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The Pits


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     The nine foot tall insectoid Local clacks her mandibles and rolls all six eyes at the man sitting quietly in the cell opposite her own. "You are pathetic, Angel-Spawn. I have fought in these pits for centuries and never have I suffered the defeat that I will lay upon you." She runs all four front legs across the bars of her cell in a vain attempt to get the attention of the man seated across from her. "I have over a thousand victories in these pits, you are nothing". Infernal is a gutteral language, but easily spoken by all Locals regardless of the configuration of their mouth. Even the mandibled mouth of this Mantis Local can form the words, one has only to understand that Infernal is more about intent than it is about the words and grammar itself.


     The man makes no reply. He sits on the floor, back to the wall with elbows on his raised knees, head sunk between his arms. His hair is greasy, charred and stringy and hangs low, covering his face, but still that same burnt orange. His armour is piece-meal and salvaged from past opponents, it's a hodge-podge of pilfered leather straps and Infernite plates covering basic vital organs and tender places. His exposed flesh is scarred and warped from both combat and heat, looking more like a carved up melted candle than a man.


     "Do you hear me, half-breed? I will eat your flesh, I will consume your bones and I will feed them to my children" The mandibles clack again in laughter. "Do you think you impress me, X'lt'tcl, Queen of The Swarm? You may have been victorious against Gralfaygen and Morval, but  I considered them nothing more than inconveniences. The Masters would not even let me face them for they knew that I would defeat them easily." The man remains huddled, making no reply. "Do you hear me Angziel, half-breed wretch?! I will destroy you, as so many have destroyed you before! I will face you again and again, no matter how many times you return from death!"


     The rear wall of their cells opens, revealing a circular tunnel that both combatants know will lead them to opposite entries to the Arena. Fergus McRae registers the gleeful chattering of X'lt'tcl's mandibles as he slowly pushes himself to his feet. His posture is tired, his shoulders slumped, his breath laboured. He follows the circular tunnel to a massive gate, beyond which are the sands of The Pit, the thrum of the assembled crowd almost visceral in its intensity.


     "YOU DIRTY MOTHERFUCKERS!! Cries the announcer in thickly accented Infernal. The crowd screams, the sound so intense that it registers only as hot, white noise in Fergus' ears. "For our final match, we have the queen herself, X'lt'tcl, Mother of the Brood, Queen of the Swarm and Ruler of The Nine Hives! The noise somehow increases. The man winces, resisting his urge to slam his hands to his ears thereby showing any weakness. "Versus, this fucking piece of shit who, for some reason NOBODY can kill! The deathless, the relentless, the ultimate half-breed, ANGZIEL!" To be fair there are a few cheers, but most of the crowd is not cheering. Discarded food is thrown at the man as he steps forward under the now open gate.


     X'lt'tcl raises her arms to the crowd as they scream their approval, scuttling forward towards the array of weaponry laid upon the arena sands, her glee at being fastest to reach them evident in the clicking of her jaws. The man raises his head and opens his eyes. Twin flames dance in his eyes, hungry and hateful, they caper, their heat raising the hair on his head in what one might almost describe as a halo. As the Queen of the Swarm reaches her target a concentrated stream of Hellfire slices off the first two arms on her left side, continuing onwards to scorch the wall of the arena, extending upwards into the crowd immolating half a dozen attendants as ancillary victims to the slaughter about to play out below. The crowd screams its approval. Fergus McRae stands before his foe, arm extended, palm smoking.


     The Mantid Queen roars her fury as she bears down, regenerating her lost limbs and no small cost to her internal reserves. Within seconds she has both limbs back, swords clasped in all four pincers, she dashes forward on her rear four legs to close with her enemy. She slashes in a cross-pattern but her quarry is no longer there. She turns, confused, her prey gone. All six eyes scanning the arena floor she fails to notice that her prey is now airborne. The first blast of Hellfire comes from behind, knocking her forward, forcing her to push herself upright. The second hits her thorax, stumbling her. With inhuman speed she turns in place on four legs, finally finding her opponent. The man hangs in the air, arms folded and entirely engulfed in flames.


     In his thick Scottish brogue, Fergus taunts the enormous insectoid Local "Beg yer pardon, ye mighty cunt, but I didnae quite hear ye in the cells? Would ye be so kind as tae repeat what ye were sayin' about devourin' me bones an' the like?" X'lt'tcl rears back and spits acid at The Man on Fire, the stream of green fluid coursing its way across the arena all, but to no avail. She receives a barrage of flares in return as Fergus, in his rotten, cobbled together armour circles the arena at altitude pummeling his adversary over and over from above. "I said, I beg yer feckin' pardon?!" The Mother of the Brood staggers.


     Fergus slams down at X'lt'tcl's feet, superheating the sand of the arena, turning it to molten glass. The mantid queen screams in agony as her bottom four limbs begin to melt. She swings vainly with her four upper limbs, a desperate gasp at survival and victory, but she is too late. Already the gladius has been manifested. Floating inches above the molten sand of the arena Fergus McRae holds forth the last gift his father gave him, the Celestial gladius, LightFire. The blades clash in a violent explosion, sending the insectoid Local slamming against the wall of the arena, broken and bleeding.


     The crowd roars its approval.

Edited by Living_Hellfire

-The Legendary Living Hellfire

"The newest person in the room is always the most important person in the room"

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