Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Waaluk Redbeak, Famed Durulz Gladiator

I. Waaluk Redbeak and "friend" (c. 1624). Of the admittedly small number of durulz gladiators that have graced the Imperial arenas, there can be little doubting the most famous: Waaluk Redbeak. The crowds loved (and at times loved to hate) Waaluk. He may have gone to seed in his retirement, but back in his pomp he was a lean, sinewed, vicious little bastard, who excelled in his own particular brand of murderous theatre. They knew his boasts and catchphrases--"I's gonna eat yer guts like worms... worms I say!"--and showered him with gifts.

Redbeak's most famous fights came in 1618 [7/47], when he was fighting for a noble House in Melsorkoth. A particularly inopportune act of blasphemy on the part of the head of the House had caused the city (and its newly reaped fields) to be drenched by a torrential downpour. Disaster beckoned, and the nobles desired to assure the good graces of the populace and gods alike. The normal method--sacrificial games--seemed out, as the arena was flooded. At Redbeak's suggestion, however, the Melsorkothites transported tons of spoiled crops, mud and general waste, and dumped it into the amphitheatre, soon forming a foetid swamp.

Redbeak gathered together all the durulz gladiators available, and pitted them against all the zombies and beasts the city could find. It was a superb spectacle (though it started to smell after a while), unlike anything ever seen in the Empire, as the durulz re-enacted their ancient legends. The gods forgave the city, and Redbeak was hailed as one of the greatest gladiators in the Heartlands. Soon after he bought his freedom, and now lives in plump retirement in Darjiin, where he brews ricewine and owns a modest little manufactory.

(Originally posted on World of Glorantha, 12 December 2007.)