The Books of Renly.

By Andrew James Clayton-Bunday All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Adventure

Chapter 9: Broken Bonds

The catgars by this point had torn the flesh from the legs and underbelly of one of the mamothants, now sounding his trunk and thrashing wildly in an attempt to stave off its attackers, as one the catgars comes across the mamothants face lashing out to grab its trunk, with the idea to hold it chocking it for a kill. The mamothant has other ideas instead scooping up its attacker onto its tusks it charges towards the walls of the arena at full pace with no chance to slow down it impales both itself and its attacker onto the poisoned blades embedded into the walls. Lord Hatch lets out of roar of laughter and amusement as he rose to his feet from his chair, raising his hammer once again slamming it onto the second of the dead switches calling for the second round to begin. Out from the corridors and gates rushed over fifty men made up of warriors, generals and pit fighters armed with weapons made for only the deadliest of killing. Like a wave of water slamming against the rocks they crashed and begin to attack everything in sight slashing, hailing arrows and throwing weapons at each other and the creatures alike, there was no kinship within these fighters most of which were as hardened forest dwellers caught trying to kill targets or steal valuables from the noble ranks and vendors of the cities.

The crowd cheered as the slaughter raised to new heights as the level of the fight grew more intense as well trained men faced off sword clashing against sword, displays taking place of near perfect blademan ship killing off each other, bodies of men were beginning to line the floor of the pits quicker than the creatures slayed one another. The trolls now had the dragon pinned and where attacking with deathly blows from their boulder sized fists as they were pelted with arrows from warriors and generals alike, now resembling an overused target board from the ranges their backs darkened blanketed by them. The dragon beginning to show signs of weakness as it was almost beaten to ground, gathering its strength from every muscle in its body to pelt them with what fire it has left within it, pelting the trolls with smaller bursts of flame as it loses the ability to continue to fight, eventually igniting the arrows wedged within the backs of the trolls now looking like giant blazing torches, as they burned down they began heating the arrow heads deep in their hides of the trolls causing them to shatter in their skin one by one at first, the quicker they burned the arrow heads began to pop the trolls would twitch as chunks of flesh and blood would spurt from their wounds. The dragon with no more fight to give hit the floor exhausted from the pain and the beating it had taken it stumbles and falls to the ground out for the count. The trolls turning to face the onslaught of arrows still pelting their bodies, roaring in rage as they picked up speed charging and heading in a rage like mode towards the men pelting them, smoke twined with flame bellowing from the burning arrows and flesh.

Our fighter had also turned his attentions to the fighters entering the pits, as the hounds had sensed a quick kill available on the pit floors and their lust for blood took over whatever plan they were involved in. Sensing the hounds would be swooping past him once again waiting within the smoke until they pass as he grabs the neck fur pulling himself aboard of one of them as they passed. The hound tried to struggle at first but digging in his heals and the offer of a blade to its neck changed its mind. Leaving his hiding spot now on root at full pace towards a group of pit fighters leaning off the side of the hound he picks up a thrown spear, dismounting at the opportune moment to impale it into the side of one fighter bursting out of his chest and still with momentum into another’s head of his opponent he had been fighting with, snatching twin large blades from the hands of the fighters as they fell into each other down the spear, onto their knees coming to rest facing each other still impaled wedged and erect by the spear.

Our fighters anguish now turning to rage building inside as he makes his way through multiple targets slashing and disposing opponents all the while dodging the mamothant and ogre still deep into their battle, slamming their bodies causing chaos within the battle taking place hurling rocks, discarded weapons and debris with kicking feet and the swiping of large tusks. The ogre sustaining a heavy charge from the mamothant sent backwards a few feet by the heavy strike falls over the corpse of one of the fallen creatures crashing to the ground, no sooner had his back hit the floor, it was quickly mounted by catgars slicing and swiping at its face and body, the mamothant turning its attention to the troll now approaching him with a smile licking its lips one of their favored meals. This ogre was not going to give up this fight so easy catching one of catgars by the face using its other fist to punch it crushing its skull. Hurling the catgar’s body at the group of its attackers trying to take advantage of his fallen state. Before it could completely rise to his feet it was impaled by a spear in his side of its ribs by a fighter not a second after contact who thought better of it, as the ogre plucked the spear from his side fighter still holding on he raised him to his face to look at him roared as the fighter screamed back in terror, the ogre then threw the spear, still clinging for life the fighter flew across the the pit landing onto the overhang of Hatch’s viewing platform dislodging the fighter swinging the fighter onto Hatch’s platform. Looking deep into Lord Hatch’s eyes he began to panic as Hatch raised his hammer above his head still looking quite upset he was nearly hit, looking down not to see the hit coming he notices the last dead man’s switch underneath his body before he could draw breath to yell the hammer crushed him into the switch releasing the last dead man’s switch. The crowed roared round three and stamped their feet with excitement as the warriors dressed in armor aboard beasts and creatures of all sizes entered the pits dispatching many of the pit fighters as they charged into the pit, killing many more fighters as they engaged in the battle, not even creatures were spared as one entered cutting down one of the hounds with a large bastard sword.

Our fighter had worked his way over to his friend battling and killing on his way almost in a white noise rage nothing could even slow his advance, he could not die without saying goodbye or letting his death go unpunished he was going to see the Nomey paid for his betrayal. One of the last of the catgar seeing our fighter storming across the pits not looking his way seen an easy target and took off from the ogre with all the energy and might it could muster, not ten feet from our fighter it pounced to crush him from behind our fighter was in no mood to suffer the foolish attack of this creature he lay upon the floor two blood soaked blades in the air just in time for the catgar to land on the blades impaling its heart upon them, sliding ever further down mouth open, claws out dieing only inches from our fighters face. Using his feet he rolled the catgar off him and continued towards his fallen comrade, sliding to his side he lay his hand upon him calling to it to awaken feeling its shallow breaths under hand he breathed a sigh of relief, out of all the noise and chaos he began to hear a child chanting a tongue that felt familiar to him, as his heart and energy became renewed as he listened to the boy. All time seemed to slow as he began to say the words aloud himself as if the boys was speaking through him. His hands sinking into the creature’s hard skin he felt a warming passing through his hands traveling deeper within the creature a light beginning to shine from his fingertips as the chanting continued, looking around to see if anyone could see what was happening he could see an arrow heading for a kill shot into his chest dead center for his heart.

Wanting to move yet feeling unable as if somehow he was fused to the creature a panic began to set in, the creature twitched and looked at him, then howling into the sky’s the hardened rock began to soften and spread down our fighters arms hissing and spitting feeling as if it was burning him, still the chanting continued as the soft rock continued spreading faster and faster until his entire body was engulfed within the rock. The arrow smashed into his chest sending him back four feet from the creature fearing he was dead as all the chanting in his mind had stopped he could see the skies above and the sun shining down upon him as he lay taking one last breath and closed his eyes. Feeling as if moments and hours had passed by he began to see a shadow casting over his eyes, in a state of wonder he waited to feel the pain of the arrow. Nothing was felt, in fact he felt better then before, opening his eyes he could see the face of his hound rather its nose as it sniffed him, holding back a cry of fear incase it was not his hound. The nose moving around as it sniffed his body and face, before long a familiar voice of the creature returned to his mind as it began to clear “are you getting up or do I have to finish these off on my own?” with that he sat up to look around, time was speeding up almost back to normal he could see the pelts of arrows flowing through the air at the ogre and mamothant increasing in speed as they flew.

Picking himself to his feet gripping the neck of his hound they took off in the direction of the fight, feeling around his body at what was coating his skin he felt the hilt of a blade over his shoulder drawing it out of its sheath inspecting it. It looked to be made of a black steel fused with the white stone of his hounds skin. The crowd cheered as he swung the blade at the first opponent he could, putting out his sword to deflect the attack of the warrior’s sword it shattered sending the warrior flying backwards narrowly missing the pit walls. Looking at the hilt he now had in his hand and back at our fighter he lost all colour in his face. Our fighter charged on to rejoin the bulk of the fighters taking on the larger creatures. Smashing his way through into the bulk of the gathered fighters who had dwindled in their numbers to less than twenty as they stabbed each other in the back in order to gain more ammunition or display their inner desire for bloodletting. Dismounting feeling confident in the fact his armour would deflect the arrows and his sword is strong enough to shatter weapons this could not be easier. A thought that was not to last long as a mamothant charged through the pack sending bodies and creatures high into the air narrowly escaping the blow by the skin of the tusks they avoided a lethal blow. Setting themselves up for a new run and a quickly devised plan to slice the thing open as they pass under its belly with one clean sweep. The charge began with all the strength and speed they could muster the wind felt hard enough to swim through as they progressed. The attack was stopped dead by the ogre who side swiped them using a dead hound as a projectile weapon sending them veering off course, so it could engage the mamothant before the trolls come into play.

The mamothant and ogre tussled back and forth almost evenly matched in strength and power pushing each other back and forth over and over again, all seemed lost to the ogre when during some bad footings it stumbled backwards to only inches aways from the deadly wall spikes. The ogre’s rage began to build as it pushed back with all it could muster to regain some ground, but slowly the mamothant gained ground and traction, the ogres tough skin was the only thing left to be broken by the spike wall. When the ogre grabbed a hold of the mamothants tusks pushing them outwards from its body snapping the skull of the giant beast instantly killing off the advance, the mamothant backing off from the ogre it began to run around the pit wildly screaming as it crashed into all in its path coming to rest after it crashed into a troll and rolled onto it pinning the beast to the floor, where the troll was set upon by fighters whilst still smoking from the smoldering arrows as it squirmed to evade its attackers.

The pit was awash with pools of blood and smoldering dragon spit, an ogre panting almost dead from exhaustion alone, a one toothed catgars, several fighters and warriors and a dragon down but not out we could count the troll but he had taken a seat in the middle of the pit picking arrows from its back and legs flicking them around hardly looking like a creature of danger. The crowd in awe of the action and fights taking place, the sellers had all but sold their wares and now we’re calling for more ale to be brought to the ring side haggling between them for more goods. Masses of food appearing freshly cooked from anyone with an ounce of cooking ability were now being brought to the pit stairs for sale, the smell of sweet and meaty style treats for the hungry drunken crowds could almost make a dead man hungry.

The Nomey’s basking in Fragar’s private booth had their own slaves bringing them wares to eat as they called for more wine and snacks, Fragar was paying after all. Up until the point of his transformation they had run the bet to almost three hundred coin which they could never have, it seems their greed had taken a hold of them. Now too drunk to care thinking all was still going to go their way, brushing off threats of death if they could not pay, almost as if they knew what the outcome would be. Fragar was not a fool and began to have his suspicions about the bet and knowing these two having a knack for winning under lets say uncertain odds, he had placed guards on exits to his viewing platform to prevent any escape.

The fighters had the good sense to put some distance between them and the creatures before setting upon each other, once more the sparks of metal flying from their weapons and armour growing even more frantic as time went on. Our fighter had decided that if he was to end this he would have to put down the creatures first or use them to his advantage to kill off any one he could, convincing his hound to aggravate the ogre into rejoining the fight and kill the troll, out of the two larger of the opponents he would still be the hardest to kill. Dropping off his hounds back to present an easy target throwing bits of corpses and armour at the ogre he lands a blow on the back of its head. With a gong the helm he threw bounces off the crown of his head, the ogre spun to see which of the enemies left was going to pay for annoying him, now laying on the floor our fighter was leaving a straight line of vision to the troll. The troll was still removing arrows from his back the ogre picks up a dead hound and launches it at the troll sending it a few feet backwards in a daze and looking skywards as it now lay on its back, the remaining arrows driving deeper than before, it to was now annoyed, scrambling back to its feet looking for its attacker it began an all be it slow but powerful charge at the nearest target. Not quite the one our fighter had in mind though, as it was the group of fighters plucking one from the floor it tears off one of its victims legs as it dangled him shaking and roaring at him. The other fighters seizing an open chance began to pelt it with all they could delivering deadly blows, as it swung wildly using his victim as a club, smashing the wailing man into others sending them flying in all directions. Still a little more than upset our ogre had not finished with the troll and his supposed attack, it had now torn a large tusk from the mamothant and was heading to join the fight.

The crowds now in awe of the spectacular fight as it progressed roaring and chanting louder with each kill made. were treated to showering of remains when the ogre using his new found weapon pounded the fighters in his way as he was clearing his path to the troll. Striking the troll so hard the ogre Smashed the tusk over the troll’s head the tusk splintered into a thousand pieces, the troll spinning on its feet it’s tongue out dead upon impact. The unforgiving ogre was not done yet feeling its rage still boiling it set upon the fighters and warriors still slicing and beating each other senseless. They all where to get a shock when a shadow was cast over the pit as high in the sky the dragon’s mother was in search of her young, passing back and forth over head, it did not take her long before she was fixated on the young fowl as it lay lifeless on the ground. Passing only a few times over the pit locking on what seemed to be the best point of attack, she unleashed a wide fire stream over the pit drawing a dense line of fire between the remaining fighters and her young dragon.

Landing screeching and roaring at the fighting mob which had frozen in the wake of the dragons opening attack. Time was now a precious thing this dragon could slay all in sight if not dealt with quickly and without delay our fighter called his hound to his side, mounting him and calling the advance heading for the dragon they leapt high into the air and the dragon quickly responding with a wave of fire blasted in their direction. Through the flames they burst, now leaping from his hounds back sword drawn he plunged his new blade deep into the dragon’s neck mid fire strike, rupturing its fire glands now hissing and spitting the deadly fluid contained within them, swinging its head and large neck it ejected our fighter from its neck, landing on the floor looking at his blade as it hissed with the acid etching its way through the rock steaming and smoking as it penetrated deeper. The dragon screaming at the fighters spreads her wings displaying her full size before she took off into the air to avoid being hit again. She did not get far as the ogre had grabbed her legs pulling her back to the ground slamming its body with a crash sending a shockwave through the pit, the dragon not happy with her escape to the skies halted by the ogre, the two of them now began to tussle. The crowd feeling the blows as the shock waves kept coming as the blows were dealt from each creature their bodies sounding like drums as the giants fought. The dragon’s fire spit was ejected over the pit like a fountain as the ogre smashed its large fists into the dragon repeatedly, preventing it from attacking again with its fire. The dragon clawing back and delivering bone shattering kicks with its hind legs, as well as its long horned tail to gain ground to use its fire attack, the fighters circled and dodged the action as these two giants could easily crush a man under foot who was foolish enough to join such a fight.

Our fighter was dodging the blows and spit ejected outward from them as they fought joining the other fighters circling them, taking cover as they all took cover from the epic battle of the beasts as they fought. The dragon finding her opportunity crashed her two large horns from her head into the legs of the ogre, the unmistakable sound of bone shattering as the ogre fell over, holding it’s broken and protruding bone from its leg as it lay in pain upon the floor. The ogre did not have to wait long before the dragon dealt her deathly blow as fire charred the ogre bursting into a fireball until the through the flame all you could see was the blackened remains of the ogre arms still outstretched to protect its face now laying there crisping upon the floor. Prancing and extending its wings in celebration and to ward off any new attackers, the battle for our fighter had taken quite a new turn, the other fighters now buried in hiding spots around the pit not wanting to take part in such a battle with a full grown dragon. Our fighter was not going to lay down his sword so quickly still having a score to settle with the Nomeys for their tactics and a chance for freedom so close, the hound and man stood side by side in front of the dragons display, looking at each other then began to roar and growl to display their intentions to the dragon. The crowd for the first time today was deadly silent no man across the kingdoms had taken on an adult dragon let alone taunt it, they could crush entire cities with pause for concern and they had already wounded her young this dragon also had a score to settle.

The dragon was in no mood to put up with a threat from such a small creature and drawing a large breath it prepared itself to attack, pelting the spot our fighter and his hound stood with a mighty wave of fire. Standing in wait for the attack to subside the armour deflecting the heat of the attack they slowly advanced toward it stepping carefully as if held back by a great windstorm they pushed against the wave of fire. Advancing slowly but surely, knowing the attack was not going to last forever, then their break came as upon its next breath they stormed into action and across the remaining distance, the hound leaping at the dragon clamping its mighty jaws into its arm levering it body onto the dragon’s back clawing and slashing at its wing and neck as the dragon swung wildly to avoid the hound’s jaws and claws, the hound biting chunks out of them where possible, with the dragon’s head distracted our fighter choosing to attack its giant legs trying to take them from under it giving him access to its head and end the fight as quick as possible. The attack went on for five minutes with the dragon hurling balls of fire and while failing to take off as the hound bit and tore at its wings forcing it to land again, the dragon injured and in pain beyond any ones expectations hit the ground with a thud panting spitting and hawking blood and fire acid had began calling for help from its fellow kin. The moment was upon him death was dealt to the dragon in a few short and swift blows to the dragon’s neck below her head severing it from its body which twitched and rolled as the final blows of his blade sealed its fate.

Standing back from their kills looking for a new target to present itself the mood changed from one of shock to of awe, cheers erupted from slow claps and chants that began to fill the air and streets of the city gaining volume as time went on. The generals and warriors appearing from their hiding spots around and amongst the dead creatures smirking at their fortunes, now weighing up an attack to claim glory for themselves to slay a dragon slayer was an ultimate prize. Three of them saw their courage build into a charge attack to our fighter swords drawn and chanting a war cry from their hidey holes. Drawing his sword to his side our fighter locked onto the two approaching him from the front, dropping to his knees to avoid a kill strike from the first offering his blade to the stomach of the first attacker his blade cuts clean through the armour and torso of his attacker falling upon the floor in two pieces, with no time reset himself to receive a new blow the second attacker landed a hammer blow to our fighter knocking him off balance to the ground. Rolling back and forth to avoid several blows, looking for an opportunity to strike back or get away from this onslaught, he did not have to wait long before the hammer became lodged between two horns of the dragon’s head lying beside him. Taking the opportunity for all its value our fighter plunges his blade into the ribs of his attacker, who let go of his hammer rolling to one side before the blade could do too much damage swooping up his previous foes sword. They battled matching each other’s blows counter for counter until the general took a sweeping attack to our fighter legs sending him crashing to the floor once more, our hound now was not about to let this be last of it’s master charging to his aid. Halted by the third man who hailed a spear towards the hound crashing into its side knocking it sideways upon impact, stopping dead in its tracks the hound slowly turned its head growling and snarling at the audacity of a man so devious as to attack an unsuspecting opponent. Kicking up a dust storm it takes off towards its attacker leaping onto him pinning him to the floor tearing off one of his arms after he thought it was a good idea to simply punch the hound in the face as it stood atop of him.

Thinking the target would be too interested in his missing arm the hound heads back to help his master it did not get far before it felt another spear impact its back hitting the soft and tender flesh of its hind quarters, making for a hound with a bad temper. In two giant leaps our hound was stood before its attacker once more with barely a moment to react the fighter stood no chance as the hound gripped him by the head shaking his whole body like a rag doll tearing the head clean off before the hound released it from its mouth sending the head flying off into the crowd where it landed not two feet in front of the Nomeys, mouth and eyes wide open as if about to scream. Our fighter was still dodging blows and returning them with deadly purpose and did not have to wait long before his hound gripped his attacker at the waist crushing it in two bits until the general fell in two pieces upon the floor. The two of them panting from the battle approached each other checking their wounds, while checking for the next cheeky or willing victim to attack them, the fighters and creatures left around the pit did not move instead they either tossed away their weapons or shied away from them. The crowd’s roars and chants could not be contained the most epic battle to ever take place in their lifetimes had just happened before their eyes, you could feel the ground and pit shaking under their feet as they stomped and cheered hailing the pits with flowers and coin.

Broken only by the rising of the Hatch lord to his feet raising his hammer into the air declaring the fight had come to an end city guards began to pour into the pit surrounding the pit plunging blades and weapons into bodies checking the dead as ogres began loading their bodies onto giant carts for transportation to the creature pens to feed the remaining creatures locked within its walls. The baby dragon sprung to life as it was poked by guard spreading its wings and crying out in anger upon seeing its lifeless mother laying on the floor, before it could cause any damage lord Hatch descended hammer stretched out and delivered a knockout blow to the dragon stumbling it landing atop of the guard that had poked it, laughing he ordered his men to clean up the beast and return it to its pen.

The two of them knowing their place dropped their gaze to the floor bowing their heads in respect of their new leader, as our fighter took a knee the armour shattered crumbling back to the ground as rocks and stones, the hound followed his masters show kneeling on both front paws lowering its head to the floor. Hatch placed his hand on our fighters shoulder asking him for his name so he may announce his new champion, begging his lord’s forgiveness he explains he has no name and is currently the property of two beast breeders of a questionable nature. No longer the Hatch lord declared, stepping to our fighters side he announced to the crowds declaring him Tajaar Renly the founder of a new family line of the Hatch’s with the rights and loyalties expressed to the houses of the Hatch clans, we shall bestow you in the light of the gods two morns from this day and on the third you shall be married to my daughter and take your place in the scrolls of the Hatch clans. The crowd began to chant his given name over and over building to cheers as the lord’s musicians began to play as they walked from the pit towards the gates.

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