Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Arena Battle!

It's late morning and Action Steve is flying his Super Action Vehicle beyond the borders of Eranor and into Dragon Country, The Knight and Warlord, Sir Sarah, and The Sinister Sorcerer, Neville The Great, ride with him. Neville watches the landscape fly beneath them, transfixed despite himself. Sir Sarah sits behind Action Steve and as they approach the border she takes out a knife from her belt and points it at him. "You play your part well Action Steve, or you'll find there is such a thing as more 'action' than you can bear." Action Steve suppresses any sarcastic gestures he might usually make at this point because there is a woman holding a knife at his neck. The Super Action Vehicle lands before a clearing surrounded on one side by Dragons and another by humans.

The Dragons were all very large, much larger than a man, and most larger than The Super Action Vehicle, and their shapes were incredibly varied. They seemed to encompass all the legends and permutations of dragons in Action Steve's experience of popular culture. There were long fish scaled green ones with mustaches and legs like birds. Others looked like giant lizards with scaled bat-like wings. Still more looked like giant snakes with wing spans much larger than their bodies. These last dragons flew over the clearing, swooping down occasionally, blowing fire and smoke as they came down and rose again.

The humans weren't nearly as fantastical as the Dragons, save for a few wizards wearing long flowing robes inscribed with strange symbols, some of which seemed to Action Steve to resemble Japanese Kanji while others looked more like geometric figures. There were, of course, many men in similar suits of chain mail armor, and somewhat pointed helmuts. And there were a few men and perhaps women, it was hard to tell, in full, shining, plate armor.

The Super Action Vehicle opens to cheering from the human side. Sir Sarah and Neville The Great climb out, waving to the crowd, Action Steve climbs out and suppresses an impulse to smile and wave too. It's hard to be sarcastic when your captors are holding your friend hostage. Sir Sarah leans toward Action Steve and speaks softly, "Remember that I have your friend. Remember that, just as before, there are too many here for you to defeat," she put her hand to her sword in such a way that all could see her threatening Action Steve even if they couldn't hear the actual threat, "should you think about not, playing, nice."

Action Steve tries to keep his face blank. He finds, much to his personal pride, that he isn't as scared as he might have thought so before he became a super hero. And if it turns out that he ends up dying in some political struggle between Knights, Sorcerers, and Dragons in some alternate dimension, well, he couldn't think of a more awesome way to go. Unless it was also on a rocket, in space.

Sir Sarah motions for quiet "Dragons and Humans hear me! We have made great progress in bringing peace between our two Nations! As a token of good will, and to pay for Dragon Blood spilled by humans, I offer Action Steve, one of our finest champions, to fight one of your chosen dragon warriors, may his death appease your anger with us, and his bravery demonstrate our worthiness as an ally!"

"Wait, what?" asks Action Steve as he is handed a sword and shoved into the center of the clearing to the sound of humans cheering and Dragons roaring.

Sir Sarah and Neville look on at Action Steve, confused, angry, and more than a little scared to do battle with a creature many times his size. "Do you think he'll last long enough?" a grinning Neville asks Sir Sarah.

"Oh definitely, and now that we have his chariot in working order, and have ascertained that his pet is more than capable of repairing it without him, we now no longer have any need of Action Steve," answers Sir Sarah. The man was too trusting, she thought to herself. She saw it right away when she put him in the same cell as that killer beast Lord Rudolf. He instinctively assums that everyone around him is friendly and will be as courteous as he was if only he is polite, forthright, and fair. She knew the type, people like him were exceedingly easy to manipulate.

"Look, the fool's thrown down his sword!" yelled one of her warriors. She looked, indeed he had, this was not unexpected. Thankfully, he was good at dodging his opponent dragon's whipping tail and fiery breath. She was confident he would provide a long enough distraction for her warriors to get into place and spring the ambush. The dragons here were thought by their race as something like kings and nobles, as if such creatures could ever be orderly enough to have a proper king or understand the nature of nobility. No matter, once they had been killed, it would be relatively easy to defeat and exterminate of their filthy scaled brethren.

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