Ok, I feel like rambling a bit about my lore so bear with me for a spell.
Gladiators are fighters who are specifically hired and trained to beat the living Shade out of each other. They are usually paid and rarely are they forced into it [though there are ‘non-official’ ones, and those are… illegal]. Commonly volunteers, some apply with prior fighting experience and some go in blind. It is a full-time job for many of them.
There is stigma attached to it all, of course, but as long as you have a permit from whoever is in charge of the area you’ve set up on, and agreement from all parties, everything will go smoothly.
Velikaya began young. Before legally becoming a gladiator, she fought in unsanctioned fights – often against animals, beasts, or other children. When her ring was busted and she was left out on the streets again, she wasted no time in making for the nearest arena and demanding to compete. Her one stipulation was that half the treasures from a won match be sent to her family. They tested her and, when she showed enormous potential for punching things until they forgot their names, began her extensive training. Eventually, she acquired quite the reputation; sponsors were climbing all over each other to get her. She left after a long and lucrative career for reasons she prefers to keep to herself.
Nemain worked as a slaver, in her case handling the gladiators for an illegal ring. Although she wasn’t too powerful physically, she possessed a commanding presence and what some would call a supernatural amount of charisma [which they might also say she lost a little, along with enough of her marbles, after making the expedition into the Scarred Wasteland]. She and her band of freed gladiator slaves-turned-mercenaries are being hunted by the ring they escaped from.
Ksenija attempted to break into the business, once, but decided that spectated fight just weren’t her thing. She didn’t much appreciate the digs at her diminutive stature and all the rules they had. [Her first and last opponent refused to fight her due to her size, daring to pick her up by her shirt to prove his point. She was a good sport and left the stage before the fight officially began, after biting a good chunk of flesh off his arm and forcing her knife into his shoulder.]
Clan Alpha of Trinitas has their own pit, though it’s not quite the same as neither the official or illegal ones out there [it’s definitely unsanctioned, at least]. Nobody is forced into it, but they don’t receive any treasure for fighting, either. Clan members compete solely for status and recreation. Status is a big deal in Alpha; losing enough of these fights spells death for your social standing. In a clan where power is measured by strength, only the most ruthless are victors.
Triglav is an often-seen face in the pits. Or used to be, before his promotion.