Sivian's Story: Part 4 - Blood and Blade
Her display made her more of an outcast when they were returned to the pits, but the numbers were smaller and there was a point where their fear of her was trumped by needing the extra body to keep warm. All do the non-humans were dead, and the people left were a mix she had never seen. They were sturdy and strong, and she could appreciate their grit even if they weren’t Helians.
A few weeks went by of nothing, one or two of the slaves would be pulled and one or none would come back, but they never pulled Sivian. One evening though with little warning they were pushed out into the arena again, the whole lot of them. The crowd greeted them with a roar, although it was less a celebration of them and more a celebration of the bloodshed to come. On the far side of the arena were not gladiators but what looked to be trained men. Six soldiers stared them down, lightly armored and well armed. But compared to the twelve slaves they might as well have been in full plate.
The gate closed behind them. And then from their left a bunch of weapons were thrown down at them. Some slaves rushed to grab what they wanted and Sivian found herself with the second wave. She managed away with a crude mace, and a sword that looked like it was only a few strikes away from snapping. She could tell they were not meant to have any advantage.
The Soldiers started to walk, they moved in lock step, shields raised enough to cover each other. A booming voice above them was speaking but Sivian had no idea what they were talking about, but she knew it had to be bad.
“Alkourie Guide Me.” She muttered to herself before stepping forward, she was one of only a handful that actively faced down their aggressors. She had no idea if they were content to die, or were content to kill. Either way she was grateful for either option.
“Sharp Blades, Strong Shields.” She said with a volume she didn’t expect to muster.
One of the men next to her perked up and looked to her. He was shocked and surprised. “Sharp Blades, Strong Shields.” His helian was rough, mixed with his own accent thickly but she understood. If he had spoken Helian truly he would have shown it before. Maybe their influence spread further than she knew, if this foreigner knew of an Alkourie saying. He looked back to their enemies and said something in his own language, the others who stood to face replied but she didn't know what changed but the air around the small band was lighter, more sure. She almost felt at home, and a shiver of excitement ran down her spine.
A guttural yell slipped past her lips and she charged forward followed up by the five who were with her. She was much faster than them and she made contact first with the man on the furthest right. He didn’t expect the force she could create, and she took him clean off his feet and sailing back four or five feet, she could hear the wind rush from his lungs. It would buy them a moment. She swung her mace down hard on the next man in line, he raised his shield and soaked it. By then the five others had made contact. They stuck together, the men with shields in the front, those with spears between. They stabbed and maneuvered using Sivian’s rapid clunking blows against the enemies shield to make openings.
She thought it might be going well until she heard the screaming from behind them, then the growling. She quickly glanced. The seven who had lagged behind were in combat, but not with men. It looked to be wolves, or maybe cats. This changed their pace even more. She swung again, the shield man in front of her lifted but he didn’t make contact with the mace, instead she stabbed him with her sword. The blade plunged deep but snapped in half when she tried to withdraw it. Another man screamed as a wooden spear found a home in the soft bits at the armpit. The weapon also broke off. They were down a spear and she only had the mace left. She backed up as the man she knocked down returned to the frey, but he had no desire to fight her, he kept a distance far enough she couldn’t reach but enough that she couldn’t capitalize on the space.
The man who she had knocked down, made three sharp whistles and she looked looked over her shoulder, she could feel it was bad. The combination of wolves and big cats quickly lost interest in the initial targets and came bounding towards them. She pushed off and charged the animals, she would see how well they were trained. The first contact was exactly what she expected a wolf launched and she grabbed it under the throat and slammed the club into its head. There was a crack and a yelp. But she had stopped moving and it was enough to be surrounded. The cats got to her rear and she could feel the claws before she realized what had happened. She spun around trying to throw the thing but it was latched on. She reached over her shoulder and grabbed what she could, it was the upper jaw. She had to do something even though she could feel the teeth cutting into her fingers.
She slammed her foot into an incoming wolf, it yelped away but was still up. She couldn’t hope to fight them all off. She found purchase on the cats jaw and twisted hard and the thing screamed and jumped from her back. She was at least free of that. She was about to charge in, when three slaves came into help her. A spear plunged into a wolf’s side and two more overwhelmed a cat. She took the momentum and came in and slammed her club into a downed wolf. Yelps and cries died down and she felt like they might be alright.
Woops from the crowd became even more intense she looked back to the soldiers and saw they had won. She mourned the bravery of the slaves who stood with her, but it passed. She had no idea if they could win...she doubted if she alone could do it.
The sound stopped everyone but it struck Sivian to her very core.
The booming horn silenced the arena, the crowd was a hum of questioned inflection. Sivian took the moment and charged in and kicked one of the soldiers in the shield forcing in back enough to cave in the head of the man next to him. The other backed away far enough. She reached down and yanked the shield from the downed man’s arm.
She didn’t have to win, she just had to wait, wait for her rescue.