Back in the Pit

by The Real Darkness


I looked at the tired and bloodied highlander, he had not expected my gladius to prove such a painful and dangerous weapon in my hands. He was breathing hard and I knew I had little time to act. I rush to him and jumped, attempting to stab down onto him. He blocked my attack that resembled an eagle. I followed by smacking his jaw with the back of my metal vambrace. He was dazed, but just long enough. I pulled him close to me and slammed my helmet into his head. I sent him stumbling over and onto his back. I ran and jumped, slamming my gladius down into his ribs with the full force of my blade, I pressed it in a little further and made sure he was dead before I pulled my trusty friend out and stared onward to the fort in the distance.

"Centurion is it?" The large white unicorn-pegasus approached me.

"I am a primus pilus of the old Roman army. You may call me Celsus. I have no time to talk, I must assist my brothers in their fight. Follow the gladiator's advice, evacuate your people to somewhere safe," I instructed and began a sprint to the battle I saw in the distance between the houses and across the field. The large horse was left speechless at my actions.

The Roman army soldiers were taught to be fearless and respond quickly, and as a higher ranking officer, more was expected of me than that. Rome may not be here anymore, but my duty as a soldier is top priority.

Hundreds of soldiers surrounded the gladiator and two other knights. I was pleased to see we had allies, but this meant worse was to come. It was many minutes until I reached them, most of the soldiers lay dead and a raider was on each of our allies. I quickly distinguished them a lawbringer and a conqueror. I decided I'd help the one who I shared Roman blood with as he was fighting a warlord, and they never went down easy to start with.

I ripped my small pugio from my side and nailed him in his chest, the warlord stopped for a moment and struggled to get my dagger out of him. During the time, I readied myself and dove into him, stabbing my gladius thoroughly into him.

"I won't be stopped!" I shouted and punched him hard right in his jaw.

The warlord stumbled back and collapsed and I saw the gladiator standing to my left. He nodded and I nodded back. I ran up and slammed my gladius into his chest, "I am better!" I gloated. Not only was my chanting intimidating to my enemies, but it kept morale high for my allies. The gladiator followed me up once I pulled my gladius free from him and stabbed his trident into his neck quickly.

The gladiator named Pictor Rubrum put up his buckler and I smacked it with the back of my hand. We Romans tend to have better coordination on the field that some of the knights do.

We looked to our left and saw both raiders already lay dead.

"Ahhh, it's nice to meet you both," I flipped my gladius around and pounded the pommel to my chest.

"It is nice to see you, Centurion. Did a portal get you here?" The conqueror asked me.

"Indeed, what are your names?" I inquired.

"I am Kenneth," the lawbringer announced.

"I am Galfred," the conqueror answered my question.

"Galfred, Kenneth, from what the gladiator told me, this world is mainly dominated by ponies. They are peaceful creatures and to be protected from those savages and the damn Samurai. We have yet to see much of a Samurai force here. I advise you torch the Viking village to the ground and leave no survivors, then report to the town over there," I pointed at the small hamlet I was at a moment ago with the gladiator.

"That is a sound idea, we should plan out our moves now that we are here with level heads," the lawbringer said.

"There is little planning to be done, but if more of our forces enter here, we need to have a place for them to gather up," I said. It seemed they respected me just because they knew I was one of the few remaining primus pilus or my natural leadership and battle skills.

"The centurion and I will head back to the town now and begin putting up banners for our forces to find us," the gladiator named Pictor Rubrum said.

"The name is Celsus, let us depart immediately," I turned and began a march back to the town, the gladiator lazily walking next to me. Kenneth and Galfred began their own walk to the village.

"Why march? We have no enemy to fight against?" Pictor Rubrum questioned me.

Even though Rome fell to the earthquakes and the disasters, we of the old army still held ourselves high.

"I have pride in everything I do, why do you slack now?"

"Because you barely get time to relax between battles and you need every bit of energy if they pit you against lions," I found his statement a bit disheartening.

"You should be training or exercising and getting stronger. Harden up," I was harsh with my words.

"The Roman Army might have been about being tough so your enemies never saw you falter, but out in the coliseum things were different. It wasn't about getting tough, it was about surviving long enough so you won the crowd's favor and they wanted to see you fight. It was about the glory and the food you'd eat, never the physical prowess. Maybe you'll step into the arena with me here one day," he challenged me.

"I'll be sure to then. I was interested in just how you fight all those creatures and live when it's just you out there," I smirked. Glory did sound great to have. I missed having the admiration of all the Roman army and the people who would salute or bow as I passed by.

We kept silent the rest of the way there and I began to sharpen my gladius again. My sword was specially made for my position and the iron had never yielded to anything. It was more than just a blade, it was my silvery line of life. The pommel of it was designed into the shape of a centurion's helmet for ceremonies, silver being the face mask and gold being the helmet and the textured handle of it. My handguard was covered in a small layer of gold, some scratches in it, but held intricate designs with a wing of an eagle on both sides and a red gem on either flat of the handguard. My actual blade was simple, but always shining and barely scratched. I had just recently gotten the blade replaced before I was sent here.

A gladius is a centurion's best tool to use in combat. It is the steel arm of the Roman Empire that falls upon their enemies. It is part of us.

"So, the two large ponies back in that town. The white one is Celestia. The purple one is Twilight. And the town is called Ponyville," Pictor Rubrum informed me, twirling his trident.

"Thank you for the information, Pictor. Your name is odd, were you born with it?" I asked.

"Of course not. Who would name their child the red painter? I forgot my name because I never used it in so long, the crowds get to name you in the fight. You're either called the bloody mess or you're given a good name," he laughed, "I wish I was back in there already, I wanted to finish off that manticore."

"Manticore? That can't be right. We've never seen one, some suggested that the gods wiped all mythical creatures out so we would never have to struggle with them," a mythical creature here might be possible from what I've seen.

"I fought one in the arena, I was doing well too, disabling its paws when a friend of it interrupted our battle," he laughed aloud.

"Odd," that was my last comment as we entered the hamlet known as Ponyville.

I saw those two horses still standing, worried and confused expressions on their faces. I approached them myself.

"The Vikings are taken care of. Two of our friends have arrived here, they are dressed in green and yellow, the colors of the Knights. If you see any wild men with red and black that are rowdy and behave like animals, those are Vikings. Do not be merciful. They raid and pillage for fun," I informed, "the Samurai wear wooden and metal armor often, if you see any silent and smart warriors, those are they. If they run, beware they might bring back larger forces."

"We still need to set up signs that our headquarters here is in Canterlot and with your permission, we can establish a fort here to guard your people," the gladiator said.

"Headquarters? You aren't causing a war are you?" Twilight asked.

"Twilight, my dear friend, we owe them to at least have a place to gather their forces so they aren't all slaughtered. And a fort in Ponyville sounds beneficial to us both. I will allow it," Celestia said.

"We will do our best to protect your people," I announced.

"We'll all take the chariot to Canterlot and help you set up your headquarters," Celestia said and hopped back on the chariot, "Twilight, please stay here and help them garrison a fort in Ponyville. Remember we need to protect the citizens and they know the ones who are responsible for hurting the ponies here."

The ponies came out and many of them gathered around Twilight, offering to help and thanking Pictor Rubrum.

A foal came up to me and began thanking me with gestures and a language I didn't know. I mentally thanked my great education given by the roman army. We were taught to be proud and never show a weakness, but this kid had come to me alone and thanked me for my simple service in war. I stepped off the chariot and crouched.

"Centurion. Celsus," I said and pointed to myself twice, to help them understand who I was, I ruffled his head before standing back on the chariot, earning a smile from Celestia. Pictor soon joined us.

The chariot began moving and then took off into the sky.

"Like the Gods themselves built it!" I shouted, surprised to see the chariot flying jsut like Helios' preferred mode of transport.

"It is amazing, isn't it?" Pictor said in response.

The ride there was filled with silence while Pictor and I looked about, trying to make observations of the land. Trees were all around us with mountains in the far distance. We saw a desert and ocean on two sides of this land we were on. I couldn't draw any map since I don't have a compass, but I had some awkward understanding of the geography of the land. I doubt Pictor did.

"Celestia, I hope I can have access to your tailors so we can begin making banners to signify where we are gathering," I spoke up when the chariot touched down in front of the castle.

"I can arrange that," she answered.

"You have my thanks. I will need paper and some writing utensil to draw the banner for them," I also informed.

"Come, follow me, Celsus," she stepped off and walked away.

"Celsus, I shall explore the city on my own and let you know of anything that needs fortification," Pictor said and walked towards the front gates.

"Very well, I hope to see you again," I said as I left with Celestia.

"I can personally teach you the Equin language, so can Twilight. But first, let's get you that paper," Celestia lead me into the castle and through the halls.

"How do your forces fight?" I questioned as I saw the guards holding spears and a sword strapped to their side while we made our way to our destination.

"What do you mean, Celsus?"

"Well, I never really studied much on how we smithed, but I knew what our weapons were used for and our tactics and battle plans is how I commanded in Rome. We would use phalanxes and scutum walls as a basic strategy for attacking," I said.

"We do use phalanx formations, but what is a scutum wall?" She asked.

These ponies would soon become the strongest military force here.

"A scutum wall is a line of soldiers with others behind them in case any of the enemy punched through. The scutum is a tall tower shield and using this tactic, our soldiers primarily fought with their gladius. We would push right against the enemy where their weapons required a wide swing and we would reach over our shields and stab them with a gladius until they fell. Sometimes we would continue pushing forward and our brothers behind us would finish the fallen off as we stepped on or over them. I can train your soldiers in it if you'd like," I informed.

"That does sound promising, but we won't be in your war, will we?"

"You won't and we'll try our best to protect your people that are within our shields," I pounded my chest to her while we walked.

I was paying attention as we went down the corridors, but there wasn't a conceivable way to make note of where we are since the halls all looked the same and no doors were open so I couldn't mark the position of the rooms. We reached a door at the side of a corridor and Celestia opened it with some mystical power of hers that made the handle glow a gold color. I saw tailors inside that gave me a fearful look, mostly because of the stoicism of my helmet and the red that was prominent on it. I hadn't had a chance to don the familiar green and yellow, neither had Pictor when we were sent as reinforcements at Mount Ignis. I marched in and Celestia handed me a large piece of paper and some odd featherless quill.

"I thank you, Celestia," I said and quickly began to draw the base shape of the banner.

"You are most welcome, Celsus," she said warmly before she began to speak with the tailors. I heard my name and assumed they were talking about who I was and why I was here.

I continued work on the banner until it was finished, handing it to the tailors once it was done.


I walked down out of the gate and down the steps, grazing my fingers over my trident to make sure it was still there. I was still bloody from my previous fights, but Celestia had healed my wounds by some gift she had. The ponies here were very odd, but I knew we had to protect them. That is something that the wardens instilled in us, the duty to protect the people. I walked out to the farthest reaches of the city, climbing a set of stairs to stand on the city wall. The ponies all gave my weird looks or ignored me; some sped their pace up so I wouldn't be near them anymore. That was the reaction I expected.

The guards gave me an odd look as I stood on the walls, but they left me be. I walked about it, finding we were indeed on the side of a mountain. I walked away from the area of the walls that were close to the mountain and more toward the part that overlooked that cliffs. The guards still looked at me odd, some even gave me stern looks in an attempt to scare me. I've seen far worse in the arena than them.

I looked down and saw it was a dangerous fall or a risky climb. Defending this place would be very easy to accomplish if it comes under siege. I didn't see any catapults, trebuchets, or other siege engines so we would have to build them. Hopefully Celsus knows. This city would be the perfect stronghold for our main operation.

A huge portal opened at the bottom of the cliff in the huge open field. Many of our soldiers were sent through along with the samurai forces, it looked like we were being routed in the battle that stopped for just one moment before it continued.

I heard a loud yell in Japanese over the normal battle cries and other sounds of struggle. a large barrage of fire arrows left from behind the main force of the samurai and headed towards our soldiers, particularly at the front where one of our 'heroes' were. He was taller, but I couldn't tell what he was.

I looked back to the city and caught a glimpse of the arena here, it did look exactly like a smaller coliseum. I smiled big under my helmet; I wanted to go there now and sign up, but there was a much more pressing matter.

I ran down the stairs and began a mad sprint back to the castle, Celsus needed to know immediately. We need to mobilize ourselves and help our men down there. I stopped as a guard was headed up, a pegasus with a bow, he looked at my in question at my fast movement. I dragged him up the stairs again and pointed at the blue samurais and made a motion that mimicked shooting an arrow from a bow. He nodded and took fire on the samurai, firing arrow after arrow down the huge cliff. I continued my earlier run.


I finished the banner drawing and Celestia took it, instructing the tailors to make many of them and sent them down to the blacksmiths.

"We would need them attached to poles and structures around the city, good call, Celestia," I finished and one of her guards burst in the somewhat quiet room, a pegasus.

They both shared a brief chat that was spoken quickly in their language. Pictor Rubrum entered the room shortly after the guard left.

"Celsus! We have a battle between the Knight and the Samurai happening at the mountain base!" He shouted and he gripped his trident. I took my gladius from my side and laughed.

"Let's show them who they're messing with then!" Celsus shouted and laughed, "Celestia is there a way we can travel down there quickly?" I asked.

"I can teleport you both," she said with a sigh.

"Please do, Princess!" I requested.

Her horn shined a bright gold and our view changed from the sewing room to the castle walls and then right behind some of the Knights. I looked around and saw she wasn't with us and spotted her only when I looked up at Canterlot.

"Ready?" Celsus asked me.


Ready!" Pictor responded.

"On me!" I shouted and ran right through our main forces, headed to the front of the fight. I noticed arrows were flying from Canterlot, hitting the samurai.

Our soldiers cleared a path for us to sprint through while we ran, closing behind us and opening in front. They at least had that much coordination. We reached the front and the enemies soldiers had fear in their eyes the moment we reached them. We saw an injured peacekeeper begin to fall back through our line, some arrows in her shoulders.

"I am incredible!" I shouted and jumped at the end of my rush, slamming the point of my gladius into one of the soldiers skulls. The rest of them around began to slowly withdraw as Pictor joined me, downing one after another with his trident and buckler. They were afraid.

Rome. I fight for glory to my fallen empire more than the Knights. I use the skills they gave me in their honor to show that they are to be denied of their frightful power that only mother nature could conquer.

I continued to fall them, one by one, punching through their shields and slashing their throats or severing limbs.

I froze when I saw them part after a good minute of seeing them withdraw.

"Aramusha! Aramusha! Aramusha!" I heard a rapid chorus of our soldiers saying in fear as they stopped pressing and held their ground.

I looked to my left and saw that Pictor took notice of this new threat.

"Pictor! With me!" I shouted and held my gladius tight in my right hand. By now they knew we were here.

"Got it!" He grouped with me on my left.

I saw the samurai appear, wearing no armor. He wrapped bandages around his forearms and wore a large and thick robe along with a broad-rimmed straw hat that was broken in the front so he could see. I saw right to his face and his eyes showed no fear and a solid determination. He held two katanas, one was posed above his head and pointed at me, the one in his left hand was pointed at Pictor.

"Catapults!" I said and saw orange light appear on the shields of the samurai soldiers. This caused the Aramusha to rush us and begin a fast assault of rapid strikes to keep us back with the catapults rained down on their soldiers, killing many of them while they tried to flee, "shields up! Tortoise formation!" I yelled out as I saw arrows start to return on our own soldiers.

I heard a cascade of wooden and metal sounds behind me while I focused on defending against the rapid katana swings. I prayed enough of them knew the tortoise formation the Romans had all gladiators learn about before they let us on the battlefield. We made them all able to lead to some extent since it would have created a big imbalance if we could have performed far better than them but also be at their rank.

Pictor and I kept on the defensive until I struck at a perfect time to parry his blade, I trapped his right katana against my vambrace with my gladius and I moved toward him quickly. Pictor caught his katana coming down to me with his trident. Another Roman tradition was to place trust in your brothers during war, we would all protect each other.

"Pictor!" I yelled and slammed the pommel of my gladius into the Aramusha's nose, causing it to break and immediately bleed.

"Got it!" He sent his trident into his foot and I followed with a jab, causing the Aramusha to stumble away and onto his back while Pictor removed his trident.

The moment he hit his back, we saw an amazing feat. I was prepared to jump and send my gladius through his chest, but this stopped me. He rolled backwards and deftly landed on his feet. My mask hid my open jaw, this samurai was an amazing warrior.

I went around to my left and began to feel blades on my back as I moved, it didn't hurt thanks to my armor, but some cuts were getting in. I reached the back of the Aramusha who was likely too dazed to have seen what I just did. I nodded to Pictor and he sent himself sprawling forward at the now defending Aramusha. His trident was quickly stopped and moved aside. The Aramusha went right for a counter.

"Weak!" I shouted and stabbed his back with my gladius. He turned partially to face me and his jaw met my incoming fist.

"Hahaha!" I was enjoying this a little too much. I assaulted his dazed form while I heard heavy breathing from him.

I cut into his left arm with my gladius and then into his right shoulder before I roughly grabbed him and shoved my forehead into his. Straw fell to the ground when I broke his hat. I continued my onslaught, despite the soldier's blades still falling on my back.

"You won't stop it!" I bellowed and twisted about, roughly shoving my gladius into his chest where he stood somewhat shakily.

I shoved my gladius as far into his chest as it could go before I turned around and walked a little away.

"Raaaaaah!" I cried and threw my arms to my sides at the enemies. I came back to the Aramusha who had my gladius halfway out of his chest. I pulled it out and severed his head from his body with a strong swipe. I felt alive, ready to take on a thousand centaurs.

"Celsus, since when did you act like me?" Pictor spoke up from my right and I saw him slaughtering the now retreating forces.

"We are Rome. We have our pride even here, Pictor! How could you forget?!" I sent my gladius sprawling o from side to side in front of me. I quickly cut down the enemy soldiers as they backed away.

"You make a valid point!" Pictor spoke up.

It wasn't long before they were routed and fell into the woods away from us. I heard the soldiers and the entire battlefield now cheering for our victory. The peacekeeper that use dot be injured approached us.

"Thanks for the assistance, when we fell through that portal, the samurai were quickly upon us," she started.

"We're all in this war together, are we not?" I stated and playfully hit Pictor in his chest. He punched my arm back.

"I am Mercy. You have my thanks, I'm not meant for the front line," she nodded to both of us.

"This is a new world, Equestria. We have taken refuge with the ponies and are gathering our main forces at the city on that mountain," I pointed up and saw a spot of blue and white on the walls, "that is Canterlot. We may be in war, but we must protect them for they won't fight with us and we all knows how those bearded savages act," I chuckled.

"Very well, I will meet you there once I inform all our troops here," she sauntered off back to the main force.

"Come on, Celsus. Let's head 'home,' and see the princesses," Pictor spoke up.

"I could use a drink after that!" I laughed while we began to head to the trail up the mountain around the sharp cliff of it.