These are character quotes from the synopsis in Bloodlust: Will to Power. They all have a similar theme.
“I love the challenge of a tough fight and the roar of the crowd. I will impress you.” Sadira Lacivia, aka Red Scorpion.
“There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finding that perfect comment to enrage an opponent. I will get under your skin.” Ravius Vergerus, aka Ravishing Rude Ravius
“My friends trust me to defend them on the fighting grounds, I can think of no greater compliment than that. I will not fail them.” Vintia Legarda, aka Brightshield
“The Great Games give us the opportunity to lend our strength to better causes. I will make a difference.” Omodo diYava, aka Hammerhorn
“The arena weeds separates the weak from the strong. I will not let anyone take what is mine.” Karmal Kolat, aka Crimson Dragon
“In spite of everything, I cannot deny that I enjoy the way the arena pushes me to test my limits. I will find my way.” Gavin Orphanus, aka Lionfang
The challenge with these character quotes is to convey familiarity, reminding the readers of the characters from Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale, while showing how each of them feels about the Great Games.
The second part of today’s teaser covers familiar territory: A summary of the events of the first book. I took care to emphasize the key points that drive the narrative in the second book, hopefully without giving anything away.
Synopsis of Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale
In the Domains of the Chosen magic is power. Because of the Reckoning, a cataclysm brought about by a war between magic-wielders, the Gifted are also feared and controlled. Only those willing to face the rigours of the Great Games, as Gladiators, can earn the right to wield their magic unfettered. A lucky few might even win a place among the Chosen, immortal rulers of the Domains.
Gavin, a thoughtful young man, begins his career as a Gladiator in the Campus Martius. He seeks the freedom that can only be gained through the path of the Gladiator. Gavin is soon joined by Ravius, a cunning, sociable skirmisher who was his only real friend in training. Ravius introduces Gavin to the amiable Armodon Omodo. After he executes a Heretic, Olek Agvarson, in a Deathmatch, Gavin begins to question his place in the bloody games. The man’s only crime, in Gavin’s mind, was wanting freedom.
Gavin meets Sadira, a dynamic Shadow-Elf Gladiatrix, and the two fall in love. Sadira, already a skilled fighter and a consummate performer, seems destined for greatness. Many people do not understand what Sadira sees in Gavin. One of these is Sadira’s friend and rival, Karmal, who sees Gavin as soft and weak.
Sadira, Gavin, Omodo, Ravius, Karmal, and Vintia, another of Sadira’s friends form a troupe and travel to the town of Dreadwood Junction. There they hope to Gain the attention of Faction League recruiters and gain a fast track to better leagues. They succeed in gaining the attention of the Red Faction, but not before Sadira and Gavin get tricked into a Deathmatch against local favourites Bella and Cat. During the match Karmal kills the corrupt arena master, Meady Mox, whom she was investigating on behalf of the deliberative.
The six Gladiators join the Red Faction and travel to Camp Valorous, a busy military town on the edge of the Empire. They meet Cleothera, a friendly Grey-Robe. They train hard here and become favourites. Sadira, in particular, gains the attention of the crowd. When a rival Faction challenges the recruits, Sadira and Vintia are selected to represent them, winning handily. During this fight Gavin meets Valaran diVolcanus, the most feared Gladiator in a generation. Valaran becomes obsessed with Sadira, who he believes is the only woman worthy of him, and begins to send her gifts. Gavin struggles with feelings of self-worth.
When they troupe moves on, Omodo remains behind at Camp Valaran. He feels he must overcome his aversion to crowds and become more self-reliant. He eventually joins the Green Faction, but remains in contact with his old friends.
The rest of the troupe joins the Red Faction at Scorpion’s Oasis. Sadira hopes to win the patronage of Chosen Giselle, which will greatly further her career. The Oasis is a town traditionally dominated by the Blue Faction. Sadira is put in charge of the troupe. She trains her friends hard, learns to lead, and masters the complex Faction challenge rules with Gavin and Vintia’s help.
The troupe give their all and lead the Red Faction at Scorpion’s Oasis to a winning season, working hard to do so. As the season goes on it becomes apparent that Chosen Giselle will sponsor Sadira’s ascension to a higher league, but she will have to part ways with Gavin. Thus their victory at Scorpion’s Oasis is bittersweet.
Sadira and Karmal join Chosen Giselle in Brightsand Halls. Sadira gets a chance to train with a woman she has adored since childhood, but she finds that having little time to spend with Gavin is a heavy price to pay for Glory.
Vintia is saddened to be separated from her childhood friends. She decides to remain behind in Scorpion’s Oasis and defend their title. At least that way she will be close to Sadira in Brightsands.
Gavin meets Master Sax after a rough match in the Oasis. Sax reveals that Gavin’s spear bears the maker’s mark of the smith Liam Valcoeur, who never gives weapons to just anyone. Curiosity to meet this enigmatic smith and a desire to prove himself worthy of Sadira drive Gavin to travel to the north and join the Free Leagues. Ravius, Sax, and Cleothera join him.
Meanwhile Valaran seeks to find a way to eliminate Gavin and make Sadira his, and all the while the great players of the Domains plot, getting ready for the coming Grand Championships where the victor will join the ranks of the Chosen.