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Leonard a. Wronke Leonard a. Wronke
Recommendations: 23

THE FIFTIETH (TIME TO REST)


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She had a friend.

      The blade felt heavy in my blood-speckled fist.
      A cut above my left eye was slowing to a trickle.
      All my scratches, bruises were bleeding, still fresh.
      My heartbeat was a thumping inside my chest.
      Breathing through my broken nose,where the other's haft had caught me, was one of
      tremendous effort.
      Loud as thunder was the din of the crowd as I,again, faced my opponent.
      My adversary's taunting was of no consequence; it was always the same.
      I was the CHAMPION of the SAND.
      All the others before brought me to this- my fiftieth, final to freedom.
      Then it would be time to rejoice; to live as undefeated.
      Looking across the arena, I saw that there were as many bruises,bloody scratches, half
      healed scars on him that marred my thorax or abdomen
      Staring closer, I thought I saw the beginning of recognition of death in his eyes.
      The essence of fear was there.
      It was time to end this.
      My freedom was at hand.
      As I commenced my final engage, the previously denied fatigue made my mind wonder- to the
      plans I had for after this final triumph.
      With my mind not seeing what my eyes were telling, I misplaced my pivot foot, upon the
      grains, putting it much further into the spilled blood than I had planned.
      Bringing my sword up, at precisely that moment of miscue, caused my arm's momentum
      to meet nothing but air.
      It was all my formerly cowed foe needed.
      He lunged as I tried to compensate.
      My backward motion too slow. The slipperiness of the sand too great.
      All at once, my body refused my commands; I continued my backward motion but more down
      towards the sand.
      Looking up at the roaring crowd, the emperor, the darkening suns, I felt a sharp pain right
      above my heart.
      Hearing a whisper, close to my ear, as I sank upon the gritty earth adding yet more bloody
      texture, I felt the presence of the one who had ended my title as he leaned in.
      The last thing I remember, as a strangely accented voice spoke, was, " It was a glorious
      battle. May your deity see you swiftly on your journey. Now it is time to rest."


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