Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tales from the Reflecting Pools of Rockhammer Square

Mathers hated the term dandie, he was certain the bards meant it in a less than complimentary manner. As much as Mathers hated to admit it, tonight he and his three cronies were certainly dressed the part. Each of them wore a fine suit and leather jacket. They were dressed properly for argument at the Hall of Voices and truth to tell they hoped to draw some of the upstart students from Mishi's Winter Blade school onto the bridges for several duels. One of their students carried a "champion's blade", a gem encrusted blade similar to their katanas, that he claimed would go to the first person to beat him in a duel. After hours of waiting for the schools retinue to arrive and argue against a recent tariff on "exotic" weaponry. Mather's and his mates waited for the warriors to finish stating their case before they began to yell from different locations in the crowd oppositions which soon devolved into accusations of market manipulation and cultism. Their plan worked like a charm as one student stood and turned towards Mathers who had called out the latest insult to challenge him to a duel for staining his honor.

Mather chose the first canal bridge as the location of the duel, knowing that the crowd who followed them would be better able to see them fight. The ornate bridge widened at the center peak with two slopes of stone that ran off into the canal. The terms of the battle were simply the first to yield or fall. The student announced himself as samurai Lefor and presented the gem encrusted katana, "should you find a way to defeat me, the champion's blade is yours." Mather's replied, "I present my father's longsword glacier, the deliverer of many an icy death". This statement was given at almost a yell, Mather wanted the crowd to hear their terms. Mather chuckled to himself and wondered when his friends had poisoned his simpleton opponent. They had worked this trick a few times before and Mather was certain they would come through as they had before.

The battle started with Mather and Lefor at opposite ends of the bridge. A woman from the small crowd called out for them to begin and the two approached each other at the center of the bridge. Mather could see that his friends must have indeed succeeded, Lefor was moving a little slower and blinking, allowing Mather to reach the high ground first. Lefor was in truth a much better swordsman that Mather. Even in his reduced state he gave Mather a vicious go of it and almost won but the poison proved too much and Mather finally knocked Lefor over, knocking him unconscious to the delight of those watching the fight.

Mather lifted the ornamental katana high above him and loudly claimed the "champion's blade". At his announcement the crowd was sated and drifted off. Mather's partners were busy fighting off Lefor's schoolmates leaving him little time to rifle through the rest of the Samurai's belongings.

"The term's of this duel are to the death." a voice, a woman's voice sounded from within ten feet of Mather who stood and spun from rifling the unconscious warrior. Blinking, Mather stared at this masked woman, a crossbow in her left hand and exotic blade in the right, she had taken the high ground without him even hearing her approach. Her soft calm voice belied the threat Mather now felt, "Arm yourself swordsman and draw your last breath's, this battle is upon you." Mather presented his blade, fear gripping him as she seemed to grow in size as she approached him. Her left hand shot forward, a thwack sound and rifling of air, Mather could hear himself screaming as the crossbow bolt took his hand, piercing it and the sword he held, binding them together. The strange bastard blade on her back quickly became drawn deflecting Mather's now weak attack. Her blade whistled, the last sounds the young dandie would hear, taking him sharply in his shoulder and up through his neck. Leaving the fallen samurai his life she quickly stripped the two of their belongings, save for Mather's dueling weapon of course. Less than fifteen seconds later, the only things visible on the bridge was the Mather's blood corpse and Lefor's unconscious form, had anyone been there to hear it, they would have heard a woman announce, "Soon you will recognize the new champion of Rockhammer Square."

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