Far From a Challenge
Thomas seems rather enchanted with this damn girl of his, even to the point of not saying an intelligible word toward me about anything other than her for a good twenty minutes. This was despite my many efforts to discuss the college and the sheer wealth of knowledge within. I swore we had come here for fame and fortune in the arena, but as I’ve reminded him many times, perhaps he’s more interested in chasing some impossible tail.
Eventually I was able to bring him out of that nonsense by reminding him that he’d best be on his training if he was be to victorious in the Arena. It goes without saying that my knowledge of magic will not exactly need any polishing before the fight, but I entertained Thomas in the idea that we both needed to prepare for the fight. This seemed to help that fire to his spirit instead of in his loins.
The Arena was much as I recalled it from my visits as a child – loud, smelly, and crowded. I cannot say I was quite as enchanted with the place as Thomas, with his eyes fairly glowing. One cannot deny the intensity of the whole place, and I even found a bit of a spark in my own chest as we moved through. I focused on the challenge that lay ahead for us, despite it being shrouded in mystery before until we arrived at the registration booth..
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit offended that all newcomers were basically common entertainment for the morning crowd. I would be pitted against some mutt! With my knowledge of the Arena, I figured that this was not some normal creature, and there had to be a catch. Even so, it was insulting to have to fight some lowly creature, no matter how atrocious. However I took Thomas’ example of excitement as inspiration, and decided not to confront the staff on such an insult for someone of my power and social stature. After all, to fight in the same arena as Thomas made me feel rather giddy, even if we were not fighting alongside each other. I do wonder what a fantastic team we would make if we were side by side in gaining our fame sometimes!
Once it was time for the fight, nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of stepping out onto that floor. I had once watched from the stands with such wonder as a child. The morning crowd was rather packed and had far more faces than I was expecting. So, of course I held myself with a high stature, knowing I would leave an impression on anyone important that happened to be sitting in those stands. I made my way over to my section and awaited this mysterious monstrosity so we could provide the crowd with their entertainment.
Fellow fighters took their places making the Arena a true treat for the eye, as there were many fights going on at once. I happened to catch sight of Thomas, who was rather occupied with the number and deafening noise of the eager crowd. However, I knew he would handle himself fine and decided to focus on my own fight and how I was to make my impression on this crowd.
Holding up my hands, I flexed my fingers, ready to give the novice show of a lifetime, Taedeyll’s Flame at the ready. One by one they released the beasts and the threw the Arena into utter chaos. I was second-to-last to receive my opponent, and seeing the beast made me admittedly smirk. It was a two-headed monstrosity that stood with a rather arrogant air, as if challenging my place. A perfect pair – two superior beating hearts, but only one was to make it out alive, and we both knew damn well who that was going to be.
All in all the battle itself was unfortunately uneventful on my end, but surely a dazzle for the on-lookers! The beast snarled and made many snaps with its mighty jaws at me, but I remained unmoved and unimpressed. Having the control over Flame as I did, it was not hard to bend it to my will and burn the savage beast. I had honestly expected one flame to be enough to singe and cripple the enemy, but to my surprise it kept at me. I had to dodge a grand, fiery charge, but being the experienced user I am, I easily dodged his half-blind attack.
With a quick chant of the incantation once more, the beast was engulfed in flame and slumped to the Arena floor. There was quite a bit of cheering on my end of the Arena as the flames faded from my fingertips. I was admittedly quite drunk with adrenaline as I moved over to the beast to put it out of its misery with a slice of my dagger to the throat. I made a classy bow to my possible fans and exited the arena, catching a glimpse of Thomas, seeming to be fighting some sort of enraged boar, and having much more of a challenge than I. I was able to exit the Arena and await him with confidence that he would come out victorious.
Stepping out of the pit I was congratulated by what I could only gather as a staff member turned fan of mine. He gushed about how I was able to defeat the beast so effortlessly and gracefully, acknowledging what I already know. I kept Thomas’ humble example and thanked the staff member for his shower of compliments and praise. He continued to prattle on even as Thomas had made his way from the Arena.
I stepped away from the staff member to grab Thomas’ attention, rather excited to hear about his experience and how he had done. He had come out victorious and seemed to give the crowd a good show as well! So, we decided to take our meager winnings and celebrate over some old-fashioned Dwarvish ale at the Broken Arrow Saloon – a few extra drinks provided by fans of ours’, of course!
Once we were getting ready to leave I was approached by a few members of the Brotherhood with congratulations and questions on the battle. We also discussed my previous employment with them, having been a scout on the way into Serndall. The leader of the group, Kriegal, approached me with the notion that I would make a perfect addition to their efforts – as if I didn’t know this already! Thomas had disappeared during my conversation so I decided to accompany the members back to their faction hall.
It was definitely an upgrade from the meager Mercenary Barracks that I had been previously staying at and absolutely closer to my standards. We discussed the Brotherhood of the Ebon Circle over a few more drinks and was offered accommodation and given the expected weekly dues. They was nothing I could not manage given they sought money and favors, as opposed to the lowly chores I was expected to do at the Mercenary Barracks. I decided this would suit me well and assured them I would return once my affairs were in order.