I recall my first fight with money on it so vividly. I had a reason to fight, a reason to win, a reason to live.
You should know I came into this fight the same as any other. I still believed I would die. Yet this time I mustered a courage I had never known before. I fought with a fierceness that almost frightened myself. I don’t believe that telling you simply how I felt gets the true point across. Knowing this I will relate, with as much recollection as possible, the fight itself.
The crowd was enormous, as always. All jeering down at me as I walked to the gate, stood and waited to be killed. I sank into myself, distancing my awareness from the obvious hatred the masses had for my very existence. Eyes closed, I let myself fall into an instinctive state. Down to the most primal part of myself. The basest of feelings, the only tool for survival I had. The crowds yelling dulled and everything around me became clearer when I opened my eyes. I looked beyond my gate, to one opposite my own. Behind those gates was a man, like myself, who wanted nothing more than survival. I could not give that to him, but I could give him a swift death.
At this moment I had fallen so far from my humanity that all I knew was kill or be killed. The crowd roared as the announcer lowered our gates and the fight began. Encouragements and curses were thrown down at both of us as we stepped towards each other on the barren Coliseum grounds. No longer two men, just two animals. Exploited, enslaved, enraged.
I don’t remember drawing steel, or how we came together so fast. Yet there he was, his blade flashing at my face with inhuman speed. It was all I could do to interpose my blade and fall back onto my heels.
Blows rained down on me from all directions. Yet that primal part of me would not let his steel kiss me. I would survive no matter what. And so the fight continued.
I managed to gain my balance and throw myself forward, bulling into him. Hoping to gain some semblance of balance or advantage. He was taken unawares and thankfully fell back from the attack. I jumped at my chance, blade swinging in a brutal arc down towards his head. His steel intercepted it and knocked it aside. I wasn’t done.
My blade flashed back in a left-to-right crosscut aimed at his midsection. He threw his hips back, barely escaping being disemboweled. He flung his blade towards me in a haphazard attack, hoping only to ward me off. I smashed his blade aside and came on again, poking towards his chest with a fast jab. Continuing his stumble backwards he managed to block the majority of the power behind my blow, but it still landed opening a small trickle of blood down his chest.
My instincts screamed at me to press the attack. I came on again and again, a swirling storm of steel. We danced about, seeming to intertwine and become one. Our blades mere extensions of our arms. It seemed like days, months, years. And then I saw an opening and lunged. His eyes widened as I opened him from left hip to right shoulder. Spilling his lifeblood in a gruesome rain. I watched him fall as if in slow motion, wondering all the while if it were truly happening.
He landed on the ground with a thud, breaking my reverie. He gasped for mercy, a quick death. I dealt him the final blow, pushing my blade through his ribs into his heart.
And so I became one step closer to freedom.