The Arena
The Arena urban fantasy stories
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sweetlyheart
sweetlyheart I mostly write urban fantasy
Autoplay OFF   •   2 years ago
A part of chapter one from a book my wife and I are writing together, which takes place three years after the fall of man and the rise of demons.

The Arena

Luis grit his teeth as his knees hit the ground, hands tied in front of him by fraying rope that dug too tightly into his wrists, a hood carelessly thrown over his head. He could hear cheering, loud and mocking, and what sounded like the clashing of weapons, and his stomach sank.

The arenas had been around long enough now that humans had to be even more careful to not get captured; a quick death was one thing, but many of the imprisoned demons found a human to be a good stress reliever, and it was an existence that Luis shuddered at the thought at.

Hurriedly, he yanked the hood off and found himself staring at an alarmingly familiar football stadium. He used to watch football games with his family--his mother had been a chemistry teacher at the college before everything had gone to shit.

Across the field, two demons were locked in combat, having not yet noticed Luis, and the human pulled the knife tucked away in his boot, maneuvering it to slice the ropes from his wrists, the skin raw and bloody in some areas from struggling to escape.

“C’mon,” he snarled, finally managing to cut the binds, shoving himself to standing only to realize the demons had noticed his existence, and one was stalking his way, apparently having decided Luis was a much easier opponent than his first.

“It’s gonna be far more fun gutting you instead of icy over there.” The demon said with a wide smirk while spinning the large ax he held in his hand. “I’ll take one limb at a time, I wanna hear you scream.” He said, an awful grin on his face as he lifted the ax in a wide ark.

As he went to bring it down on Luis, however, the blade met ice in a hard thunk as the other demon blocked the ax with a sword of ice, frost climbing the metal of the weapon.

“Don’t forget who your true opponent is,” The second demon growled, icey blue eyes blindingly bright on black sclera. “I will not warn you a second time, the next I will drive my blade through your back.” He said, shoving the demon back forcefully with his blade. “Focus on me."

With that last statement, the demon propelled himself forward, striking fast only to be parried by the other demon.

Luis watched in horrified fascination as the demons fought, though the crowd started getting disappointed the human wasn’t being eviscerated yet, the observers calling out for his gruesome death.

He didn’t know who’s side to pick, if there was even a side he wanted to be on--the ice one could very well want to rip Luis apart himself, or keep him as some sort of trophy.

But one was actively trying to kill him now, and Luis tightened the grip on his knife, at a loss for what to do. He was hardly a skilled fighter; he could make explosives, but he’d never been able to swing an ax, much less deflect one coming for his face.

The fight was evenly matched and both demons were not ready to back down. The demon wielding the ax swung for the other’s head, but the ice demon ducked just in time and brought his sword up in an arch, catching the other demon along his torso and sending blood splattering across the arena floor.

Without giving the other a chance to react, the ice demon brought his sword up and plunged it into the demon’s neck before kicking the body to the ground, sword still buried in the neck.

He panted, his torso covered in a splattering of blood, then turned his eyes on Luis. Luis scrambled back, not comforted by the cheering of the crowd, looking around for some type of escape.

He’d seen death before, but mostly, demons had ignored his family’s ranch in favor of bigger targets, and the demons that came by and, ultimately, died were few and far between, and much less gruesome than what he had just witnessed. He held out his knife in what he hoped was a suitably threatening gesture, but there was little he could do against a sword.

The ice demon did not look impressed by the wielded knife, and ignored it for the most part in favor of stalking toward Luis. When he was close enough, he formed another ice sword and pointed it at Luis. “Drop it, or I will gut you.” He growled out, a slight Norwegian accent to his voice.

Luis glanced between the sword and his knife, hand trembling, before he let it fall to the ground and raised his hands in a sign of surrender. He had another tucked into his other boot, so at least it wasn’t too big a loss.

“Good.” The demon growled, lowering his sword before stepping up to Luis and grabbing a fistfull of his hair, tugging his head back. “You are mine.” He growled, then looked to the crowd. “This human belongs to me! I will destroy anyone who tries to take him!” He shouted, glaring across the arena.

“Oh, Jesus Christ,” Luis hissed in pain, though he didn’t struggle. Struggling might mean a blade into his stomach, and he’d rather not be gutted. “Listen, let’s talk this through,” he muttered, glancing up at the demon despite the rough grip.

“There is nothing to talk through,” the demon growled, glaring at Luis. “It’s either this or death.” He said before shoving Luis ahead of him and grabbing the back of his neck in a tight grip instead, forcing him forward toward the opening gates.

Once through, the demon glared at the guards and dropped his sword of ice, it melting away as soon as it was no longer in his hands.

“You won’t have him for long.” One of the guards said as they held their weapon at the ready, a wide grin on his face as he looked Luis over hungrily. “When you die in the next few fights, I’ll take him off your hands. You won’t need him when you’re dead.”

“I won’t be dying.” The ice demon growled, pulling Luis closer as they headed through halls. “And I will take great satisfaction in destroying you the moment I get the chance.” He said, glaring at the guard.

“I feel like a piece of meat,” Luis muttered, sounding put out and more than a little bit terrified, though he easily went along with the demon. It wasn’t as if he had any choice in the matter. “I’m more than just a pretty face, you know.”

“Oh, I’m sure you are.” The guard chuckled darkly, once again looking over Luis hungrily. “I’m almost jealous this one here gets a taste of just how much… more you are first.” With that, the guard stopped them in front of a locked door and unlocked it,

opening it up into a room of demons and beds, all of which looked up as the ice demon pulled Luis inside, and the human could recognize it as a large repurposed locker room. “Have fun,” The guard chortled before locking the door back up.

“I hate that guy.” The demon growled, all but ignoring the demons around them as he brought Luis to the very back of the room and pushed him to sit on one of the beds before fishing under the bed a moment and pulling out a cloth, which he used to wipe the left over bits of blood off of him.

“I know you are frightened, but there is no need to be. I don’t intend to hurt you, or let anyone else.” The demon said, glancing down at Luis. “I am Aerowyn, what is your name, little human?”

Luis scoffed at being called little, fingers itching to grab the second blade tucked away, though he let it be. “Its Luis,” he answered after a moment, watching Aerowyn curiously. “So you’re not going to, I don’t know, kill me and fuck my lifeless body? I have no idea what you demons do to humans here. Probably very bad things.”

“No, that is… horrific sounding.” Aerowyn said, frowning just at the thought. “Others might want something like this that, but don’t expect anything like that from me. I am not as cruel as other demons, nor do I want to harm you.”

“Well, that’s good. I don’t have to worry about you eviscerating me, but that guard looked pretty keen on seeing me naked. And while I have no qualms about fucking handsome men, he looked like he was into some horrible shit, and I’m not down for that."

Luis shuddered, moving to get more comfortable and crossing his legs under him. “I’m like-like a fucking steak in a room full of rabid, starving dogs.”

“I won’t let harm come to you, so long as I’m alive.” Aerowyn said, glaring at a few demons across the way that were looking towards Luis with interest. “And I have no plans on dying, not until I get out of this place.”

“So, uh, not that I’m complaining, because you make a very dashing hero, but what do you get out of this, exactly?” Luis asked, frowning. “Aren’t you demons supposed to be all for human genocide or whatever?”

“I don’t get anything out of this.” Aerowyn said as he looked down at Luis. “Demons aren’t all like that. There is a good majority that are, but not everyone is. I grew up among humans, fought beside humans, I have no want for humans to be destroyed. And you, to them you are just something to add to their entertainment."

"I don’t want to be any part of bringing them entertainment, so I refuse to kill you for them, for their sick satisfaction of your blood since there is hardly a chance you could actually kill any of us in the Arena.”

“Alright, so you’re keeping me alive because you’re genuinely a good guy, but also out of sheer spite. I can respect that,” Luis said lightly. “Also, no, no I could not. If they threw me in there against a demon, I would near instantly die."

"I mean, I might give them a good black eye, but unless they trip and fall on their own weapon, there is a zero-percent chance of me surviving.” Luis licked his lips, suddenly looking nervous. “Would-would they throw me in the arena?”

“They may try, if I don’t die soon.” Aerowyn said. “But I won’t let them put you in so easily. Perhaps... Perhaps I can show you how to fight, to survive if they happen to put you in.”

“I mean, it’s better than just… flailing and hoping for the best. I’ve fought bandits, but never demons, not face-to-face.” Luis sighed, rubbing his eyes and scowling. “Thanks, by the way. For saving my ass. As soon as those demons nabbed me and put a fucking gimp hood on me, I was sure I was going to die.”

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