“Will you hurry up!” exclaimed Thoc as he strode several paces ahead of me. “I wanna be there early!”
“Thoc…” I said with a yawn. “I am certain The Bane will not fill up by the time we get there. Besides, we arrive hours before anyone else.”
This was one of our usual habits, and since the day was quite pleasant and we had a day to ourselves we took the opportunity. Every so often Thoc and I would head out to The Bane, to see the warriors battle amongst themselves while we observed. It was an entertaining activity that I would normally be more than willing to participate in… however I had training with Garfas the night prior, so Thoc was forced to (literally) pull me out of bed. I was doing my best to keep my eyes open, however that was proving to be difficult.
“So who is fighting today?” I asked trying to get my mind active.
“Today’s gonna be exciting!” Cheered Thoc. “First up is the Rend brothers against Kahla and Muri.”
“Rend brothers will die,” I murmured. “Kahla will carry the fight and Muri isn’t one to let the loser live.”
Thoc simply looked at me with a deadpan expression. “Let’s leave the deductions until we actually see the fight.”
“Well if you compare previous challenges, you can clearly see that the Rend brothers are inferior.”
“Well you never know!” rebutted Thoc. “Time’s passed since their last fight, they could be better for all we—”
“…anyway,” Continued Thoc. “Next up is Maul from the Gnawer warband.”
“Ah, so Maul is back,” I mussed. “Who’s he up against?”
“Dunno, for some reason the details have been kept secret.”
“Interesting…” I scratched the back of my neck as I pondered. “Well whoever it is, I feel sorry for the poor idiot. Never heard of Maul losing a battle and never heard anyone survive from one either…”
After a while, Thoc and I finally made it to The Bane. As expected we were the first ones to arrive, however that was better for me. At least I had an hour or two of relaxation before the crowds would start with their thunderous roars. I drew my wooden staff out of the holder on my back sat down once Thoc and I found the seats that would give us the best view. I planted my staff into the ground and made sure it would stay stationary with a spell, then I leaned on it and decided to rest for a bit… until that rest was interrupted shortly after.
“Garfas?” Said Thoc. “what are you doing here?”
My eyes shot open. I was instantly met with a large white mass, clad in dark plate armor. As I looked up I found a pair of amber yellow eyes staring down at me.
“Looks like someone’s still tired from last night.” Said Garfas with his usual smug grin. “How’s the morning treating you, cub?”
I rubbed my eyes to make sure it was not just my fatigue playing tricks on me. No, what I was seeing was definitely real.
“Well it treats me well, aside from the bruises you left on my sides.” I gave Garfas a toothy smile that clearly stated that I had still not forgiven him from yesterday’s mishaps during training.
“Well it’s not my fault.” Said the white charr crossing his arms and adding a pout. “You didn’t parry like I told you to and I still apologized. Besides its training, welts and bruises are expected!”
“Your words speak infinite wisdom, Garfas.” I said sarcastically. “Now if only you could weave them into something that will help me wake up.”
I felt a large palm land on my head and ruffle my hair, now it was even more disheveled than it already was.
“Thoc I haven’t known Anavari as long as you have, does he always whine this much?”
I removed my staff from the floor and jabbed Garfas on the shoulder with it.
“Only with people he’s comfortable with,” Chuckled Thoc. “It’s a good sign, It means he likes you.”
Now it was Thoc’s turn to get jabbed with my staff.
“Do not talk about me as if I were absent,” I said with a yawn.
“Just playing, cub.” Said Garfas sitting by my side. I did not even bother trying to tell Garfas to not call me “cub”, I was still trying to fully regain my consciousness.
“You still haven’t answered my question,” prodded Thoc. “Anavari and I have never seen you around here before.”
“You two come here often?” Asked Garfas tilting his head.
“About once a week,” I answered. “We sit here and watch the fighting.”
“Didn’t take you for someone that liked that kind of stuff,” Said Garfas. “Isn’t it… I dunno, a little too crude for your taste?”
I turned to Garfas as my ears perked up. I did not expect him to say something like that, of course Garfas and I have spent a substancial amount of time together. Our conversations did indeed include our interests, but I never expected Garfas to actually listen to what I like. I simply assumed he just nodded because he was being polite.
“W-Well there are some things I like about it…” I said. “Besides, Thoc and I watch them a bit differently compared to other people…”
“Well this I gotta see.” So Garfas decided to watch the fighting with us. I noticed that Thoc still had his question unanswered and he wanted to pry, however I made no effort to bring it back up. As far as I was concerned, Garfas seemed like the type of person to enjoy watching a common brawl in The Bane. After about another hour the area began to flood with an overwhelming horde of charr. Normally I would be uncomfortable in such a setting, but Thoc and Garfas’ presence helped ease my nerves.
Now that I thought about it, this was the first activity in which both Thoc and Garfas were a part of. We all worked well enough in our warband duties but I wondered if the two would get along in a casual setting. I could tell just by looking at Thoc’s face that he was not in love with the idea of a new member in our usual group. I did not blame him, it had been just him and I for years.
“Looks like it’s starting.” Said Garfas pointing at the arena. I shifted my gaze to the two groups of charr that were entering.
In that instant, both Thoc and I reached into our packs and extracted a set of binoculars. Peering into my own I confirmed the two teams.
“Just as you said,” I glanced over to Thoc. “The Rend brothers against Kahla and Muri”
“Am I ever wrong?”
“They’re still going to die,” I mussed going back into my binoculars.
“Want to make a bet?” Asked Thoc.
“Thirty silver and the loser also buys tomorrows lunch.” I said as I continued examining both teams. “My money is on Kahla and Muri’s group winning.”
“Fine,” Challenged Thoc. “Then my money is on the Rend brothers!”
“Victory shall be delicious,” I said. “About as delicious as a nice juicy steak.”
“Or as the most expensive item the cook has on the menu.”
“The Rend brothers are going to die,” Chimed in Garfas. For a brief moment we had completely forgotten that he was with us. We turned to face him and he looked at us with a curious glance. “Well it’s true. I know how it’ll happen too.”
I did not question his reasoning, it was in favor of my prediction after all. Thoc however…
“What makes you think that?”
“Well I know for a fact that the Rend brothers have been training pretty hard.” Pointed out the white charr.
“Wouldn’t that mean they have even more of a chance of winning?” deadpanned the brown charr.
“It would… if they had been skilled enough to surpass Muri. Everyone knows not to piss off Muri, she’s going to kill both of them single-handedly.”
Now it was my turn to be curious.
“How will that happen?” I asked.
“Well you see,” explained Garfas. “They’re going to group up on the weaker one ,Kahla, what they don’t know is that she’s like a younger sister to Muri. And since the Rend brothers are idiots, they won’t know that as soon as Kahla dies, Muri will go into a bloodthirsty frenzy. So the only way I see this ending is with the Rend brothers’ innards thrown across the arena… I guess that’s expected from blood legion though.”
A wide smirk spread across my face.
“I could not have said it better myself.” I sad as I glanced at the look of disbelief in Thoc’s face.
The battle had started. Admittedly it was a bit slow in the beginning, it was only the two groups circling each other while one waited for the other to make a move.
“Now?” Asked Thoc nudging my shoulder. I could notice Garfas giving us another curious glance.
“Now.” I confirmed. We reached into our packs again and extracted small notepads that we immediately began to write into. We analyzed every warrior currently fighting and wrote down our observations.
“What…”blinked Garfas. “What are you two doing?”
“Analyzing,” I answered. “Thoc and I do not simply watch and cheer. We assess the situation and try to predict the outcome based on our observations.”
“So you’re…looking for weaknesses?”
I paused for a moment as I considered my answer. “I suppose you can say that, yes.”
“That sounds like ash legion tactics if you ask me,” said the white charr crossing his arms.
“So?” I asked glancing at Garfas with a smile. “Is not the point about being iron legion to always find better ways of defeating the enemy?”
“True…” Garfas still sounded a bit skeptical, but it was expected.
“It’s a lot more useful than you would expect,” I said. “I learned something interesting about the next fight as well.”
Garfas seemed interested in this sliver of information, he drew closer to me and pointed his ear to me.
“I would not be too hasty to bet on Maul for today’s match,” I whispered into his ear. “I managed to catch a glimpse of him yesterday. I saw an ever so slight limp, and I’m pretty sure his scowl is not because he is usually grumpy. He is going to be much slower today.”
“Hm…” Garfas seemed lost in thought, I left him to his thoughts and returned my gaze to the fight. However as soon as I turned I heard the thunderous roar of the audience cheering. There I saw the exact scenery that Garfas had described. Kahla was dead, and pieces of the Rend brothers were all over the arena while Muri was caked in blood that was not hers.
“Huh,” I said glancing at the look of disbelief on Thoc’s face. “Looks like you owe me thirty silver and lunch.” I simply received an irritated snort in response. I laughed, but I immediately stopped once I felt a large white palm land on my head and ruffle my hair once again.
“Thanks for the tip, cub.” Said Garfas as he stood up and started making his way out of the arena.
“G-Garfas?” I called out. “Where are you going?” It seemed that he did not hear me over the crowd and quickly disappeared in the multitude.
What did he mean by “Thanks for the tip”? My mind began to wonder to several possibilities. I heeded little attention once the arena was cleared out and Maul came in, I was not paying much attention when Thoc wanted to point out the slight limp I noticed yesterday… however the arena had my full undivided attention once I saw a large white charr in dark plate armor enter the arena.
“GARFAS?!” I shouted and ran over to the railing on that prevented people from falling in.
“Garfas is fighting Maul?!” Exclaimed Thoc as he joined my side.
“No…” I said in disbelief while shaking my head. “This can’t be, Garfas can’t fight Maul he’ll get ripped to shreds!”
“Anavari, calm down.” Said Thoc placing his hand on my shoulder, but I immediately shoot it off.
“How can I be calm when Garfas is about to die?!” I roared. Suddenly the fight started and my insides felt as cold as Ice. I could see Garfas draw out a massive sword and charge at Maul, while Maul had a large hammer ready. My eyes began to race around both charr trying to predict the outcome, however that was thrown to the wind as soon as I began to roar out like the rest of the crowd.
“The left side!” I shouted. “Flank the left side!” I did not care that Thoc was staring at me with his mouth agape, all I cared about at that moment was that Garfas would stay alive so I could kill him after the match.
Garfas was drawing closer, I could tell that this fight was going to end in one strike. Either Garfas was going to hack away at Maul, or he would get his skull crushed by a hammer. I could feel myself losing control of my own emotions, small wisps of black energy began to escape my palms as I held on to the railing as tight as I could. Both charr were now mere inches from each other… and they attacked.
I turned away my gaze for that slit second. I could hear the eerie silence take over The Bane… or was that just my head deciding to block out all the noise. I could hear my own breathing, as I slowly turned back to the arena. I moved my hands to my eyes as I tried to delay what I most feared for as long as possible. Then I saw it.
Garfas stood over the dead body of Maul, who had his crippled leg severed off and a sword buried deep in his skull.
“He won…” I said as my legs gave in and I used the railing to support myself.
“Easy there, Anavari.” Said Thoc as he helped me stand back up. “Everything turned out alright. See? Garfas doesn’t even have a scratch on him!”
I glanced down at the white charr as the crowd cheered at him. He raised his arms in victory as he stood over the dead body of his opponent. My eyes narrowed.
“He’ll have much more than a scratch once I’m done with him!” I said as I shoved Thoc aside and stormed out of The Bane with my staff in my hands. It was a good thing that Thoc knew better than to try and stop me in this state.
I wasted no time and took the elevator to the lower levels of the citadel. As I reached the entrance to the arena I could see Garfas strolling out with his smug face. I took my staff in both hands and pulled them back. Garfas saw me approaching and waved at me.
“Hey, cub! Come to congratulate me?” He said.
“DON’T CALL ME CUB!” I said as I brought up the head of my staff and struck the stupid white charr on his chin, causing him to stumble back. He was on the floor now, looking up at me with a surprised look on his face. I was livid. I stood over him with a murderous stare as I breathed heavily. “You idiot!”
Garfas still did not move, which was odd. Normally by now he would have fought back, yet he still bore the same expression of shock and surprise.
“What were you thinking going out and challenging Maul of all people?! Had it not been for his injury you would have died, and then what would I do?! How do you think I would have felt to see you die right in front of me?”
Garfas continued to stare at me as he tilted his head.
“You were worried about me?” He asked with a grin.
My eyes widened before striking him over the head one more time. Now he was rubbing the large lump that had appeared on his cap.
“I’m really tired right now so I’m going to go get some sleep. I’m not done yelling at you! So you’re going to join Thoc and I for lunch tomorrow so I can continue!” With that I stormed out of the area leaving Garfas on the floor and daring to look back at him.
“See you later, cub!” I heard his cheerful voice from behind me and it caused me to wince.
“Blasted oaf!” I murmured under my breath.
Edited by Jalinar