The Ashes of Time

Fight Club (Deity Edition)

The cheers of druken gods filled Odin’s mead hall next match began in the fighting pit. Gruumsh, the Orcish god was about to destroy some upstart godling.

The first punch glanced Gruumsh’s chin. He noticed too late that it was a feint, though, when the second punch doubled him over and expelled the last bit of choked air from his beer-weighted belly.

It was a heck of a shot. Outside of having the wind knocked from him, which he always hated, Gruumsh noticed a fair amount of pain with the gutshot, which was something he wasn’t used to. A hit to the face, yes, or even the kidney…but the gut shouldn’t have been much more than discomfort, if that.

Fortunately, he was used to it all. A veteran of mead hall fights in countless planes, even being out of air was something Gruumsh knew how to deal with.

He stood straight, his single eye bulging with rage, and stared at his opponent—some punk human godling—right in his shifty little eyes. The kid tried to stand tall, but he was about to pee his pants he was so scared. Gruumsh had him where he wanted him.

“You…little…” Gruumsh took a lurching step forward with each word. On the third, he swung: “Punk!”

The blow felt too sluggish. Gruumsh knew the second he launched it. The spry, smirking godling ducked under it. Before Gruumsh could even register the dodge, however, another body shot, this one to his ribs, sent fresh ripples of pain through his torso. He didn’t fall—he made absolutely sure he did not fall—but it was a lot closer than he’d have liked. Unfortunately, his reputation would have already taken a beating whether he won the fight or not.

The godling went in for another shot. Gruumsh shoved him off. Seeing the godling scoot back so far against the weight of it gave him a second wind. He covered the distance between them. Threw three more punches that did land. The muscular godling fell.

Then, he stood again.

It was unreal. Between the pain in his guts and ribs and the general confusion (some would call it being punch drunk), the sight of this godling back on his feet after the patented Gruumsh left-right-left was not something he wanted to see. He threw a haymaker that the kid ducked but didn’t parry, then another that the kid swung under again—and responded in turn with an uppercut.

Click. The sound of Gruumsh’s upper and lower rows of teeth making unplanned contact sickened him. Still, he kept his feet. He had to. Falling down was not—

Gruumsh woke up being dragged from the fighting pit with a bad ache—both in his head and his ego.

Tazrak you punk!” he said again, his throat sore from the effort of speaking those three words before losing consciousness again dreams of skewering the godling with his spear for the affront to his reputation floated through his addled mind.



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