1 A Gift from the Unknown

The sound of bellows not unlike that of humans resonated along the heavy and dull air of underground, growing in intensity and power as a boy walked towards a light at the end of the dim tunnel.

"Kill him!" One said. As the swarthy boy reached the end of the tunnel, rays of harsh sunlight engulfed him, slowly crawling along his chained ankles, up to his bare chest where scars and bruises looked commonplace everywhere, then finally to his shaggy white hair, its majestic glimmer rivaling that of the sun's.

"Bring about the next fighter!" One said. He was high up on a platform made of clockwork gears and metal, looking down upon what is known as the arena. The air was dry, coarse, and for the most part, dead. Hundreds of bodies lined the inside of the cage, most of them not human, usually a hybrid of other races lying on the gritty ground. Metal bars lined the top of the arena like a bird's cage, with the metal walls stained with rust and blood from past battles.

"State your name, mongrel!" The one above the excellent platform hollered. "So your name may be honored in the case of your death."

Hundreds of laughter filled the arena to the brim, almost feeling the shaking of the earth. The boy stood there still, apparently not fond of the people outside the ring. There was no honor to be found in fighting in this massacre, the boy thought. It's all unadulterated survival of the fittest. The person on the other side of the ring also may have the same thought as he did.

"Then so be it... begin." He said. "Try not to bore us, crossbreed."

And so he took a dirk and shield, half-broken, from the piles of corpses and went on to meet his foe.

An old man lay restless on the field, holding a broad ax bloodied from its past battles. The boy was well aware that the aged man wouldn't live long, seeing all his wounds and bruises. He hears the man wheezing and struggling, almost to the point of suffering, and he breathes a dead sigh of grief.

He readied his shield and weapon, holding the latter to his left, then charged at the old man. He struck his dirk swiftly to the man's right shoulder, giving no hint of hesitation. The attack was parried by the handle of the ax, and countered with a giant arc swing, sending the boy back to avoid the fatal blow. The man was no pushover when it came to fighting.

The crowd grew wild outside the arena as the fight was getting around. The two fighters kept keen observation against the other, with the first one to lose touch most likely the one who will lose this battle. The boy circled the old man, waiting for a chance, just a small one, to charge. The man was already injured, and when he finally let down his guard, the boy pounced.

The boy charged once again, this time throwing first his shield aimed towards the face of the man, and slid down just before a horizontal swing of the ax connected to the shield, breaking it into tens of wooden pieces. The boy took this chance -a moment of victory, and pounced to the man, blade in hand, and struck the midsection with everything he can muster.

The man dropped his ax, spat out blood, and fell -for a moment, then locked the head of the boy with his right arm and pulled him over, following up with a knee sock to his stomach. The boy couldn't shout, his lungs deflated, and rolled over to the ground in pain.

"Boy, state your name." The old man ordered as the boy still groaned in pain on the cold, sandy ground, trying to regain his ability to talk. "Make haste! I'm losing blood by the second."

"Flo." He stuttered. The old man knelt, heaving in pain, and swiped a drop of blood from his mouth. "Oh great Consciousness who awaits in his throne of Got, I am sorry for I have failed to attain your wish. Please grant this strange power to this child Flo, and will yourself in him and continue the hunt for the one you search for in my stead."

"What is this unprecedented event we're seeing?" The man on the metal platform asked in displeased annoyance. "We want blood and not this daft conversation! What is this drama?"

Hundreds of the watchers laughed, and some went over to throwing rocks inside the ring. The old man bore through it all, unceasing with the act. He gashed a shallow cut in Flo's palm, and joined his bloodied hand with him.

"The blessing has now been passed. Now to unseal-" An arrow zipped through the air, goring the head of the man and sending him rolling along the dusty ground.

"What bore."

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