Chapter 2: The Travelling Swordsman
As he came upon the ledge, he looked down at the scene unraveling before him. The young woman seemed to almost dance around each of her opponents as she attacked and defended, scoring hit after hit against the thugs that surrounded her. But despite the bodies already at her feet, this was no dance, and without help she was doomed.
The largest of them all swung his giant ax like a club, obviously strong, but not well trained. The young woman used that to her advantage as she danced around his clumsy swings and struck at the others that moved in. But her skill alone wasn’t enough. She started to accept nick after nick and the strain on her body and mind showed as each of her movements began to slow and falter. Until the axe finally connected.
He was already in the air as he saw it happen. The axe which she had so deftly avoided finally connected, and despite her best effort to block, the axe bit into her side and she was launched through the air and landed with a resounding thud onto the ground. The thugs started to move in, but then Vladimir landed among them. They jumped back in surprise as he knocked an opponent to the ground with a resounding kick to his head. The other thugs reacted, and swung their weapons, but Vladimir rolled past them and put his body between the delirious Maire and their enemies.
He thought about saying something grand about them leaving with their lives, but knew from experience that for men like these, those words were pointless. He brought his hand back to his scabbard and grasped the handle tightly. Thanatos seemed to leap from its scabbard, almost as if it yearned for the blood of these men. Vlad wondered if that were not truly the case, but put those questions to the side as he focused on them. He held the blade up and pointed it at the large man with the ax who now seethed with anger at this newcomer. “You die first.” And with that, dove in.
The burly man swung the axe straight for Vladimir with a roar of defiance as if he would stop even death itself with his strength. Vladimir ducked under the blade and brought up his own sword with all his might. The blade sliced through bone and flesh just as easily. His roar of defiance echoed one last time in the ears of his allies as he fell backwards and blood pooled the ground around him. But this was not over.
His friends attacked Vladimir all at once, out of anger or fear they themselves probably didn’t know. But they were foolish. Vladimir’s blade struck through one, then another, and then another, until only one remained alive, the one Vladimir had kicked when he first landed. Vladimir looked at the young man who hadn’t even passed his teenage years. Both cleaning and sheathing his sword in one swing, Vladimir slowly walked towards the young man who now stood alone, shakily holding his sword with both hands. Vladimir walked up, and grasping the handle of the sword said, “It is not your time, there is still time to change.” Then with his other hand he knocked him to the ground, knocking him unconscious.
The young woman rose, clutching her side, her face betraying her awe at what she just saw. Vladimir grasped the healing potion hanging from his belt and tossed it to her. She caught it easily, but when she turned back, Vladimir had already raised his cowl and begun to leave.