APAGear II Archives Volume 4, Number 5 July, 2002


The Choice

Josh Peters

"You've got to be kidding me Arland, a Kayr ad-Din Army?" Kobul laughed loudly.

Arland didn't respond, but for a slightly impatient smirk. Kobul stopped laughing.

"You're not kidding," Kobul's eyes widened, "so, what do you want from me?"

Arland sat in the chair opposite Kobul. "We want you to join. You led the Pit Fiends to eight consecutive championships before most of us could even say the word 'gear.'"

Kobul grimaced. He looked around the dimly lit duelists' bar. Patrons were busy getting drunk; trying to forget that they lived in a city built on trash, dependent on trash, and would probably end up being buried in trash. He let his fingers play with his shotglass, and then put the glass down, poured himself another shot of Rotgut, and slammed it back.

"No. My fighting days are over."

"Kobul, you were a gladiator, not a soldier. Kayr ad-Din needs you. The Badlands need you. Back then you were dueling to make people forget that they lived in this hellhole. Now, this hellhole..."

"Now this hellhole owes me!" Kobul shouted, interrupting, "I dueled in those pits for three decades. Do you know how long that is? You're not even three decades old, Arland!" he frowned, angry with himself for letting his bitterness to the surface.

"This hellhole is our home," Arland continued, unfazed by the interruption, "and it's not much. But it's ours to protect," he stopped, and watched Kobul slam back another shot of Rotgut, "I'll ask one more time. We want you to join the Kayr ad-Din Army. You would be a valued asset. Will you join?"

Kobul looked around the packed bar slowly. A couple of duelists were looking his way, distracted by his earlier outburst. He grimaced and felt his hands clench reflexively. He brought his gaze level to Arland's.

"No Arland. My fighting days are over."


Kobul eased into his favourite booth, and grimaced up at the barhand who set the bottle and the shotglass down on the table before him.

"Thanks kid. Get a haircut," Kobul snarled. The barhand had already left. He grunted and lit a cigarette. Damn kids, like that Arland. When did he last see Arland anyways? Damn idealist kids.

Kobul opened the bottle and poured himself a drink. He lifted the drink up, and was about to slam it back, when he paused, and looked around.

The bar was empty.

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APAGear II Archives Volume 4, Number 5 July, 2002