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\aITEM -2070985973 105744261:A Tale of the Arena\/a \aITEM -2070985973 105744261:A Tale of the Arena\/a
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There are many tales about the arena and its champions. This story of a young girl and her champion is a rare work of fiction by historian Morasca Jumman.
The lists were posted outside the arena entrance, keeping the scribes busy as they entered in the names of the different champions and the times of the events in which they would participate.
Bazima studied the lists for several long moments before approaching the scribe and entering her name for one of the games.
"Which champion?" barked the scribe's assistant. "Quickly, quickly! A line forms behind you, child!"
Bazima took a deep breath and said, "I enter my champion, Vara, an avenger."
"Another avenger," snirked the scribe, busily adding her name to a placard. "Move along, then! Next! Which champion?" Bazima entered the arena.
Bazima had been to the arena many times, but only as an observer. This was her first match with Vara, a valkyrie avenger.
She had seen Vara several times in other matches and thought that Vara was not being used to her full potential. Bazima begged her father to buy out Vara's contract so that she could work with the valkyrie.
As befitted an icy maiden, Vara did not speak while the deal between Bazima's father and her contract holder was negotiated. Instead, she quietly observed the proceedings, occasionally quirking an eyebrow.
Negotiating for a champion, even a champion who had yet to win anything, was done according to a set ritual that took hours.
In the end, Bazima walked with Vara to the training arena as Vara's new contractor. Vara said nothing, but her demeanor showed that in addition to her wings, she had major chips on her shoulders.
"Your attitude interferes with winning," said Bazima. "You can win, but you must realize that your raw talent alone is nothing."
Vara's eyes narrowed.
"What do you know?" Vara said, speaking for the first time in a slightly accented, well-modulated voice. "My blood thirsts for battle and here all I have had to fight are creatures not worth my time and effort. There is no challenge."
"Then you should never lose," countered Bazima. "And now that I am your trainer and contractor, you won't."
Vara initially resisted Bazima's efforts as trainer. She scorned the yound girl's suggestions concerning tactics and techniques.
Finally, Bazima challenged Vara directly to a contest to capture a single flag, just the two of them.
Most trainers avoided this technique as, should the trainer lose, the champion might view them less favorably.
Still, Bazima was willing to risk this. "After all, she does not respect my authority now; I cannot lose anything more," she thought, preparing herself for their challenge.
She had chosen a single flag event specifically to keep from becoming exhausted. After all, Vara could fly if she chose and Bazima would then be at a disadvantage.
Though young, Bazima had been preparing to become a trainer like her father all her life.
She collected posters about various matches the way other children collected rocks or shells.
Her father would not have encouraged her, nor would he have negotiated to obtain Vara's contract if he did not trust her and so Bazima was confident in her abilities.
The challenge between Bazima and Vara was over in no time. Bazima was quicker and used Vara's arrogance against her.
By keeping herself slightly out of range of Vara's magical attacks, Bazima managed to capture Vara's red flag and return it to the blue base before Vara could stop her. One flag, one win.
Vara muttered something about beginner's luck, but it was clear that she recognized that Bazima might know a thing or two about the arena.
"You are always on the direct offensive." Bazima said, "And that can be used against you. Sometimes, it is better to use a feint, or a defensive maneuver."
Vara shrugged, "As you wish. I prefer a straight fight, but I will try your way."
The addition of non-aggressive moves would make Vara less predictible and therefore a more challenging opponent.
This gave Vara more confidence as well, both in herself and in Bazima's techniques. Vara grudgingly admitted, "I did not give you credit, but perhaps it is sometimes better to refrain from the straight charge."
Bazima grinned at her.
And so after many months of training together, they came to the arena for their first competition.
Bazima preferred to join a blue team, while Vara wanted to be on a red team.
Earlier in their relationship, this would have been another sticking point, but Bazima said instead, "If it is the color you prefer, then we will join on the red side. If they lose, though, we will return to blue."
Vara's wings twitched slightly as they sized up the members of the red team.
She nodded to Bazima and said, "I agree to those terms. Our team will win tonight because I could never fight on a blue team. Blue has never been a good color for me."Their laughter echoed within the antechamber as they waited to enter the arena, together.