June 5, 2008

Don't Call Me Victor!

The crowd knew his name… he was no longer a competitor… he was the champion. The adoring fans stood ready to grant his slightest wish… chanting his new title. The Reign would guarantee, to him and his, lifelong comfort and nobility.

In the arena, the lone figure stood with arms and legs flung wide, his head thrown back as if his triumphant howl could be heard to the moon. He drew in the sweet elixir of oxygen… as deeply and slowly as possible. He was aware of the focus directed toward him by thousands in the arena.

He surveyed the carnage around him. The competition had been an unreal haze… and he an automaton. Now the blood and body parts, of all whose survival skills were less honed, littered the ground. It was impossible to tell what came from a stranger and what came from a brother. He had chosen survival to be the lesser of the evils confronting him. If only he had known how it tasted.
The blood he wore was a badge of honor to those who cheered him… but it only screamed his ignorance on the bloody ground. He was too inept to find a way to survive without taking life. The result of someone else’s bloodlust screamed his failure… not his victory. But the blame was not someone else’s… he did what he did with intent… accepting full responsibility for his failure.

And, like the Phoenix, as he rose from the devastation around him, he drew strength from the pain. He knew he would be denied release, but he still tossed his blade toward the Reign in disgust.
“Too many have sacrificed for this life I possess…” he shouted through the roar of the crowd, “… and I no longer want it.” He glared at the Reign, awaiting the verdict of the thumb… but he already knew he was too politically valuable to be granted a respite now. He longed for the blessing from the archers… knowing it would not come.

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