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Lion's Roar [Story][OOC Encouraged]

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(In Chapter 1 we'll be exploring Exodus' reasons for wanting to fight. Despite his wish to fight, he's shown that he's the weakest of all prospective gladiators. What's making him weak? Why can't he raise his sword without dropping it again a second later? The answer is in his desires...in his fears.)


Page One


Chapter 1: Fearing Unknowns


"You won't get any pity from me!"


The exclamation was followed by the sound of wood slapping against wood. A Miqo'te in training gear was thrown across the ground like he was a ragdoll; his opponent's face was fierce and focused all at once. The dark-skinned Miqo'te struggled to his feet, his legs and arms trembling as he pointed a wooden sword at his enemy. He was afraid, but he wasn't allowed to back out just because he didn't want to fight anymore.


The Miqo'te, named Exodus Artitas, was a mess for lack of a better word. His pure white hair was fringed with black, and normally he kept it in good condition, but it was ragged, messy, and just all over the place. His violet and cyan eyes displayed fear just like his body, but he had to keep fighting. He had only a wooden blade and shield on hand; his training gear was actually quite soft, and not viable in real combat.


"I...I'm n-not afraid of you." The young Miqo'te couldn't disguise the desire to retreat from his voice. His opponent simply sighed and shook his head.


His master was a war-torn male with three large claw marks marring his face. His white hair and beard belayed wisdom while his powerful frame was that of a warrior. His calm grey eyes were experienced, and just by looking at Exodus he could pick out one-hundred seventy four weak points.


Exodus' master strode forward smoothly and struck with enough force to down the boy. Exodus himself cowered underneath his shield, holding it above his head as he dropped to the ground, shivering as if he'd been frozen solid then thawed out. His trainer simply knocked the shield away with a horizontal strike before stabbing forward, hitting Exodus in the chest and pushing him to the ground.


"B-but I blocked it!" Exodus exclaimed in surprise...he didn't want to do this anymore.


"Blocking an attack isn't going to do you any good when your guard can be bypassed. With that weak stance, you're lucky I haven't killed you one million times over!" Exodus' trainer smacked him across the face with the flat of the blunted sword, causing him to cower beneath his shield again.


Exodus knew that he was being weak...Reve would be ashamed of him. He had to be stronger for her sake, but he just couldn't...he couldn't raise his blade and fight like she did, and she was just a White Mage! Reve had always been so strong, and Exodus hoped to be as strong as she was, but he was nothing without her. Sure, everybody started somewhere...but what was the point of starting at zero when you got pushed in to negative territory?


Exodus' master felt that he was being too harsh, but he wouldn't show that he regretted his actions. He knelt next to the Miqo'te and placed his hand on the ruffled white hair. Exodus seemed to calm down, despite nearly going crazy with fear. His master's gaze was enough to tell Exodus what he was thinking, causing Exodus to solemnly gaze at the ground.


"My sister's not a bad adventurer...right? She's so well-loved in Ul'dah, but I hardly exist." Exodus sat up on his butt, his tail wrapped around and rest on his lap.


"How am I supposed to live up to her? I see it on her face every day...she's hurting in the worst of ways, but she smiles for me. She fights for what's right, but I can't even fight!" Exodus cried out pathetically, his ears flattening against his head as he relayed his story to his master.


Even now, his hands trembled as his light grip on his sword began to fail. He loved his sister beyond words, but...everybody expected him to be Reve 2.0 when he couldn't even fight yet. He was quite young, but Reve was also just a child before she learned how to heal wounds. Exodus couldn't help but feel jealous...he wanted to be like Reve, but he couldn't even look her in the eyes.


"Living up to her, hmm? That's your problem...you're afraid of failing so badly that you can't even think. As a gladiator, your first instinct should be to act before you think. Not aggressively, but rather, with both your and everybody's best interest in mind." Exodus' master explained, crossing his arms as Exodus stared at the soft mat.


At the same time Exodus was debating giving up on being a gladiator, Reve happened to show up to his training session. She waved from the door, her black hair and brown eyes a complete contrast to Exodus' white hair and heterochromia inflicted eyes. Exodus' master simply patted him on the back and went to train other students while Exodus dealt with the source of his fear.


"Little Bro! You look like you've been beaten down more than usual today. I hope you didn't lose focus!" Reve walked up to him in her trademark white robe, accented with red marks here and there. Reve happily embraced her brother, as her presence caused him to shoot up instantly. Exodus didn't know what to say to her, but his worries would be quelled soon enough.


"Big Sis, I...I don't think I'm cut out to be a gladiator. I'm just not good enough to catch up to you." Reve frowned at Exodus' words and grabbed his face, forcing him to look at her.


"Of course you're not me! If you were me, you wouldn't be here...I'm not exactly built for fighting. I'm too sick to stay in combat, so I think your stamina is built for the job!" Reve's voice was firm, and although she didn't know it, her words meant the world to Exodus. She spoke from her heart and spoke simply, but Exodus knew what she meant. There were things he could do that she couldn't, but he still needed to be refined.


"Come on. I know you're done training for the day! I gathered these strawberries for us to share with Genesis and Timothy!" Before Exodus could object, Revelation started pulling him by his right arm, causing him to stumble and drop his training weapons. Exodus couldn't help but have a small smile stretch across his face. Reve was a strange girl, but a good sister...the best sister. She didn't mince words, but everything she did was for her three little brothers.


Exodus loved her...life without her would be unbearable. She gave him the strength he needed to stay in his classes. One day he hoped to give her strength in turn...perhaps when he could get over his fears of being simply a shadow of a greater person.



Page Two


Exodus and Reve sat on the edge of a fountain, enjoying the fading light of the sky as the day slowly transitioned in to the afternoon. Reve, although her frame was quite small, managed to carry a basket nearly as large as her waist. She dropped it on Exodus' lap with a satisfied sigh. Although it was just her an Exodus since Genesis and Timothy had yet to get out from their own classes; she didn't drop her happy smile. Exodus couldn't help but envy her optimism...what made her so happy?


"Big Sis...what's ideal to you?"


Reve looked stunned by his question...that wasn't something Exodus would ask unless there was something wrong with him. He never really thought too deeply in to things unless he was being bothered by something, and this time around he was curious about what Reve's ideal world was. They both took a bite in to a single strawberry at the same time before Reve answered him.


"Ideal? Let's see...my ideal world just so happens to be one where you're all safe. Every else can be safe as a result, but I'd rather see my brothers happy and alive before anybody in the world. Parents wouldn't be bad either." Reve wistfully looked up at the orange sky, knowing that neither one of her ideas for an ideal world would ever really come true. Their parents died long ago, killed in battle...all eventually meet this fate, but Exodus hated that it had to be his family that suffered because of the will the world possessed.


"Why? What's your version of ideal?" Reve asked curiously, wondering if Exodus had his own reason for being...beyond simply existing to be with her.


"Me? Hmm...I suppose my ideal world would be one where I don't die until I achieve something. Although my ideal is high, I won't ever give up on it. That way...if I die, I'll die with no regrets." Either he would achieve something, or he would die having achieved never giving up on a dream he could never reach. Either way, his ideal was more realistic than Reve's, but it was because he only needed to worry about himself.


Reve smiled, sensing Exodus' earnest wish to become something more than simply a shadow. She wouldn't always be around to cure every sickness, fix every wound, or even offer him comfort. If Exodus could stand on his own without her support then he may just become the gladiator he was hoping to become.


They absently partook of the strawberries until Genesis and Timothy joined them. The family of four lived, fought, and if needed...would die for each other. Small talk was passed around, and each relayed the happenings of their day aside from Exodus. Both of his younger brothers and his sister happened to be the best at what they did, but he couldn't fight with his fear weighing him down. Even so, he smiled for them...it was all he could do to keep himself from showing weakness.


The day began to wind down as evening gave way to night. The four siblings returned to their 'home', but Reve couldn't sleep yet as she had to pay for their residence every night. Exodus hated it, and hated the man who was trying to bleed them dry when they had nigh a rock to their name! As Exodus stared at the ceiling from his pathetic cot, he began to wonder how he would help his sister. Tonight, she was short on payments, so they'd be gone by the morning.


He only knew as much because the old man was yelling at Reve. Exodus knew there was something he could do for her...he was going to protect her now. He pushed himself off the ground and stormed in to the man's main room. Although he was rich and lived a splendid life, the four siblings were forced to sleep in a dark room beneath the house for as long as they paid for their stay. Reve walked past Exodus, steamed that the Hyur could not see reason.


"Ah, you finally came up. We were just talking about you!" The balding human laughed heartily, striding up to Exodus with a disgustingly smug smile. He wrapped his arm around the young Miqo'te, instantly causing Exodus to show off his sharpened canine teeth. That only seemed to elicit more laughter from the 'noble'...the sound of it made Exodus sick to his stomach.


"And...? I'm only here to secure our stay for tomorrow night as well." Exodus wasn't too much of a threat, so he did his best to make a compromise.


"That's exactly what I was hoping you would say. It's so much easier when an ignorant child like you steps up...it's more fun for me." The man lifted his arm from around Exodus and instead took a hold of the collar of the boy's shirt. Exodus would admit he was strong for his age if he was able to lift him off the ground like he was nothing. Exodus wasn't going to complain...this was for Reve. This was for his entire family.


"After all, your sister did it too. Here's hoping you've got more stamina than her." Exodus couldn't restrain his animalistic growl. This man hurt his sister, and although Exodus was loathe to submit to him, this was all he could do. Exodus didn't fight back as he was taken to a back room and thrown in to a cage. He'd have to finish whatever request this was before Reve began to wonder where he was. He kept reminding himself that he did this for his family.


Exodus could only hear that toxic laughter as the man closed the door. Exodus shut his eyes as the cage was moved around...he didn't want to know where he was going to end up...he prayed that Reve didn't think less of him for this.



Page Three


The first thing that Exodus noticed as he came back to his senses was the sound of heavy breathing. The smell of blood...the applause of the sickening man who forced him in to this position. Exodus held a sword at his opponent, a gaping wound in his enemy detailing the events of the night. Exodus was forced in to some personal arena where the man derived his joy. Exodus already knew the man had knowledge of his training sessions, and he made use of that to the fullest.


Exodus wasn't one to fight...he couldn't bear to think that he had the ability. Still, his strength stemmed from his fear...fear that he was going to die here and never see Reve again. Exodus had landed a single wound on his opponent, but now there was no turning back. He couldn't retreat unless he won this fight. He constantly kept saying his sister's name in his mind, making sure he knew that he fought not for glory, but for his family's safety. If he had to bring himself to fight another to the death, then so be it.


The enemy was hardly hurt, and that heavy breathing came from Exodus. He was shocked that he was thrown in to real combat a day after failing in his instruction...fate was cruel in the way it treated him and his family. Exodus would need to be a little bit more creative to defeat an enemy who had more experience than him. It was life or death, and Exodus already knew his answer.


The armored foe still had more than enough energy to charge ahead and bring his sword down on Exodus. The Miqo'te child hardly had the strength to block it...he could feel his arms trembling as if they were jelly. The stress of the situation made him grind his teeth, but there was no retreat, so he had to keep fighting until he was "allowed" to stop.


"Y-you monster! Y-y-you made her fight?!" Exodus exclaimed, aiming an inexperienced kick at the knee of his opponent to get them to back away.


Blades flourished and steel clashed, but only out of Exodus' desire to protect himself. He had trouble fighting back, and even then he had trouble keeping focused on the target in front of him. That man's laugh was starting to snake its way in to Exodus' mind...how could he enjoy this sort of thing? Exodus' arms and legs struggled under the weight of each strike, causing him to drop to a single knee for balance against the ground. His survival was based on how adverse he was to dying rather than any kind of skill.


"Oh, she survived, didn't she? Look, she's here to cheer you on!" Exodus looked at the door he was brought through, but losing focus meant losing the battle. His opponent took the opening and brought his blade up across Exodus' right eye. Exodus didn't feel the pain at first...he didn't feel himself falling backwards either. He instinctively placed a hand over his eye and began to crawl backwards...his body was shaking.


"N-no...I'm gonna die...I don't want to die!" Desperation...it was a power beyond simple strength. The will to survive allowed those who possessed it to do extraordinary things when faced with overwhelming odds. Exodus struggled to his feet as he did the day before; he knew all he could do was fight back at this point.


Exodus' desperate attacks were no longer aimed to disarm, but to disable. He threw the shield he was given at his opponent, shattering the bridge of the foe's nose. Forget trying to defend himself...he was going to fight like his life depended on it. Exodus took his hand away from his eye as blood ran down the right side of his face...he needed his extra hand. Rushing forward, he tackled his opponent to throw the foe off-balance and down to the ground, he fell back as well, but he was back up on his feet first.


He saw his opponent on the ground, but taking advantage of openings was a bit less graceful for Exodus. He fell forward the moment he took a step,



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(Entertaining...keep it up :thumbsup:!


He was a war-torn man with three large claw marks marring his face.


Maybe change that to "male" (do Miqo'te refer to themselves as "men"?)...sorry, t'was the only thing I stumbled upon :blush:... overall, it was fun. Thank you for sharing :D)

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Thank you for the advice! I wasn't quite ready to advance to the next "page" since I didn't know what others thought of what was already written. Since you pointed something out to me, I think I can move this story along a bit. Thanks again!


Edit: On that note, however, I do believe a Miqo'te would refer to themselves as "men" because "man" is simply a word for a being that is a part of mankind. Miqo'te fall in to the spectrum because they are very much "human" despite inhuman traits. As another, more embarrassing note...there was a bit of disconnect there. I meant that line for the teacher rather than Ex himself.

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