Khel-Nadar strode through the archway and onto the arena floor. Behind him, he felt the slam of the iron portcullis. There was no going back now, as if there ever had been.
He was just ten years old and would, today, learn the feeling of facing an enemy bent on his destruction. It was a necessary rite of passage.
The enormity of it so distracted him that he missed his opponent's entry onto the sands.
The Saurian was both taller and heavier. Rows of jagged teeth and thick rending claws gleamed in the harsh sunlight. Its hide was scaly with wicked protrusions of bone.
A booming gong both shocked Khel-Nadar back to reality and signalled the beginning of the combat. The opponents moved forward, circling and feinting. They ducked, bobbed and weaved about. Only one of them would leave the arena alive, so they were opening cautiously.
It had been so for centuries but it had not always been so. Hushed voices in darkened rooms spoke of a time when Humans and Saurians had co-existed in harmony. When...why that changed was lost in the dust of the past.
He only knew this MUST end and it must end NOW. Someone must make the first overture if they were to ever know peace again.
He let his sword fall, extending his hands placatingly. The Saurian cocked its head to the side quizzically. As Khel-Nadar stood smiling, the lizard slid toward him with fluid grace. A backhand swipe tore the boy's throat out.
Perhaps peace would return SOME day but not THIS day.