Mul Gladiator who's potentially insane.
Tarkan’s story starts as many do among the dunes of Athas. He was born into the world the bastard child of slaves, born to labor and serve. He spent much of his childhood carrying rocks and marble in the quarries that feed the appetites of Tyr. When he started growing they took the strongest and most “durable” of his “family” to the arena to see if any were worthy of learning to fight. Tarkan excelled at the sword, and escaped labor in the slave pits for “glory” in the arena.
It was a good day for an fight. Tarkan stretched as he pondered the days events. Would they bring in more lions from the desert? Maybe a thri-kreen this time, the insect men were notoriously hard fighters, fast and difficult to kill. What weapon today? He ran his hand over the rack, ocasionally picking one up to test it’s weight. One gladius, made from some type of bone had a splash of blood on the handle and a notch missing out of the blade. He cast it into a growing refuse pile for broken weapons. Seriously, the armorers were getting lazy, that should never have been place back on the rack. After passinig down half the rack he found a rare prize,a well balanced axe and buckler to go with it! He kneeled down and used sand from the floor to wipe the slick blood from the handle. Fresh, whoever fought with it this morning hadn’t been so lucky.
Finally armed with a weapon he headed toward the gate to wait for his turn out on the sandy floor. The gamesman took ten of them aside and started explaining, “Lissen up boys, today we got an easy job for ya, jus try not to make it too quick, audience loves a show an all. We’ve got some boys settin up a little fort out on the floor, you lads will be attackin it. Now it sounds worse ‘en it’ll be. They dug up some fresh meat to man the fort, they’ll be armed sure but none of them have actually been in a fight before. Some rock diggers from out in the country. You boys just enjoy yourselves, not every day you get the cushy jobs.”
Tarkan groaned, he always felt sorry for slaves who got tasked to these shows. At best they’d leave missing limbs or seriously wounded. He had tried taking it easy on a group of debt forclosed farmers his first week on the floor. The gamesman had killed the lot and beaten him until he couldn’t move for not giving the audience a good show. Well, he’s cut off a leg here and an arm there, sure a few would die but the audience mostly wanted blood, not lives, so spill enough of that and he’d be back in the dorm with a nice bottle of wine soon enough.
The gamesman opened the gate and walked out onto the sand ahead of them. He began orating to the audience, “Here we have the recreation of the battle of…”. Tarkan tuned him out and began to examine the fort. It was a simple thing, 4 walls made of limestone, they must have used some oxen to pull them onto the floor. There were a couple of dozen scared looking humans, dwarves and elves hiding inside the fort, most were holding their spears wrong. Tarkan sighed and muttered to the men around him, “They couldn’t even teach them which end to hold before marching ’em out on the sand this time.” A few of the men around him chuckled appreciatively. Soon the gamesman was done orating and it was their turn. The pudgy man waddled back into the shade and waved them into the field.
Tarkan pulled his helmet on, shielding his eyes, as he stepped onto the sands. The gladiators around him split into pairs and started stalking towards the fort. Invariably, the strategy in these things was to storm the tiny makeshift fort and force the enemy out onto the sand, then to apply a meaningful ammount of damage where the carnage would be easily viewed. The gamesman never thought of how much harder their jobs were when they have to drive the cowering rabble into view first. He had a wiry elf guarding his back, Lono. Lono was good with knives and fast, faster than any being had a right to be. As they approached one of the sides spears started flicking out from the shoulder high walls, Tarkan flicked two aside and snagged a third spear with his buckler hand. He have it a hard pull and felt the grip on the other side desperately try to hang on. It was vain of course, he pulled the spear away and threw it over the wall into the crowd inside. Someone didn’t duck in time.
He heard a scream. It was familiar. What was the name? Kara? Why was the voice familiar? Did he recognize..? Thats not some farmer. Thats Davrim. Davrim saved my life. I don’t understand. These can’t be… No. I have to stop this. Kara? Kara watched me. I was too young to work. No.
Tarkan drops his axe and lunges at the wall, trying to get in. Spears flick toward him. A gash on his arm. Lono desperately attempts to intercept the spears, but he can’t. Tarkan gets an arm over the wall, a spear opens up a long gash on his arm. Someone screams when they see his bone mask, carved from some ancient insect. He sees a woman in the middle of the group, middle age, bleeding. Another spear stabs into his shoulder, his hand is slipping in the blood from the arm wound. He can’t feel anything. He hits the sand hard, a spear still stuck in his shoulder, he gets cold quickly. The world turns black.