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Threetoe's Stories, and Analysis

The Mighty Savager

By Threetoe

The crowd roared. Alston watched as condemned men battled in the filthy arena. This was the big time. Merchants and craftsmen gathered from all over town to fill the bleachers that reached a height of four arm spans. This was nothing like the arena in the capital, but it was better than the hastily arranged fights in the city square. Weapons were not allowed in the street, so these were bloody wrestling matches that usually ended with a broken arm or a death by strangulation. The arena was far more entertaining. Alston was watching the four men eagerly. He had his money riding on the Saber Team. So much money in fact, that he had questions about his livelihood should the Sabers fail.

The Sabers moved cautiously toward the other two gladiators. It was obvious none of the men had ever held a weapon. One of the Sabers lifted his weapon and charged with a high pitched shriek. The two gladiators backed up holding out their spears, obviously shaken. The mad gladiator impaled himself on the spears. The two spearmen yanked their weapons free. The other Saber dropped his weapon and begged for mercy. The crowd threw rotten vegetables at him. The High Merchant stood up from his podium. He commanded the coward to fight. The Saber fell to his knees and rested his head on the ground. The Merchant gave the signal and the spearmen inexpertly stabbed their weapons into him. It took many blows before he stopped screaming.

Alston waiting until the crowd had thinned out, and the money changer had begun to close up shop. He begged the man to offer him an extension on his loan. But his pleas were in vain. The moneychanger called to the guard, and Alston was brought before the High Merchant. The Merchant thought it was only right that since Alston had defaulted on his loans in order to bet on a fight, he should be sold to the pits.

A scream echoed through the wooden fortress as Alston was branded. There was no hope for him now. There was a rumor that fighters could win their freedom, but only after they had shown their worth in the capital. Alston had no illusions he would live that long. Slaves with any combat skill were immediately sent to the capital. Here on the frontier, it was feared they would become bandits. That night Alston slept in the stable of his new master. He had worked hard in the fields that day, and his hands were blistered. He cried.

The next night, after another grueling day in the fields, Alston was led into the square. Torches lit up the crowd who shouted and jeered. Before him stood his old business partner Dagner. Dagner had lost his fortune as well, when Alston gambled away all their money. His eyes never left Alston. Their hands were bound together with rope. Alston glanced around the crowd. Everywhere bets were being taken. Their bonds were cut and Dagner charged at the man who ruined him. Alston was knocked on his back. Dagner knelt on his chest and began to strangle him. Alston clawing desperately at Dagner's face. Finally his thumb caught on Dagner's eye and he tore it out. He stood over the screaming man who was now rolling on the ground. The crowd howled. Alston savagely kicked him in the head until he was silent. Chickens and purses changed hands and the crowd dispersed. Alston's master slapped him on the back. He would fetch a fair price at the arena the man said.

The barracks outside the arena was cramped and stinking, but at least he was now free to walk around town. The brand that marked him as one of the condemned meant that few people would talk to him. In the barracks it was little different. All the men knew they would soon be called on to kill each other. Only Kolsner, a bar room tough, openly bragged of his skill.

The day soon came when Alston was called on to fight. His opponent would be Apples, a young boy whose father sold him into slavery to feed his family. The gates opened and the opponents walked into the ring. Apples saw it first. A dagger left in the middle of the arena. Alston ran toward the dagger, but Apples had a head start. Apples snatched up the weapon and lifted it to strike. Alston caught him by the wrist. The crowd went wild as the two men struggled. Alston's teeth closed on Apple's fingers ripping two of them off in a spray of blood. Alston grabbed the knife and stabbed it into Apple's neck. The gate opened and Alston strode from the arena, dropping the knife. The crowd chanted what would be his new name. Savager.

"You think you can beat me Alston? Or should I call you The Mighty Savager?" said Kolsner.

Alston was tired of Kolsner's games. But like the other men, he just stared into space. Only those who doubted their strength boast like that.

The next day Alston stood before the gates holding a sword and shield. The gates lifted and he walked slowly into the arena. There stood three gladiators armed with an assortment of weapons. Kolsner stood in the middle smiling. The three gladiators closed on Alston. One, armed with a pole-axe, struck first. Alston batted the weapon away and struck off the man's head. Alston laughed to himself. If they had all attacked at once, he would have been finished. The smile fell from Kolsner's face as he backed behind the other man. Alston finished the man easily, leaving only Kolsner. Kolnser dropped his weapons and clawed at the gate. The High Merchant called for Kolsner's death, but Alston refused. Then the Merchant promised Alston's freedom if he would only finish the game. Alston threw down his sword. That night he was sold to an arena boss in the capital.


    • city ordinances on weapons and dress codes
    • gambling:
      • gambling on fights, analagous to arena situation using the same infrastructure
      • sometimes really get into it, and lose everything or amount large debts, this can lead to trouble with the entity that is their creditor
      • certain people can be in the position to take bets, change money, etc.
      • bets could involve things like bartering livestock, and so on
    • people coordinating spectacles can attempt to correct minor deviations through encouragement of various forms
    • branding: livestock and slaves can be marked, this ties in to the scarring system
    • slaves can be made to work in whatever way suits them, they could have an official role, such as being a gladiator, while still being made to work in other ways
    • rules or conventions followed in order for people to change their entity state, particularly regarding issues of bondage or judicial issues
    • certain established marks or non-conformity to customs such as dress codes can lead to ostracization
    • certain members of the family can be prized over others, and this could lead to drastic measures, some could be sacrificed to support the others provided there is a way to benefit from such a thing
    • congratulatory gestures
    • personal restraints that aren't buildings, like rope, chains or other bindings
    • raised platforms for people to sit on
    • certain buildings and places can smell
    • repelling charges with polearms, impalement
    • there can be total morale failures, leading to prone states and so on, you could try to claw through unmoveable objects, especially closed portals