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Some Kind Of Free Islands Girl

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Dragged m'self up to the top o' the stands for this one. Some kind of Free Islands girl who's meant to be Fedel's champion, 'cept they call him Huntress round these parts, and one honest to goodness paladin - even though she's probably not yet twenty and o'course she'll never learn to shave, will she?

So the paladin comes clanking in from the left and that Free Islander comes stalking in from the right - you can see what the Huntress sees in her, moves like a bloody Tritoni. Hah, if you'd told me in me youth that I'd know what a bloody Tritoni looked like, proper like in the flesh! But here they both come and that paladin kid is no slouch either, of course not, Yugorsk doesn't churn 'em out to be slackers. Armour probably weighs more than her, but that's a keen eye and a good fighting crouch she's got there.

Got that huge sword out and looks like she's going to just bisect that Free Islands chit, but o'course the Free Islander ducks like a professional and comes up all knives right in her face; they trade a few attempts at blows, but the plate's not giving the Free Islander an inch and the sword's unwieldy at this distance.

Diving out from a nice bit of half-swording loses the Huntressite her range advantage, and it looks like she's about to pick up for a bit of wary circling, but there ain't much space in the arena with so much presence between the two of 'em. And that paladin girl is not that heavy in that armour, wears it like a champion, pressing forward like an inevitable consequence; then, when she spots a moment's hesitation in what way the other lady's going to run, charges like a goddamn vursk.

She doesn't quite pin the Free Islander up against the wall like a vursk-calf on a spit, because the Free Islander is too fast for her, but it's a bloody good attempt. And she's smart, too; she sees it all going wrong a moment before it does, and whips her sword straight back out of harm's way, rather than embeddin' it in the wall like the other lady must've been hoping.

Smart and with some serious arms, too. Damn. Swings round quick as you can blink, sword and all, although faster is the knife that goes up between the layers of her shell to score a telling blow. But the Free Islander didn't think the paladin would be that fast, it seems, and an almighty hoof from that two-hander sends her tumbling scattered across the sand. Grass. They haven't even put sand in this bloody arena. What kind of arena do you call it, that doesn't have any sand and has mind-bending geometrical wossnames instead?

Ready to press her advantage, the paladin puts in another blow, but it hits the dirt as the Free Islander twists out of the way. Stabbing the ground behind her to propel herself upright, she delivers a quick slash to the head of the surprised paladin; she jerks her head back and it's only a superficial wound, looks like, but the blood's going to get in her eyes.

While she's blinking that out, the Free Islander presses in and manages to slip a couple of rivets out of that armour with the axe she's just unlimbered, but no more actual damage before the sword is coming round again and it's time to get out. The Free Islands girl jumps and runs, staggering just slightly from what's probably at least one broken rib by now. She eyes her opponent from a safe distance, watching the blood flow freely from arm and forehead, a calculating look. Draws her to a corner, lets her follow, dances around just out of reach.

Clever girl. She's going to try to bleed her out. Well, clever if she's a slow bleeder. The paladin looks like she's taken her fair share of wounds in her time, maybe more than her fair share, it wouldn't be unusual for her to be a bit tougher than might be expected. If the Free Islander's a knife fighter, though, she might be good at outlasting the enemy through wounds.

After all, if you pick a fight with knives, the one constant is that you're going to get hurt.

The paladin tries another couple of charges, and finally I flick my eyes over the bystanders, the surgeons they've got ready for them. Bizarrely, the paladin's got a Malathian; one that looks mighty concerned about the outcome of the fight, though maybe it's just she's worried about gettin' paid. The Huntressite has a wemic, no surprises there then, and she kinda looks more impatient than worried.

As they circle and watch each other, the paladin's charges get slower, she begins to stumble. That Malathian surgeon is trying to catch the other woman's eye. Hoping to distract her, maybe? Or hoping that she'll claim victory in some decisive fashion, that it won't be too late to save the paladin's life?

Lower down in the stands, some other lady in blue is fingering her bag nervously, and looks like she's counting in her head.

The combatants only have eyes for each other, though; watching, circling. The Free Islander seems rather more worried than the paladin, of course; for the paladin the world has probably narrowed right down, just her and her enemy, and anyway they wouldn't be much of a paladin if they were letting their personal feelings show on their face like a Free Islands girl. Unblinking concentration, stumble, pick up into a charge...

The axe comes round and then is dropped as the knives come out, and the paladin finally crumples to the ground.

The lady in blue comes charging down the stands and someone gives her a boost over the arena wall, and both her and the Malathian that has been waiting descend upon the paladin's body, implements of surgery in hand. The wemic saunters up to the Free Islander much more casually, although with a brisk stride and similar intent. For her own part, the Free Islander seems to be trapped there; leaning slightly on the body of the paladin, swaying gently, and crying.

"I had to do it," she says, to herself and to the crowd. "I had to do it! Jamestown must be avenged..."

She breaks off into wracking, choking sobs as they carefully disentangle her from the paladin's remains. It is clear they are remains. It is clear there is nothing left for the surgeons to do here. The blue one is packing up and looking at the wemic, who shakes her head as if to say, "I've got it," and begins to treat the Free Islander's wounds. The Malathian has just... stopped. Not gone into the kind of rage I'd expect in a Malathian denied their pay.

More the silence of someone whose world's been shattered.

Maybe I didn't want to watch this fight after all. Seen enough of dead husbands and wives and fathers and brothers on the snowy mountainsides, thanking you kindly. Thought it was just going to be a fun bout between a couple of girls, some hot action what I could warm meself with later. Looks like it was a lot more serious than that. S'awkward, from up here, but I start lowerin' meself down the big steps of the stand.

Can't take any more of that sadness.