Learning About Defeat
Feeling a bit better this morning, I made my way to Firstmeal, still a bit shameful about the previous day’s loss. I had expected to be ridiculed and joked about by my fellow brothers, but I was pleasantly surprised to see quite the opposite. I was greeted by a member that I can’t seem to remember his name, but he congratulated me as I sat to eat. He was definitely younger than me and had such a spark in his eye as he recapped yesterday’s events. I soon learned that this boy was very into statistics and he had been keeping them on all Brotherhood members, along with a few crowd favorites, including Roach. While I kept my mouth shut, he prattled on about my opponent’s statistics and fighting style. Needless to say, I was not in the mood to hear about his victories, I snapped toward the boy, “What’s your point? Are you rubbing it in my face?”
The boy looked rather bewildered at my outburst, so I quietly apologized and looked back toward my food, choking down more despite my current lack of appetite. It was silent for a moment, but soon the boy spoke quietly to me, “I-I wasn’t trying to do that. I’ve watched many of your fights and you are… spectacular!” I shrugged this off, not in the mood for compliments, but he went on, “I’m sure I could be of use to you… I know things about fighters and their odds that most people don’t.” Admittedly, this peeked my interest. Of course I inquired and he explained that he’d been keeping records of wins and losses, as well as documenting the fights themselves. I learned his name from the front of his journal. Apparently he went by the name of “Mouse.” I’d never met someone quite like him and with his bookkeeping skills, but he was more than happy to show me his massive journal full of notes and statistics. Just as we were really getting into the depths about Roach and theories on how I could possibly beat him, there was a strong tug to the back of my tunic, along with Bran’s strong, but smooth voice, “Let’s go.”
I bade quick farewell to my new young friend and stumbled to catch up with Bran. We headed out of the Hall and into the street before he even said a word. And those words were, “How do you feel today?” Well of course I still felt the previous day’s utter and shameful defeat and explained this to him, but was responded to by a full-palmed slap to the wound on my chest. I did my best not to cry out too loud, but the sting did bring water to my eyes. Bran simply laughed at my pain and wrapped an arm around my shoulder, “How’s defeat really feel?” I was confused at his question, but he must have noticed, considering he went on rather quickly, “Defeat shouldn’t hurt your pride. It hurts your body and guess what? In a week, that will be gone and you’ll have another scar. Defeat is truly temporary.”
It took me a moment to convince myself of this, but I nodded, letting the words sink in. He was right, after all. Of course my pride hurt, but what was stopping me from taking him on again? What was stopping me from taking over every big opponent there? What was stopping me from taking this city by storm? But wasn’t there something missing from his encouragement? Curiosity got the best of me as I sorted this through my head, “Doesn’t The Brotherhood look poorly on losses in The Arena?”
Bran simply smiled, “Not when an opponent has a win streak like that. We want you to win and keep our name good, but we’re realistic. All these new recruits want to take over the city and run out the Legion, but us more seasoned members know that’s ridiculous. There are always going to be those that oppose us and we must let them or the whole city would be in chaos, which would be bad for business. Balance must be maintained.” At that moment, I knew I had to be careful about what I said to Bran. That was my plan and I wasn’t about to let anyone get in my way. I want to have this city in the palm of my hand.
We parted ways shortly after that and I figured my physical condition was not in order to go shopping for new battle attire, so I decided to make my way to the College. I looked into many spells and any sort of battle technique I could use to be prepared for opponents like Roach again. I ran across two spells, “Forced Immobility Ensorcellment” which entangles your opponent in silk-like ropes, all spun by the spell weaver, as well as “Dhervan Frozen Shard,” which was a wonderfully brutal spell that essentially calls upon any ground water to freeze and become a deadly blade in itself. I’d for sure get him with these.
Before I knew it, the windows were becoming dark, not having known how long I’d been studying. I stretched and made my way back home, contemplating all sorts of plans how to take down my next opponent, so lost in my thoughts that I nearly passed The Hall. I managed to make it to Thirdmeal, just in time, and headed to my room shortly after to take notes and dream about new ways to take the Arena by storm.