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Unlike many other carnivals, the Fighting Pitwives offer but one form of entertainment—that of blood sport. Folk the Empire over enjoy a good fight, and the prospect of exotic combat has long been a draw to curious crowds. Where other troupes might offer foreign warriors, or combat between strange beasts, Deiter's Carnival pits women gladiators one against the other. While the fists fly and blood spills, the crowd roars and throws money, and this suits the Pitwives very well.[1a]

The show opens with a display of the weapons and the warriors. As is the norm for Pit Fights, hollering boys ensure the customers know the names, histories, and specialities of the fighters before inviting them to place bets. Once the books of the betting lads are comfortably full, Deiter opens the first bout—usually something fairly tame such as wrestling or boxing. As the evening wears on, the weapons become larger, sharper and more exotic, until the stars of the show are on stage, often three or four at a time in a “grand melee”.[1a]

Numbering some thirty folk in all, the bulk of the Pitwife troupe is in fact made up of male show hands, hollering boys, and animal handlers. With four or so carts and wagons, two large tents, an outdoor arena and countless sleeping tents, there is plenty of work for them to do. There are currently ten fighting women travelling with the Pitwives, as well as three healers. Recruited from all walks of life, the women make a fair wage for their trouble, as well as getting to keep all the money thrown on stage during a fight. Three or four women will be resting at any one time, whilst the others ply their trade in the ring.[1a]

The current stars of the show are:

  • Katalin de Erauso — A fallen Estalian priestess, Katalin uses the sword, knife and pistol and fights under the name of "The Madonna of Myrmidia". A dark, tall woman with many scars, Katalin is in fact very quiet off stage, and appears to save all the money she makes for some unknown purpose.[1a]
  • Nadezda Durova — Known as "The Cavalry Maiden," Nadezda is said to have grown up in the Tzarina’s army, claiming to be a man and riding with the Kislevite host against Chaos. She fights with a sabre, and is increasingly leaning towards riding tricks rather than actual fighting. Nevertheless, her whirling attacks and beaded braids are still called for by the crowd.[1a]
  • Moll Cut-cod — The youngest of the troupe, city-born Moll is the darling of the common folk. Loud, pushy, and fast with her fists, she is said to be collecting money to free her brother from the worst depths of the Altdorf jails. That could of course be a lie, spread to ensure a steady flow of Karls on stage. They say her name stems from the fate of the last man to try and push his affections on her.[1a]
  • Eliza Hattan — The so called "Queen of the Sword," Eliza once served in the Reikland 67th foot regiment. Folk claim she fought three battles before a flogging order saw her secret revealed. Thrown from the military, Eliza seems to find the regimen of the Pitwives comforting.[1a]
  • Mathilda La Maupin"The Lady of the Blade" was once a squire in the service of Bretonnian nobility, however, once her secret identity was out, she fled the backwards kingdom, hoping to find freedom in the progressive Empire. Finding a place where women of stout purpose are accepted (though the strong sword arm and mannish looks certainly help), Mathilda has sworn to forever scorn the land of her forefathers.[1a]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Companion
    • 1a: pg. 19

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