Music played by the finest instruments echoed around the great hall as both men and women alike walked around with masks covering their faces. It was an elegant party to be sure, Romans invited from all around as they all sipped wine and feasted to the winnings of the gladiators. A woman, whose body was painted by golden rose petals and smelled like lavender made her way through the crowd, her golden lips parting as she sang a beautiful melody in a language that was unfamiliar to the crowds around them. “Friends, friends. Be still.” His haunting yet sultry voice hushed the crowd as the large male stood in the center of the room, his mask revealing his house colors of red and green and his hair, black as night, being a stark contrast to the gold of the room. Lifting his cup to the people of the room, Malphas Crucellio spread a smile upon his face as his striking black eyes swept around to each individual.
“Thank you for joining us in this celebration of the family name of Crucellio.” He shifted his gaze to the men lined against the walls, wearing nothing but a cloth around their torsos and a mask across their face as the guests chanted the name like it was something to be worshiped. “I present you today gifts of gold,” the large doors opened in the back of the room as maidens walked in pairs, their arms interlocked and their naked bodies draped with chains gold. “And gifts of blood that will be spilled in the arena!” The men on the side of the walls all let out a single battle cry as they sheathed their swords and lifted them to the air. “Champion. Step forward.” An excited murmur fell over the crowd as a single man stepped through the large doors, armor decorating his tan skin and thin chains of gold hanging from his blonde hair. Alexandru Crucellio was just that, a champion. He was not his fathers son or heir to his family’s legacy, he was a tool to be used in order to gain his family more wealth and power. His features were sculpted by the gods and his arms were stronger than that of ten men and his reputation was that of a demigod himself.
As he walked forward, the women of the crowd instantly stepped forward, practically drooling over the gladiator as their jeweled fingers reaching out just so they could touch him, feel the heat that radiated off his body, and the sweat that coated his skin. Instead of a physical mask on his face, someone had painted one on him instead, delicate lines etched out in gold and red paint, like the burning rays of Sol. They treated him as a god, so he must look like one. “How much, Malphas? Just for an hour.” Bids on his body were already being made by the women and even a few men on the discreet side. Alexandru stood still in the middle of the room, unarmed and chained, his wrists forced in front of him and connected to his neck so that he could not make a move against anyone. A simple precaution, of course. He would be unchained when it was time for him to service the guests. His face was void of emotion and his green eyes were dull of life as he looked down at the shallow pool of water he was to stand in, rose petals and herbs floating around his feet that created a perfume for the room. Malphas let out a chuckle as he stood at the edge of the pool, his hand reaching out so that he could lay his palm on the top of Alexandru’s head, shaking him around a bit as he grinned at the people basically throwing money at him. “All in due time, friends. The champion is eager to spread pleasure tonight. Isn’t he?” That black gaze fell upon him like the violent lashing of his whip, the blonde closing his eyes before nodding slowly, his chains rattling in the process.
“You toss our son to the wolves, Malphas.” The drinks were being passed around more fervently and men and women took their own pleasure upon themselves in various corners of the hall. Incense burned and created a foggy atmosphere as moans and laughter nearly drowned out the instruments being played. Phoebe Crucellio looked like the sun and moon all together as she graced the party with her presence, her eyes filled with sorrow as she stared at Alexandru, the male still as a statue in the pool he was forced to stand in. “You speak out of turn, wife. What I do with my son is my business.” Their exchange was quiet, kept private from the rest of the party as Malphas’ tongue dripped with venom. “Our son, Malphas. He is our son. Do not forget it.” Her gaze lit up into a violet hue as her fingers waved and the gladiator could hear the cracking of the collar around his neck before it crumbled into flecks of gold, floating in the pool around his feet. “Your son will be passed to the wolves and the lions, just for your insolence.”
It was a promise, and Malphas never broke a promise. The collar was gone, but it was replaced by the cold hand of his father as he drug Alexandru from the pool and took him out of the hall and into the private quarters designed for him. “You bring this family wealth, boy. Take pleasure in that and them.” Just as he said, the wolves and lions whose faces were hidden by masks all entered the room, their hands roaming his body as they clawed away his armor and stripped him naked, doing whatever they wished with his body. He was a puppet, a champion, a god, a son, a rodent. He was whatever his father said he was and nothing at all. He was dead on the inside and would be for the rest of eternity. Every touch, every kiss, felt like another lash against his tan skin, another burn against his soul. When he broke free, when he got away from this life, he would never be touched again.