Of Horses and Blades

JP with Winteroak

Her adversary gave Alexis a grin he probably thought was suggestive barking a few words to her she didn’t even bother to listen to the translation to.

No, she focused on what had to be done.

They walked to the place where Tarmen had fought his own battle and quickly found themselves surrounded by a cheering and leering audience.

Alexis tuned it all out, her eyes resting on her enemy’s movement.
They started to circle each other, the burly man constantly grinning and spitting meaningless words at her, obscenities most likely. She couldn’t care less, holding his gaze unimpressed and studying him.

He started to launch fake attack her, laughing and jesting whenever she instinctively reacted. Alexis herself still had yet to make a move of her own.
Why should she not study her opponent when he so generously if unwittingly allowed her to.

Finally he tired of his game and began to attack in earnest, heavy swings with his massive great axe.

And this, this exactly was why she had chosen this one over someone closer to her own stature.

He was stronger. But she was faster.

Her adversary actually showed some mild surprise when she dodged his attacks. Alexis assumed that a fencer like Melandra would have been able to make quite a spectacular show out of this, but the mercenary wasn’t about fancy, she was about efficiency.
She did move as much as necessary, without flourish. It led to some close calls, when the warrior was able to surprise her with an unexpected maneuver, but so far he had yet to hit her.

But she would have to bring it to an end before he got bored decided to get more serious about this. So the next swing she allowed to crash into her shield, barely managing to push the axe away to side.
The impact painfully worked itself up her arm to her shoulder and she grunted, the crowd erupting into cheers and presumably further taunts and insults.
She would feel that one for a while.

Her enemy grinned with renewed arrogance and swung around his axe for what he probably assumed to be the killing blow. He was only partially right.

When the swing came from the side, Alexis did not rise her shield and did not step back to avoid it. No, she dove under the swing and then stepped right up to the surprised warrior, bashing her shield into his face full force. He probably did not expect that force to be as considerable as it turned out to be and lost his balance, stumbling back and giving Alexis the opening she had been looking for.

Her sword shot forward toward his abdomen. At the edge of her consciousness she registered some agitated shouts from the crowd.
The blade closed in on its target.
And then, at the last moment, Alexis turned her sword around, ramming the handle into his guts instead. Like a certain young dagger wielding recruit had shown her.

The man lost all air in his lungs and keeled over, falling to his knees.

Alexis stepped to the side, turning the blade around again. She looked down at the man for just a second. Then she put her blade to his arm, applying a shallow cut. Blood lazily left the minor wound and dripped to the ground.

She stepped back, retaking a defensive position. The fight was over, yes, but given circumstances she wouldn’t take chances on them acting honorable when their pride was wounded.

“That is the thing with underestimating horses. Sometimes, you get kicked.”

Melandra and Tarmen cheered as the other warriors went silent not believing their eyes. The War Chieftain however looked on amused. He grinned at Alexis licking his lips suggestively. The defeated man rose to the jeers of his companions. He walked to Koshnem and sank to his knees, his head hanging in shame. The Chieftain spoke bluntly and fast to the man who lifted his head to the sky offering his neck to his leader. Koshnem laughed and kicked him to the ground. This was the last you saw of the man. Later Balt explains that he had been ordered back to his clan. He suspected no one would see the man alive again.

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