“Champions Of Falural”
This is the beginning of Brizain’s story.
Briz was no more than twelve years old when he came to his first challenge. The young boys had been sent out into the desert wilderness to collect fruit from the cacti. It was a boring, painful job. Briz came upon an older boy who had found a slit of shade. The older boy was stretched out, napping the afternoon away. Briz’s fanged face lifted in a sneer. He was very proud of the fact that his fangs had come in large and smooth. All too aware of the fact he was smaller than everyone else, he made up for it in sheer ferocity. He stomped on the older boys hand, making sure he ground sand into the skin as hard as he could.
The other boy leaped up screaming and turned on Briz.
“What are you doing freak?”
Briz sneered again, this time so the boy could see it.
“We are out here to work, not to sleep. Get. To. It.”
“Who made you the leader you runt? I don’t care who your father is, you have no authority over me!”
Briz’s eye twitched. The other boy had only one point. No one had appointed him leader. He also knew that now that the older boy was on his feet, there was no reason to attack him. No reason that wouldn’t get him beaten up that was.
To his detriment, the older boy kept talking.
“Besides, those cactus apples hurt. They’ve got thorns three inches long! We have no gloves. They don’t expect us to pick them, they just want us out of the way for the day!”
Briz stepped up close to the older boy and snarled, then gritting his teeth he reached out his hand and firmly gripped one of the cactus apples and wrenched it off by main force. Dripping blood, he shoved the fruit into the sack he’d been given and pulled out the thorn sticking into his palm almost out the other side of his hand and threw it on the ground. With another snarl he turned away from the older boy who stared at him in shock.
“There is no honor in avoiding pain,” Briz quoted as he walked away.
Later, he thought about the incident, as he found himself at the entrance to his father’s chambers. He raised his hand to knock and then lowered it. His eyes studied the smooth fitted stones of the floor. The guard next to the door looked at him out of the corner of his eye. The guards voice was soft, but gravelly,
“He won’t eat you boy.”
Briz’s eyes remained on the floor,
Then in a display of bravado he didn’t feel, Briz lifted his eyes to the door and knocked firmly.