The sun was high and hot in my box high above the arena. Slaves ran around behind me silently, making sure to keep me cool and tend to my every need. Father had bought them specifically for the arena, with two slaves to the lower boxes, five to the esteemed boxes, and twenty for the royal box. I was supposed to be in the royal box, but since I had my own gladiator in the games today, I had asked to watch his performance in private, so father had given me an esteemed box next to the royal box.
For years I had begged to be here with a gladiator I could put into the fight, and it took years for Father to agree to let me purchase a male to train and then put forth for the annual games. After I had been given permission, I spent a full year just finding the male. I went through hundreds of fit and able males, but none of them had the raw potential I was looking for. I went to three of the largest auctions each week for a full year before they finally brought him in.
The male was gargantuan, easily three and a half cubits tall, and a wall of pure muscle. His arms were like the tree trunks, his legs were as thick as the stone pillars of the great temple, his chest was easily two cubits wide and you could see the pure muscle and sinew behind every fiber of his body. The only problem would be his genitalia, which were exceedingly large despite obvious circumcision and could become a major hindrance in the games, but I supposed he could just tie them like most gladiators.
I climbed the stage for the first time in my life to inspect him up close, his eyes never leaving my figure. I trailed my fingertips along his body, and ignored the shiver fighting to go down my spine, and felt every curve and indent of his masculinity. Truly I had no earthly idea how they managed to capture him, they must have shot him with sedatives and chained him before he could escape, for it was obvious it would take a small army to overtake such a male.
I could tell I was not the only one who wanted him, hungry eyes raked over him from every corner of the room, but as soon as I rose to stake my claim, they all fell away in fear. I can clearly remember the look in his eyes as I exchanged the hefty price for his chains, I could tell his curiosity was great, but I paid no heed to it. I led him off the stage into the waiting litter, where I gave his chain to another slave as I entered the litter.
I had ordered him to be washed and groomed before I had him brought to my chambers, where I had ordered the help to leave us.
"Do you understand my language?" I inquired.
"Yes," was his curt answer. His voice was so low it made it sound like he was growling, but I could tell it was just the low pitch. But that did nothing to sooth the unfamiliar shiver surge down my back.
"Good, I was hoping I wouldn't have to mime out every conversation we are to have," I said, looking up from the scrolls I was reading to inspect him again, "do you have any idea why I purchased you?"
"I supposed it was for your pleasure," he sounded almost confident that he was accurate.
"No, though I am sure you could show much promise in that field, I do not plan on using you for my own wanton desires. No, you will be my gladiator," I chuckled and watched his reaction. It was only more confusion.
"What is that?" he sounded very confused.
"A gladiator is one who fights in the annual games at our arena, which includes running, hurdles, wrestling, javelin throwing, discus tossing, and the long jump. All of these are sports that if won are rewarded with great prizes and fame," I explained, and he seemed to understand.
"I see, and if I win? What do I get?" he became more interested.
I burst into laughter, "Please, as your mistress, all of your earnings would immediately be given to me. Most masters give their gladiators a female to sleep with for a week or so if they do well, while others get perhaps an extra slice of bread that night, but the rest are simply given another year to live. Many who fail are disposed of and replaced," I sipped some of my wine.
"And what will you do to me if I win?" he seemed to be withholding anger at my indirect threat.
"I haven't decided yet," I said truthfully, "what do you desire?"
"Freedom," he said honestly, and I nearly choked on my wine, "but as I know that is less than possible, I desire one wish to be granted for every game I win."
I looked at him and gave him a once over, taking my time to study him again. This was the first time I looked at his face. His skin was tanned, likely from long days in the field. He had pitch black curls that was now clean and unmangled but still damp, they fell down below his shoulders that were round and hard as boulders. He had a beard, bushy and thick that did little to hide his strong jaw. His nose was a smooth slope. His brows were as dark and full as the rest of his hair. His lips were chapped, likely from lack of water on the slave ships. His eyes were a bright silver that seemed to pierce through any guise.
"Deal," I cooed, mostly because I was curious as to what a man like him could want other than freedom or women, "Whatever you ask shall be given to the best of my power."
I rarely saw him over the next five months as I required him to train ten hours a day, and I myself was busy with my own activities, being daughter of the king was not a lax lifestyle. Most days I was scheduled for a luncheon, a fitting, a party, kissing babies, etcetera. What time I had to myself I went to the marketplace to find the healthiest fruits and the most nutritious meats for my gladiator. I went to the royal physician to inquire of any medicines that could make him grow stronger, swifter, deadlier. I sought out the best trainers to either hire them, or ask advice on how to go about winning the games. Other than that I read and did seamwork like any other girl my age. When I did see him, it was to watch over his training. I had hired an instructor for each sport, and they always appeared to be doing their jobs. I had chosen these coaches carefully so that they would be harsh on him and push him farther than any average male could withstand.
The next time I spoke to him, I had summoned him to my chambers again in order to ask how he believed he was progressing. He ended up staying there for dinner and supper as we discussed much more than what was intended.
"How many more months until the games?" he asked me from the floor beside my couch, where I had asked he sit after the first hour.
"Six more months," I popped a grape into my mouth, "you will be as big as two bulls by then at this rate."
"What do the competitors usually look like? Are they my size?" he seemed to have a list of questions, and I did not mind.
I laughed, "You are three times as vast as any male I have ever laid eyes on. Most of them are half of your muscle mass alone, not to mention your sheer height," then a thought struck me, one I had never thought to ask, "where are you from?"
"The southlands," he answered quickly, obviously not liking this subject.
"What rank were you there?" I pressed on.
This time I did choke on my wine, "What?!"
Though he knew his hand alone could probably cover my entire torso, he almost flinched at my tone.
"You are king Trux's son?!" I roared, no longer reclining on the couch, "How are you here? How were you captured? Does he know you are here?"
"The advisers of my father's council feared that with me at the throne they would be executed, and they were right, so they decided to drug me and smuggle me out to some traders, where I was kept chained and dragged by three horses for a week until we came upon the sea, then I was put on a ship and transported to the auction," he answered so cooly you would think he was talking about his last hunt not his enslavement.
"Why haven't you escaped?" I asked, knowing full well that with a man of his stature that if he had such a motivation that he could surely escape back to his home.
"I was planning to come here for many years, now that I am already here, I shouldn't waste a perfectly good opportunity like this," he shrugged.
I had gotten over the initial shock of having a slave prince in my possession, and now was just curious, "So that is why you asked for your wishes."
"What is your name?" I asked.
"Knox," he said.
The rulers of the South were well known, the produced most crops and without them, our kingdom would surely perish. If they were to discover that the heir to their throne was a slave to the king's daughter, Heaven knows that they would have not only cut them off, but also surely attack. It was no secret that the South was the strongest kingdom. We were a quarter of their size, the only thing that stood between us and them was an alliance that could be easily shattered by their slightest whim.
Strange, a moment ago I was having a calm conversation with the gladiator I had waited years to possess. Now, it was a matter of the destruction of my kingdom. But I maintained a calm face.
"So what do you plan to do, Knox?" I asked, taking another, much larger, sip of wine.
"Whatever you want me to," he answered.
I lost my focus for a moment because all I could think about at that moment was how luscious those words sounded coming from his lips.
"So you will be following through with the games?" I recaptured my composure.
He nodded, and I almost missed the small twinkle in his eye, "I will earn my wishes."
Those words sent a shiver down my spine, and stayed in my thoughts for the next six months.
The week before the games was when I next saw him.
"I see my prediction has come to pass, you are nearly as big as three bulls, Knox," I grinned as I circled him.
If I had thought he was large to begin with, he was monstrous now. His mass had doubled since I had last seen him, his muscles could be compared to the boulders in the mountains of the east, by now I should have coward in his gaze, but I merely felt safety. This man could break a skull like a robin's egg, but I only felt security.
"The training was quite extensive," he smirked down on me like a bird of prey, "it is no surprise I have grown. Besides that, I have never known you to be wrong."
I chuckled at him, "As long as you win for me, I couldn't care less for your flattery," I lied.
"As long as I get my wishes at the end of the day, I will move mountains," he almost had a guttural growl.
I decided to ignore the thousandth shiver that barreled down my back.
"What are you going to do about your appendage? Surely it has been cumbersome to you, but I have never seen you tie it, why?" I changed the subject. I truly pitied the woman that was ever in the position to have that attached to her male and still be expected to walk again. Perhaps it wouldn't be terrible, though. Not after she'd become accustomed...
I shook my head and reminded myself that despite his position I was not to fraternize with the most dangerous male in the known world.
"It has been cumbersome over the last many months, but it has never hindered me in my training."
Bad change of subject.
I sent him away to prepare before my composure could be completely snapped by that simple declaration.
I smiled as I thought of my gladiator. He was truly one of a kind, and this would likely be the only time he would compete for me in the games seeing as I was going to have to let him return to the country that he must one day rule in order to sustain both his and my kingdom that I would one day rule. It was very bittersweet.
Suddenly the arena erupted with thunderous roars as the gladiators were lead onto into the arena. I grinned as I quickly picked out my own player in the games. It was not difficult, he was by far the largest and tallest out of all the others, and it was not a question of who would win. His eyes swept over the boxes until he found mine, I knew he could not see me because of the shade, not to mention how far apart we were, but somehow he knew it was me. He bowed, very dramatically, but it was a bow nonetheless.
Though we could not see each other's eyes, we both smirked. It would be fun for him to play, and it would be very entertaining for me to watch.
The arena went silent, and I knew they were all giving rapt attention to my father to give permission to begin, and though I couldn't see it, I knew the exact moment his hand fell to begin the games. The crowd once again erupted in deafening cheers. I could see bets being made, expectations being stated, and feral grins spreading to show bloodthirsty teeth. As far as I could see, I was the only woman in the arena, and the only reason I was present was because I had a gladiator competing.
The players began to line up for the line jump, and I sat back with a feral grin, knowing how much gold I was going receive.
When the sun set, it was time for the last event. Twas the most anticipated and the most brutal.
Wrestling, the only game where there were no rules, only blood.
In years past the weakest would go first, then they would work their way up to the stronger players. When they realized that it was a lot less bloody that way, the reversed it so the strongest went first and that way they were able to rip the weaker ones limb from limb.
Of course Knox was the largest by far and had won every game so far, and I had already told him beforehand, he was to show no mercy.
His first rival was almost a foot shorter than him and half as muscular. Within two seconds he had his head on the far end of the arena and his body on the other.
I'm not going to lie, that was attractive.
After the next ten rivals were ended in a similar fashion, they began sending three contestants at a time, and Knox began to draw out the competition. He never looked back at me, he only did as I told him, but I knew he was making a show for me. My grin was cynical as I watched him, lightly sipping on my wine every so often.
By the time we were halfway through, he was taking on ten at a time. He never lost his cool, he was always precise and timely, never faltering. He knew every twitch they made before they did; his technique was hypnotizing.
The whole spectacle was very arousing.
In the end, the last rival took a knife and pushed it into his chest rather than face my male. And the whole crowd lost their heads. The defending ruckus went unnoticed by the champion however. He turned to my box and got on his knees.
I rose from my seat and walked to the edge of the box with a dazzling smile as I leaned over into the arena where I could be seen and nodded at my victor. He would have whatever he desired; he deserved it.
Even from where I stood so far away from him, I could distinguish the primal grin that shined in the dark night. If not for my grip on the edge my knees would have failed me. That grin held more than one promise.
I watched him through the veil that served as his privacy in his chambers next to mine. He was washing himself of all the blood, dust, and sweat he had been doused in when in the arena. It was as if they had tried to cover him in the absence of clothes.
I walked around the veil and made my way towards him.
"Did I please you?" he spoke while I was still behind him.
"You astounded me, the whole thing was quite pleasing," I admitted as I went to lean against the wall next to his tub.
"I consider that high praise from you, my lady," he chuckled and looked up at me.
"You brought great honor to me in the arena, and you have five wishes that I will grant to the best of my ability, you have proved yourself deserving of them, and tomorrow you will return to the South as I have arranged a ship to send you back to your home," I replied.
"I only have one wish of you tonight, the others I wish to save for a later time," he said slowly.
"Do you plan on coming back again to claim them? Not in the same way as this time I certainly hope," I gave a half smile though it pained me to think of him leaving.
"Of course I will return for my wishes, I plan to use them in due time to their full extent. But for now, my only wish is that you remain a maiden until I return," he stated as though he were declaring his claim on a stake of land, which I suppose in a way he was, but I owed it to him.
"A rather peculiar request, and also a taxing one, for it will be difficult to hold off suitors eager to get close to my throne, but nevertheless, I gave my word, and your wish shall be granted."
He left the following morning before I arose and I did not see him again for three summers. I did not expect him to be away for so long, but in that time his father passed on leaving him the throne. At the end of the third summer, my father did the same, and I was set to be coronated the day after his parting ceremony.
I was nervous, not because I was going to be supreme over a kingdom in a few hours, but because the leaders on the other kingdoms were to attend as well, and that included King Knox.
When he obtained the throne, he was instantaneously threatened by barbarians and heathens who fought to overthrow him, but he decimated them with brute force the size of a thunderbolt from the Lord himself. His reputation was that of the devil, he ruled with an iron fist and a mighty axe to protect his people. Merely hearing about him was arousing enough to last me until he was to come back for his other wishes.
My palms sweat as the doors opened to the church, and I walked forward with the grace and authority of a queen. My eyes stayed steady on the altar before me, but I could feel heated stares burning into by back.
The ceremony was quick, and I barely remembered anything other than the crown being placed on my brow. What I did remember was turning to face my subjects and immediately finding the eyes of my male.
After that I was rushed out of the church and to the castle where the reception was held and I was given congradulations by every single person, except one. Finally after two hours of that, I was allowed to take a break and step onto the terrace.
I only got a moment of quiet before I felt a large wall press against me, and I leaned against it, allowing myself to be enveloped in the comfort I so desperately missed.
"Finally back again, I see," I sighed.
"I couldn't stay away from you for too long, it pained me too much," his chest rumbled as he spoke, and I didn't have to look to know a bemused smile was laid on his lips.
"Really? Or was it your wishes that you wanted fulfilled?" I turned and craned my neck to look him in the eye.
"They are one and the same, my queen," there was the spark in his eye I so missed.
"Come out with it then, what will it be? Your first wish was granted in full, and now that you have returned it's time for the rest. I do hope you have decided what you want, you did have three summers after all," I waited with baited breath as my curiosity of four summers was finally going to be sated.
"My first wish, is a four day wedding as they are tradition in my kingdom," he leaned down to my level as my eyes widened, "my second wish is that you allow me to remove that sacred maidenhead, which you have kept so diligently in my absence, on our wedding night."
My palms were no longer the only places growing moist.
"My third wish is a child, a beautiful child we will make together and raise to rule as God would be proud of," his hands fell on the curve of my waist, and he pressed his forehead against my own, "and my last wish is that you let me cherish you until the day we die. Those are my wishes my lady."
I was shivering in his presence, and his hold became a support as my knees were quaking.
When I was sure that my voice would not shake, I said with great joy the words I had longed to say for three summers: "all of these shall be given to you, Knox. All of them and so much more."