The merchants, nobles, and the slaves lucky enough to attend had waited outside Dan Trex's arena for days. They knew the value of entertainment in such a dark world. They wore cowls to protect themselves from the sun as they waited. Entire businesses thrived on the forced mercantile of the captive audience. Food went for thrice its cost to those waiting near the entrance. Water went for five times as much.
The arena was as old as the city, built in the days of the old empire for a king now long forgotten. The octagonal arena was a machine, an engine that built warriors out of the raw material of flesh, blood, and steel. Now, thousands of years later, it still served that purpose.
The machine had built Dan Trex's army, half a million of the most ruthless and well trained soldiers to ever walk the planet. While one hundred and fifty thousand civilians and slaves got drunk, gambled, shat, fucked, and slept on the stone steps; one hundred thousand of his men sat in silence wearing black a