Arena of Shadows
What happens when two Shadow Panthers meet upon an arena to duel? Hard to tell, nobody can see anything.
Disclaimer: I do not know who created the original artwork, it was linked to me a long time ago and I have edited it myself to what you see here. If somebody does know the original artist please let me know!
A low murmur came from the spectators, waiting in the balconies for the next fight. It was to be a special one. Among the many mystical creatures, beings and fighters one of the most dangerous were the Shadow Panthers. While the entire race of humanoid cats did not differ much from ordinary humans, in terms of physical prowess, the Shadow Panthers were rather unique, in that it was claimed they were blessed by the Moon itself. This allowed them to walk through the shadows unseen, strike with little to no warning, and then disappear into thin air. Some have tried to replicate this strange magical effect, with more and less success, but for the Shadow Panthers this came as naturally as it was for fish to swim.
Because of this unique heritage, most Shadow Panthers trained to become skilled assassins, spies or scouts. Today two such beings would fight upon the arena. Two students from the same fighting school wished to settle their differences. It was not a fight to the death, such duels were strictly forbidden, but blood would still be drawn and when would be the next time one could watch such a show?
The crowds whispered, the sun shone down upon the arena in all of its radiant glory. Only a few clouds were present in the sky, which meant the perfect conditions for the spectators, and the fighters.
Finally the announcer boomed out, and the arena doors on either side of the pit opened wide. People looked down and saw the Panthers approach each other, heading for the center of the arena. Dressed in their ceremonial clothing, the two opponents looked dashing, mysterious and dangerous. They did not say much, and as the announcer finished his introduction the two fighters only bowed and the fight begun, the crowds drowning out any other noise with a tidal wave of cheers. As the panthers leapt at each other they used no other weapon but their claws. Their moves precise, quick, aiming to cripple their opponent by cutting his sinews, or blinding them with a quick jab to the eye. It was an energetic battle of wits, speed and strength. Both fighters were skilled in their arts, and both did not afford the other a single mistake.
As the fight continued in earnest a lone cloud traveled over the arena, blotting out the sun. As the arena became a bit darker the two panthers leapt into the shadow thus offered, disappearing out of sight… and then complete silence fell.
While Shadow Panthers can hide in the shadows it is hard to tell where your opponent is when you cannot see him. And though feline senses are sharper than those of a human, it would still be hard to pin-point the exact location of something completely invisible.
Everything stood frozen, especially the spectators, who were expecting… something to happen. But as moments passed and one could not hear or see anything a few whispered amongst themselves whether the fight was still going on, or maybe one of the Panthers won and nobody could tell. A few brief growls and swipes could be heard from the empty arena, as the Panthers tried to find one another, with no success, and even the normally jovial Announcer rubbed his face. Just as he was ready to call off the fight the cloud gave way and the sun could shed some light upon the concealed panthers. Revealed to the crowd they were indeed nowhere near one another, but the moment they made eye contact the battle resumed.
Cheers erupted once again, and finally the first scratch landed upon one of the Panthers, leaving a small wound upon his arm, a few droplets of blood falling onto the arena’s hot sand. As the crowd began to feel reinvigorated by this sight, the Panthers too becoming far louder with their insults, growls and attacks so too did the clouds decide to remind everybody that they were up in the sky… and the Panthers were nowhere to be seen again.
The crowd moaned, loudly, clearly annoyed. The Announcer looked to the sky and saw that this might be a far longer wait than the last and as such this was one of the few cases in this Arena’s history when a fight was called off. The Panthers eventually left the concealement of the shadows, realising neither could get the upper hand, in a fight where neither could be seen, and so too did the spectators leave with their spirits low. A fight that was to be the highlight of the week, perhaps even the month, turned into a terrible disappointment.
From that day on however, it was decided, that Shadow Panthers were only allowed to fight when there was not a single cloud in the sky.
Writing – WriterX (Myself)
Image Remix/Edit – WriterX (Myself)
Original Image – As of yet unknown