The man with the triangle tattoo was inching closer, hoping to get into striking range without having to rush. Vrash flexed his fists and waited for him. He would have to be fast, and it was a gamble — Triangle’s sword gave him a longer, and more deadly, reach than Vrash had. He watched Triangle’s center, his chest, waiting for the muscle flex that would show he was making his move.
The twitch appeared, and instantly Vrash threw himself forward to the ground, as the sword cut through the air where he’d just been. The gamble proved to be not without cost though, as the punching-dagger split open the flesh on his arm. But it also paid off, he rolled into Triangle’s legs and Triangle fell forward into the sand. Vrash was on his feet before his opponent even hit the ground. He jumped and landed, knees first, onto Triangle’s back. He heard a crunch, but his opponent kept struggling to push himself up. Vrash pushed Triangle’s face into the sand a pummeled him brutally on the neck and head till the struggling stopped.
Satisfied, he gave the head one more shove as he pushed himself to his feet. He rubbed sweat and strands of black hair from his face and looked about. The fight had been a private one. There were only a dozen or so men, clustered together. There was only one man clapping, and him half-heartedly. That didn’t matter to Vrash. He had won. That was all he cared about.
A gate in the wall slowly rose and two handlers removed. Vrash stepped forward toward the gate as the men, eunuchs, approached him. One began bandaging the wound on his arm as the other put a wine skin in Vrash’s hand. Vrash took several gulps. He’d been worried briefly that he might not win. And that meant it was the end of his life — even if he surrendered, Master would have him killed for a loss. Life was good to him today. He would meet his end another time. Though it would probably be in the same arena.
Still, something felt unusual. Master wasn’t clapping. He knew he was Master’s pride, but Master didn’t seem pleased with the conclusion of the fight. He shrugged it off. He was a slave, and a slave could not know such things. He submitted to the oil rubdown the eunuchs provided and returned to his cell to await Master’s servants to collect him.
He didn’t need to wait long. Master approached a few moments later, his quick footsteps echoing in the empty hall. He wore a frown and his brow was furrowed. Master had once-dark hair that was graying, but not very much of it. The top of his head was bald and the back was clean shaven in the current style. He ward only a robe draped on one shoulder and his fat could be seen jiggling in the bare area. He wore simple leather sandals this day.
Vrash stood and waited for him. He continued to wait as Master stood and glared at him. Vrash was a tall man, and Master was short, and it was obvious that Vrash could kill him easily, yet there was still something in Master’s eyes that made Vrash feel small.