My eyes widened and my breathing became uneven. My worst nightmare has come to life. I have evaded their scrutinizing gaze for ten years now, only to be screwed over by the one person I hate almost as much as the damn competition itself.
Jessuvi smirked, “I suppose I shall go inform his boss he will no longer be employed. He has no family except his cousin. She’s a young girl whose father met an ill fate at the last tournament. He is her guardian so there will be no need to threaten his life or post guards outside his door. He will come willingly because he will not risk her getting harmed.”
Wordlessly, I scowled at Jessuvi as he informed my overseer that I was chosen for the competition. Since I was more than likely going to die anyways, I should have made my death count by taking Jessuvi’s ugly ass with me, but I couldn’t do that to Zytriana.
After she lost her mother in childbirth and my uncle to the tournament, I’m literally all she has. I can’t let her know I went out like that. It’s going to be a hard enough shock to her that I’m being shipped away in the morning to the same place both our fathers died at, much less that I broke our dinner plans by dying just to break our jerk of a landlord’s neck.
The man cleared his throat, “Very well. We shall send transportation for you first thing in the morning. Make sure all your affairs are in order. You will be staying with us for quite some time, Zakyrik. We expect good results from you.”
Angrily I kicked every rock I came across on my journey home. It’s not the rocks fault I’m an idiot, but it felt good to take anger out on something. I pictured Jessuvi’s face every time I lifted my leg back and drove a punishing blow with my foot. I pictured it was him flying in the air and rolling away in the distance.
How am I going to tell her? I know the ladies next door will take her in permanently, but it’s going to break Zytriana’s already broken heart. Why couldn’t I’ve just hid like I planned? But then that boy’s death would have been on my conscience.
Poor lad. I was the only one standing on the bottom so no one else would have come to his rescue. That boy was too young to be working anyways. He didn’t look a day over ten.
That’s how it is here though. Every able-bodied person must work to survive. Just like every able-bodied man must compete if chosen. I hate Evanyl.
Stupid tournament. It wouldn’t have never even been created if it wasn’t for The Tamminalins. Vyross Tamminalin to be exact.
The story I heard said that Vyross was in his 20s when he first traveled outside Evanyl. He loved to fight and heard of a city far away where they held a fighting competition, and the winner won his weight in gold. Vyross was victorious and came back an extremely wealthy man. He built the Tamminalin Estate and took over his father’s trading business after he died.
Vyross grew bored over the years and decided to create his own fighting competition, but with his own twisted rules. The rich were the only ones allowed to bet and they had to bring their own fighters, which happened to be their servants or men who owed them money.
Vyross made millions. The competitors were forced to fight against their will and the winner was rewarded handsomely plus granted their freedom.
Soon the fights became mundane to Vyross. It wasn’t hard to overcome some of the weaker opponents and not as many people were coming or betting which made him lose money. Then one fateful day a fighter accidentally killed another in the last round. The crowds started piling back in.
That’s when Vyross raised the stakes. Not only were the fighters going to compete for money and freedom, they were now going to fight for their lives.
There were visitors every five years after that from cities abroad who were just as twisted and sick as he was, taking joy in innocent people dying. Vyross built a bigger stadium to hold the huge hoard of visitors thirty years ago. It’s the biggest event Evanyl has.
All people in town talk about is how they cannot wait for the Stone Warrior Competition. That’s what it’s come to be called. It’s aptly named because only the most stone cold, ruthless and cutthroat survive. The winner receives unsurpassed riches and only has to fight the last man standing in the next competition five years later to hold his title.
We’ve had a reigning champion for the past ten years. His name is Cicatrix and he’s a humongous brute who has scars all across his body that he put there himself to increase his pain tolerance. He’s an evil, nasty man who revels in bloodshed.
He even fights like a normal competitor in the rounds instead of waiting for the final fight. He fits right in with the Tamminalins.
While I was thinking to myself, a transport coach of the Tamminalins passed me by. I glanced up just out of bored curiosity and seen the prettiest of Vyross’ granddaughters looking at me out her window as she rode by. Xori Tamminalin.