(Cited Works: Boyd, Eric L., and Mona, Erik. Faiths and Pantheons. WA: Holtzbrinck Publishing, 2002.)

"Let's get that finger wrapped up."

He led me through the coliseum's various hallways. I began seeing more and more people in the same situation as us both. Some battered and bleeding. Some seemingly untouched. Some looked terrified. Others laughed and made jokes. So far, everyone I see is older than I am.

We continue on down a narrower, less crowded hall and finally enter a small room. True, it was cozy in diameter, but its ceiling was relatively high. Shelves bordered all four walls, each shelf stacked with linen.

"Is this some kind of closet?", I ask.

"It is actually. You see, we are slaves in a god-forsaken world of fire and hate. But there's no use crying over it. There are worse fates. For example, this closet and several others are generally only for the use of lesser slaves, if you will. Our "job" is to fight and develop skill to please the god who "chose" us and, eventually, reach freedom . . . . . "

Ripping a strip of cloth from a sheet, he sits and motions for me to do the same. He slowly begins dressing my wound.

"Their "job" (the lesser slaves) is to wash, clean, and cook. They also act as nurses every now and then. Their life is one of great misery. They are starved, beaten, and raped on a daily basis. There is no freedom for them."

I'm some what shocked by his harshness.

I suppose I should get used to it.

"OW!", I cry, when he jerks slightly.

He raises an eyebrow at me and continues wrapping.

"What's your name?", I ask him, holding some tears back.

"You can call me Thadus", he replies, not looking up.

"Is that your birth-name?"

"I don't know, the name was given to me."

"By who?"

"By my master, Helm the Vigilant One", he replies, finished with my hand.

"Your master?"

"He is the god I serve."

"Oh. . . .".

I look away from him, distaste on my face. I hate that word, master. He's finally finished with my hand and stands up.

"Who is it that you serve?", he asks me.


He puts his face in his hands and takes a deep breath. Rubbing his temples, he sighs, "You have horrible luck."

I'm so sorry! I know it's going slow. If it helps, the first battle will be in the next chapter. E.T.R.