Atikus stood at the edge of the arena with two swords in hand. Looking down at each of them taking note of the right one longer than the short stout one on his left. They felt heavy much like his purpose to survive this dire situation. Looking out in front of him stood five giant men with an assortment of two handed swords glaring malevolently back at him. Atikus gently sighed as he adjusted his leather breastplate and leggings as the horns of the empire sounded off. Having grown accustomed to the crowd and their gawking cheers, he could never tell if they were happy for the death or saddened for each soul set free in a blood bath.
“My loyal citizens and respected leaders of the Scorn. I present to you the main event of the evening!” Began a small man reading off of a scroll atop a balcony overlooking the arena. “The last heir to the Bane family against five giants of the wilderness. This fight will resemble how the Bane forces were outmatched five to one against these mountain beasts. And as these brutes tore and butchered this outmatched house, the Scorn your empires saviors came to purge these men of the wilderness.” Continued the man as he bowed leaving Atikus to scoff knowing it was all lies to rewrite the history.
Atikus took a long drawn out sigh and looked about the arena. It was a large coliseum structure obviously added on to after the years by the Scorn. No longer were they for sports events and competitions to see which house was the best of the best. But now it serves only as death, a faint reminder of how friendship can crumble with the years. He looked into the crowd and saw a multitude of faces staring back at him, with both eager and sadness as the speech of the announcer dulled his emotions. Looking to his right he took note of the makeshift throne of the emperor from which a man sat watching within his dark shaded roost.
‘One day my sword will pierce your heart and I will throw it to the wolves to feast upon like you did to my kingdom.’ Thought Atikus to himself as he gripped the two swords tighter and prepared for his awaited fate. He looked out across the forty yard arena and saw the five men. Both bulky and strong with skin as stone some would say.
“Once more I tread without fear into the maws of the death, for on this day I live and die, on this day I live and die” Atikus prayed as he bowed his head remembering the same words his father said. “We will meet soon father; I will end this with one hell of a conclusion.” He finished perking his head up with a cocky smile, and with a proud stance took the position of the dual wielder as he once did in his childhood training.
“Ladies and gentlemen I present to you blood, May it be spilled and the troubles with it diminished as the dust of ages erase this last and soon forgotten memory.” Completed the announcer as he bowed and moved back into the balcony above the arena. Atikus watched the man disappear as a smile slowly crossed his face.
‘One last memory, I’ll make it last’
Instantly the drums began to roll and the large bell next to the throne was rung. The arena master beside the emperor known as Luke stood up and raised both hands before shouting with a thunderous boom. A single non important word but one worth noting.
And with that simple threatening demand the wild men acknowledged and charged at Atikus. Five total men against one from the house of Bane. Merely to symbolize the five to one ratio for the battle of the north in the days before the Scorn came and conquered.
’Twenty yards’ thought Atikus to himself as he to began to slowly move forward.
These wild men were tremendous in size but regardless bulky in movement. The height if Atikus could guess stood between seven and eight feet as their muscles gleamed in the torch light.
’Ten yards’ Atikus noted as he eyed the closest giant and raised his two swords in one fluid movement.
Each of the men carried giant one handed swords but two handed compared to a normal sized man. Adorning a Scorn modified uniform with a crude black lion scribbled on their forearm bracers.
‘Three yards’ thought Atikus as he was close enough to one to smell the very stench of their sweat, and the shine of their swords in the fire light. The first and closest giant brought his sword down towards Atikus missing greatly as sand and dirt sprayed in the air around the young heir. Atikus just smiled and continued to move on passing the next giant’s massive weapon by inches as he continued on his way.
‘Confusion and speed are a dual wielders two weapons’ thought Atikus as he fell to his left thigh and began to slide, gliding under the next giant. Atikus looked at the last foe before him and dragged his right blade into the sand making him swing sideways as he narrowly missed the next swing of a sword. Atikus took a hold of his footing and cast himself into the air from the ground landing on all fours to the left of his burly foe. The giant looked down upon Atikus with both admiration and anger and started to smash his fist towards Atikus. But without a hesitating notion Atikus took his left hand sword and swung slashing at the giant’s foreleg. With his right hand stabbed his blade up and behind the knee cap of the leg. A simple easy pull and Atikus removed his blades as blood and bone shredded and the giant fell onto his amputated leg. Atikus took the opportunity before the other giants began to advance on him and stabbed the right artery on the giants head. Instantly the man’s eyes rolled back and he collapsed onto the ground like a large rag doll.
‘Four to one’ thought Atikus as he fashioned a smile on his face if not marveling over his dire situation.
The closest giant let forth a ravaging roar that echoed through the arena and began charging after him. Atikus watched in awe as the ground beneath him shook and trembled with the great weight. After withdrawing his blade from the head of his fallen foe he took a step back and jumped onto the back of the dead giant. The ravaging wild man grew close enough to swing at Atikus but before such an idea could occur Atikus took a sideways step and missed the swing by a margin. Glad he himself was a muscular lean fighter Atikus simply flicked his hands bringing his two blades through the giant’s wrists. The giant looked in shock as he witnessed his hand fall off still holding the sword the Scorn provided for him. But before Atikus could finish the job another of his friends took a step over his fallen brother and rather quickly swept his hand at Atikus. Unfortunately Atikus’s timing was off and was flown ten feet in the opposite direction.
Immediately the next foe brought his sword down upon Atikus. With a quick roll he barely missed but the shock wave that came after the blow caused Atikus to get thrown knocking one of his swords leaving his hand. Atikus not waiting for another retaliating strike flipped back off of his back and nimbly side rolled the next incoming attack. Without hesitation Atikus stood up and ran after the next closest foe and threw his weapon straight at the giant. The man just laughed and brushed it aside with his sword but failed to bring it back up as Atikus jumped at him. With a simple jump and punch Atikus landed a perfect hit with his gauntlets at the giant’s eye. The effort was perfect as Atikus hit the eyeball and soft bone of his face, hearing the crack and pop of its impact instantly feeling the warm blood gush out. The wild man let out a roar as he threw Atikus off and immediately began grabbing after his injured eye crying out in panic and terror.
Atikus withdrew with a cocky laugh as he landed on his feet and quickly picked up his sword he threw at the foe. Wanting the man to feel the pain before he dispatched him Atikus advanced on the second giant that he had his eyes on. All while the other two men were on his tail with every step. The giant with no hand stared in horror as his bleeding stump of a forearm attempted to warn off Atikus. Atikus just looked with disgust as blood filled the air and landed on him. He took it upon himself as he jumped onto the shoulder of the pathetic pleading giant to quickly stab the base of his neck where it connected with the shoulder. The wild man let out a gasp and slowly fell onto his face. Atikus was thrown off from the momentum of the fall and was flung onto the blood soaked sand. He could feel the heat and smell of the salty blood in his mouth and his hands as he stood up from the puddle. He could only assume how gruesome and horrific he must look with all the gore lathered on him.
By that time the two giants who advanced on him, both began to swing madly at Atikus but with failed attempts as he ducked and missed each swing. Suddenly the one man whom Atikus gouged the eye of brought down his fist from out of nowhere and nearly crushed him. Unfortunately this distraction gave the advantage to the giants as one kicked with his leg landing a blow to Atikus. And much like dust in the wind he was flown across the sands of the arena. He looked up at the night sky and attempted to regain his breath but failed as he began choking on his own blood.
“Cheap shot bastards” Atikus said out loud as he attempted to stand up struggling in the process.
Within seconds they closed in on him and picked the boy up by his throat. The giant holding him laughed as Atikus maintained a slim effort to breath between his suppressors and his own blood that was choking him. Atikus could hear the crowd cheer as the other two giants closed in on their partner. From the corner of his eye Atikus could see the one giant whom he gouged the eye out still holding his face. His only wish he killed him before he lost the advantage and got arrogant. The other companion raised his arms and the crowd began to cheer. He lifted his large sword and walked behind Atikus aiming and resting it on the back of Atikus’s neck. Atikus could feel the pressure and the pain that followed as he felt the sharp blade resting upon his neck.
‘So this is where it ends’ Thought Atikus to himself as he struggled to remain conscious. He attempted to keep his eyes open to witness his last moments on this bleak and dark world. Relishing the feel and heat of the giant breath, the steady roar of the crowd and the ever pressing sharp point at his neck. He saw the lightly brown colored sand on the arena floor. Shifting his gaze he looked at his two blades just feet from his reach almost coaxing him to attempt to grab them. ‘What a faint effort to attempt to reach for something that will never save me now.’ Thought Atikus. Withdrawing his gaze he looked up at the dark sky one last time. But what totally grabbed his eye was a rather large crow descending from above slowly making a soft landing on the corpse of the two giants he slew. Atikus stared in admiration as the crow who dark as night stared back with eyes white as snow.
Out of no where Atikus felt a strange clarity as air filled his lungs giving him breath again. Sand brushed his cheek and in response looked in the direction to see his swords resting in the sands. Unsure what was happening he watched as the swords moved slightly. Quivering Atikus reached out a hand as if to reach for them unsure if it was his nigh death messing up his senses or magic.
“HAHA look my friends the Bane child thinks he can reach for his dull blades ha-ha you fail my miserable child” mocked one of the crowd member.
“Kill him!” began another with a jeering request.
The one giant with the hold on Atikus’s neck griped tighter and the giant behind withdrew his blade to make the final kill. But from some sort of sudden divine intervention Atikus withdrew his breath and the two blades in the sand immediately flew like rain into his hands. Gripping them once they hit his hands Atikus took one blade and swung at the hand of his oppressor and was immediately dropped as he fell to the ground chocking. With rare good timing the other giant still going through with the motion continued with the down stroke of his sword and hit his comrade right through the abdomen slashing and breaking open his chest. The attacking giant looked at the sudden change of events and stood in shock and horror bleeding out. Atikus took advantage of the situation and stabbed the man with his two blades in the stomach and pulled upwards hurling the very intestines out of the man. Standing between the two dying giants he felt their eyes on him as their blood sprayed. He looked at both men before advancing on the last wild man limping in his injured state.
“I don’t recommend picking that weapon up.” Atikus added as he did his best to appear tough and un-phased by the change of events.
“And nor do I dare champion of the arena” replied the giant as he took a modest knee before Atikus “I now see the time has come for a change in this world, you are meant to live Bane” continued the giant still holding his eye. “I await my brethren in the fields of the spirit world on this day, and I hope you return this land to its rightful glory and rulers. Twas an honor to fight the unbeaten and be seen from such slavery” Finished the giant as he took his sword and laid it in front of Atikus as he bowed his head in respect. Atikus took the initiative and quickly stabbed the man through his thick forehead releasing him in a quick painless death. Atikus slowly pulled the blades out and wiped them off on his already soaked tunic. The whole arena was quite save for a few gasps.
“For our lost kingdom of Alistair” Atikus said quietly eyeing the giant as he falls onto his face body inanimate of life.
Atikus made his way to the middle of the ring and threw his blades in to the sand signifying the battle was over. He put his hands on his waist as he looked back to see if the crow was still present. Taking in a big breath and feeling for his neck he shrugged believing it was his mind playing tricks on him. Then he began to immediately recall the fight and realized what had just happened. Had he acquired some sort of power in his dire need? Or was this power given to him from the crow. Or has he always had this unknown power inside of him?
“My ladies and gentlemen this dismal situation has caused a fluke of tonight’s entertainment” began the announcer of the arena with a hint of hesitation in his voice. “My lord how are we to end this conflict?” Questioned the announcer as he looked in the direction of the arena master.
Luke stood up and said “This is not my command” he said as he nodded his head towards throne as if quivering with uncertainty.
“It is mine” said the male voice. “And my word is will” the man added as he stood up his figure vaguely seen by the torch light.
“I Cromwell your Ambassador and Emperor of this disgusting land pronounce Atikus last of the house of Bane, to be executed by the soul eater.” Finished the man as he sat back down flicking his wrist as in a distinct order.
Soldiers immediately came with spears ready to take him flooding in through the southern arena gate. Atikus looked back at them wildly and started to limp back to his blades to pick them up before falling to one knee. The marching grew closer and the heart beat in Atikus hastened quicker as he pushed his body to get up. But before he could a heavy slam hit the back of his head as he fell to the sand unconscious.