The Arena

S01E01

The stands of the Arena roared as the gates were lowered. It all quieted down somewhat as the contestants came into view, as if the silence allowed them to better see the East one. A new Pit Dog! As they understand this, a whole new kind of excitement is felt. Because even if everyone has their own hero, the one they cheer for and love to see win, the smell of fresh meat has the power to bring out the inner bloodthirsty barbarian in all of you.

The four square off. The crowd chants, but, on the sand, none can tell exactly what. The Shifter smiles as he recognizes the cloaked creature. A tall person himself, Aran feels dwarfed by the dark-skinned giant. The others were a different story. A very different story, in the case of the dwarf he once took for Warforged scraps. He had held the dwarf’s helmet once. Good castle-forged steel it was, and not much room to stick your claws in either. And then there was the human. A very good fighter, no doubt about that. A great hunter, that posed many a threat to Aran’s friends; however, there, he seem’d to lack the power, or the will, to slay another. And so Aran worried not, for this day was his.

No winds”, he snarled. “With fire it shall be.” Aran readied his mind after seeing an iron star pierce through the dwarf’s plate. He held his palms together, and the bird flashed out of the totem with a small crack and zoomed in into Ugarth’s head. The fires spread as it splashed, and reunited again, circling the giant as vultures circle the dying. Faerun was holding the ranger. The human tried to circle the bear, and the bear to trap the human. And as they danced, the fight wore on.

As Faerun held Claid, Aran’s thoughts turned to the tide of iron clashing with iron on the east wall. Trying to go unnoticed, Aran decided to stick to the wall and call for the flaming sons of the Stormhawk. They seared flesh, burned leather, and cooked Thoradin in his fine steel oven. Some managed no more but to char the ground, or the walls, but even that seemed to be enough to distract the two, because they paid Aran no attention. The axe hacked at the giant’s legs, and the rapier stabbed between the plate slabs of the gorget; and even two swords weren’t enough to halt the might of Faerun. Or it was that Faerun would only use its might to halt those swords.

Thus the match wore on. Claid’s dance was nearing on Aran, but luckily the other fighters were too busy slashing at each other. In one of those moments when the clashes were at their fiercest, an arrow to the shoulder reminded Aran he was still not alone. “May the souls of the dead bring you to rest”, Aran muttered, as a small orb of eerie purple light raised from the totem’s claws and fluttered towards the man’s head. It flickered and whacked him on the side of the head, staggering him. And just as quickly as it appeared, it was gone. Gone, yes, but still burning inside Claid’s soul. It was just a moment, but still it was enough to make Aran miss the time when the orc impaled himself in Thor’s waraxe so he could better stab the other. A final bolt of flying fire was then enough to burn the dwarf out of his last breath.

Faerun was doing a great job keeping the last man standing at bay and burning. Little by little, his soul weakened, and it got easier to burn. “No getting the claws all soaked in blood, today”. And with a final piercing cry, the fire hawk struck Claid straight on the chest.

It was over.

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Aran Aran

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