The darkness of the hypogeum is cool and quiet; restful. This is my time to relax before the show. Then the hot sunlight washes over me.
I step into the arena with my eyes closed, taking a moment to listen to the crowd, feel the hot sand between my toes, smell the leather and metal and sweat and blood and shit of the Colosseum. The building looks new; imperial masons keep it that way, replacing stone and concrete as centuries wear it away, but the structure of the thing is ancient. Three-thousand years of history holding up the sweating, farting asses of Rome.
"Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant!" I salute to Caesar in unison with my opponent. Then we acknowledge the audience.
My opponent is Staberius; the dumb, grandstanding, glass-jawed bastard. He's been pissed at me lately and out for blood, gods know why. He raises his rocket-caestuum for all to see; titanium fists the size of his head, with armored forearms and spools of cable extending behind the elbows. Stupid crowd pleasing gimmick weapons, but who am I to judge? I ignite my plasma-siccae and hold them skyward. The short, curved plasma-blades are not very impressive in the noon day light, but the crowd responds nonetheless.
And now it's time.