Dark Sun: Spirit Champions
Arena Champion in Tyr
The epic tale of RazSpark the Great
People came from miles away to witness my birth, the birth of the savior, the protector, the one to deliver them for the depths of Hell itself. I would be known as RazSpark; a name that just the mere mention of would send shivers of fear up the spine of even the fiercest of warriors.
Mother leaned against a large bolder and gave a mighty grunt, I shot out hitting the ground with an audible thump followed by two bounces and a 50 foot skid down a dry ravine before father was able to grab and lift me up to the cheers of the crowd who promptly returned to drinking the free booze father had provided.
My youth wasn’t any different than any other youth with the exception of my ability to excel in anything I attempted and dad was always there cheering me on. His generosity amazed as he went from looser to looser shacking their hands and giving them each a coin of two as a token of good sportsmanship. By the time I reached my late teenage years I had never lost a competition but this all changed with fathers death. He was an explorer who sometimes teamed up with Bodartss father when a larger force was needed when going deeper into the wasteland in search of old artifacts.
It was on one of these expeditions where my father lost his life. Bodartss father, Crrakmarss returned to the village with the news of the ambush by a ruthless band of Nomads. It was by pure chance that any of them survived to return. Father died along with six others defending the pass allowing the survivors to escape.
Father’s death affected me more that emotionally, it also took a toll on me physically. Gone were days of never loosing a competition. Father had taken my inhuman skill with his passing; I hoped it would serve him well in the afterlife. There was still mother to consider, she would need protection if we were ever raided. I was left with no other choice but to practice long and hard to achieve what I hoped would be adequate compared to my former skills. As it turned out Bodartss and Graifss were more that eager to help.
For over five years they beat the crap out of me, then one day the worm turned. I was no longer a scrawny teenager; I now stood 6’3” and topped the scales at 297 stones. I had regained more of my skills than I though possible. I was now chief tracker and hunter for the village, closely matched only by Graifss and Badartss.
For the most part those were the good times. Mother never got over fathers passing and one day while I was out hunting just gave up completely. The entire village came to her funeral and as Crrakmarss spoke of father and mother most of the villager was brought to tears. After setting mothers funeral bed on fire he led me from the crowd, turned and said. “Raz I will to adopt you, not only because your father was my best friend but because I come to love you as one of my own children.”
I thanked him for his generous gesture and told him to give me time to consider it. He said he would expect an answer when he returned from his next expedition into the wastelands, to a place he hadn’t visited before but had heard contained great wonders. I agreed to his terms and bid him a safe journey.
I greeted Crrakmarss upon his return three months later with the answer of yes. He smiled ear to ear and gave me a bone crushing hug. He then shouted telling the entire of the news and also pulled a fist sized object from his pack and held it high for all to see. “This object will make us all rich.” he shouted.
The next couple of weeks were crazy; people came from all around for a chance to break the object. At a coin a chance Crrakmass was right about the village becoming wealthy. I even took a try at it which resulted in my mace exploding, me falling on my ass and arms left feeling numb.
t was the happiest I’d had ever seen the village, sadly it ended with the coming of Mebols. No soon than he entered the village than the slaughter began. Having destroyed my mace I grabbed a mostly intact sword from the pile of discards and started hacking at the guards. After bringing two down I grabbed one of their better weapons and started carving my own path of carnage, only stopping long enough to grab Crystaliss and whisk her off to safety. After leaving her with Bodartss I stayed to block the incoming guards as they and other villagers made their escape.
Two were ahead of the pack and quickly fell to my blade, the others quickly surrounded me. I sliced one across the face from left ear to right eye causing him to scream and crash into one of the other guards. I was just about to strike the one loosing his footing when a blinding white came and with it a very sharp pain in he back of my head. I blindly turned and thrusting my sword behind me, I was rewarded with a gurgling cry. Afterward everything went black and I felt myself falling.
When I awoke I found I was in the back of a wagon with my hands and feed bound and my head throbbing, there were others in the wagon with me. When they noticed my eyes opened one leaned over and told me to stay quite. He said that we had been traveling for three days and that Mebols and his guards had been killing the weaker villagers for sport along the way. He also told me that the only reason I was still alive is because Mebols had seen me fight and had plans for me the arena.
We arrived at Mebols compound four days later. My head no longer hurt but I felt weak due to the lack of food. Only those villagers riding in the wagons survived the week long march. Mebols ordered his guards to have line us up, then he proceeded to walk the line and assign duties. His low mono tone droning out, house slave, sex slave, arena fodder, animal food, on and on until reaching me, Gladiator training.
Training was never ending, even in you sleep you had to keep one eye open because the guards were not allowed to touch the sex slaves they had to settle for the old women and sometimes the male slaves. Gladiators in training were also within their grasp; however once you made a name for yourself they no longer bothered you and it wouldn’t be long before I could sleep soundly again.
Arena combat was unlike any combat I had ever faced before, not the fighting part but the crowd cheering us on. It was strange hearing my name chanted after a kill, but I was starting to like it. Mebols was happy with my ability to inflict agonizing pain and glorious amounts of blood and gore from my opponents. Soon my name was known throughout the region and Mebols made me his champion.
Mebols pulled me aside shortly after crowing me champion and said. “As champion you have gained your freedom and I’m sure you wish to leave us. The crowd loves you and the money flows, yes it is a pity you will be leaving us, the crowd will miss you and I will miss you. I guess the only thing left for me to do and pay a visit to that village I found you in and see if it bears us another champion.” My excitement of the new found freedom drained from my body as I slumped and told Mebols I’d stay and continue to be his champion.
He grasped my shoulder, smirked and said. “I thought you would see it my way. Don’t despair, as champion you are now entitled to 15% of all winnings. Save up my champion and someday I will truly grant you your freedom and leave your village alone.”
For over four years I have been champion and have lost count of those I killed for coin, I had also amassed a sizeable amount of wealth. I hopped it was enough to buy my freedom. Mebols was more than happy to take my coin, afterward he shook his head and said. “Raz you are free to go on one condition, I want you to fight the champion from a distant district. It is said that he has no match; I say he does and that match is you. If you agree I will give all that I have agreed to including 35% of all winnings. You will leave not only a free man, but one with a fat purse.” Since I had given him all my coin I had no other choice but to agree.
The arena crowd was standing room only, the games started with a couple of old slaves being handed short sticks to fight off several wild beast which quickly devoured then to the excitement of the crowd. This was followed by half a dozen assorted matches with each spilling huge amounts of blood. By the time my time came the arena sand was the consonantly of mud.
I entered to the deafening roar of cheering which quickly fell away when he entered. He was the largest man I had ever seen; in fact he was larger than anything I had ever seen. In one massive hand he held a stone mace the size of a human teenager. In the other a sword of black rock, the likes of I have never seen. He charged, or in his case lumbered. The soggy sand was slowing him down; this would work to my advantage if I could get close enough to him without getting crushed. Side stepping a crashing blow as his mace struck the ground I jumped and slashed towards his face. Seeing my movement he swung the blade catching me in mid air with his upper arm, I hit the ground and rolled. Just as he and the found were I landed I was up and on my feet running and hoping to avoid his backhand swing. He missed and left himself open for me to slice his wrist open to the bone.
I must have done more damage than I thought because he dropped his sword and turned towards me, it was then I notice that my earlier blade thrust had struck home when I went for his face. His eye dangled from the socket and blood flowed from an arm wound, he looked at me through his one good eye in disbelief. The blood had made a sizeable pool at his feet before he hefted the mace for what would be his final charge; it was the opening I had been waiting for. My blade caught him low in groin as I sliced upward with all my strength which was followed by the sound of entrails hitting the ground and the crowd went wild. I picked of the sword he had dropped and with all of my might hefted it high into the air and brought it down in a wide arc catching him just below the right ear and exiting through the ribcage just below the elbow. It was such a clean and quick cut that for several seconds nothing happed, than the upper half of his torso slid in the direction of the angle of the cut until it was lying on the ground beside his feet which at that point the lower half proceeded to topple forward. Once again the crowd was ecstatic and the roar of RAZSPARK was deafening.
Coins littered the arena in my honor. Some women fainted as I neared, if there were God’s I was one now. Mebols approached clasps my hand and granted my freedom for all to witness, he then handed me a sizable bag of coin turned and left without another word. It was then I heard my name being called by a familiar voice. I turned and spotted Crystaliss pushing through the crowd followed by Halfling who moved like a warrior. Crystaliss moved toward me and slapped my face hard then demanded why I never returned to the village. Since I now was truly free and the village safe from Mebols I proceeded to tell her why I had stayed on. After I finished she smiled and gave me a huge hug and whispered in my ear, “I knew you weren’t a traitor.” She released me as the Halfling walked up and poked me in the knee and shouted “Hey tree trunk I watched your last fight as was quite impressed.” I started to thank her but she interrupted as she continued. “Yeah you might even stand a chance in combat against one of us Halflings; in fact I’d give you even money in a pit match between you and my great granny. Since she lost her arm and eyesight in the last war she just isn’t as mean as she once was; granny on the other hand would gut you from nuts to neck before you could even touch the hilt of your weapon.” I stood there for a minute waiting for the punch line and the laughter that never came. The humor of the situation was fading fast and I had the distinct feeling I had just been insulted. “How dare you speak in such manner to the Champion of the arena, I could crush you like a bug you tiny pain in the ass!” I roared. She just looked up at me and said in a bored voice. “Big man has big mouth, can big man back up big mouth?” “You want to challenge me, the champion of this entire region, is this some kind of joke?” I laughed. Her answer was a fast and amazingly hard punch to my nuts.
That evening we met just outside of town so we wouldn’t draw unwanted attention. Since she made the challenge I was to choose the fighting style and I chose a takedown match without weapons because I didn’t want to cleave the bugger in half since Crystaliss seemed to care about her. At 11:00 pm Saturday night the fight began and by Monday morning both of us were bloody and battered and it was becoming quit apparent that neither one of us was going to gain the upper hand. I had to admit what she lacked in punching power she made up for in endurance. I was exhausted and she seemed as if she was just getting started. If we had used weapons only a lucky strike from me would have brought her down, she on the other hand would have wore me down with hundreds of stabs and cuts. I knew at that moment I had met my match so I did the honorable thing and conceded the win to her, adding that if I hadn’t battled the mighty colossus only hours before our fight I would keep going. She dropped to her knees and looking up at me said. “About damn time, I wasn’t sure if I’d last another hour, you know big guy I take back what I said early. I truly feel you can stand your own against my kind, heck I’m betting you could take great granny and granny in a combo match…mother on the other hand would still kick your ass.” We both laughed and Crystaliss not knowing what to expect breathed a sigh of relief and soon join us.
We decided to make camp outside the city and remain there until morning. As we sat around the campfire Crystaliss handed me my father’s explorers pack and explained how she had come by it. As I opened it my mind when back to the last time I helped father pack it. I doubted much if any of the original contents remained after all of these years but at least I now had his pack. Upon opening it I was surprised to find most of the items there and intact, gone was the family dagger that had been passed from father to son along with several other items. They had opened the maps and stuffed them back in without folding, most were torn but still readable. The pack also contained his climbing gear, a heavy Duster coat and a handful of assorted items father had told me that when it was time right he would explain their use. Since that day never came I had no clue as to what I was looking at, maybe someone in town could provide details.
Morning came quickly; I started to get up but stopped. I wasn’t sure what the problem was but I could only assume someone had kidnapped me in the middle of the night, carried my off and tossed my off a cliff, then crawled down, reclaim my battered body and than silently slipped me back into bed. “IT” was bouncing around camp demanding breakfast. I call it “IT” because it showed no signs of pain. I pondered long and hard as to how “IT” handled the pain; my only conclusion was that I hate little people.