i got bored the other night and started writing this. Hope you enjoy
As I enter the pit my senses are assaulted. The bright sun, the screaming crowd, and most of all the smell. There's nothing quite so repulsive as the smell of old blood and decaying corpses. But the smell and the noise didn't bother me, I ignored it completely. All of my focus was on the other combatants. The two people on the other side of this pit were staring at me. They ignored my partner entirely, and focused on me as I focused on them.
“Don't worry, he isn't that strong at all. You shouldn't have any problems with this one.” I look over to see my partner looking at me with what I believe he intended to be a reassuring look, but it came across closer to the look of an insane asylum escapee. I mean that guy has a damn creepy smile.
“Yeah I can tell that myself. Does he have any kind of preference on weaponry?” the tactitians of the bit are taught to read into their opponents. Specifically the other fighter's strengths and weaknesses. The better your tactician the more likely you are to win. It's that simple.
“He doesn't seem to be great with anything in particular, but that alone could give him a slight edge since he'll know that you favor a lance.”
“How about the other tactician? Will he be able to read me pretty well?” Both teams have a fighter and a tactician. Before the fight you're given three minutes to examine the opponent and find out how they fight, how strong they are, what kind of equipment they use, and anything else you might need to know. The most talented of tacticians will be able to figure all that out in just under a minute and come up with a strategy to get their fighter a win and keep themselves alive for longer.
“He doesn't seem like a threat as far as intelligence goes, but he does have a good deal of fighting experience. Maybe he was placed as a tactician on accident.”
“That does happen from time to time, I'll just need a little extra backup this time. Take a straight bow instead of a crossbow until I take out the fighter. “This ought to be interesting. I've never had to fight two at once, and my partner hasn't ever had to use anything other than his crossbow. “Does the tactician have any particular affinity for a weapon?”
“Yes, and he doesn't hide it well at all. I'm almost certain he's going to take the front line with a short sword, maybe two. He'll never use both at once though; he has almost no coordination. I saw him trying to train with two swords last week.
“That's excellent, if I'm up against two combatants it'll be easier if they only have one weapon each.”
“the fight starts in another minute. Are you ready?” The question is a formality. I have to be ready when the time comes or I die.
“Of course I am, over the past month we've been partners have I ever not been ready?”
“Guess you've got a point there. You want me using a bow right?” Idle chatter is about the only thing that can keep you sane before a fight. Only a psychopath would be able to go into a fight with a cool head.
“Yeah. I mean if you think you can reload the crossbow fast enough go for it. I trust you enough to make that call.” Another formality. I've got no choice but to trust him since he's keeping me alive in here.
“Nah, I'll take your advice here. Can't have my partner dying on me. The waiting list is massive right now.”
“So glad I mean that much to you man.” 10 seconds till we gear up. 5 minutes to get our gear on, and then the 2 minute announcements. After that...
“Well let's go, I want to get a shot or two in with the bow. No use going in cold.” We started walking towards the “armory” which is really just a hallway with a massive amount of weapons, armor, and other gear you might want for fighting lined up along the walls. Literally anything you could want. But every combatant gets a locker to store their personal gear after they win three fights. After a whole month my partner and I have participated in 8 fights, so naturally we have a locker now. We don't use the gear we keep in there unless the fight seems like it'll be a difficult one. I'm not sure why we decided that, and I sure as hell don't know when that decision was made. I think it might be because my Tully, my partner, is a massive fan of a challenge. I've brought up a few times that gambling with his life is going to get him killed on day, but he just shrugs it off. The one time I asked him why he fights in the pit he just told me that he wanted to. That's the standard answer for anyone unwilling to share the real reason. I've used it myself quite a few times. The other answer you might here a lot is “I need the money”, I did hear one person saying they fought because they wanted to find a way to get famous. Maybe some of the people who say they're looking for money are telling the truth but I know for a fact that there's not very many people who actually want to be here. Least of all Tully, he's just not that kind of guy.
“Oh, there's the announcer. Let's get going.”
“Welcome, I hope you're all ready for a great show tonight because we're bringing out our latest rising stars! But before that, lets introduce our newest combatants. Fergus and Ishtar, get out here and give the audience a show!” At that my opponents come forward and wave to the roaring crowd. These two are new but it seems they've already worked out how they want to present themselves. The big one, apparently the fighter named Fergus, is covered head to toe in full-plate steel armor. He's carrying a claymore over his shoulder. He must be confident in his strength to come in here with a claymore. A weapon that massive is more suited to one of the larger emptier pits where you don't have to worry about the pillars scattered around the area. I'll definitely be able to deal with him. Ishtar, his tactician, seems to be taking a different approach though. It seems he'll be using Fergus as a shield while he waits for an opening to strike with his much smaller and lighter broad-sword. He's only wearing thin leather gear with chainmail over his chest.
“Hey Tully, take out the tactician's legs. He left them almost completely open. If you can do that their strategy will fall apart.”
“I was thinking that too”
And now, our veteran team. They've won eight consecutive fights over just one month. These two show great promise, but will Ishtar and Fergus be the ones to take them down? Well ladies and gentlemen I think it's about time to find out. Here they are, Tully and Gerik!!!
“Well, lets go then.” We slowly walk out. This is where the fight actually starts. We need to get in their heads, make sure they think we are confident. If they see even the slightest hint of weakness now we'll get rushed right off the bat. Which isn't good considering Tully is toting a bow right now. The crowd starts screaming their heads off as we walk in. for whatever reason they seem to enjoy seeing the new guys go far and then get taken down by some other unknowns. It's probably just because they want to win their bets.
“Are all combatants ready? If not suck it up and start fighting anyway. This fight begins...NOW!” I immediately run forward with my lance held around waist height. From this position I can thrust it anywhere I like. I can hear Tully nock and arrow and pull it back, ready to fire. My opponents footsteps are heavy, I can tell he's got almost no experience with his gear at all. He probably didn't even train in it. I look for just a split second away from Fergus and over to Ishtar, and notice a sling spinning around his hand. Trying to create a distraction I swing my spear directly at Fergus' skull. Anyone could see that coming, which is exactly what I want. He raises his claymore in an attempt to block it directly, so I change course just slightly and hit lower on his sword causing it to crash off of his hulking armor. The resulting noise is just enough to throw Ishtar's shot at Tully off. They have no experience at all. This should be easier than I thought. Suddenly the twang from Tully's bow rings out, then a sound no man should ever want to hear. The ripping of flesh, spatter of blood, crunching of bone, and finally screams of pain. It must have been one of his crusher arrows he just thought up. They are very heavy with a round head that has a spike protruding at the very end. You fire them at limbs, and they do the rest. Ishtar will be incapacitated now. That's what happens when you lose focus in here. Fergus, obviously not bothered by the fact that he just lost his backup, rushes at me and swings his massive sword at my neck. I duck under and swing the back end of my spear at his legs in one movement. His armor won't allow him to jump so the only available option is to retreat. As he does I follow up by thrusting the back of my spear right at his chest. He is not able to block but he doesn't need to with that armor he has on. I hear Tully nock an arrow, it's probably another crusher meant to knock Fergus off his feet. Or at least create an opening for me to do some damage. I notice Ishtar trying to get up on his knees. Even with is left leg destroyed from about the middle of his shin down, he's fighting his hardest to kill us and stay alive. I have to respect resolve like that. Most men would have just laid down to die like a dog, but that won't do him much good. Suddenly Tully yells
“Gerik get the gimp.”
“Gotcha.” I wait for Fergus to swing, dodge and run around him to Ishtar. At the same time Tully fires his cusher arrow right at Viking boy's chest. I hear Fergus hit the ground hard enough that he must have been knocked into the air for it to happen. But I do my best to put that out of my head, we can't let Ishtar back into the fight. With that sling he could put Tully out of the fight and make the last few minutes of my life a living hell. As I reach my target he pulls out the broadsword, it won't help him. The range of my lance is too great, and that sword is too light to deflect it in his state. Even so as I thrust my lance at his heart, he tries to throw it off course. The result: a direct hit to one of his lungs. Blood flings up into my face as I wrench my lance out of his chest. I tried to make it easy for him, but it seems he wanted a painful end after all. Instead of dying in a matter of seconds, he will drown in the blood slowly filling his lung. I almost feel sorry for a moment, but then I notice Fergus getting back up. I have no choice but to leave him there and rush to Tully's aid. I intercept a blow directed at my partner, and retaliate with one of my own. I can't get through his armor, so I'm limited to these huge swings. But that's why Tully is here. He nocks another arrow and prepares to fire it. This one is another of his special arrows. It has a bag of white phosphorous/ gunpowder, and thermite attached to the end. Once the fuse is lit you have 5 seconds to fire it, wait too long and you'll be in serious trouble. Fire too early and the opponent may have time to remove the bag. Fergus sees the lighted arrow, I can only imagine what he's feeling right now. But he must be confident his armor will hold because he continues his assault on me. The wild swings are easy to dodge but I have to occupy him long enough for Tully to line up the shot. I start counting the seconds, and they creep by. One: a thrust at my head. Two; I counter with a swing at his legs. Three: he backs up to catch his breath. Four: I dash to the side and open up the shot for Tully. Five: the arrow is released, finds its target, and the fireworks begin. The gunpowder ignites spreading burning thermite and phosphorous all over the place. No armor could withstand that heat, and Fergus' is no different. It is all he can do to stay standing in that inferno. Honestly I'm not sure how he can do that, even the strongest of men have a limit. His screams of pain echo out across the pit, but are immediately drowned out by the cried of excitement from the crowd. This is why they love us. We give them a show they will never forget. That's how they see it. To me this is horrible. If I could avoid killing I would, but it's the only thing I have a talent for. So I use that talent, and finish the spectacle. Might as well make it good I think to myself, no use in disappointing all of these people. I walk over to Fergus, the fire still blazing, bring up my lance, and drop it right into his heart. The blood flies up once more, the crowd roars. I turn to the announcer and say just one thing before leaving
“Will that sate their thirst?”
I do have more written, i just haven't gone through and made sure it was ready to be read yet. if you guys enjoyed this i'll be glad to post more as i write it.
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