A man is put in the ring to die.
The man walked onto the sands of the circus and the crowd of thousands fell silent. He was dressed like a barbarian from the north with fur and leather and boots. But everyone who lay eyes upon him knew that he was not from there. In fact, he looked as if he came from everywhere and no-where at the same time.
His Competitor saluted the man responsible for the show and went into a ready stance.
This man shouted out in defiance. "I will salute no man who is responsible for my capture. I will salute no man who has brought me dishonour. I will Salute no man who wishes me death. And I will not die here today!"
And with an almighty roar he charged his opponent and with one swing brought his enemies head down to the dust. Our man from no-where was the victor.
The crowds groaned, they had been promised a spectacle of blood and violence. These two men were champions and now their favourite was killed in mere moments.
The crowds roared for something more, some violence, real violence instead of an execution. And the owner obliged.
With a wave of his hand the gates squealed as they were heaved open to reveal the next object of death and destruction that would be unleashed on this gladiator. Two lions stepped out, and by their eyes, the man knew they had not eaten for a long time. They were indeed beyond all reason now and were willing to do anything to make the hunger end.
They charged the man together, both hoping to be the one to make the kill. But instead, one hit the ground dead and the other, still living, ground to a halt a few metres beyond. Confused.
So many had fallen prey to their teeth and fangs that now all these two legged creatures showed despair when put before these two titans of the hunt. But this one had killed his pack mate and stood facing off against the survivor as an equal. A hunter who had also killed many.
The lion knew that this fight was a losing one; but the hunger, it ate away at the very reason that had turned him into the honourable killer that he was. Until all that was left was madness and instinct.
He would have to make a kill now or he would die either from the human's sword, the hunger that ate away at him, or the insanity that it brought. He charged the man and fell to the swing of his sword. The two lions had been together since they were captured all those years ago, now they were together in death as well.
The owner howled in frustration along with his audience. Why wont this man die? He was supposed to have been killed long ago. But even with that blunted weapon, he had killed a champion and two of his best animals. What to do, what to do.
"You can empty the cages upon me, but I swear that you shall not have me dead before I leave here." The man from no-where challenged.
The owner thought a few moments and then began to smile dangerously. "I believe I can oblige your request." He said waving to a servant. At the very least he will finally be rid of this man who had won too many times.
All the gates rose and the arena become flooded with animals from all corners of the globe and men who shared this boast armed with weapons not meant to entertain, but kill.
Our champion did not cry in despair, nor did he begin to show fear. He went into a fighting stance, now prepared with the blade from his enemy as well as his own and faced the masses.
The owner's eyes went wide as he witnessed the fight. This man stood his ground and killed any man or beast that dared step within range of his swords as if he were making a harvest of men's bodies.
He hacked clean, heads of men and beast alike as if taking the top off corn and then just as quickly impaled a third. A man tried to attack the man from no-where from behind but was slain without the intended victim even turning to face him.
Every attack upon him was countered. Every defence broken. Tooth and nail and claw and shield and sword and skill fell before the man from no-where.
Finally the swords, being bad pieces of equipment, shattered in his hands as the were brought down on a man's head and the crowds roared. Thinking that now, this man was finally dead.
But they were sadly disappointed as, in a single movement he bent and picked up a scythe, an imitation of the ones from the east, and cut a man's ribs open, from bottom to top. He was a master of this as well as the sword.
Twice more the weapon in his hand broke from over use and twice more did the crowds think that the barbarian was finally overcome. But in each instance he picked a random weapon from the ground and used them with unmatched skill.
Finally, the fight was over. The sand was stained with blood and only one man stood on his own two feet. He was exhausted, and covered with the scratches of weapons which had grazed but not killed but he was alive instead of so many others.
"Is that all this mighty empire has to give?" The man from everywhere challenged. "Can you not kill a single man who has refused to bow down before you? I am disappointed, everywhere did I hear of you being the mightiest on earth. And now I see that you cannot even execute a prisoner." And he spat on the ground with all the contempt he had in his exhausted body.
The crowd was fed up. This was not worth the money that they had spent, this was not what they had been promised. They began to walk out, staining the name of the host with their words as they went.
"Wait!" He cried out. "If this man thinks he is such an accomplished warrior, let us see how well he stands against warriors of our own ilk. The pride of our military!"
Curious the crowd took their seats as one again. Perhaps this man will die after all.
A single gate was opened and a phalanx came marching in as one. They were dressed in the best armour and kitted out with spears and swords. These men would not be so easy to kill.
Calmly, the man bent and picked up a spear and with a single throw launched it through the throat of the first man in the square and into the chest of the one directly behind.
And our champion quick on the javelin's tail plunged his own blade through the heart of another. He fought his way to the centre of this close packed group, killing all who stood in his way. Then, using this military's greatest weapon against them, killed them all from the centre.
And that was it. There was no more left to kill, and this great frustration was still alive.
He was kneeling over the body of his last victim, breathing heavily. He was near complete exhaustion.
The crowd roared in anger and stormed from the circus ignoring the desperate and pitiful pleas of the ringmaster.
Finally the two men were alone but for the two guards surrounding the master.
Once he had regained his breath and composure. The man from no-where calmly walked up to the podium.
"You have no more men or beasts to send and kill me. I have killed your guards. Your business is now ruined forever because of your public humiliation. You have lost everything. However, if you release me, I will spare you the only thing remaining to you. Your life."
Inexplicably, the man began to laugh. And called "Archers."
Immediately hundreds of warriors lined the highest battlements and a great groaning of wood echoed around the building as bows were drawn as one.
"You are no free man. You are a slave, more than that, you are my slave. You will not be free as long as I or any of my men draw breath. Now, go back to your cell like a good pet or I will turn you into the world's first human quiver."
Suddenly. The slave who was no slave ran foreword with a dangerous glint in his eye.
The rich man panicked and cried "Fire" at the top of his lungs. But it was too late, the arrows whizzed harmlessly by his body as he ducked and weaved. Then suddenly a sword was being held to his throat.
"That is it. Free me or your head becomes my trophy and I leave here anyway."
"Alright, alright. You are free. You can leave now just please don't kill me." The once rich man snivelled.
The sword was lowered from his neck and for the first time he noticed his two bodyguards decapitated corpses.
"And my weapons?" He asked.
"They are still in the training yard where you were first brought in."
He nodded and turned his back on the once proud man once and for all and walked towards his gear.
Had anyone been watching the side gates with any interest that evening. They would have seen a very curious sight.
A man, dressed in green robes that hid his face perfectly but still allowed for unrestricted movement. From his hip hung a coil of fine chain with a small weight on the end. And in his right hand was a bloody staff made of iron.
He walked away from the corpses of the guards and into the wilderness never to be seen again. Or, to be more accurate, never to be seen by the likes of this particular empire, until the day of its inevitable collapse.