This is a short piece used as part of the background for a LARP character in a game down near LA. Twin Mask is a game with a whole bunch of awesome people, even though the politics of it often stress me out. If you’re in the area and want to check it out, they always need more NPCs. Find them at their webpage, or on Facebook.
The sun beat down on the courtyard from its unforgiving throne high in the cloudless sky. Amarantha’s eyes stung with sweat as she and her brother Eamon circled, their blades seeking openings in the other’s guard. Her brother was streaked with sweat and blood and she wondered if she looked a terrible as he. His shirt was cut to ribbons; she’d hardly landed any lasting wounds but she’d drawn his blood twice for each blow he’d landed on her.
She’d ruined his clothes, but he could replace that. He’d ruined so many of her days; he’d hurt her, scared her, so many times before. Every time before, she ran, or hid. Every time, she found something to come between them, but not this time. This time he’d gone too far. Nothing could replace the happiness he’d taken from her; no tailor nor magician could make her Seralyn whole again. Amarantha couldn’t even begin to contemplate the chance that her love might never wake. The only thought in her head was that this time she would make certain Eamon payed for what he’d done.
Eamon was furious. She would bet money that he had expected this duel to last two minutes at the most, yet they must be going on ten minutes by now. Despite the sweat of exertion and heat of the sun, Amarantha felt cold. She needed to stop showing off and end this. As much as she loved humiliating her brother, she was losing blood, and she could feel herself growing weaker with each throb of her pulse.
How to end it though? Again she repelled his blade and landed the smallest of quick cuts on him. She felt the familiar sensation of sharp steel biting into warm flesh, and a line of crimson blossomed where her blade passed. He should have worn his armor. Amarantha hoped that her brother regretted underestimating her so thoroughly. His face was dark with anger; this was his true face, the one she’d always known, not the pleasant, smiling, handsome face their parents and peers knew. Yes. That is how she’d end it. She’d ruin that handsome face of his, there would be no hiding that shame.
Her vision was fading when at last she caught an opening in her brother’s guard. Smashing his blade to the side, she darted in and drew her knife across his face with all the strength she could gather. It wasn’t a killing blow. It could have been but that end would have been quick, she wanted it slow; he deserved it as slow and painful as she could manage and more. His roar of pain was the sweetest thing she’d ever heard. She did not see his sword come up, her peripheral vision had gone dark; she just felt a sudden numbness in her left arm, and the force of the blow made her stumble backwards. Vaguely she was aware that blood, her blood, sprayed across her face. She silently thanked the powers that be for the small mercy of numbing her senses.
Alarm filled her, but her heart would not pound, it felt sluggish in her chest. She’d never felt so cold. She’d waited too long, she would not last long enough to make Eamon admit he was wrong. Father would not break up the duel until one of the siblings called for it. She opened her mouth to call the duel to an end, she’d won her satisfaction. But all she managed was a startled cry, Eamon had taken her pause as an opening. She avoided his blade, and Eamon’s own momentum drove himself onto her sword. It would not kill him, though it would lay him up in bed for some time and make the physician a pretty penny.
Amarantha looked up at her brother’s face in shock, she had not expected him to make such a huge mistake. As her vision faded and her knees gave out, the last thing she saw was her brother’s face, red with so much of his own blood. She remembered feeling wonder at how much blood head wounds poured forth; she did not see his sword come around for another blow; she did not feel it bite into her neck.