They were born one day apart.
Their mothers were slaves. One was an exotic beauty from the Far East, from China. The other was a smoldering, dark haired Iberian spitfire from Hispania. Ravished and impregnated by Roman officers in different provinces of the Republic, hundreds of miles apart, the two young women were sold together nine months later at a slave auction in Pompeii. Fate bonded them for the short time they would know each other. Their owner, a baby merchant, purchased them for the offspring they would soon bear, perhaps within a matter of hours.
The women were useless to him otherwise. Beautiful though they were, it would take many weeks, perhaps months, before their bodies were in good enough shape to once again fetch a fair price in the slave markets.
He didn’t have time to wait for that.
Several days after giving birth, they were crucified on the Via Appia, Chinese and Iberian together, face to face, their naked bodies touching, joined in death.
Their daughters were raised together. Within weeks after their birth, they were both sold to a young owner of a gladiatorial school in Ostia. Lucius Cassius Valentinus was a shrewd businessman. As a novelty, he had introduced female gladiators into the territorial arenas when he took his show on the road.
They were an instant hit.
Over the past year, he had purchased young girls at slave auctions and started training them from an early age in the gladiatorial arts. His two latest acquisitions would be his crowning achievement; they would learn to carry wooden training swords almost before they could walk.
Their mothers had named the babies before they were separated from them, and, surprisingly, the baby merchant had scribbled down the appellations. The Iberians name was Brigida Calista. The Chinese baby’s was unpronounceable. After several failed attempts, Lucius gave her a Romanized name, Diana Aureliana.
He gave them nicknames as well. He shortened “Brigida” to “Bridgie,” and Diana became “China Girl.” The nicknames stuck, and the two girls answered to them almost as often as they did to their given names.
Even as tiny infants, Brigida and Diana were ethereally beautiful. They were inseparable; they grew up together, like s****rs. Lucius saw to their education. Greek tutors taught them Latin, Greek, mathematics and the sciences, even as he himself relentlessly drilled them in the gladiatorial arts. They became expert horsewomen and archers.
They learned to rely on each other. They were half-caste c***dren. Neither would have been accepted by her mother’s people or her father’s. They would be at home in neither culture, and they would have to make their own way in the world. In many ways, they were well-suited for the life that had chosen them.
By the time they were sixteen and old enough to officially enroll in Lucius’s Ludus Gladitorium Ostii school, they were as deadly and accomplished as fighters who had been in the arena several years.
They had also grown into beautiful young girls.
They were quickly accepted as members of the gladiatorial f****y.
They looked like s****rs, the Iberian with sun-streaked chestnut hair, the Chinese with tresses as black as midnight. Their athletic bodies were tanned and lean and well-defined. Even then, they were almost fully-developed. They had strong, firm breasts that led to flat and muscular stomachs; lush hips; and well-toned, tapered legs.
By the time they were eighteen and entered the arena, their beauty was devastating. They were lovelier than Aphrodite, more beautiful than any goddess. The provocative yet functional armor they wore was designed to show of the delectable curves of their bodies as much as to protect them. Many a man had been distracted by the smoldering, volcanic Latina sexuality of the Iberian girl, or lost in the wondrous, almond-shaped, “come-hither” eyes of the Chinese beauty, seconds before he was disemboweled.
Their skill was legendary; they never lost.
Brigida and Diana were perfect killing machines – beautiful, sexy, deadly, and completely irresistible.
The girls learned about boys and sex under the grandstands of the arena, a seamy underworld populated by fortune tellers and prostitutes and vendors of all types of goods – legal and i*****l.
They learned about love from each other.
They had grown as friends, and s****rs, sharing everything, so it seemed only natural to them that they would become lovers and soul mates. The rush of excitement, the raw carnality that they felt when they coupled with boys could not compete with the gentleness and closeness they experienced in each others arms.
And the girls learned about treachery and brutality and cruelty and injustice by watching the Roman soldiers.
The lessons would not be forgotten – nor forgiven.
The years passed. Brigida and Diana became more and more famous – or notorious, depending upon one’s point of view. They also became quite wealthy, even though they were technically slaves. But Lucius had always treated them as if they were his own daughters. After all, their fortune was his fortune. There was talk of taking their tour to Rome, to fight in the Circus Maximus. Soon the two young women would be rich enough to buy their own freedom – that is, if they so desired.
Then came a fateful weekend that changed the lives of Brigida and Diana forever.
The gladiatorial troupe was doing a series of shows in the backwater town of Nezdovia in Gallia Narbonensis, in the shadows of the Alps. As was often the case, the dilapidated little village had a magnificent arena. Far better to have a showplace for the gladiatorial contests, even if the town’s sanitation and water distribution systems left much to be desired.
On the third day of their tour, a detachment of fifty Roman legionaries arrived, weary from the road – and hungry for female “companionship.” Their Centurion cast a lustful eye on the women. After the show he approached Brigida in a taverna with an obscene proposal.
Her response was something to the effect that she wasn’t into b********y and she didn’t fuck a****ls.
Moments later, twenty-three of the soldiers were dead, including the Centurion, and eleven others were wounded.
But Brigida and Diana were beaten and battered, stripped and in chains. All thirty of the other gladiators in the f****y had been slain, and Lucius’s severed head decorated the end of a Roman pike.
The soldiers were howling for bl**d. They wanted to crucify the women on the spot. General Publius Scipio Magnus, however, had a different proposal.
His smile was lascivious.
They were far too beautiful to be done away with so soon. Why not keep them alive to “service” the decimated squad until they reached camp on the other side of the mountains? Once they joined up with the rest of the cohort at the permanent base, they could crucify the women outside the walls.
Why not enjoy them in the meantime?
Thus began three weeks of horror and sexual abuse.
Brigida and Diana were kept naked in a small cage in which they could turn around, but could not stand upright, with Lucius’s decaying head tied to the bars. Their only purpose was to satisfy the carnal urges of the Roman soldiers.
Lesser women would have died from the rough handling, or, at the very least, lost their minds from the unrelenting terror. But Brigida and Diana were strong, in body and mind and will. The Romans wanted them to arrive at camp in relatively good condition so they would linger a long time on the cross, so torture was forbidden. They were more than equipped to take whatever their captors could dish out physically, and they steeled their minds against the emotional trauma of what was happening to them.
Late at night, when they were finally left alone, they comforted each other and made love as best they could in the claustrophobic confines of the cage. They stretched and exercised at every opportunity, watching for a chance to escape.
Then one evening, one of the soldiers did something incredibly stupid.
He came back late, after everyone else was asl**p, enchanted by the two beauties. The women unleashed all of the charm they could muster, convincing him that they had been broken. They were now compliant and would do whatever it took to please him –- if he could please just get the shackles off them so they could properly pleasure him.
Diana crushed his windpipe with the flat of her right hand.
They found their armor and weapons and dressed and armed themselves.
Then, daggers drawn, they flowed like water through the camp, swiftly and silently, meting out vengeance….
The smoke drew the attention of the sixth cohort of Gaius Julius Caesar’s Legio X Equestris three days later. Twenty-seven charred corpses littered the scorched ground of the Roman encampment. It was impossible to tell how they had died, but there was a pile of rotting male genitalia beyond the edge of the burned area. All the horses were gone.
And in the center of the camp, impaled and putrefying on the flagpole, was the severed head of General Publius Scipio Magnus.
It took almost a week of backtracking and interrogation and torture to piece together what had happened. Caesar’s brows knitted incredulously. Two young women had done all of this damage? He snorted.
Best to forget all about this embarrassment. They would probably never hear from Brigida Calista and Diana Aureliana again. No sense in expending the resources of the Roman Republic to run down two female gladiators.
Less than two years later, Caesar would wish he had taken the time to run down two female gladiators.
Brigida and Diana became legends; they had singlehandedly destroyed a detachment of Roman legionaries, making them heroines in the eyes of the oppressed people of the countryside. The two women scoured the mountains and valleys of Trans-Alpine Gaul, going from tribe to tribe, to town after town that had been leveled by Roman troops. The Romans killed all the able-bodied men, ****d the women, and left them and the c***dren to fend for themselves after they burned the village to the ground. Brigida and Diana recruited the strongest and healthiest of the young women and girls from the devastated region. Their hatred of the Romans fueled their desire to learn the deadly skills the two s****r-lovers could teach them; they were eager and apt pupils.
Soon after, the slaughter began.
Unaccustomed to the rocky, hilly terrain, Roman patrols and supply convoys were easy pickings for the ever growing army of women warriors. Emboldened by their success, neighboring barbarian tribes began to join in and to harass the Romans as well.
And always, at the forefront of the carnage, were two of the most beautiful women the Roman soldiers had ever seen.
For many of the troops, it would be the last sight they would ever see.