Tis Tuesday once more, and time for a teaser from my upcoming book, Bloodlust: Red Glory.
“That was brave,” said Sadira as Sapphire Kiss passed out of the arena. “I’m not sure I would have the steel to do that. She looked so confident as well.”
Gavin smiled, remembering his first match against Sadira in this every arena, which had ended up with him losing and her naked. Life was strange.
“Looks can be deceiving,” said Ravius from the other side of Gavin. “I’ve heard ugly things about the Skin Leagues.”
“I think they are an insult to the Games,” said Vintia from beside Sadira. “I can’t believe that woman made the final selection and neither Tenisha nor Richelle did.”
“Popularity counts,” said Sadira. “That has always been part of the games. How is Sapphire Kiss more of an insult than Gloria Bella Maxima?”
“Her record isn’t as good,” said Vintia. “But I don’t like Gloria Bella Maxima any more. Neither of them would last through a real battle.”
Sadira laughed. “You are getting curmudgeonly as a Warbound, love. I’m sure many people thought the same about myself.”
“I never did,” said Vintia. “But you’re right. This, all of this, just seems so disjointed after the realities of campaigning in Ithal’Duin.”
“I can see what you mean Vintia,” said Gavin. “Everything seems a little off.”
“No surprise there,” said Ravius. “You still have trouble grasping the fact that you’re a Chosen, little brother.”
Sadira laughed, Gavin smiled.
“Do you suppose Crimson Rod is going to come out naked as well?” asked Sadira.
Sapphire Kiss, one of the main characters introduced in Bloodlust: Red Glory, is a Gladiatrix with a checkered career who keeps her dreams of being a Grand Champion alive by joining the Skyclad League. The Gladiators in the Skyclad League must fight with their loins and chests bared and can only wear armour, not clothing. It is the invention of the perverse Chosen Silvius, who seeks to exploit the already sexualized nature of the Great Games. [Note that I am aware that Skyclad means no armour either, in traditional use.]
Objectively the Skyclad League is no worse than the Death Leagues, which seek to exploit the savagery of the games. However I find the idea of the Skyclad Leagues more difficult to write about. I suppose, even for me, sex is still more taboo than violence. Such is North American media culture I guess.
The Skyclad League, often called the skin leagues in a derogatory fashion, is generally looked down on. Yet it does get Sapphire Kiss into the Grand Championships. It is a dilemma we are all familiar with in the modern world.