((Author's Note: Messing around with the months, so this may change. Think of it as July, hm? Ooh - and kudos points to those who know why.))

Sardonyx 20th, 2099

(according to the human calendar)

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The walls shook with bloodthirst, the inane cheering for death seeping into the stone itself and it permeated in the air as a sort of stench. Worse still were the cries, shouting for blood, shouting for death!

"KILL! KILL! KILL!"

The lower classes in the stands all stood in their seats, screaming wildly, violently drawing their fingers across their throats as if throwing hints to the gladiator as to how to perform the deed. The Highborns sat regally in their seats, but even from their fine bred eyes that gleam of malice so inherent in the blood could not be resisted. Men leaned a fraction forward in their seats, drawn to the pure ferality of the gladiators down below; some laughed openly in their seats, snapping their shark teeth together again and again. The ladies brought to watch such spectacle fanned themselves in a bored manner or watched politely with a feigned interest, their heads held high on ramrod necks. Still, even among the supposed "docile" females, there was a desire for blood to be spilled.

"KILL! KILL! KILL!"

The Arena was a demanding lover, and incensed beyond passion, for this was no ordinary gladiator trotted out for their entertainment. It was the halfbreed Dalai Dima, the one called in betting circles the Hidráelf…for he had never lost a battle.

"KILL! KILL! KILL!"

Eyes of blue mist stared at the roaring masses, his nose flaring as he breathed harshly, wisps of clouds sprouting from his pale hued lips. Unstoppable they called him, a devil they named him, accursed they felt him; regardless, there was only one way out of the Arena when the Hidráelf was in the ring: dead. The halfbreed was believed to be insane, and he surely helped none to stop the rumors as his wild staring continued. His chest was bare, revealing the scarred and toned flesh beneath, covered in gashes and blood; most of it wasn't his own. Dalai raised his arms above his head and repeated the gesture, eliciting a larger reaction from the crowd with a maddening gleam in his eye. He was a monster…truly, he was.

The halfbreed whipped around, his hair a most queer shade of quicksilver and matted with blood. Even the tips of his ears – piercing his silvers locks with their pointed ends – were bloodied. One was bleeding, actually. A lucky shot scored while Dalai had been distracted. His opponent had been good, but Dalai had been better. The only reason the match had lasted as long as it had… Dalai leaned down and buried his fingers in the copper red curls, and dragged the dying man towards the sky. There was no fight left in him, and the man cried in agony, clutching the stump of his left arm. Dalai held the man up for the crowd to see, and the Arena screamed with pleasure. Death loomed close.

"KILL! KILL! KILL!"

The crowd knew his moods well, and Dalai threw the man into the air, and he skidded across the gritty turf, moaning and sobbing in pain. The cries of the man's agony seemed only to incense the halfbreed further, and Dalai released a guttural cry of fury, curling his fingers into claws, clutching his head. His movements sharp and angry, he drew the man up again, and blue mist met green stone.

"Damn you, Alexander!" He shrieked, and latched his fingers around the man's neck, and twisted mercilessly. Bones snapped and dalai let the corpse fall, chest down, while Alexander's deadened eyes continued to stare up into the sky.

The Arena exploded with cheers, the walls shaking with the overwhelming triumph. Dalai stood still, before letting his head fall back on his shoulders and sighing. Wounded, bloodied from head to toe, the halfbreed could do nothing more than keep his feet for a few moments. But the cheers of the crowd drew him out again, and his misty blue eyes absorbed the sight once more, in delirium, in bewilderment. Again, the halfbreed threw his arms up in victory, revving the crowd as they cheered for the malicious gladiator.

Two slave-boys came scurrying out to retrieve the body just as Dalai turned to go back to the cages, his head lowered as his feet guided his swaying body. But weakness was a passing state for such a being, and as the shade of the underground fell over him, Dalai was once again in control of himself. His blue eyes rose from their mental depths at the end of the corridor, where he paused.

Leaning against the wall's corner, a woman of scarcely twenty-one winters stared in ghastly horror at the scene outside. Tears streamed down her face without her notice, her rouge lips trembling. She wore tatty clothes, hadn't had a bath in weeks, and if that wasn't enough, the metal collar around her neck marked her as a slave. A slave-woman with the same copper curls as the man who's neck Dalai had just twisted to break. The halfbreed's mouth opened once, twice, and his hands clenched.

"Jenibelle."

The word was uttered softly, with a gentle caress that his spectators would never know the Hidráelf was capable of. The woman gasped suddenly, and turned to look at Dalai, her doe brown eyes welling tears, in heart-breaking grief and horror. The two remained like this for a time, before Jenibelle sobbed and ran forward, throwing herself into Dalai's open embrace. He wrapped his arms tightly around her, even as her rough clothes absorbed the blood of her brother's life; it was still warm. Her tears fell against his flesh and Dalai could not discern if they burned his skin or if his shame was the culprit.

"Dima!"

The halfbreed glanced up as another slave entered from the pens. He was dressed more finely, and walked with grace, but the collar around his neck was the same as any others. He was Brusch, and personal slave to the Lady Sirynna of the Lowlands…Dalai's owner. The gladiator didn't loosen his hold, and Jenibelle did not move away, even as Brusch approached. The slender man bowed his head when he was beside Dalai. Although he far outranked the halfbreed, Dalai was not one to be disrespected.

"The Mistress would like a word with you."

Dalai Dima took a breath, tightened his embrace, and then pushed Jenibelle away. She looked at him in confusion, but the gladiator shook his head.

"Dalai—"

She was suddenly silenced as the halfbreed placed his lips over hers, in the barest form of a kiss. Seconds were lifetimes, and the kiss died too soon as Dalai drew back, his eyes cleared of misty for one brief moment.

"I'm sorry." He murmured and turned towards Brusch. They both knew the rules, and the gladiator held out his wrists just as the male slave clapped irons on the halfbreed. Then, they walked away, and Dalai looked back only once, to see Jenibelle standing where he'd left her, covered in the blood of her brother and his murderer…pressing her fingertips to her lips with a look of wonder in her eyes.

It was the way Dalai would always remember her.