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After counting their coin, and finalizing their business with the old man, the three travelers made their way to the Arena. It wasn’t hard to find, the dome-shaped building towered over every other building in Ramo, save the castle. As they got closer to walls, Rodrick started to feel sick to his stomach. The thought of being forced into a situation that could mean absolute death was gut-wrenching. Those big walls symbolized his demise.
At the front of the arena, there were to entrances; one for spectators and one for contestants. There was a long line waiting for a man at a table nearby to take bets on fighters who entered the tournament. The people standing in line gave Gjörn a stare of excitement when they saw him. Immediately, they broke their single file line and rushed over to the bet placer, presumably to put money on Gjörn who was now entering the arena with William and Rodrick.
Inside, there was a large group of men and women who were looking for fame and glory in these gladiatorial tournaments. They all become uneasy when the tall muscular brute that is Gjörn entered the room. They paid no mind to Rodrick, as he looked like one of them. When they all laid eyes on William, there was both confusion and amusement in their faces. William tried to pay them no mind, but he could feel the eyes on him.
"So, You miserable wenches are all here for your fortune eh?" A loud voice that stole all the attention from the room, asked. It belonged to a skinny man, with a colorful robe and piercings covering his entire face. As he walked in he immediately noticed the two elephants in the room; a green man and a young boy. He pretended the sight didn’t faze him and continued his speech. "I am Hatham! Grandmaster of this Arena. And you? You're all nobodies. Come from far and wide to participate in the deathmatches held in honor of the King's birthday tomorrow.
He began walking around the room, further inspecting all the contestants.
"Some of you will become legends!" He said as he walked past Gjörn. "Some of you, will die horrible deaths." He said as he walked past Rodrick, multiplying the terror he was currently feeling. "And some of you, shouldn’t even be here in the first place!" He said as he stopped and faced William.
William just looked up at him and smiled sarcastically.
"Are you lost, boy?" Hatham asked, annoyed that his time was being wasted.
"I'm exactly where I want to be," William answered.
Hatham rolled his eyes. "In order to distinguish the strong from the week, today you will be participating in preliminary fist fights. Those who lose, get to go home and live to fight another day." He looked back at William. "I can't, with good conscience, even allow you to participate in that. Go home boy. What would the King think if I let a child participate in a deathmatch?"
"What would the king think, if you told him you lost the chance of having an Orc fight in his Birthday tournament?"
"What?" Hatham said, confused. He looked over at Gjörn, who had his arms crossed and a cocky smirk.
"If the boy doesn’t fight, I don't. It's as simple as that."
Hatham looked back at William, who's confident smile was even more apparent. Hatham didn’t want to lose the orc, but he didn’t want to let this boy fight either.
"Fine, I'll allow you to participate in the qualifying preliminary fight." Hatham walked away to set up the arena, praying the boy wouldn’t make it past them.
"You better not lose then." Gjörn said.
"Oh, I won't. I'm more worried about Rodrick here."
Rodricks knees were shaking, and felt as if they were going to buckle.
"The first fight!" Hatham yelled into the crowd of contestants. "Will be between the Orc and Morris!"
They all entered the Arena. A small circle was formed by the contestants, and the fights were to take place within it. Gjörn entered the circle along with his opponent, Morris.
Morris was a tall man, decent build, looked like he knew his way around a fight. "Probably would have been a decent gladiator, if I wasn’t his opponent right now." Gjörn thought to himself.
Morris assumed a fighting stance and began circling the enclosed space they were fighting on. Gjörn walked around as well, but he had his hands down. He could see the nervousness Morris was feeling by the way he stomped about. He was constantly fidgeting his fists up and down, trying to feel Gjörn out. The orc gave him nothing, as he walked around as casual as ever. Finally Morris charged in and threw the first punch of the prelims, which Gjörn easily caught. Morris tried to shake his arm free, but Gjörn's grip was solid. With minimal effort, The orc twisted his arm and Morris screamed out in pain. Unable to do anything, he tapped his hands on the ground and Gjörn let go.
"By the Gods!" Hatham thought. "This Orc is stronger than I thought."
After a few battles between the contestants, Rodrick heard his name called. Before he got into the circle, William pulled him aside.
"Now." William started. "Don't even think about throwing this fight away, because if you do, I'll take my knife and plunge it deep into your stomach. Am I clear?"
Before Rodrick could answer, William shoved him into the circle.
Rodrick stumbled forward. He reached out and grabbed somebody to regain his balance. He looked up at his savior, but was greeted to an angry face. The man shoved him off and assumed a fighting stance. He was Rodrick's opponent.
"Come on, squire!" William yelled. "Keep your hands up!"
Rodrick glanced over at William, which gave his opponent an opening. He threw a left hook that knocked Rodrick off his feet.
"Are you kidding me?" William yelled.
Rodrick tried to shake it off, but his head was spinning. His opponent gave a confident smile, and invited Rodrick to get up for more.
Slowly getting up to his feet, Rodrick kept his eyes on his opponent. He knew he had to win this, or William will likely kill him. He put his fists up and rushed over to his opponent. Who then uppercut him right in the chin, making Rodrick's head fling backwards. His opponent watched as Rodrick's body slowly tilted backwards. He started walking away, assuming his fight was over, but Rodrick couldn't just take the loss, his life was on the line. He planted his foot behind him, stopping his fall. Ignoring the pain and fatigue he was feeling, Rodrick gripped his opponent's head and crashed his own against it. His opponent went limp and fell backwards.
"Whoo!" William yelled! He looked over at Gjörn who smiled and started clapping. "Way to go squire!"
Rodrick just smiled, and then fell on his face.
"Damn." William thought, cutting his celebration short. "I wonder if he's going to be okay."
As some of the contestants pulled the two bodies out of the Arena, William heard his name called by the grandmaster.
William got into the circle and waited. The grandmaster then looked at his list.
"Jorgan!" He yelled.
"Are you kidding me?" A man from the group, presumably Jorgan, protested. "I deserve better than to fight some boy!"
"Jorgan, calm down." Hatham pleaded.
"No! I didn't come out of retirement to fight children!"
Haytham rolled his eyes, and then pulled him aside.
"Look Jorgan. I picked you because you look scary. I know better than anyone that you would have passed this qualfier with ease. I just want you to scare this boy home.
Jorgan angrily looked over at William, and then back at Haytham. "Alright, but if I hurt him, that’s not on me."
"Well, at least I warned him." Haytham said regretfully.
"All right boy!" Jorgan said, walking around William, trying to look as menacing as possible. "You think you got what it takes to throw down with grown adults, do ya?"
William observed his opponent. He was tall, muscular and had more scars on him then Gjörn. "He looks like he could kill me with his bare hands, if he doesn't underestimate me." William thought to himself. "Luckily, I know he will."
"Well, What are you waiting for boy!" Jorgan taunted. "Come and fight me!"
William was still and quiet. Gjörn watched on, suspicious of William's sudden humility.
"I get it. You're scared!" Jorgan laughed. "Here, I'll give you one free hit."
Jorgan crossed his hands behind his back, and crouched so he was at eye height with William. "Go on!" He said.
Gjörn shook his head in disappointment. "He just handed the fight to the boy." He said out loud. Invoking strange looks from the contestants who heard him.
William might have been small, but he knew how to punch, and more importantly, where to punch. He put his hands up in good form that was noticed by both Jorgan and the Grandmaster. He then threw a punch that landed plush on Jorgan's Adams apple. Jorgan coughed in pain and disbelief, as he tried to regain his composure, but couldn't as he was choking. William seized his opportunity and delivered two more hard punches to Jorgans nose and temple. Jorgan's legs were starting to feel weak, Which William took notice of. He kicked his knee, causing his opponent to kneel. William then grabbed his hair and pulled downwards until his head was against the floor, and began pounding his face. With each blow, Williams hand was painted with blood. After five or six punches, William stopped his attack and released his opponent. The entire crowd including the grandmaster watched in astonishment as the mighty Jorgan was lying unconscious on the ground. William lifted his fist up and looked over at Haytham. Jorgan's blood dripped off his hand and into the ground.
"It looks like I won." William said with a devilish smile.