Bookkeeping first: Asiaticus now goes to his 4th skill. He wins 17 gold, taking his total to 67 gold. Senex does not gain a skill (beating a lower ranked opponent), and wins 9 gold, for a total of 34 gold.
It is noticed that when Asiaticus wins, it tends to be a kill, with Priscus, Corax and Bardelys being victims, and Hanno being the only survivor. This has given him the grim nickname of “Asiaticus Ducit Mortem” amongst the crowd.
Androcles and Quatratus cannot work Senex out, the theory is that he is playing to the crowd. The low ranked plebs certainly did cheer him a bit when he gave them a wave, which seemed to give Senex a second wind. And laughter broke out as the scandalous Flaviana made an overtly suggestive gesture back at Senex. Androcles turned to Quadratus asking “did you encourage this? It is certainly a high risk strategy to ignore ones opponent to seek favour with the plebs!”.
Quadratus, more through luck than intent, has found himself to be a highly regarded doctore, with the gladiators of Androcles seen as being well prepared. Many of the gladiators have won, including Bion, with the prospect that they will gain good timeslots in the upcoming festival of Liber Pater. However, these hopes are being set back with the arrival of the Legatus. Coming with him is his disgraced relative, Servius Albius Macer. He has brought with him a group of gladiators to contest in the games, much to the annoyance of the Magistrate who ran him out of town in the first place.
Quite a strange Lanista, Macer allows his gladiators to take in the nightlife of Leptis Magna, with discipline being non-existent. It is also said that some key gladiators in other ludii are having strange training accidents. Even more distressing, is that Bion has fallen ill from some unknown fever. In a panic, Senex has been called into the rather Spartan office of Androcles for a meeting with him and Quadratus. “There is something happening since the legion arrived – it looks like strange accidents are afflicting champion gladiators that plays into the hands of the newcomer Macer. We think someone is working for the scheming Macer and is able to move in and out of different ludii and ‘get’ to the gladiators. We need to find our who this is! Quadratus tells me that you have developed some connections, which was quite evident during the crowd behaviour in your last fight.” He outlines a plan that Senex goes into town, to where the gladiators of Macer are carousing, and look for familiar faces. Senex can take someone with him, which can be another gladiator. Androcles finishes with “You will be well rewarded if you find success!”. Quadratus adds that there will be two of Androcles guards nearby who can be called in to help.
- Does Senex take Asiaticus with him? Not sure is there is a linking back story here for them both.
- When in town, does Senex go to (a) the fighting pits, or (b) the house of the rising sun?
I will give Asiaticus "Popularity" as his 4th skill. I don't know how he is feeling about his new nickname - it would tend to increase the pressure, maybe it will affect his performance going forwards.
Regarding the espionage mission that has been assigned to Senex:
- He does not take Asiaticus, as although the two of them are acquainted they are not particularly close. Senex is not part of the Mithras in-group who are Asiaticus's buddies now.
- Senex makes a beeline for the House of the Rising Sun. He hopes to pass some time with Flaviana, and also he surmises that is the place gossip from the various ludii is more likely to be found.
Finding it rather odd that Senex wants to go it alone, Androcles agrees, even though he believes that another gladiator might aid in some recognition.
- Try to negotiate with Flaviana,
- Go to Androcles with the information gained, and convince him to pay the 30 gold,
- Go to the fighting pits to look for an alternative clue,
- Wait for an opportunity when the two guards are just out of sight and flee this crazed city, leaving it to the Romans and their scheming ways….