The Arena

Claidheamh (s01e01)

Sixth of Tarsakh

As usual, only a few cheered for me as I awaited the opening of the gates. I would think the mob would enjoy the way my steel dances. Heh, no matter, it’s not for their favour I go to that place. Even so, the people had more reasons to shout even less at me that day, “Something feels different”, I remember thinking, and I was quite right. In the moments before they lowered the gates I realised: there was a novice opposite of me. Fighting with novices is quite unusual these days, and my excitement grew. For some reason, the newcomer didn’t seem quite right in his head. For one, he was a Half-Orc… with a prickly bright rapier on his hand and a bag of shurikens on his belt. A queerest sight. The other two I knew well: Thoradin, a crackpot dwarf who worships two gods, and Aran, a Shifter whose claws he didn’t like dirtying, rather calling for the spirits of the wilderness. I am friendly with those two.

The gates came down. As usual, I moved first, without hesitation, as a wolf would. A wolf against a panther, the Shifter. He would be a nuisance were I not to take him out soonest. I never expected for the newcomer to know as much, but Thoradin should have realised it as well. How wrong was I… Thoradin, damn his bloodlust, engaged the Half-Orc, for being pierced by a little shiny star. And I knew, as the huge ethereal bear formed before me, that the spirits were for me, and me alone, to fight. As Aran didn’t understand that, he made one of his fiery hawks test the mettle of the newcomer, Ugarth was his name, and as ugly as his bearer at that. I was lucky for a time, needing only to dodge the bear and move toward his master, but Faerûn, Aran called him that, made the task harder. A fruitless effort, I tried my fangs on him, his presence barely in this world, and so I kept moving, avoiding his very real claws.

I could hear the clashing of metal and the splashes of the falcons, but I was kept too busy to watch that fight, the bear fading and reappearing even closer. I couldn’t get my steel much nearer to Aran, so maybe, I thought, I should fight him from a distance. I sheathed my fangs, got just far from Faerûn, and notched two arrows, loosing them toward the Shifter. A bad idea it was, for one of my arrows caught his attention, piercing through leather and flesh. “May your soul rest with the dead”, or such I heard him say. An orb made for my head and I was engulfed. It soon disappeared, but left me burning from within. On that moment I saw the fight going on the other side. The end of it, I mean. The crazy orc let himself be slashed to death by the war axe, just so he could prick Thoradin through the gaps in his plate. Though it was enough so that last hovering bird would take him down.

As I burned, I weakened. And it got harder to make away from Faerûn. I was then facing nature’s spirits all alone. Aran’s failcons hissing by my head. Not much else I could do, and as I burned, I was defeated.

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Aran aseixas

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