The sand of the Khamen-Rey desert was blistering, Blowing and cutting skin, the sun beat down on Thornin's skin reddening and blistering at it's
touch. His camel had died days earlier now already it seemed mummified, slowly being covered by the sand, almost covering it completely. Thornin
decided to move on, he found a grove of rocks he could take refuge in, but for how long, his water was near dry, and the last suitable bits of his
camel were now rotted completely, if he didnt move now and try to find a town or even a source of water, he would die, slowly and painfully. He never
thought of his own mortality much before this, but now it weighed on him with a crushing force, for once he felt anxious about his impending doom. It
wasn't an ancient evil, or a foul beast looking to feast on him, it was nothing, but everything at the same time, this was something he could not
physically beat or wrestle to submission, it was nothing his blade could sink into, he felt virtually powerless. All he could do was keep moving, but
to where? Where was he, where was he going, he did not know, only the fates did. The sand was shifting and became so deep at one point he was in up to
his knees, using every bit of might to move his legs, he felt his energy being drained, his vision became blurry with every step he took until finally
he fell face first into the sand. A feeling took over him, a very disconnected feeling with tunnel vision, everything started spinning until finally,
everything was black, he went limp and was disorientated until everything ceased but darkness.
He faded in and out of consciousness, going between blurry light and then darkness, flooding then receding. At one point he thought he felt himself
being lifted, but that wasn’t possible he was in the middle of a barren wasteland with nothing around for miles. He felt rain in his dreams, cool
clean rain falling all over his body, then he saw himself under a waterfall in an oasis, water trickling down his whole body, then back to darkness.
Finally he woke, for the first time he could see clearly and knew he was in fact awake, and not in the desert but in a tent, on a cot, comfort
enveloped his whole body and he wished not to wake or leave, but he was himself again and now he had to find out what was going on, or at the very
least thank the people who saved him, he began to rise and was jerked back and heard clinking, as he looked at his leg he saw a chain and bracket
secured around it and the other end on a boulder spiked into place.
“What is this?” he asked himself, it seemed he spoke to soon and wasn't saved, but instead was being held prisoner, but to whom? All his
strength couldn't free him, he would have to wait and see and plan accordingly, luckily, there was a bucket of water by his cot and a metal cup, he
drank as much as he could, even when a sick feeling hit his stomach from the dehydration and the sudden abundance of water in it, he still drank.
Thornin could feel his strength returning his long blonde hair had been cleaned and rid of all the sand, his bulging muscles were no longer covered in
sweat stuck sand and grime, why all the effort if he was only to be a prisoner?
Finally a short fat man came into the tent and Thornin tensed and tried to rise,
“Let me go!” he growled, “you have no right to hold me prisoner!” The man just looked at him in evil glee, “Actually I do have right, I
found you half dead, revived you, you owe me your life.” He laughed at the thought of this, “You will pay me in full.”
Thornin retorted sarcastically, “I will pay you everything you deserve if you but give me my blade”, The man showed no fear, apparently he knew
not who he was dealing with. His demeanor now became child like wonder as he sat on a chair away from the warrior, sizing him up and really taking him
“ Let me tell you about what I do mercenary.” He said.
“I am not a mercenary fool, I Care about none but myself.”
The man did not pause at this, he continued on his point, “ I find people, or take people, whichever works for the circumstances, People on the
fringe, with nothing left to give, And I sell them, you see I have very good business in Veragon, the capital in Acroploi., Which just happens to be
where we are heading.” he took an apple from the tray of fruit on the small table by his chair, breathed on it and shined it and took a bite,
thinking while he chewed. Thornin looked on, waiting for the rest of what he had to say, finally after waiting a little the man continued,
“They have a new spectacle there, have you heard?” He sounded almost giddy. “ Oh it's great fun, you see there's a public battleground they
call a coliseum, and two men go there and fight to the death, or they have beasts, monsters, whatever the people wish to see, the emperor Caustus
makes it happen.
He comes to me saying, Arga, Arga, the people are not pleased, I need a new foe for the enjoyment of the coliseum, and I, being the businessman I am
make it happen.”
Thornin heard enough and said “ Your pockets must overflow, but I will not help them, I kneel to no man, I listen to no man.”
Arga looked shocked and said, “ believe what you want, but you are going to Veragon, you will make my money and fight, and with any luck you will
die with glory. There is no way out of this, and you would do well to do what your told, that is all,” and he left. Enraged , Thornin tugged and
yanked at the chains trying to break free, but to no avail.
The next day, Arga and four other big men came into Thornin's tent, one went to the rock and used a key to open the link securing it, at this
Thornin rose up lightning fast going for the closest one, reaching and grabbing until he felt pain in his head and dropped to the floor cold, the last
thing he heard was the rock that cracked him thudding to the floor and the feeling of being lifted again, in a daze he passed out. He awoke to the
blistering sun again, moving and being rocked around, he was chained again, this time inside of a cart being pulled across the desert by camels, he
looked around and saw other men chained looking as miserable as himself. “Where do you come from?” a voice asked. He looked around and saw a
brazen man looking at him curiously. “Nivleheim.. and you stranger?” He answered briefly, he did not know any of these people.
“From East marsh, I was taken after my family was killed, my name is Horan.” The man sulked.
“They found me almost dead in the desert, and now think I owe them my life.” Thornin told Horan.
“But they do not know who I am, I am Thornin, and am my own ruler.” The warrior said matter of factly.
After a while of silence, Horan turned to talk and said, “They take us to fight, and to die, every battle fills their coin purses.”
“It seems I will fight,” Thornin started,” But I will not die, and I will not be captive for long, and May the gods protect those who have
imprisoned me, for I will have no mercy on them.”
“ Strong words, do you know this will be”? Horan asked.
Thornin simply smiled menacingly and nodded, and Horan knew he was serious about his fate.
“ I would have my freedom as well, if you need my hand.” Horan said, as the carriage rolled on to Acropoli.