|Bloodstains (standard:fantasy, 2778 words)|
|Author: Zell||Added: Apr 25 2002||Views/Reads: 1853/1258||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|This story starts en media res, but includes Zell's fight for the honour of his love, in an ancient deul.|
I sat in anticipation. I had challenged the man reputed to be the greatest fighter among the Apocalyst guardians to a duel. I suppose I had to; he threatened me, my family, my girlfriend, and the high priestess of Elora. The latter two were the same person, which made the threat that much more personal. Most people would scoff at me, primarily because most people don't mean it when they say “I'll kill you”, but they didn't see the look in his eyes. I didn't mind if he threatened me, but what about everyone else? What could I to do if he followed through on one of them? I had the ability to protect myself, but what can one man do? I checked the time, only one o'clock. Those short hours lasted for an eternity. Four more hours and I would be fighting for my life against a quite ferocious opponent. My stomach tied itself into knots. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't think. It was horrible. I had nothing to do but wait... and wait. The painstaking minutes finally moved by, and my nervous foot- tapping left my calf quite sore. Four thirty: time to suit up. I opened the cabinet containing my armour. That same familiar ringmail hauberk hung dead center in the closet. Black cloth covered both the interior and exterior of the mail. It served its purpose of covering the stains, holes, and patches all for nothing more than appearances. A pair of bracers dangled from a hook next to a thin breastplate, both made from the finest steel, and polished to a beautiful shine. I sighed when I looked at my most prominent pieces of armor and lifted the hauberk to my shoulders. Its weight almost vanished as the bulk shifted to the more muscular parts of my body. Pulling my blackened wrist sheath from the footlocker nestled at the base of my armour cabinet, I buckled my throwing dagger to its many straps and slipped my hands into the chainmail gauntlets. My bracers were laced on over it, paying special attention to the dagger on my forearm. I bent over to fasten my grieves when I noticed the odd thickness of my gauntlets. I'd gotten them the day previous, so I figured it'd just take some getting used to. Each buckle made a distinct click as it fastened itself to my calf. Lacing my heavy boots proved quite difficult, and the knot an even greater challenge, thanks to my gauntlets. I then got up, and tied a heavy, armoured headband around my forehead. My sodes stood out from the other pieces of my ensemble. Made from the densest steel, they proved the greatest burden of my many pieces of armour. The impressive weight of those plates often encumbered me far too much in a heated battle. Before leaving the room I looked at myself in the mirror. It had been several months since I had to wear this armour. “How are you doing in there, Zell?” I had an alias here. Nobody went by their real names. It was unprofessional. “You can come in; I'm decent.” The woman who just spoke entered timidly. “I wanted to wish you luck today.” I turned around to face her. I had recognized her voice, but I didn't want to believe she'd come to such a grotesque display of violence. “Diana?” I looked in her eyes; they always betrayed her true feelings. Her thin frame shivered in the cold air of the armoury. The fear and depression of her gaze made me want to cancel the duel. I hated to see her upset. “You shouldn't have come...” “Why not? I'm at all of your other matches.” She spoke... honestly enough, but I fought unarmed in all of my other matches; nobody could die there. I feared the worst, but not for myself. She didn't need to see this; every man is ugly when he fights, and hideous when he kills. “You don't have to do this for me.” “If it makes you feel any better, I'm doing it for everyone. Pat's not... he... He's a bad man, and that's all there is to it.” “But you challenged him when he threatened me... I don't want to be responsible for your death” “I'll live, I promise that much. Let's keep in mind that this isn't to the death. It's until surrender or incapacitation.” Click here to read the rest of this story (223 more lines)
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