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War-Journal of Bue Geirsteinson - Part VII

by Jacob Skytte

Vatermont 22nd, the year 1000 After Crowning of the First Emperor of the Thyatian Empire, continued

As we entered the circle a cheer rose from the men watching us. I cautiously started to circle my brother, looking for a weakness in his defence and expecting him to strike first. I did not have to wait long. The first blows fell, I parried them, but was stung by their force. My brother did not hold back his strength. Blows were exchanged like this for a while, both of us concentrating on avoiding getting hit. The force of the blows started numbing my hands and sweat started to fall.

I scored the first hit, a blow to Lot's left shoulder. He twisted in rage and struck at my knee. I danced out of range. "Your skills have grown," he said, breaking the silence between us. "but you will find that I am not without surprises myself."

With that he struck blows at me in quick succession, hammering upon one of my fighting clubs. My hand was too numb to avoid the final blow as he struck suddenly at my knuckles, where I held the club. The blow was shattering and I dropped the club in pain. He quickly manoeuvred between me and the club. He was at an advantage, but he was breathing heavily from the assault. I had to act quickly.

Launching my own attack with my remaining club, I struck at his right side, then spun into a swift attack on his left. Winded, he was unable to parry and I struck hard at his ribs, driving the air from his lungs. I used this advantage to deliver a kick to his knee, which sent him sprawling to the ground. As I kicked at him again, he blocked my leg with a club. The pain was immense, but the force of my kick sent the club spinning from his hand. As I recovered from the pain, he got back to his feet. Now we were on even terms again.

We were both limping as we continued fighting. The blows came slower now, but still hard enough to do severe damage should they connect. I took a blow to my hip, delivered one to Lot's shoulder. My vision was growing hazy from sweat running into my eyes. I took a moment to wipe my brow and Lot struck at me, hitting my elbow. I felt immense pain, the bone had snapped. Sensing victory close at hand, he struck at me again. I dropped below his blow and rose again, swinging the club so that it connected squarely with his jaw.

Lot fell backwards, his remaining club flying from his hand. As he hit the ground I felt certain that he wouldn't rise anytime soon. I staggered, but kept my balance. The sweat was still in my eyes. I wiped at them with my good arm, when there was a cry of warning. I turned and managed to twist in time, so the hidden dagger my brother had drawn merely scraped along the ribs, instead of entering between them. He tore into me, and we fell to the ground, my remaining club lost. I grabbed at his hand and got hold of it before he could stab me again.

"Geirsteinson!" a woman cried out, and we both looked. Ingibjorg slid her dagger towards us. I reacted quickly, butting my head into Lot's face, then kicking him away from me. I grasped hold of the dagger, then stood. My brother was also on his feet, charging towards me, his dagger held in both hands coming down towards my face. I stepped into his swing hitting his chest with my shoulder, and as he stumbled backwards I swiped my dagger at him. He failed to see the blow and it connected with his face, slashing through his cheek and across his left eye.

Crying out in pain he dropped his dagger and grasped at his bleeding face, blood dripping onto the cloth beneath us. I stood above it, able to end it forever with a blow to his exposed back. Instead I stood before him and asked of him. "Do you yield?"

He froze, his hands covering his ruined eye. The remaining eye stared at me in horror. "I...yield, brother," he gasped.

I stepped away from him towards the ropes. "Do what you can for him. We will march on the clan hall now."

"There is no need, Geirsteinson," the retainer said. "The rest of your family is not here. They left for Norstedt as soon as they got here, abandoning us to defend Leirbotn. I guess your father did not expect to survive a stand here. But at Norstedt he has more men and the hidden weapon stores."

"What does he speak of?" Ingibjorg asked me.

"My father's secret prize, the Smith. A dwarf that he holds prisoner in Norstedt, forging for him superior weapons to help him take over the kingdom. There he has weapon stores and a fort to hold off invaders. It will be hard work to take him down, but we must."

I stumbled. "But first I must rest. My wounds..."

"Will be taken care of at once," Asta Katlasdottir finished. She stepped forward to support me as we entered Leirbotn. She cleaned and bandaged my wounds, and set a cast for my arm. My brother was likewise given treatment for his wounds, it was clear that he would live, but his left eye was lost.

"You should rest," Asta told me. "Your injuries need time to mend. Ingibjorg and I will take care of the army. We will make certain that we are ready to travel on as soon as you are well."

"We travel on tomorrow," I answered. "I will be ready to travel tomorrow. As will my brother. He is coming with us. I need him as a hostage. Perhaps I can exchange him for my sister, Lis."

"But surely you cannot let him go now that we have captured him. Should he escape, king Hord will be furious," she replied.

"My sister means more to me than king Hord, and Lot is no threat for a long time to come. His injury will prevent him from taking up arms should we set him free. It will be as I say. Now please get me my packs and help me find my journal. I need to put everything that has happened into writing before I rest."

And so I finish another entry in this journal of mine. Another day has passed. A day of dread, but also of victory.