My first memory is the wooden creaking of the wheels on the wagon. The heat and the sand were unbearable and blood was slowly trickling down my face from a painful gash above my eye. As I looked around the wagon I noticed my hands were in thick chains that were rubbing my skin raw on my wrists and ankles with a collar around my neck. I struggled to get out as much as I could but the fucking things were holding tight. There were about 8 other disheveled travelers in the wagon in about the same state as I felt. How the hell did I get here, trying to remember just caused my head to pound even more. From the small barred window across from me I could see men on horses riding through the clouds of sand. Before long my vision blackened until finally everything was black.
The next time I awoke, I was in a dark, dank cell by myself. The wounds above my eye seemed to have been crudely tended to, though I still felt lightheaded. It was while I was observing my current situation that I heard footsteps coming from outside the cell. When the door opened a large half orc with tusks as large as any full orc, grunted for me to follow him. I was led to a large courtyard where the sounds of fighting were echoing off all the walls. The yard was filled with fighting dummies and all sorts of weapons. The smell of sweat and blood instantly hit the nostrils and flared a fire in my heart. It was here that I first met my master, Dorn Thann. He was a small weedy man, wearing all sorts of jewelry and silks. It was obvious that this man had never lifted a sword in his life and earned his money through less then legal means. I learnt from very early on it was kill or be killed. You had to be the best to make it through the fights, because any day could be your last. So I threw myself into training, everyday I would work until I collapsed, the blisters that formed on my hands every day were bloody painful at first, but they soon hardened up. I had to be the strongest and fiercest, I needed to have won each battle before it had even began. This was where being half orc helped a lot. I also picked a large weapon that would make opponents shit themselves when they laid their eyes upon it. I grew fast, not only in height but in muscle and skill. Within a year I towered over all the other fighters. I was even taller than the other half-orcs that were here, and much larger too. This made me work even harder, as being so large made me stand out, and that made people want to test themselves against me. It made me test my new skills and beat the hell out of many people everyday. It also meant that every time we traveled to another city to fight, I was always put against the biggest creatures. The fighting did not bother me, the thing that I hated most was not fighting. I always needed something to do. As they say, no rest for the wicked. One of the older fighters, Karsus Baracus, took an interest early on in training and teaching me the ways of battle, religion and the little education that he could. He kept reminding me that there was a world outside, away from the ring where a man could live freely, choose what he wished to do and hopefully get rich doing it. Karsus was a large well built man, with more scars than I have ever seen on one person. Karsus never to shit from anybody and was blunt when talking. He was a very serious man, but was happy to share his story. He was a veteran soldier in an army before they were defeated and taken captive. Karsus was also the man who named me Brutus, as I had no memory of my given name. Though I was a quick pupil in the art of fighting it still took three years before I could prove myself in the arena and show people who I was. My name was soon well known among the pit fighting community.
So this is how the next 8 years continued.... Fight, train and fight again. All the time moving from place to place to compete against new opponents. It was a rewarding time, as I continued to win the fights, Dorn would buy me knew awesome new weapons and armor, so that I could look like a bad mother fucker to the other fighters and he could make even more money by betting on me in fights. Though as the years passed I wanted more of a challenge, the people I was fighting were getting more and more pathetic. I was getting very quick at turning a fighter into a bloody, quivering mess on the floor. I wanted chose who I wanted fight and who I didn't. I knew that even all these things were bought for me, none of it was actually mine, at any point it could all be taken away. At the end of that eighth year things started to change. The master had taken his best fighters to the city of Skullport, a city under Winterdeep, that is reachable only by portal. It was a dark, miserable looking city and the only things dirtier than the buildings were the citizens walking around them. The night before the contest, Dorn entered my cell. He was almost pissing himself on the floor and emphasised that tomorrow I had to win. If I died so would all of them.
The next morning as I was donning my armour and weapons, yells and screams started coming form the courtyard. These were not the normal sounds that come from the training grounds, these screams were full of terror and pain. I quickly rushed out to to see what was causing the commotion. When I got there I saw all the fighters that were sparring now fighting for their lives against a group of unknown invaders whose faces were wrapped in black cloth so only their eyes were showing. Their armour was also all black as if charcoal had been rubbed all over them. Bodies were strewn over the ground and there seemed to be more slaves down on the ground bleeding and pleading for their lives then left fighting. As I pulled out my sword and was about to jump into the fight, a hand grabbed onto my arm and pulled me back into the shadows. It was Karsus. He said that now was the time to get out, there was no way to beat that number of people. Our master fell into disfavor with someone in the city and they didn't want to take the risk of their fighter losing to me, so they sent their goons instead. This attack was a way for them to get what they wanted and not lose face in the arena. He led me to the back of the property where there was an exit that was usually heavily guarded, but with the fighting in the courtyard, it appears that they had all fled. Now all that remained was four of these cloaked fighters. With no choice but to fight our way through I pulled out my falchion and charged. The fight did not last long. Their pathetic swings bounced harmlessly off my armour, and my sword cut through theirs like butter. They never stood a chance. In the end, their dismembered corpses lay around me and their blood was slowing spreading across the ground. It was then that Karsus told me to get back to the surface and live as a freeman, maybe try to find out something about my past, where I came from, who I am. I asked him to join me, but he said he wanted to go back and see if there was anyone else he could save, he had has own sins to make up for. And with that he ran back the way he came. I was torn between going back to join the fight and to protect Karsus and finally being free. After a few minutes of thought, I decided this could be the only chance I have to be free, If we do kill all these men, then life would go back to normal. Though it almost killed me to turn away from a fight I thought to myself that there will be many more satisfying fights in the future. I quickly searched the bodies for money and equipment, then walked off into the city, hoping to find somewhere to clean up and find a way back to the surface.