This is not how I had hoped this would go down. Right now I found myself on my knees with my hands tied behind my back. I suppose I should recap the events that lead me to this position. After plunging into the darkness, we traveled for another day through tunnels, I started to feel odd as we faced very little resistance. It always worries me when things are too easy. We got to a point and then Lytria announced that it must be the night of the two new moons. I had to admit she had not merged with her wolf so she must be right. For her though this was a significant day and it needed to be celebrated in a small way. The half-orc women agreed and said they knew of a secluded cavern where some sort of celebration could take place. I realized it would take a little time but we had to stop for the night anyway.
I realized very quickly as the only male in the party that I was the odd man out quite literally and quickly volunteered for guard duty for whatever semi-pagan ritual they were planning. The cavern turned out to be medium-sized with enough size to light a small bonfire to dance around which is exactly what these ladies had planned. It was accessible only by a small tunnel so the light of the fire would be concealed. I posted myself to guard as soon as I saw the fire lit and the ladies starting to shed their remaining clothes. Once I feel like I am at a ladies’ tea or something similar I am out the door.
I found guard duty to put me at some what of a disadvantage by myself. I could not see by heat like the rest of my companions so I had to light a torch which allowed me to see but was pretty much a beacon to anyone who could see the torch. I heard a rhythmic drumming behind me. Where did one of those ladies hide a drum? Second thought, I don’t want to know. I had been standing for about an hour when I thought I saw movement down the hall. I unlimbered my shield and squinted my eyes but it was like a shadow. About ten second later a large object struck me right at the base of my neck and I was out cold.
So here I am. Foggy eyed, on my knees and hands tied behind my back. I was in an arena of sorts right in the middle of a large cavern. Howling orcs, goblins and hobgoblins were in the stands engaged in the noise of an impatient crowd waiting for blood. More importantly there was a figure standing in front of me that I recognized.
“Good, your alive…for now.”
“Ah Sister Papoofnick, I was wondering if the SP was you.”
“Barkeep, so smart but so stupid. I knew this day would come. My ultimate victory over you.”
“Little premature don’t you think, and the cost was a little high. Just your soul, you vampire slut.”
‘Slut’ is a word I reserve for women who have truly deserved the title. I figured as self-righteous bitty who sells her soul to the devil to get back at me and thus gives up everything she once stood for has earned it. The slap came hard but I was expecting it. It was worth the comment.
“Arrogant pup. I will go on living when you are long gone.”
“Judgment day is going to be a bitch though.” I was long past decorum in this conversation.
“Enough! Minions of the Father of Darkness! Prepare to be entertained!” She shouted and with that she left in a huff and took her place in the stands. Her very skimpy red ‘dress’ reinforcing the sensuality to her curves as she walked. Her smile was wicked as she looked at me after she sat down.
I began to take stock of the situation. There was a large gate in front of me. It opened from the center. I was still dressed in my clothes with only my sword and shield missing. Then I spotted them laying on the ground about ten feet away from me to the right. I managed to stand to my feet. I moved over to my sword and shield. I was bound with something that felt like leather strips. One glance my shield’s reflected surface confirmed. Now I just had to find a way to get the sword to cut them. I dropped back down into the dirt and grabbed the hilt but I was finding it difficult to maneuver the blade around to cut the straps. That’s when the gate opened.
I was not expecting anything nice to come through the gate. I was not disappointed. It was a giant snake. I mean the size that was bigger than the one in Conan the Barbarian movie with Arnold. I needed to get my hands free but I had to get to my feet first and be ready to move. The snake was black as night and coiled forward, the crowd roared. It spotted me right away. Obviously, I was not its first food.
I crossed the distance between the gate and myself far faster than I thought possible. It reared up right in front of me and its long fangs barred. I waited and then I saw it start strike and I moved. I am not young anymore. I am pretty good shape for my age but I am sure Conan would have done much better. The snake missed me with its fangs which flew over my head as ducked but not with its body which hit me hard and caused me to fly about twenty feet from the force and land with a thud. My sword fell from my hands in mid-flight. I struggled to stand back up but the snake had re-gathered itself and was now slowly approaching this time.
I was hurting and I figured this time I was going to be dead. Then another figure dropped into the arena. It was female, humanoid shaped and it had landed right next to my fallen sword which she grabbed. The snake must have seen her and turned to face this new morsel of food. It allowed me to get a good look at my ‘rescuer’.
She was ‘dressed’ in a bikini of sorts It was decked out with silver coins but they didn’t protect or cover much. She was barefoot but my sword in her hands made her far from naked. She wielded it like a pro. Then I recognized the dark-haired, olive-skinned beauty who was my love and fiancé. Tequila faced down the snake with a calm I had wished Eve had possessed. I came to my senses and ran toward my shield. I was hoping to distract the snake but it was also a veteran of this pit and knew the difference between a tied up foe and one with a sword. I dropped to my shield and started rubbing the bindings on its edge. I had turned to see the battle.
Tequila made me proud. The snake tried to nail her a couple times but she always sidestepped. To the snake’s credit he also sidestepped every time she thrust or slashed. Tequila was holding her own. I wasn’t completely surprised as I had once seen her take a broken bat and shove it through a vampire. I just was having my impressions of how much she could handle changed at this moment. Then I felt my bindings fall away and I grabbed up my shield and ran toward the snake battle. Tequila was doing well but the snake was so quick for something that big. My approach cause the snake to back off Tequila. With one of us on each side, I felt something in this giant snake I hadn’t felt so far – fear.
I smiled and dove toward the snake my shield raised. It predictably stuck back at me its head landing square on me shield. This time I was braced and even though I felt my body shudder, I held my ground. That’s when Tequila struck as the snake reared back to strike again. The I saw the blade drive upwards through the snake’s head. Tequila held it aloft as the snake’s body began to thrash, then she swung around and flicked the head off her blade. I was about to snatch her up in my arms when I realized it wasn’t over. Tequila had been smarter than I was and raced toward Sister Papoofnick as she sat dumbfounded. Tequila was filled with rage. The very picture of a barbarian princess from the comics as she brought down the sword toward Papoofnick’s head. The Sister disappeared in a puff of smoke just before the blade connected.
The effect on the rom was far different. The crowd was filled with rage, so I came up behind my love and grabbed her around the waist and pulled her back to the center of the arena.
“I missed you”, she breathed to me over her shoulder.
“Me too. Now if we just survive this we are definitely getting married at the first opportunity. No waiting.”
We stood back to back as the crowd of orcs and goblins rose to their feet and began to hop the barrier. This did not look good.
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