Of all the pains or tortures devised by fate, perhaps the most miserable is to have once been happy.
    The brokenhearted see the world the most poetically, but through the deadest eyes. Theirs is the pain of seeing the most and having the least, having only recognized their fortune in the moment it was ripped from their fingertips.
    The rakers were blessed. They'd never once been happy.
    These, the mercifully ignorant, stumbled through the empty courtyard, walking corpses in rags. Their faces were covered in soot and blank expressions, tearless, resigned, familiar with nothing but the drudgery of their labors and the pain of the whip.
    Druin envied them.
    Druin stumbled past them and shut the door to the Cold Chamber. He hobbled to the sink and splashed the icy water on his face, his fur thick with dirt and sweat. He looked up into the shard of polished glass that served as a crude mirror. He watched numbly as the water dribbled down his whiskers and into the basin.
    Behind him, another door opened ever so slightly. A tall, dark weasel observed Druin in his reflection. Their eyes met. "It's time, mouse. It's your turn."
    Druin shut his eyes. His paw strayed to his sword hilt. This was it.

ooc- This is based off of a story concept I was working on. I still might do something with it, but right now I'm just exploring.
    Basically, eight or so different provinces each select a group of champions between 16 and 18 years/seasons old (old enough to fight, young enough to die). They face off and a final champion from each group is selected, along with his trainer. After a series of tournements, the winner (the Province, not the fighter) gets money and added political power. The most powerful always wins. The weakest stays weakest.The reason the tournement was designed was to keep the weaker factions from grouping together to fight the stronger ones. They stay independant in hope of winning.
    The one problem is that one faction will always lose. Eventually, they'll decide to cheat.

I am myself a warrior. A warrior is me. I am the warrior. The warrior bows to me, for I am the greater warrior. I define warrior. Victory is to the warrior. Loss is to the lifeless. I am the warrior. I am victorious. Words echoed throughout young Bane's mind. The chant was his own creation. It was his own personal way of numbing himself for what was to follow. The squirrel heaved a heavy sigh, standing up from the rock he was leaning against.

The young squirrel was covered in dirt, blood, and other material he didn't even want to know what it was. Scruffs were dirty, fights were vicious, but the arena was ruthless. He had learned the way of the arena quickly and did whatever it took to survive. Surviving wasn't just life or death, it was making sure you actually made it out in one piece, and with at least a little bit of your sanity.

The brown furred squirrel pulled a clump of dirt matted with blood out of his fur and grimaced; the result of a fox who didn't know when to give in. He rubbed his green eyes with his paws, trying to force himself awake. After all, the fight at hand was not a joke in any sense of the word. This was important. Bane had to win. He would never live with himself if he lost. Or, if he did lose, he'd get even, he was sure of that.

Bane's trainer was absent, as always. The young squirrel rolled his eyes knowing all too well that his trainer would show up, but of course late as usual. He reached down for his twin pair of daggers and sheathed the blades expertly. I am the warrior. I am victory. They are the lifeless, the losers. I am the survivor, the warrior, the winner. It is time to show the warrior.

His eyes wandered the arena coldly. Oh how interesting it was to know that young beasts beating the snot out of each other held such importance to entertainment and politics. The squirrel scoffed at the very thought of it. Any minute now, the madness would ensue. Apart from his trainer never being around,(the squirrel scanned the arena once more to check his trainer's tardiness) the squirrel felt a need to be early, inside, and waiting. Bane was always intrigued by the society in which he lived, and the arena really brought out their true colors.

Druin was not eager to leave the Cold Chamber. He stepped slowly and hesitantly into the arena. Every time he played this dangerous game, he came so much closer to killing. He hated it. It frightened him.
    He stepped into the scorching sun as the slaves finished raking the field and carried away the debris and carnage. The sand was clean now, excepting the blood-red stains, proverbial gravestones. Across the arena, he could make out the shape of the young male squirrel, which surprised him. Not many woodlanders wound up here.
    With a steadying sigh, he shut his eyes. Then he slid the blade from it's sheath. A slender rapier, all he could afford with his betting credits. If he won this fight, he might be able to get something better.
    Then he stepped into the ring and the crowd roared, a bloodthirsty throng of vagabonds all cheering and taunting at the same time. The game had begun.

ooc- Some random vermin or political figure could call out reminders to rules or something, which would be a great way of establishing the rules for the game. Problem is, we'd have to decided first what the rules are.

Death came and went for the squirrel. He had a friend or two that died serving the cause of the warrior. He himself came oh so very close to killing, and unlike Druin, Bane wasn't afraid. This was not a good thing though. When I mentioned keeping at least a little bit of their sanity, maybe that was because all Bane had left, was a little bit. The arena was clearly getting to him mentally, but did he care? No of course not! It was just a "game". A game of fighters, but a game!

The squirrel smirked at the very thought of the arena. Warriors as players. Warriors as a tool of decision. Regardless of the point he was a warrior, and that mouse that had just arrived on the field was going to be the loser, the lifeless. Or, so Bane thought at least. He watched the slaves. They were losers too. They were lifeless. It was one thing to fight and die in the arena, but to serve as such a low rank was pitiful. Bane would rather die than serve the life of a slave. But then again, wasn't he a slave to the arena?

No matter, the squirrel banished all thoughts and focused on the arena. His green eyes wandered to his pair of daggers, which he unsheathed and twirled expertly. He liked his daggers. Mainly because in the end, they were easy to toss aside and he could pound his opponent's face in while they reached for their fallen weapon.

Bane smirked as the crowed cheered for Druin. The squirrel himself took a step forward, only to pause when one of the officials of a province began to call out a couple brief reminders.

OOC: Umm yeah haha good call on that actually. Well, what we could do for the rules is basically a tap-out rule or a limp rule. You fight till the other beast taps out, or is limp for any reason. No eye shots? Umm other than that, do what it takes? I set you up for the rule thing in my post at the end if you'd like. Or, if you want I can edit mine and I can rp him, up to you what you wanna do ^^

ooc- No, it was perfect 🙂

A couple rules could be:
1. No deliberate kills, but no penalty (Could be largely ignored)
2. No maiming after the opponent is limp/unconscious/yields
3. No using your weapon to aim for the head or eyes
4. Two percent of the winning bets  goes to the winner (So the dark horse automatically wins more). The money is used to buy new fighting equipment.
5. No outside intervention.

What rules do you want to make?

OOC: xD Those are all the rules I need haha unless you want more =p, I picture this arena being pretty dirty and ruthless at times based on the way it has been described and its purpose. I think those rules provide enough restraint, and yet enough freedom to make it the way it is xD, so to me, that works ^^

ooc- Ok, cool.
Something I just thought of, though: drums beat while the game goes on, but the round is over when they stop, kind of like blowing the whistle in football. That okay? I can edit it if you have a different suggestion.

bic- Druin started to circle around the left edge of the arena as the official called out the rules.
    "No deliberate killing, no maiming after the drums have stopped, no aiming for the eyes and no outside intervention is allowed. There are no penalties for killing, but you will lose automatically the third time that you leave the circle. The spectators will be silent so that the players can hear the drums."
    Druin twirled his blade experimentally in his right paw. His right foot paw dragged through the sand behind him, limp and twisted. It was a wonder he had gotten so far into the  Tournement with a leg like his. But it was his trainer's idea. He was the one who all the bets were against. He would make an unbelievable number of credits if he were to win.
    He could see the indifferent and calculating look on the squirrel's face. A killer, Druin realized. Not a peace-loving woodlander.

OOC: Aye works for me. That's pretty cool actually ^^

BIC:

The official's words passed right through Bane's head. He had heard them a million times over and by this point in time Bane didn't particularly care for them. The once peaceful creature had become a product of his environment. Oh the power of nurture!

Bane's eyes narrowed as he watched Druin move. His eyes immediately flicked and shot their gaze toward the mouse's limp. A weak spot? How did he make it so far? he wondered, truly perplexed. No matter. Mouse, I will make you pay for entering such an arena.

The squirrel slowly began to advance slowly on his target, spinning both knives as he slowly closed the gap.
" I' ya like I'll take i' easy on ya," Bane offered gamely with a determined grin. As much as a killer as he was becoming, his determination was one of the few pieces left of his sane side. However, with the insanity, came cockiness.

Druin's eyes narrowed. He couldn't see anything about the squirrel that seemed out of place. Still, he hunted for some sort of weak spot, anything that could give him an advantage.
    He heard Bane's jibe over the monotonous drumming, but was unperturbed. He'd heard plenty of similar taunts. He kept his blade up in case the other tried throwing one of his daggers. "Are you just offering so that you'll look generous when you lose?"
    There were about thirty feet between them, but he didn't move away from the edge of the ring. He was in no hurry to close the gap. He walked slowly, his steps closely matching the beating of the drums.

Bane on the other hand, was in quite a hurry to close the gap. He hated drawing out the fights. If anything held him back, it was that he was in such a hurry to pound the ever loving snot out of his opponents, that he would leave himself open for shots, with the hope that maybe, just maybe, he'd knock his opponent senseless first.

The squirrel' smile twisted at Druin's response.
"Maybe, maybe no'," the squirrel responded with a chuckle. Oh this is bloody too far mousey. Let's get i' on shall we? Your face will be splattered all o'er the sand, he thought, deciding to get rid of the gap. It was fair for Druin to prepare for a throw, but Bane had no intention of tossing one of his knives at his opponent.

Instead, the squirrel took to a sprint at Druin, daggers ready. The squirrel was quick on his feet that was for sure. He faked the knife throw at Druin as he closed in, but instead when hey finally reached the mouse, he took a jab at Druin's side with one of the daggers. Whether or not he connected, the squirrel truly didn't care; the game was on, and the excitement had just begun.

Druin stepped back to the very, very edge of the ring and side-stepped as he prepared to block the dagger throw. It never came, but the side-step saved him from serious injury as Bane swung his second dagger. In that instant, Druin used his good foot paw to leap into the air and did a spinning kick, aiming for Bane's lower back, his intention being to knock him out of the circle. Executing the practiced kick perfectly, he landed on his three good paws and went into a crouch.
    The crowd booed. They didn't like opportunist tactics. Druin personally didn't care.

ooc- That's not saying that he landed the kick. Just saying.

ooc: Nah all good mate ^^, I'll have it land, it'll just make Bane angrier that he's already been out of the circle once haha >: D

BIC:

The squirrel thought the mouse would have thrown himself off balance, leaving him open to another blow. However, Bane was completely wrong and completely surprised when Druin took to the air, kicking at Bane's back. He barely had a second to dodge, and unfortunately because of his position, he didn't. The well placed shot hit the squirrel knocking him flat on his stomach, causing his daggers to scatter into the sand.

Drums stopped their beating for a moment and boos rattles the arena. Bane muttered angry curses, grabbing his daggers and hopping back into the ring. He didn't distance himself far as he waited for the drums to begin once more.

"HEY BANE! YOU BLOODY LITTLE RUNT! YOU FAIL AND YOU'RE DEAD!" A voice sounded from the Arena seats. The squirrel paused, his ears perking high. His trainer, as usual, was late, and drunken. Bane rolled his eyes in discontent and focused back on Druin. The drums began their roaring once more. The game was back on.

"Ya go' lucky mouse," the squirrel spat, spinning his blades. A moment later and the squirrel was charging his opponent once more. This time, the squirrel threw his dagger at Druin's good footpaw, hoping to take some of his movement out of the match. After throwing the dagger at Druin's foot, which he figured he would probably dodge, the squirrel was ready to thrust his blade at the mouse's side once more.

OOC- Oh and yeah none of these are automatically connecting hits haha don't worry, I've been in a couple combat contests in rp's and I always say what they "attempt" to do, nothing is final, it's all on you mate ^^

Druin expected a feint, not an actual throw. He hadn't anticipated that Bane would risk throwing the dagger, so as soon as the dagger let fly, he was stepping in to take the opening. It was a painful mistake.
    He gasped in pain and stumbled forward onto his knees as the dagger sink into his flesh. He almost dropped his rapier in the process, but had enough sense to hold on. He blinked hard to wash the mist from his eyes and swiped hard at where he anticipated Bane would be. He hoped the squirrel had been fool enough to step into it like he had.
    His breathing was slightly ragged and he was forced to clamp his left paw to his side, which was soaked red with blood, but the wound was not enough to stop him yet. He bared his teeth and growled in anger and pain.

And the warrior is successful, Bane thought excitedly, watching his opponent fall to his knees. This was exactly the edge the squirrel needed to advance on his opponent and bring in the finishing blows! He's all yours Bane!

But whoa, what was this? Druin had blindly started swinging where he expected Bane to be, and was right! When the squirrel lunged forward, hoping to dig the dagger into Druin's side, he did not expect such a blind attempt at defense! The squirrel found himself in trouble. He had only one option: fall. The squirrel allowed himself to fall to the sandy ground, next to Druin. However, when the squirrel fell to his back, it cost him.

For starters, the wind left the warrior as if it was being chased by a bear. Secondly, Druin's slice actually clipped apart of the squirrel's right ear, adding a new and permanent scar. Bane growled, rolling to the side, and holding his bleeding ear. He was now close to the edge of the ring yet again, and with a damaged ear.

Druin felt the squirrel drop to the sand beside him as his vision began to clear. He saw his chance to drive his opponent from the circle again and started slicing his rapier back and forth through the sand beside Bane, trying to force him to roll out of bounds. He yanked the dagger out of his side and, as Bane rolled, he hurled it at Bane's right paw. An eye for an eye, he thought darkly.

Bane had rolled over and stopped himself on his knees, right at the edge of the ring. As soon as the squirrel realized that something was tossed at him, the squirrel swatted at the dagger with his free paw. Originally, he thought it was a clump of sand being tossed at his eyes and unfortunately missed. To his dismay he realized it was his own dagger and he literally assisted Druin with the throw by putting his paw in the right spot.

Because the squirrel at swatted it away, it didn't dig into his skin. Instead, it just provided a nasty wound on his paw. Bane howled in agony, falling to his back. He switched from holding his clipped ear, to grasping his sliced paw. He growled in rage; his eyes narrow, and teeth clenched. Curse you mouse! His anger only heightened when he realized he had fallen out of the ring a second time!

The drums stopped at the young squirrel was assaulted with more harsh words from his trainer. Rolling his eyes, he slowly made his way into the arena. He had one active paw and thus could only use his one dagger anyway. He panted, anxiety filling him. The squirrel knew he was losing because his anger was consuming him. If he was more focused he wouldn't have been leaving himself so open! But, alas, such a shame to realize such a flaw when you're 0-2. He was losing!

The squirrel scowled, waiting for the drums to start once more. He couldn't believe it, he was actually losing.

ooc- Some kind of a stalemate could prove interesting. I'm not sure who should win the fight, to be honest. What's a good stalemate?

bic- Druin hop-skipped backward, toward the center of the field. This was the final clash, he knew. This squirrel would possibly kill him if he didn't end this now, but the problem was, he wasn't sure how to. He thought back to his training. It was time to shift gears: he couldn't be an opportunist anymore. He was fighter. If a third chance presented itself where he could knock Bane out of the circle so that he could end the round non-fatally, he would take it, but for now he had pulled the last of his surprise cards.
    He steadied his breathing again, trying his best to ignore the wound in his side. He was doubled slightly, but the wound was to one side and it wasn't deep. The drums beat ominously in his ears, reminding Druin of an executioner's march.
    His eyes narrowed down on his opponent, strolling toward him over the sand. He curled his paws and blade back into a prefect fighter's stance and crouched low. Everything was going quiet again. The crowd sensed the real fight was just beginning.

ooc- xD aye one would. But, it is up to you. Personally I don't mind if Bane loses, tis okay with me ^^, or a stalemate works too haha. I could see maybe Bane knocking out Druin, but Bane falls out of bounds in the process? Because although Bane "loses", Druin is incapacitated at the same time? And thus, it even causes debate as to what should be done? Or, there's the classic they both just knock each other senseless at the same time like in Step Brothers xD

BIC:

Bane swallowed hard, looking to his dagger once more. It was during this time where the young squirrel realized just how fine, yet simple the weapon was. He smiled lightly. His previous trainer was the one who had given them to him; his trainer he had to get him ready for the arena and introduced to his legitimate trainer. Unfortunately, his "legitimate" trainer was not like his first; he was a drunkard and a fowl beast.

More words assaulted Bane's ears and booing consumed the stadium on one hand, and cheering on the other. The motley of noises proved to be unsettling, but regardless Bane allowed himself to be caught up in the beat of the drums once more.

His green eyes targeted his opponent, and a hateful gaze burned. Mouse, I will kill you if I 'ave to. I can not lose, he thought angrily. I am the warrior. I am victory. I am victorious, his mind chanted once more. This was it. Bane had one last chance.

ooc- Maybe Bane does something cruel that incapacitates Druin, then hurls him against the wall outside of the circle, sort of as a revenge. Then they both do something spectacular in the last round and Druin manages to hurl Bane and himself out at the same time. Bane would become the epitome of an angry arch-enemy at that point. Then, because of the uncertainty of who really won (Druin is only barely in the round because of injuries) they will have to fight again at some point.
    Hey, this isn't just my thread, though. You call some shots, too. ^-^

bic- Druin started to circle counter-clockwise, hoping to draw Bane near the edge again, just in case a chance afforded itself to him. He maintained his stance as he moved, wary of Bane's knives. It surprised him that Bane was willing to throw them. It was something he wasn't used to.
    The streaks of golden sunlight filtered through the clouds of dust, glaring painfully of Druin's rapier blade. He lifted it slightly to keep the light out of his eyes, but it left a small opening he hoped the squirrel would miss.
    "Oh, I'm sorry I hurt your paw, bush-tail. Need me to kiss it better for you?" The mouse inquired in a ginger tone. Druin was typically above taunting and wasn't very good at it, but pride seemed to be the creature's weak point. He decided to make use of it.

OOC: That could work ^^

BIC:

The squirrel narrowed his gaze, examining Druin's every moment. Bane was able to calm himself a bit to the point where he was able to think and analyze his opponent once again. After all, his anger limited that earlier in the fight, causing the two ring knockouts he had received already. Sighing, he took a deep breath and nodded to himself. I am the warrior. Druin was right: pride was one of the squirrel's weaknesses.

His green eyes widened in surprise. Although Druin's taunt was a little on the weak side, it did make Bane a little more frustrated. The squirrel then noticed the mouse's opening. It was small, but if he could hit it and thus stun the mouse, it would give him enough time to run over and toss him out of the arena.

"I wouldn' be so smug i' I were ya mouse," the squirrel began. He watched the mouse's movements carefully before deciding to charge his opponent. It would be unexpected of the squirrel to throw his only remaining weapon while charging, but hey, he could get it back after he knocked Druin out of the ring.

The squirrel was quick in his movement, heading straight toward Druin. At first, Bane put on the appearance that he was going to charge the mouse and thrust with the dagger, but instead tossed the weapon at the small opening.

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