Stone Warriors

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Chapter 10

After tossing and turning the whole night, I only slept about an hour at the most. My nerves were shot and I felt nauseous. By looking at my build, I guess an onlooker would think I’d have no problem winning this thing. I’m pretty muscular and in great shape from working the fields as well as walking everywhere, but the bottom line is I have never been in a fight my whole life.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have brothers growing up, so I never gotten into the sibling brawls that most children experience. I’ve only worked hard and kept to myself. That’s what has gotten me through the hard times. Now though, I wish maybe I had at least gotten into a scuffle once or twice so I can know what to expect.

There were footsteps echoing off the marble floor outside the room, then a click and the door flew open. Axrenorian stood there with his now familiar and irritating smirk, “Rise and shine, Zakyrik! I trust you slept well? No? Well don’t worry, after you win the preliminary round you will be upgraded from here to a private room, still under supervision of course. Come, we have a fight to win and I have money to collect.”

Turning back around, I pointed to the others, but Axrenorian held up his hand, “Their sponsors will be here to get them soon. You are my only concern, boy. Now, let’s go.” I had no choice, but to leave Detro and the skinny man, who’s name I never learned, behind.

This time I traveled with Axrenorian in his coach. He was telling me that with the money he earned off of my fight he will buy out the orchard from Jessuvi and expand it so more women can work. He said he knows there are a lot of ladies who are not working because Jessuvi only lets a certain number of women on his property at a time, but with Axrenorian running it every able-bodied woman can be there thus earning their household more income.

What I don’t think he realizes is the more income a family earns, the higher that ass-hat Jessuvi will raise the rent. But it’s very thoughtful of him anyways. I wonder if his true intention is to put Jessuvi out of business? That would be the greatest thing that has happened to the poor lands since I can remember.

The crowd could be heard before we reached the stadium. My nausea was back full force and I had to put a lot of effort not to show fear on my face. We stopped at the front gate and two guards opened the coach door, “Mr. Ranswits, is your champion ready?”

Gulping, I nodded which amused Axrenorian, “Chin up, boy! You’ll do fine. The only consequence you’ll face if you lose is death.” He patted me on the back and the guards grabbed my arms, leading me into a side door at the gate.

Under here, the crowd’s roar seemed muted as I waited for the match to begin. A short while later the door opened and Detro came in, escorted by the same two guards that hauled me in here, “Good to see you, man. Though this may be the last time we see each other ever again.” Detro greeted sadly.

Afterwards, the skinny man was escorted in as well, “It was nice to meet you both. Please, if I don’t make it out of here, and either of you do, tell my wife I love her. Tell her she’s all that was on my mind as I took my last breath.”

Detro nodded at this, “Will do, Pyrcie. You have my word. I’ll ask the same of you two, but I want to add for you to tell my boy to stay strong for his mother.”

At least I know his name now, “I give you both my word as well. The only addition is to tell my dear cousin that she must find a way out of this wretched place. I do not wish for her to grow old in this evil land.”

The side doors opened and the guards led us out to the front gate again, except this time we were brought inside. There was a ramp that tilted upwards to a huge, round platform that I assume we were to battle on. Cicatrix was already standing there grinning sadistically as we approached. I stood next to him and the others fell in suit.

I’m not sure why, but I felt my head automatically rise for some reason, as if it was drawn there by a force beyond my control. My eyes landed on the box that Vyron was standing in and they stopped at none other than Xori Tamminalin. I tried to look away, but for the life of me I couldn’t. Her gaze never faltered and held my stare captive for what seemed like an eternity.

Cicatrix leaned down and said something to me, but I was not focused nor interested in anything that came out of his foul mouth. For a moment I forgot what a bloodthirsty, violent and selfish being she was. Right now she is the most ravishing lady I’ve ever had the pleasure of admiring from afar.

The trumpet sounded suddenly and the spell she put me under was broken. My hatred for her and the whole Tamminalin family came back full force. It doesn’t matter that she’s breathtakingly beautiful, she’s a devil in disguise.

Taking up my position, I was bewildered when I seen ten new faces had joined us while that witch had me vexed with her eyes. Those violet, beautiful eyes. I shook my head before I lost focus again. I know that when that trumpet blows again it will be time to see what just may very well be my death.

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