As they stopped, a group of city guards circled the wagon with their spear heads poised on the prisoners, letting two others open the wagon, and
unchain the men, herding them out into the street, then chained back to a huge stone wall. Thornin saw hoards of well dressed aristocrats walking
around the men, examining, asking questions, They were being put on display, Thornin realized.
Finally a small group came to him and Horan, examining, touching, one woman even stuck her hand inside Thornin's leggings, and her eyes got very big
with wonder, He pulled away and spat on her, and after, A large hefty man came up and cracked him in the shoulder with a wooden club, he was grizzled
looking, his flesh burnt and scarred, he drooled as he looked at Thornin, like a rabid dog seeing a small child.
The man boomed with authority when he spoke, “ Look here scum! I am your maestro, I decide what happens to you now, and you will train with my whip
at your back, or you will die with my dagger in your heart.” As he said this, he pushed Thornin back against the wall and put his huge hand on
Thornin's throat, “ Understand, slave?” he spat.
The maestro was almost as big and Hefty as Thornin, almost, but his might was no match to the great warrior's strength.
“ I will enjoy ripping your head off with my bare hands.” Thornin said with that same menacing smile.
The maestro just looked at him in spite and chuckled as he walked away.
Arga then approached him, and said, “ I have bought three of you for myself, you will fight under my banner, you, Horan, and the Aztlandian over
there.” He jerked behind himself with his thumb towards who he meant, and Thornin looked over and saw one of the warriors from the jungle land, he
had dark skin, almost like clay, with inked tattoos on his face and body, a loin cloth and the traditonal feather head dress from that land. Thornin
had ran into these warriors before, many times, and knew they were fierce in battle, “ Glad he's on our side this time,” Thornin thought.
They were put back into the wagon, as the prisoners were taken to those who had bought them, only the strongest would be used for the coliseum.
After a while, it was only the three Arga had bought, as they made there way to his pavilion. They were out of the city proper and into the vinelands,
they could see a great mansion, in the middle of the vine rows, oak tress and palm trees around it. As they got closer they could make out finer
details, they saw pillars on the front steps, which were highly detailed and wound upward in a half spiral. They went around back, and saw a place
they never would have guessed had been there, the whole back yard of the mansion was walled off by immense stone walls, at the back of the structure,
there were walkways going under the mansion, to living quarters no doubt. Once inside of the stone wall, the ground was a fine sand, like the sand in
the coliseum, there were wooden dummies, targets for javelins and arrows, there were iron weights to be lifted, and there were a few other men already
there, practicing with wooden swords. They were literally rocking each other with each strike, on the leg then a thrust to the mid section, one
grabbed the others arm mid plunge pulled him close and put the wooden sword to his throat. Then out of nowhere,
“ CRACK!” the snap of a whip close to Thornin's ear, he looked to where the sound came from and saw a familiar figure. It was the maestro with
the burned and scarred face, grinning with malice at him,
“ Welcome to the pit, dog, it is here I will break your whole being, and when you hear the crack of my whip, you will fall to your knees pleading
Thornin looked at him grinning back and said, “ When I am done, It will be you falling to your knees, after I take your head.”
The maestro had an angry look on his face and gripped his whip tighter, ready to send it cracking to Thornin's face, but Arga stopped him, saying “
If you break it, you pay for it out of your ass.” The maestro looked and nodded but looked at Thornin and his eyes grew dark.”
They started their training, practicing with wooden blades, some used net and trident, others wielded two swords, some had axes, they were all
proficient in killing.
Everything was locked down tight at nighttime and it seemed escape by that venture was impossible, Thornin would have to think of a better way. He,
Horan, and the Aztlanidian, who they called Goya shared a cell, and often spoke how to be free, Goya did not speak much but he understood,. but every
conclusion was realized to have major flaws. They had been training for weeks, the maestro still used Thornin as an example, but he didnt let it get
to him, he knew soon he would have vengeance. They were woken up early the next day, and brought out on the training sands, Arga was there to greet
“ In two days time, you will be stepping out upon the sand, some of you for your first time, many of you will die, but it will be glorious.” Arga
announced. “ You will train harder and longer than you have before, good luck to you all.” Arga said, and walked away. The training commenced and
the maestro was on everyone with the whip. Mid day they stopped and ate and drank water, and then right back into it.
Later, when the day was finished, and everyone back in their cells, Thornin was talking to Horan, about the coming days.
“They have more than men to fight, they have beasts too, beasts from far away, the like most have never gazed upon.” Horan said.
Thornin simply said, “ nothing will stand in my way, man, beast, demon, let them come and meet a swift death.”
Arga came into the cell area, and stopped at Thornin's cell, he looked on for a bit and spoke,
“ Northerner, you have great promise, and a warrior's spirit, I thought you might like to know, what your fighting.”
“And what is it I'll be killing?” Thornin replied.
“ In the eastern lands, there is a creature feared by all, it guards, and kills without question, you will be fighting the Cyclops.”
Horan shuddered and whispered, “ The cyclops...”
Arga looked at him, smiling with menace, “Horan, you will be helping him, the two of you against the cyclops.”
Horan just had a look of daze and slowly slid down the wall to a sitting position, he felt utterly helpless.
Arga knowing he achieved his goal of psyching out at least one of them, took his leave, laughing as he walked up the stairs.
“Don't worry,” Thornin told him, “ This cyclops will be no match, we will kill it, and then somehow, get out of here. I'm tired of playing
along with this game, and its about time we took our leave.”
The next days training went much like the first, grueling, hard, hot, a whip constantly at his back, Goya was training with a spear, he seemed very
lethal with almost any weapon they handed him. The maestro was going extra hard on Thornin, no doubt trying to tire him out for the next day, because
little did he know, if Thornin lived through the cyclops fight, the maestro would be next, then Arga, then his freedom. As Thornin slept, he planned
out the fight, he knew this about the cyclops:
They were dim-witted.
They only had one eye and bad peripheral vision.
They were big, but slow.
In Thornin's mind, this was perfect for a quick kill, especially with Horan, who was older, but quick, and deadly all the same, especially because of
the rage he had for this situation, his family killed, himself kidnapped and sold, forced to fight against his will. Goya could handle himself and was
not fighting a cyclops, so they had faith he would be OK. The sweat made his tattoos shine, and he had a look of content on his face, he was ready for
In the morning, they were woken up, bathed, and dressed in their armor, given final sappy words by Arga proclaiming them to die bravely and how they
will fill his coin purse and then loaded in the wagon and shipped off to the coliseum.
The day was hot and humid, the sun relentless, the sea of people only added to this once they were in the city again, they went into the prisoner
quarters of the coliseum and were caged, waiting for their turn. They saw many battles, A deserted palmynian guard took on two great panthers, A
native acropolian fell to a minotaur, who feasted on his corpse before being herded back to its pen. Goya was taken out to the sand and lions flooded
the coliseum, at least six to seven, but could he move, he had a spear with an axe head, and a bow and arrow strapped to his back, one lion was shot
through the head, two more impaled by his spear, the others kept coming and leaping and he made round wide slashes with his spear opening soft bellies
and throats. After his victory he was ushered back into the pen with Thornin and Horan, looking at them blankly like he had no idea what was
happening. Thornin pointed to him, then to Horan and himself, and simply said, “Freedom” and smiled, the Aztlandian's eyes widened and hope grew
on his face, he nodded understandingly and looked around vigilantly. It was now time to face the cyclops, and Thornin and Horan were ushered onto the
As they entered the battleground, roars of cheers boomed, it was complete chaos, some people seemed like mad men the way they jumped up and down and
pointed, wildy flailing in their seats. They were in the middle of the large ring and heard, Thump,Thump, Thump, Boom! And a great roar from behind
the gate. Thornin and Horan were secured together with a long piece of chain and left to their fates, while the gate raised slowly, and a large pair
of feet could be made out. Higher the gate went and knees could be seen, then belly, and finally the great eye as the cyclops came bounding out of the
He was bumbling, not very agile, and very heavy on his feet, the large wooden club he had was like a tree pulled from the earth and only made him see
“Stick together until I say so!” Thornin yelled at Horan in the midst of all the noise.
As the cyclops got closer, he raised his club and brought it down hard where the men were, but they saw it coming a mile away and leapt out from it's
path. As they did this Thornin ran by one of the giant feet, and hacked and slashed at the ankle, trying for the Achilles’s tendon, but the skin was
like a pile of thick leathers, Horan was doing to the same on the other side to no avail. The cyclops kicked his feet, trying to brush away the
stings he was receiving, and the men jumped out of the way, and ran back a good distance to measure the monsters next attack. He came bounding
ungracefully towards them, raising his club again, Thornin seized this moment, and took some of the chain, and tossed it over the end of the club that
crashed down in front of them, he yanked and pulled and grunted like a workhorse trying to release the club from the cyclops's grip, as he looked at
Horan, the cyclops caught the man with a backhand smack sending him flying a distance and rolling across the sand, winded and hurting. The cyclops
then turned his attention to the downed man, turning and making his way toward him slowly, almost giddy for a meal, grunting sounds of excitement,
with his attention elsewhere, Thornin had a plan, he grabbed chain and ran behind the cyclops, he then weaved in and out between the monsters legs,
who stopped and looked down in child-like wonder, scratching his head, and bringing his hand down, as if to squash a fly. Thornin had just circled
most of the chain between the cyclops's legs and and took his sword and stabbed at the massive hand coming towards him, enraging the beast. Thornin
then ran ahead of the cyclops who was so violently angry he began to chase with out realizing the chain and took a single step and the chain wrenched
down on his legs and the monster fell forward on his face, dirt in his eye, and almost helpless. The cyclops flailed to find the chain, and once he
did, he began pulling it, pulling Thornin right to his open mouth. He was only feet away from the nauseating, stank black hole of razor sharp teeth
when Horan woke from his daze.
Horan saw the monster mostly incapacitated but pulling Thornin to his doom, and got up at once and ran dead on for the cyclops, unsheathing his blade
and jumped on his face burying the blade in the beast's one massive eye. It reared and boomed in pain, rolling across the sand, painting it with
blood, “ GRRRROOOWWWRRR, GRRRROOOWWWRRR! Was the only sound it made, and Thornin seeing his opportunity ran to the beast and started bringing his
blade down on the monsters neck, cutting slowly deeper and deeper, Horan joined in as well, The horrible noises got worse as the two slowly, very
slowly, decapitated the creature. Finally after a long time being covered in blood, the creature failed to move or breath, and the crowd was silent,
that was the slowest, most brutal, inhumane death they ever witnessed and couldn't muster a single noise besides horrification. Thornin threw his
Blade into the crowd out of pure disgust for the people, and it sunk into an aristocrat's head and he slumped over. The two men, then fell to the
ground rearing in false pain, and putting on a good show of it too, Arga yelled from the cage to bring them in, don't let them die, and they were put
on flat boards and carried into the cage. Arga met them inside and said,
” You two will go directly back to the mansion to be healed, you will make me richer than in my dreams The aztlandian will go with you as well, he
has wounds that need tending.
The two looked at each other and smiled and were loaded into the cart before everyone else and taken back.
A while later they arrived, and were put in their cells, and left alone until someone came to heal them. The maestro came in and bluntly said, “
I'm not to let you die, The medic will be here soon, I'll be down the hall.” He spit at Thornin on his way out, laughing. After he left Goya was
on the ground rolling in pain, and screaming, Thornin cut him and made him bleed. The maestro heard the commotion and came running back, upon seeing
the Aztlandian bleeding on the ground he opened the gate and went to him, as he crouched down, he saw he was faking and went to get out quick, but it
was to late, Thornin was upon him and had him in a choke hold from behind, with a dagger to his spine.
“You will take us to Arga, pig.” Thornin boomed.
“ You will let me go slave, you wont make it two feet down the hall before your dead.” The maestro yelled.
“ That's why your going to help us, and if you don't I'll kill you right now.” Thornin whispered in his ear.
Horan and Goya stood in front of the maestro, with Thornin behind, the dagger still stealthily to his back and walked down the hall, telling the guard
they had been summoned by Arga for their victory.
Once at his door they knocked, and the maestro announced himself, and the men came in, locking the door instantly behind them, and Horan running to
Arga and putting his hand over his mouth, and his dagger to his back.
“ Wh- Wh- What do you want?” Arga stammered through Horan's hand.
Goya stood by the door listening for guards or any unwanted company while Thornin still stood behind the maestro and said, “ Well first of
And put his massive arms around the maestros neck again, “ I told you I would rip your head off with my bare hands,”
Before the maestro could let out a whole scream, Thornin pulled and yanked and heard CRUNCH! As the maestros neck broke, and his head and part of his
spine came off in the warrior's grip.
Arga screamed at the sight of this and Horan punched him in the back of the head, silencing him,
Thornin said, “ Where is my sword and the things you stole from me!?”
“O- O-Over there, in the locked closet” Arga stammered.
Thornin went to the closet, and broke the wood doors, there, his sword hung from a peg, his bracers, and leggings, his satchel and coin purse,
everything that was in his possession before this calamity.
Thornin turned to Horan and Arga, thinking briefly, and said,” Horan, you kill the man that slaughtered your family,” and spit on Arga and Left
the room with Goya for Horan to take care of his business. Afterward, they put some of Arga's fine dress clothes on over themselves, hid the two
bodies and walked right out through the front, went around the city, picked up two horses, and were free. They bid eachother to call upon them if ever
needed, and rode away from the living hell of Acropoli.