|Fantasy Fiction posted May 21, 2019||Chapters:||...6 7 -8- 9...|
Halger delivers his orders.
A chapter in the book Demons (working title)
Hell: Halger - the duel
The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
I prefer readers to simply read pieces on the merit alone unless they want to go back and read everything. Just keep in mind that you're mid-book, and the world is rather large.
At first, nobody stood.
He could feel the eyes in the room following him as he climbed up to the arena, drink still in hand, behind Beldaros’ shoulder. Murmurs started throughout the room. He leant against the post that created the most distance between him and the popular warrior and waited.
The Arena Champion eventually turned around. Clearly still high on adrenaline, he smiled at the sight of his commander.
He raised his glass in salute.
“Will you dare cross blades with a Shedim?” he taunted his opponent.
Beldaros’ smile vanished and he swallowed hard, but otherwise kept his composure.
“A general? No, but I’ll fight with an old friend.” he scratched at the scar on his torso as he responded.
Beldaros’ experience in combat returned; in one fluid motion, he raised his sword to an ideal defensive position, shielding his entire torso with one thin strip of metal.
He did not move.
“Well, are you going to draw your sword? Or do you consider me an unworthy opponent?” Beldaros' voice sounded a little uncertain now.
He drained the spirit and handed the empty glass to Daeva as she made a collection round, she winked at him as she accepted it.
He wiped his snout, and then shrugged, “Perhaps I will beat you with my naked fists. Do you truly think you can best a real blade-master?” He raised an eyebrow as he spoke. “My sword will remain in its scabbard for now. We will see how worthy you are soon enough.”
Beldaros charged, swinging his sword high. He stepped into the attack and reached out, grabbing the hurtling wrist. Beldaros' mouth was open wide as his sword hand hung limply for several seconds; like a stone would stop at the floor, unable to fall further.
His fist was faster than Beldaros’, the blow made the Arena Champion stumble backwards, more stunned than damaged. the Agotho shook himself off and ran at him, this time lunging low.
It took little effort to dart to the side. Leaning into the attack, he grabbed the flailing sword arm once more, with both hands this time, he used the momentum of his attacker to spin him to the floor.
Beldaros landed on his back with a grunt but rolled away as he dived with his wrist in his hand and elbow outstretched. He hit the floor where the champion had been and rolled back to his feet immediately.
With a cry of frustration, The Champion righted himself, stabbing out, he jumped back, away from the blade and gripped his own hilt at his hip.
Beldaros, didn’t waste his opportunity, the Agotho stepped in close feigning a vicious stab but then swung into his left flank at his unprotected body.
There was a sharp clang as he drew his blade in defence, a shock passed up Halger’s arm. The Champion was visibly baffled, and it took his mind a number of seconds to realise that the barrier he had struck was steel. He twirled his sword and fixed the hilt firmly in a handshake grip. Beldaros’ weapon had been thrown far right.
A lesser swordsman would have found himself disarmed, he curled his lip upward and gave a brief nod in recognition of the skill. Beldaros ignored the compliment, instead, he stepped back and called out the blade attached to his left hip. With the two swords in front of him, his right at a subtly better angle, he rushed forward, attacking high and low at the same time.
He danced out of danger, ducking under the top sword, parrying the bottom, and pirouetting around to bring the hilt of his blade into Beldaros’s face. The Champion reeled. Pressing his advantage he forced his hoof into the groin of his opponent.
It was a move that, while not always incapacitating, is almost always guaranteed to stop an attacker. This respite, while Beldaros fell away, gave him enough time to draw his second sword and continue his offensive.
Approaching his opponent’s left side he ducked a desperate attack and deflected his second sword, sending it wild, before swerving around behind Beldaros, hitting him in the spine with each hilt. With a kick to the back of his leg, The Arena Champion collapsed, falling to one knee.
He finished the duel by kicking Beldaros to the ground. The Champion struggled to rise, not allowing him the opportunity he planted his hoof in the small of his opponent's back.
In contrast with the earlier scrap, the demons and daemonettes around the arena had been silent for the entire span of this duel. There was no cheering, no screams of adoration, and not even a single word of reaction. Every demon was transfixed on the spectacle, watching the two skilled warriors clash.
Such was the silence, that even when The Champion was floored, his voice, which he kept soft, could be heard throughout the chamber.
“I have orders for you.” he started.
He took note of every person in the room, making sure he had complete attention.
“All obstacles on the path to the human world are removed and for the first time, we will be fighting them on their native soil."
Soldiers started to stir but he pressed on.
"Prince Saragen is sending you, Beldaros of Agotho. You personally, and four men of your choosing to designate a target. It has been decided by Moreged, second named, that the only chance the humans will have when we attack is Aden. Though he lives in legend here, it has been many years since the invasion of Akero, more still since the civil war he once fought so bravely in.”
Halger took note of the hesitation in some of the watching soldiers. Muttered stories of Aden's deeds were a chorus in his ears. He raised his voice and hardened his tone in an attempt to give the soldiers heart.
“Our human contact has informed us of his location, profession, and place of dwelling. Find him, find out if he is still the man he once was, and make sure you return alive. If he is still the warrior I once knew, the war with the humans will not be a simple one.”
Beldaros tried to move under the weight of his hoof but his feeble attempt failed. He embarrassed the champion further, pushing him down harder into the sand floor of the arena.
“And no, Beldaros of Agotho, as it happens you were not a worthy opponent. Much to my disappointment. You had little consideration for your weaker arm. You have been too many years unthreatened, and your arrogance was your undoing. The weakness that you failed to account for could be, and was, used against you. Don't let it happen again.”
He stepped back, allowing Beldaros to get up.
“That is, however, my only criticism,” he continued with a smile, “Champion.”
Beldaros turned to him, put a hand on his own heart and bowed solemnly.
“As you wish Shedim, and thank you for this lesson.”
He made an effort to make his voice carry, "Here, I am no commander, only Halger of Shedu.”
Beldaros bowed deeper, then turned to face his assistant and friend, Hutid of Cacodae. The tall but slight demon usually tended to the multitude of cuts and bruises sustained in battle. Though rumours also suggested he attended to much more.
“Hutid, summon Fend, Gronda and Grahl. Arm yourselves for war. We’re heading to the Earthly Realm.”
A cheer followed the words of Beldaros. Demons all around The Arena resumed drinking, discussing excitedly the prospects of battle and glory ahead of them. The rowdy atmosphere that had been present before the brief duel now filled the room again.
“Also,” He spoke again, this time to Beldaros and Hutid alone, for the noise in the room would cover their conversation, “It is said that we can take on the form of humans. Make sure you attract as little attention as possible.”
Both men’s eyes went wide.
He continued uninterrupted, “Few humans are warriors, and, I am informed that the non-fighters are a strange sort. They will be suspicious enough of you without seeing your horns.”
After the soldiers bowed, He held out his hand, the firm grip of the Agotho engulfed it and they embraced but he quickly pulled away. Now was not the time for amicable banter. He was fond of the Champion, but a certain level of distance had to be maintained with an invasion approaching. He turned and wordlessly left the pair.
Until he reached the ornate door he had come in through, silence followed from the champion. He could only smile to himself when finally the demon prepared to rectify his major embarrassment.
"Demons" Is a story I have had in my head since childhood. It has also been written, in full, at least three times. I've never been fully happy with the work though.
Chapter notes: (feedback appreciated if reading as a whole)
1140 words - Chapter as a whole -3400.
- Tribe information. too much? too little?
Thanks for reading. I will refrain from adding a glossary.
Halger's POV is a little off-putting to some, I get that, but that's what the warnings are for :-)
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A.J. Dodd (AD) has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.