Friday, 25 March 2011

Their Fated Travels...Chapter 30 - The Fighting Pit Round One

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Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Robert James Freemantle

Chapter 30
The Fighting Pit
Round One

The arena the contestents were battling in was a simple circular pit dug out into the earth. The mud floor and walls were hardened solid. Some straw and sawdust lined down there. After bouts if there had been a reasonably large amount of blood or “meat” left behind, it was easier to sweep it up. Then new layering was scattered on the ground before the next fight.
   The spectators were in a viewing position behind a medium height metal runged barricade. It wasn’t tall enough to stop somebody from actually climbing over and into the room. It just served as a reminder, a suggestion to not do it. Several heavily armoured guards who looked as mean as could be stood dotted about the crowd and on the opposite side of the barrier too. Furthermore, a particularly anti-social looking messy bearded dwarf sat cross legged on a high platform nearby, with a rifle in his hand. While fights would take place, he would often sight spectators up, his tongue poking out in concentration of his target finding - almost willing them to step out of line and interfere with a bout. Nobody did.

   The rules for the illegal tournament were simple: Two competetors fight until one is either killed, rendered unconscious and unresponsive to the referee or submits verbally or by way of “tapping out” with their hand. Any weapon is permitted and anything goes. No holds barred.
   The final element to it was the owner of the arena, a long wild haired kooky wizard. He wore robes but they were of no distinctive order. They were more personalized for comfort and fashion. He held in his hand a trumpet looking device connected to a lever. Inside the machine several wheels and pivots interacted with spindles that spun in response. However, the spindles did not weave fibers into thread like one might find in sewing. These spindles spun sound about them and amplified it through the listening end of the strange contraption. Maestro stared at the machine in envy. This was the kind of thing he wished he had invented. An engineered device that was completely original in concept and enhanced by magic. He ached to have hold of it in his hands, so that he might tinker with it.
   The wizard owner of the device would use it by pointing it at a competitor’s left side of the chest and listening. The amplified device would register if a heartbeat was present or not. The audible sound came out quite loud, to Maestro’s surprise.
   This was a truly effecient fighting ring, they observed.

   The competitors came out through a portcullis set off to one side and through a passage that led down into the pit. Once inside, a heavy sliding barrier would be pulled across blocking the way back out.

   First out to fight, funnily enough was Tordrad. The Kislev warrior wore his full armour and brought his great axe with him.
   Maestro’s spluttered at seeing this, realising only now that Tordrad might actually be in danger. If Tordrad died here, what might happen to him? How would he get out? These people in this place were big, brawny and smelly. He commented nervously to Rissandrea, “It looks like they’re trying to kill us off early!”
   The woman turned her head in disgust at this idea. She very much disliked the fact that the others were doing this. Maestro was only making things worse.
   Tordrad’s opponent was then announced: Frederick Wilwart...
   As Tobias heard this from his position in the backrooms he commented, “Wait a minute, did he just say Frederick?”
   Dieter looked at Tobias and replied, “Oh no, not another halfling short arse.”
   Tobias stared in bewilderment, “I didn’t even know my brother was still alive!”
   Dieter commented, “And you always try to dissuade me from saying that you must all know each other, telling me it’s racsist to speak like that. Then what do you go and do but help inforce it?”
   Tobias shook his head in disbelief, “I hope Tordrad doesn’t kill him. I want to talk to him. I need to find out what he did next...I need to...”
   Dieter replied with his usual dark sarcasm, “Oh don’t worry, whatever ails him after this match even death, a couple of pies shoved into his face and he’ll be back to sorts.”
   “Is that your medical opinion, doctor?”
   Dieter replied, “Yeah, why not?”
   Frederick was dressed in the dark colours that Tobias tended to favour in his night time mode. Then he drew two daggers and rushed towards Tordrad. His natural swipe was at Tordrad’s leg level as the blades scratched against the armour doing no damage to the man underneath. Tordrad really hadn’t taken his foes speed into account and he was surprised to find him upon him so fast.
   Tordrad wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice as he quickly stepped forwards to close the gap as the halfling tried to pull back. The kislev man went on the offensive, swinging his axe at the halfling in a blaze of multiple strikes. The metal end of the weapon caught the light of the torches many times and at times made it look like he was wielding a firey weapon.
   The halfling dodged many of the attacks, his speed and agility were great, but Tordrad was too expertly martial. His axe began raking the halfling, tearing through his chest and cutting his arm quite badly. Blood violently ran from the wound as he tried his best to pull away.
   Frederick pulled a throwing dagger free from his belt with his good arm he threw it at Tordrad’s face.
   Tordrad watched in surprise as it almost struck him directly. He moved a little at the last moment as it trailed past, scratching a great trail through his cheek. The Kislev warrior had not thought to bring his helmet with him. This wound would definitely scar, it was that bad. All of this though, only served to make the man angry as he charged Frederick with a great battle cry that nearly deafened those closest to the ring. As he connected, he swung the axe at the halfling but instead of going in blade first, he swung the flat of it. It connected with his smaller opponent, impacting head on and knocked him backwards against the built up wall of the ring. There he struck his head against the hard mud and fell forwards, unmoving after hitting the ground.
   Tordrad had pulled his killing blow. He didn’t want to have to kill people if not required. He simply then looked to an official to hint that they should check on the man’s status. Somebody did just that, inspecting his condition. Frederick was declared as unconscious.
   Tordrad was the victor.
   Maestro was another step closer to collecting large winnings. He had bet a good deal on his bodyguard to win the whole tournament contest.

   Next out to fight was a local wannabe, a Nuln man trying to make a name for himself, impress his friends and improve his social standing.
  As his opponent was brought out to the ring, a repeating wave of controversial gasps went up through the crowd. A blonde haired dwarf slave had been tied to a large wooden flat upright platform on wheels, and was being pushed out to the ring while he he made no effort to struggle against his restraints. He barely looked conscious in fact and not in the best of health.
   His handlers were a shady group of cloaked ne’r do wells if ever there was.
   It was clear that the dwarf was their slave, their property.
   Rissandrea noticed that the dwarf’s skin looked far paler than it ought to and he was sweating unnaturally too. She figured that he must have been under the effects of some toxin or drug. Either currently or in withdrawal from it.
   The handlers then surprised the audience a second time as one of them drew a dagger and slashed at the dwarf’s exposed arm, because of the torn shirt he wore. He wore very little in the way of clothing, only this and some torn trousers, that looked more like shorts. He wore nothing on his feet and had no armour.
   “Incredible” said Maestro, “He’s taking damage before the battle has begun.”
   Rissandrea winced and left the wizard’s side to see what help she could offer to Frederick out back. Gaining access to him now he had been eliminated wasn’t very hard – and being a member of the shallyan order gave her easier pass.
   One of the handlers then produced a pallete of strangely bright red and yellow coloured paste then with a spatula smeared it onto the wound! The paste was a compound of crushed mad cap mushrooms!
   The dwarf’s eyes suddenly snapped open, blood red in appearance, almost like that of a goblin.
   The handlers untied most of his restraints but before they could remove the last of them, the dwarf snapped through them on his own. The handlers began running as fast as they could behind the dwarf.
   The slave dwarf began screaming in frustration and went for one of the handlers. Someone within the security section managed to pull him up out of the ring. The dwarf’s head suddenly snapped around towards his opponent and he pulled two large stone battlehammers out from the wide and thick leather toolbelt he wore on his waist. He charged the shocked man like a rampaging bull, his hammers swinging at lightning speed.
   The Nuln man made a futile attempt to parry with his sword as one hammer struck him at the weapon and crashed against his arm on the follow through. The other hammer followed up hard into the man’s chest. Then two more shots did the man suffer. His ribs had broken and punctured inwards into his lung. Various other sources of damage had come about as he dropped his weapon. However, the man did not have the sense of mind to submit as the mad dwarf then grabbed him by his protruding rib, pulling him straight towards him before headbutting him with a force like an Ogre’s club. The sickening crunch sound made many in the audience jeer, cheer or go a bit off colour. He then bit a lump out of the man’s face and spat it back at him.
   It was clear to see the man was dead now and the dwarf simply wouldn’t let up. He kept striking the man so that he remained standing. His body couldn’t fall from the force of the upward blows.
   The officials decided to give up on trying to retrieve the man’s body just yet and instead concentrated on moving the audience back, especially when the dwarf became bored of the corpse that didn’t fight back and walked around the edge of the pit looking for his next victim.
   The winner was announced as Grimdal DalDuraz.
   Eventually the dwarf’s energy was spent and the high effects of the drug wore off. He fell to the floor again, his malnourished body unable to support his newly elevated state of being for too long.

   The next bout was announced as a competitor who hailed from the moot. A supposed scholar who had taken up arms to compete in this competition. Tobias Wilwart.
   Out came Tobias, wielding a dagger and dressed in his skaven looted black leather armour.
   His opponent was announced. It was a master wizard, Maestro could tell, one who appeared to be conjuring the lore of shadows about him, the grey wind of ulgu.
   Maestro observed that this would be a contest of magic versus an individual highly trained in anti magic. But would that be enough he wondered?

   Tobias dashed towards the wizard, moving from side to side in a zig-zag pattern. All of this movement did not protect him from stepping into a shadow caused by an overhanging beam however...As soon as the halfling’s foot entered the darkened spot he froze to the spot, restricted.
   The wizard smiled and cast a second spell, the first hadn’t even been noticed! This spell made the halfling’s feet begin to smoke and then flame tore up around it, catching the great tufts of hair present on fire.
   With great willpower, the currently rogue minded Tobias managed to tear himself free of the effect but all he could do was hop about in pain even after the flames had been put out. Standing still was difficult for him.
   While the halfling nursed his poor foot with one hand, the wizard prepared another spell by channelling.
   At that moment, Tobias tore into a sprint taking the magister Taros by surprise. Just as he reached the grey wizard it was clear that he had a garrote string in his hands! He had used the moment of nursing his foot to discreetly draw this weapon.
   The sudden appearance of the halfling at great speed left Taros dumbfounded and then Tobias kicked the man squarely between the legs. A low blow that made the audience wince in pain at the thought of it. The wizard screamed his reaction and bent over holding himself in response.
   Tobias ran the garrote around the man’s neck and pulled quickly, a tight hold that made Taros let go of his aching groin and forced him to attempt to tug against being strangled. Blood was already beginning to drip from where the wire made contact with the wizard’s skin.
   Taros couldn’t break free of the garrote. The halfling’s grip was too focused and the human was bent over so couldn’t put his full strength into the counter to push the halfling off.
   Suddenly the wizard disappeared in a puff of smoke, re-appearing on the other side of the ring, trails of smoke leading from where he stood before to where he now stood. Tobias coughed and hacked at the offensive magical taste it left in his mouth. He then wondered how he recognised the test of magic but dropped that thought as Taros once again cast a spell.
   Tobias was doing well to keep away from the areas of shadow around him, however with this spell, the shadows would not wait for him to come to them. The shadows moved in on him from all sides. He saw this and jumped to get over them, but where he landed, only shadows awaited him. They travelled up his body and constricted him about the neck, choking him. The halfling was now having a taste of his own medicine!
   Tobias could not break free. Everything he tried he failed. He tried to take his sling out of his pocket but the binding darkness kept his arm firmly at his side.
   Very soon the halfling became drowzy on his feet and then dropped to the ground. Soon after this the wizard let the shadows recede back to their natural placements as Tobias was declared unconscious.
   Dieter couldn’t help but snigger at the situation. He made no attempt to hide the fact that he hated the moot born team mate.

   The next match saw a convict fighting to win his bail money for release up against a slave who fought desperately with a sword he didn’t seem to be able to use properly. The slave had a hunched back and soon the cause of this was seen. One of the attacks from the convinct had ripped his shirt and exposed something strange growing from the slave’s back. A mutation! This man was a mutant. A pulsing organ could be seen there.
   The audience murmoured disapprovingly. Surely a mutant couldn’t be allowed to live? How was he even being allowed to compete? But then it had to be remembered, this was an illegal tournament.
   The slave somehow managed to get a lucky shot in, striking the convinct to the belly and slicing him open. He submitted and screamed for medical attention. This got the crowd cheering again, at least. But as the mutant was led away, he left to the sound of booing and jeering. The audience were beginning to relax again though and were enjoying the bouts.
   Next up was a sewer jack who had made dirty dealings with the skaven he had encountered. He came out victorious against a Nuln man who fancied his chances as a big shot. The jack was also the bookies favourite for taking the entire tournament prize away with him tonight. The man was unable to stand up to the sewer jack’s crossbow bolt shots and cried for a healer after two impails of his body.

   Next out was a captured doombull! Somehow, a hero minataur had managed to get captured by humans and was now being led by the ring through its nose. It had been somewhat sufficiently drugged to keep it under control.
   His opponent was a professional ring fighter. The doombull had charged and picked the man up over his head and charged him across the ring, into the opposite wall. He was stunned long enough to be unable to defend himself as the doombull began eating the man alive. This made some of the audience vomit in response.

   Another local fighter had attended the tournament and he fought against a noble. No ordinary noble at that, but a cousin to the Countess Emmanuelle. The noble managed to disarm his foe using his rapier against the other man’s shortsword. He held the rapier’s end to the man’s throat and offered him a way out. The local man greatfully accepted it, submitting the bout.

   Next was a Stirland mercenary. He had been passing through the city and heard about the tournament. His opponent was announced: Dieter De’ath!
  Before he even stepped out into the ring, Dieter cast a magical armour about himself and then conjured a new spell. A purple and black magical scythe, the like of which Gabrielle had previously used appeared in Dieter’s hand. He was unused to casting this new spell, a spell he had been given access to thanks to his other’s consumption of an amethyst wizard recently – and as such there was a minor magical backlash too, lessening down his own winds of magic.
   Dieter was wearing his longer coat, and a frilled shirt that came up high about his neck to cover his burns.
   Dieter took his jacket off and stepped on it. His shoe broke the glass container of medicinal alcohol he kept inside it. He then called for the man to attack who did just that.
   The merc charged forward with a maddened glee in his eyes. Dieter managed to duck under the attack and put his now slightly flaming spell hand on the jacket, setting it alight. He spun and slashed the man with the magically summoned scythe. The stirland man touched his hand to the wound and tasted it, with a look of satisfaction on his face. The man slashed at Dieter and just caught his arm as he pulled away. Dieter too smiled at the pain he felt. He considered that together they were sharing something beautiful.
   Dieter gripped the man by the wrist and focused the magical flame from the palm of his own hand to burn the mercenary’s skin. He tried to let go and strained with his might against the trainee doctor, but Dieter would not let go. His grip was for some reason impossibley strong.
   The merc headbutted Dieter, forehead to upper nose bridge. This dazed Dieter but still he did not let the man’s wrist go!
   Then, he suddenly did let the man go. Instead, he dropped his jacket to the floor in front of the man, with the bottle’s contents spilling out further into the slightly smouldering jacket.
   Dieter channeled his magical energy to focus the scythe powerfully and brought the summoned weapon down upon the jacket on the ground, making sure he struck it on one of its rather large metal buttons. This caused a spark which caused an explosion.
   The bottle that had been kept in the jacket had had oil and gunpowder added to their mixture. Dieter ran away quickly as the exposion under the man’s feet caught him in a shroud of flame. His charred body struck the ground suddenly and violently.
   Dieter had somehow gotten away unscathed as the victor. The man was unable to survive his major burns. Even some of the audience had suffered some heat across their skin and a few embers of staying whisps of flaming material that made their way outwards.
   Dieter cheered his own victory in front of a stunned crowd. Within moments they chorused him with cheers of their own. It seemed that he had won them over as a crowd favourite. Not only that, but he was through to the next round!