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(BIR) Trisha Talon in Lupinoss (WIP/WT)(PG13)
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Ammy Spiritor
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 11:58 am    Post subject: Chapter 5 part 2 Reply with quote

I hate sand. No two purrs or bones about it. I hate it. It cakes into fur at the slightest drop of sweat, abrades every place it can seep into and those places are too many to count. Some places one may not even be aware until sand spills forth from clothes, crevasses, creases and nooks. Thankfully after three days riding during the cool silver of the sun Linus and resting during the scorching gold of the sun Leo, we had reached the lime and obsidian walls of a large city. Above one of its many gates for entry and exit hung banners depicting three orbs with lines radiating straight up from them. The orbs and lines were black on a field of gold. The heraldry of Spihrihtor as Mihlihssah educated me from her lead position on the saddle of our Higo. She seemed more animated and talkative when we reached this city. Perhaps she was a city girl and less a rolling hills ruffian like I was.

Evidently, among the sands of Luupihnohs there was a great and powerful mahgiit of soolmah. His name was Spihrihtohr and he was slowly amassing an empire in the sand to carve out his own nation in Luupihnohs. He wasn’t Dehsii by Mihlihssah’s discourse, instead he was like her, a Sohltrii that could use magic and evidently a rather long lived Sohltrii as well. The city was a mix of Sohltrii and Dehsii by majority, both subspecies seeming to have found the deserts hospitable for their various reasons, exile being a chief reason in that melting pot. However, what makes the city of Spihrihtor was the wealth of wise elders and mahgiit that could do wonders with their soolmah. It was also a city known for its varied and rich glass wares and artisan glass craft.

We entered through the southern market gate and were greeted to the sight of guards. They were bruiting and brooding Ehrthrii like I had fought in the duel and inspected all caravans and carts coming into the city that caught the attention of their Dehsii overlords. We were passed through when our owners handed a glass like disc that was black to a Dehsii and it swirled to transparency revealing a crest with an eye crossed out with an X. Mihlihssah and I were never given a single glance by the guards as we rode in. If I thought Glahsseel was a town of wonder, I was not prepared for the juggernaut of senses that rolled over and through me from Spihrihtor city.

Square brick buildings were packed in along the main roads with rickety, cut throat alleys breaking up what seemed like designated zones of class. The smells of a nearly a million bodies in one, hot arid desert contained behind walls was exotic, heady, enchanting and revolting. Almost like getting your first set of armor, the look, feel and gleam making you purr until you realize your armor reeks of dead fish from a disgruntled pageboy. Few like or trusted fishy smelling crusaders. Towards the middle of the city rose a massive tent city of its own where the markets lay. Flanked on its right was a large, partially domed coliseum which I marked easily as our new hell away from hell. Flanking the market to its left was the tallest tower I’d ever seen created out of obsidian. In the center of the market and city was an elaborate palace with walls, crenellations, and at least 8 visible towers within it, each one with an onion top of worked gold shining bright in the rays of Leo and bearing a different crest upon each one in a different color.

Our path lead straight to the coliseum as the market tents gave way to gated corridors of black iron, each one holding an amusement to behold. There were males, females and children of all ages and species of Luupihnohsai in several of the holding areas sparring, practicing and shedding blood even with the barely blunted training weapons. Massive Hihgos of a breeding I’d never seen before stamped hooves and reared and jumped to the rhythm and rhyme of whip wielding trainers. There were even creatures that looked like the Ehrthrii, but were wider; slightly stooped, rugged black fur and eyes that were mostly solid black that hung over a slathering jaw. I pointed at one of the black monstrosities.

Mihlihssah looked where I had pointed and gave a small gasp. “Only a madman collects Wereluuns, only a matter of time before someone is careless then there will be lots of death. Must be one of the many exotic beasts the gladiators can be paired up against to fight if the crowds grow tired of gladiators killing each other.”

I eyed the Wereluuns. Something about them seemed oddly familiar to me from my lands. “Are they related in any way to Werewolves or Lycanthropes?”

She nodded with a sad note to her voice. “They are exactly that, Trisha. Ancient and holy texts tell of our people being made by the gods in three equal parts: Humaran, Werewolf, and Wolf. It is why we are so canine in our looks, thinking and ways. The Wolf in us, drives much of our habits and lends a sly hand to our looks when combined with our Humaran and Werewolf nature. However, sometimes our pups can be whelped with a strong disposition of Werewolf and little of the Humaran or Wolf. This creates them, the Wereluuns. Their intelligence is diminished, they do not change like the myths you know. They only know one thing. Violence. One Wereluun can easily kill five soldiers before it’ll stop to see what it had bloodied its claws on.”

I gave a sharp swallow as we rode past the Wereluun enclosures. With how I had handled three Ehrthrii, a cold dread settled in my belly like a lead cannon ball as I could easily imagine my fate leading me to fighting one of those beasts.
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 12:01 pm    Post subject: Chapter 6 part 1 Reply with quote

Chapter 6

I’m not a virgin, nor will I ever lie to say I was one. Knowing the ways of flesh, the purrs of heated delight and the groans of release are old music to me. I am however a fighter first, a lady second and never a whore as third. It seemed my new masters were finding my resolve on the third point of my feelings to be a bone of contention. They seemed to exact their frustrations on me one whip lashing at a time though and the whip wielder was a strong, lithe shark like Luupihnohsai. A pained growl left my swollen muzzle where a patron of the coliseum struck me hard with a fire place poker when I promptly bit off something dear to him that belonged nowhere near my muzzle. I licked my split lips as I sagged against the chained manacles holding my arms up. I felt burning fire on my back and butt cheeks where five or was it six jagged bites of the whip touched fur and hide. It was hard to keep track through the pain and the leers of the audience sitting around, lounging on opulent cushions feasting on all the delights sinful and immoral possible while observing the punishment of a nude pleasure slave that refused to be broken.

Another snap and crack chased away the site of several patrons finding too much pleasure in seeing my whipping and spreading their joy around upon other escorts. I kept my eyes closed, drooling spit and blood waiting for another lash to hit, but the sing song of Luhpehsh brought instead the cessation of the iron manacles biting into my wrists that had rubbed away fur and skin. I fell to the sawdust covered floor, my back and rump screaming in agony as I lay among the heavy chains. Another round of sing song and my arms ached as I was pulled along the floor by the manacles upon my wrists. With little care, a hulking Ehrthrii, tasked with removing me from the site of bored oversexed patrons; drug me into a cell out in the display yards of the coliseum, next to the Wereluun cages and locked the cage door behind me.

It took me the few shreds of dignity I had left to curl up into a ball, screaming into my chest and legs as my lash wounds bled and stung through the hot afternoon and the chilling evening to leave me dazed by the morning peak of Leo. I remained in that tight ball, refusing to give any acknowledgement to the jeers and calls of the public that saw me nude and beaten. I even shut out with effort the howls and snarls of the Wereluuns in the cages on either side of me, wanting to rend me to pieces and most likely eat me. The clack of the cage door behind my back and the soft, subtle waft of sandalwood, spice oats and a sharp tang of minthril oil drew me out of that ball. My muscles protested and complained from holding myself tight for so many hours, but the sight of Mihlihssah, resplendent in a new silk robe of white, bringing me a tray of food and a satchel by her hip with healing wares restored some of my lost sanity.

She knelt by my side and acted as if nothing was wrong with me. The tray of food was left on the ground by me. A small group of young Luups had gathered to watch us just beyond the black iron bars of the cages in the display yards. A few of them had picked up pebbles and slung them at me wanting to see this strange Luup that looked nothing like them react like the rest of the beasts on display. A few of the pebbles struck my raw and swelling lashes and it drew a wrinkling of my muzzle in pain. I reached for the tray of food, hungry and waiting for Mihlihssah to heal me. She seemed focused on the young Luups and gave them a snarl and several barks that mangled the sing song of the Luhpehsh language. As they scattered, she turned her silvery gaze on me then reached out and grasped my chafed and raw wrist in her slender hands. She shook her head and nodded to the tray of food, shaking her head slightly again. Then she looked around the cage a bit and I watched her eyes dart to various open windows and doors. I took the hint after a moment of piecing together her behavior. The food was most likely tainted and we were being watched.

I settled onto a hip that wasn’t lashed open and looked to Mihlihssah. My voice cracked as I spoke from thirst. “I am being corrected by Lefty and Righty, aren’t I? I will not bed others for my continued existence. Let me eat the poisoned food, there’s more honor in that than being used repeatedly.”

She looked back at me, silver eyes narrowing at the sound of my words. She lifted the tray of food and flung it at the Wereluuns to our left. Dropping the tray to the ground, she withdrew something from her satchel and pressed it to into my hand forming a fist with my fingers. A few barks of Luhpehsh echoed from the entries of the coliseum and two Ehrthrii guards were walking for my cage with brutal interest. She looked back to me, leaned in and brushed her muzzle against my swollen lips. A faint kiss and fainter still were her words.

“Picture yourself during a happier, healthier time and the orb will warm. Survive Trisha. Just survive and we’ll be together again. Drink the water if you must. I have to go before they beat me for cushioning your corrections.” She stood, picked up the empty tray and left my cage locking its door tight behind her.

The Ehrthrii guards reached her as she turned and grabbed her by her upper arms and hauled her physically and rapidly away from the display yard. I watched her vanish under escort before I opened the fingers of my hand. A soul gem nestled in my palm and it swirled with a slugging, moss green light. It was much smaller than the reddish orb Rohtheer had used to produce fire with soolmah. I noticed no water was brought or left for me when Mihlihssah departed. The young Luups had returned to harass me and I gave them no sport. I curled up on the ground once more, clutching that mossy green orb to my chest and closed my eyes. I must have drifted off into sleep as I did my best to think of myself in a happier, healthier time than some beaten slave on display.

I could feel a warm breeze stroking my fur and the scent of Madesto magnolias tickling my nostrils with their heavy perfume. I was standing in an old cathedral of crumbling stone and timber, a monstrous metal ball wrapped in a nest of wire and cables lay before me. Around it was tarnished golden crosses, beat into thin sheets and set upon poles of steel. A hooded figure, the cowl throwing a shadow too deep to pierce, stood before me with my father’s rapier held out in it its gloved hands. The old, beige canvas robe upon the figure stirred in the wind that whistled through the derelict cathedral. Flickers of multicolored light drenched the figure in ethereal brightness as Leo shown through the snaggletooth remnants of a stain glass mural. A voice that rasped and chirped with metal on metal in the wind called out to me.

“You can run child or you can accept your task. Family bound, family bound. Flee thy debts and forever in shame will you drown. Family bound, family bound, fulfill your fathers quest. You can run child or you can accept your family’s final task.”

I sat up in shock as I heard a loud, anguished roar rumble through the coliseum’s display yard. The dream and the memories of my initiation into the Crusaders of the Golden Cross was sharp, so fear inducing that it took me several heart thumping moments to realize I was the one screaming. The Wereluuns were not to be outdone in their madness and joined my screams with their own howls and snarls as a fight broke out in their cells. I was left shivering from that dream and faintly noticed I hurt less; the stings of my lashings were gone though the tender and raw fire of healing wounds remained. I felt with ginger fingers along my lower back and rump. There were hot welts from wounds scabbed over, but not the puffed and swollen ire of infection. The soul orb in my hand seemed to be dimmer than I last recalled, it was now a shade darker than moss green and I had to wonder if my healing was from it?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 12:03 pm    Post subject: Chapter 6 part 2 Reply with quote

Brackish water slithered over my tongue and down into my parched throat. My owners had deigned that I be given water during the third morning of my public display and humiliation. All attempts to goad me into eating any food failed as I held to the warning from Mihlihssah. My belly growled and throbbed with shriveled pain as I chugged more of the bitter tasting water to comfort my hunger. The soul orb was nothing but a crumbled pile of blackish green grit glittering on the sand dusted stone of my cage. I’d had another wrenching dream during the night and found my wounds only offering a whisper of complaint as my body healed. My fingers lost a bit of their grip on the worn leather water skin that had been tossed in and my world seemed to blur as my eyes grew tired. Everything sounded louder, shone brighter and felt hotter to me as I lay down and curled up into a ball once more. My mind drifted into the melancholic void of someone with nowhere to go and nothing to do but starve.

I’d yet to see Mihlihssah since my second day in the cage. Had they done away with her? Was she lying in the desert, bones bleaching and feeding the beasts of the desert, her head in a glassine show case of mortality? I felt she’d not be so easily disposed of. She had an air about her and a silent hope during our chats that she knew more and had allies than any of our captors had ever believed. Maybe she was free and had decided I was too much trouble to release; an oddity too hard to hide or value when liberty dangles before the muzzle. The problem with drawing in upon one’s self to shield sanity from the public, sanity begins to talk and lie as necessity to thrive poisons its virtue. I began to cry and mewl as I had talked myself into believing that someone I was growing fond of had discarded me in a literal pit of wolves. It was a cold lie but one that bit deep into my quivering, softening heart. My sobs slowly rolled into growls and throaty purrs of rage as I chased my mental tail. If I had been discarded like a used handkerchief of a maiden impressed in the lists of loves jousting, then perhaps I should stay off my horse and exact my grief in white hot rage upon those who had stolen her desire for me.

My body shivered hard in the fever throws of my delusions. I couldn’t stomach being a whore on a chain, paraded like a fashion statement that my people had fought for generations to stop. I could stomach violence. Oh yes. I can feast at its table and gorge till I vomited out my sensitivity and morality to killing. If they couldn’t have me as a toy of flesh and fur, then by Mormor’s grace, they’ll get a hellion for the blood games. I drowned my fury and aching heart with more brackish water as I seized up the water skin once more. Yes. I keep my legs closed and they get to watch their throats slice open. The thought of strolling into some arena, bedecked in leather and feline grace while my foes knelt in death throws spewing life upon the white sands made me laugh. I began to laugh more and more as I drank, the water no longer being imbibed but sliding down my chest like twin waterfalls over my breasts to patter on the sand and stone floor of my cage. I don’t recall closing my eyes, laying sprawled on the ground or being jostled as I was drug out of the display yards. I simply recall waking with a burning nausea in my belly, a ringing in my ears and the glow of eyes, like twin rubies burning in the deep shadows of a prison cell underground and long due for cleaning.
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 6:44 pm    Post subject: Chapter 7 Part 1 Reply with quote

Chapter 7

Twin points of ruby light stared at me from the depths of my new hell. I forced myself to sit up and found myself doubled over on my side, retching with no relief from a starved belly until bile burned thick and metallic in my muzzle. Claws scraped on the sandstone and I drew my eyes back to that sea of noire shade. A Luupihnohsai, gaunt, stooped yet moving with strength from iron corded muscles drew close to me. It was a male by the loin cloth, fur nigh existed, and the skin was leathery and rough looking; begging me to believe it would feel like stroking a shark as it swam by in the water. A boxy, heavy muzzle sat between the reddish eyes and as it stared at me in a predatory gaze, the muzzle opened in a small, panting smile showing rows of jagged shark teeth. I’d seen one of these Luups before. They had held the cruel whip that gave me a fresh set of ragged tattoos to attest to life and endurance. A strong, finned tail swept the sandstone clean as it walked.

The male knelt on all fours and stuck that nightmare inducing maw closely into my face and inhaled deeply. All I could do was lay there and be sniffed while trying to shove down a primal fear that incites a tingling shiver when one was swimming in a bottomless ocean, too afraid to look behind or bellow them as they swam. The snuffles continued as well as his long, rough and cool hands slid all over my body with impunity. In seconds that felt like eternity, the Luup drew away and the sound of water drumming into a wood bucket was heard.

“Why must the masters send me such addled scraps?” The voice was soft, cool and echoed in the cell. “For once I wish for a meal that would squeal in hard fought loss and a forced yielding. Suppose you’ll just have to do, striped wench.”

A bucket thumped by my head, the water sloshed cool, wet and clean tasting droplets onto my muzzle that ran and pooled beneath my left ear. I was not prepared for the second bucket I had not heard being filled as it was emptied of bone shocking cold water that sluiced over me. A shocked gasp was sucked out of me from that rudeness and I found myself upon my paws, claws flicked out and my body wavered drunkenly. I really wanted to shred something with a pulse. I found the emptied bucket shoved hard into my belly and chest.

“Oh good, you’re not too addled to muster some attitude. Use the other bucket to clean more of your filth off. I will not have you stinking up my residence. Don’t you even think about pissing on my floor until you know true fear. You may be a scrappy pup but I won’t think twice to beat you into a tender morsel.” The Luup said and vanished into the darkness at the rear of the cell.

A small splash was heard and the sounds of water slapping against stone was all that accompanied was left by his departure. I glanced at the cold water ground my teeth as I cleaned myself. My sight still blurred and my limbs were heavy as I took the empty buckets toward the back of the cell.

The darkness swallowed me. A few seconds of stumbling and my eyes adjusted. I barely made out a few rough shapes in the darkness and varying shades of grey. A half, circular well wall lay at the fare end of the cell and the sound of water that trickled over the sides proclaimed that it was an artesian well. I dropped the buckets with a hollow clattering as I stumbled to that well and fumbled clean, cool water to my muzzle. I drank till my belly bulged and ached. Slowly the dizziness and severe sharpness of my senses lessened. I had no clue why the masters would drug the water I drank while imprisoned in the display yard. I was already starving myself, why drug me?

Cold, wet hands rough like sand paper latched onto my hips and my world tumbled in a dark jumble of being thrown and falling. A vision of dying in the dark with a broken neck filled my thought. Plunging face first into cold water and sinking like a rock was not part of that death fantasy. My legs and arms kicked and pulsed as I tried to swim, tried to surface and find air in a dark and wet world. I surfaced with a gasp as air starved lungs labored for breath. I tread in the wet darkness for a moment or two, thudding heartbeats counting out my lungs billowing. Something large splashed in the water, sending waves over my head. In a breath, those same sandpaper rough hands clamped onto my ankles and I was pulled under the water. In vain I tried to kick loose but I may as well be a bronze statue mortared into a pedestal for how firm that grip held me.

My descent seemed to have come to an end as my lungs began to feel insulted like toddlers being pressed into a bath. Bending over, I tried to release my ankles by way of pointed protest as my claws probed for the offending hands. Sandpaper and barbs slid across my nostrils and cheeks as my head was pushed back by something powerful and finned. If I couldn’t reach the grabby hands then I’d get my point across the assaulting tail. Claws met shark skin in a skittering bumping as they tore through skin and into muscle and bone. My ankles were free and I kicked my paws hard for what felt like the surface of this dark pool. Several gasps and chokes were made as I took in water and air when I felt my head break the surface. My lungs burned from the water and I began to swim, not wishing to take another dip under the surface of the pool. I felt a snout, then a head and finally what felt like a charging bull slam into my belly and chest. I was expelled out of the pool in a wave of water and met slick hard stone as I crashed onto the cell floor.

My mother once told me that Feliissii land on their paws just like their feline ancestors on ancient Earth always did. I was hard pressed not to find a way back home and have words with her grave, Mormor rest her soul. I slipped and slid to my paw; my back, belly and thighs ached from the last few days of abuse. My breath came in ragged with a tinge of fire as a rib protested being used and I shook from being drenched in more cold water. I was pretty sure my attacker was the same shark like Luup that greeted me. He was living up to his threat of just toying with me before he ate me. My eyes darted around, useless in the thick darkness and my ears twitched at every echo. I hunched and made myself small as I began to work myself back towards the dim light of the cell door. My paws moved in soaked stealth, my breath a ragged echo from the cold. The slap of paws on wet stone cued me in that the dog shark was in bound and I had no intention to be a solid target. I took up a run and ticked off seconds in my head waiting for those rough hands to grab me before I reached the cell door.

I tripped over the empty buckets and earned more delight from my bruised thighs. The snap of teeth just clicked where my shoulders had been. I rolled on the wet stone floor, hands batting away one bucket but snatched up the second one. I fought to move up on one knee from my roll and swung out my pathetic weapon in the dark. The sound of cracking wood greeted my ears as well as an indignant snarl. My eyes just made out a large body wetly slapping the floor near me. I was not fond of fighting in the dark, or swimming in the dark, nor being wet in the dark. I just didn’t like the dark period! However, hearing that bucket hit my attacker sparked a tang of deep rooted satisfaction, like a vengeful itch scratched. I belted out a deep, feline roar at my downed assailant while I could.
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 6:46 pm    Post subject: Chapter 7 Part 2 Reply with quote

The brilliance of a stone flaring with white light from the cell door made me mewl out in sudden pain as my eyes burned and I clapped wet hands to them. A Sohltrii mage poked their muzzle close to the bars and stared inside at me. “Beran. Don’t break the masters prized war toy or its fish fillet tonight. Get this thing trained. She fights in tomorrow.”

The Sohltrii mage left, the white light receding as the illuminated stone was drawn with them, plunging me into eye strained darkness. The clicks of claws and a rough grunt was heard in the darkness. The sound of metal striking stone was heard as sparks flew like a shower of yellow and red jewels. Torches were being lit, one by one in the cell that turned out to be more cavern than constraining walls of a prison. Lowering my hands from my eyes, I saw that the cavern did indeed opened up to a dark pool of water. An artesian well flowed out slow and sedate near the pool. Several racks of weapons and armor lined the walls and a few moldering cushions were piled in the corner. The shark like Luup held an old, rusting dagger and a fist sized lump of flint in its hands. The Luup tromped to a battered old chest and put the fire starters away. He gave me a considerate glance then slid into the pool and rested at its edge.

The Luup gave me a ghastly smile of shadow black blood, missing teeth, and a few splinters of wood jutting from his muzzle. “You are going to go far kid especially if you can put up this much fight starved and half hooded by drugs. Hope you really enjoy being in pain. The games are going to eat you up.” He said.

I gave the Luup a wide berth as I moved to the well for more water to drink while I took stock of any injuries I had. I felt like a pulped tuna and a rib was giving me twinges of fire but otherwise I was whole and bruised. I glanced at the Luup for a few breaths.

“Is that what I am being thrown into, tomorrow?” I asked.

The Luup smirked and lounged more in the water. “Well at least you’re not a dense Ehrthrii. Yes. You’re getting your first fight in the arenas above whether you’re ready or not. Perhaps I should just let you starve more down here; cowering in terror from a Riivii like me. The crows love a clumsy, panic stricken sacrifice as much as a deftly trained sacrifice. Blood spilled is blood spilled.”

I crossed my arms and gave him a hard stare. “So I’m not really valued to the masters then? If I am to be tossed into a fight with no preparation and weak then they wasted their money on me.”

The Riivii gave a bark of laughter and the water sloshed in the pool. “Oh, they have not wasted their money. If they felt you were more of a lost than a profitable cost, you’re little eunuchizing stunt would have had your head on the sand staring at your body flailing at the fountain that would be your neck. You put three of their decent gladiators down while you were drunk. You managed to survive a surprised attack by me while starved for three days and drugged. You can handle fighting as you are easily. No need to bother myself training you.”

“I’m pretty sure the crowds would be bored with me in my current state then.” I said.

The Riivii gave me a perplexed stare.

“If you say I’m as good as I am, then either I am going to kill my opponents fast or I’ll die in such a short time that no one will have time to enjoy it. But do go on thinking you need not teach me how to woo a crowd. I’m betting you feel comfy and safe from a bad performer costing you a bit standing with the masters?” I asked.

That got the Riivii’s tail twitching. Swishing? Waves were made as he seemed to concentrate a lot. It must have hurt. He pulled himself out of the water and his paws slapped wetly towards me.

“Now don’t you think you have leverage on me, you striped freak. I’ve been a gladiator trainer longer than you’ve probably lived. Smacking me in the face with a bucket and raking my tail with claws won’t even come close to making me train you. I need to see talent. All I see is a wet slip of a girl that looks lost and afraid. Hardly gladiator material. You should have stuck to keeping bed sheets warm and carving smiles in the dark.” He said and walked away to fiddle with straps on a suit of armor.

I followed after him, not minding the fact that I was wet, cold, could inscribe art on metal with my girls and stacked against him looked like a thin weed. “Trainer? You look and act more like a lazy, sullen man that is pouting after being put in his place by a woman.”

His head whipped around and his teeth snapped a few whiskers short of my muzzle. “You? A woman. Maybe a wench or a whore for a nuukehl, but you are no lady. You are property. Ladies lounge with their men, place wagers in the dark and rake in money from the bloodiest fights to build empires of death. Until you prove that my work and training will take root and be useful, I am not going to waste my time on a corpse.”

I glared daggers at him as I reached over and plucked a weighted wood sword from the weapon rack and brought it down hard on his head. It would have been a grand move of dominance. However, the Riivii seemed familiar with such tactics. He seemed to side step my swing, melting and flowing like butter and ripped a steel helm off the suit of armor. He beat me soundly three times in the chest and belly before I’d even known he’d dodged my attack. I hit the stone floor gasping and dazed from pain, the weighted wood sword clattering to his paws. He picked up the weapon and placed it back on the rack and ran fingers over it slowly as if in thought.

“You have three choices, wench. Continue to irritate me and you die like the stupid naïve you are in the games. If you can gather your soaked wits you can either lie with me, and I make you moan and hand you back to the masters as a repentant little tart. Or you can attempt to show me some measure of thought in trying to attack me without cheep, old tricks every pup tries on me and actually make me bleed honestly.” He turned to face me on the ground. “Well, pretty girl, what is it going to be? The bed, the red or the dead?”

Hearing his proposals stirred anger in me. Again, this was another attempt to make me a play thing by the masters. Yet, was it that bad to lie under another, fake bliss, shut away the mind in waking realm of fantasy and numbness? It would be a thousand times worse as I knew each time I was bedded; it was not with someone I was feeling a hunger for. Or had hungered for if Mihlihssah truly didn’t betray me? How would I know? I’ve yet to see her, she seemed less like a lady to bed another lady and one more suited to making men do things they only dreamed of. Dying had no appeal to me still. That just left the flickering embers that spread their warm venom into me. The uncertain betrayal of a woman I was beginning to admire and the cruelness of my newest masters. My silent anger blossomed from a few sparks in the darkest corners of my soul into a bonfire that lit my heart and head to heated fury.

“Give me the damn sword.” My voice soft and thin.
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 12:44 pm    Post subject: Chapter 8 Part 1 Reply with quote

Chapter 8.

I was taught new meanings to the word pain by the Riivii instructor. Every thrust I made he had a parry followed swiftly by bruising strikes from his blunted short sword. I had once been a swift and fierce fencer, taught by my father on his furloughs home from his personal crusades. The flicker and flashes of my epee would never fail to draw out a laugh from father. I was his little hornet, his wasp in the guise of a butterfly. Father would’ve been ashamed to see the Riivii pick me apart, sword battered aside with bruises and gashes upon my body.

Unarmed and panting on the ground, I had a moment of clarity to the bulwark of parry and counter strike I had faced. The Riivii favored a subtle dip to the left before blocking a thrust or lunge then followed that dip with a flick of the blade to deflect and a flash of efficient, brutal blade work. He was left open for a span of three heart beats as he’d reset his T stance, left hand hovering before him like a distraction from the real pain to be inflicted. As he reset, I thrust myself from the floor on trembling legs and latched my right hand onto his left wrist. My momentum sped me past him and my legs gave out from fatigue and abuse. As I dropped to the stone floor, my left hand shot out and felt his hip under shark rough skin. My fingers gripped like iron and my claws sunk deep into muscle. With a grunt of effort, I arched my back and hauled him off balance, slamming him into the stone floor. He went down in a heap of claws, teeth and rough hide. I let go of his wrist and grabbed behind his neck and slammed his head into the stone floor twice forcing his skull and muzzle to bounce rapidly.

I stood over him for several panting seconds as he lay dazed and bleed from nostrils and mouth. Had I killed him? Thoughts whirled in my head; would I be killed outright if he was dead? Or will I be beaten and starved more? If he could thrash me this badly in a bout to prove myself to him, how could I even manage to fight in the blood games without his training?
Loud, wet coughing pulled my thoughts to the cell I stood in and the Riivii I had bloodied. I flinched as something sharp and sticky hit my muzzle and chest, sticking to my fur. I glanced down and found several broken shark like teeth on my breast and felt another on my cheek. The Riivii made several more coughs, stirred and spoke in a slow, slurred tone.

“Water. Fetch me water to drink, wench.” He rolled onto his back and stared unfocused at the sandstone ceiling.

I stared down at him in disbelief and confusion. The impact I’d delivered to his bounced skull would kill most Felissii. I left him and fetched a wooden mug full of water and brought it to him. He sucked in the water; red tinting the beading dribbles from two split lips. He eyed me carefully while he drank and remained supine.

“Thank you.” He said. “Your blade work is weaker than a pup drowning, but your grappling and close quarters skills are decent for a rookie. You made me bleed, only fair to not kill you and train you. We’ll start training after a small nap.” He passed out, the wood mug falling to the floor.

~ ~ ~ ~
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 12:48 pm    Post subject: Chapter 8 Part 2 Reply with quote

Whilst my future trainer remained unconscious, I’d drug him to a moldering cushion and left him to rest. After a bit of prowling I’d found some boomgiis and clean wrappings in a chest by a rack of swords. I took a few minutes to bathe by the artesian well before salving my wounds as I’d seen Rohtheer administering to me in the desert. While the boomgiis slowly stung and numbed the wounds with a cleansing white fire I turned to my modesty. I made a makeshift loin cloth and wrapped my chest. Despite my thorough searching, not a scrap of food was found. The Riivii had truth to his words about being provided food by others. Brilliant white light began to flood the cell putting the torch light to shame. A Sohltrii in white cloth stained by food, held another light stone that shone with soolgiis I gathered. An Ehrthrii accompanied him holding two wood trays piled heavily with roasted chicken, black rye loaves and several clear glass pitchers of water. The Sohltrii wrapped his knuckles on the bars of the cell door then had the Ehrthrii slide the wood trays through the slot at the bottom of the barred door.

I never heard the Riivii move as he reached past me and seized up the trays of food. He gave a retreat across the stone floor and settled on a cushion and set a tray down for me on the floor. Without hesitation he began to tear into several of the roasted chickens on his tray without a pause only to tear off large chunks of black rye bread from the loves. I stiffly moved over to sit on a cushion by him and sank down before a real meal; real, untainted food that I could only dream of after four days of starving. I banished grace or any scrap of manners from my mother’s rearing and started gulping down mouthfuls of hot chicken and bread without even tasting.

“Slow down or you’ll choke like a puppy taking his first meat.” The Riivii growled at me.

“You slow down. I’ve been waiting for untainted food for four days. You go that long and try not to gobble up food.” I hissed.

He just smirked and poured out water into glass mugs. “You’re methods with the blade are not bad, just in poor choice for gladiatorial fights. With two bouts against you, I’d wager you were used to fighting enemies with armor and looking for weak points with a long blade or rapier. You also have some decent thrusting if a bit unorthodox. You hunt I gather? Sadly for you, most of your opponents you face here will not give you the luxury to stand back and strike from range. They’ll close in and end you as swiftly as they can.”

He picked up a whole roasted chicken and twisted it in half with his hands to emphasize his words.

I washed my gluttony down with water and replied with a hungry note still. “Often times the bandits I’ve deal with in my homeland are armored and well armed. I tend to enjoy rapiers that the Crusaders of the Gold Cross find remarkable uses for. I find fencing soothing to the mind and body and less clumsy as long swords or great blades. Honestly, until the last cycle of Linus, I’d never hunted. The desert nomads taught me well how to handle a spear against Tuhkzots and raiders. Now are you going to eat that chicken or abuse it more?”

The Riivii smirked and tossed me half of the racked chicken. I ate with even more need.

“So then you come from military or militia training. Must have been a while back though, you’re reflexes and foot work are lazy. A bit of work and you’ll be in good form again, though you know, you are a woman. You have certain assets you can employ to guarantee a fatal strike.”

“Assets? You mean debase myself for survival.” I grabbed a glass pitcher and broke it, holding the shards out at him menacingly. “I will do no such thing you dirty dog.”

The Riivii reached over and swatted the glass from my hand setting it to crash into fine slivers on the stone of the floor. “Next time use something more substantial to threaten me, wench. Don’t view yourself all chaste and pure. Any one that has lived a full life fighting has had plenty of time to hide a few trees in the valley. You have some looks and exoticness to you. Use it. Make distractions and you’ll find opponents falling left and right to the tooth of your blade. Or you can be a celibate maid and die in a few months to males just waiting to put a fine thing like you under them before they loose your blood on the ground.”

I drew away in severe discomfort. “Rather just beat them soundly instead of cheating.”

“Murder the naïve notions of modesty, honor and preserving life. These are blood games and are bound by one undeniable rule that will not yield. One lives to walk away, one remains to darken the hay. Every bout in the arena is to the death. Slipping a view of your fine qualities is not cheating. It’s a malfunction with a strap, a loose plate, clothing that fails to handle the stress of combat. Use it before you lose it to age and children.” He waved a chicken leg at me.

“Do all Luups run at the command of their swelling nethers? Perhaps more would be done in your lands if you had more blood where it counts daily.” I hissed.

He laughed at me. Simply laughed in a maddening way that made me shiver one moment and then urged to reach out and slap him with a bread loaf.
“You focus too much on being some noble, honorable lady that has never spread before a male. You feel so high and virtuous that I bet you have to ask permission to release your bowels?” He said.

I didn’t bother giving in to his goading or low brow questions. I ate more bread and my muzzle wrinkled severely as something pungent and rank filled the cell. The Riivii wore the look of great relief and the pitter and patter of something wet on the stone floor made me his and grumble.

“Savage fish dog.”

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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 12:54 pm    Post subject: Chapter 8 Part 3 Reply with quote

I slept fitfully in the comfort of a full belly. No training or talk had ensued after the Riivii’s dazzling display of inept social skills. I’d piled enough lightly molded cushions to rest upon for the night. A glance over a half wall of the really molded cushions showed me the Riivii sleeping in the pool, bubbles imprisoning snores rose from the deep water. I had fallen into a dream of pleasantries draped over the piercing spear head of night terrors.

I dreamt of alluring silver eyes, silky fur of a Sohltrii under my hands, the marred and brail pattern of a hard life, the tug and pull of mystery behind the healers touch. I was riding a higgo, along white sand set to jeweled fire from the cool evening light of Linus. Wind spilled through my fur and the rippled through fine pelt of Mihlihssah as she sat before me on the saddle. My cheek was aloft her bare shoulder, the desert could not hold our bodies prisoner to the heat of the day as our loin cloths flapped at our thighs. Joy thrummed through me as my arms circled her hips, holding fast as we rode hard without a care through the nomadic deserts. We could go on through life like this, I thought.

Then I was pushed off the higgo by her, and she laughed at me, silver eyes blazed with eerie light as I fell. I tumbled and jostled in a fall that felt forever, Airii dancers swirling around me in alluring confusion as they bound me tight with strips of paper. I struggled but was held fast in the tight coils of missives that burned with writing I could not read. The dancers twirled around, each one now wearing Milhlihssah’s face, silver eyes glowing with a heated pain to them that burned when they touched me. I want to scream, to cry out in agony and ask why she had abandoned me. But my mouth gagged as I choked on brackish water that made my mind float and my stomach burn. I threw up, the water leaving me tired and panting while I lay on a deserted beach.

A cool, kind touch stroked my cheek, I felt one of the coils of paper loosen then fall free. Another cool touch, a familiar stroke of my fur in a soothing manner then another coil melted away. I wanted to cry, thinking it was Mihlihssah come to torment my dreams more. Another coil was removed and the deep, steady breathing of a warrior at rest came to my ears. The scent of smoked fish, tanned leather and polished metal came to my nose. The last coil of paper was freed from me, and as I lifted my weary head to look at my savior, the emerald jewels of my father set in a sea of ebony fur met my orange orbs. He lent me a hand and pulled me up onto my paws then brushed the vestiges of clinging sand and paper from the pants and fencing blouse that I now wore, a snapshot of a child long grown now.

“What troubles my sweet magnolia to dim such a beautiful blossoming in the sun?” He asked.

My gaze plummeted from his genuine curiosity. How could I tell my father the deepest desires of my heart? The trials I’d been through? The pain and dishonor if felt? How could I trouble his already burdened shoulders with the cares of a misguided child? He lifted my chin to look at him, a knowing and fatherly smile upon his panther like grace. I gave a small sob and hugged into him tight, cheek pressed hard against the breast plate of his armor. It was a dream, he knew what I feared to say but still waited to hear me say it all.

“Where do I even begin, papa? My body hurts constantly since I’ve fled. My heart aches horribly as well. I feel like I’ve been shot through the chest by the silver gaze of a woman I am finding fondness for. It confuses me, papa, I’ve dallied with boys in my youth and men when on the road protecting pilgrims, but none have set fire to me like this woman does. I have feelings for her, but fear she’s tossed me aside as a marked coin in a game of chance. I’ve failed you as a crusader and your death will be in vain as I’m marked to fight in blood games tomorrow. I fear I will be dead soon.” My words shook and trembled in my throat and muzzle.

I was given a patient nod that was born of mountain top sages and fathers that held their daughters in a light of purity and grace. His embrace around me tightened slightly, a comfort and solace missed sorely. A purr thrummed through him and set my tired and weary nerves to a blissful numbness.

“Troubled waters for my kitten, perhaps thrash less like a wounded seal of life and swim slower like a turtle of patience to throw off the shark of pain. But don’t fear pain. Don’t fear the fear itself either. Pain is the rain of life that makes the rose of our soul bloom. Fear is the fertile soil that our rose is rooted in. Both are hand in hand my sweet magnolia. Too much of either and your rose will wither and die, then what will I look fondly upon as I walk the highway of Mormor? I know you, my daughter. You are bright and eager. Temper your steal with wisdom even if you feel it is a rust to be scoured from yourself. Not all feelings and honor are hard set in a mason’s stone. Perhaps it is best you square off with this woman that has snared your heart. Put your sword to her throat and have truth. Ask if she loves you and speak your love for her openly. If you worry at this deepness of infatuation, you’ll tire out from pining and the real dangers will strike you. There are many things circling you to be distracted by the simple lack of someone who may be in as much danger as yourself. Don’t look for the dagger in the hand at every corner.” His words were soft like rose petals and the truth in them were barbed like rose stems.

I struggled to pull away from his embrace. I didn’t want truth. My heart and mind wanted sweet lies, balm to sooth hurts real or imagined. I wanted everything to be taken care of by another and to be left alone to my fantasies on the back of a higgo in the cool desert evening. My father didn’t let me go. He held me firmly but not tight enough to hurt, a gentle rebuke to a spoiled child. He gave me that patient look, waiting to hear something.

“I just want love, pure and simple. A breeze on my whiskers, a warm embrace and too look over my shoulder at someone I love instead of the fear of a Crusaders blade in my back. Papa, I want things to be made right. Please, make them right.” I begged in his arms.

A gentle and amused chuckle rumbled through his chest and armor. “Oh Trisha, my little magnolia, you paw and jump for the moons when you should be stalking the grass. Anyone with a beating heart wishes for what you yearn. Hunting for love pure and simple without the teeth and claws of trouble is a weak love that will pale after a year. I know you have the strength to endure the trials beset about you. You are my daughter, nothing less than what you are facing would suit you. Focus on staying alive, keeping wits and charm about you, and find this woman you speak of. Set things right by your hand and you’ll find solace. But first, my magnolia, leave lie this notion of dishonor. The Crusaders can only hold sway over what is in their keeping. You are not and I am deeply asleep from the headsman sword. I give you permission, Trisha, to end the family quest. It lies with me now, in the grave. Seek your own quest Trisha. Seek it and be happy.”

He leaned in, gave me a gentle kiss to my forehead and vanished once more from my life.

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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 12:58 pm    Post subject: Chapter 8 Part 4 Reply with quote

“Under! Under!” A thwak, a hiss and a scowl given to the Riivii as he barked commands at me. “Parry then duck under at the end of the blade flick. If you don’t get under their guard, you will lose your advantage and waste your effort. A tired gladiator is a dead gladiator. Under! Under! Parry and duck!”

The Riivii instructor kept me on my toes, legs and back burning with our sessions since sometime early morning with no view of the outside world to tell time. He had worked me hard to get something of a decent understanding of how not to die during my first bout at noon. We broke for a small water break and I stood, panting more, sword swinging idly by my side in exhaustion. He came back to me, dark rye bread held out for me to eat.

“Most of the competition will be taller than you, larger than you and meaner than you. It’s what the crowds love. They love knowing a larger force will squish a smaller foe to a bloody pulp. Really gets the murder deep inside flowing. Most of the gladiators you face will favor overhead power strikes or two handed high cuts. Watch for them, close, get under and strike with a vengeance.” He finished his bites of bread and took up a fighters T stance.

I tucked my bites into my muzzle quickly and took up the painful lessons once more. I could feel a new sea of bruises swimming under my fur, limbs turning to lead weight from the legwork and use of weighted wood swords. We parted for a few breaths.

“Why can’t I just use a rapier and employ my reach and lunging?” I gasped.

He gave me a snort and reset his stance and we were at it again. “An elegant blade like a rapier would be sorely pressed and damaged without knowing how most gladiators fight. Many of your opponents will wield hammers, axes, spears, long swords and quite often shields or bucklers. Their weapons of choice depend on how they earn their arena names. They play to those strengths and rarely change. It keeps the patrons happy seeing their favored fighters using weapons they know will tease out more blood and pain; it makes them predictable and sloppy. If you live a few bouts, then we can table different training and you can pick the weapon of choice. Till then, we are using short swords and working on your movement. You’re new, unblooded in the arena and all you’ll have is this sword. No armor, no shield, just you and your opponent with the odds stacked against you. Speaking of that, you need to stack odds in your favor. Stop being modest and show things to distract them. Most of your opponents will be male.”

“I still believe I can handle my opponents without showing off my body.” I hissed softly.

The Riivii’s eyes narrowed and he came at me in a savage set of attacks. It was all that I could do to parry his high and low cuts. Every time I tried to counter, his blade was waiting, bruising me with more taunts. He had a focus and a gleam to his eyes that tracked my hips, shoulders and knees. He was reading me and I was proudly announcing my attacks to his sight. It made me burn with spite and drove the flames in my higher to beat him and prove I could outwit his focus. More brutal strikes ensued, any feints or misdirection failed. I was seeing red the more I failed and I drove at him with unchecked fury, my wooden sword whistling in fear from my zeal.

None of my strikes would land for the first few stretching seconds of determination. Then I heard a yip and watched the Riivii pull back from my attack that struck clean to his shoulder. We reset and began again and this time I found his parry’s hesitant and off the mark. I drew another yip and grunt as I scored hard along his belly, a strike I had little faith would hit. We reset once more and with a flourish of low and high cuts, chasing around his bulwark of deflection and counters, I clocked him soundly on the head. He doubled over and held up a hand to stay more assaults.

“Don’t wear yourself out. Get clean, tend to wounds, rest, eat. You fight soon.” He grumbled and stumped away to the pool and went into it to rest.

I watched him a moment longer, puzzled. I couldn’t land a hit on him for hours, and now I had gotten three clean hits on him and made him retreat. Was he still rattled in the mind from his head hitting the floor last night? Was he just going easy on me to salvage a bit of pride that I had left? I moved to put my sword away in its spot on the weapons rack and felt something tripping my paws. I glanced down and saw the wrappings I had bound my chest with were all loose and on the stone floor. I then noticed I had a perkiness that could make stone blush. I gave a stroke in the air with arm and sword, my girls jiggled just right to make even myself stare at them, mesmerized. The power of feminine distraction was now clear.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:22 pm    Post subject: Chapter 9 Part 1 Reply with quote

Chapter 9.

Thunder boomed through the waiting halls, sand trickling through cracks that were long divested of mortar between the sand stone. From a worn and bloodstained bench of faded oak I glanced up the hallways. The solid iron door rattled in its socket, the clamor of thousands of voice made it writhe upon its hinges; steel on steel sang and screams of people punctuated the chorus of madness with soloist notes of death. My heart hammered to the tempo of stomping paws above me from the spectators in the coliseum, my death for amusement froze my being to the core as I sat there and began to tremble hard. The Riivii trainer clapped a rough hand onto my shoulder and gave it a rough squeeze, a small clumsy gesture of comfort as he sat down beside me.

“Steady wench. Don’t piss yourself just yet; you’ll lose favor that way. Breathe and think of laying your opponent open before your blade. Only then will the vuus-ohrtaa settle from your mind and heart. It has a way of turning the wise into fools and the brave into cowards if you let it take root. Remember, close in, duck, get under your opponent and make sure they do not walk away.” He said.

He began to check the fit of my fighting tunic made in the last hour and ill fitting. He began to tear and shred the cotton cloth with his claws in a strategic fashion. I gave him a hand to ensure that my foes would find steel in their bellies from fatal staring.

“You never asked my name?” I said.

He let go of my tunic and left me alone for a moment as he carefully selected a sword of iron from the racks. He returned to my side and sat; the sword in his hand had dreams of being a thrusting saber but fell a hand width short and was double edges. He worked the edges of the sword on a wet stone, the scrape and rasp of iron being freshened to kill held rein upon his silence. The roar of the crowd above stilled that drew him from his task then he looked to me as if knowing something was coming. A solitary voice screamed in such agony that I twitched before that song of ending drowned in the madness of cheering that crashed against the iron door like waves.

The Riivii went back to sharpening my blade. “Never familiarize with the fleeting. Win, wench, and I’ll tease the thought of asking what it is.” He held the sword a moment, checked the blade thoroughly and handed it to me. “One lives to walk away, one remains to darken the hay. Never forget that wench.”

I gave him a slow nod as I took the sword from him. It dawned on me that I’d never asked him his name either. Perhaps if I lived I should know it if our training continued. The iron door clacked as the lock was worked and it boomed through the hall as it was shoved open. A towering Ehrthrii set paw into the hall and growled something at me, his metal plate armor caked in grime and dried blood, hand on the pommel of his sword, the gleam of a killer set in his brown eyes. I shrugged my tunic to settle into place again and strolled with my best unshaken march that moved me past the guard and into the blinding noon sunlight of Leo.

As my blinking eyes adjusted to the bright sun I found the arena was a good one hundred strides across the semicircle it formed. Behind me was a high wall butting against the open ends of the coliseum, a variety of banners with heraldry alien to me unfurled upon them. Atop that wall was various boxed in seating where elegantly dressed and tended to nobles sat and took their leisure watching the blood games. Along the shorter wall of the semicircle were rows of seating packed with patrons to the point of groaning timbers. The arena floor was sand stone sprinkled with white sand and pale straw. At the center of it all was a large set of recessed wood doors that’d allow something to rise or descend. Flanked on both sides of those doors were open recesses that lead to the halls bellow. The tips of spears were seen above the floor marking that the recesses, just like the entry I had left were guarded. A grated gate clanked down behind me as I fully emerged from the halls exit, the guard leaning against a wall inside to be comfortable for watching me die.

Just off to the side of the large trap door several small Airii rushed about working to clear a body tied to a wood post that stood in a frame freely upon the arena floor. More Airii flew in, bundles of fresh straw held in their arms as they worked to spread it out and remove the bloodied remnants left from the body. The trap doors sprung open with a hearty thunk as a Sohltrii rose upon a wooden platform. He held a sky blue orb in his right hand and spoke, his voice booming over the chatter and din of the patrons.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, lads and lasses, pups and senile bow your heads and please the Packs of Spihrihtohr and Steeleh. They give you all pleasure today with our twentieth year of Unsavory Functions. Yet, how can we not savor agony? Savor death and the sweet smell of blood and fear. Today’s menu has been a savory delight. The long awaited clash of two Ehrthrii titans was played out before you in agonizing delight as Cohlawsahs claimed his fifteenth win from the jaws of Teeahmaht who held the crown of twenty eight souls taken by Steeleh made hammers. Speak of hammers, the bidding for Teeahmaht’s hammers will begin in the late afternoon; serious bidders only to help our nobles continue these wondrous sights. Now, we moved from the clash of titans to the mouthwatering execution of an exiled noble. Hold fast the delight of his agony and the delectable piercing of arrows and trident into his rotten, traitorous flesh. All hail Spihrihtohr for his justness!” The Sohltrii turned to salute a noble’s box set high and in the shadows of above all seated atop the high wall.

Whistles and cheers roared as much of the patrons were Sohltrii that I could see as they all stood, applauded and bowed before that box. I tried to peer into the shadows of that high perch but could only make out the faint, shadowed form of two Sohltrii sitting alone with no servants. So Spihrihtohr found a convenient use for this utter distaste in ending life. We all looked back to the speaker once more as he made a booming noise from a snap of fingers.

“Now let us not wear out our enthusiasm before feasting on an all new dish, prepare to indulge in the strange and weird. The Liishoon Gladiator Theater has bought a stranger to us, striped, curvaceous and wickedly feisty. We don’t know where she hails from, and really, if you’re here, who cares.” The crowd chuckled in unison with the speaker. “I present to you, at a mere five feet and six inches, the Streep Miinohaw.” He waved in my direction and the crowds gave a half hearted applause. “Now give us your attention as the Streep Miinohaw comes face to face with our reigning gladiator in inflicting pain. I give to you, the one, the only Moogiis the Thrasher!”

The crowd went silent for a second then began to chant as the clank of a gate being drawn open from one of the recesses was heard. “Moogiis! Moogiis! Moogiis!” Emerging from the far right entry was a study of grace and solid muscle that rippled where tight leather could not contain the power of something I swore was part Riivii and part Ehrthrii. I had hopes to distract Moogiis as I had found useful from dueling my instructor. My hopes coughed and died as Moogiis turned and I saw a landslide of mountainous assets that were locked behind leather and a crafted chain mail in the form of a two piece bikini. I gave a hard swallow and felt my odds had dimmed more.

“We have a running bet of thirty to one on Moogiis the Thrasher verses Streep Miinohaw. Place your bets and hand them to the ushers. Without further ado, your next meal!” In a flash of smoke and thunder, the Sohltrii vanished down bellow and the trap doors were closed tight.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:23 pm    Post subject: Chapter 9 Part 2 Reply with quote

Moogiis the barbarian seemed to find me pathetic and a waste of her time as she slowly cleared the recessed exit and stretched, making many howl and jeer at her. I took a moment to assess what I had gotten into. The mountainous Luup that had to be an easy six foot eight inches was armed with a cat of nine tails and a round shield. That seemed like an odd pairing and though I’d seen some of my brothers and sisters on crusades use chain maces to brutal effect. My moment of observation had robbed me of a few precious steps to solidify a foot hold on attacking her. She turned from the adoration of the patrons and took several long strides towards me as I stood observing her. I never saw the whip flick when her arm moved and my cheek stung as a barb sliced it open. The pain galvanized me to stop gawking and get moving.

I gave thunder thighs a surprise by sprinting right for her. Nine coils of braided leather slid past me as she coiled the whip for another lash. I closed and struck with two quick high cuts as she braced for my approach, shield held ready. My strikes did not draw her into the bait to raise her shield for me to slide under her guard. She merely side stepped, let the strikes glance off the round curve of metal and drove a heavy paw into my belly with a wind taking, teeth rattling kick. My world spun as I tumbled and slammed into the low wall of the semicircle. I scrambled painfully to my paws gasping for air and reassuring my dizzy mind that I still had my sword in hand. I spat some bile and foam as my inners quaked from that strike. I gripped my sword tighter then took to a run trying to pull her into circles to keep me in sight. She let me make two full laps before she grew bored and allowed me to slip behind her. My paws slid on sand and straw as I shifted to a mad run at her back. Her ears flicked, hearing my change and her arm flicked to the side and back. Nine hungry bars snapped and found a biting hold on my left calf. I mewled in surprised pain and then in complete terror as the barbs and their tendrils tightened on my leg and felt my leg jerking my body into an uncontrolled tumble towards Moogiis.

I slid to her feet and looked up as I spit out sand and straw to see the edge of her shield growing large in my view. I rolled and heard metal bite into sand stone spraying me with sharp chips. I came up on my left knee gritting my teeth as I pinned her whip under my weight and grabbed the edge of her shield with my free hand. I felt teeth chomp down, drawing blood and pain as she bit my offending hand. I yowled in pain and drew my hand back to protect it. As I did so, she spun on the balls of her paws and smashed that shield into my open right side. I spun again along the arena floor, the barbs tearing free of my calf and the sound of leather on stone was heard as I lay on my back. How the hell do you get under a mountains guard when it moves? Make it rooted you dolt.

I rolled to my paws and stood with a wince. My left calf was bleeding but not enough to kill me outright though putting weight on it was like stepping on knives. I regarded Moogiis. She had range on me and a good close defense. I had a tunic and a sword. Damn you Mormor for my luck. I limped towards her and she grinned, ready to thrash me more which seemed to be a title she’d earned. I saw her arm flick and was anticipating barbs already. I stepped back and saw the flickering glints of blood tinged metal ripping towards me. I did a sweeping parry and caught most of them on my sword, the corded tendrils wrapping around the blade. I pulled them in with my sword and grabbed the whip with my bit hand and tried to pull against a brick wall. She gave a snarl as I kept a hold of her whip and lumbered for me like an Amazonian she hulk. My heart rattled somewhere around my ankles and I saw her pulled the shield back as she yanked on the whip, intent for more bone crushing force riding on her bushed tail. I let her pull me in then let go of the whip at the last instance. Her pull on me birthed the momentum to let me slide on my right hip as I passed between legs and rolled up for an instance of fleeting balance. I threw myself at her back and drove my sword under her ribs and down to the ground. She bellowed in agony as my blade sprouted beneath her belly and slithered back and forth.

Moogiis toppled forward, whip abandoned as she held her belly and entrails in. I crawled towards her and grabbed the shield, my bloodied sword slicing the leather arm strap and I started to beat the shield against her skull. The gladiator curled up, fending off my attack with a weakening arm, her blood spreading over stone, sand and straw. The crowds had thundered roars of passion and lust at the violence spread before them to eat up just now punching through the ringing need to survive in my ears. I glanced with pain hazed eyes at the seats; thousands of patrons all leaned in and watched me, cheering more in a frenzy of what they knew would come. I turned my focus back to Moogiis that was now breathing hard between gasps of pain and blood flecking her muzzle then back to the patrons. A razor sharp clarity touched my mind. I had power, raw quivering power in this arena. Here I stood, an unmade Felissii in the blood games of Luups standing over a crowd favorite. I held power over her life and their adoration or hate of me.

The roaring cheers and hoots had grown silent around me, drowning me in a sea of stillness. All eyes from poor to noble fell on me like a burning, heavy itch that made me want to tear off my fur and skin. I knelt down by Moogiis and stared hard at her. One of her large hazel eyes snapped open from being drawn tight in pain to stare at my orange eyes.

“You ended it.” She gasped between hard racks of pain. “I can rest. Kill me.”

I wiped her blood off on the leather and chainmail bikini she wore. “Why should I kill you? Have they not been damned entertained in this blood sport? Why dull my blade more and waste energy on a felled foe?” I spat.

She gave a keening, pain maddened laugh. “You honestly think they’ll let you walk from a kill? That is not a gladiator. That is a coward. A mewling pup with no stomach for death.”

“Yet you lie under me holding in your guts and begging for death. Hmph.” I said as I stood.

She grasped at my molested calf and squeezed bringing me down to her again, the crowd cheering in hopes of a comeback for the wounded gladiator. “It was a matter of time that my fate would put me here pup. You simply win or lose in these Unsavory Functions. Ours is to please the crowd by winning till we are discarded by death. You never leave. Kill me!” Moogiis begged.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:27 pm    Post subject: Chapter 9 Part 3 Reply with quote

My muzzle moved without thought. “One lives to walk away, one remains to darken the hay. The rule of the blood game Moogiis. I walk; you lay and darken the hay. Death was never implied in that rule. You’ll be dead in a few more minutes; I don’t have to bloody my hands with a final blow.”

A flick of my wrist and I sliced her hand off of my abused calf. She howled in more pain as the patrons gave a tenuous and uncertain cheer. I turned and left her, limping back for the grate that barred the entrance to this hell. The Ehrthrii guard stared at me with a mix of amusement and disgust. The nobles aloft of the high wall stared in utter silence at me as I walked away, living my opponent alive to bleed out. The golden rod robes of Lefty and Righty flitted among the shadowed noble boxes as they bent their ear to each patron, their leisure disturbed by this change of public intent. Even the servants and slaves came to walls of the boxes to peer at me with muzzles slack in awe. The golden rod robs of my Dehsii owners soon vanished into the shadows of the viewing boxes and I heard the trap doors thunk open. I turned expecting the announcer to come out and yap away his pleasantries. Instead a cage of black iron rose up from the sandstone and straw. Two slathering Wereluuns paced back in forth in the cage in agitated excitement.

“Rohdaagoos! Rohdaagoos!” Moogiis keened and wailed with a keening laugh born of pain stripped sanity.

The cage door clacked as it was unlocked from unseen source and the Wereluuns seemed to cue in on the sound. The door was shoved open as they both exploded from the cage in black matted fur and death marked hard in their blood shot blue eyes. They fell upon Moogiis first, a weak and bleeding prey just ripe for shredding. As her life and voice faded among the snarls and snap of teeth and bones I took stalk of the severe muhdraa that I had sunk into now. Two crazed and derange Luups were now loose in the arena and I was not feeling so hot. My left calf burned as I left red paw prints each time I limped with the leg, my ribs and shoulders ached from Moogiis’ thrashing. On a happier note, I now had a shield and still felt woefully underpowered for these buggers.

One Wereluun had feasted enough and looked up to glare at me, perhaps smelling fresh flowing blood or perhaps just to belch out gobbets of bloody fur and muscle from a Moogiis meal. I clutched shield and sword tightly and crouched for a moment, making myself small, a shaking fear rising in me as the beast lumbered from the gore and fixed deranged blues upon me. It seemed to sense my fear and pulled back blood blackened lips in a snarl of pink stained fangs then bolted for me. Instinct overrode my mind and I did the only sane thing one does when facing a large predator, I ran. I ran as best as my limping pained body could manage. Hot breath blew upon my thighs and rump as teeth snapped and clicked at my bobbing and weaving tiger tail. I spun on my right leg and sliced my blade low and was rewarded with lopping an ear off and permanently closing an eye on the Wereluun. Then it grabbed my right ankle with brute force and pulled hard as it fell. Stars exploded in my vision as I felt back with a skull bouncing impact on the stone floor. I could feel the beast sliding up me as it crawled, a mix of keening pained whines and snarling hatred flowing from its muzzle.

My vision cleared to see gleaming teeth shoot forward for my neck. I jabbed my sword in at the beast and kept sharp iron between my pulsing throat and ivory death. It pushed me down as it bored harder, the pain of the metal slicing into its muzzle a small insignificant thing. I found purchase on the shield with my free hand, gripped the wood handle tight and forced my entire might into crashing the metal lip into the sliced face of the Wereluun. That made it yelp and I struck again and again, forcing the beast off of me as blood spattered my face chest. Once I sat up, I gave the beast no time to recover from the stinging blows and hilted my sword into his remaining eye socket, the tip of my blade bursting from bellow the skull. I stood shakily and pulled my sword free. The other Wereluun feasted still on Moogiis corpse. I wasted no time limping my tired tail to the beast and hauled off with a sledgehammer strike of shield to Wereluun snoz. I don’t remember making a dented relief of the Wereluuns face in the metal shield or how long I’d been standing over the twitching body as I beat the head to pulp and my hand ached and bled from clutching the ruined shield so hard.

All that came to me was silence once more; you could hear a pup yip in protest of a nap and someone dropping coins from betting. I flung the shield to the side, turned and stalked in a swaggering, bleeding trek for the grate at the exit. Someone spoke out, and then another as the words caught fire. The grate opened with the Ehrthrii guard giving me an appraising and naked look of lust on his muzzle. I slunk into my earned rest at the hailed calls of “Dehguu Fiis! Dehguu Fiis! Dehguu Fiis!”

I didn’t look over my shoulder as I vanished into the company of my trainer, only pain, fear and the burning words of the spoken rule of the blood game settled into me.

One lives to walk away, one remains to darken the hay.
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