012 The Fatal Duel

Faithful and I approached the King to partake in the ceremonial drink which he held before me. Water spilled through the gateway of my lips into my throat, but did not quell the flames inside of me. Attendants confiscated our weapons and provided each of us with an identical sword. Without my dagger, success was impossible.

“Fight as you have never fought before, Princess.”

“Do same, Prince,” I replied.

The dreadful blast from the horn threw us into a violent struggle in which neither of us wished to engage. I drew first and catapulted myself into the general area of his emotions with as much force as I could muster.

He parried my attack effortlessly. I collapsed.

“Nyl, you’re too hurt to continue. I will still surrender.”

“No,” I lifted my dagger with great effort.

“As you wish.”

His blade swung about my kneeling form in a completely unpredictable manner. When I blocked one thrust, another slash from the opposite direction ensued. I rose. All of my skill left me since I fought with the wrong hand. Blood flowed liberally from multiple fresh wounds on my face and arms, rising up in a noxious steam.

The master fighter maneuvered me toward the edge of the platform. My foot only half rested on the platform as his strokes threatened to throw me over the edge. Dizziness swirled my head round and round like a cart's wheel. One more strike and I would drop onto the floor many throses below. To my bewilderment, Faithful did not press.

I exploited a momentary weakness. My blade blasted his away, then slashed into his left side. My sword severed his arm and embedded in his side. I immediately withdrew my weapon, but the damage was complete. He teetered for a few seconds, then toppled over the edge.

My legs collapsed and caused me to plummet along with my friend. Agony tore through my left shoulder as I landed on it.

“Not mean to. We help. You live.” I muttered.

I turned my face toward Silver, so she could see the movement of my lips with her ears.

“Save him. You not let him die.”

“I can’t; my power is gone,” she wailed into the ground.

“Don't fret over me dear ones. I knew the risk. I go to my reward. Now work justice with the position you have won.”

Death wrested him from Silver while she clutched his right hand as if she could resist its unstoppable pull.

“No, Faithful, I need you. You cannot depart like this!” She wept as she cradled his limp body in her arms.

The grief of losing the only man who had ever cared for me overwhelmed my soul. Blood soaked my dress like the guilt which stained my heart.

Rough hands dragged away his body. They did not allow Silver to mourn ever he whom the crowd hated.

The crowd cheered as if oblivious to the death of the only good man in the whole world. Fiery dizziness clouded my mind. I lost control of my burning limbs. When I swooned, no one caught me.

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