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Arena: The Chimera Tournament

Arena: The Chimera Tournament

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Since the beginning of the new world mutant have fought in the Arena. Now, in the arenas' 30th year, two must band together if they're to survive to the end.

751 readers have visited Arena: The Chimera Tournament since LittleSun1 created it.

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Introduction

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THE PIT: Above and Below

All across Capallice, and the mutant sector of Glynwor, small television sets and crackling radios flickered and whirred to life. While those of the slums and lower-livings, slick with sweat, shuffled closer to their rusting radios, the more fortunate eagerly crowded into plush family-rooms as a flash of red and a golden lion filled their polished screens. The lions’ proud head, grotesquely grafted to a goats’ sturdy body and a serpents’ twirling tail, shook its’ mane violently as it faded from the screen. As a predatory roar shook speakers all across Capallice, a primped young woman came into focus.

It was obvious to anyone of any importance that Lori Broox, Capallice’s one and only news anchor, was gracing their screens. Her painstakingly arranged hair, carefully clipped nails, and pin-straight posture made one thing blindingly obvious. Mrs.Broox came from great means.

Without breaking from her instinctually perfect posture, Lori Broox shuffled several papers and looked straight into the camera as she waited for the lions roar to die. After a beat of light silence, Broox finally spoke. Her voice was soft, yet assuring. It was a voice you’d expect one to use when trying to make a small child feel like they were all grown up.

“Good evening, and welcome to our cities 3rd annual Chimera Tournament. In this year, as on all other 10ths, Operators and Drudges from all over Capallice have converged upon the Pit in hopes of crowning a victor. This tournament, in eliminating those too weak to compete, will leave only the best of the best. Only one.” She paused for a moment, moistening her lips with a quick once over of her small, pink tongue. “Those involved have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Riches, fame, and freedom await the one Drudge who can beat the odds. For all others, there is only shame” Broox paused again, likely hoping to play her next words for dramatic effect. “And death.” Now her voice hardened into the tone of an announcer. “Once again, this is the Chimera Tournament. A once in a lifetime chance to go all or nothing. How it will end? We can only imagine.”

The sickly sweet smile of news anchor Lori Broox blurred, and vanished from the screen. Not a second later, the vicious shouts and hungry roar of a mob mentality crowd blasted through the eardrums of all who listened. Chimera flags and banners, gold on red, fluttered and waved angrily above the crowd, as if picking up on their own energy, and their cries echoed back on them from the arena’s domed ceiling. They were a thousand times louder than Lori Broox’s lion, and they we’re calling for blood.
Those in the space below, the true pit, would soon answer their summons.

---

Not a foot below, in the Pit’s cavernous but well lit basement, forty upon forty Operators prepared their anxious Drudges for battle. For them it was not a matter of life and death, but of reputation. For many of the Drudges even, mutants, outsiders of their own species, it was not for life or freedom that they thirsted, but for blood. Blood, and the feeling of warm, dying flesh on their sweating hands.

These pairs, Operator and their property, were packed tightly into the crowded space. Though it would be difficult to tell amongst the throngs of people, if all those present could even be called that, each pair was also coupled off to another. This made for a total of forty teams. Within each team there were two Operators and two Drudges. All were in an alliance. The latter would fight together, die together, and, if they could successfully dismantle every other foursome in that cavern, win together. Then, they would face each other. After all, in the end, the Chimera Tournament could have only one victor.

Within the cavern, near the center of the tumult that was the Chimera Tournament, stood one such foursome. The Drudges, chimera Wren and shape shifter Scott, would soon take their rightful place among the other competitors. But for now, as the cries of thousands rained down upon them, they could only wait.
This /was/ the Chimera Tournament. That was not the question.

The question was if either of them, bitter citizens of Glynwor, would ever get out alive.

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Taking place in...

Capallice - The Pit our primary setting

A crowded, rowdy place below the actual arena. It is here that Operators prepare their Drudges for battle, wait for matches to begin, and stabilize those who survive.

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In the last stirring fragments of his dreams he could hear their cackling laughter. Images reflected a drunken and jolly light in which eyes began to well with soupy tears of amusement. Their warped faces and goofy grins seemed to encompass him in a jostling mass. The loopy and tacky sounds of the entertainer’s organ and flutes bounced around his ears. The fun house mirrors of his unconscious world then began to shatter, crackling like fireworks until through the open slits of his eyes came the real and unsmiling sun.

Scott pulled himself up with an exhausted grunt. He looked out of the entrance made of withering sheet metal and into the dusty and desolate world of the out casted kind. Dark circles had spring up under his eyes. He had strayed out late the night before, out of the sight of his operator. He didn’t want any of his relations to know he had been part of a freak show circus act, which might be seen as something so low only a hopeless fool would partake in. It was worth the few empty laughs and humiliation, for a good meal and a good size in emergency savings. He only secretly visited the circus when he wasn’t bringing in very much from the arena, but he knew he’d earn plenty when the chimera tournament started. He was common favorite among his kind.

Scott stood and shuffled out, eyes squinting into the glaring sun. Wait, the sun was high in the horizon. He turned to quickly make his way to the pit, knowing his operator would be angry if he didn’t come on time. He jogged on through the slum, the midday heat slamming against his shirtless back, jeans scuffling along. He felt his gut squirm as he saw the dark and stormy blue eyes of his operator Zarrof, his mouth twisted into a grizzly and bearded frown. He must have really slept in if his trainer had bothered to come back and get him.
“You decide the day before the tournament to slack off?! Get over here!” shouted the middle-aged man, spitting with anger. He reached out and with a gruff arm and tugged Scott over to his side by the roots of his hair.
“Sorry sir, was tryin’ to get some beauty sleep,” mumbled Scott as he trekked beside Zarrof. As they hurried to the arena they both paused at a family’s old TV set that was exposed through a wide gouge in the hut’s fabric. It was apparent that it was about this Chimera event and Scott tried to catch what was being said from the well dressed and made over news broadcaster. Something about the tournament’s rules had changed was as far as he knew. He glanced at Zaroff who seemed to passively watch, as if he had already gotten the memo.

Soon they began to descend into the damp and dim corridors and arrived in the hellish nest of the most brutal mutants that existed. As he searched the bustling crowds of 39 other teams he spotted his friend Mabel as Zarrof left his side and went to greet Adnan and Wren. Scott approached Mabel, a soft expression on his face to see his dear friend he had made when he had first signed up with The Pit. She was his first friend, the one that showed him the mechanics of the entire business itself. The girl turned around, her light honey colored eyes brightening. The male reached into his pocket and pulled out a bracelet he had made out of oddly colored stones and pieces of iron he had found all loosely wound through a piece of twine. “Aw it’s lovely,” she murmured quietly, admiring the small beauty which was pulled from scraps. Her eyes flashed and the bracelet floated to her palm and slowly the pieces drifted away from each other the rocks floating in an orbit around the string suspended in the air. Then with the next visual thought the stones arranged themselves around the material and tied itself off before it dropped into her fingers. “Thank you,” she said tucking a lock of dark hair behind her ear.
“Don’t mention it,” responded Scott and strode off to find the team. He ended up beside Wren leaning an elbow on her sturdy shoulder. “Mornin’ Wren. Great to start the day with a little blood, sweat an’ tears eh?” he said shifting his forest colored eyes at the two operators. “So we doin’ anythin’ yah know, different today? Since tomorrah is the tournament?”
“I’m surprised you actually remembered,” scoffed Zarrof almost embarrassed that his drudge turned up tardy on such an important date.
“You sound like one of those petty school teachers in Capallice. Of course I remembered, this is my chance to get out of this shit-hole, and kick some mutant ass,” he said hopping in front of Wren putting his fists up as if starting a boxing match. “Righto Wren? C’mmon put em’ up!” he said popping a few fake strikes at hawk-girl. Zarrof grumbled something to Adnan.
“Today’s he’s got to learn…how to finish the job, without him knowing about the change in plans…You saw the news broad cast this morning, yes? I’m not sure how well he’ll take it. I’m afraid he might protest, but there’s a lot of money on that boy for the both of us. I don’t want him to know just yet. I’m going to see how he reacts tomorrow during the first match, and I'm hoping he’ll cope. He’s seen a lot of gruesome things already. Wren on the other hand could teach Scott a few things about no mercy,” he told his fellow operator off to the side.

((The “change” in plans is referring to the new rules of the tournament where killing your opponent is the only way to win a match and move on to the next level, whereas in recent years the rules only called for knock-outs or surrendering. ))

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The hustle and bustle of the Pit made Wren uncomfortable. It wasn’t the noise, the crowds of people, or even the intense smell that made her feel this way. Those were all things she loved about the arena. It was all the activity. People running about, arguing at the top of their lungs, pushing and shoving, some were even sparring to prepare for the big fights tomorrow. There was so much going on, so much that she couldn’t see at the same time. It made Wren dizzy.

Not the arena. She thought shifting closer to her Operator, a white haired but strong man. No, it might be under it, but this wasn’t the arena at all. The arena was powerful, and organized, and gave her actions meaning. Wren might hate her Operator, an evil old man who’d long ago stolen her from her father and taken her wings and voice, but she loved the arena. It was where she belonged, and there was no other place like it.

That was what her life had become, one giant comparison. The rest of the world was not like the arena. Glynwor, while full of slums, was not loud and centering. It was simply dirty and full of useless chatter. Chatter Wren couldn’t understand, and that scared her, filled her with paranoid doubt.

What were they saying? (Words you could never understand.)

Were they talking about her? (Most certainly.)

Were they going to steal her only remaining wings? (Do you even have to ask?)

The voice inside her, it sounded a lot like Adnan Brencis, answered all her questions and more. This left her with only one option, to remain hidden away in her one room home. But even there she couldn’t be happy. The room was so small, so empty, the walls closed in on her. So high above the city that the only sounds she could hear were her own. Her breathing, her heartbeat, the shuffle of her leg against carpet. The sounds, or lack thereof, pressed in on her mind, seeped through her eyes and ears and nose like acid, until all she could do was lay there. Wren spent her days at ‘home’ pondering the walls and ceiling.

Wren, unlike so many others, harbored no uncertainties about her place in the world. It was the arena, and she was there to fight. To kill, it would now seem. She flexed her black claws anxiously, making them lengthen and shorten again as she thought. Wren had decided earlier that day, Adnan had told her of the broadcast because she couldn’t handle television, that she had no problem with killing other mutants. It wasn’t as if she had a choice anyway, it was her or them. Still, it was something new. Wren was so used to being forced to stop, sometimes she had to be pyhisically removed from the ring, that she wasn’t sure she’d remember to keep going. Or that she would be open to attacking someone when they were down… Was that right? They were in the arena after all, rules were rules, and the one muscle Adnan had neglected to train in Wren was her moral compass.

Sure it’s all right. Wren absently ran her fingers over the two brown feathers tied to her neck, half dreaming about her long lost wings. Of course it is.

The crowd parted only slightly as a bearded man, obviously an Operator, made his way to Wren and Adnan. Adnan mostly. As he came to stand by him, his faced locked in a seemly permanent grimace, she heard him, Zarrof she’d been told, say something to Adnan. Still lost in thought, her fingers gently twisting her lovely feathers, she only managed to pick up on two words: boy and late. She got the general gist though.

Scott is late. With the slightest twinge of concern, he was her arena partner regardless of what she thought, Wren began to look through the crowd from her place beside Adnan. She found him quickly, not a moment later, standing before a honey-haired girl. Something shiny passed between them.

Nice. Wren thought as a yearning to touch the shiny thing prickled up someplace behind her heart. Perhaps they would fight the girl? Then she could t- the weight of an elbow coming to rest on her shoulder broke Wren from her darker thoughts. It was Scott, saying something…. Her name… Start… Blood!

A soft but eager smile, one you would expect of a girl who’d just been invited to a ball, played across Wren’s face and her glassy green eyes widened with excitement. Blood was connected to the arena, to fighting, to the tournament. Her strangely innocent smile continued.

At the mention of Capallice, the unseen ‘Human’ city, Wren didn’t even try to understand. Her Operator’s world was a confusing place. As her eyes began to glaze over, when she wasn’t listening she wouldn’t pretend otherwise, Scotts’ arms came up in a series of playful punches. Wren’s flew up as well, her talons now only half sheathed, as she played at blocking his attacks. She was only half playing though, part of her wasn’t sure. He was her ally though, what reason did her have to hurt her?

As this exchange went on, Adnan couldn’t help but chuckle at Zarrofs’ last comment.

“You bet she could. Why, if I had a credit for every time we’ve had to pull her off another Drudge… Well, I do. More than one.” A greedy smile spread across Adnan’s face before he continued, careful to keep his voice low. “But that’s your plan then, just throw him in? Sound enough I suppose, all the less time for him to get upset about it.”

When the punches, however playful, finally stopped Wren relaxed considerably. Her talons retracted and her shoulders folded out from their hunched state. Then another smile, innocent and childish, arose as something her Operator had mentioned this morning came to mind. Looking to Scott with bright eyes, she forced a single, wispy word through her cordless throat.

“New.”

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Capallice - The Pit

Capallice - The Pit by LittleSun1

A crowded, rowdy place below the actual arena. It is here that Operators prepare their Drudges for battle, wait for matches to begin, and stabilize those who survive.

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Character Portrait: Wren the Drudge

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Character Portrait: Wren the Drudge
Wren the Drudge

Wren is a mutant Drudge from Glynwor, Capallice. She fights for her Operator, Adnan Brencis, in the arena and is a competitor in the Chimera Tournament.

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Character Portrait: Wren the Drudge
Wren the Drudge

Wren is a mutant Drudge from Glynwor, Capallice. She fights for her Operator, Adnan Brencis, in the arena and is a competitor in the Chimera Tournament.

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Character Portrait: Wren the Drudge
Wren the Drudge

Wren is a mutant Drudge from Glynwor, Capallice. She fights for her Operator, Adnan Brencis, in the arena and is a competitor in the Chimera Tournament.


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Capallice - The Pit

Capallice - The Pit by LittleSun1

A crowded, rowdy place below the actual arena. It is here that Operators prepare their Drudges for battle, wait for matches to begin, and stabilize those who survive.

Capallice - The Pit

A crowded, rowdy place below the actual arena. It is here that Operators prepare their Drudges for battle, wait for matches to begin, and stabilize those who survive.

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