Agron walked out of the freshly claimed villa into the courtyard that reminded him so much of his time spent in the house of Batiatus, right down to the wooden man and young slaves training to know at least the lightest of defensive skills. And then he noticed the little man, a dog they have called him for the attempt he had made on Spartacus' life. Yet he seemed to have saved them at the next occasion. Perhaps all he needed was to feel a new sense of belonging, lost with the sense of being freed. So he walked over and crouched down silently by his sitting form.
Nasir was watching, crouched on his haunches, cup of water in hand as he watched the slaves spar, noting Spartacus; instructions to others, committing them to memory.
"I have taken notice of your attempts earlier. You learn fast, but need much guidance. Why are you not sparing?" he asked the Syrian conversationally. As much as he hated Ashur and his forked tongue, this little man has already started proving himself an asset.
"Much tutorage can come from watching, and less energy consumed." he answered, without removing his gaze from the sparring, "that one exposes flank when he strikes, his angle of body needs to alter."
Agron nodded. "He forgets that a shield is not to be held so close to the body. It is an extension of you, just like your sword." he commented, taking a sip from his own cup. "Observe Spartacus' wrist, the way it caresses the handle of his gladius and grips to enforce a particular blow." he pointed, Spartacus was really getting into a little sparing match with the shit-eating Gaul. The trust placed into the Gaul made his jaw tighten slightly yet his face remained expressionless.
"They are of the same tutorage, they would both tire before one ceased breath, and they are taught to search for the same weaknesses but not to show any themselves, I must be more cunning, quick and light."
"Our Doctore was a man of many hash words, yet encouraged when necessary. Spartacus follows in his steps." but then he let out a rough chuckle. "And a little man such as yourself is already quick and light, your reflexes and technique are what needs work."
Nasir hissed, "Do not call me that, or you are no worse than the Romans taking away our names,"
Agron merely chuckled. "Feisty, but save the passion for sparring, I meant no harm. And a word of advice I was once given myself. When faced with stronger and larger opponent, do not attack blindly. Draw them in with defence before striking." he said before standing up to leave the Syrian to his observation.
Nasir merely hissed again at the man's back and turned his gaze back to the training, finishing his cup and throwing it to one side, as he stood to join.
Agron's words proved to have fallen on deaf ears as he watched the Syrian falling on his back once again. He was obviously a quick study but as a body slave, he was hardly a fighter just yet.
The Syrian did not give up though, each time he fell he returned stronger than before and did not make the same mistakes twice. He also seemed to have his own fighting style, primal, feline.
And while Argon watched over all the newly freed slaves from his position by Spartacus' side, his eyes often strayed to the little man and his feline grace, so foreign to him on the sand of the arena where brute force was often what led victory hand in hand with skill. They continued training until nightfall when the dark skies began sparkling with stars.
Where others were exhausted, nasir seemed to have limitless energy; he always selected the larger opponent, making them appear blundering fools.
"The Syrian seems to think himself more than a pup. Let me show him a lesson." growled roughly Crixus from Spartacus' side, still not trusting of the little man who made an attempt on his brother earlier.
"As if a shit-eating Gaul would teach him any skill but pain. You plan, I will go." suggested Agron and at Spartacus' nod went to stand in front of the feline man.
He only drew his gladius, leaving shield to the side so the little man had some advantage, he would need it. So far, he had only sparred with other slaves, but had to yet take on a seasoned gladiator.
Nasir grinned "To what do I owe the privilege?"
"Saving you from spreading your cheeks and being fucked by the Gaul. His distrust for you would teach you nought valuable." he chuckled roughly, his German humour so distinct.
Nasir's nose wrinkled slightly in disgust, "yet you use as coarse a tongue as one from Gaulia, then again it is not so separated from the east of the Rhine."
Agron's grin slipped at his remark, his face set in determination. "Drawing a comparison with the shit-eater. Not a wise strategy to taunt your opponent." he said firmly before his sword swung in the air, signalling the beginning. He avoided the little man's moves with ease and slid to the side at his next attack, his wooden gladius connecting with the Syrian's back painfully enough to teach a lesson.
Nasir hissed in frustration ready for next move. He moved agilely and swiftly, not fearing the ground, but using it to aid him, rolling and diving to swiften attacks.
Agron appreciated his technique even though for a man like him the moves could still be predicted. He dodged, met the strikes, and delivered blows of his own, kicking the feet from underneath his opponent before pressing him into the ground to remind him that ground was to be avoided, not only taken advantage of. Nets were often used in the arena.
"Better." he admitted and offered the little man his arm to -pull him up
Nasir slapped it away "Again." he demanded.
Agron stepped back. "Learn to accept kindness or you will never share a bond that is between brothers." he said before starting a fresh attack, letting the little man try his own tactics
Learning fast, Nasir's weaknesses were also diminishing, it took far longer this time before he was on the ground, panting heavily.
Agron nodded at him but this time did not offer his hand to help him up at the memory of the Syrian's previous stubbornness. "The meal is ready. You need some rest and food, the day's sun fell heavy upon us today. We may continue afterwards."
Nasir nodded and stood, spitting some blood on to the sands, wiping his bloodied lip with the back of his hand, heading for a bowl of hearty stew.
Agron was approached by Spartacus. "You have taught him a lesson well aimed at his weaknesses. I would have him train and fight with you." he suggested.
Agron snorted. "Fucking Syrian, he will have the heart to complain anyway I am sure." he chuckled, yet his words held not real insult and the Thracian knew it. With a heavy slap to the shoulder, Spartacus left him to his thoughts and water.
Nasir sat alone, isolated from the others due to his treachery. He did not care much, most were brutes, and he was not used to their ways.
Yet after getting his own bowl of stew, Agron sat down next to him and silently started eating.
"You do not need to give me company," he said simply, "go with your brothers, you emphasised the need to kin after all,"
The German only shrugged and spoke around his mouthful. "They discuss plans I have full knowledge of already. My presence is not required. And if you mind my company I will take it elsewhere."
"It is not minded, but it may not leave you in good stead with the others," he answered
The German chuckled in that rough way of his. "I am surrounded by Gals and those who do not know me apart from my position as the second in command for Spartacus. I could care less."
"Forgive me, I thought Crixus was second in command, Spartacus holds him in high stead"
Agron snorted. "Crixus is a brother to us all; we would die to save the other. Yet, he is consumed by finding his woman and that does not provide clear thought."
"I hope he will find her, it is a sad thing to see man without cause," nasir mused.
"What cause is yours?" he asked as he tore off a piece of bread
"I am yet to find it, but it will come in time," he answered, eyeing the bread with hunger, due to the animosity between him and the cook he had not been supplied any. "And yours/" he asked
Agron had more than enough and after noticing the Syrian's look tore off half of his ration and handed it to the little man. "Revenge for the one purpose I had that is lost to me. And the freedom of those enslaved." he answered, his voice somewhat lacking its usual gruffness
Nasir handed it back "you require it more than I," He looked at the man now, "What was lost?" he asked, as slaves, everyone knew loss but agron's seemed directed to a person
Agron handed it back. "You have trained the whole day. As I said, accept kindness and feel like the spirit of the brotherhood." he said and placed it this time at the edge of the bowl, his gesture brokering no argument.
"My brother. We have not been separated even after enslaved, bought together, sold together, and trained together. He died in my arms, his blood hot on the sand of the arena."
"Then he died honourably, a fate desired by many men," nasir consoled.
Agron nodded, his usual grin back in place. "He did, with sword in his hand and more blood in mind."
"I am sure he is greeted in the afterlife with more women than his cock can handle," he responded with a small grin, succumbing a little to the Germans coarse tongue aiming for favour, "As will you I am sure, if cunt is your desire," he commented hoping to reveal the man's persuasions.
Agron chuckled. "He has always been fond of cunt, my brother. He is one happy fuck in the afterlife I am sure. As for myself, wine, cunt or cock, as long as flesh meets flesh. Glorious death with my brothers for a good cause should warrant all." he grinned.
Nasir grinned "you shall have a cock in ass while your cocks in cunt,"
Argon chuckled and shook his head. "More like have a tight ass to fill with my cock and feast on a sweet cunt." he winked and poured himself more water, filling up the little man's cup as well
Nasir drank his cup and stood, "come, I wish to spar some more," he reached out a hand to help agron up, "Brother,"
Agron grinned wickedly and grabbed his forearm. "Very well. And I was getting used to calling you little man. Tiberius falls hard from the tongue" he teased, quickly to grab his gladius when the Syrian attacked with renewed vigour.
"Call me that again, and you will not have cock to greet anyone in the afterlife!" he hissed attacking hard and fast
Agron simply chuckled and for a moment fully unleashed his skill, showing the man just how much he had been holding back and had the Syrian's back pressed against his chest, without a weapon and his wooden gladius pressed against his throat.
His strong arms easily held onto his struggling body, he was no match for Agron's wide built. "If taunting is what makes you fight braver than a lion and aid in your skill, I shall occasionally use it." he growled against the Syrian's ear before pushing him down into the sand.
"Again." he said with his usual grin now.
Nasir hissed, time to fight Syrian. He grabbed some of the sand and as they fought threw it in agron's face as distraction and soon the German found himself on the ground.
Agron only laughed, knowing it would confuse the Syrian before his leg struck out, making the little man crumble next to him and he had him easily pinned to the sand. "Apologies. I thought you might miss the feel of sand." he chuckled
Agron hissed, his neck craning in frustration, bringing their faces close. "You have become distracted," he panted pressing his wooden sword to agron's stomach, "You forget I still have weapon,"
Agron chuckled. "Points to you little man." he stood up and offered him his arm.
Nasir stood of his own accord and shoved agron "that is *not* my name!"
"Then what is?" asked the German, not wishing to believe it was Tiberius.
"Nasir...my brother once called me Nasir. Call me little man again and I will part cock from body," he armed and charged again.
They spared for a couple more hours until it was time to sleep so they would be ready for a fresh start tomorrow. "Well, I have to concede, the day's training was made worth in your skill. Sleep well...Nasir." the German smiled and left to find a room.
Nasir, by habit returned to his bed in the slave quarters, only to find it taken by a Gaul twice his size, in a quick fight, it was the Gaul that found himself without a bed, nasir coming out of the scuffle with a bloodied lip and bruised eye.
The next morning at breakfast, Agron chuckled as he sat down next to the Syrian. "Did you battle giants even in your dreams?" he asked looking at his split lip and dark eye.
"A Gaul took my bed, a mistake that shall not be repeated, even if now the sheets shall need a wash, they stink of Gaulish piss,"
Agron chuckled and looked at the beaten Syrian. "I am glad some of the skills you have been taught transfer into your personal protection outside the battle." he grinned.
"For men like me, not blessed with height or stature, it is a needed skill," he answered wiping dried blood from his lip.
Agron produced a clean cloth and dipped it in the water, offering it to the Syrian man silently.
"Gratitude," nasir said solemnly, wiping his face, and eyes to refresh himself, "do we spar further today?" he asked "I should like to see you embrace the sand further,"
Agron chuckled at his fire. "Careful, you might find yourself eating it. But we shall spar today as well." he agreed upon finishing his porridge.
"I would eat a whole desert for the pleasure of seeing you on your ass once more," he grinned
Agron merely chuckled at his confidence before they picked up their weapons. "Let us start with first position." he suggested. It was a good start that Doctore often issued and it provided a few moments of technically equal ground before their free fighting style gained ground
"I would rather cut to chase,", but he submitted to the formation he had taught
They sparred within the prescribed position for a few moments. "begin." grinned agron and his gladius met the Syrian's behind in a turn cheekily.
Nasir attacked with such speed and fervour it was difficult to respond to his moves, he guarded he move he made as though a trained gladiator.
And so Agron unleashed his full skill, power and quickness in order to counter the equal match. They sparred for long moments, completely oblivious to the audience they had, until finally pure physical strength coursing through Agron's muscles won, when he broke the wooden shield of his opponent and delivered a blow that made him defenceless.
"You possess stamina...I yet...do...not..." Nasir panted as he rose to his feet.
Agron offered him his arm, his chest glistening with sweat, his breathing quickened slightly. "Perhaps, but it was a match of skilled men, brother."
"You could have pressed advantage several times," he panted as he stood "Why did you not?"
Agron handed him a cup of water. "I wished to see how long you would last. stamina." he answered simply. "We shall work on that further. Your skill is much improved however."
"Stamina comes with time, I have not trained yet a week, you have years on me," Nasir took a sip of the water, and then poured the rest on his body to cool himself
Agron chuckled, watching the wet raven strands of hair plastered to the little man's forehead and shoulders. "Come, let us find shade for a moment of rest." he gestured towards the pillars, so alike in the ludus.
"I am Syrian, I am used to heat, it is you I should worry for. Do the gods not constantly piss from the heavens east of the Rhine?" he asked
Agron's faltered grin was covered by the cup from which he sipped. "I would not know, I have been absent many years from home now."
"I was taken from Syria when I was but a boy, yet I still remember the sun on my back, the taste in the air, as I am sure you do with the Rhine,"
Agron did not answer and after finishing his cup threw a spear at the young man who caught it easily. "Let us try something different for the rest of the afternoon."
"We shall hunt together?" he asked
Agron chuckled. "No. spear is a skill that requires balance, a strong steady grip and flex wrist. You will try to aim at the wooden man. Like this." he proceeded to show the younger man the grip and angle, the way he balanced the spear in his hand before throwing it at its target, hitting dead centre of the pillar at about head height.
Nasir smiled, he did not need instruction, the spear was the weapon of the east his people, he had grown up throwing it. He took it and threw it with great force, the spear wedging deeply in the heart of the wooden victim, "I can do that from well over fifty paces, you should asses your warrior before you attempt teaching what he was born doing,"
A gruff amused laugh escaped the man. "Fuck the Gods, I stand corrected! Impressive, little man." he jibed as he threw a gladius at the before their sparring began again.
"Call me that once more at this gladius will find its way firmly inserted up ass," he hissed they sparred for some time, until the heat of the midday sun forced retreat to the shade. They sat together sipping at wine well earned. "What weapons to those of the Rhine favour, those to the east, of Thrace and Syria particularly favour the spear?"
Agron hummed at the pleasant taste of the wine, a deep throaty sound. "An axe. It has always been my favourite yet sword has been forced upon us in this part of the world, and in the ludus as well." he answered
"Maybe you shall wield one again when opportunity arises," he offered hopefully "and maybe you shall yet return to the Rhine and the piss of the gods," He teased
Agron chuckled. "And maybe one day you will return back to Syria to let the sun dry up your ass." he grinned, teasing back and took another sip of his wine.
Nasir smiled softly "I have no need to return, no family to speak of, my homeland does not hold the same bearing over me as yours does, I have been slave for much longer, ties between my homeland long severed, apart from in fond memory,"
Argon's hand landed on his shoulder in a friendly manner. "All that holds the heart to my village is the memory of my dead father, sister sold to slavery and dead brother. I would not return to relive what was lost." he said and with a final pat to the shoulder stood up and headed for Spartacus to have words
Nasir watched the man leave his presence with a fond smile sipping at his wine enjoying the sun on his back as a free man.
Agron spoke to Spartacus before his eyes landed on Nasir and he walked to him now with purpose. He squatted down beside him. "We are to attack a carriage with slaves tomorrow. Crixus' woman may be in there. I will have you fight by my side, brother." he offered his forearm."
Nasir took it and nodded "it would be an honour," Both parties maintained the grip and eye contact longer than required and both seemed reluctant to relinquish hold.
Agron's green-blue eyes held fondness for the man and he nodded before finally reluctantly relinquishing his hold. "We set out tomorrow just after sunrise, they will be passing through the trail in the nearby woods.
He nodded, "We should not train any more this day, and energy needs to be conserved,"
Agron smiled. "I shall see you for the meal then, Nasir..." he said as parting words and walked back to Spartacus to further discuss their movement.
When even meal was served, another type of broth with bread, nasir immediately took his bowl and bread and settled beside agron. He broke his bread in half, passing some to the man, "The debt that is owed," he offered.
The German chuckled but accepted the bread. "It was not a debt to be paid, merely a kindness from one brother to another. gratitude." he broke a small piece off and enjoyed the wild boar in the brew.
"What are you plans for the rest of this eve?" he asked in between mouthfuls.
Agron contemplated. "Strategy has been discussed, we should move for Neapolis day after the next. And there is little enjoyment in watching the Gals drinking and fucking whatever impales on their cock."
"I have some wine, Phoenician in origin that I had been saving for right occasion, a gift from my master for dutiful service, you are more than welcome to pertain in it with me in my quarters away from the stink of Gals, I possess some dice as well, and hearty conversation upon lips,"
Agron nodded. "Gratitude for such generous offer. It is well received. You will have to lead the way for I know not the location of your quarters." he grinned.
"Then follow presently," He stood and lead the way through the corridors to his meagre slave chambers, there was bedding with a mattress of straw, not raised from the floor like those in the ludus, and a chest in the corner in which nasir kept his possessions. He unlocked the chest and pulled out the flagon of wine, two wooden cups and a suede purse which housed his dice.
Agron with his usual grin stepped inside and sat on one end of the bed, legs stretched in front of him as he waited for the Syrian to join him
Nasir sat slightly closer than what might be usual for two men. He poured two small glasses, "to what shall we drink?" he asked
The German contemplated the offer for a moment. "To freedom and to the next sun rise." he suggested.
Nasir grinned and nodded "to freedom and the next sunrise," he declared, sipping at his drink, "and to what dice game shall we play?"
"What games are you used to from your home land? Or from your time here?" he asked.
Nasir chuckled "you would not wish to play a Syrian at his own dice game, we'd have the clothes from you back in seconds," A thought that Nasir had to admit was becoming more and more appealing
"clothing ey? Enticing idea, however I must say combined with wine not a wise one." he grinned, his eyes sparkling with a different light, more primal. He was a gladiator, used to wine and pleasures and had tasted many in his 24 years.
"What games did you play in the Rhine?" he asked curiously
"We used to plan die spiel. The ultimate dice game. We each throw one dice first to determine who would go first. Then with six dice each, we guess how many pairs of different numbers there may be. For example, I shout three fours, and you counter by four threes, and when you think you may win, you call and we uncover the dice to count. If your call was wrong, you have to either drink or pay coin."
"Sounds enticing, let us play," Nasir smiled, "I shall let you call first,"
They placed their covered dice down and agron thought for a moment. "Two fours." he suggested
"Four," he said determinedly.
"Four fives" countered the German
"Four twos," Changed nasir
"Four threes" countered agron with a grin
"Three sixes" nasir countered "show them"
"Alright, lift you cup then." they both did and checked all their dices to count the sixes
Nasir laughed 'three! I like this game"
Agron chuckled at his child-like glee. "Well, what do you require? Coin? Or that I drink?" he asked. Rules were rules after all and the looser had to pay somehow
"I ask of nothing I have no need for coin and my wine I gladly share" nasir said the kindness of his heart showing clearly
Agron chuckled and took a sip. "And what a fine wine, gratitude. Shall we continue?" The little man was beginning to quickly grow on him, his gentle yet sharp nature; his kindness and ruthless determination were traits worth of note
"With pleasure." He grinned and the game started again.
They continued playing into the early hours of the morning, before separating to rest their eyes for the few hours remaining until sunrise. The small group left the walls of the villa early and waited on the side of the road for the caravan to pass, straightening at the sound of horses on the road. Form then, the attack was swift and deadly. Nasir and Agron fought well together, Nasir coaxed the Romans towards Agron whom this dispatched them.
Agron winked at him before suddenly throwing his sword at the smaller man, knowing the Syrian will duck and it would hit the carriage driver in the shoulder to slow him down. He might have information. Nasir laughed and they headed over to interrogate the bastard
Agron grabbed him by the front of his tunic and growled. "Speak if you know anything about the woman mentioned.
The driver nodded frantically. "Yes yes, but you let me live."
"Speak." Agron's voice turned harsher than Nasir ever heard him.
"She is in the mines. For months now. If not dead there." he said.
Agron closed his eyes for a moment before slitting the man's throat and looking at Nasir.
"You will not tell Crixus about this, it would break his spirit. She is as good as dead, am I understood?" he asked, his hand squeezing the man's shoulders slightly in haste.
"But we must, the cause we have spoken so often about, she is his..." he said confliction in his eyes
Agron cupped his cheek. "We would all die in an attempt to save her life. She has been in the mines for months, she can hardly be alive. It is better he thinks her dead, it will hurt but his mind will be at peace after a while." he explained softly as not to be overheard
Nasir could not resist turning in to the touch slightly, "I shall trust your judgement, let us break the news,"
Agron noticed the gesture and gave him one of his warmer smiles before they called Crixus and told him of the news. The man was utterly broken once they returned to the villa and agron remembered that feeling well...once he ached so badly..After his brother's death.
Nasir was restless, every time he saw the Gaul's suffering it tore at his morals.
Agron squeezed his shoulder. "It is better this way." he said softly.
"It does not fucking feel like it," he hissed removing himself from agron's touch, head over to try and console the Gaul
Agron caught his arm and turned him around, his eyes deep and intense, swirling with emotion. "Your words of comfort will do more harm than good. I know how he feels quite well. trust my judgement like you said you would."
"I cannot trust judgements that corrupt my morals," he snapped snatching his arm back "I shall do as I deem best, I am a free man,"
Agron turned around wordlessly and left. It was next morning when he was walking with Spartacus and planning the best way to get to Neapolis when a solid fist landed in his jaw.
"YOU SON OF A WHORE!" shouted the Gaul, but Agron was already on his feet, wiping the blood from his lip.
"SHE IS ALIVE! YOU LYING PISS-DRINKING BARBARIAN!" Crixus continued shouting.
Agron's eyes found Nasir's lowered gaze and knew immediately where he knew that from
Nasir had had to do what he thought was right. Was it not Spartacus belief that each life held importance? Certainly this Navea was Crixus' soul and he would not rob the man of it. He vaguely remembered the girl, struggling in his master's bed, he felt duty bound to now free her from her sorrows, even if it meant the loss of agron's friendship.
Agron looked at Spartacus. "It was a lie that passed my lips out of compassion. She has been there for months, probably as good as dead and an attempt at the mind is suicide! We have women and freed men that cannot yet wield a sword! They will all die in the attempt. We need to get them to Neapolis to keep them safe." he said and Spartacus saw the sound reasoning behind his words, but his own morals did not allow it.
Agron received another fist in his chin before he spit out some blood. "We separate then. Those who wish to live and cannot fight yet, follow me." he said and left outside the villa into the courtyard to get some air, away from the stifling hall and accusations,.
Nasir followed after Agron, "I go to free the slave," He said simply, "To follow my heart is my purpose,"
Agron still turned away from him closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath before he turned around and cupped the man's cheek. "You better live then because I plan to make you eat more sand." he said softly, his eyes dark as a storm
"Oh I will, you shall learn to let your heart rule at my blades instruction," he grinned.
"My heart...has not ruled for long months now. yet yours commands your moves. I will leave the matters of heart to you and focus on keeping the freed alive." he smiled. "Be safe." he added so softly the Syrian had to strain to hear it before turning on his heal and leaving with the others on their way to Neapolis.
"Then make it beat for another!" Nasir called before turning back to follow Spartacus.
"It already seems to..." whispered Agron to himself.