Nothing says “I love you” like a fresh corpse.
It had been years since I was yanked from sleep by the nightmare.
I sat on a stone bench, the thrumming stomp of Amarr footsteps booming deeply from above. Another fight was in progress in the arena.
The knuckles on my right hand were shattered and bleeding, having been met with a bronzed shield in my last match. I shook uncontrollably from the forearm down. I would have to mask that before my third and final bout of the day, or the Overseers would find me unworthy of combat, and more than likely put me to my death.
The gladitorial games of the Amarr were the most uncivilized, demeaning and vicious form of entertainment. There were no stories of slaves rising to riches, or earning their freedom; there was no glory to be found for any Matari involved. Inevitably, we all would die, whether in the arena, or in the camps.
The arena was the Amarrian solution to agression issues arising in their “workers”. The stronger, more hostile Matari slaves who caused problems for camp Overseers were trained to fight. If they survived the training, they were thrown into gladitorial combat. None survived that. The Overseers made millions from this venture.
My body was covered in a glaze of sweat. I was young. I was strong. I was undefeated today.
I wrapped my hand in a bandage, taping to my arm. I pulled it painfully tight, but hopefully it would keep everything in place.
I heard the shouts from above and knew the bout was over. It would be my turn next.
Shortly, I could hear the approaching guards, and the metal grate of my cell open.
“Your turn, dog.”
They prodded me and spit on me, as was typical when they had bets on the other fighter. I had seen fellow Matari maimed before a fight simply so a guard could profit a few hundred.
I walked up the ramp into the blinding sun, my bad arm raising to cover my eyes. The crowd erupted in wild applause. It wasn’t for me, I was a nobody. It was for the promise of bloody entertainment.
This life disgusted me.
As my eyes adjusted, I could see my next opponent, standing at the other end of the arena. I hated having to fight at all, but the alternative was death, and I simply wasn’t ready to die.
I silently wished for a quick death for my opponent or myself, no point in suffering for the satisfaction of this pathetic crowd.
My right hand flared in pain. Hopefully this would be a short battle.
My opponent charged.