Alvis refused to heed any warnings.  As he saw it, all he had to do was dodge and wait for the bell and he would solve all of his family’s problems.   The problems were many.  his father had had the accident the year before, and his care from the so-called healers was expensive.  Creditors were now starting to eye the family farm as well, and Alvis knew he had to step up and protect his parents and three sisters.

That is what had brought him to the arena.  Five hundred silver crowns awaited him if he could survive five minutes with the champion, Bloodbringer.  At seventeen, Alvis was sure he could stay a step ahead of the man that was now nearly forty.  He had no intention of trying to defeat the monster of a man.  No, the five thousand crown prize was not worth that risk.  All he needed to do was avoid the hammer-fists.  Hammer-fists were bronze mittens used as a type of boxing gloves.  They were about the weight of a bottle of wine, and tiring to use, they were nonetheless deadly.

Alvis walked through the portal into the arena.  Before him was the Bloodbringer who stood almost a foot taller than the lad and had three times the boy’s mass.  On seeing him Alvis put his plan into action.  He dropped the bronze glove from his left hand and waited for the starting bell.  As soon as it rang, he ran straight at the champion intending to dodge past him and then run for the next five minutes.  As he passed, he barely managed to escape.  Bloodbringer was far faster than he had imagined.  As Alvis ducked the intended blow the crowd roared.  

The boy quickly realised that the champion knew his “craft.”  Every attempt of evasion Alvis tried the man anticipated it, and the boy only narrowly escaped.  Worse still, Alvis was getting tired.  His last dodge past Bloodbringer was so close that he could fell the breeze of the punch.  In desperation the boy suddenly turned and threw his right glove at the man to buy himself an instant to catch his breath.  To his surprise, and that of the multitude in the stadium, the glove crashed into the man’s left eye, jerking his head backwards.  The man staggered but did not fall.  

Alvis ran looking over his shoulder and waited for the inevitable end.  The end came only seconds later when the bell rang.





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