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Re: [Feb 2016] - Fanfic - Submission Thread Battle -1303 words

Hello, all! New member here and first post. Hope you enjoy it!
Referenced Robert E. Howard's Conan and a very particular character from Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park (also a small nod to author Steven Erikson)

Spoiler for Hiden:
Conan gripped his sword, hefted the round shield on his opposite arm and, staring through the iron bars, waited for the orator to finish his speech. The audience had grown deathly silent as the man prattled on about the ‘Savage from Cimmeria’ and the innumerous atrocities committed by the barbarian, the countless maidens deflowered and gods dragged down from the heavens. Some of it was exaggerated, most of it was true. But the small man with the big voice standing in the empress’ booth had a way of telling the tale that was beginning to grate on Conan’s patience.
     “…plundering pirate captain, the slayer of snakes, the fallen king,” the orator paused for dramatic effect, “I give you Conan the Barbarian!”
     A clattering of chains, the squeal of metal and the bars began to rise. The crowd jeered and hollered and threw rotten vegetables down as Conan stepped out onto the sandy arena, squinting in the bright afternoon.
He was clad in nothing more than sandals and a loin cloth, the sun warm on his skin. But he was little concerned, as he had done great violence in much less. His eyes adjusted to the light and he gazed at the crowd. The sheer number of spectators was astounding. With that many people in the stands, it was a wonder anything got done in the empire at all.
     He came to the center of the killing ground and stopped. Directly across from him stood another gate, tall, with thick iron bars holding in the darkness beyond. And somewhere in that darkness was his enemy. An enemy he had never before seen or heard of. It mattered little. For Conan to live, they would have to die.
     The orator raised his arms above his head and began to speak again. The crowd hushed. “Friends, countrymen, Malazans…What foe could pose challenge to this foreign brute? What man or woman could bring down the barbarian who defies death?" Silence in the arena. Every breath held in anticipation. The orator continued, "Nay, I say, not a man...but a beast!"
     Conan narrowed his eyes at the gate before him as, just then, a deep, rumbling growl echoed from the dark.
A collective gasp from the crowd, those in the seats nearest the gate began to shift, squirming to get away. But curiosity held and every eye was on the orator. "Not just any beast would suffice," he said, sweeping a hand out in front of him, "but a beast the likes of which the barbarian has never faced! A beast summoned from a distant realm, where mankind relies not on Magic, but science. Where mighty creatures are born from vials of liquid in metal rooms and raised on farms! Alas, we have found greater purpose for the beast and called it here to do battle in the arena! I give to you, what the mortals of that distant realm call the King of the Tyrant Lizards...the Tyrannosaurus Rex!"
     Again, the clatter of chains and groaning metal as the massive iron gate opened. The crowd's boisterous cheering was cut short by a deafening bellow that blasted from the corridor. The ground shook as the creature known as the Tyrannosaurus rex lumbered into the arena.
     Conan stood his ground and watched as the beast circled the perimeter of the killing ground. At least three times his own height and twice as long, it carried the bulk of its body horizontally, tail stretched out behind it. The massive skull had an elongated snout with dagger-like teeth protruding downwards from the upper mandible and powerful looking jaws. Thick, muscular legs kicked and stamped the dust in obvious frustration. Conan could sympathize with the creature; for man or beast, the mighty did not care to be toyed with. In contrast to the strong legs were two tiny arms dangling uselessly from its torso. So, Conan concluded the beast would use its teeth and clawed feet.
     Conan beat the flat of his sword against his shield. The tyrannosaur snapped its head around, small yellow eyes fixing on him. It lowered its head and belted a mighty roar. Then charged.
     The ground shook as it came, clouds of dust rising behind each footfall. The mouth stretched wide as it came, closing the distance in a flash. At the last moment, Conan dove to the side as the creature's teeth snapped shut and its momentum carried it past. Conan rose and beat his shield again. The tyrannosaur slowed and turned to face him, sand falling from its jaws. It paced in a wide circle. Conan crouched behind the shield.
The beast took a step towards him and he burst out from behind his shield, throwing his arms out wide and belting a roar of his own. The tyrannosaur halted, twitched its neck, surprised and hesitant. This time, Conan charged.
     The tyrannosaur sidestepped and snapped its jaws downward. Conan ducked and slashed with his sword, slicing wide the soft skin under the bottom jaw. Warm blood ran down his arm. He barely missed getting stomped as the beast spun to flee. Another furious roar rattled the arena.
But before it could escape Conan lunged, tossing aside his shield, and threw all of his weight and rage into a vicious swing aimed at the thick tendon on the back of the Lizard King's heel. The cut went deep, skin peeled back to expose pink flesh and white bone. The leg lifted, came down, and buckled.
     The Tyrannosaur fell sideways, it's great weight landing hard in the sand, clouds of dust choking the air. The crowd gasped.
     Conan slipped past the thrashing tail and rushed for the exposed belly. The beast's good leg curled and lashed out, sending Conan sailing through the air. He landed hard, wind knocked from his lungs, body bruised, fresh, gaping claw marks running the length of his chest and ribs. For a moment, he watched his blood drip in the sand. Behind him, he could hear the tyrannosaur struggling to rise. The crowd was in an uproar, screaming and cheering, hoping for the Tyrant Lizard to rise and finish the barbarian.
     Conan would not give them the pleasure.
     Fighting every instinct to lay down and die, he climbed to his feet, found his sword in the dust next to him, and rushed the beast. His fury was unstoppable, his primal rage would not be denied.
     He circled the monster and leapt onto its back. The beast tried to turn, to roll over and shake him off, but Conan was too fast. Too determined. He reached the head and, without ceremony, took his sword in both hands and drove it point-first into the base of the creature's skull.
     The tyrannosaur flailed and Conan flew off, rolling as he landed. Slowly he rose, with dust on his shoulders and blood streaking his body, and watched the mighty creature die.
     With the tyrannosaur’s last growl, the arena fell silent. A few birds circled far overhead, the warm breeze whispered through the stands. Then the crowd exploded in a riotous howl that slowly began to take the measure of a chant. Conan realized suddenly, that they were chanting his name. The same spectators who were so keen to see him dead not moments ago, now honoring him as victor. Conan despised their fickle nature.
     The orator stood and raised his arms as if to speak, but was cut short with a gesture from the empress. The orator sat down. The crowd was deafening, yet, as the empress climbed from her throne, they once again fell silent.
     Conan narrowed his eyes at the woman. She stared back at him with equal disdain.
     The birds circled overhead.
     The warm afternoon began to fade into evening.
     The crowd waited.
     And the empress lifted her fist, thumb held horizontal…and made her decision.

February 21, 2016, 02:20:00 PM