Some say that there are great warriors, but does war really make one great?
My answer. Yes.
All of this happened so fast, its rather unbelievable if you really think about it. But whether or not anyone believes my story when I eventually return home, I will never forget my experience so far in the Arena. This Area, is more dangerous than the Crusades ten times over, and this is the most fun I've ever had.
I am Sir John Boxly; great knight, crusader for Christ, lover to my wife, and arguably the greatest warrior of all time. That's what I always considered myself anyway, before they took me away and showed me otherwise. I was riding my horse through enemy territory, a shortcut to delivery my message of victory against the Turks. My pride was high at that moment, after all, I had just slain one hundred of those barbaric Turks single-handedly with only a lone shield and a great sword. The Lord would surely bless with riches not only in this life but in the next as well for my service to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The road I was traveling barren, cold, and lonely. The perfect setting for an ambush. I was prepared for an eminent attack, but I could of never prepared for what happened next. A bright light came from the heavens, and I was swept after in some kind of rapture. When I could finally see, I was not welcomed by my heavenly father nor my Christian brethren as I was expecting.
I dark hooded figure stood in front of me, as I was in a boxed in room with no signs of any exits of any sort. This figure bore dark robes and appeared human, but not quite human enough. "Hello," I said, "Where…where am I? Are…are you God?"
The figure sat in a long silence as I stared at him, I started to stutter some words again when he finally spoke. When he spoke it sounded like a multitude of voices harmoniously speaking in unison, like the voice of angels. "Welcome great warrior," they said, "It is our great honor to tell you that…you have been specially chosen by our people to participate in a grand competition like no other."
My pride was indeed before my fall, thinking what kind of competition would this be, if I was already the greatest warrior in history, "What…what kind of competition do you mean?" I asked.
"A competition of great pageantry and grace, a competition to the death, a competition that will transcend time," the multitudes said, "We have searched throughout the entire course of human history, however short it was, and we chosen sixteen of the what we consider the greatest…what you call…warriors? Of all time."
I liked the sound of that. These beings have round up all the greatest warriors in history, the perfect chance to prove my superiority and to prove that I am truly the greatest warrior of all time.
The multitudes go on to explain who the other fifteen men were. Some of them I have heard about in my studies such as Alexander the Great and Hannibal. And others I have never heard of, like Genghis Khan and Shaka Zulu. They told me that I had an option of participating, and that if I did agree to fight, I would surely be resurrected and returned to me time promptly after the winner was crowned, and that nothing in my time would have changed. I had nothing to lose, but everything to gain, so agreed. That's how I ended up here, in the middle of an Arena, filled various biomes, fighting for my life as if I weren't going to be resurrected.
There are only five of us left; me, Hannibal, Genghis, Shaka, and the Unnamed Spartan as I call him. There can only be one winner, and only the strongest have survived to this point. This will not be easy.
I have battled fierce warriors, worthy of recognion in the hall of Heaven, but they all fall as they usually do. Attila, Cortes, Wallace, Alexander, all fell victim to my blade, and four more will have to fall to it as well. Injured, I stand up against a tree as my temporary ally, Hannibal Lector, sharpens his sword. Necessity does in fact make allies, and we both have common goal; to kill Genghis Khan.
He is obviously the greatest threat of the five of us left, including myself I do admit. Hannibal and I know that alone, neither of us could take out that beast, but together, we can easily take him. Hannibal is a remarkable warrior, even though he is from a past time, and combined with my skill we can conquer Genghis.
"Genghis has ally you know, it's that Zulu person," Hannibal says.
"How do you know?" I ask.
He stops sharpening his sword and looks at me, "There is only one other choice since me and you are paired up. And I fought that Spartan, he doesn't seem like the kind that works well with others. That just leaves Shaka, and Genghis is smart enough to know not to go at this alone, especially since we failed at killing first time."
We had tried to kill him the first time, together, but while in the middle of fighting the Mongol, we were ambushed by an enemy I know all too well, a Turkish Janissary. I didn't know what his name was, but he was the most skilled and gifted Turk I have ever fought, it was a pleasure driving my sword through his still-beating heart. His blood stains still remain on my shield.
"This time when we attack," I say, "We have to make sure that its only the three of us, and if he does have an ally we have to kill him first if we ever want a chance to kill Genghis."
Hannibal nods his head and grabs his shield and weapons. As he turns to start our walk through the thick jungle he, he says, "After we kill him, don't be surprised if you find your head suddenly missing from your body."
"And don't be surprised if one of your own blades cuts through your guts," I reply picking up my weapons too. My plan is to let Hannibal get killed from fighting Genghis, but he will surely manage to injure the mighty Khan, and then I will strike down a weaken Genghis easily. That will only leave the Unnamed Spartan to slay.
I a whole day and a whole knight passes, no signs of the Genghis, or anybody for that matter. The roar of thunder that sounds whenever a warrior falls has remained silent, signaling that all of us are still alive. It's a hug arena, but its slowly becoming smaller, for I can tell by the fake stars up on the sealing slowly coming closer together. They are trying to bring us all together for one last bloodbath.
The night drops its veil of darkness once again, but early than its supposed to, a sign that the multitudes are setting a stage for a finale to the competition. I have half a mind to just kill Hannibal right now and get it over with, and I'm sure he is thinking the exact same thing. But I need him still, to kill Genghis Khan. And to do such a thing would be dishonorable, and there is no point in fighting if it is not with honor.
Hannibal raises his sword at my face, but not in an act of betrayal, he stops and looks around. Silence pierces the ears, then an arrow flies past my left shoulder, slicing deep into a tree. And it begins.
I lower my helmet, and ready my sword and shield. In battle stance, I say a quick prayer for the Lord to give me strength and victory in battle. Hannibal looks like he his praying to some idol around his neck. His will surely pay for his sin.
The almighty Khan comes into view from the jungle foliage, with dual weapons wielded set ablaze. Hannibal starts to attack and I am about to follow when something grabs me around the neck. I struggle to break free and the person drags me away from the Genghis-Hannibal duel.
The man's stone weapons fail to cut through my armor, and once break free of his grasp it is revealed that it is indeed Shaka-Zulu. The savage lunges towards me with a short spear and edged club in hand. I immediately bash my shield against the incoming Zulu, sending him flying back onto the ground that bore him. But he just get back up and comes in for a second attack. This time I block both swings with my sword, but the tricky African manages to get past my block and stabs a spear into the side of chainmail near my ribcage. It's a minor flesh wound, but it still send pain nibbling through my body. I counter with forceful hit of the shield directly to his face. He flies against a tree, his face battered and bloody but still comes at me. His determination is amazing, but I have him now. He uses to tree to jump in the air with an axe in hand, about to come down on my head when I draw my great sword and catch his body with its blade. My I throw his body off my blood covered sword and his body lays limp on the ground, but there is no roar of thunder. He is not dead.
I grab his own axe, lying in the bloody dirt, and smash his head open. I reminisce in the sweat irony as the roar of thunder fills the air, signifying his death. But a second thunder ruptures the sky, followed by a third. Hannibal and Genghis.
I run back to where the two were battling, only to find the two bodies deceased and covered with the blood of one another. It appears that Genghis indeed did kill Hannibal, but Hannibal managed to fatally wound the Khan in the process, who shortly bleed to death, as shown from a steady stream of scarlet red blood gushing from his upper thigh.
I feel no regret or sorrow, even if he wasn't resurrected. This is what happens in battle, this is what happens in war. And it is not pretty. That only leaves one warrior left standing, that Unnamed Spartan. Are sure enough, I turn around to hear the footsteps of my final foe, my final test walking toward me. His clanging bronze-age armor gleams ever in the darkness, it looks like a fortress of power. His giant huge hanging on his arm, and short sword in hand.
"Fellow man," he yells, "Congratulate yourself for making it this far. You will now have the honor of dying to my blade!" With that he lunges toward me and slashes at my chest, only to have my armor deflect, but the force pushes me onto the ground. I draw my great sword, still covered in Shaka's warm blood, and swing at the Spartan. My greatest weapon barely dents his great shield.
His counter is devastating as his shield comes into contact with my face. I feel that my nose it broken, blood fills up my helmet and I fling it off. Draw my secondary sword, if I am about to go down, I want these creatures watching to see my face. With sword in hand I charge towards the fortress of a soldier. He raises his shield up in defense but I step on it, jump over the Spartan, and cut a deadly wound on his unexposed chest side. Blood gushes out onto my face from his wound, but the fearless Spartan acts if he hadn't been injured at all. The wound was deep enough to bleed out and kill him, but he may be able to kill me first. Again he lunges at me this time with his spear, he swings it my head but I duck and then cut the shaft of the spear, leaving him with no more than a long wooden pole. Weaponless with only shield, he charges with his shield in an attempt to bash me against a tree. I raise my sword with perfect precision with the small eye opening on his helmet. When he bashes me against the tree, my blade drives through his opening of his right eye socket and it touches the back of his helmet. The thunderous roar goes off. I have won. I have a broken rib cage, but I won. I am the greatest warrior of all time, and I can say that with utmost truth and certainty now. The same great light that swept me away before sweeps me away again.
I wake up back in the same blocky room I first arrived in. The figure with the multitudes of voices slowly materializes before me. "Congratulations. You are truly the greatest among your species," they say, "You and your friends shall be honored and immortalized beyond time…"
Then a second cloaked figure appears instantly, this one appearing for frightening and intimidating. "I'm…I'm going home now right?" I ask, "You're returning me and the rest of the warriors back to our times? Right…?"
The two figure look at each other for a moment, then the second one speaks something in some language I do not understand. "What did he say," I ask the first figure.
"…We fear that our competition has proved that the human condition is worst than we thought…and that you all are more violent and war-torn than we thought…"
"What do you mean?" I ask.
"Our contest was an experiment, to test if the most violent beings of your race could show some mercy and compassion…and you failed greatly. We are afraid to say than your entire planet has just been obliterated from all existence. For your existence was a threat to the order of things…"
"Then…what will happen to me?" I nervously ask.
"Like we said, you and your friends, will be immortalized beyond time."