OK, this ought to give you fair warning about what’s going on in this chapter. Humor is not my strong suit – it tends to develop from the situation, rather than from a deliberate attempt. (Yes, think of Data or Spok, maybe even Elron, and you’ve got a pretty good idea.) However, since things have been so dour, intense, and depressing, I figured I’d try to toss in a little bit of levity in this chapter. So, with the start of “Rise to Freedom”, I went back to the best source of comedy you could find – animals.
The poor Silk, trained to fight other fighters now finds himself facing chickens, geese, turkeys, and other small animals. And, he’s not even allowed to kill them – he has to CHASE them and elicit certain responses from the spectators.
I did warn you, I’m a cruel author to my characters, right?
There also is a little further training with weapons, though as this is a small part, and not a central theme to his fights, it is something mentioned, then passed over. The primary focus here is the fighter’s development as a entertainer. After all, most gladiator fights, even in reality were entertainment, not just fighting for the sake of killing.
Towards the end of the chapter I finally got a chance to bring out and highlight one last interesting bit of his personality – he’s a bit of a berserk fighter. It doesn’t show up all the time, because of the strictly enforced obedience, but there is a scene where it really gets a chance to shine through. Though, his master is not happy about it when he comes down.
“The fighters stalking him paused in their pursuit. They noticed his obsidian eyes which now dominated his pale face. In fear, they scattered, which brought a look of cruel anticipation to his face. No longer were they opponents to be humiliated – now they were moving prey to be devoured.
Selecting his next victim, everything around him began to fade. Nothing else mattered to him now, except that his selected victim died. He lost all trace of finesse, of doubt, or worry over his personal safety as he pursued the fleeing fighter. ”
And now I have all the toys I could want in my toy chest to play with for the rest of this installment. Oh, what fun!
The last piece of the foundation for the character is put into place – his minor abilities granted from his heritage. Though the abilities are from his own lineage, he believes they are from his goddess, solidifying the foundation together that he is only her living avatar, and all he does is by her will. This provides a wonderful foreshadowing of events to come.