Tis Tuesday and time for a little bit from my soon to be released novel, Bloodlust: Red Glory
The names of the Gladiators who made it past the qualifying round were posted outside the Grand Arena on the last day of the qualifying round, along with their assigned opponents. Those names carved into an enormous stone tablet with elemental magic, were hidden by a gold curtain that would drop at midnight.
The Grand Parade square outside the arena hosted a large number of fanatical fans waiting to see if their favourite made it through the rounds, as well as those who wanted to secure tickets for interesting match-ups. They were served by food stands, roving jugglers and joke-tellers, and other attractions. Blue Hornet was waiting with these, just one more face among thousands, save for Honey on his arm, and the Grey-Robe at his side. Without the mask, few fans would recognize him; he valued that cloak of anonymity.
By contrast, fighters like Gloria Bella Maxima and Fiona the Executioner each stood amidst their seas of supporters. Gloria Bella Maxima revelled in the attention, acting like a Queen of old, while Fiona had the walked among her fans chatting. Blue Hornet disapproved of both, he preferred to keep a distance from large groups of fans, but did not like the image of royalty that Gloria Bella Maxima and many other Blues cultivated.
At least Gloria Bella Maxima deigned to show up; Lord Peerless was nowhere to be seen.
The arena officials, including a tired looking Quintus diKrass, began the countdown. The chatter ceased.
“FOUR,” the crowd joined in.
As the curtain fell, Blue Hornet found his name, third on the list. His opponent would be Tamli the Bladebreaker. He knew that the veteran of the master’s circuit was an extremely under-rated opponent. He would have to be at his best to beat her, although it was likely he would win any show of thumbs. The fans preferred aggressive fighters, and his name was still fresh in the circuit.
Blue Hornet nearly laughed out loud when he saw who Lord Peerless was going to be facing.