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1 Votes - 5 Average   Bread and Circuses pt2: The First Game.
Author MessageBread and Circuses pt2: The First Game.
Dînadan
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Bread and Circuses pt2: The First Game.Dînadan 10-21-2014

A continuation of my previous story Bread and Circuses pt1: The Father's Quarter Begins




Bardek lounged back in his seat watching as a group of slaves hurried out to clear away the ashen remains from the centre of the arena, undoubtably collected for use as components is some sorcerous ritual or another or even bartered away to the human savages that eek end out a living in the northern wastes as talismans or charms.  He took a sip of his tankard and pulled a face, finding it empty.  Yelling curses he called over a slave to refill it.  As the wretch did so, he studied her, and his lips curled with disgust.  The human, a descendant of slaves taken from Cathay long ago was thin and ragged; her shoulders were hunched and she dared not lift her head for fear of the lash.  Even so, he caught a glimpse of her eyes, empty dead things, less alert than even tamed herd beasts.  Bardek was offended by how easily she was bent to the will of her dwarfen masters; no Dawi Zharr would tolerate such abasements; even their faithless kin from the Worlds Edge Mountains would not submit so.

Snatching the amphora she bore from her hands, he waved her away and turned back to the arena waiting for the first match to begin.  Presently, the iron portcullis to the east ground open and a large troll was herded out by a gaggle of hobgoblins.  The foul creature stood five time the height of a dwarf and it's hide was covered in brownish green scales.  What was most peculiar however was that it appeared to be a mutant; proportionally it seemed squatter hand most trolls, being broad of shoulder and hip and it's head was subsumed by its body; beady eyes atop, crowned by long curved horns, and an immense tusk-filled mouth that took up most of its torso; in contrast it limbs were long and gangly, ending in oversized hands and feet.  Overall it put him in mind of a Pink Horror; undoubtably it had been birthed by some amusement of the trickster god.

"I wonder if you cut it down it'll spring back up split in two an' turn blue?" jested Nâzkuk, spotting the resemblance too.

"I hope not," spat Dor'rek, "I worked in Cousin Valzek's Helforge a century back.  He tried binding horrors an' they got loose.  Took us five years to shift the buggers.  An' I'm still not convinced me got them all."  The friends laughed at the whitebeard's outlandish tale.

"What 'ave they go' ta fight it?  Tha's wha' I wanna know," spat Krovnar, scratching at the iron nails hammered into his forehead that gave him his Ironbrow moniker (and accounted for his crude speech patterns thought Bardek).  "Mah money's onna Ogre."

"Maybe it's another troll," grinned Nâzkuk, "But one in the shape of another daemon."

"Why not just get an actual daemon?" spat Dor'rek "Would save on clean up afterwards."

Bardek stayed silent, watching as the western portcullis rose, but was distracted as the crowd erupted in cheers and laughter.  One of the hobgoblins had gotten too close and had been plucked up by the troll.  The abomination swung the greenskin about, dashing it's brains on the ground before tossing it into its mouth and biting down with a sickening crunch that reached Bardek halfway up the arena seating.  The other hobgoblins scattered and scurried back into the dark tunnel they'd dragged the troll from.  The troll looked around, misshapen eyes blinking as it surveyed the area it was in, sniffing the air and grunting and growling in frustration.

Bardek looked over at the opposing entrance, wondering where its opponent was.  Cautiously, a squat shape edged from the shadows, taking everything it saw in with the stoic gaze that could only belong to a dwarf.  All around there were gasps and confused mutterings, which swiftly turned into laughs and jeers as the realised what it was.  The dwarf worn nought but rough-spun britches and heavy iron manacles around his wrists and ankles.  His beard was short, a mere few inches long, but from the way he stalked, sticking to the edge of the arena it was clear he was no beardling; even from this distance, Bardek could see the beard was filthy and stained red with blood.  Curiously, his head was bare save for a strip running from front to back which was also blood-stained and from the rawness of the scalp and the many nicks and cuts Bardek surmised that the dwarf had shaved his own head with whatever sharp objects he'd been able to get his hands on.

"A Trollslayer?" ruminated Dor'rek mournfully, "Suppose that's apt."

Bardek nodded.  He'd never seen a Trollslayer before, but he had heard tell of them in hearth side stories as a zharrling and camp fire tales as a warrior grown.  Truth be told, he was disappointed by what he saw, how could this sorry specimen be one of that forsaken brotherhood?  As he stared at the self inflicted wounds he realised this wasn't a true slayer.  He guessed that it was a regular dwarf, taken as the spoils of war after some recent raid of the westlands; one of the few similarities the Dawi Zharr shared with their honour less kin was an inability to self terminate, to both races being captured by such a hated foe and subjugated by them was a great shame, an almost unerasable blot on their honour; even those dams abducted to serve as concubines for the wealthy Dawi Zharr had to be chained up or regularly drugged to keep them under control long enough for the deed to be done and at the birth of any ensuing progeny.  Driven mad by his captivity the dwarf had clearly sworn an oath to his vile gods and taken the mantle upon himself, making up for the lack of the proper rituals by conducting them himself.  He was no true slayer, but that would not disused him from trying to expunge his lost honour by following that path in hope that Grimnir would forgive him and bestow upon him the reward of the slayer.

The troll caught his scent and turned in his direction.  Letting out a deafening roar it lollopped  towards him, the chains still bound to its arms flailing around.  The dwarf dropped to a low crouch, waiting for the right moment.  The troll swiftly closed on him despite its ungainly stride, and still the slayer waited.  The troll roared again and lashed out a few yards away from him, confident that its stretched limbs could reach, but at the last moment the slayer took a single step back and the blow missed by a hair, or rather hit by a hair, for it clipped a single strand from his beard (not that Bardek or his friends could see that detail from where they sat).  But more unexpectantly the chains on that arm lashed out, wrapping around the pillar the dwarf had been lurking near, jerking that arm to a stop.  That was why the blow had been short, and the troll had been too stupid to see it coming.

The dwarf darted in, inside the creature's reach, swinging his axe and biting deep into the troll's flank.  The troll howled with pain and frustration as the dwarf rolled aside.  It twisted trying to keep the dwarf in view and swung its free arm trying to grasp him, but he'd already skipped back out of reach.  Roaring again it tried to run after him and fell flat on its face, tripped up by the chains tying it to the pillar.  The dwarf saw his chance and rushed in, putting his full strength into an over arm swing aimed at the back of its skull hoping that it would be  a death blow or at least lasting, unlike the first wounds inflicted which had already knit together.  The axe bit deep and wedged in its skull, leaving the dwarf straining to dislodge it.

Spluttering in the dirt, the troll reached up, plucking the dwarf and tossing him halfway across the arena.  Laughter echoed all across the amphitheatre at such a humiliating sight.  As he bounced and skidded across the ground the troll twisted and turned, clambering to its feet, pulling on the chains trying to break them.  Roaring in frustration it hawked and gagged, vomiting over the chains with acidic bile, gave them one more tug, severing the links an turned to face the dwarf who by this point had skidded to a halt, sprang to his feet and was sprinting back across the arena, axe raised high.  Dimly the troll studied the chains hanging from it's other hand and a moronic grin spread across its face.  While the dwarf was still a dozen yards away, it lashed out, striking him in the face with the chains, spinning him around and knocking him to the ground.

The troll bounded forwards, pouncing on its opponent in one leap, but as it's clawed feet touched the ground the dwarf rolled aside between its legs and in one swift motion brought the axe up that made every male in the stands wince and cross their legs in sympathy. The troll howled in pain, falling flat on its face once more and yanking the axe from the dwarf's grasp.  The dwarf backed off, glancing from side to side for a new weapon, not wanting to risk darting back in to retrieve his axe and getting thrown across the arena again.

As the troll finally clambered to its feet, the slayer gave up on finding a weapon and ran over to the pillar he'd used to trick the troll and leapt up, grabbing the hanging chains, using them to scale halfway up the pillar.  The troll bounded towards him and he quickly shimmied to the top, but was unable to climb up onto the top due to it being occupied by a large bowl shaped iron braiser.  Unperturbed, the dwarf waited, craning his neck to watch the troll who swiftly reached the pillar.  The troll swept its claws at him, but he was out of reach.  Howling in rage, the troll wrapped its arms around the pillar and tried to shake it, but the fine dwarfen craftsmanship held firm.

The dwarf laughed manically and reached up with one hand, grasping the braiser and pulling hard, toppling it over and spilling the flaming coals all over the troll.  Or rather, tipping them into the gaping maw of the troll, and causing the braiser itself to hit the troll square in the face.  Hastily, the dwarf clambered up on top of the pillar and, taking a deep breath, leapt off, bouncing off the head of the troll and landing with a roll on the arena floor.  Panting he, backed off watching the troll writhing in agony and stumbled on something.  He glanced down, then stooped to pick up one of the chain links, twisted by the troll vomit, wincing as his hand closed around the still acid coated scrap.  Dazed, the troll rounded on him, stumbling forwards, skin blistering and half blind.  With all his might, the slayer hurled the link, piercing the troll in its good eye, fully blinding it.

The troll moaned, clawing at the fragment, ruining its face even more.  The dwarf used this distraction, running past it and over to the braiser, righting it.

"Over 'ere ugly," he shouted, taking advantage of the fact that denied sight that the troll would be forced to rely on it's other senses, mainly hearing.  The troll immediately turned round to face him and bounded towards him as he took hold of the baiser and braced himself, waiting for the right moment.  The troll closed, mouth gaping and as it was about to reach the slayer, he heaved the spiked braiser into its mouth.  Instinctively the troll bit down, driving the spiked tips of the braiser up through the roof of its mouth and into its brain, the damage done by the flaming coals not long before preventing any chance of regeneration.  The troll gave a whimper and keeled over, dead.

The dwarf backed away slightly, waiting to see if it was really dead, and when it didn't move, sighed, exasperated.  As he began glancing around wondering what was going to happen to him next, hatches in the arena floor were flung open and a hush fell over the crowd.  Twelve armoured wardens brandishing fireglaives marched out from the openings, fanning out around the dwarf who crouched low, preparing to fight them.  All eyes turned to the box as the presiding priest stepped up to the rail and suddenly the silence was broken as everyone called out at once, some to spare the dwarf, and others calling for his death.  The priest stroked his beard thoughtfully, taking in the cacophony.  Casually he raised a hand, calling for silence.

"Twelve talents of bronze says he let's him live," whispered Nâzkuk.

"I'll take that bet," smiled Bardek, not taking his eyes off the priest.  The priest stretched out an arm, palm flat and horizontal.  He took a breath and closed his fingers, turning his hand so the thumb pointed up.  As one, the wardens lowered their fireglaives and gripped the the firing mechanisms.  Jets of fire spurted out before the slayer could react, roasting him.  Howling he ran forwards defiantly, but only managed three steps before he keeled over.  The wardens kept up their attack for a whole minute, before shouldering  their weapons and turning on their heels, marching back to the hatches.

Bardek smirked and held out a hand for his payment.

"I'll give it to ya latter," grumbled his cousin, pouting.

"Slave," roared Bardek, "More ale for me and my friends, Nâzkuk's paying all night!"  Nâzkuk grumbled but didn't countermand the order, there were plenty of games left to bid on; by the end of the Father's Quarter he could easily earn that bet back and then some.


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10-21-2014 05:54 PM
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Fuggit Khan
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Post: #2
RE: Bread and Circuses pt2: The First Game.Fuggit Khan 10-21-2014

Dînadan Wrote:
...spat Krovnar, scratching at the iron nails hammered into his forehead that gave him his Ironbrow moniker (and accounted for his crude speech patterns thought Bardek). 


This is my favorite bit of the story...wonderful bit of fluff that gives so much character!
Cheers!


"Where there's a whip, there's a way!"
10-21-2014 06:15 PM
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Dînadan
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Post: #3
RE: Bread and Circuses pt2: The First Game.Dînadan 10-21-2014

Fuggit Khan Wrote:

Dînadan Wrote:
...spat Krovnar, scratching at the iron nails hammered into his forehead that gave him his Ironbrow moniker (and accounted for his crude speech patterns thought Bardek). 


This is my favorite bit of the story...wonderful bit of fluff that gives so much character!
Cheers!

I'm sure he'd get along well with Snori Nosebiter...if it weren't for the whole dwarfs and Chaos dwarfs hating each other thing Tongue Wink


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10-21-2014 06:20 PM
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Admiral
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RE: Bread and Circuses pt2: The First Game.Admiral 10-22-2014

Really nice, although Fireglaives are repeating handguns rather than flamethrowers. Just switch the name to something of your own invention. And best of all, this is only the beginning of the story, isn't it? Wink


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This post was last modified: 10-22-2014 02:04 AM by Admiral.

10-22-2014 02:04 AM
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Dînadan
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Post: #5
RE: Bread and Circuses pt2: The First Game.Dînadan 10-22-2014

Admiral Wrote:
Really nice, although Fireglaives are repeating handguns rather than flamethrowers. Just switch the name to something of your own invention. And best of all, this is only the beginning of the story, isn't it? Wink


Is there a description of the mechanics of fireglaives anywhere?  Will have to check Tamurkhan.  If not, nothing to say the wardens can't use specially modified fireglaives Wink



Yep, just the beginning.  Don't have any grand plans, just a few ideas for other games.  Originally was going to put them at the end of this one as brief 'footnotes' of what else was going on, but this was already getting long and the writing was dragging so I've decided to split them off into their own stories. Happy


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10-22-2014 06:49 AM
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