Frayed At The Edges


Max.jpg Yaron.jpg

& NPCs Demerion and Exan

Date: 20.03.2011
Location: Cave outside of Landing
Synopsis: Max heads down to check up on the progress of his fighters under Yaron’s care and ends up putting his most promising fighter out of action.
Rating: PG18 - Language

Demerion, the brash young fighter Yaron had recruited from out of a bar brawl where he’d been winning with several odds stacked against him, was being put through his paces with a sparring partner in the ring. Leaned on the ropes, watching with dull interest, Max tilted the bottle and sent another wash of whisky down his throat.

Earlier that evening Waine had tried to get him to go carousing with him, serving up raucous tales by way of reminder of how the two of them used to go hunting for distractions down on the Tillekian docks. But this was as far as the beast manager was prepared to go this night, that being the gym at Landing he’d set up in which to train his fighters.

With Kelarad’s fights coming up, Demerion was proving to be his most promising fighter. The former sailor once bound for the mines was quick on his feet, took the initiative and had the cockiness to win a fight through sheer balls alone. But his talent was raw and still needed many more hours under Yaron’s hand to bring him to heel.

“Ya dropping ya guard on your left flank!,” Max shouted out with frustration as yet again, Exan’s fist found a hole in Demerion’s defence.

Giving his head a quick shake to clear sweat from his eyes, the ginger-haired sailor threw a punch that landed dangerously close to his sparring partner’s kidneys and then sent a smug look the beast manager’s way. That brief moment where his focus had left his sparring partner was enough to be rewarded for his cockiness with a fist to the gut in return that had him doubling over and wheezing for air.

With a sound of disgust, Max pushed away from the ropes and gestured to Yaron as he turned away, “That’s it, get him out of there before he hurts himself.”

Yaron climbed through the ropes, to insert himself between the two but Exan was already dropping his defence and backing away with the session called to a close Demerion was having none of it, not prepared to stand down just yet and lunged at his sparring partner, his fist clipping the older man between them on the side of the head in the process.

It was Yaron’s growl of pain and the ensuing scuffle that broke out with Yaron trying to separate the two on his own that snapped the beast manager’s attention back to the ring. “Demerion!” he barked out, “Stand down!” Within seconds he was in the ring, and shoving the former sailor hard toward his corner while the older trainer dealt with the stablehand. A temper already frayed at the edges by lack of sleep and personal wounds still being nursed, started to unravel.

Arrogance burning high had Demerion aiming a punch at the beast manager, hitting him square in the temple. His head snapped to one side and Max staggered but remained standing. The entire gym went quiet, all eyes focused on the fool who had dared to hit the young crimelord. And the last chord of control broke.

Shaking his head as his vision cleared, Max turned slowly back toward Demerion, a dangerous cast to his expression. All the anger, frustration and raw pain that had been broiling just beneath the surface of the past few days came flooding in and with a snarl he leapt at the former sailor, his right fist slamming into his gut, his left crunching in an uppercut into the ginger-haired man’s jaw.

Demerion let out first a grunt and then an expletive of pain as the beast manager’s fist crashed into his jaw, his left already swinging toward his new opponent’s head and right aiming for the kidney shot leaving his left flank once again, undefended.

Ducking the head shot, Max swung a punch in under Demerion’s left arm, his fist crashing home into the man’s ribs. Demerion stumbled backwards and managed to land a blow that resulted in splitting Max’s lip open, the pain only serving to further fuel the young crimelord’s fury and he lashed out with a series of punishing jabs, forcing the inexperienced fighter back toward the ropes.

“Shit!” that from Yaron who knew the beast manager’s fighting style well enough to know that if he got the ginger-haired sailor on the ropes, he’d finish him. “Exan!” he bellowed for the stablehand wanting his help to try and pull Max off of the former sailor before any serious damage was done, if it hadn’t been already.

Exan, stunned by the ferocity of the attack had already beat a hasty exit out of the ring and stood mutely shaking his head, refusing to get back in. No way he was getting into the middle of that!

Another solid shot to Demerion’s gut had the man doubling over, bile dribbling out of his mouth only to have his head snapped back when Max sent a knee smashing into his face and then falling to the ground face first as a double fisted blow crashed down between his shoulder blades with a sickening sound.

“Fuck!” Yaron growled out and moved in to where the beast manager now straddled the downed fighter and had his arm twisted up hard behind his back.

Demerion uttered a howl of pain for his shoulder had dislocated when he’d fallen.

Grabbing a fistful of ginger hair, Max yanked the upstart’s head back. “I saved your worthless hide from the mines, gave you a chance to become something and this is how you repay me!?” the words ground out in a tone iced with anger.

“Boss…” Yaron’s tone laden with caution broke through the fog and Max glanced up and dark eyes slowly started to focus on the older man, next he became aware that the entire gym was watching the scene unfold. Releasing Demerion with a sound of disgust he slowly stood, leaving the former sailor bloodied and broken where he lay.

In the silence that ensued, with just the sound of his breathing and the groans coming from Demerion to break it, he glanced about. With his shirt torn and stained both by the blood oozing from his lip and that of the former sailor, knuckles raw from where they’d connect with the downed man’s head, the young crimelord’s eyes touched on every one of the men standing staring back at him.

Spitting a mouthful of blood out, he pinned a heavy look onto them and his voice roughened by the exertion of the fight turned challenging, “Anyone else want to have a go?”

A few voices raised in a definite ‘No’, while others gave a mute shake of head in answer.

Max gave a curt nod of head, “Good. Because the next time one of you defies one of my trainers I’ll personally take you apart.” As he had just demonstrated. “None of you are forced to train and fight. You all do so willingly and can leave at any time you choose to,” unlike the blackmail a lot of other fighters were slaves to on the northern continent. “You are given food, shelter and protection with the greater part of the purse you win sent to your families if they are not already here with you. Best you don’t forget that.”

That said he turned to see Demerion being helped to his feet by a junior computing apprentice who liked to hang around the gym and help out, “Get him out of my sight.” The words growled out in contempt and then with a last look out over the other men as they started to turn back to their training he climbed out of the ring, took up the bottle of whiskey he’d left discarded on the outside of it and stalked off.

Exiting the cave the night air hit him when he pulled his ruined shirt off, the light breeze slipping over damp skin and causing gooseflesh to rise. Balling the shirt up, he held it to his battered mouth a moment to staunch the flow of blood and then drew it away again, setting the bottle to his lips as he moved toward a nearby boulder drinking deeply of the burning liquid. However, rather than taking a seat on the boulder, he sunk down next to it and drew his knees up, his head dropping and forehead resting on arms that loosely encircled them. A shaky sigh exhaled as adrenaline started to leave his body.

A short while later Yaron’s voice pierced the still of the darkness outside of the cave. “Boss?”

“Over here,” Max called out lethargically but didn’t move from the shadows where he sat.

Yaron moved in the direction of the young crimelord’s voice. “We got a problem,” he stated bluntly, seeing no point in tip-toeing around the subject as he dropped the younger man’s jacket to the ground next to him.

“What now? Exan’s wife want a new dress for the next fucking Gather?” sarcasm dripped heavily from Max’s tone.

Yaron gave a snort and shook his head as he came to a stop before his boss, “Healer says Demerion’s going to be out of action for the next three or four months. Says he got some broke ribs, his shoulder was dislocated and his jaw’s cracked.” Not to mention he was missing a few teeth too.

“Shit!” the expletive spilled out low and then the soft sloshing sound of a bottle being tilted could be heard.

“He’s not going to be able to fight up north,” Yaron pointed out needlessly and then frowned as Max appeared to continue to ignore him, seeming to be more interested in his bottle of whisky.

Through an exhale Max finally gave comment on the matter, “Who else we got to take up there?”

“Just Banderil, and maybe Exan,” Yaron answered and then with a heavy sigh added, “You fucked up our best chance by putting the eejit down like that.”

“Needed to make an example out of him,” Max gave without apology and then shrugged, “I’ll fight in his place.”

Yaron’s brows hiked up and then dropped into a heavy frown as he reached to try and pluck the bottle of whiskey out of the younger man’s hand, “How’s that going to look, hmm? The new crimelord of Southern back to fighting in the rings?”

Fingers tightened about the neck of the bottle, “Don’t give a fuck how it’s going to look.” Max returned and pulled the bottle in toward himself.

“You’re making a mistake,” Yaron said low though his words seemed directed at the fact that Max wouldn’t give up the bottle more than his participating in the upcoming fights in Tillek.

Finally relinquishing the bottle, the young crimelord gave a snort and started to push up from his position on the ground. “A mistake,” he echoed flatly, “Apparently that’s what I’m best at. Making mistakes,” heavily sardonic as he clasped the arm Yaron held out to him and hauled himself up.

With little that escaped his attention, especially when it came to the dark haired young man, the older man realized to what he was referring and let out a soft sigh, “You gave it your best shot, son.”

Not bothering to dust his trousers down, Max tried reaching for the bottle, “Did I?” His gaze shadowed with regret and the bleakness of failure.

“It weren’t never going to work, Max,” it not being often that Yaron used the younger man’s given name, “you both coming from such different worlds and all.” His hand loosened allowing the bottle to be returned back into the care of its owner.

“Don’t…even go there,” Max growled out in response and then with the bottle back in hand he turned to head to where a dragon had just landed to take him back to the Weyr.

Silent a moment, Yaron reached out to lay a hand on the crimelord’s shoulder, “Take some time off. Maybe hit Ista a few days earlier than planned and get your head sorted out. Because if you don’t, you’re going to start fucking up worse than you did in there.”

Long and unreadable the look sent to Yaron and then Max jerked himself away from the other man’s hand and without another word strode toward the brown, tugging his flight jacket on and doing up the buckles as he went.

Deep concern washed into place. Yaron had seen the younger man like this before and it didn’t bode well.

Theme Music: Linkin Park - Given Up

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