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Upturned

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“Is he dead?”

Bayek heard the words, and groaned because he was incapable of anything else at the moment.

“Not yet!”

Bayek’s faculties came back piece by piece; he heard the roar of the arena, smelled the stable-like stench that permeated the Hippodrome, and felt sand and dirt scratching his back as someone (perhaps two someones) dragging him out of the arena by his legs- one of which felt as though someone had jammed a hot poker against the knee. He grunted in pain, but whoever was dragging him didn’t seem to notice.

He opened his eyes, but his vision was blurry, and his head pounded- why did it hurt? Why did his knee hurt? Those answers should have been closer at hand than they were, and Bayek struggled to remember where he was and what he had been doing before he’d woken up.

It smells like the Hippodrome.


I am in pain.


Someone is dragging me away.


He struggled for a moment, but the answers started to come when the glare of the sun was replaced with the shade of a building, and voices began to echo off of walls: The Hippodrome. He had been at the Hippodrome, and he had probably been racing. And that meant that some bastard had probably bashed his chariot too hard and made him crash in some terrible fashion. And now someone was pulling him off the track so that the races could continue.

Bayek’s next thought was that he was going to send Senu to scratch the eyes out of the bastard who’d caused him to crash.

Eventually he was let go, his legs dropped to the ground, and whoever had been pulling him walked away. The voices were further away; the only thing Bayek could hear in his immediate surroundings was the occasional groan or whimper. He opened his eyes and tried again to focus, with little success. He could see that there were others nearby, on their backs, mostly unmoving- some sort of resting place for the injured that came from the Hippodrome.

Bayek, in a moment of inspiration, tried to whistle for Senu- she would keep any pick-pockets away from him until he could recover enough to move. But despite his best efforts, all that came out was a weak sound that Senu would never be able to hear over the arena’s boisterous crowd. He would have to hope he’d have the energy to punch anyone who went reaching into his pocket.

He took stock of his injuries: His head, his left knee, his ribs, and his left wrist all seemed to be in pain. The knee was the worst of it, and the ribs were the least; maybe it was too soon to judge, but nothing felt bad enough to be of serious concerned except for the knee, which was more than could be said for many of the people who wrecked in the middle of a race.

I am fortunate
, Bayek thought. What a shame it would be to die in a race when he had far better ways he could die (preferably after the slow, painful deaths of his numerous enemies in the Order). Of course, such a death might be easier to achieve if his knee was damaged in some permanent way.

He did his best to lift it, wincing at the deep, throbbing pain that afflicted the area. Bayek could move it- a good sign- but he sensed that walking on it was going to be a difficulty for the foreseeable future.

Damn. That would delay him considerably with his hunt; he’d only participated in the races to earn some extra coin.

Speaking of coin…

Bayek strained his hearing at the sound of rustling cloth and clinking coins. He opened his eyes and saw a blurred figure kneeling over the man beside him, and while he couldn’t see everything, it was obvious that the stranger was rifling through his pockets for money and valuables. And a few seconds later, the thief’s attention had turned to Bayek.

When Bayek felt a hand patting his hip, he went to slap it away, growling. “Stop,” He snapped, and was met with an explosion of pain at his jaw- the thief had punched him in the face. His head spun even worse with the new blow, and he cried out.

EEEEE!

A loud, barking shout rang out, and Bayek laughed weakly; he couldn’t see very well, but he could tell from the screeching and the panicked yelling and swearing that Senu had taken the initiative to come find him, and she was currently doing to the thief what Bayek wished he could do. It was the sound of footsteps dashing away that alerted Bayek to the thief’s departure, and he whistled as best he could, summoning Senu to his side; she landed on his chest, and he felt her nuzzling his cheek.

“Good girl, Senu,” He chuckled. “Good girl.”

Bayek laid back to rest, confident that Senu would watch over him.
 
-End