He opened the door and spotted a local leaning back in a chair. To call him a guard would be to use the term very loosely. His spear leaned against the wall beside him. As he noticed the half-giant at the door he landed his chair back on four legs which caused just enough vibration to cause the spear to clatter to the floor.
“An den?” The guard asked but he did not get up.
“Where is the arena?” Feldsharp asked.
The guard smirked slightly in thought then pointed down the hall. “You can’t bag or bail man. You need to hang.”
Feldsharp shook his head. “I want to practice.”
The guard nodded and stood up. He bent over and picked up his spear but did not brandish it in any way.
“You a big mamma, why practice? You’ll beat down that benny.”
“This way?” Feldsharp asked pointing do the hall.
The guard nodded and moved to follow him.
“I’m Feldsharp Halftall.” He introduced himself.
“Brudda, I’m Aikane.” He took the large outstretched hand and shook it with enthusiasm.
Feldsharp returned the smile and they walked down the hallway together till they reached a door at the end. Aikane opened the door and bright sunlight blasted in on them.
The half-giant shielded his eyes momentarily and stepped out into the full sun. Fitted and mortared volcanic stones made up the interior walls of the arena. The interior stood only about fifty feet across at its widest point. Around ten rows of staggered seats surrounded the interior walls, each row progressively higher than the one in front of it. A spattering of people sat in the seats and a few milled around visiting with each other.
Many of the people in the stands turned and looked at him as he entered. A couple of them applauded a little.
He nodded at the few people then walked out towards the middle of the fighting area.
The chatter of the people gathered in the arena died down as he stepped out. A couple of people whistled and even that died down as the half-giant reached the center of the pitch.
“Kao?” The guard called out to him. “Whatcha doing?”
Felsharp took up his start position for his kata, closed his eyes, and focused on the image of a hops to get himself centered.
With eyes still closed he went through his most basic kata form. He could feel his focus and concentration build with each move. His muscles performed each flow perfectly. He stepped through each level of his forms seamlessly from one to the next. A noise seemed to seep into his concentration. With every snap move he made a buzzing filled his ears. As he went it got stronger and louder. Finally he opened his eyes and saw that as he completed each move the people in the stadium cheered. He stopped.
“Hona hou , Brudda Kao.” Aikane clapped along with the rest of the audience. “Hona huo.”
Feldsharp found the noise a little distracting. He closed his eyes again and restarted his last kata. Again cheers accompanied each move. He stopped.
The audience noise died away as Feldsharp turned around in a full circle looking at all the people. Many were on their feet. More people had definitely arrived since he came in, possibly drawn by the cheering.
“Hō‘ike. Brudda!” The guard chanted to him. “Hona hou!”
Feldsharp drew a deep breath. He closed his eyes and took up his stance. Cheers accompanied his very first move. He squeezed his eyelids tighter and moved to his next move. If anything he could hear them better. As he snapped his third move he made a grunt to match the cheer. The next move he grunted harder. He found his voice synchronized with theirs. Each move he vocalized and found that it helped his concentration and the audience reacted by cheering even louder. He found his flow and worked his way into the advanced katas.
Suddenly the cheering stopped and it took him a couple of moves to realize something had happened. He opened his eyes. The entire audience stood in the stands. No one made any noise. He turned in a circle. Then his eyes landed on a form at the other end of the arena, the Brewmaster stood in the doorway.