If you’re new to this story then you can catch up here with the prelude.
This is another short one, I’ve been cutting these down a lot!
Our Story So Far: Rick, Kil and Maron have arrived at the kings Tournament. They have wondered, argued and witnessed vile crimes or tragic accidents. Now they make their way to a large gathering of people to find out the rules of the competition and who they will be fighting.
The rules of the competition would make or break us; they were the difference between life and death. But as Kil once told me, worrying about death is the right mind-set to have if you want to die. The confidence that Kil could display at times was amazing, I could barely contain my nerves.
A large crowd had gathered In front of a moderately sized yet tall wooden stage. We joined the back and waited, more people filled in. Twenty minutes later a short fat man emerged from a staircase underneath the stage. He introduced himself and briefly introduced the tournament, then he went on to the rules.
“THE FIRST RULE OF THIS TOURNAMENT IS THAT WEAPONS ARE NOT ALLOWED” screamed. Brilliant. Practicing with the swords was clunky and difficult, I found it amazing how easily Maron could run rings around us with just a dagger at a much shorter reach.
“THE NEXT RULE IS THAT IF YOUR OPPONNENT SHOUTS ‘I SURENDER’ YOU MUST STOP FIGHTING AT ONCE OR YOU WILL BE ELIMINATED.”
“IF YOU FAIL TO ARRIVE FOR YOUR FIGHT ON TIME, YOU WILL LOSE THE MATCH, IF BOTH OF YOU DON’T ARRIVE YOU WILL BOTH LOSE THE MATCH. THERE ARE TOO MANY CONTESTENTS FOR US TO WORRY ABOUT THE LATECOMMERS”
“THE MATCHUPS AREN’T REVEALED ALL AT ONCE, ONLY TOMORROWS MATCHES WILL BE REVEALED. WE DO NOT HAVE THE SPACE TO BE GIVING OUT EVERY SINGLE MATCHUP AT ONCE. YOU CAN FIND THESE MATCHUPS ON THE BOARDS OVER THERE!” He pointed to his left where there were 8 huge boards next to each other, they previously had sheets over them which had been removed revealing the names.
“THAT IS ALL, USE THE HOURGLASSES HERE IF YOU DON’T HAVE A WAY TO TELL THE TIME AND, GOOD LOOK FIGHTERS.” There weren’t any hourglasses; we just had to hope when the time came they would be there. We never had a way to tell the time in Withwood however it wouldn’t be difficult to ask someone and figure it out.
At the sound of this statement a roaring cheer was sent out amongst all of the contestants, and a flood of people rushed to find their matchups. Even though only tomorrows would be announced people would still need to make sure they didn’t have a match (or did), and the only way to do that was to check every single one. This caused a mess of bodies frantically trying to look for their names on the lists. It was very clear that this aspect of the tournament wasn’t very well planned; it would not be surprising to hear that people died in that crowd.
Once the crowd had dispersed enough the three of us went to look for our names. The boards were huge with big writing so the names were easy to see. While I was checking the third board Maron came up to me to say that she found my name on the 6th board. I was to fight tomorrow at 12, which I was told was immediately after the 11th hourglass ran out.
We spent a long time reading over the list of names, double and triple checking, but we couldn’t find anyone else. I would have the first fight.
It was only until I practiced on Kil that I realised how badly prepared I was. The months of a slave had really taken a toll and caused me to be weak. There was nothing I could do but give it my best shot. I The man I’d fight was a mystery, all I knew was a name: Rollo Gerald and it didn’t give me too much information.
As I slept I couldn’t help but imagine losing in terrible ways. I practiced punching the air above me but it didn’t help at all. Each time I punched fear filled me because even those punches felt weak. It was all I could do not to scream, bury my head in the floor and run away.
We were delusional, just simple ordinary people fighting against monsters. I even started to question if Maron was strong. In this state I fell asleep.
Practice fighting with Kil was not difficult anymore; Maron was a different story. She was brilliant and had the advantage that I hated to punch her. Even when I tried to hit her she always found a way to doge, weave round you and attack with a new move I wasn’t expecting. The only thing she’d told me was to step into punches because going in at a closer distance would reduce their impact.
Something Maron had also mastered was punching without being punched. She was able to step in for a punch and step out before I could retaliate and then go back in for another. It was the most annoying style to fight and I really wanted to be able to replicate the technique.
We spent the rest of the morning checking every single board for our names. We still didn’t find any so we assumed that they wouldn’t take place. Perhaps this was the tournament’s first way of eliminating people, hiding the dates of when you fight so that more people miss out. Once we’d checked all I had to do was go to fighting arena 40 in just a few minutes and win.
Thank you for reading chapter 11 of this story! Next chapter is the first fight, how will Rick fare in this new dark world he’s stepped into?