Authors: Ashley West
Tags: #paranormal romance
MY ALIEN WARRIOR
By: Ashley West
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2015 Monster Media LLC
Chapter 1: The Arena
There was a formula to arena fighting that most people didn’t know. It was one of those things that you had to learn from years of practice, and no one was going to teach it to you. Khaos knew that better than anyone. He’d come to the arena a green child with more anger than sense, and he’d gotten kicked around by the veterans who’d been training for longer than he’d been alive. He’d broken more bones than he knew he had, but he’d learned.
Keep your head up, but keep your guard up as well.
your opponent. Don’t respond to the taunts they throw at you; anger just makes it hard to focus. Don’t taunt them back; silence in the face of mockery is unnerving. Strike only when you’re sure it’s going to land. Guard your soft spots. Give them a good show.
Ten years of collected knowledge in his head any time he stepped foot into the arena, axe slung across his back like it was nothing for him to carry the huge, double bladed weapon. And after spending months and months training with it, at this point Khaos barely noticed its weight.
Where he’d started arena fighting as a tall, but not particularly muscular teenage boy, he’d certainly grown. Good fights and good food would do that, he supposed.
For now, he wasn’t fighting. He had a bout in an hour, and he was sprawled in a seat, the head of his axe on the ground and the handle of it held loosely in this grip. He liked to watch the fights even when they weren’t his, enjoying seeing the way others moved and attacked and the different weapons they used to incapacitate their opponents.
The thick armor that the fighters wore kept there from being any accidents where someone died from an overzealous attack, and the sound of metal crashing against metal rang out in the dome shaped arena, echoing around them.
Some of the spectators winced at the sound, but it was familiar and almost comforting to Khaos after so many years of hearing it.
There hadn’t been much else for him other than the arena. His parents were dead, his father killed by a Vekosh raider and his mother taken by the Sickness not long afterwards, leaving Khaos alone in the world with nothing.
Children weren’t allowed to starve on Blessini, not when most of them didn’t make it to their sixteenth name day already because of the Sickness. Orphans were taken in and educated, whether they wanted to be or not (and Khaos had been firmly in the latter category), no matter who their parents had been or where they came from.
He was no great scholar, and sitting with his books had been like torture when he was younger, so it was safe to say that Khaos hadn’t been interested in learning. He’d already been taught how to read and write by his mother, and he
them. He’d missed his parents so much that nothing anyone said to him could make it better.
Time and again Khaos had tried to run away from the orphanage where they expected him to live, only to be caught and brought back.
He got plenty of lectures from the women who ran the orphanage. The women who had lost their own children in one way or another and had dedicated their lives to making sure that there were no children on Blessini who had to be alone and parentless. Looking back, he knew he was being ungrateful, but there had just been so much anger in him.
It was one of the men who helped out sometimes who suggested taking him to the arena. The women had been scandalized at the thought that it was any place for a child to be, but the man had just laughed.
Agon had probably been the biggest man Khaos had ever seen when he was younger. Tall and thick with muscles, a sword always at his hip. If the arena had made Agon look like
then Khaos wanted to be a part of it.
He remembered the way Agon had laughed. “He’s angry,” he’d explained. “The arena beats anger outta kids real quick.”
“How is that anyway for him to work on coping with the death of his parents?” Mirrigan, the woman who had brought him there, had said shrilly.
“He’ll get in a few hits himself and be too tired to run off at night. It’ll be fine.”
The women had clucked, and Khaos, tucked into a corner and staring up at Agon with distrustful eyes had waited with bated breath to see what the verdict would be.
“Look,” the man had said finally. “No one dies in the arena. That would be senseless, and you know we’re in no position to let that happen. Worst that’ll happen is he’ll come home with some scrapes and broken bones.”
“And suppose that kills him faster!” Mirrigan had shouted.
Agon hadn’t been fazed. “It won’t. You know as well as I that the Sickness takes with no care for how broken, old, or young a person is. Babies die, fit young men die, people who were already sick are sometimes left alone. He’ll be fine.”
It had been a long argument, and one Khaos remembered well. Nearly an hour had gone by before anyone thought to ask him what he wanted.
“I want to go,” had been his words, and so it had been settled.
Khaos chuckled when he thought about how silly he’d been back then. How he’d assumed that his height and speed would make up for his complete lack of physical ability and training. Agon had been right, though. For the most part, he’d been too tired out to run away and too sore to argue with the ladies.
His temper had faded over the years, and he’d learned how the fights were fought, how to make it into something that people would come from all over Blessini to watch.
More than anything, the arena was a diversion. It was a spectacle that had been started to keep people’s minds off of how many of them were dying.
The fight currently going on in the arena drew to a close, the shorter man lifting his sword and bringing it down hard with a ringing clang onto his opponents breast plate. The metal held, keeping the wearer safe, but he went down onto one knee in the dusty, hard packed earth and then jerked back when the tip of that sword ended up pointed at his neck.
“I yield,” he said, loud enough that his voice echoed up the sides and everyone heard it. “I yield.”
The applause for the victor was thunderous, people clapping and stomping their feet, crying out his name. Clearly he had plenty of supporters here, and when he took his helmet off and threw it in the dirt to lift his arms up and do his victory lap around the arena, Khaos could see that he was young. Probably younger than him, and definitely younger than his opponent. It was good to see someone so young getting good at arena fighting, and Khaos clapped along with the rest of the crowd, putting two fingers in his mouth for a Mother’s whistle of approval.
Once the cheering had died down and the victor had done his lap, a slender woman took to the floor with an amplifier in hand.
They always chose one of the most lovely women to announce these things. While some females did fight in the arena, it was mostly a male thing, and they all liked to see the announcers with their curves and skimpy outfits.
Usually Khaos didn’t even care, but his fight was next, and this woman was particularly lovely with her smooth, pale skin, masses of obsidian black hair, and slitted pupils, short red outfit showing off legs that seemed to go on for miles.
When she cleared her throat and spoke into the amplifier, her voice was husky and mellow, and Khaos smirked. All the more reason to win, then.
“Glory to Cheskin,” she said, flinging an arm out in the direction of the victor who was heading down to the bathing area now to be scrubbed down and dressed in the white robe and sash of the victor. “Honor to Bran.” This time pointing at the one who had lost, being helped off the arena floor by the medics who were always on hand. “That fight is done and now we begin another. Calgus!” she cried the name of Khaos’ competition.
Everyone in the arena, Khaos included, leaned forward to get a better look as the man came walking out.
He wasn’t taller than Khaos, but that was hard to do, even among the warrior set. His skin was bronze and heavily scarred, and his thick hair hung in near plaits down his back. He held a spear in his hand, though it was longer than a traditional spear, which made it obvious that the shaft of it was meant to work as a weapon in itself.
The way Calgus held it made it clear that he knew how to use it, and Khaos was intrigued. Usually his opponents were the swords and shield type, though there had been one memorable occasion with the man with the bow and arrow who had chased him around the arena floor firing wildly.
Khaos smiled at the memory and then forced himself to focus, eyes on the competition. He didn’t look fast, but looks could be deceptive, and it was clear that he would be plenty strong to make up for it.
Levering himself to his feet, he headed from his seat to the stairs that led down to the arena floor while the woman rattled off Calgus’ stats. They were impressive, he had to admit, and as he walked, he thought of what his strategy would be. Hit him hard, for sure. Try to outspeed him. Maybe try to make his weapon’s length into a weakness. It’d be tricky, but Khaos had been doing this long enough that he was confident.
“Khaos!” the woman cried, flinging her arm out towards the direction he should have been coming from.
Usually competitors watched from the boxes on either side of the arena and then came out when it was their turn to fight. But Khaos always preferred to watch with the spectators, and so when there was no sound from the box and no sign of him, he let out another piercing whistle with his fingers in his mouth and waved when the woman’s head jerked up and she looked at him.
“Present and accounted for,” he said, making his voice carry.
She smirked and pointed. “Khaos! One hundred and seventy three time victor, current streak of ninety-seven wins! Likes to make an entrance and fighting with a Krepsian war axe.” She arched an eyebrow and tapped her foot until Khaos vaulted over the short wall that separated the floor from the stands.
“No need to get testy, dear,” Khaos said as he passed her to stand in his position.
Rolling her eyes was her only response to that, and she raised both of her hands, holding them high.
The moment before an announcer dropped her hands to start the battle always dragged on for Khaos. His body was ready to explode into motion, muscles tense and fingers gripping the handle of his axe firmly. He kept his face impassive and made himself look loose and carefree.