• “We welcome you to the fourth day of our tournament!” The announcer said and the crowd cheered with as much enthusiasm as they had the first day, if not more. “You all know that today begins the semifinals, and the two matches ahead have now been randomly generated and betting will begin when the matches are announced, but first I’d like to take the time to introduce the contestants. Would the final four combatants please come to center stage?”

    From his perch on the roof The figure saw everything and heard everything, but he could not get a clear shot on his target. They walked out and his target was obscured by a larger man and flanked by two other contestants. They lined up and the announcer immediately covered the target. “Damn!” He exclaimed, but continued to watch.

    “First let’s introduce the man who stunned us all by beating the Tournament Champion of Twenty Years! At six feet four inches, and, by the looks of it, weighing more then two hundred and sixty pounds. From Steimand, which we haven’t seen a lot from, but I can guess that they know what they’re doing in these times of peril if they produce three of our semifinalist, Thalimon Dailzar!” Thalimon took the cue and bowed. The audience cheered and the announcer rounded to him, “Can you give us a little insight into yourself?” He asked and shoved the microphone into his face. With a nervous chuckle Thalimon replied, “Not really. I just like what I do.”
    “Beautiful words... Next we introduce possibly the most notable fighter I’ve ever had the pleasure of introducing in the semifinals. Student of the great warrior Juonus and heir to the Upshaw fortune. Standing at about six foot even, weighing about two-hundred pounds, Raven Upshaw.” Raven made an elegant bow to the crowd and the announcer simply bowed his head and handed him the microphone. “My family may be wealthy but my wealth comes from my conviction. You should not fear about the quality of your water, my promise to you people here today is that you shall never have to as long as I am alive and able to steer my parent’s company so.” He said and the crowd cheered but they didn’t notice his grimace as he handed the microphone back. “I hate doing commercials for that company...” he muttered.
    “Now on to one of the more...flashy fighters in the tournament. He made his way here on narrow victories and comedic stunts. Our last competitor from the town of Steimand and a very talented individual, Though what those talents really are I can’t guess. At five foot nine inches and a very petit weight of one hundred and forty-five pounds, Mat Carizain.” Mat made a foolish imitation of Raven’s bow and gave his most winning smile. “A fool you are to think that you’ll escape this unharmed.” He thought as the announcer turned to him and asked, “So why are you in the tournament?” Mat took hold of the announcer’s hand pulling the microphone and man closer. “Well, I heard it was a good way to make an impression on both the ladies and guys. Fame, women, and money. What all men wish for right?” He said with a laugh and the announcer pulled away with a nervous laugh of his own. Mat came away with the announcer’s gold purse though and the man didn’t notice. “Well, I guess you’re right Mat.”
    “Finally we have this man, an excellent archer and a man who’s won many impressive victories in the past. Some to the death. A man of some renown for making it to the finals three years straight only to lose to the former champion. Standing about six foot two inches and weighing in at a lean one hundred and sixty pounds, from Brighton, Lar Marhiz.” The announcer finished, and crowd cheered and as the announcer turned to give the mic to him he walked away.
    “Well, there are your Semi Finalists, and here’s the matches for today, up first it’s Lar versus Mat. This will take place in twenty minutes so bet wisely. The match after that will not be a quick one, despite the way the previous matches involving the two fighters were. Raven and Thalimon will square off as the main event for today.” The announcer said as they all returned to the locker area.

    “Another chance blown by the code...” The figure said and looked to his watch. “Twenty minutes, a short time and I’ll have my chance.” He thought and resumed watching.

    Lar approached the other semifinalists and took a seat near Mat. “You have been very lucky so far, Mat. I hope that you’ll make this an interesting match.” Mat turned to Lar with the grotesque smile of a child caught putting a bug in his sister’s hair. “I’ll make sure you’ll have enough challenge. You just need to be careful not to drop your guard.” He said, and Lar just smiled in return. “Of course. Well, we have some time so how about a drink before the match to show that there’s nothing personal?” Lar asked. “You’ll all be able to share.” Mat agreed, but Thalimon and Raven were in some form of intense meditation, or so it seemed. “I’ll be right back with your drink.” Lar said and walked away, a bit puzzled by Thalimon and Raven, but the plan was now in effect. “I will be champion this year.”

    Mat was drinking the drink that Lar had given him, the dimwit thought that it was a good idea to accept a gift from an enemy. “He’ll get what he deserves soon enough.” Raven thought and turned to Thalimon. “The final round came early. I hope that you can make this interesting.” He said and Thalimon looked to Raven with a smirk and said, “I may not have the formal training of an old war hero and many other tutors but don’t forget that we’ve never tried to finish our fights, and I’ve never even tried to beat you.”
    Raven just looked at Thalimon after that comment. “Is he really that brash?” He thought, then went to the other room to get mentally and physically prepared for the fight ahead.

    It was match time and Mat was walking toward the arena floor. The drink given to him by Lar was tasty, though it had no kick to speak of. His friends didn’t join him in drinking, so he had finished the bottle. He met Lar in the center of the arena and the announcer quickly spoke up. “It’s time for the first semifinal matchup. Lar Marhiz versus Mat Carizain.” The crowd roared with excitement and the announcer shouted in answer, “Without further Ado, let the match Begin!”
    Mat took his guard as Lar raised his bow. “Something’s wrong.” Mat thought just as Lar released the first shot. Mat dodged but his body already felt as if he’d been fighting for hours. Lar laughed, “You liked the cocktail, I see.” He said and loosed another arrow. Mat dodged this one too but it was closer then the first. “That was a very special blend of herbs and minerals. It’ll incapacitate your body for an hour but it takes about half an hour to fully take effect, and if...” He loosed another arrow and Mat dodged once more, though this time trying to encroach upon Lar. “you’re more active it’ll circulate faster.so I’ll say you have about three minutes left to live if you give it your all.”
    “b*****d!” Mat shouted and ran as fast as he could toward Lar, but Lar remained elusive and continued to shoot, each shot narrowly avoided. Mat drew a knife from his belt and was about to try throwing it at Lar when his legs gave way causing him to fall to the ground. Vision blurry, he propped himself up on one arm and saw a shadow moving toward him.

    “Now.” The figure on the roof said and lined up the shot.

    Lar stood over Mat and smiled. “So this is where your day ends. Your life ends.” He said and drew back his last arrow.

    The figure pulled the trigger. A loud bang and a flash of light were noticeable to those who cared to look. A body hit the ground near the West end of the ring. With that the figure packed up and left town.

    “So this is it. I’m finished.” Mat thought as he saw the arrow being drawn. Then there was a warm stream of liquid, He knew it was blood, but he felt no pain. A body fell in front of him, a hole through the head, it was Lar. He looked right and fell off his arm which was no longer able to support his weight. The arrow that had been meant for him was in the dirt next to his hand. Then the scene went black.