Marcellus sat in the cool shade while he watched the spectacle happening out on the hot sand of the arena. During his ride from the training ground he had been told he had to survive this first battle with a beast before he could be accepted as a trainee for gladiator.
He and four other hopefuls had been transported in a cage to the Coliseum. Two of those men were now dead. One had been gored by a gigantic bull while the other had succumbed to a large cat that had slashed his throat open.
His turn was next. He weighted the gladius that he held in his hand. No shield or armour, just the leather wrist supports. He stood and looked across to see what beast he would have to combat.
The doors opened and a black bear was forced out into the arena. He loped across the sand obviously teased by his trainers and starved into a meanness to make him attack the man. Marcellus strode purposefully into the centre of the ring.
A killing stroke would have to thrust into the chest of the huge animal. In order to do that he would have to be close to the animal. So close that its hot breath would be in his face.
As the bear circled towards the right Marcellus stood still and watched. The beast moved closer and suddenly sprang forward baring its long yellow teeth as it surprised the man with its quick attack. Marcellus just managed to avoid being bowled and managed to get a glancing slash down on the side of the bear.
The bear infuriated by the pain turned quickly rose to its feet. Marcellus seeing his chance stepped forward and buried the gladius to the hilt in the chest of his adversary.