“So when do we get our weapons?” Sini asked as she pranced around, completely ignoring the fact that her top had come off. “When do we get to hit things?”
Arkay rolled his eyes, sitting calmly on a stool, waiting for both Phovos and some of the Arena Trainers to arrive. “They don’t just give you weapons and throw you in to fight. We have to find proper armour for you, get you trained and then get yourselves set up in the PHAM system.”
“The PHAM system?” Epani asked, sitting next to Arkay, on a stool that was far too small for her.
“It’s an electronic system that automatically teleports gladiators out of arena matches before they take any actual damage, Ebania…” Arkay explained. Epani grunted at Arkay’s use of her fake, mortal name. Due to Epani’s insistence that she be called something similar to her godly name, it had been difficult for the other gods to find something for her. Thankfully Falena were rare in these parts, so the name wasn’t too bad.
“You mean, we could actually be hurt?”
“No. In fact, no one’s ever actually died for real in the Dessaron Arena for, like, fifty years. And the PHAM system’s reduced actual injuries to pretty much zero as well.”
The Falena sighed. “Well, that is somewhat reassuring…”
Behind them, a large Thraki was wandering around, mostly sulking. Occasionally, they would stop, just to claw at the grass in annoyance.
“Kair… uh…” Ebania hesitated. “Voltiidro… are you okay?”
The Thraki glanced up at Arkay and Ebania.
Voltiidro grunted. “Why do you think? The three of us are mortally challenged and are being forced to work for a living, while Arkay there watches for his amusement!”
Before the little Skyavok could retaliate, a massive gate slammed open, and the Raptor and four heavily armoured Ksithans stomped through, followed by a similarly armoured Thraki.
“Feet up and eyes up, vok!” Phovos barked as the armoured Ksithans pushed Sini, Ebania and Voltiidro into a line. Once everyone was standing upright, the Ksithans began measuring the three beings, sizing them up and checking them over. The Raptor paced in front of them, waiting for the Ksithans to finish.
“All checked, Raptor!” the tallest Ksithan hissed through their visored helmet. “All seem healthy and fit. Shall we begin testing?”
Phovos grunted. “One moment. Arkay, care to join me over here?”
“Sure.” Arkay did as requested and walked past the others, standing by Phovos’s side, purposefully ignoring the stares that Voltiidro and Ebania were giving him. “How’s this going to work? Same as normal?”
“Same as normal!” Phovos exclaimed. “House Guard, arm them and let us see what these vok can do!”
“Wait, what?” Voltiidro gasped. “You… want us to fight?”
Phovos nodded. “Indeed. And you get to go first!”
The armoured Thraki stepped forward, teeth bared. Two Ksithans rushed to Voltiidro’s side, hastily covering him in armour. On both Voltiidro and the much larger Thraki, there was a small fabric tag under their chins, which could easily be torn off.
The Ksithans swiftly pulled Sini and Ebania away, just as the large Thraki charged forward, immediately going for Voltiidro’s throat. While Voltiidro managed to dodge this horrible lunge, he did stumble slightly, and the larger Thraki immediately took advantage of that, bashing Voltiidro in the side with a heavy, ironclad tail. Or at least it seemed to be heavy, as Voltiidro noticed that this enemy Thraki was both… being very aggressive and not so much?
Yet again, Voltiidro stumbled from the attacks, trying to keep himself upright and unsure how to retaliate. His attacker swiftly noticed how Voltiidro was reacting, then decided to go straight for the neck again. In a panic, Voltiidro pushed away, clawing at the Thraki, but it wasn’t enough. The large Thraki grabbed the fabric tag under Voltiidro’s chin, ripped it off, then immediately backed down.
Just as the Thraki stopped attacking, two Ksithans hastily threw armour onto both Sini and Ebania, before the other two Ksithans, who were much, much larger, started to attack, again aiming for fabric tags that were attached to Sini and Ebania’s armour.
Both the Temthan and the Falena were a little bit more aware of what was happening, and did try to defend themselves. Neither of them though lasted very long, no longer than Voltiidro did.
Once the tags were removed, the Ksithans all backed off and filed behind Phovos.
“What do you think?” Arkay asked.
“Not bad!” Phovos smiled. “Not amazing, but not bad either! I definitely know what I can use them for…”