Decimus, neck tensed, slashes downward.
Time slows as the gladius carves Alaric’s chest, hewing flesh and bone. Alaric witnesses the red fountain, his heart pumping gouts of life. As a youth, he’d slashed calves necks, bathed in their blood. Now, he kneels in gravel, soaking Decimus. The crowd’s roar becomes droning. Steel clashing becomes tinny, distant.
Hand on knee, dripping blood, Decimus raises the sword to Alaric’s neck, nods to him. “You fought well, Barbarian.”
Alaric’s lancea drops. He raises his dripping head. “As did you.” His teeth grit. “Finish it!”
Decimus thrusts. Alaric drops, blood and memories bathing sand.