Part 62

Conflict of Interests

 

“Are you quite sure you are fit enough for this?” Indigo watched the hands of the clock inch closer to midday, before turning to regard the injuries which still healed slowly with concern. He sat with his head in his hands, he did not look up and did not reply. Indigo sighed, so tempted to provide magical strength, but could not. An instant disqualification would mean his execution.

Grave approached, narrowed his eyes with a stern jaw, he scrutinized the lash marks on Kane’s back, still angry, still sore. The barbarian thrust his own sword into the sand by Kane’s feet. “It’s heavy, but it will serve you well.” He said, slapping Kane on the shoulder as though there were no wounds. Kane did not flinch, but he looked up then and took the hilt in both bands.

“Thank you, I don’t know what happened to my sword.” He spoke rather quietly, calmly and reserved.

Across the arena from him, Pepe paced in chain-mail, swinging a well balanced looking sword with rough chops through the air. He kept licking his top lip nervously, sweat causing his face to glisten.

At that point the clock struck twelve…

***

“I don’t want to watch them fight.” Alleia said softly to Kol. They both stood outside the arena, both painfully aware at what was at risk by this duel, far more than a love lost and broken marriage, the whole of The Northern Clan Territories and a significant force in any forthcoming conflict was being decided between two opponents.

“They do not know you are here.” Kol replied, having collected The Princess from Hera’s sanctuary on his sister’s request. His words were little comfort as she paced nervously in the sand, her son sound asleep in her arms.

“I only care for one.” She replied, clutching the old uniform jacket tighter around her bare shoulders, despite the heat of the noon day sun Alleia trembled with nerves.

Within the arena the tall clock tower struck twelve, indicating the start of the duel… Alleia flinched with each strike of the bell, squeezing her eyes shut, praying to her Gods for success…

 

 

Anne Harrison 05.04.17

 

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