A scream was heard in the battlefield as a sword shaved off a chunk of succubus wing, the inhuman woman it belonged to scrambled away from the knight she thought she could take but might end up killing her if she carried on.
The knight gripped his weapon tight. “Come on, you blasted Monsters! My home is not for your taking!”
Captain Cyrus rose his longsword and threw himself into battle with a war cry. As far he could tell, the battle was even. The other soldiers had held their own against the monster horde. That wasn't to say he didn't get to see men dragged off by the monsters, but they were managing.
Cyrus was on the front lines of the fight, one of many men told by the king to become knights to defend the city. Being the head man of the northern unit he and his group were considered cannon fodder but it didn't matter to him, what mattered was doing his job and keeping the monsters from his home as long as he could, that fact he enjoys the thrill of battle was a plus.
Besides he had heard that one of those `heroes` of the land was here in the northeastern unit as a heavy hitter, the fight was in the knight's favour.
The knight assisted his men with their fights, taking out several succubi and a lower fox mage and until he had to duck as he dodged a swing from a Minotaur's axe and tagged her with a shield bash, the large woman stumbled and that gave him an opening to slash her. The Minotaur screamed and looked like she almost dropped her axe to clutch her wounded shoulder in pain.
Instead of retreating like he thought she would, the monster lets out a bellowing roar that seemed to freeze the surrounding fights as men and monster around were distracted by the shout.
“You think you can best me, human?” She shouted as she rushed him in a frenzy. Cyrus stuck to blocking with his shield and dodging, not wanting to test his armor against the enraged Minotaur if his now mangled shield was anything to go by. Luck was on his side as his enemy put too much strength in a down chop and sank the axe into the ground. Wasting no time, he lunged at the woman and left a large wound on her chest that made her drop to her knees in pain. One well-placed boot to the face to follow-up and the Minotaur was out cold.
Cyrus let himself breath as he stood over the unconscious opponent. Taking a look around at the watchers of his fight the monsters that meet his gaze backed off in fear as his comrades both chased off the monsters with boosted morale and cheered on his victory and soon there were only knights in the area. Wiping his sword clean, sheathing it and ignoring the Minotaur being dragged away (he was too tired to run after them and finish her off). He was about to raise his voice in victory when a shout came towards them.
“The north-eastern unit has fallen!” a panicked scout said as he caught his breath.
That stopped any cheer dead in its tracks. Cyrus talked to the man.“What do you mean fallen, wasn't that hero with you?”
“Sir Harold was nowhere around when the reinforcements arrived. Without him, the men faltered and the formation crumbled fast.” The scout said.
“I assume they are heading this way?”
The scout was almost trembling so hard he almost missed the nod. “Their numbers are reduced, either by us defeating them or them pulling out of the fight with captured men. We were fine until those extra warriors and that ...thing came! It was horrible, our forces fell apart before we even knew it.” It was not unusual to see knights fall before the monsters, but this scout was clearly shaken by what he had seen.
“What's the force made of?” Cyrus asked.
“Lizardwomen and salamanders led by a powerful scalebound. Sir.” the scout said.
“Are you sure?” Cyrus asked
“Her armor was dragon themed and I saw the eyes, there is no doubt sir.” the scout said with certainty. Murmurs of worry rippled through the unit of knights and somewhere even whispering about a retreat.
They had good reason to be afraid. A scalebound was a corrupted female knight that both served the dragons and was blessed with their power. They were known for their strength in battle and few men came across one in a straight fight and won. The people thought of them as being just as monstrous as the ones they served.
Cyrus had little want to fight this new group so he had to make a plan. “How long will it take for them to get here?”
“They'll be over the hills and visible not long from now, no visible bows or magic items, so long ranged assault is unlikely.” The scout said.
The Captain swore to himself. If they were that fast then a retreat was out of the question. The best they could rest up as much as before the fight. Cyrus turned to the other knights “The battles's not over yet men! that hero guy Harold is missing and if you didn't hear we have one more fight ahead of us. After we get this done we'll able to meet up with the Northwest unit and get home!” he shouted and his men responded with a cheer.
“But what about the scalebound?” A nervous knight asked.
“We'll do something when it comes to it. For now, assume defensive positions and hold this ground!” Cyrus ordered.
The knights got in formation and waited. Cyrus abandoned his wrecked shield, the fight with the Minotaur had made it all but useful to him. He and his men didn't have to wait long as the sound of marching was heard and soon enough they got to see the group of green to red scales that was their enemy.
As the scout hat said, they were few but these were no run of the mill monsters like most that didn't mind getting in a scrap for a man. Lizard variants were among those that lived for the fight, natural-born warriors that knew their way around battles like any knight worth something did. Cyrus noted that their condition mirrored his own men, they were roughed up and some had clearly seen better days, but they also shared the same look of determination to see this through.
What really got the men worried was the knight leading the group. She was almost six-foot-tall from what he could see and she carried an imposing aura about her. She was clad in ruby-red armor with clawed gauntlets and sabatons and armed with a sword sheathed at her side. She didn't wear a helmet, allowing Cyrus to see her long black hair, tanned skin and gold reptilian eyes. This was the scalebound that the scout mentioned.
The Monster troop stopped marching as both sides stared each other down. Silence reigned on the field until the scalebound stepped forward and addressed Cyrus “I wish to speak with the leader of these men.” Her voice was gritty and stern.
The fact that she wanted to talk surprised Cyrus but he restrained himself from showing it. He decided to answer her. “I am Captain Cyrus. What is it that you want?” He said as he stepped out.
“I wish to have a duel with your strongest. One on one, no interference.” She said.
“Any reason why should I agree to that? Why would I want to make deals with those trying to take our land?” Cyrus said cautiously.
“Like what I can see in your men, we wore out from battle, I wish to enjoy a fight and end today's conflict without further bloodshed.” She said, “If you win I shall pull my forces back without incident.”
“And if you win?” he asked.
“You and your men are to surrender to me and my troop. They're free to resist if that happens, it'll be more fun that way.” she finishes with a feral grin and snickers were heard from the monsters
Cyrus looked back at his men, It was a mix between those looking ready for another fight and those ready to keel over, a full-on assault would ruin both groups no matter the victor. On the other hand, He didn't know how he would fare against a scalebound, the fact she tore apart a unit holding a hero didn't help matters.
Seeing no way out of this Cyrus sighed. “Very well, I want your name and for you to swear that you will follow your word."
The scalebound nodded and drew her sword, a fine black blade with a red hilt, and held it in front her in a reverse grip. “I, Enyo, swear on my life and honor as a scalebound that my words are the truth.” She turned to her warriors. “You heard me, Stay out of this until the battle is over, those who interfere will have mother's wrath.”
Cyrus did the same and dressed his men “No one is to interfere in our match. A knight never goes back on their word. This is the best way to come out of this in one piece.” He said. “Has anyone got an undamaged shield?”
“Here Captain.” A knight beside him said as he handed Cyrus a kite shield.
“We're behind you all the way Captain!” A knight shouted. The others joined him in a shout.
Moved by their cheers, Cyrus steeled his resolve and walked towards the enemy and meet Enyo halfway. The shouts of his men stopped when he drew his sword. The knight Captain and the monster knight stared each other down as tension filled the air.
Without warning, the two launched at each other. The only sound that could be heard was the clanging of metal as Cyrus and Enyo hacked at each over. Each strike from one was blocked or dodged by the other. Cyrus told himself to give the knight a reward if he got out of this, this shield was holding up better than the one the Minotaur destroyed.
Even so, the inhuman strength of a scalebound had been made clear. Blocking her strikes was numbing more than the minotaurs and were also leaving deep gashes in his shield and ripping his chain armor when she struck an opening. All this led to Cyrus's armor becoming misshapen like the blacksmith didn't care about quality, despite being in the best condition of his equipment, was a chipped mess.
The fight raged on and despite his efforts, it was becoming clear that the scalebound was winning and the Cyrus was repeatedly put on the defence. What scared Cyrus was the amount of enjoyment he was found in trying to match Enyo's skill even though his strength was leaving him. It wasn't like the “Don't get taken” fight he had with other monsters. This was a real duel, the very thought of a getting a fight this complicated flooded his veins with fire and he used that to persevere.
After one clash ended with knight blocking her slash and countered with slashing at her face, causing her to back off in pain and caution. Cyrus focused on Enyo as he gained his breath. She was definitely less damaged than he was but that wasn't to say she was fully functioning. But it was her eyes that almost froze him in wonder. Those golden eyes sparkled with life and enjoyment, it was clear she was having as much fun as he was. The cut under her eye bled, but it didn't look like one that'll scar.
He was so lost staring at her eyes that he almost missed the war horns sounding. That was the signal for victory! The northwestern unit had won! The knights broke out with roars of joy at the sound. As annoyance swept the faces of the monster warriors.
A Wyvern landed in-between the fighters as she took a knee and addressed Enyo “Lady Enyo, our forces are in full retreat, orders from above are for you to join them before the rest of the knights reach here and reinforce this group.” She reported while not caring about the presence of Cyrus.
“Let them wait! My fight with this human hasn't ended yet!” The scale bound almost roared.
The Wyvern messenger didn't react. “Commander Bellona is waiting to see you at the retreat point, shall I tell her you dismissed her?”
“Dammit!” Enyo growled out and sheathed her sword. She turned around and bellowed orders “The battle is lost! Everyone to the retreat point to meet with our allies.” The Lizardwomen grumbled but complied and soon enough the unit was moving away along with the Wyvern messenger. Enyo stayed behind and talked to Cyrus.
“It appears this fight is over and my deal is void.” She told Cyrus without hiding her disappointment. “A shame, few have pushed me as far as you have, and fewer were human.”
Cyrus sheathed his sword and let out a breath “Orders are orders, I thank you for keeping your word, few Monsters know honour and the glory of battle.”
“True but still.” Enyo's eyes looked even more reptilian as they started to glow. “I desire to fight you again Sir Cyrus, whether it be the battlefield or a duel, I swear that I will find a way for us to have our rematch.”
The knight Captain felt anticipation roll through him instead of what he thought should have been fear. “I look forward to it. Enyo.”
With a pleased smile. The scalebound turned around and walked away to meet with her army. With the danger passed, the knights swarmed their Captain with praise and questions until he spoke
“Guys, we need to head home, we can talk about it once I get patched up and were behind castle walls.” Everyone agreed and the unit was on the route home. While the men were conversing about their Captain's fight. Cyrus himself was in thought. He wanted to see that fight through to the end but he had men to look after as leader of sorts. Still, the look in those eyes as the battle went on, he had a growing urge to see it again
He had to check what went on with the northeastern unit. The heroes disappearance made them lose a decent chunk of guys to the monsters, something the king won't be happy about. Where did he go, did he even fight the enemy?
He also needed to get decked out with better gear, there was no way he was going up against anything like Enyo again with the same quality of stuff. He had hoped to get enough gold for this fight to do so.
With a plan in mind, Cyrus spent the rest of the march talking to his comrades, it was a long way to the medics and an even longer way to the tavern, and he really needed a drink in him after today.