A Knight To Remember - 2020-08-29 - Prologue

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Note that this was supposed to be the first of several prologues, but it seems only the one for Amos was actually done:

Subject: A Knight to Remember: Prologue 1 - "The Lion" on 08/29/2020 02:25 AM EDT
Category: Cities, Towns, and Outposts
Topic: Wehnimer's Landing
Post: 14791

The iron of the chains bit his skin.

He watched with green eyes ringed in gold. He counted their numbers. He carved their faces into his mind. Most of all, he absorbed their enthusiastic yet petty laughter into his heart. He let it sink in. Like the chains that dug into his flesh, their mirth burrowed into his chest. He let them have their moment. He let them have their momentary excitement.

“It will be fleeting.” He muttered his own thought aloud.

“Did you hear it?” One woman from the crowd spoke up. “It spoke!”

From high above him, the onlookers stirred and began to quiet. He had gotten their attention. Their leader, a man with a fat face and rotund belly, leaned forward on his heavy legs and dramatically chomped loudly upon the glazed turkey leg in his hand.

“Is it true, did you speak?” The large man shouted down into the den.

He said nothing then. It was them who thought they toyed with him. But in truth, he held the strings.

The heavy man placed his half-chewed drumstick upon a gilt-hued platter beside him. He licked his fingers in a grotesque, stomach-churning manner. He slowly peeled off of his high-backed chair and waddled close to the edge of the opening above. His ham-sized hand stretched out and his fingers curled around the edge of a tall steel lever that jutted up from the ground.

He watched the man and he watched the others who squirmed in their cushioned seats, anxious for the evening’s true entertainment to begin. He knew what they had in store for him that night. The stone archways barred with lengths of steel. The old blood that still stained the earthen ground beneath him. The occasional roar of a great beast that echoed from somewhere unseen.

“Do you not speak now?” The obese man spit when he shouted. “You led those men and you failed me, and now you do not speak?”

“I am not their leader.” His eyes never left the sight of his accuser from on high.

“You are not Thadston Andrews?”

“I am not him.”

“Then where is Thadston?”

“He is not here.”

“Then you would die for him this day?”

“I will not die this day.”

The heavy man shouted, and the other aristocrats thundered with laughter.

The next sound was that of the lever being pulled and the steel bars grinding upward. One by one, the archways below opened, and an eerie silence fell over the gathering above. The quiet padding of the maned beasts seemed to echo louder than it should have. Out of each opening, five in total, muscular red-maned lions stalked out of the shadows and into the light of the pit.

The red of their manes was deep and burgundy and held a similar hue to his own hair. The seven-foot lions were as long as he was tall. As a giantman, strength was no stranger to him. He immediately wrapped his hands around the chains at his wrists and looped them about his forearms. With a roar to rival his predators he pulled at the bindings and they ripped free from the walls of the arena. The destruction was so powerful that some of the very pillars that held the pit upright crumbled, collapsing inward and the crowd above screamed and backed away, fearful of falling over the edge. Even the leader of them all stumbled back, his face now drooping with concern.

The burgundy-haired giantman spun into a wild dance, his massive body spinning as the chains upon his arms went out wide. One immediately clapped around the back leg of a lion and he jerked hard, pulling it down. He drew his arm back with the might of all he had and yanked the lion towards him. Lifting his arms and chains up, the giantman brought them down in a flurry of blows that battered the lion within seconds of it trying to rise. Again, and again he brought his fists and chains down until the beast did not stir.

Two more lions rushed in to tear him apart. He threw out one of the chains and it snapped around the neck of one of the big cats. He pulled his arm and pushed forward at the same time, using his own momentum to drive full speed into the lion, body slamming it into the ground. In the second that the creature was stunned, the giantman smashed his head into the lion’s mouth and shattered a dozen teeth. Another headbutt dislocated the giant’s jaw and a third strike cracked its skull. A fourth, fifth, and sixth headbutt left the cat bloodied and dead.

The third lion was upon him now and he howled in pain as the creature’s razor-sharp claws sunk into the flesh of his back. The chains had by now broken and fell from his own hands, so he crouched in agony and then threw himself backwards, leaning into the lion and its paws and falling back onto it. He twisted away, skin and muscle tearing off from his back. He grabbed the lion’s forearms and hoisted the hungry beast up and over his head. The lion writhed and snapped with his massive jaw, trying to better him. But he smashed the beast into the ground, its back and hips instantly breaking as bones snapped loudly. He yanked left and right with incredible force, tugging at the lion’s arms until he finally tore its limbs from its torso.

He cast the limbs aside and stepped over his victim, long enough to stare at the remaining two lions who stalked about the back wall. Neither feline advanced, they paced in defense. So, he reached down at the scattered lion’s teeth about his feet and snatched up two of the largest fangs he found. When his eyes lifted up, he saw the nobles had begun to scramble, while others still were enraptured by it all. The giantman bounded forward, using the fallen pillars to gain height and he leapt up and over the rim of the pit and landed with a resounding thud that froze everyone in their tracks.

He charged forward, blood soaking his arms and face, and a cold, cold glare in his eyes. He leapt upon the fat man, his muscular legs pushing him to the ground and bones breaking as he fell. With the yellowed lion’s teeth in his hands, he drove them into the heavy man’s eyes, popping them instantly as he screamed in horror. The giantman grabbed his victim by the throat dragged him over to the edge of the arena.

“My name is Amos, and I am the only lion you need fear.”

With that, he tossed the large man into the pit where he fell upon his arm, snapping another bone. The lions who once walked the back wall now pounced into action. The burgundy-haired giantman grinned. He did not want him to see death. He wanted him to feel it.

Amos strode purposely over to the dead man’s highbacked chair and plopped heavily into his seat. He grabbed up the half-eaten turkey leg and took a hearty bite. His eyes went to the other nobles still frozen and terrified.

One by one, they plucked rings from their fingers and beads from their necks and tossed their gems and jewels to the ground in an offering for their life.

Amos stood to his feet and roared.