and the strength behind it actually staggered Nimr slightly, but then the Tiger asserted himself, actually trapping his opponent's sword between his own and stamping upon his foot. The other man cried out in pain, and Nimr cracked his swords against either side of his torso, then kicked him in the stomach. To his credit, the man did not fall, but did not get a chance to return to battle, as Nepos stepped forward, raising his hand.

"Dominus, I had not seen..." Nimr began.

"It is alright Nimr, I wished to observe quietly, lest I curtail this exercise with my open presence. Gladiator..." Nepos addressed the man who had remained on his feet. "What is your name?"

"Casimir Dominus." His voice was rough, gravelly.

"You did not disgrace yourself against Capua's finest. Well done."

"Thank you Dominus."

Nepos smiled, then pursed his lips and turned back to Nimr. "Get dressed. I would have words, in private, within the villa. I shall see you there."

Nimr bowed his head. "Yes Dominus."


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