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16+ Language

Protect Him

by humblebard1

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

The sand of the arena felt strange under his feet; he had grown up training and fighting on the same grounds, but all of a sudden, it became foreign to him. A faint taste of bile hung in Alrec Aeron's throat, and he swallowed hard, trying not to lock eyes with the hulking figure of his opponent, and the well-worn axe braced in his hands. He towered over Alrec's head by almost a whole foot, and seemed about as wide at the shoulders, from which a cloak of furry pelt cascaded down, hanging to the gargantuan man's ankles, where it was caked in mud. His dusty-blonde hair was pulled in a ponytail by a single leather band, bringing his rather unremarkable yet still powerful eyes to notice.

His shortswords seemed like little twigs in his hands. 

They neared each other, and he made sure to note of the smug, shit-eating grin on his opponent's scarred face, marking it down in his head as what he'd see before bleeding out in front of hundreds. He extended a large hand for Alrec to take, but he found himself paralysed on the spot when he tried to do the same- he'll rip my arm clean off if I let him do that, he thought to himself, swallowing to avoid his urge to vomit. Putting his nerves to the back of his head, he smiled, shaking the man's gauntleted hand as loosely as possible and pulling away not even a second after he could. 

"We have a treat for you, ladies and gentlemen," the announcer, a stout dwarven woman who stood beside him, bellowed low, "a barbarian of Guilheim..."

Loud cheers erupted from the spectators, and some leapt from their seats as they roared, whacking their hands hard against their chests in respect towards their kin. 

"Against one of our own, none other than Alrec Aeron!" 

The applause that came next, like a wave through the amphitheatre, lifted his spirits a slight. Every common patron of the arena knew his name, and not just for his father's legacy. Sir William Aeron was a famous war hero, and he inspired a whole generation, his three sons included, to take up the sword and do good for Iphrelia. He had gone missing in the raid, when their village was sacked; no body was found, but neither was any trace of him, so the young Alrec had to make his own fortune fighting for money, and eventually fame. 

"This is more than a simple match, however. For years, these two have been on separate sides of the country, sometimes searching, sometimes contempt in their lone bliss. No, today, we have a reunion!"

The two men's eyes met in a flash, Alrec's pale blue to the barbarian's dull brown, though they held the same shine, the same memories. A silent realisation hit his stomach like a sledgehammer, and he nearly backed away from the imaginary impact. 

"Argyll?" His voice was choked with emotion, glistening tears blurring the edges of his vision- part of the weight on his narrow shoulders lifted when he smiled back with yellow teeth, letting his weapon fall into the sand. Wrapping his thick arms around his brother, Argyll squeezed tight, ignoring the crowd that surrounded them and pretending they were those same young boys again, with wooden swords and tiny bruises on their knees.

"Hello, little brother. Long time, no see."

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25 Reviews

Points: 465
Reviews: 25

Sun Feb 04, 2024 8:55 pm
farq4d wrote a review...

hey there, i just thought i'd leave a quick review.

i really loved reading this. it felt like the second or third chapter into a novel. you do a great job of showing the fear and nervousness that the main character feels as they enter the gladiator arena- the sudden unfamiliarity, the urge to vomit, the sword feeling suddenly like an inadequate weapon.

I agree with Amaya's suggestion to change the wording on that sentence; changing the wording by including 'highlighting' helps make it easier to read and a little less redundant.

I wish we knew how long it had been since the two brothers had seen each other, but I can totally see you saving that for a later chapter or something; it was just hard for me to believe that neither of the two brothers were able to recognize each other upon first glance. But then again, I've also never been traumatically separated from my siblings, so what do I know- so take that suggestion with a grain of salt.

I'm very curious as to what happens next between these two brothers if they're expected to fight to the death or fight their way out. I look forward to reading more : )

humblebard1 says...

Hi- yeah, good point about them not recognising each other; I figured they hadn't seen each other since they were children, but I'll revise this later :D for exact numbers, when Argyll was eight and Alrec and his twin brother Tyr were 8, they were separated- and this is about a decade later. Cheers!

humblebard1 says...

*argyll was eleven oops

User avatar
207 Reviews

Points: 28589
Reviews: 207

Sun Feb 04, 2024 8:22 pm
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AmayaStatham wrote a review...

Salutations, Bard!

Amaya here, ready to dive into the pages of this intriguing story. 📚!

Buckle up, 'cause we're diving into my review magic! ✨

The Good Stuff:

First of all, let's talk about the parts that really rocked!

This seems like the beginning of a great story, perhaps a prologue?

The story starts gripping and keeps the reader engaged until the end. Your descriptions are matching and vivid which makes it easier for the reader to sympathise with your characters and make things more realistic. ^-^

You have set a strong start, I can’t wait to see where this is going!!

The fact that Alrec’s emotions were visible in the story, which showed that he was human also. (Amazing characterisation there)

I love the fact that Alrec is the youngest, this makes things even more complicated. And the little backstory that you gave away through dialogue, is magnificent. Great job!

Areas to Improve:✒️

The following suggestions are merely to help you improve on your writing and not to offend you in any way. Feel free to skip these suggestions, if these are not what you aim for.

Over here, it seems like there’s something missing in the sentence. I’m not sure if that’s me, but “bringing” doesn’t seem to fit in there:

His dusty-blonde hair was pulled in a ponytail by a single leather band, bringing his rather unremarkable yet still powerful eyes.

After: (Maybe something like:)
His dusty-blonde hair was pulled in a ponytail by a single leather band, highlightinghis rather unremarkable yet still powerful eyes.

That’s all the critique I had!

Nailed It!💐

Protect Him

Your title hints at mystery, and makes the reader wonder who the protagonist needs to protect. But in the end it becomes clear that it’s his brother.

However, the title is still a mystery, because we (the readers) haven’t found out yet, from what/ or why Alrec needs to protect his brother…

Overall Feelings:

This was a strong start of an amazing novel. I’d definitely suggest you continue this story if that’s your wish of course. With vivid descriptions, an amazing concept and great characters, this is an awesome story.

Have a nice day or night further! Keep writing! You are amazing!

Amazingly yours,
Amaya Statham
– Be yourself and keep writing! 📖🎉

humblebard1 says...

Hello! Thanks so much for the review :) mega typo I've noticed because of this- I'll go back and edit it.

AmayaStatham says...

Glad I could help! I saw the revised sentence, amazing XD


A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases...
— John Keats