Let's see what happens in the arena with Rider...


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Scene 11: The Prophecy

2020 B.C.


To the horror of his lifelong mentor and the wife who sat beside him in the stands — both of whom knew now that this was more than just a game — Rider stepped up to take his aim.

"Wait," commanded a stentorian and very self-important voice, from the canopied section reserved for privileged observers, where a man presently stood and raised his hand. He was the judge presiding over this event, a position earned by his status as the wealthiest noble in the land. "You are not a recognized athlete; I presume you must be a recent addition to the competition. State your name."

Rider paused, gaze resting only for a moment on the judge before he turned his head to fix his glare on a particular spectator. A man whose pale grey beard bespoke his age, slouching deep in his seat, posture betraying the years that he had spent in hiding.

"My name," Rider began, discus firmly in hand, "is Perseus."

The old man, naturally, made nothing of this.

"Son of Danaë," Rider continued, "the late princess of Argos..."

At the sound of that one haunting name, the man's sallow face fell as if staring straight into the chasm of hell.

Rider went on. "...who was the daughter of..."

With spastic, panic-stricken desperation, the old man suddenly flailed out of his seat and started floundering through the sea of spectators toward the nearest exit out of the arena. Which, as fate would have it, was situated rather far from where he had been seated.

"...the former king..." Rider proceeded.

His dark blue glare steadily followed the man as he struggled and stumbled his way through the crowds. And now that this contestant had mentioned Argos's erstwhile king — for, across many realms, Acrisius was notorious for his cowardice — the audience began to whirr with whispers, wondering whether this frantic old man might in fact be the coward who had fled from his own kingdom.

"Ohh, very dramatic," remarked the boy seated by Dictys and Lachesis, who had sold Rider this invaluable secret, exposing Acrisius. "Just as the fateful fulfillment of a prophecy should be."

Dictys shook his head, dismayed, and spoke in vain beneath his breath. Knowing that even if his voice were at its highest volume, at this point the words would surely go unheard. "Rider, don't..."

Lachesis bit her lip and shuddered.

With his next utterance, Rider's discus-throwing arm began to rise, as fierce and fatal as the fire in his eyes. "...Acrisius."

The coward continued to push through the stands as a faint rush of wind brushed across the arena, ever so slightly stirring the sands. Rider hefted the makeshift weapon in his hand, tightening his grip on the sharp, solid disk, standing still and silent for a second as he recognized and weighed the risk. Not yet far gone enough to ignore it.

The old man's movements did not deter him in the slightest; Rider relished the challenge of a moving target, and in his own ability to hit the mark, empowered by his hunger for revenge, he had full confidence.

And yet... and yet... and yet what? What gave him pause, in this momentous moment — was it the danger that his throw would pose to innocents? But if his aim proved to be true, then there was no such risk, he knew. This was not the time to doubt what he could do. It didn't matter how the wind blew. In memory of Danaë — the daughter cast to probable death by her own disgusting excuse for a father — this was an aim that Rider's hell-bent heart was fated to pursue. And now that he had come this far, he had to follow through. He had to.

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