“Live by the Sword” by Andrew Knighton

June 9, 2013

Post image for “Live by the Sword” by Andrew Knighton

For Ubu, the gladiator life is short and brutal, but in the shadow of the arena there is a chance for something more. [15min]

Excerpt:

Ubu ducked and Klaus’s sword hissed over his head, death missing him by a fearful inch. Sand spurted into the air as he span left, rolling across the packed floor of the arena, his heart racing. The crowd roared as the huge German stomped after him. It was said that Klaus was half cyclops, his close-set eyes and eight-foot frame the mark of a monstrous heritage. Ubu felt the ground shake as he dived clear of another blow, grabbing a discarded trident as he landed.

Ubu swung the spear upwards, blocking a strike with a clang and a shower of sparks. He rolled back through Klaus’s legs. The giant stood for a moment bewildered, peering down in confusion through the narrow gaps in his helmet. Then Ubu thrust upwards with the might of desperation. The prongs struck below Klaus’s scraps of chain-mail, piercing flesh and scraping bone. The German turned, shaking the trident free. A crimson rain poured across the sand. He roared, raised his sword, and then staggered to one knee as pain and blood loss hit.

Ubu grinned in relief, white teeth gleaming in the sunlight. He leapt, feet first, crashing into Klaus’s chest and sending him sprawling in his own gore. Ubu heaved the long sword from the ground and turned his gaze to the imperial box, waiting to see his opponent’s fate.

The emperor’s thumb rose in the sign of death.

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