When a Prince and his Guardian are captured, they never expect to end up as slaves forced to fight each other for their survival.
Our host had at last decided to introduce himself, odd name though it was. Though at his next statement if I’d been allowed to say anything I’d have been speechless! Mr. tall-good-looking had stood there and calmly told us that we’d be sold only after we’d been trained. Trained, damn it!
“You will remain here in the training area,” Cor’lyn went on, “and you will be schooled to fight with a variety of weapons and in unarmed combat. When I consider you are ready you will be sent to the market where patrons will bid against each other to purchase the best combatants. I warn you to give of your best; it will gain you nothing but pain to disobey.”
What kind of society was this? People taken into slavery for little more than some kind of barbaric entertainment! No wonder they’d only wanted the young and strong and I thanked my lucky stars that for whatever reason the leader of this group had decided to bring me along too.
I wasn’t worried about the training we were supposed to undergo, there wasn’t a weapon made that I couldn’t use, but I was worried about Liander. While I had taught him enough that he could competently protect himself, he was no warrior. That was when it hit me that if we were training together Liander and I—
“You will be divided into groups for the training, and you will remain chained to each other as an added precaution against escape.”
Fuck! Was the man reading my mind?
“Hear me!” Cor’lyn said sharply. “There is no chance of escape from the arena.” His gaze slid over all of us and I could have sworn for a moment it settled on me. “Even if by some miracle you could accomplish the impossible and get beyond the guards and the high wall, there is nowhere for you to go. Outside the city, beyond the growing area there is only desert for hundreds of miles.”
I found it odd that he made no mention of the ocean. I guessed the harbor area was guarded and, then again, home was many days across the sea. It would be enough of a deterrent to most men for sure, but Liander and I were not most men. And we had to trust that the others would not let that piece of information out. So far, we were just two more members of the tribe of the seven villages and we needed to keep it that way.
The guards moved among us again then, removing the long chain linking us all together and removing the waist chains too, leaving only the manacles on our ankles linking us in pairs.
“Your training will begin in earnest tomorrow, you will be allowed to bathe, eat and rest tonight. You will split into two sections, one section will take the left hall while the others take the right.”
This was my chance, if only I could get in the same section as Liander. I began to drag Ledo towards the other end of the line when suddenly Cor’lyn blocked my path.
“Ah, the tall one. You intrigue me. I see a wolf among the sheep. You will bear watching. I also think I want to keep you from…” He smiled and glanced in Liander’s direction. I could see him attempting to hang back but he was being pushed towards the left hall by the guards. Turning back to me, Cor’lyn continued, “That one interests me too.” His eyes narrowed as he considered me and I felt a chill creep up my spine. For whatever reason, Cor’lyn knew there was something different about Liander and me, and that made him dangerous.
Cor’lyn raised his chin at one of guards and indicated with a nod of his head that Ledo and I should be taken to the right hall and, with a prod of the guard’s weapon, I turned away from Liander.
I glanced back over my shoulder and Liander was walking with his back turned to me, head dipped. Fortil turned, saw me watching, and he grinned and licked his lips.
If that bastard as much as laid one hand on Liander… But what the hell could I do locked behind another door across this huge compound?
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