This prompt was just too intriguing not to do.
Random word: warrior
What it brings to mind:
In eleven seconds, he would become a legend. He clutched the burning sword so hard his knuckles bled. He bit his lip against the pain growing in his hands. He wouldn’t let himself think of the heat. Flames so hot they would melt the sword. Flames so close to his face he had to take care his hair wouldn’t catch on fire. Instead, he reminded himself of the glory that would be his. In just eleven seconds.
His name would be remembered for all time for this deed. Mistrals would sing songs about it. About him. About his bravery. About how he didn’t feel pain and didn’t feel fear. If he could hold out for just eleven more seconds. Eleven more seconds of pain for untold glory. It was worth the trade, he told himself.
He felt the eyes of his brothers watching him–those rooting for him and those hoping he would fail. He closed his eyes to them, closed his ears to the taunts. Even the cheers were a distraction. “Focus on the goal,” the master had told him. “Focus on your glory.”
The sword grew, if possible, hotter. He could smell the tender skin of his palms burn and singe. And a voice in the back of his head said “let go.” And yet the clock ticked on.
When he could hold on no more, the sword fell to the floor in a clatter.
A young pledge stopped the stopwatch. “Thirteen seconds!” he said, impressed.
The crowed erupted in cheers. “You did it! You’re in the lead!”
He rubbed his aching hands together and watched as his time was recorded on the score board. His friend clapped him on the back and handed him a beer. “Thirteen seconds, bro!” his friend said. “You beat Mark’s record by three seconds, and he’s pissed.”
He looked over to the president of the fraternity. Mark wore a scowl. The new victor knew Mark still bore the scars from his turn holding the flaming sword. He wore them like badges of honor. He showed them off whenever he got a chance like they were a trophy girlfriend. He used them like they were a password or handshake to get respect or entry into some secret society. Mark had enjoyed his achievement. He thought it made him entitled to something. And in his pride, he never thought he would be beaten. And not by so much. To be beaten by one second, well, that was one thing. But to be beaten by three second, that was rubbing his face in it.
A pledge took down the plaque bearing Mark’s name as the Master of the flaming sword. With gusto, he etched out Mark’s name and time and replaced it with the new time–13 second–and the name of the new victor.
At least, until the next brother would have his turn holding the flaming sword and vanquish him as he vanquished Mark. But until then, he looked at his blistering palms and enjoyed his moment.
(Title: Games Elf Warriors Play at Frat Parties)