Sand and Blood

Scrambling to his feet, his head reeling from the new dent in his helm, Goff turned to face the swordsman, expecting a follow up attack, but the swordsman was basking in the accolades of the blood thirsty crowd.  Goff launched forward, weapons thrusting out before him as the swordsman turned, battle ready, balanced on the balls of his feet, sword coming down to block.   Like a snake darting out, Goff’s net spun forward snagging the other’s sword hand.  Yanking it aside, Goff leaped, stabbing forward with his trident, aiming for the center of the swordsman’s chest.  With a sickening crunch and a spurt of hot, red blood, the swordsman’s chest was destroyed and he fell limp to the sand beneath their feet.  Goff yanked hard to pull the trident out, gore and all, then raised his arms in empty triumph as the crowd roared.

***

Back in his cell, Goff knew it was only a matter of time before the Master came to chastise him.  It was never enough to win, the Master always wanted something more:  more speed, more blood, more show, more suspense — always something more.  Later, caught dozing, Goff was on his knees before he became fully aware of what was happening, Clegain, the burly personal bodyguard of the Master was still holding his hair, pressing him forward and down so that he fell to his hands.  With Goff on all fours, the master spoke, “You should not have fallen so easily, you nearly cost me a lot of coin.  Next time, I want more speed.  Clegain, show him what happens when I am disappointed.  Then the beating started, sometimes, Clegain used a whip, but today he bore a cat-o-nine-tails.  Without mercy, the cat tore strips and chunks out of Goff’s bare back, eventually he screamed, but as the fog came over him and he fell to his belly in the dirt, the beating stopped.  His last thought before blacking out was a single word:  Revenge!

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