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."