Stone Warriors

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Chapter 3

Thoroughly bored, I sat with my back to the wall outside the room where the sorrowful laments and sobbing were coming from. My grandfather, Vyross Tamminalin, was in the process of taking his last breaths. He had contacted some rare disease while traveling outside Evanyl, supposedly, and has been fighting it in secret for almost three months.

My father had been managing the startups of the competition, making excuses for why Vyross wasn’t there himself, but soon the people of our city started to suspect he was keeping something from them. There were whispers around town and rumors about grandfather that involves anything between murder, abduction or disappearance. Well now they will soon know they were right.

He knew it would be any day now so yesterday he called us in to tell us goodbye. My father looks torn apart. My sister fell to her knees and cried.

As an actress until the end, I hung my head with the best mournful look I could muster, just like the one I have plastered on my face now. To the onlooker it would seem I was heart broken, but inside I actually feel nothing. My grandfather never really spoke to me unless he had to.

My older sister, Xera, was his favorite. She loved hearing all about the inner workings of the tournament and loved watching the fights even from a young age.

Me, I cannot stand the damn thing. I wish the Stone Warrior Competition would die along with him. Vyross could never understand why I would make excuses to leave early and come back home to read a book or just enjoy the quiet after being around all the clamor of the arena.

Vyross always let me know how disappointed he was that I didn’t turn out like Xera. I just wish I had the guts to let him know that I could care less what he thought about me because I hated him.

Father and Xera came out finally with red, puffy, tear stained faces. Father turned to a servant outside the room, “Go tell everyone to gather in the stadium. I have some bad news to tell our beloved city.”

The servant nodded and ran off to tell as many people as she could. This town thrived on word of mouth and so anybody who’s important will be there when he announces Vyross’ death.

Father hugged Xera and motioned for me to come join the hug as well. Father wrapped his arms around both of us, “My beautiful girls, your grandfather has officially passed. We must go and let the city know where their shameful rumors can be put to rest. Though he is gone, it is now up to us to carry out his legacy and keep this competition thriving. I’ve got a new idea to add that will be just the thing needed to spice this year up a bit. Come, let’s dry our tears and ride down in a coach. This year is going to be one that nobody forgets.”

The stadium rapidly started filling in with our city’s residents all walking single file to their seats. This place can hold up to sixty thousand comfortably, but our town only had maybe a thousand people. The lower class citizens outside of town will be told later.

Right now my father wants to personally announce Vyross’ death and the change of power to the only ones he considers worthy to hear it from his mouth, which are those rich enough to bet hundreds of thousands on the competitors.

He waited patiently until most of the people coming in had taken their seats. There were still more piling in, but the ones he was most concerned with were already here and listening attentively from their VIP boxes. Those were his main betting partners.

“My good people of Evanyl, it’s with a heavy heart that I gather you today to relay some terrible news. My father, Vyross, has passed.” He paused for all the audible gasps and stares of incredulity.

“He had unfortunately acquired some rare disease we know nothing about while traveling abroad. He didn’t want any of you to worry so he put me in charge of the tournament this year. However, as of today though, marked in his will, I will be forevermore conducting the Stone Warrior Competition.”

There was chatter amongst themselves, then standing and clapping. Everyone was cheering that the tournament would continue and my father would be in charge.

He waited until they were quiet, “I would like to add a special twist sometime in the future. As I go about the city it does not escape my eye the young men who are gathered in groups fighting each other for fun. I see the same excitement in their eyes as when I fought for my first time.”

Smiling, he extended a hand toward the masses, “I’ve decided to open up five spots on a first come first serve basis hopefully next competition. These five spots are only for those who willingly want to join. We will have our usual peasants of course, but these five will have the same rules and regulations of the other contestants only they will be here out of their own free will.”

He took a moment to let that sink in. Cheers erupted around the stadium. In their eyes, my father just gave them a Christmas present. Chants of my father’s name spread throughout the stands and my father stood with his hands folded behind his back, smiling and drinking it all in.

That was the first time I realized my father was exactly like his father, except a little worse.

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