Samantha had never been the strongest but she had always been the most talented. She had learned early on that she would need to use her mind not her body to make it through the battles. She had first come to the arena five years ago when she was only fifteen. Her mother and father had been killed in a raid and she had been captured. She often thought of the night the slavers had changed her life. She used that anger to keep her going.
She ran across the hard packed earth heading for a barrier. She felt an arrow whiz past her arm and thud into the wall in front of her. She zigged and zagged as she sprinted.
This had been the toughest battle yet. She was up against a man she had never seen before. He was tall and muscular, in fact if they had been in a different time and place she wouldn’t have minded getting to know him better. But in this time and place she would have to kill him. It was sad but she had to win.
She jumped behind the barrier just as another arrow whizzed by, skinning her leg. She felt the red hot liquid that she had grown so familiar with begin to run down her leg.
The crowd went wild seeing first blood. This was always a big event because they would bet on anything and everything. The biggest, of course, was who would win and how they would win.
Samantha hated every one of them. She couldn’t understand how people could watch other people kill. She hated the final blow that she had given so many of her fellow combatants. But if given the chance she wouldn’t mind giving those in the crowd a final blow.
She glanced over the barrier, the man was moving closer. That was exactly what she was waiting for. He would be close enough soon. Oh how she would hate giving him the final blow. His blue eyes looked like the sky and his blonde hair flowed in the slight breeze. He moved like a giant cat. How she would hate to kill this graceful animal.
He was almost within distance when he stopped. He stood and dropped his guard.
The crowd booed.
Samantha knew that if something didn’t happen soon they would send in the guards. They didn’t mind killing and they would slaughter both of them. She had seen it happen on several occasions when her fellow combatants refused to fight. The guards would come and play with them at first then they would humiliate them as much as possible. When her fellow combatants had nothing left in them the guards would simply kill them. She didn’t want to die this way and she and her fellow combatants had made a pact to never allow this to happen again.
She pulled two daggers from her waist and slowly slid from behind the barrier.
The man grinned.
His teeth are perfect, his smile is perfect. Who is this man?
He held his ground.
Slowly Samantha headed toward him, knowing that any moment he could pull the arrow and she would be done.
The crowd was on their feet again cheering.
“We can beat them,” he said.
Samantha stopped. What did he mean? No one had ever beaten the guard.
“You know we can,” he said.
Sweat trickled down her cheek. The hot summer made the air thick and hard to breathe. She walked in a crouch beginning to circle the beautiful man.
“I will not kill you. I could have already if I wanted to.” The man’s grin broadened. He held the bow and notched arrow with one hand and held up the other.
“They’ll kill us both,” Samantha said. She moved in closer holding one arm up in front and the other held high. The daggers glinted. They had been given to her from her trainer.
“Fight!” she said.
The man walked toward her. “We can take them. Stand by the gate.”
The booing began again. The guards would be waiting, hoping for the chance to kill.
Samantha glanced at the gate. The guards’ dirty toothless faces jeered at her. They banged on the gate with their weapons.
Her heart skipped a beat. “We must fight so that only one of us dies this day,” she said.
“I will cover you. We can take them I know we can. You must trust me.”
He doesn’t understand. I’m not afraid of dying it’s the fear she saw on her fellow combatants faces as they were tortured. She had never seen so much fear.
“You’re strong. Believe in yourself.”
Maybe he’s right? Maybe we can beat them. I would rather kill the guards than this beautiful man.
Samantha nodded her headed slowly and edged toward the gate.
The crowd erupted in a deafening roar. The gate was beginning to open.
She turned to face the real enemy.
The guards cheered banging their weapons on their black armor. The gate was open and they walked out confidently their long jagged swords dripped with their deadly venom.
Samantha walked toward them, sweat dripping from her face.
An arrow flew past her hitting the first man. It had found a space between his helmet and neck guard. The crowd was silent as the man fell to the ground.
There had never been a casualty on the guards’ side and here, within seconds of the gate opening, one was down.
They can be killed. Samantha, more confident, moved in. Her body was bent low in a defensive stance. Her two daggers held ready.
Another arrow and another guard dropped.
The guards charged.
Samantha dodged to the right, swinging her dagger as she circled around the guard. There was a loud ting as metal hit metal. She almost dropped her blade as the vibration moved up her arm. Continuing with the circle her second blade cut across his arm. She had bloodied him.
She twisted as a huge blade narrowly missed her and thudded into the ground at her side. Rolling on the ground and then back to her feet she saw two more guards rush in from the gate.
They pulled long rifles from their backs, aimed, and fired.
The man dove to the side and the two bullets buried themselves deep into the ground. He was back on his feet letting another arrow go. It bounced off the armor of one of the guards that stood next to Samantha.
She saw her chance and plunged her blade deep into the guard’s back underneath his cold armor. The blood ran warm over her hand.
My first real kill.
Another bang went off and she felt something bite her arm. She dropped one of the daggers. Pain rose through her arm and into her shoulder. She dove to the right, narrowly missing another blade aimed at her chest.
“Get to the gate,” the man shouted.
There were two sword guards and two more with rifles between her and the gate. She charged letting out a yell.
“Kill them. Kill them. Kill them,” the crowd roared.
Holding her wounded arm to her side she reached the first guard. Rolling beside him she felt his sword catch her shirt. She stood and with a backward thrust connected with the back of his neck. The falling guard jerked the dagger from her grip.
Another arrow connected with the guard in front of her and he fell.
Samantha rolled again. She saw fear in their eyes. She pulled a small throwing knife from her belt. Closing her eyes for a moment she thought of the knife being frozen. She threw the frozen knife at the guard. Upon impact it exploded sending tiny slivers of metal and ice in all directions.
Tiny pricks of blood began to flow from the guards’ faces as they screamed in agony. They grabbed at their faces clawing at some horror that only they could see.
Samantha grinned as she ran to the gate. They were going to make it.
She could here the uproar as they ran underneath the coliseum toward the courtyard outside.
“There will be horses waiting for us, we must hurry.”
When they reached the courtyard there was a man on a horse holding the reigns of two more.
They leapt onto the horses and headed for the city gates. Samantha followed after the men wondering who they were and where they had come from. She looked over her back at the coliseum. I’ll return some day and avenge my parent’s death.
The three rode off into the hot desert toward the finger of God.