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As the weary cleric sat on the ground, his hands flat against the earth like the base of pillars to prop him up, a low but rapidly growing sound roared in the distance. Erhard lifted his gaze to the tumultuous cloudy skies, a laugh of relief escaping his throat at the prospect of fresh, cool rain dousing this bitter place. But his soft smile quickly faded as he realized that what he heard was not thunder.
Over-top the highest wall on the far side of the arena suddenly appeared a slim, metallic figure, soaring head first as streams of fire flared behind it. It dipped downward into the arena, and seemed to beeline toward Erhard, showing no signs of slowing its pace. Erhard scrambled up to his feet, and took a step back instinctively, the gap between them quickly closing. He could make out two large glowing eyes that seemed fixated upon him.
As it neared so close as to imply a collision, it came to a sudden halt, pivoting upward into a standing position, and hovering in the air a few feet off the ground. It slowly descended, fire scorching the ground below it until its 'feet' touched down with a hushed metal creak. The searing white noise rapidly faded, as the arena returned to its former quiet stillness. Erhard could see this thing clearly now, but was no surer of what to make of it than before.
Its fiery gaze was locked upon Erhard, who grimaced as his mind raced over how to deal with the situation. Curiously, its head tilted slightly. "You...?" It spoke, its voice deep and clear, but audibly stained with metallic tones. Erhard swallowed in his throat, slightly confused. "Uh, do you...know me?" He asked, still unaware of their first 'meeting'. It said nothing, but took half a step back, turning slightly and continuing to stare at the young cleric.
Contemplating what to do, it crossed its arms and finally lowered its gaze toward the ground. It sensed multiple sources of energy within the arena; the human's magic radiated from within him like a misty, enveloping aura. But there was also something else. An obscure magical presence, an invisible, binding power that blanketed the area - enforcing certain rules. The thought of being so bound to the laws of another was personally infuriating to it, but it chose to come here and knew prior the stipulations.
It looked back up toward Erhard, who had been slowly inching away, but he stopped immediately when their gaze met once more. As a bead of sweat began to travel down the side of his face, Erhard smiled nervously. "So, uh, I didn't bring my staff today right? And I think I hear someone calling me, so I'll just be goi-" With a sudden burst of intensity, the creature rushed forward at the cleric, slamming a metal fist into his stomach. Erhard choked on a scream as his body wrapped upward slightly around its hand, before gravity plunged him backward to the ground.
Landing with a light thud, Erhard lay motionless, his body sprawled and mouth agape. Pausing for a moment, it then knelt down next to Erhard, and placed a hand on his chest. "I'm...sorry." it said, sliding its other arm underneath of his legs. Moving its hand from his chest, it slid it under his upper back and lifted Erhard up off the ground, like it did that day in the forest. It walked towards one of the torch-lit alcoves of the arena, and set him down gently behind a pillar. Its sensors detected no signs of any permanent damage.
TNP: Standing in the center of the arena, gazing toward the ground with its arms crossed across its upper body, it awaits the next challenger.