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I don’t regret what I did. I will never regret what I did. This repeated through my mind as I went through the rigorous training. As I bled from my whipping but still continued to carry the heavy stones for miles on end.
My name is Amor. I am 31 years old. I am a Dimachaerus gladiator preparing to fight my first battle. But it wasn’t always like this.
When I was 29 my daughter was born into this terrible life, I had no money, and no home. I relied on stealing from shops and others to live. But as soon as my daughter was born, the struggle to live became impossible. In distress I began to kill and rob others just to support my daughter.
But all bad things, as good come to an end. I was arrested and sentenced to death. My daughter got lucky and was adopted by a wealthy family. But the emperor had plans for me. What better way to put me to death than to face me against the most brutal animal on the face of this terrible planet? A tiger.
So now I stand here. About to step out in front of twenty thousand people. A small crowd for the Colosseum, that immense, oval-shaped arena, with its stone statues of warriors past and gods watching, built to hold fifty thousand. But it didn’t seem like it. To me it was a small prison cell, noose in the middle waiting for me to arrive. A wealthy group watching, waiting at the edge for the main event. My death.
I was armored with two small swords and a couple small shoulder and knee plates. My short blond hair was exposed and blowing slightly in the morning wind. Here we go. I stepped out into the vast arena and looked directly in front of me. I ignored the emperor behind me gloating with his wealthy friends about my strength. “It was all thanks to me.” He said. “He came to me a small stick, blowing in the wind,” he lied.
“These events bore me father,” the emperor’s son complained. Says the one sitting in the shaded box. I thought. Then I heard it. The tiger’s roar, it scratching at the gate. The crowd cheered as the gate was raised. Then the beast stepped into the light, and stared straight at me.
The wealthy people began to gamble on who would win. Me or the tiger. I crossed my two swords in front of me in a defensive fashion. Then it began. The tiger ran at me full force and gave a deafening roar as it did. The crowd exploded.
The tiger leaped at me, but I blocked it with my swords. It landed on all fours. I charged full force at the beast swinging my swords. Bad move. The tiger merely swiped its paw across my face leaving deep gashes in my left cheek. The pain swept across my face.
In rage, I ran full force at the tiger. Bad move. Again. This time the tiger pinned me on the ground. Everything went quiet. Seconds seemed like minutes. Someone screamed. The tiger took one last roar of victory. I reached for my swords but they had fallen too far away.
But just over the barrier, I saw the one thing I did not expect to see. My daughter. She was looking directly at me. Fear in her face. I winced as the tiger’s claws dug into my flesh. This was it. The tiger took one last triumphant roar, then swept its paw, claws extended, across my neck and waited.
Everything started to go red. The last thing I saw was my daughter scream out as if she felt my pain. This is it. It is all over. I still don’t regret what I did. It was all for her. And it was worth even my death.