This is part of an ongoing writing challenge in which I base a short story or snippet off of a piece of art found somewhere on the web. Usually it kicks in my world building muse. None of the art belongs to me and I will do my best to provide artist credit when I can. For my fellow writers, if you’d like to join, feel free to post links to your own stories. If writing isn’t your thing, what do you think?
Artwork Credits: Rune Quest II Arena dei mostri by ~Liarath
The roar of the crowd vibrated through my bones. Deep-throated roars from the male onlookers chanted the names of their chosen champions, while their deceptively demure women fanned themselves and pretended to be more sensitive to the coming violence than they really were.
In truth, the females were more vicious than their male counterparts. Those very viperous females were the reason that I find myself trotted out like a prize bull to battle to the death against their warriors. All in the hopes of becoming their queen’s newest consort.
I wipe a bead of sweat from my forehead—the unseasonably warm weather making the Fertility Games even more unbearable.
Queen Ashitol stood and ventured to her podium, silencing the crowd simply by raking her gaze over the stands.
“We gather again for the 50th Annual Fertility Games. As we are nearing the end of the games, I am left wondering who will be this year’s victor.” She paused to give the crowd a moment to shout their chosen warrior’s name. “May each male prove valiant in facing the Monster of the Games.” She waved her hand dismissively in my direction before turning towards the gates. “Warriors, prepare to earn your place with me. Survive the Kiss of the Serpent!
The clang of metal against wooden shields echoed out into the arena as the gates slowly rose to reveal the final three challengers.
I coil my tail beneath me, glancing over my shoulder at the queen’s court. The men and women were dressed in their richly vibrant fabrics in viewing boxes above the commoners. They believed they were safe from me, but they’d find out soon enough that nothing was what it seemed to be when it came to the Monster of the Games.
Soft footfalls tip toed towards me, drawing my attention away from the crowd. Louder, metallic steps came from my right, but I made no move towards either of them.
The male on the right was further away—far enough that I could comfortably strike out to the assassin and not leave my right flank vulnerable to the knight’s axe.
In a single, swift movement, I struck, sinking my fangs through the dirt covered cloth guarding the man’s throat. Venom spurted from my fangs and into the man’s bloodstream before he could react.
I struck out my tail, wrapping it around the ankle of the steel-covered body of the male at my right. My arm wrenched his blade from his grasp and tossed it aside.
Before I could force my fangs into his exposed throat, I was forced to jerk back to avoid an arrow flying at my head. A scream from the audience informed me that there was an unfortunate casualty, but I didn’t turn to gloat. Instead my gaze landed on the archer on the far side of the ring.
I snapped the male’s neck and tossed him aside in a metal heap before making my way across the ring.
The archer was covered from head to toe in black leather, only his striking green eyes were left visible. He readied another arrow, but didn’t fire, choosing instead to follow my meandering path towards him. When I was within feet of him I realized my mistake and why I found him so alluring.
He was a Son of Tomora, the Serpent Daughter’s mating half and the reason all daughters were half serpent, half human.
“Daughter,” he said, his rumbling baritone carrying past the thick leather covering his mouth.
“Are you finished playing with the mortals?”
I glanced back at the crowd and determine that battling the fragile runts for sport had in fact gotten boring. Unfortunately, leaving in the company of a Son was not without it’s own set of complications and implications.
“I suppose,” I reply.
He nodded and raised his bow and fired, whispering the magicked words of his heritage to send his arrow towards its target—the queen.
Screams of horror echoed through the stadium as Sons rose from their position and began slaughtering those in attendance. The feeble force of guards were no match for the demigods borne of a marriage of witches and the Seven Gods.
Before long, the gurgled cries of the dying were silenced and the coliseum grew eerily quiet.
“May they forever remember this day and the deaths the Sons brought.” My savior—if he could be called that—extended his hand to me, which I took after a moment of hesitation.
“Worry not, Daughter. You are to be returned to the Sisters. You are to be queen, therefore we Sons must tread carefully with you.”
Casting a final glance over my shoulder at the the massacre, I follow his lead to freedom. “Take me to my people, Son. I long to be home again.”
Accompanying artwork is does not belong to Kelsey Jordan.