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    Ring of Blood

    Dia Izuna
    Dia Izuna

    Player 
    Lineage : Serpent's Fang
    Position : None
    Posts : 199
    Guild : Abyssal Yeet
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 28,887

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: ???
    Second Skill: ???
    Third Skill: ???

    Ring of Blood Empty Ring of Blood

    Post by Dia Izuna 28th August 2021, 1:26 pm

    First stop: Talonia.

    Two figures stood patiently in line and waited for their turn to come. The first, who stood in front of the second, was a girl with carrot colored hair. Or was it pumpkin? Either way, it pretty much made her stand out, as not too many people boasted of having such as a natural hair hue. Of course, there would be many who felt that it was dyed, but honestly, Dia couldn't give a damn. As she waited, she drummed a non-descript beat with her fingers against her bare thigh. She knew that quite a lot of eyes were on her, and she could guess the thoughts that ran through their heads. Rather than bother her, it amused her slightly. She had almost expected that someone might try walking up to her and attempt to flirt, but everyone was content to stay put. In her opinion, a little part of the reason was because many people here were family individuals, and the men especially would have an angry spouse giving them hell if they attempted any infidelity.

    The major reason, to her, though, was the tall lanky bloke who stood behind her, glowering like a tropical thundercloud. Many people had assumed they were a couple, what with their chummy interaction with each other, and seeing as he looked like some sort of hoodlum to most "respectable" people, they had steered clear of his evident wrath. She had once turned to speak to Hex, and had nearly burst out laughing on seeing his face. She knew it had nothing to do with the stares she got; on the contrary, unless she asked, Hexter left her to handle any unwanted attention by herself. She knew he was incredulous that she had opted to join the waiting line, rather than use some underhanded tactic to make her way to the front. And since she had done so, he had to follow suit. To him, waiting like this was in no way cool.

    "You see, Hex? We're almost there," she crooned over her shoulder, still ticked at his grouchy disposition. In reply, he sighed before speaking. "Still don't know why we couldn't have gotten these visiting cards some other way. Or, we could have just gone straight to the border and forced our way through." Dia shook her head. "That might have been more fun, but I don't want to draw too much attention to myself, if I can help it. Not until my powers are in better working condition." It was true that ever since she had attained the essence of Telversa, the Mistress of Time, which was quite recently, it would seem that her body was taking its time to get used to this new power. And while she would have waited until she had at least some control over her magic, an opportunity to strike back at her enemies had revealed itself in a mission she had taken, and she was not willing to pass it up. Besides, she now had a bodyguard.

    "And here we are."

    Dia smiled sweetly at the clerk who was meant to take her biometrics, and said hello. His eyes lingered for a moment on her body, and when they finally met her gaze, he  was going to say something, most likely to try his luck with the pretty girl... but then he looked over her shoulder and his face fell. He quickly went to work getting her details. She turned to give Hex a questioning smile, but he stared straight forward, his face innocent and impassive. Almost laughing, she turned back to complete her registration, while the clerk stayed professional to the end.

    Some moments later, she emerged into the morning sun, holding her new passport in her hands. As she waited for Hex, she idly leafed through its pages. He came out much sooner than she had expected, looking actually relieved. "Finally." He put the passport into his pocket and looked at her expectantly. "Making any more pit stops? Or is it time to go desert hunting?"

    "Time to go desert hunting."

    WC: 681

    Using this post to complete To Earthland and Beyond.
    The Ring of Blood word count begins in my next post.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Dia Izuna
    Dia Izuna

    Player 
    Lineage : Serpent's Fang
    Position : None
    Posts : 199
    Guild : Abyssal Yeet
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 28,887

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: ???
    Second Skill: ???
    Third Skill: ???

    Ring of Blood Empty Re: Ring of Blood

    Post by Dia Izuna 30th August 2021, 10:36 am

    A change of clothes and some days and journeyings later, Hexter and Dia hurried towards a tent which had been set up in a nomadic desert encampment. The journey to Desierto had been rather uncomfortable for the young woman, and being a pirate  meant that she preferred to do her dealings on the wide seas and not in the wide desert. She often wondered how people could cope with this kind of heat, day in, day out. For someone who liked to dress in clothes that showed off her form, Dia was well protected in her desert garb. Her skin burnt easily, and no matter how much she tried to get a healthy tan, it never stuck. One of these days, she would develop some sort of magic that could let her ignore the sun and its effects on her body. Until then, she would just have to make do with what she had.

    The duo stepped into the shade of the propped up canvas, appreciating how much cooler the interior was. It was not difficult to find their client, for he had told them he would be wearing a green turban, and fortunately, he was the only one doing so. Dia looked him over as they approached. He seemed well enough to do, and that brought a smile to her lips. She always liked thinking about the power and freedom money gave, but she wasn't idealistic enough to start fantasizing until the hard cash was in her grasp. The more she did missions like these, the more she would make a name for herself. However, she did not plan to be known as a savior of people. No, she had her own dark agenda for agreeing to help the Desiertan out. Fortunately for him, the agenda was not targeted at his throat.

    "Abu Sayd, I presume?"

    The man, who looked to be in his middle ages, looked up and nodded. Dia and Hex took their seats on the rug spread beneath the low table. "Thank you for accepting to help me, kind mages. If there were more people like you..."

    "... the world might just be a really nasty place," she finished for him, smiling at his surprise. "I don't know about Hexter here, but I'm not really a good person. I saw the opportunity to shed blood and make some money, and i couldn't resist. Fear not, I'm professional," she quickly added, to ease the panic that had begun to spread across the man's face. "I'll get your nephew out safe and sound, provided he hasn't been killed before my arrival. I do hope there's no one else you're after saving in there, because I won't be able to vouch for their safety."

    "Those depraved slavers deserve every bit of what you give to them," Abu Sayd spat. Slavers, huh? Dia would have no problems sleeping at night if she gutted every last one of them. "You said something about a ticket pass or something?" Hex inquired. It had been mentioned in the contract that that would be their means of entrance to the Ring of Blood. Abu Sayd presented a small black card. It was beautifully designed, most likely made for closed circles. "I'm afraid I only have one. One of you will either have to wait behind, or  find their way in somehow else."

    "Ugh! You could have bough two, and spared us..."

    "My apologies, friend, but these passes are not sold. You see, only a few people are handed these. It was a twist of  irony that got this into my hands. As you know, my nephew was kidnapped by the Ring of Blood slavers, and one of the owners, with whom I have had a bitter business rivalry, offered me the card, to watch them butcher my boy. I accepted, not because I wanted to watch the lad die, but because I saw a chance for justice and vengeance present itself. And that's where you come in."

    Hex reached for the card, but Dia slapped his hand away and took it. "Come now, you're the guy. You get to do all the hard work. I'll be the VIP, you'll be my slave, I'll bring you in as a contestant..." Hex looked at her incredulously, but she ignored him. "They allow that, yes?" she asked Abu Sayd. He nodded. "Indeed. Patrons are allowed to offer their gladiators, and place bets." "Brilliant!" Dia said, rubbing her hands together with delight. "Whoever isn't down for a little gambling?"

    "This is just great," Hex muttered. "Why can't I just keep my bodyguard duties?" "The Ring of Blood is considered safe by its owners," Abu Sayd explained. "No one can attack them, because the entire arena vanishes if assaulted from without. And that is why I need you inside."

    Dia nodded, and got to her feet. "I guess that's all we need. Come on, Hex. Time to gamble on your life." She paused. "Lest I forget, did you find out anything about that particular patron?" Abu Sayd looked up. "Le Trompe? He is a regular patron from what I gleaned. I also heard he is a coward and a bully, and prefers rigged matches or facing off against a weaker opponent. It seems that is what he goes to the Ring of Blood for: to kill unfortunate souls in one on one combat."

    Dia thought for a while. "Sounds like that Minstrelian bastard, alright. And if I wanted to kill him, would I be able to get a clean shot from the spectator stands?" "Not likely, unless you have a weapon you can smuggle inside that boasts of very far range. Otherwise, you'll have to hope one of the gladiators enacts your revenge."

    "Hmmm... tell me, Abu Sayd, how strong do I look?"

    The man was taken aback by her question. "Er... well, you see, people should not be judged based on their..." Dia made an impatient sound in her throat. "Just answer the question frankly. I won't bite you or anything."

    "Well, you look like a pale, pretty girl..."

    Her eyes twinkled. "So, I look weak, right?"

    "I didn't say that..." Abu Sayd said quickly, but to his surprise, the young woman was already herding Hexter towards the aperture of the tent. "You know what, Hex? I've changed my mind. The ticket is all yours."

    "You want to go in there as a gladiator?" Hex couldn't hide his shock.

    "What do you think? Brilliant, huh?"

    His expression lapsed into the regular indifference. "Crazy is what I call it, Dia."

    She grinned brightly at him. "And when last was I anything but?"

    Hexter chuckled dryly. "Fair point... though let it be stated here that I don't think it's a good idea."

    "Your observation is noted."

    Hex sighed. He understood what that tone of voice meant. Noted, and summarily ignored. "Let's do this, then."

    WC: 1145
    TWC: 1145/5000


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Dia Izuna
    Dia Izuna

    Player 
    Lineage : Serpent's Fang
    Position : None
    Posts : 199
    Guild : Abyssal Yeet
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 28,887

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: ???
    Second Skill: ???
    Third Skill: ???

    Ring of Blood Empty Re: Ring of Blood

    Post by Dia Izuna 2nd September 2021, 1:48 pm

    Maybe Hexter was trying to get back at her for brushing aside his opinion, or maybe he was trying to prove to her how this was such a bad idea... though, to his discredit, he had not attempted to offer a better option. Whatever his motives, Dia felt that Hex was making an effort to make her feel uncomfortable. No, she was being unfair; being the kind of person she was, who detested strangers groping her, there would be very little to make her feel more at ease. And to Hex's credit (this time), he had tried to talk her out of it. However, her hatred for one of the demons that had plagued her past had resurfaced. She could have turned away and avoided him, but what would that prove to her? That she was still too weak to face them, those Five Fingers of the Hand of Doom? No, this was as much a desire to prove a point to them, as well as herself. To them, in the sense that they could not escape their comeuppance. To herself, in that she had grown stronger, and had the capability to achieve her goals. Besides, if she was always conscious of the fact that some powerful people had resumed their search for her, to have her back in their clutches, she might be more inspired to seek out power.

    Difficulties and dangers were often sufficient forges for refining power.

    Back to today. It was evening, and she was thankful for this, else the sun would have burnt her to a crisp. Despite the cool of the day, she was covered in a layer of perspiration. The reason Dia was feeling very tense was because she was walking into a camp of wild looking people, her hands tied and a long chain connected to a thick collar around her neck. So many undesirable feelings were roiling beneath her surface, but she kept a stony face and kept it all down. A sudden tug at the chain pulled her forward, and she instinctively snarled. Hexter glanced at her over his shoulder, a cold, indifference in those golden eyes, and for a moment, she almost thought that he was really going to sell her off and abandon her here.

    No. He wouldn't.

    She could hear the slavers discussing in Desiertan. Hex might have probably not understood what they were saying, but Dia was quite fluent in most, if not all major Earthland languages. And what she heard gave her some hope that her plan was going along well. Some of the more... adventurous patrons were on their way to the camp, to have a look at the "specimens" for sale to the arena. Those chosen would be prepared by the slavers for battle in the arena, and some of them would face off against some of the patrons. Being one to find out what exactly she was getting into, Dia and Hexter had run their research on the Ring of Blood. The matches were rigged for the patrons, because no doubt, some of the gladiators would feel insulted that some rich snotty puke was coming to slay them in "fair combat" and they would put in their best to cut the snotty puke into bloody ribbons. However, dead patrons never made for good business, and Dia had learned that the gladiators who had faced the patrons always seemed disoriented. She hoped poison was the factor, but she was aware that there were other means. Whatever was used on the gladiators to make them lose their edge would have to be overcome by her, otherwise, her vengeance would end botched and bloody on the sands. She hoped her preparations would be adequate.

    Dressed in a plain coarse wool dress, she didn't look prepared for anything.

    The patrons came. Instantly, she loathed them. Swaggering like they owned the place, treating everything but themselves as lowly and beneath them. And then she saw him, and the bile that rose in her throat nearly made her retch. All the memories came tumbling down like a cascade of bitter water. She remembered how awfully he would treat her, just because she was "too horrible to even ...." That last word was not to be used in polite company. Oh, how she would have loved to clutch her fingers into his throat and rip them out, but she would probably meet a very graceless and unceremonious death here.

    Vengeance was sweetest when buttered with patience.

    He saw her. She held his gaze for a moment, then turned away, but she knew he was smiling. He liked what he had seen, and his lust-polluted mind would be feverishly working out some useless machinations. Normally, since he had had such a major role in her life, he ought to have recognized her, but what she referred to as the beginning of her life, the thing that changed her and enabled her to escape that ancient, forgotten temple a free woman, had changed her. both within and without. From a hunched over, misshapen girl to Dia Izuna, who intended to be mistress of her own fate. He couldn't have had an inkling who she was. He wouldn't even recognize her name, if she told him, for the Hand of Doom had not even deigned her human enough to have a name. Thinking her dead, they had left the temple and gone their separate ways, settling down all over Earthland with their ill-gotten gain.

    Oh, she would have her revenge on all five of them.

    The slavers began to auction off the slaves, and she noticed that many of them were unhealthily interested in her. But as she had hoped, for every bid, Le Trompe, with that hateful smugness, would always bid higher. And higher. Until he was the last man standing. Hexter stood by and watched silently. He had insisted to the slavers that since he was bringing "very quality merchandise", he would not collect jewels from them, but would go for a cut of whatever the highest bidder offered. Of course, the slavers were not willing to go with this, and they had initially tried to divest him of his goods with the ancient evil art of murder. This turned to be quite unfavorable for them, thanks to Hexter's psychic powers, and they had finally agreed on terms that would work for both parties.

    Once all the biddings were over, the slaves were herded away, Dia with them. "Prepare her in the usual manner," she overheard Le Trompe say to a short ugly creature of a man. Le Trompe then looked at her and smiled, a lecherous simper that made her want to cut his face off. But she restrained herself. So far, everything was going well.

    Hexter would be allowed into the arena as a VIP. He knew the part he had to play, and she knew hers, too.

    WC: 1150
    TWC: 2295/5000


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Dia Izuna
    Dia Izuna

    Player 
    Lineage : Serpent's Fang
    Position : None
    Posts : 199
    Guild : Abyssal Yeet
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 28,887

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: ???
    Second Skill: ???
    Third Skill: ???

    Ring of Blood Empty Re: Ring of Blood

    Post by Dia Izuna 4th September 2021, 10:14 am

    A few hours later, Dia sat on a stone bench in a small cell, listening to the gossip that filtered out among the other gladiators, who were equally penned up like she was. In no less than an hour's time, the Ring of Blood would begin its battles. Each fight was meant to be a death match, and even if a gladiator spared their fallen foe, someone else, especially those bloody patrons, would be swift to step up and slay the one who was too injured to defend themselves. If, for some reason, one gladiator surrendered, and the other refused to kill them... well, everyone knew that those bloodthirsty patrons would stand no chance against a more or less healthy fighter. Some of the more grizzled veterans of the arena, who were completely loyal to the masters of the Ring of Blood, would be dispatched to slay the cowardly gladiator in as brutal a means as possible. The one who showed mercy often faced their wrath, too. Seeing as mortals were naturally selfish, thanks to the phenomenon known as self-preservation, most victors in the Ring of Blood killed off their opponents. Was there a price for the winner, if any of these slave gladiators made it to the top? Yes, they would be granted that which most slaves wished for: their freedom. And barring those really crazy, violence-invested creatures that lived on spilling blood, who would want to live their lives in this kind of place, where tomorrow promised nothing but a grisly death?

    The gladiators discussed mostly about what tonight's line-ups would look like. Truth be told, none of them really knew much, except that, as was normal in the Ring of Blood, each of them would do battle. Some of them greenhorns who survived would be allowed to rest, saving their blood to be spilled another day, unless they asked to continue fighting. True, this gave them a chance at an earlier freedom, but that also meant that they were more likely to die trying to obtain it. Dia wondered whether she would be able to find Abu Sayd's nephew, Asan, in time before he got slaughtered. She had been shown a picture of him, and from what his uncle had said, while he knew next to nothing about being in a bloody fight, he was brave and didn't like backing down. Yeah, that pretty much meant that without this mission, he was certainly a goner tonight. She went over her plan once again, though she knew that she might have to play some things by ear, as fate could prove to be very unpredictable. She did have a trump card, but she preferred to keep it hidden until she needed it most. Not having ready access to Telversa's powers was a big crutch, but with the ace up her sleeve, she could manage herself, if she played it right.

    A loud clang brought her head up, as the noisy chattering reduced to a hush. The veterans were coming to bring out the fresh blood. Trepidation coursed through her entire body, but she managed to keep her calm and not betray any emotions. She remained seated, listening to keys turning in their locks, and a myriad of feet shuffling, and then finally, a chiseled hulk of a man was before her cell, with the short ugly dwarf that Le Trompe had asked to "prepare her". The giant peered at her grimly, then looked down at the midget. "This is the one for Le Trompe?" He was answered with a nod. He made a scoffing sound in his throat. "What a waste." He unlocked the cell door and stood aside. "Head upstairs, flame-hair," was all he said to her. Without a word, she obliged. She was sure that in times past, some new entry to the arena might have tried at this point to make their escape, seeing as even though the man was large, he was not noticeably well guarded. She was also sure that it had not gone well for them.

    Up the stairs, she found herself in a large room, where different fighters selected weapons and shields that best fit them in battle. She looked around until she saw the one she was after: of average height, dark haired, turning over a scimitar in his hands. Most of the people here looked frightened, but the only thing that gave Asan's fear away was his stiff movements. She smiled slightly as she approached him, stopping right at his side and surveying the weapons laid out on the table. She could feel his eyes on her; heck, everyone in the room seemed to be staring at her. Not surprising, though. As part of Le Trompe's "preparations", she had been outfitted in what they called armor, but was little more than a leather bikini, and gladiator sandals on her feet. The sandals even had heels! Definitely to get his useless, warped mind churning. They thought she was a joke. They would be awfully surprised, by the time her plan hatched. She glanced around at the gathered combatants. All the gladiators were actually dressed rather scantily, come to think of it: useless leather straps on the torso and some sort of kilt or breeches, and they seemed very short of women. It didn't matter to her, either way; she liked being the center of attention every now and then.

    She suddenly heard a voice amplified by the lacrima speakers blare out. The games had begun, it so seemed. She would have to make her move to ensure Asan's safety, otherwise Abu Sayd would not pay her. Now was the best time. She leaned against the table and looked at him, her eyes offering the slightest sign of intrigue. "That looks like a fine sword, but it might be rather heavy for swinging, don't you think?" she asked. He turned to look at her again. He was barely more than a boy. She chuckled inwardly to herself as he righteously kept his eyes on her face, his force of will not permitting them to drop to her cleavage. "A scimitar is surprisingly good for a chopper," he replied in fluent Fioran, although his accent was still clearly Desiertan. He looked down at his weapon. "It is the most... familiar to me, here." His brown eyes met her green ones, once more. "You do not seem afraid. Did you wish to come here?" She  shrugged. "Maybe." There was a pause. "You look like you could use some help. I could... aid you, somehow. May I see your sword-arm?" He gave her a quizzical look, but did not voice his thoughts. He placed the curved sword down and held out his right arm to her. Smiling, Dia took Asan's hand tenderly in both of hers. His palms seemed so soft...

    With one sudden, vicious move, Dia wrenched Asan at the wrist, feeling the bones of his joint pop out of place. The boy hissed with pain and drew back, clutching his injured arm to himself. He stared at her, surprise and anger in his eyes, but she only smiled back. His left arm reached for the sword. Instantly, she was on him, knocking him to the ground, as weapons and armor clattered about. The gladiators had gathered to watch, but had not bothered to separate them. It was an "each to him own" habitat, here. Straddling him, she bent her head and whispered something into his ear, then straightened up laughing. His eyes were wide for a second, then he snarled and wriggled violently, as both of his arms were pinned beneath her. She got off him in a graceful move, then stomped on his ankle without warning. This time, the boy cried out. She admittedly felt a little sorry for him. She looked around and surveyed all the faces staring at her. "What?" she asked, her expression souring slightly. "He offered me insult."

    Asan had struggled to his backside, his legs splayed out in front of him, breathing heavily. She refused to look him. She didn't know whether catching his gaze might not make her feel worse. Anyway, he would thank her later for it. He and his uncle. The gladiators around them suddenly separated, and the huge gladiator towered over her. He looked at Asan, then at her, stooping slightly to bring his face closer to hers, displeasure written all over it. "That boy was meant to go up first. This is a big inconvenience." She stuck out her chin ever so slightly. "Isn't that a pity? A girl has to defend her honor, right?" "I would have struck you, flame-hair, had you not been set against Le Trompe, but he doesn't like his prizes spoiled. And as for that honor you speak of, you will suffer greater indignities, soon enough. Your temper is your undoing, for now your doom has been brought closer to meet you, and Le trompe will have more liberty of time. I would wish, for your sake, that he would be swift, but Le Trompe always indulges in his profanities at an agonizing pace." He turned and marched away, barking orders to modify the match ups. Two attendants helped Asan to his good foot and led him away, as another followed them with a medic box. That went well. Hopefully, he would be out of fighting condition until she and Hexter performed their work.

    The ugly dwarf was suddenly at her side. He offered her a clay bowl. In it was a liquid with questionable looks. "Drink," her ordered. She peered at the stuff, then thought against acquiescing. Dia shook her head. "That was not a request." She felt a shadow fall over her, and as she turned her head, she found herself looking up into the hideous mug of another giant. It took her a moment to realize that this was actually a woman. Already, two other massive brutes were coming her way. She knew what would happen next. If she insisted, they would make her. Pin her down and force it down her throat. And she knew that, with her trump card, she might have fared well, but that would make them aware of it too early. She knew that her physical strength would not pull through against these three buff gladiators, and she found the thought of being manhandled by them less desirable than drinking the stuff. Besides, they might be looking forward to it, since she had just showed sass to the other large guy back then. And outside of physical brawls, she didn't much care for being touched.

    She took the bowl and downed its contents without looking at it a second time. The gladiators who had been approaching watched her to ensure that she had swallowed every last drop, then they backed away. She was very sure that whatever it was they had made her drink would be some sort of poison that would interfere with her ability to act swiftly, rather than being something fatal. If it was meant to kill her, Le Trompe would not have wanted her unspoiled. Being the kind of person she remembered him to be, he would want something that might disorient her enough to be useless in a fight, but not enough to dull her senses. She shuddered remembering the cries and screams that had tortured her nights while in the custody of the "Hand of Doom". They had always belonged to women, they had always come from his room, and nothing alive, besides himself, ever emerged in the morning.

    Already, she could feel her head becoming light. She found herself a place to sit down. Everything was going as Le Trompe wanted. Already, her limbs felt heavy, but not too heavy that she couldn't move them. Her sense of touch was still rather clear, though. What a bastard. His own cockiness would be the death of him, for unknown to him, his fetishes had given her the advantage. Le Trompe, she knew to be shameless, and he would most likely toy with her for a while before incapacitating her and subjecting her to whatever depraved plans he had for her. And in front of a crowd? Dia clasped her hands to her cheeks as they burned hot, although the feeling of embarrassment was quickly replaced by revulsion.

    She would use her trump card against him when the time came to fight. And then, she would have her revenge.

    "Send out the first competitors." The large man in charge called out suddenly. "Prepare yourselves: the rat faced butcher is going next against the Joyan newbie, and  after that is flame-hair's turn. Give the crowds some sport!"

    There were ports that looked out on the arena, from the large waiting room, so that the gladiators could see what was going on on the battlefield. Dia made her way to one of these, not necessarily to watch the battle, but to have a feel of what the arena looked like. Already, her body's natural resistance to poisons had made the drug not quiet as effective as expected, but Dia made her movements somewhat lethargic, so as not to arouse suspicion.

    WC: 2195
    TWC: 4490/5000


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Dia Izuna
    Dia Izuna

    Player 
    Lineage : Serpent's Fang
    Position : None
    Posts : 199
    Guild : Abyssal Yeet
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 28,887

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: ???
    Second Skill: ???
    Third Skill: ???

    Ring of Blood Empty Re: Ring of Blood

    Post by Dia Izuna 6th September 2021, 2:02 pm

    From her window, she could make out at least two exits to the arena.  That would imply, from the positioning of the portals, that there were two others, not within her limited sights, at ninety degrees to each other. That would make four entrances to the Ring of Blood, or maybe three, because she noticed that one of the entrances coincided with the general position of the gladiator pens. And from what she had seen, it led into prisons, not to the Desiertan outsides. With any hope, the people she would have to leave Hexter to go for would not be quick enough to escape through any of the three exits, before he sent them to the afterlife. Killing off the owners of the Ring of Blood would be a sure way to close down the macabre arena.

    She looked down at the sands, illuminated by large lacrima lamps that hovered above the arena. She could see someone in a fancy suit, definitely not a fighter, from his looks and mien, whipping up the crowd as he yelled a lot of nonsense she wasn't sure she could make out into the lacri-microphone. When he was satisfied that he had gotten the masses ready for blood, he decided, in his annoyingly flowery manner, to introduce the first two competitors. First, he called forth the Joyan. For a while, nothing happened, then she thought she could make out some sounds of a scuffle, and then someone was thrown out onto the sands. Obviously the Joyan, from his ears and tail. Well, if she had ever even considered not coming out when she was summoned to be killed, she now knew what would come of it. By now, the arena commentator was hovering safely above the grounds that were soon to be watered by blood. Dia was sure that some irate gladiator, in times past, had probably made an attempt on the life of one of the commentators here, or had considered it, hence the man's exalted, safe perch. She looked at the Joyan. He looked weather-worn, a mixture of man and some sort of canine animal. He looked agitated, but managed to stay calm.

    Then, to the wild cheers from the crowd, the "rat faced butcher" stepped forth. His swagger showed that he was used to this; he was probably a local champion in this place, and enjoyed the adulation of the crowd. Dia's eyes suddenly spun dangerously. She underestimated the poison she had ingested. With the way things were going, she was beginning to fear if she would even be in the proper frame of mind to enact her revenge against Le Trompe when it was time. She could not afford not to have a clear head, for many reasons. The one at the fore of her mind was what Le Trompe would do to her if she fell into his hands. For a moment, a brief wave of panic washed over her. For a brief moment, she was the little, frightened, deformed girl, whom nobody wanted...

    No! She had changed, and today was the day she would prove it to herself once again, and to the entire world, that that nameless terrified child had evolved, and now she had a name. And fangs. Pulling herself away from the window, she staggered into the recesses of the gladiator pens. She needed to use her trump card now, but she dared not do it while others watched. Fortune was smiling on her, however, because most of the gladiators were intent on watching the butcher carve up the Joyan. She managed to observe that those of them who noticed her either had a look of pity in their eyes, or the same lecherous gaze they normally had as their eyes roved all over her body. As usual, she ignored them. She headed in the general direction she had seen Asan taken to, after she had dislocated his wrist and ankle. It was close by, some sort of medic bay, which fortunately for her again, was empty. The medics, who doubled as cleaners, were no doubt standing by, waiting to drag the carcass of the loser off the sands. She stumbled in and sat heavily on a bunk.

    Asan started at her entrance. "You have very savage..." he started heatedly, then frowned at her. "Are you alright? You do not look well."

    She didn't answer. Serendipity had caused this place to be all but deserted, but she was not willing to push it in a place where she needed all the good luck she could get. Her shaking hands reached for her hair, and she fiddled  with something at the back of her head, her heart skipping a beat every time she heard the crowds roar. Eventually, she presented what she was looking for: a snow white feather. "Asan, please, do not make any sound, no matter what you see," she warned. She couldn't risk him shouting in surprise and alerting anyone to what she was doing. As she held out the feather, it suddenly transformed into a golden spear and shield, obviously of better quality than any weapons the arena offered. She tapped the spear on the ground, and immediately, a fountain of water sprang out, dousing the both of them in restorative water. Instantly, she felt the mind muddling effects of the poison washing away, and as she looked at Asan, she could see him flexing his fingers in disbelief. She put a finger to her lips, as she returned her divine arms back into a feather, and hid it in her hair.  Then she looked around.

    There was one little problem, but the solution was nearby. The medic bay was now wet, water splashed on some of the bunks and all over the floor. She did however see a large pot of water, so she walked over it, took a bowl, and poured out most of the water into the drain on the floor. Still holding the bowl, she now sat on the bed on which Asan reclined. He moved to get up, but she stopped him. "Sorry for hurting you like that, but I told your uncle I'd get you out alive, and I mean to do just that." Her voice was low, and she hung her head like one who, against the fatigue of her body, struggled to remain seated upright. "You can't let anyone know that your injuries are healed. Not until its time to make good your escape. There's soon going to be a grand diversion, and when that happens, I want you to stay where you are. You're safest here. I'll come for you."

    "And in case I run afoul of anyone?"

    "maybe you should smuggle a weapon under your bunk, then, just in case. You'll probably have enough time to do so, when I'm being the main attraction out..."

    There was suddenly an extended, deafening roar, and Dia knew that the battle was over. She didn't know who had emerged victorious, but she hoped it was the Joyan. She heard movement at the door, and she made a show of lifting her head to look up with effort. One of the gladiators looked at the two of them. "I'd have thought you went back to break another of the boy's bones, but it looks like you can barely even move about..."

    "You give everyone that rotten thing to drink?" she said slowly.

    He shrugged. "Not my rules. Anyway, you're up now. I hope that Minstrelian pervert gets bored easily, but with looks such as yours, I don't think so. It would be nice if you killed him, though. But that's wishful thinking."

    She got up and stumbled past him. "Yeah well, wishes do come through, sometimes." He laughed and aimed a slap at her backside, but she turned suddenly and grabbed him by the wrist. "Look, chum, my head may be spinning, but that doesn't mean I can't hurt you. Badly." He replied with a sneer, "Can you?" She shrugged. "Maybe not, but I could always get you to injure me, or injure myself and say you did it, and I have a feeling that your Minstrelian would want to teach you a lesson for denying him the pleasures he's so much looking forward to." "No one would believe you..." "Wanna bet?"

    He knew she was right. Anyone who came and found her on the ground, in no state to fight, with him standing over her, would jump to the conclusion that he had harmed her, regardless of whatever he pleaded. He backed away, an ugly smirk on his face. "I will enjoy watching him violate you."

    "Oh, I'm definitely killing this one!" she thought, as she glared at him, then walked slowly to select her weapons of combat. A long sword and a shield would do. Finding what she was looking for, she made her way to the doors that led to  the sands of the arena. The rat faced butcher was strutting in, grinning like some hideous goblin, his chest smattered with blood and gore. She avoided his gaze. The Joyan had died.

    Life was as mean as they came.

    WC: 1527
    TWC: 6017/5000


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Dia Izuna
    Dia Izuna

    Player 
    Lineage : Serpent's Fang
    Position : None
    Posts : 199
    Guild : Abyssal Yeet
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 28,887

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: ???
    Second Skill: ???
    Third Skill: ???

    Ring of Blood Empty Re: Ring of Blood

    Post by Dia Izuna 7th September 2021, 9:11 am

    Some hours prior to the present moment...

    "That was a prudent move, young man," Hexter heard behind him, as he counted the cash earned from his "sale" of the young, fire-haired woman. His expression remaining passive, he  glanced over his shoulder, golden eyes narrowing ever so slightly when they came to rest on the exotic stranger. Stuffing the money into a pocket, he turned to face the man. The tall, thin man wore a white three-piece suit with exquisite tailoring, and he held a top hat in one hand and a cane in the other. His hair was oiled and slicked back, and he had an air of confident smugness about him. Judging from the bottom scraping trash these slavers were, who only responded positively to money or power, Hex expected that they would target someone like this person, Minstrelian likely, from his accent, leaving his stabbed, thoroughly robbed corpse at the back of some sand dune where no one would find him. The mere fact that they did not, but treated him with a lot of deference, indicated that he was either generous with his pocket, or powerful, or both. And he was known to them.

    "You seem... displeased? No, wary is more like it..." the Minstrelian considered, as he kept the smile on his face. Hexter did not return it. This man seemed to pride himself in being adept at reading emotions, but Hexter knew virtually all there was to know about concealing his. "Neither of the two, governor. I'm more  curious, actually. How can you be dressed up like this in this awful heat and not suffer a heatstroke?"

    A laugh was the reply, before the man spoke. "Ah, he wields dry humor like a sword. I love it. Normally, I don't like to divulge my secrets, but with you, I might make an exception. At the right price, which is quite hefty, I must add, one can obtain clothes that regulate one's body temperature. So, come cold or sweltering heat, panache need not be lost to dressing below one's station."

    Hex nodded. "That's nifty."

    "Indeed. You provided a very fine specimen this evening, if I must say so, and believe me, my tastes are quite high. Might I venture, out of simple curiosity, of course, how you managed to come by such a prize?"

    Hexter folded his arms and raised an eyebrow. "If I told everyone my trade secrets, I wouldn't be in the business now, would I?"

    The exotic stranger leaned in a bit closer, his eyes shining. "And pray, what business would that be?"

    "Impressing my customers."

    The Minstrelian let out a chuckle. "Isn't he a crafty one? Pardon my many questions, s'il vous plait, but I like to know who I'm working with, especially if they look like... prospective business partners."

    "It's so obvious I'm a newcomer here, huh?"

    "Dear boy, I know everyone who is a regular at the Ring of Blood. Besides, the boys told me they had a light... tussle with you. Out of necessity, they do not harass regular customers. It's bad for business."

    Hexter looked just a little bit irritated. "Did they also tell you that they tried to shank me, after offering a piss end bargain that even a three year old could identify as plain robbery?"

    The man put the hat to his chest and gave a slight bow. "And for that, I apologize on their behalf. It's how the business goes, but you should know that. Everyone tries to get the best cut out of things, and all is permitted, you know."

    "That's the reason I made no extra fuss once my proposition was accepted."

    A hopeful light was in the man's eyes. "So... you will not mind doing more business of this sort with us in the future?"

    "So long as the cut is good, no, I wouldn't mind one bit."

    "Tres bien!" he clapped his hands together, looking pleased. "And how often can we expect similar merchandise as the one you brought today?"

    Hexter regarded him impassively. "Hard to say, governor. I can get merchandise of all sorts every month, but I might be able to get something to your particular fancy at least every quarter year."

    The Minstrelian rubbed his chin. "Sounds like an honest answer, though I would have liked a higher frequency of delivery of these particular goods."

    "I'm expanding my outfit, governor, in the nearest future, and you know how important it is to get the right people without them being able to link anything back to a source. Still, once I have more hands, I can promise you something you'd like every time the Ring of Blood opens its doors."

    "Parfait! I'll be seeing more of you, then."

    "You mind if I ask you a question, governor?"

    "Of course not. You have been obliging enough, so far."

    Hexter smiled slightly. "Thanks. I just wonder if it's safe for you to go up against a combatant you know nothing about. The way I see it, there might be many unfortunates in the Ring who would want nothing more than to grind the moneybags into bone meal."

    "C'est vrai." he nodded. "But that is nothing to worry about. There's a reason people don't gamble on the matches which patrons are involved in... because the patrons always win."

    "Heh. Looks like you guys have it all figured out, huh?"

    "It's a business, my boy. Careful planning must be put in place to ensure success."

    The statement worried Hex, but it did not show on his face. He wondered what measures were put in place to ensure the victory of the adventurous patrons. Whatever it was, it would apply to Dia, too. She had told him to focus on his own aspect of the plan, but her safety was more important to him. He would jeopardize the mission if he had to, to ensure her survival, but he would only do it if it was apparent that she had run out of contingencies. He knew Dia was quite wily when she had to be; he would have to trust that.

    "Well, it's been fun chatting with you, dear boy. I hope we meet for more talk and drinks, during the event." The stranger held out a gloved hand. "Le Trompe. Pleased to make your acquaintance."

    Hexter took it in a firm hand shake. "Mortimer Lake. The pleasure is mine, governor."

    The two men parted ways, and Hexter headed towards the main entrance to the Ring of Blood, where he would present his VIP pass. "No need for you to know my real name, Le Trompe. At least, you won't need it where you're going."

    WC: 1105
    TWC: 7122/5000


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Dia Izuna
    Dia Izuna

    Player 
    Lineage : Serpent's Fang
    Position : None
    Posts : 199
    Guild : Abyssal Yeet
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 28,887

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: ???
    Second Skill: ???
    Third Skill: ???

    Ring of Blood Empty Re: Ring of Blood

    Post by Dia Izuna 17th September 2021, 10:09 am

    Hexter took advantage of every opportunity afforded him by the VIP ticket, wandering around every place that was not restricted, sampling all the dainty snacks and refreshments, though he found himself wondering how all this horribly bland stuff could cost a fortune, on a good day. He asked many questions, and was rather the inquisitive sort, and he knew that many of the Ring of Blood VIP staff were tired of him. Still, there was little they could do, as, from their strained politeness, he understood that they were not meant to be impolite to their guests. It wasn't like he was trying to be offensive on purpose, but who liked someone who thrust his nose into everything?

    All of this was a front, however. Every single place he wandered to was observed and analyzed in his mind, considering the closest exits to such a location as well as other things of interest that could serve as an advantage or improve his chances of success on this mission. He requested to know where the VVIP booth was, the place reserved for the owners of the Ring of Blood and their guests. He was obliged, but expectedly, was not permitted to get close. He could just stand at a distance and wish he would be invited in one day. Well, that was what he acted like, and that was what they thought. Leaving with a sigh, he wandered off again, strolling into the large lobby which was held up by many pillars. The spectator stands were above him, and in this lobby, he located the spot he was looking for. Satisfied that he would not miss it when the time came, he returned to where most of the other guests milled about, awaiting the opening of the arena.

    It wasn't so long after he had made his discoveries and perfected his plans that the portals to the spectator stands were opened, and the eager crowd moved into the amphitheater, taking their seats according to the numbers accorded them on the VIP passes. Hex noticed with no small degree of pleasure that his number afforded him a seat close to one of the doors. The doors within the Ring of Blood were understandably left open, albeit guarded, as guests might want to relieve themselves every now and then. The doors leading to outside, however, were locked once the activities of the night commenced. That was fine by him. Unless the owners of this bloody arena could manage a teleport, they would find it difficult to escape, when his plan was sprung. It was their hubris: they expected that the greater threat would come from without, and thus the doors were sealed. If any attack was made against the arena, it would vanish instantly, appearing somewhere else on the vast sands of Desierto. They had not considered what would happen if the enemy lurked within.

    From where he sat, he could see a large lacrima screen centrally positioned, where the names of the gladiators would be shown, and their match-ups. He could tell that most of the names were nicknames, what with their sheer impracticability in the normal world. He was sure that no one decided to name his child "Rat faced Butcher", for instance. It wasn't difficult to identify Dia's nomer, "Flame-hair", and she would be up against the "magnificent Le Trompe". Hex rolled his eyes. Suddenly, one of the names flickered and vanished, and the announcer let everyone know that to their utter regret, a fight had broken out among the gladiators, and one of them had been injured, and could not participate in his fight. That might be Dia at work, he considered, with the slightest hint of a smile. Soo, it would be his turn.

    The first fight was short and looked utterly one sided. A midget of a man was facing off against a mountain of a giant. And in less than fifteen seconds, the midget took down the giant. The crowd was silent for a few seconds, then burst out into a resounding roar. "That was unexpected," Hex muttered, as he watched the short champion perform a war dance. All it had taken to defeat the giant was a well aimed toss of the midget's shield to his unprotected neck. He did not enjoy watching these fights, but there was little else to do as he waited.

    The next fight was a lot more interesting, although Hexter would have preferred it if the limber beastman had won, instead of the beady-eyed rat-face. While the Joyan held his own for a while, Rat-face was more skilled, and eventually cut him down with a vicious axe blow that nearly separated the beastman's body in two. The crowd cheered and shrieked, obviously relishing the blood bath. Hex's face remained impassive, as he waited, still.

    Then finally, just as they had removed the corpse from off the sands, the announcer, in his dramatic way, called out the "flame haired vision of beauty". Dia appeared from the gladiator pens, armed with a sword and a shield, her movements slow. Hexter frowned. She looked like she was not in peak fighting condition, but she had warned him to stick to the plan. She could take care of herself.

    As Le Trompe stepped onto the arena sands, he was hailed with loud cheers. Obviously, people were looking forward to this fight. Hexter rose to his feet, and headed into the interior of the building.

    "Alright, Sinister; it's showtime."

    WC: 914
    TWC: 8036/5000


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Dia Izuna
    Dia Izuna

    Player 
    Lineage : Serpent's Fang
    Position : None
    Posts : 199
    Guild : Abyssal Yeet
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 28,887

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: ???
    Second Skill: ???
    Third Skill: ???

    Ring of Blood Empty Re: Ring of Blood

    Post by Dia Izuna 21st November 2021, 8:45 am

    The screams and roars of the crowd washed over the sandy center of the arena, a deafening tumult that washed over the combatants who squared off against each other. She was not sure the bloodthirsty crowds had been this excited with the other matches, as they were with this one. It was expected, anyway; she had been told that while the Ring of Blood promised mostly "interesting" matches, the two categories that were the crowd favorites were the "finals", a battle in which a gladiator could fight for their freedom, and the "exclusive" fights, where a patron did battle with one of the enslaved gladiators. The latter was usually some sort of powerplay, an attempt at the snobbish members of society to prove that they were also fierce and powerful. The arena spectators fancied these matches because, naturally, obviously doctored fights were boring and uneventful, and so it was a lex nonscripta for the patrons engaged in these handicapped matches to subject their victims to ingenious depravities, all for the entertainment of the crowds. And from the way people screamed Le Trompe's name, it was obvious he had mastered the art of entertaining them. Dia wasn't surprised. She knew first hand what he was capable of.

    Her hair falling over her face, Dia deliberately let her movements seem slow and lethargic as she stumbled towards him, then with a feral cry, she lunged with a clumsy slash. With his irritating signature simper on his face, he easily side-stepped her blow, then aimed a thrust of his own. Dia's shield arm went up, striking Le Trompe's rapier-like blade away from her body, as she lumbered away then turned to face him. She noticed that Le Trompe's grin had dropped by a few notches; clearly, he didn't expect her to defend so effectively against his strike. The blow had not been intended to be fatal, she knew, but from the way it was aimed, she was sure that he had intended to cut the already revealing clothes off her body, piece by piece. Trying to cling onto pieces of garb that were already falling off her would make her virtually useless in defending or attacking, and Le Trompe would be able to do whatever he wanted. That was how he expected this fight to go, she thought. It was very necessary that she had to be careful. Le Trompe had obviously figured that the poison she was supposed to drink had not been as effective as he had hoped, since she was not expected to be able to repel his attacks. Still, he looked confident, and Dia didn't like that.

    "You are an interesting one, flame-hair, to be able to move so easily on the sands while wearing those sandals," Le Trompe noted, as he sheathed his thin bladed sword. Dia frowned. Was he going to use magic? "I would have expected my conquest of you to be easier, but it matters little. Your struggles will only make my domination all the sweeter, ma cherie." He stretched forth his hand, and a large sword materialized, which he gripped with both hands. "I don't think you need that shield. Let me help you remove it."

    Le Trompe charged and made an attack... no wait, it was a feint! He had successfully predicted what she would try to do. Having heard that he wanted to divest her of her shield, she had attempted to dodge his strike, but it had proven to be false. Now, with the second incoming attack, she had no option but to block. The large sword smote the shield, driving her backwards. As she ground to a halt, he struck again, forcing her to use the shield to defend once more. If she let him continue like this, she would be quickly overwhelmed. She needed to make some attacks of her own, to shake his grip on this fight. She aimed a thrust at his face with her sword, but he simply knocked it aside with his, and made a downward blow. For the third time, she blocked, putting her head beneath her raised lower arm so that she would not have to support her shield arm with her sword arm. Despite this, the weight of the blow nearly knocked her to her knees. Still, she had the advantage in this split second: his sword was parried by her shield, and her own sword was still free. She made a slash at his chest, and he had to pull away to avoid being eviscerated by her weapon. She did manage to cut a jagged tear in his clothes, though it was unlikely her blade met his flesh. Le Trompe looked down at the ugly gash in his jacket, then at her. He was no longer smiling.

    "Do you know how much it costs to get a piece of fine tailoring nowadays?" he asked, the anger evident in his voice. Dia couldn't help smirking. "Not so full of yourself now, are..." Her sentence died with a gasp, as she noticed that her shield was crumbling into sand. "What on earth...?" "Oh, that?" Le Trompe was smiling again. "It's my sword's special ability. Anything the blade strikes becomes sand." He was smiling again. Dia hastily discarded the shield, in case the sand transformation might be transmissible to her body, then noticed that her sword blade had also crumbled. She cast the hilt to the ground. Le Trompe was beaming now, as his large sword disappeared, and he unsheathed his rapier. The crowd cheered in anticipation. "Now that those unpleasantries were out of the way, where were we?"

    Dia said nothing, she just backed away slowly as Le Trompe approached menacingly, an expectant leer on his face...



    Alone, Hexter walked with hands in his pockets through the empty galleries. The sounds from outside were muffled by the walls of the interior, and he couldn't tell what was happening in Dia's fight with Le Trompe. He passed by a few guards standing sentry and on patrol, who gave him quizzical looks. It wasn't that he was trespassing in any restricted areas; they had just expected that all the patrons would be out there, watching the fights. People had different tastes, anyway. There were a few of the patrons who would occasionally get bored and retire for the night. He was probably one of them.

    Hex returned to the large lobby, and stood at the spot he had identified earlier. The lobby was empty, so he didn't have to bear with anyone asking him questions. He looked up at the stone ceiling, stretched, cracked his neck, then let out a slow breath.

    "Here goes..."

    Hexter pointed upwards with a sharp motion, and the ceiling above him exploded raining showers of rocks, earth and bodies down into the lobby. Hex had made a run for it, getting out of harm's way once he initiated the attack. He waited a second, then strode back into the now littered lobby and levitated himself up through the gaping hole he had made, ignoring the cries  all around him. As he came into the room he had opened from below, the first thing he saw was a massive club swinging towards him. Instantly, his Safeguard was activated, blocking the attack, though it was still sufficient to send him flying into a corner of the room. Whatever held that club was a tough one. And when he saw the two headed creature skirting the hole to reach him, he had no doubts that it was the one who had attacked him. Still, he quickly looked around the room, searching for exits, and when he noticed the two doors that opened to outside, he stretched his arms, and the doors crumpled, effectively sealing off the room. Perfect. He had calculated correctly. This was the VVIP booth alright, and no one had expected that the attack would come from where it did. Already, gravity had helped take care of some of the people in this room, but the others were still alive. Hexter did not know who the owners of this establishment were, but he knew that they were in this room. So, if he killed all of them, his job would be accomplished. But first, there was the troll, or was it an ogre or what? It was clearly interested in bashing in his brain, but he was not interested in dying today. Some of the VVIPs were screaming, commanding the ettin to open up a door for them, but it  ignored them, and kept coming for him. That was actually the wisest thing to do. If it chose to ignore him, he could easily attack while it clubbed at the doors. The best thing was to first kill the assassin, then breaking out of the sealed room could be done without fear of attack.

    Hexter jumped to his feet and ran around the hole to the other side, but the brute came after him with a speed that surprised him. As it was about catching up to him, he jumped across the wide hole, augmenting his leap with his telekinesis. As he landed, he noticed that the ettin had jumped after him, and with its trajectory, it was surely going to clear the hole. Hexter smiled, and simply stopped it in mid-air. With a roar of helpless rage, the ettin plunged through the hole and was gone. With that out of the way, Hexter inhaled deeply and closed his eyes. He could hear the elite inhabitants of this room; some were pleading, some demanding, some equipping weapons. Then he opened his eyes, and they all turned to mincemeat.



    Outside, Dia decided that she had waited long enough. If she allowed Le Trompe to attack her persistently, there was no doubt that she would be overpowered. She broke into a run, and she heard Le Trompe snigger, and the crowds laugh. As she ran, she could hear him behind her, and he was catching up. She reached into her hair and pulled out the feather, spinning around just in time to see him jump through the air, aiming a thrust at her. Her momentum, coupled with her turning around, caused her to fall, but she was not afraid of being in the disadvantage anymore. The snow white feather transformed in a flash, and there was the report of metal on metal, as the shield of Pegasus ably saved her from the blow. As the spear materialized, she gripped it and thrust at his torso. Le Trompe jumped aside, his face full of shock. And in a swift move, Dia was back on her feet.

    "Let's see how you like being hunted, Le Trompe."

    The spectators let out a murmur, obviously confused as to what was going on. Then there was a dull boom, and shrieks erupted from the stands. That was probably Hexter doing his thing. It couldn't have been more aptly timed. She began walking towards Le Trompe, who backed away, calling, "Treachery! Treachery!" In a moment, all the doors that led to the gladiator pens opened, and various armed combatants came charging out, weapons at the ready. With a sigh, Dia activated the Swift Currents of the Pegasus, and said to them as they approached: "My quarrel is with none of you. Leave if you value..."

    The rat faced butcher interrupted her with a swing of his axe, and the spear of Pegasus replied as she ducked low beneath his broad blade, skewering him through the heart. The gladiators charged as one, and Le Trompe fled. Dia couldn't risk letting him get away, so she shot up into the air, like a comet, twirling to avoid a javelin before coming down right in front of the fleeing Minstrelian. He struck at her face, clearly panicking, and she blocked his attack with her shield. To Le Trompe's surprise, the eyes of the horse face on the shield flashed, emitting a bolt of light that hit him square in the chest and transfixed him to the spot. Dia laughed with glee. He wasn't going anywhere, any time soon, and that would give her enough time to dispatch these gladiators. She ploughed into them as they came, manipulating spear and shield to fly about, attacking and defending, while she used the weapons their slain had dropped against them.

    It was pure chaos at this point. Screams of panic came from all sides, as people stampeded each other in an attempt to get out. And while Dia killed the gladiators, Hexter had emerged from the VVIP booth, and was flattening anything his telekinetic powers could reach, spectators, guards, anything else. Once she was done on the sands, she charged into the pens. Those who stayed out of her way, she left alone; those who withstood her, she cut down without mercy. She first made sure that no one was breathing who challenged her, then she went to the infirmary. Fortunately, Asan was there, alive and unhurt. It was good that she had told him to stay put, because while she was fighting her battles, some of the gladiators had staged an uprising to fight for their freedom. No one thought  to visit the infirmary, unless it was to hide, and those who hid had chosen other areas.

    "Come, Asan, we are leaving this place," she called.

    Following her outside, the boy's eyes widened as e looked around at the gory mess Hexter and Dia had made between themselves."Oh... you folk are very brutal..." he said slowly. "Yeah, well, violence works wonders, if you ask me," Hexter quipped offhandedly, as he approached them. "You hurt, Dia?" She shook her head. "Alright. Are we good to go, then?" "No, Hex. I've still got Le Trompe to deal with. Take the boy outside. I'll meet you when I'm done." Hexter nodded. "Alright, boss. But you might want to be a bit quick, before reinforcements come or something. Besides, I think I left a troll or something in the lobby; it took quite a nasty fall, but I don't know if it's dead, yet."

    Dia simply nodded, then turned and walked back to Le Trompe, as Hexter ushered Asan away. She walked back to where Le Trompe stood, immobilized. "Come now, my dear, I'm sure we can strike a deal that would end in my release and favor the both of us,"  he said, trying to keep the fear out of his voice. Dia ignored his request. "The Hand of Doom," was all she said, and Le Trompe instantly shut up. He realized that she was someone from his past days as a pirate, days he had tried hard to keep buried. Not too many people knew that name, and most of those who did were long dead. "You wouldn't recognize me, which is a good thing, so let me help you. Do you remember that little cockroach who used to clean up after your murderous messes? Whom you enjoyed kicking and throwing things at?" Her voice lowered ominously. "Whom you forced to read the Tome of Tongues, and then tortured because the results were not what you expected? Do you remember?"

    Le Trompe had gone as white as a sheet. "You are... but we... it, I mean, she died... in that temple..." Dia chuckled evilly. "Oh yes, the girl died. And from her corpse, this one rose. And this one remembers, and cannot forgive. You are the Little Finger of the Hand of Doom. You, I shall cut off first."

    As Asan walked, he could faintly hear the pleas of Le Trompe, which soon escalated to horrifying shrieks. "What is she doing to him?" Asan wondered with a shudder. "You don't need to know, kid," was the curt reply. They made their way outside the Ring of Blood and waited. There were still a few people about, though most of them fled once they saw them. The guards who didn't, did not leave to regret the folloy of their actions. Some of the patrons had escaped, but that didn't matter. The owners had been slain, as their client had requested, and Asan had been rescued unharmed. This mission was a success, as far as anyone was concerned.

    Some while after the screaming had stopped, Dia emerged, wrapped in a cloak, her expression vacant. "Let's go," she said quietly. "I need a bath. And a good drink."

    Not a word was spoken by anyone as they returned back to the rendezvous point Abu Sayd had given them. The man was waiting for them when they arrived, and his worry transformed to joy when he saw his nephew was back safe and sound. Dia waited patiently through the reunion, her face completely devoid of expression, while Hexter tried not to look like someone that was late for an important interview. Finally, Abu Sayd approached them with a bag. "You completed the mission as perfectly as I could have hoped. With what I heard, from all the mayhem you left behind, it will be a while before anyone thinks about setting up another Ring of Blood again." He held out the bag to them. "Here is your pay... and some extra."

    Hex took the bag and counted the money inside. When he was satisfied, he nodded at Dia. "Pleasure doing business with you, Abu Sayd." He held up a hand in farewell. "Let's hope our paths cross favorably again." She shrugged. "I hope so."

    Dia and Hexter walked in silence for a while. "You look numb," Hexter observed finally. "Do you feel empty, after killing Le Trompe?" She turned and looked at him, her expression puzzled. "Empty? Goodness, no! I feel good, actually. I'm just tired, is all. And I've been doing a lot of thinking. Le Trompe was the weakest of the Hand of Doom. I have four more Fingers to take down, and they're stronger than he was." "Guess that means we have to up our game, huh?" "Yeah, we up our game is what it is."

    WC: 3000
    TWC: 11,036/5,000

    TOPIC FINISHED


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      Current date/time is 12th April 2024, 9:28 pm